Reincarnation and world population – Do the numbers add up?

One of the arguments often cited against the idea of reincarnation is that “the living outnumber the dead.” In other words, there are more people alive today than have existed throughout the whole of human history combined.

So, quite simply, there aren’t enough dead people for each of us living today to have had even one past life.

Technically, this need not rule out reincarnation. It could be that some of us have lived before while the rest of us are newcomers.

But that’s beside the point, because the idea that the living outnumber the dead is just plain wrong. It is an urban myth that has been around since the 1970s, and it is easily contradicted by both population studies and simple arithmetic.

In fact, the number of people who perished in the last century alone is enough to give each of us alive today at least one past life.

So, how many people have lived and died on Earth before us? How many past lives have there been altogether?

Number crunching

Studies of world population growth show that it has shot up exponentially in the last 2,000 years:


World population since 10,000BC

But a rise in the population of people alive at once is unrelated to the number of souls reincarnating. What if, say, there are actually 20 billion souls reincarnating, but only a fraction are ever present on the planet at the same time? It’s just the size of that fraction that has increased exponentially.

In counting all the people who have ever existed, population is only one factor. Population statistics tell us how many people were alive at different points in time, but now how many different people lived during a period of time. Fertility and mortality rates affect this number a great deal.

We have to estimate the number of lives born over a given period from an estimate of the likely number of births per head of population. Today that figure is about 20 births per year for every 1,000 people, but in ancient history it was more like 80.

Carl HaubCarl Haub of the Population Reference Bureau (left) has produced a “semi-scientific” estimate of how many people have ever lived (up to the mid-2011) using historical population estimates plus certain assumptions about birth rates. [1]

His estimate – about 47 billion before 1AD, and 60 billion since, adding up to almost 107 billion.

That’s enough to give each of us alive today at least 14 past lives.

Though after checking Haub’s sums, I actually think this is an underestimate. I reproduced his calculations on a spreadsheet, year-by-year from 1 AD to 2011. By my calculations [2], in the last 2,000 years there would have been something approaching 86 billion births, not 60 billion. Add this to the 47 billion births BCE and we get about 133 billion in total.

That gives the 7 billion of us currently present something like 126 billion past lives to play with – an average of 18 past lives each. Most of them would be relatively recent – say, for example, 12 in the last 2,000 years, 3 going back to the time of the Agricultural Revolution (c.8000BC), and another 3 in the primordial past as early hunter-gatherers.

However …

I had expected the estimated number of previous human births to be two or three times higher — closer to 350 billion — giving an average of 50 past lives each, not 18.

How so?

Soul ages

In terms of reincarnation, 18 past lives on average seems quite reasonable. A lot of believers would probably find that satisfactory. But I have been experiencing a bit of cognitive dissonance. Something is not as I expected.

According to the Michael teachings, which I generally find to be accurate, souls evolve through five stages (infant, baby, young, mature and old souls). The souls making up the current world population of 7 billion have been estimated to be in the different stages in a bell-shaped curve, something like the following pattern:

soul age in population

The world at this time does indeed appear to be dominated by souls in the third stage of evolution — the stage of competitive action, progress and personal achievement.

Again, according to the Michael teachings:

In fact, by most accounts, it typically takes three or four lifetimes to progress through one learning step. Which means that each of the five soul ages typically involves something like 20-25 lives, and the entire sequence, from first incarnation to last, will take over 100 incarnations.

So if the world average is indeed in the young soul stage, then the average number of past lives ought to be more like 50, not 18.

So … why this discrepancy?

Logically, there are several possibilites.

  1. Reincarnation is a myth and all of this is nonsense. (I don’t agree!)
  2. Reincarnation is real, but current estimates for previous human births are wide of the mark. The true figure is closer to 350 billion. (That’s quite a jump, though I notice that the estimates for world population at the time of the Roman Empire have been upwardly revised a few times, from less than 100 million to 300 million. It remains to be seen if future discoveries will affect the calculations here.)
  3. Reincarnation is real, but the Michael teachings have it wrong in some way:
    • The world population’s average isn’t in the young soul stage after all, but way earlier in the infant soul stage. (I have played with the spreadsheet, and the only pattern that would fit is if 70% of the current population (5 billion) are infant souls, 24% are baby souls, 3% are young souls, 1% are mature souls and 0.1% are old souls. OK, that fits our figures, but why doesn’t this feel more like a world dominated by 5 billion infant souls? Is it just because those uncivilised types don’t get much air-time on TV?… I’m inclined to stick with the bell-shaped curve.)
    • The world population’s average is in the young soul stage, but the teachings are wrong about how many lives it takes to get there. (So 18, not 50, could be correct.)
  4. Reincarnation is real, the Michael teachings are correct, but there is something wrong with how I have applied them

Picking up on the last point, one possibility is that many of the souls here today could have partly evolved in other forms before using the human species. Older souls, for example, may have started off on some other planet thousands of years ago before reincarnating as human beings.

An alternative possibility — the one which my friends in a discussion forum hold to be the true answer — is that any soul can, if it so chooses, incarnate into more than one body at the same time. In other words, reincarnation doesn’t have to be one life after another in sequence, but can involve simultaneous or concurrent incarnations. And there are a lot of concurrent incarnations at the present time.

In which case, the 7 billion alive right now could be incarnations of a considerably smaller number of actual souls — maybe 2 or 3 billion.

Playing once again with the old spreadsheet, I find that this can readily fit the data if we allow each soul to have an average of 2.6 simultaneous incarnations on the go at present.

It also means that each of us, on average, has 1 or more “concurrents” walking the Earth at this time!

The bottom line is, far from contradicting reincarnation, the world population data leaves plenty of room for it as a possibility — though not necessarily in a linear, one-at-a-time form.

