The Michael Teachings

Messages From Michael 1979 cover

Back in 1979, novelist Chelsea Quinn Yarbro published a little book containing a whole new way of understanding personality and spirituality. This new body of knowledge wasn’t hers, however. In fact, it had been received over several years from a mysterious entity known only as ‘Michael’.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro‘s book, called Messages from Michael, compiled information that had been gathered by a group of spiritual seekers based in and around the San Fransisco Bay Area.

The group, who had been meeting regularly since the early 1970s, had started using a Ouija board. They weren’t interested in contacting ‘dead people’ however. Instead, they hoped to connect with some kind of higher intelligence who could guide them in their personal and spiritual lives.

— a d v e r t i s e m e n t —

Their wish came true after a dinner party on 12 August 1973. The energy in the room had changed, felt by everyone. And when one of them took hold of the board it spelled out:


And then the new information started pouring through in torrents.

Eventually someone had the presence of mind to say:

“Before I ask any more questions, I would like our entity to give us a name.”


(‘Fragment′… ‘Entity′… These terms are explained below.)

The name ‘Michael’ stuck, purely out of convenience. Over several years, the group went on to ask ‘Michael’ thousands of question. Some questions were private and personal, some were philosophical, some were deeply spiritual. And, rather like a cosmic version of Google or Wikipedia, ‘Michael’ would simply answer every single question — directly, clearly and dispassionately.

Gradually, many others came along to the group sessions to ask their own questions. Some also found that they could connect with ‘Michael’ in a trance state and serve as a live channel receiving the answers.

The Ouija board is now long gone but the questions and answers have never stopped. The same source has continued to give us a detailed, mutli-faceted system of psychological and spiritual insight. It is a body of knowledge that contains just about everything we need to know in order to understand who we are at every level.

The general teachings are freely available all over the internet. If you want a personal reading, however, you must contact of the many channels (see bottom of page). There are now many people around the world who can channel Michael. I’ve even done so myself on the odd, unexpected occasion.

So where to begin?

Let’s start with…

Exactly who, or what, is Michael?

To answer that we have to start with a fundamental but controversial concept: reincarnation.

When the messages first came through, the source explained that the human soul “enters the physical plane as many times as is necessary to experience all aspects of life.” In doing so, the soul gradually evolves in consciousness, becoming more aware and self-aware, more capable and in control, more loving — and less fearful, less isolated, less unconscious.

To that end, each of us is going through a long and often difficult process of reincarnating, living many different lives in many different circumstances.

At the end of this learning process, when all there is for us to experience as a separate being has been experienced, our soul unites with others — about a thousand other souls who emerged into being at the same moment with us. This is our group of origin, known as an “entity“.

Each of us is a part of a fragmented whole, a fragment of our own entity. As we evolve individually, our entity evolves collectively. Eventually, the 1,000 or so souls making up an entity will form an integrated whole, a far greater body of consciousness and intelligence than any single soul.

After re-integration, our soul is no longer a separate fragment but an integral part of a higher intelligence.

The being we call Michael is one of these—an integrated entity. Not a single being, but a group, a collective. This is why the source refers to itself in the plural: “we”, “us”.

The name we are called is Michael. That is a convenience and not a truth. Only a small fragment of this entity had that name. We are integrated fragments of a larger entity and we come to you from the Causal plane.

To be exact, the group consists of precisely 1,050 souls who have all completed their own process of reincarnation.

We have been artists, bankers, barters, barristers, comedians, cemetery guards, dilettantes, governors, guards in many shapes and sizes, grave diggers, horsemen, jugglers and clowns, lute players, maids, mercenaries, merchants, misanthropes, military strategists, noblemen and women, peasants, priests, prostitutes, rebels, revolutionaries, robbers, students, teachers, temptresses, viceroys, waifs, and witnesses to the most unspeakable acts of cruelty and to the most loving acts of kindness and devotion.

And according to Michael, having evolved beyond the cycles of reincarnation, they no longer reside not on the Astral plane of existence (which is our home between lives), but on the higher, Causal plane, a level of pure thought and intelligence.

Their mission, for now, is to teach souls like us how to evolve — not how to get out of the human experience, but how to get more out of it; how to evolve within it and through it:

We offer a way to human understanding based on our own experience, first as humans ourselves in both tranquil and troubled times and now as the reintegrated fragments of a Causal body no longer alive as you know it but still with keen awareness of what being human entails.