[1] Haub assumes a birth rate of 80 per thousand per year before 1AD, then 60 up to 1750AD, then declining to 23 by 2011.
[2] In my calculations, I applied a smooth curve to birth rate changes rather than a sudden drop. 

70 thoughts on “Reincarnation and world population – Do the numbers add up?

  1. This is a really interesting article – thank you for sharing! Someone also presented this argument to me when I indicated my belief in reincarnation. In response, I questioned what time actually means in the grand scheme of things. Does it only exist for the convenience of those of us in the physical plane? If so, from the spiritual plane, perhaps it doesn’t matter whether you incarnate in the past, present, or future in any particular order. If we continue to populate earth for many more centuries, that could also balance the number of lifetimes needed for a soul to complete the human cycle. Maybe the numbers don’t add up….yet.

    This could be a strange argument – since there is a pattern of souls that, when remembering or learning of previous lives, seem like they’ve been progressing through the stages from past to present (ie. Mozart to Michael Jackson). But I wonder with my limited awareness what time would mean once we’ve moved beyond the limited, physical playground we’re in. Does history even matter at that point, or is it seen and understood as a whole?

    While reading this article, I was also considering the possibility of simultaneous incarnations. That’s a hard one to imagine right now, considering how aware we are of ourselves in our current state. But then I also see ourselves as one ever-expanding fractal from the source – it would only be natural for us to experiment with branching out as we advance. 14 – 18 lifetimes doesn’t seem like enough to experience the full spectrum of being human, so the simultaneous route could really help to expand the number of experiences in a given era. Also, with the rapid technological advancements in just the last century – not to mention the convenient, corresponding boom in population – I would be eager to take advantage of it and experience it from multiple perspectives. This could be a brief, yet pivotal era in human history – it would be a shame for any individual soul that’s still mid-cycle to miss it. Of course this is hypothetical, 🙂 but toying with the idea is interesting.

    • Makes sense. So much has happened in the world in my lifetime, why limit myself to experience all that in one body in one place and culture? Cheers, Mandy.

    • I understand the inquiry of why the author would have raised the question about whether or not reincarnation is physically possible when you compare it to the growth of the human population, but I feel that something EXTREMELY Important in Buddhist teachings has been left out.

      Has everyone on that read this article about Buddhism literally forgotten that Earth is not the only plain in which people are reborn according to Buddhist beliefs in reincarnation? Nirvana aside and being totally left out of it (because it is the ultimate end game when you are no longer in the Great Wheel of Reincarnation, there are SIX plains in which people are reborn. Earth is but ONE of SIX. There are THREE “good” plains you can wind up in and THREE “bad” plains you don’t want to wind up in.

      They are as follows:
      3 good plains:

      God-like Realm, AKA heavenly realm= things are nice but makes it harder to attain enlightenment due to lack of conditioning (they are NOT immortal)

      Titan Realm= Good person but competition, ego


      3 Bad plains are as follows:

      Animal Realm = ignorance

      Hungry ghost realm= greed, shallowness

      Hellish realm= worst realm, sucks really bad 🙁

      So you see, I do not understand the point of the entire article……
      because it would seem as though if you believe in Buddhist principle, the answer to the question is obvious.
      There should be no debate on whether or not reincarnation should work and there should be no counting of how many dead people there are in comparison to the living…..


      Also, nothing in Buddhism suggests that there is a lack of new births of true first lives…..just saying. And we do not count the number of people who have crossed over and achieved enlightenment and gone to Nirvana who are no longer stuck on the Wheel of six plains.

      (ps, some buddhist interpretations include the idea that there are actually up to 31 planes of existence)

      Thanks for writing this article, I just found it years later but thought it was very interesting.

    • Well, the point of the article is to examine the idea, trotted out by skeptical materialists, that reincarnation has been “mathematically disproven” since “the number of people alive now is greater than the number of people who have ever died throughout human history.” This turns out to be a kind of urban myth. There are indeed more than enough dead in our past to allow for the possibility that each of us has had not just one past life, but in fact several.

      FWIW, I don’t subscribe to Buddhist doctrine any more than I do to anti-spiritual materialism.

  2. I would agree with Mandy but go farther. First, more about concurrent lives for those who are unfamiliar with the concept. They relate to each other as past and future lives, except that in the physical plane (the only one with time) they happen to overlap in time.

    In other words, the soul finishes lifetime #67, for example, and has life review, makes plans on the astral to incarnate into life #68, and then does so. It just happens they both are on the same section of the playing field of time. But #67 and #68 relate just the same as if they were 100 years apart. They will have completely different bodies, personalities, and life agendas. They usually are in different parts of the world and it’s very rare for concurrents to have contact with each other.

    The great majority of lifetimes move forward in time with respect to the previous one, mainly for two reasons. First, you have to have an unusual interest or special agenda to want to go back into the distant or moderately distant past, where everyone there will be younger in soul age and society more backward than what you’re used to now. Once you get there you still have the veil, unless you are very advanced, and you won’t remember anything about 2012. If you did remember and tried to tell people they would regard you as crazy and probably kill you.

    The other reason is that in making life plans we generally coordinate with a number of other souls, as in Michael Newton’s books, and those other souls are going to be going forward in time along with society in general. To proceed with your soul agreements and paying karmas off, the other people have to be present. They may not want to return with you to biblical times to do it 🙂

    It may well be that souls have groups of incarnations that are independent of each other. You may have a series of lives as Europeans, and others as Indians or Chinese, each having their own separate sets of soul agreements and karmas and interests, with these groups not having any connection to each other except, as an analogy, as groups of videos in the soul’s film library.

    I don’t think there is anything mechanical about how these things work. Each soul makes its choices and goes down its unique path, but with experience increases in soul age.

    As I mentioned in the other forum about the Michael Teachings, I think it is likely, according to channelings, that many of us have had some early past lives in nearby extraterrestrial systems with human bodies that are the same as or very similar to ours, similar enough that a soul migrating here would not have much of an adjustment physically to earth-human life. (That’s aside from adjusting to the society and culture, but if you are born into it, you grow up with it and tend to forget all the previous history elsewhere.) It has been said, and it seems reasonable to me, that current Earth is a much more interesting place than the alternatives.

    I think the main changes I would make to your numbers would involve 1) a lot of ET lives; 2) the average number of lifetimes per soul is a good deal higher than 100, accouding to channeling; and 3) a lot of souls have “cycled off”, that is, graduated from physicality. This happens when you have done everything you want to do and have cleared up all karmas and simply feel done. Unfortunately science is never going to be able to verify these things.

    All the best, Ed

  3. “Picking up on the last point, one possibility is that many of the souls here today could have partly evolved in other forms before using the human species. Older souls, for example, may have started off on some other planet thousands of years ago before reincarnating as human beings.”

    Unfortunately, this idea (which would help make sense of the numbers) actually goes against the Michael Teachings. That’s not to say that we haven’t had lives on other planet in bodies of other species. But, if I understand what Michael has said about the matter, each species experience is separate and you don’t jump from one to the other in the middle of a Grand Cycle. If you’re a human, then you’ve been a human since you started your incarnations as an Infant soul, and you’ll be a human until you finish up as an Old soul. I guess there could be exceptions, but probably not for such a large percentage of the population.

    The idea of a number of people living concurrent lives seems to make more sense with regards to the teachings… but that brings up even more questions. Who, exactly, is living more than one life at a time? This seems like an idea that would appeal more to Old souls… and yet the numbers would suggest that it’s the Young souls who are doing this (I certainly wouldn’t expect Infant souls to be doing it; one life at a time would probably be more than enough!).

    Who knows?

    • I agree – though the exception to the rule that Michael mentions would be that a significant percentage of species wipe themselves out, or at least render their planet uninhabitable, during the young soul stage (eg through nuclear war). Then they would have to transfer en masse to a new planet and species.

  4. In a philosophy class I took in college, we discussed the idea of reincarnation. One idea that was brought up was the idea that there are a finite number of souls. The instructor said that this was not possible, as the human population keeps increasing, but I disagreed. As the human population has increased, the population of many other species has decreased, and if members of those species have souls, it would leave them without sufficient bodies (and sometimes no bodies) to reincarnate into. Therefore, if they were to reincarnate, they would have to find another species to reincarnate into. (And there’s also the fact that life existed on this planet long before humans came about.)

    There’s also the possibility that life (and souls) exist elsewhere in the universe, and might incarnate in different places at different times–and perhaps a soul that needs to learn a particular lesson would select a particular species or place to reincarnate.

    When it comes to the number of human lifetimes it takes for a soul to go through all of the stages, it seems like it may take many lifetimes to go through each step, especially if a person dies very young (historically, there has often been a high infant mortality rate; in some places, this is still true, and even where the infant mortality rate is low, some infants just can’t be saved).

  5. Yesterday, at my meditation course, we were discussing the point of number of souls vs people (bodies) and at some point our instructor mentioned that we have to take into consideration the way we measure THE TIME. We do in a linear manner, right ? What if the time of things occurs in PARALLEL. That is, the linear way of counting time is incorrect and there are parallel worlds with its bodies and souls LIVING at the same linear time ? DOES IT MAKE ANY SENSE ? Cheers. Augusto

    • Well, that’s what I was getting at in this post. The soul isn’t limited by linear time in the way that bodies are, nor is it confined to one spatial location, so it’s within the realm of possibilities that a soul can incarnate in multiple bodies at once. This might account for the incredible surge in population over the last century or so. Perhaps in the way that a single branch can have multiple simultaneous blossoms.

  6. I don’t think my last comment get through, sorry if that happened.

    Talking about number of bodies VS number of souls, reincarnations etc:

    What if the TIME is not LINEAR ?

    At the same linear time there are simultaneously life being lived by the same SOUL, just because the time is a human creation to give some order to the history, but that is wrong.

    Does it make any sense to anybody ?

    Thanks !!!!


  7. -in other words: what is a ‘soul’, if not something other than the driving impulse to exist (manifest) in time (undergo change / transformation), the force of interaction, and consciousness; the awareness of memory (perception)?

    • In that case, to answer your question, the “problem” is that the soul is not merely as you describe it – something associated with living matter bound by the constraints of time and space. Rather, the soul is an individualised expression of the essence of all that is, and it exists beyond time and space. Each of us can directly experience this ultimate truth of who and what we are – not bodies, not minds, but a pure, glowing, self-aware presence that attaches itself to a succession of bodies.

  8. in a nutshell: is there anything that impedes one to consider everything has a soul (animals, trees, even rocks!) not just humans???

    • Everything has, or rather IS, of the same essence. But that essence is forever evolving through different levels of consciousness. For example, the essence of me as a whole is my soul, but the essence of each of the cells in my body is at a much more rudimentary level of consciousness. Multicellular organisms are at a more complex level of consciousness than single-cell organisms, and animals are at a more complex level than plants. Human beings are at a more complex level still, being the vehicles for individualised consciousness (self-evolving souls). Cetaceans are the same, apparently.

      You could say that all organisms have souls, but then we’d need some way to differentiate most animal types of souls from our own type.

      PS – more complex does not mean better (or worse). Humans are more complex than goldfish, but not necessarily better behaved.

    • I agree that every “thing” is of fundamentally the same essence.

      Furthermore; based on the notion that every “thing” (or “organism”, as you’d put it) is subject to the influence of everything ‘else’ (i.e. it’s impossible for any system (organism) to be isolated), then every “organism” (entity) must be an equivalent version of the whole (fractals come to mind).

      “You could say that all organisms have souls, but then we’d need some way to differentiate most animal types of souls from our own type.” Hmm, why? I don’t. Maybe you’re just hoping to expand the sphere of influence of your own values beyond yourself? Like, for example… sexual morality? (i.e. we’re not animals to do THAT, etc…), or perhaps the economic structures that result from it? (“MARRIAGE is sacred for it’s the root of the family & society” socialist kind of crap)

      Well then; holy shit! -I just don’t buy it.

    • “You could say that all organisms have souls, but then we’d need some way to differentiate most animal types of souls from our own type. ”

      ^Hmm, why? I don’t. Like ‘We don’t do THAT -whatever- because we’re not animals’ -oh, but we are!

    • Yes, we are walking the Earth in these animal bodies. But in essence, you are not an animal. You are not the body that you move around in. Right now, it appears that you exist as a body at a certain place and time, but your consciousness and beingness are not products of that body. You – the real you – existed long before you became conscious of being “you” in this life, and you will continue to exist long after your present body has turned to dust.

      The human body serves us at this stage of our soul evolution because of its mobility and intelligence. We need bodies in which we can act freely and independently, and we need complex brains which we can use to make rational choices. Human life is all about the experience of making choices and taking actions in these separate physical forms. This is something we cannot do “on the other side”.

  9. We would not know what will happen to us after our death. What I know is our mind can think of everything, our mind have so very strong power, we can think of all kinds that you can think of, our existence, that could be impossible, unreal, dreams, strange, weird, good, beautiful, 3rd, 4th, 5th dimensions and so on, parallel world, OBE, incarnation, and so on …. and those mentioned goes bywords, no basis, no facts, but what we all know how we lives, our experiences, our individuality, how we are in this big wide world, and above all those things, I always consulted my God, and His Word, coz what is written there are factual, but again Im only living here temporarily and a passerby in this world. Im concern of my own thoughts, and my own actions, and Im living here just a good citizen in this world thinking good things for others always putting other people before me, and doing things according to my own conviction. my 2cents, thats all.

  10. I suspect that the bell curve is not an accurate perspective but rather than your possible contention of 70% infant souls is more accurate. I have a number of reasons for believing this which I don’t care to get into at the moment (time constraints); however, I would cite one rather obvious one — that being the chronic turmoil across the entire continent of Africa, for example, as well as throughout the Middle East (and other areas of Earth). Along with the rapidly increasing population of the Earth, it would seem highly likely — even just by random, obvious assessment — that the majority of souls are “Infants.”

  11. Dear Barry (may i call u that?)
    Loved the article…
    I understand the bell curve that you have represented here and in certain other articles also. to fit in the figures, it seems its a world ruled by Infant souls which hardly feels that way. According to the bell curve, the world is ruled by young souls. Doesnt the level in between the two work? Baby Souls? Isnt the world governed by rules/regulations/religions/societal norms, that no longer work effectively and wouldnt this be Level 2 work?

    Parallel existence seems to answer a great deal what numbers dont cover. Based on our exchange of emails, i understand one can represent various levels of consciousness at the same time… at that rate though, would a soul choose to be at different levels, say one at level 3.6, another 4.1 another 4.3 (just an example?) as there could be various levels within that one soul. Or would a soul just choose to experience say level 4.5 in 3 different ways in 3 bodies and then cumulatively gather its experience?

    Many thanks,

    • Baby souls build the structures of civilisation – the rules, laws and conventions. But they see them as absolutes which must be adhered to at all costs if we are not to lapse into anarchy (= regress to Infant level). For Baby souls, the choice appears to be simple:

      rigid adherence to tradition – vs – the end of civilisation as we know it.

      Young souls, of course, are better able to think for themselves about how to play the game. This doesn’t mean that they outright reject all predefined social rules and norms. (Well, there may be a step where this seems like a good option.) For Young souls in general, a well-functioning civilisation is needed as a platform for their own self-discovery and self-advancement, so it is in their interests to support and maintain a stable society. But they also like to pick and choose which bits they themselves uphold or don’t. The Young soul’s motto is “Do it my way” and many Young souls are attracted to political activity precisely because they feel the need to shape society their own way – to change the rules to fit their own sense of what’s best, and convince everyone else that they are right.

      So, if the world is governed by Baby soul structures that no longer work effectively, this would be because they don’t fully serve the Young souls who are in the ascendent (or the Mature souls who are not far behind). No absolute and rigid system can ever please all the (Young soul) people all the time because they all want to do their own thing and expect others to play the same game. And a Mature soul, meanwhile, takes it for granted that civilisation is not a fixed structure but a dynamic process which we are making up as we go along – we are all co-participants, continually defining and redefining the rules, and ignoring the ones we don’t agree with.

      To the second point: as I understand it, the soul’s essence stands outside of time and so is appearing on Earth at all levels “at once”. From the Earth perspective, reincarnation is a sequence over time; from the timeless spiritual perspective, the whole of one’s evolution through reincarnation is one simultaneous/parallel event. This is a bit too non-linear for me to grasp however, and my brain starts to melt as I think about it. But to address the last point in linear terms – I could imagine a soul who is at, say, Mature stage level 5 (like me), perhaps incarnating in three bodies at the same time, all at the same level but focusing on different tasks – e.g., one working specifically on personal growth, one living as a child who dies young (to give the parents that experience), and one working through a karmic relationship.

    • Thank you. That makes much more sense. I understand the conflicts happening at the civilization levels, be it politics or business or policies with reference to the level 2 and 3.
      About point two, say in a linear example, you are 3 souls born together to experience three different aspects of level 4.6, would you recognise each other?would there be similarities of life paths or the way you look or you just KNOW? -Thanks again, Shaina

  12. As far as the number of humans ever born goes–how far back does that number go? The chart goes back only to 10,000 BC, but our particular species of human has been around for approximately 200,000 years, first appearing in Africa and then eventually spreading out (although Haub’s article puts our species’ appearance at 50,000 years ago, there’s a lot of evidence that anatomically modern humans actually appeared quite a bit earlier). What about other species of humans–Neanderthals, Homo erectus, Homo habilis, Australopithecus? If the other human species were included, that would take the time of human existence back to at least 3,000,000 years ago. If near-humans were included (those who split off from the line that produced both humans and chimpanzees) it could go back 6 to 7 million years. If the numbers only go back to 10,000 BC (or even 50,000 BC), that’s ignoring a lot of people.

    I think it’s entirely possible that there have been enough human lives for the average soul age of humans to be Young souls–if you look far enough back, and if those other species of humans are included.

    • Thanks Erica. Yes, you’re absolutely right, and right now I can’t quite remember why I decided not to show my figures for prehistoric populations. I think I just wanted to focus on Haub’s estimate and work around that for the sake of simplicity.

      The choice of starting point does of course affect the figures, and I’m not sure why Haub assumed a population starting with 1 (literally) at 50,000 BC — Homo sapiens alone goes back 200,000 years, and, as you rightly say, there were earlier hominids (Homo and Australopithecus) before that.

      One scientific estimate puts the total number of hominids before Homo sapiens at 10 billion (see Prehistoric demography on Wikipedia).

      And then we have approx 190,000 years between the rise of Homo sapiens and the agricultural revolution c. 10,000 BC. The population over that time probably rose from about 100,000 to around 5-10 million. By my very rough calculations that’s another 10 billion at least.

      So by going back to early hominids, we can add at least 20 billion to the grand total, taking us from 126 billion to 146 billion. That gives the 7 billion of us currently present at least 20 past lives on average, which is pretty respectable, though still way short of 50.

  13. The number problem regarding human bodies vs. souls who want to use them isn’t so much of a problem if you consider the potential to use other types of vehicles for the purpose of incarnating, rather than just human ones. I’m still not clear why human bodies are the only valid vehicle for one’s spiritual growth?

    “Yes, we are walking the Earth in these animal bodies. But in essence, you are not an animal. You are not the body that you move around in. Right now, it appears that you exist as a body at a certain place and time, but your consciousness and beingness are not products of that body. You – the real you – existed long before you became conscious of being “you” in this life, and you will continue to exist long after your present body has turned to dust.”

    Right, absolutely. So what makes a soul inherently human, then, in the sense that that’s the best form for a soul to take while incarnate?

    That’s like saying once we’ve bought a Toyota, we would never choose to try another type of car. Or that airplanes or ships or space shuttles can’t offer us a different, entirely meaningful type of travel experience, and cars (Toyota brand of course) are the only way to travel once we’ve started the travel process.

    “The human body serves us at this stage of our soul evolution because of its mobility and intelligence. We need bodies in which we can act freely and independently, and we need complex brains which we can use to make rational choices. Human life is all about the experience of making choices and taking actions in these separate physical forms. This is something we cannot do “on the other side”.”

    I’m not arguing the fact that the human form is complex and offers many opportunities. But I find it bizarre and very limiting to assume this is the only way to get any real spiritual growth done. Who says?! Who is making this value judgment about my soul’s growth potential, and why should I value that judgment over my own experiences as a soul?

    (Not that I agree that other beings lack complexity, but another idea to consider is this: who says complexity is always a good thing? I thought going back to simplicity and reducing the ego’s need for complication and drama was an idea valued by many in the spiritual community?)

    The finite human organism numbers wouldn’t be a threat to the idea of reincarnation if we could just consider:

    “…one possibility is that many of the souls here today could have partly evolved in other forms before using the human species.”

    • I 100% Agree. I think at this time we still know too little about what really goes on in an animals brain, let alone our own brains! Who’s to say that animals or even plants can’t have a soul and fulfill a purpose? For example, a tree simply sits there drinking in Carbon Dioxide to our eyes. But imagine if that tree had a scholar soul… it could sit there drinking in information about it’s environment ALLL DAY… the changes, the new inputs… Just an example, but still… And what about CATS!??!! I don’t believe for one second that those furry nutballs don’t have souls… 😉 Dolphins, dogs, elephants, parakeets, ravens, soo many intelligent animals that can come over to our side of the language/communication barrier… and understand us… I’m sorry, I guess it seems very “infant” souled of me, but I’m pretty animistic, and with Infant souls apparently being closer to source, one would consider that animism may have a lot of truth to it. I’m sorry… I just cannot accept that animals don’t have souls. It in no way makes any logical sense. The soul is supposed to be transcendent… the body it’s in just makes for a different way to play the game… <3

  14. I think that the problem with your numbers is in the bell curve. The Michael teachings link you provide, puts a 5 billion population in a bell curve. That was the population around 1985 when the estimate was given. You now add 2 billion people and assume that your curve stays the same. Why?

    There is nothing magical about the curve. It is just a snapshot in history. If it looked that way in mid 80s, t
    Therhen I assume that, lets say 1000 years before, it had way more infant and baby souls than young and mature.

    Now lets take a look at the added 2 billion. That population increase is mostly in Asia and Africa. Is that a population increase in societies that a young soul would thrive? Or do we have an influx of newer souls?

  15. Is it not possible that there are a finite number of souls, both animal and human. As certain species become endangered and extinct so then do other species flourish.

  16. Maybe we are all here at this time because we chose to be on earth at this time. Perhaps we are awaiting or waiting for a dramatic change that we wish to experience collectively in our human form.

    • Yes, I’ve heard that this is a very popular time to experience life on Earth. I think the Internet might be part of it – so many opportunities for contact, communication and cooperation.

  17. While it may be possible that we would live many lifetimes to learn the lessons for a particular level, it may also be possible that we could learn the lessons for a particular level in one lifetime. It would depend upon the lessons to be learned, the skills and understandings acquired to that point, and our personalities. I doubt whether anyone does exactly the same number of lifetimes for each and every level. (by level I mean one of the 7 levels in any given “age” – infant, baby, youth, etc).

    So you would need to complete a minimum of 35 levels, but any number above that could be considered a possibility for the number of lifetimes needed.

    I have seen in some of the readings for “celebrities” that they have completed more than one cycle (I’m assuming a complete run through the 5 ages here). I wondered about that, but here I’m thinking that if you “breezed” throught your 5 ages, maybe you’d want to redo them with different goals or personalities. Having said this, I really can’t imagine “breezing” through any lifetime, lol.

    Just an idea…

    • Got to be careful with terminology here. In these teaching, there are 5 “cycles” (infant – baby – young – mature – old), and within each cycle there are seven “levels” (1st to 7th). If you are, say, a 2nd level Young soul, then it will take you at least one lifetime to create, undergo and learn from the specific experience that will get you to the 3rd level of the Young cycle. So in these terms, we can and occasionally do complete one level in one life. But not a whole cycle.

      I think the cycles you are referring to in “celebrity” profiles are what are known in these teachings as “grand cycles” – the entire journey from inception as an individual soul (1st level Infant), through the 5 cycles/stages of reincarnation (to 7th level Old), then on through the two higher evolutionary cycles on the astral and causal planes, the result of which is compete reunion with the Source, the Tao, the One, the Creator. (Not that we ever left the Source – it’s an evolution of awareness. We eventually experience and know ourselves to be the One, rather than as a being that exists in some sort of relation to the One. )

      Within that state of re-union (apparently) there still remains the unique beingness of an individual self, and that self (apparently) always has the option to undergo another grand cycle of evolution. I say apparently because I have no knowledge of grand cycles beyond what I have read in these teachings. Anyway, doing a new grand cycle would mean starting once again at the level of awareness of a 1st level Infant soul. Only this time it would most likely be in a different species, probably on a different plant. (No point in doing the same journey twice.)

  18. Yes, I struggled with what terms to use. It’s good to have it clarified (although it’s probably in the info on the cycles – I’ve just been reading so much that I couldn’t remember.) And I hadn’t picked up on the 2 extra higher evolutionary cycles – interesting to know.

    I guess you wouldn’t want to repeat another grand cycle on Earth. It sounds rather fascinating to think about a grand cycle on another planet as another species, doesn’t it?

  19. Two points that may up or down the numbers…people live longer and longer and therefore the goals have more time to be achieved and …from what I’ve read about walk-ins more than one soul can advance in a single body. Not sure how this affects the numbers but my point is that many things unknown and known affect them:) Thoughts?

  20. Wow, so many births. Those are amazing souls who chose to give birth to other souls. Personally I cannot imagine anything worse than having a child. I don’t know why. Whether I have bad experiences with birth in other lifetimes, or something like that. It just feels scary, as if it would ruin my life and drain me for all the energy I might have now. (not having too much).


    • Having a child is an experience unlike any other. It’s also different for each person, I’m sure of that. It was a revelation to me to feel the depth of love and care for another human being that I didn’t know I was capable of. And I had no thought of whether this little creature would ever love me back. It was enough to be given the opportunity to love like that. Now I have grandchildren and it’s starting all over again, this loving without reserve. (not that I quit loving my kids but they don’t need me to be so obvious about it – I felt like that about my own parents too)

      But, it does take a lot of energy to raise a child. And if you’re feeling like you haven’t got enough for yourself, it certainly would be wise to find a way to nourish yourself. A friend of mine never wanted her own kids. But she loved her nieces and nephews to pieces. I’m sure she usually felt like they were hers too, lol.

      Whatever your choice though, I wish you a contented life. 🙂

  21. I had a thought about not repeating another round of the 5 cycles of life here on earth. What if you wanted to experience it as, say, a warrior, rather than a scholar or an artisan? And pair it up with a whole different set of overleaves and needs and so on?

    • Yes, from what I’ve read in various channelled material, we can finish off one grand cycle as, say a Warrior, re-merge with the Source such that we become utterly at one with the whole, the big I AM, and then in an explosion of joy the Source can cast all those souls into “separate” existence once more. And the first “choice” made will be the essence type: this time we might adopt the Artisan role or whatever.

      I cannot personally verify that any of the above is accurate, by the way. I mean, the basic aspects of this framework — soul age, soul type, casting, overleaves, relationship agreements, the seven internal monads — all of those things I deeply believe because they are readily apparent to me every day, just through observing others and going deep within myself. The grand cycle concept is one that I have yet to find a way to personally verify.

      BTW, Overleaves are constantly changed, whatever the role, from lifetime to lifetime. They are like lenses that focus the soul’s energies in different ways — in ways that mimic aspects of the other roles (eg, an Artisan could choose to undergo one life with a goal of dominance in order to experience that king-like way of taking charge).

      Hope that makes sense,

  22. When I come back I want to be a fly… that way it will be a fast trip and I can quickly move on to the next step…. like a mosquito or something 😉

  23. Stuck with humanity? I certainly don’t think so, not after a psychic medium said I’d lived lives on other worlds as different species. If we don’t limit our incarnations to one gender/ethnicity/etc., why should we draw the line at one species? In my eyes, there’s a vast treasure trove of things to be experienced that differ from here, and in a known universe containing billions upon billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars… It’s all too vast for us to be confined to a tiny part of it.

    Well, that might just be my head being stuck in the clouds (or the stars!) for most of my life. I’m an aspiring novelist planning out an arcanepunk fantasy series that’s set on a vast, strange world. I still like to think that I got a lot of my ideas from /somewhere/. Or possibly a whole number of somewheres.

  24. Is it at all possible that not every body has a soul? I had an interesting week last year that made me look into altered states caused by things like peyote, LSD, ayawhasca, etc. I don’t know how it happened to me, but my consciousness was forever altered. I had a week-long psychological trip, one that almost caused my wife to check me into a crazy hospital. I thought she was a doppelganger, and I couldn’t make sense of it till I read this post about concurrent incarnations.

    Anyway, it was revealed to me that not all physical bodies had a soul. Think of a vehicle on auto pilot, or a computer controlled character in a video game. You can think of this like the programs from the machine world in the matrix, or the fake father in vanilla sky. In my studies of human consciousness, one cannot verify the quality of consciousness of another being. Who can know if the observer is observing, or if there is a person behind the camera? That is to say, only you know you are conscious, and prepaid not body actually has a soul. Maybe real life zombies populate this game…

    • Sorry, typing on phone… end of second to last sentence should read “..and maybe not every body has a soul.”

    • Yes…well… As Daniel Dennett says, there are no “conscious” people, only zombies, because there is no such thing as consciousness. Rather, we have all been duped by our brains into THINKING that we are conscious.

      But then wait a minute, WHO is it that thinks they are conscious if there is no thinker?

      These are the sorts of pedantic hypothetical debates that Scholars are prone to, like How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

      But to answer your question, as far as I understand it a body that is alive but without a soul is essentially in a vegetative state. Blood is flowing, air is moving in and out, cells are respirating, but there is no organising force or consciousness to cause the body to move independently and deliberately, e.g., to get out of bed or make a cup of tea or whatever.

      Only if the soul returns to the body do we then get glimmers of “someone in there” trying to communicate.



  25. One thing that has always bugged me is that world population in developed countries are dropping, ie. people are having less kids….does this mean souls are waiting a long time in the queue now?

    • Could be various things happening I suppose. Maybe the developed world doesn’t provide enough or appropriate growth challenges for many souls so they prefer to live in, say, the slums of Nigeria or whatever. Maybe the current population of the developed world is “just right” for the current population of souls for whom it is their preferred setting… Interesting to think about.

  26. Why are you limiting reincarnation to just humans or life on this planet or universe. There is so much that we haven’t figured out yet that could be taken into consideration. Have you ever thought of reincarnation as possibly being a ladder that we gradually move up? Maybe we have to experience the most basic forms of life before we can move onto more complicated ones like we are living right now.

    • I am not limiting reincarnation to humans; I am describing reincarnation as it applies to humans.

      Most souls in the universe presumably reincarnate in non-human species. Contrary to certain teachings, however, I do see that the souls of human beings reincarnate only as human beings – until they are done. This species is our vehicle of choice for this phase of our cosmic evolution.

      The universe – physical as well as spiritual – is ever evolving. Needless to say, not all souls are in the same evolutionary phase, or following the same evolutionary branch. Most souls in the universe are not following the path of individualised self-awareness and self-expression, which we are. Most souls in the universe are either incarnating collectively as simpler life forms, or remaining out of the physical game altogether.

      Most life forms can serve as vehicles for those communal souls which have little or no concern for individuality. That’s not to say that such souls (or species) are in any way of lower status than human beings and their individual souls. These are just different paths of expression for the ever-expanding experience of the universal life force.

      The fragmentation of spirit, i.e. the universal soul with its many branches, into a multitude of individual souls (“acorns”) with their own unique make-up, who must each find their own way from separation to unity through the experiences of living as a particular species, is the particular path/phase of spiritual evolution I am talking about here, as it applies to us.

      Only certain species of life are capable of serving the evolutionary path of individuating, self-aware, self-evolving souls like us. Namely, those species with sufficiently complex brain structures capable of making autonomous choices above and beyond their instincts and conditioning. An evolving individual soul has to be able to experience relationships from all sides, including karmic acts, as part of the to-and-fro of intense learning experiences.

      As a rule, we (as individual souls) do not return as insects or cows or blades of grass or what have you. The soul’s mission is to expand in consciousness, and there is simply no value for the soul who is focused at the complex human level in experiencing life at a much simpler level of consciousness that does not support self-awareness or independent choice.

  27. Just read your article, and may I offer another perspective. I’m able to meditate in a light alpha state and have asked thousands of questions of whom I believe is my own Guardian Angel (GA). He says that we’re soul “fragments” and that there are on average 6 to 12 fragments in a soul “cluster” as he calls them. Each fragment has different interests, so that our souls get the maximum learning from each life. On average, each fragment has 600 to 800 lives on earth. When I asked why such a large difference, he said that some souls like to get them over as fast as possible so they have fewer lives, but with all the same number of challenges. My soul fragment’s interest is in the religions of the world, while another fragment of my soul’s interest is as an explorer.

    You pointed out there could be multiple lives going on at the same time. That’s true, but typically what happens is that you die, perhaps have another one or two lives (or not) and come back to live in the same time period but in a different place, never for you to meet yourself. As an example, I was told I was Strabo (see Wikipedia) who lived into his 80s from his birth in 63BC. Then after a couple of lives for more “seasoning” I came back as Salome, one of Jesus’ female disciples and the mother of two of the male disciples, so those lives were at the same time.

    Another thing you left out of the article was to speculate about the existence of Atlantis and Lemuria, and other ancient civilizations just coming to light in archeological digs. I was told that people existed on Atlantis for 60,000 years, and there were millions and millions of lives lived there. Lemuria did not exist for that many years, but lasted 5,000 more years after the Atlantian islands sank. Each time there were the major catastrophes, the seas rose and tsunamis wiped out every coastal city, town and village all over the world. Scientists estimate that the seas are 300 to 400 feet higher now than in the past–I wonder why! You can even see small remnants of this if you go to say Delos in the Mediterranean where I walked down to the waterfront and it kept going on down until you couldn’t see anymore. Same thing with Dwarka I think it’s called in India. Check out the Bosnian Pyramids which have been proven to be around 25,000 years old. How many people do you think it took to build them? Link is

    I’m working on a book (my fourth) tentatively titled ATLANTIS, MU, OZ and The Ancient World. You can read questions which have been sent in by my subscribers to my weekly newsletter at Click on Articles and News where all my newsletters are archived.

    Again, I enjoyed the read.

  28. It seems we didn’t count animals here… According to some teaching/religions, we can be reincarnated as animals and vice verse. I don’t know if a single cell organism can be reincarnated too though…

    And can organism (people, animals, or other forms) from other planet reincarnated to Earth? I don’t know but if reincarnated is real, it seems a possibility…

    • I was told that animals have “group” souls, so that all the dogs on earth and all the cats as examples each have their own group soul. I wrote an article on this titled UNDERSTANDING ORBS about what happens when an animal dies. You can find it on my website thegentlewaybook(dot)com under the Articles & News page. The article has appeared in a number of metaphysical magazines and ezines.

    • Tom, the way I hear it, wild animals are group souls (spirit of the Wolf, spirit of the Bear, spirit of the Otter, spirit of the Sparrow). Domestic pets, especially Cat and Dog, have individual souls and are spiritually far advanced from their wilder brethren, just as humans are. Dog and Cat are close to reincarnating as humans. Poor darlings. 🙂

    • In Buddhism reincarnation, we can come back as humans only IN THIS PLANE OF THE SIX PLANES. We can come back in the ANIMAL realm tho 🙂

      In Hindu, we can come back as animals in THIS plane.
      That is the major difference 🙂

  29. To number crunch you need accurate figures. You don’t have any facts on reincarnation if you have to question whether it exists or not. I personally believe all souls came into existence at the same time and that many never incarnate here. I believe most of our time is spelt else where. The number and frequency of incarnations vary vastly and the huge increase in population could be explained that either more souls are incarnating in a single time or souls are incarnating here for the first time. Many would say new souls come into existence all the time and that would explain the increase. Any figures on the world population prior to the 1900 would also be an estimate and not include all the young children who died, the new borns or full term still births.

  30. So weird that we seem to think we live in an age some much more advanced and enlightened than than spiritual infancy! It doesn’t “feel” like our world today is dominated by souls in the infant stage? Oh, no???? Come again?

  31. Its a great novel! But im never tired to ask if its true, is there a certain number of souls or somehow new are being made, who makes them? Do we human make them? Because making babys is our thought, we can decide to make few or go crazy and make evert woman you get pregnant.

    • In my new book ATLANTIS & LEMURIA: The Lost Continents Revealed! I cover what we would call pre-history–history before modern times. There were two more continents, both 10% to 12% larger than Australia, that over more than 50,000 years had millions of people living and dying and reincarnating again.

      Then scientists are reasonably certain that the oceans were at one time 375 to 200 feet lower than they are today. Their conclusion was that the oceans must have risen about a foot per century or so. Actually there were 3 major events. The first was that because Atlantis sat on the mid-Atlantic ridge there was a line of volcano bisecting the continent. They all exploded and one time and most of the continent sank, causing the oceans of the world to rise about 160 feet, not only drowning millions of people on the continent, but every city, town, and village on the coasts all over the world.

      Then the second event occurred in a horrific battle between the five main islands that remained from Atlantis. That occurred 12,500 years ago and was the origin of the Noah story (which is mostly true with embellishments over thousands of years), resulting in the oceans rising another 41 feet and again drowning everyone on the coasts all over the world.

      The final event came in another horrific war when the continent of Lemuria or MU sank off the coast of Japan and again the oceans rose another 160-170 feet, again drowning millions of people living not only there but again in every coastal town and village around the world.

      I will also mention that before the Adam and Eve model humans, the Cro-Magnons had 5 million people at their peak and all of those people were ensouled over and over again, and before them the Neanderthals were ensouled with around 4 million or so at their peak. Their numbers never reached those of Cro-Magnons as they were cannibals, which scientists have yet to discover.

      Even the early humans such as Lucy and Little Foot were ensouled. And there is another human with numbers approaching the Cro-Magnons that they have yet to discover in Asia.

      So you see, we just don’t have all the information in modern times.

  32. Personally I’m starting to think this planet is full of NPC’s: non player characters: people without souls, just bodies, hearts, minds… filler material… or if they do have souls maybe souls have sizes and theirs are just really small, baby souls, prone to weakness, needing care, needing guidance.. plenty must be teenagers who can’t be reasoned with… can’t grow up yet…

  33. I have another explanation model: there are books by Varda Hasselmann and Frank Schmolke with channelings based on Michal Teachings (I can recommend this books very much by the way). In this bokks it is said that the lifes a soul reincarnates are less than 3 in average on the infant and baby soul level. If you than take into account that there migth have been more human beings in earlier times (e.g. in Atlantis) the calculation would add up to that there are more baby and young souls today. Still not a majority for young souls – but young souls only have a majority in western countries. In Africa and Asia where the majority of humans live there are much more infant and baby souls incarnated. This calculation should match with Michael Teachings.

  34. Read the Beatittudes. You have mentioned playing the game! I see. Spiritually then, reincarnation is a game you play. Do you know the fruits you will bear by falling for this false doctrine? I have seen it with my own eyes. I have seen the messages of a real God. You will not move in the hearys of man nor will you recieve messages from God. I did not say you would go to Hell. As stated. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. If you wast happiness
    and truth. Start a relationship with Jesus. Stop fooling yourself with nonsense designed to suit your own passions. Amen

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