We have communicated this way for approximately 100 years. Our purpose is to teach some understanding of evolution on the physical plane so that a student can reach some insight into human behavior which will enable him then to stop brooding over interpersonal relationships, or the lack thereof, and concentrate on personal life plans.

Michael likes to tell it straight. With impeccable grammar.

A summary of the Michael teachings – key concepts

Perhaps the best way to summarise the Michael teachings is to simply introduce the key concepts one at a time and in an order that makes sense. Let’s start with essence.


Essence is just another word for spirit or soul; it is the innermost being of a person; it is our true nature. Your essence is your true self; the ego is a false self.


There are seven soul types or roles in essence: Kings, Priests, Sages, Scholars, Warriors, Artisans, Servers.

Each has a particular archetypal quality and brings specific abilities or attributes into life:

Warriors: assertive action

(e.g., Julius Caesar, Salma Hayek)

Kings: commanding action

(e.g., Elizabeth I, John F. Kennedy)

Servers: moral duty

(e.g., Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama)

Priests: moral vision

(e.g., Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama)

Sages: communicative expression

(eg., Oscar Wilde, Dolly Parton)

Artisans: creative expression

(e.g., Michaelangelo, Björk)

Scholars: objective understanding

(e.g., Marie Curie, Ken Wilber)

Soul type does not change from one lifetime to the next. From a soul’s first incarnation to its last, the role in essence remains constant. For example, I am a Scholar, I have always been a Scholar and I will always be a Scholar.

See: Soul types: the seven roles in essence.


From the soul’s perspective, reincarnation is the process of undergoing life in physical form again and again in order to evolve, becoming increasingly self-aware and a unique expression of divine love.

Evolution of the soul comes about by experiencing life in many different ways, making important choices within those life experiences, and learning from the consequences of those choices. Key experiences and choices are set up by the soul in spirit before each lifetime (see life plan). One life is not enough to experience the full spectrum of life circumstances and choices, however, so an evolving soul will reincarnate many times over (typically 100+).

See:  10 things everyone should know about reincarnation


Souls evolve through five stage of reincarnation:

  • Infant
  • Baby
  • Young
  • Mature
  • Old

Each stage has a distinct focus that requires particular learning experiences:

  • Infant souls focus on physical existence. Lessons relate to ‘being a body’ – basic physical needs and drives; symbiosis versus separation; impulses versus consequences; survival, physical vulnerability, safety, mortality.
  • Baby souls focus on social existence. Life lessons relate to ‘being one of us’ – conformity to rules, predefined roles, strict moral codes; order versus chaos; morality versus savagery; doing right versus doing wrong; the authority of religion, law and order, crime and punishment.
  • Young souls focus on individual existence. Life lessons relate to being ‘a somebody’ with a mind and will of their own – independence versus conformity; individuality versus belonging; asserting personal opinions, persona agendas; competitiveness, self-interest, opportunism; seeking material success, achievement, glory, self-advancement.
  • Mature souls focus on co-existence. Life lessons relate to being in ‘right relationship’ to self, others and everything else – interdependence versus independence; heart versus ego; collaboration and compromise versus personal triumphs; positive relationships, self-awareness, sensitivity, integrity, empathy.
  • Old souls focus on being – fully being themselves as part of all-that-is while allowing all else to be as well. Life lessons relate to autonomy versus identity; authenticity versus respect; letting go, non-attachment, non-investment; wisdom; self-actualisation and self-transcendence.

Each of these stages actually involves seven levels, from start to finish. And each of those takes at least one lifetime to complete.

So there are 35 “steps” to the whole reincarnation process, from the first level of the Infant soul stage to the seventh level of the Old soul stage. Typically it takes well over a hundred lifetimes to complete the sequence.

(Incidentally, I am a Mature soul, currently at the fifth level of the Mature soul stage.)

Souls also progress through further stages beyond the cycle of physical reincarnation. These involve taking on a teaching role (as is the case for the “Michael” entity). Entities themselves evolve into greater levels of integration and higher consciousness.

soul age colours 3 500

See:  Reincarnation – the 35 steps


A life plan is the outline plan of key events and circumstances for a given lifetime, formulated by the soul (with its guides) while in spirit, before taking birth. The life plan is designed to ensure that certain desired experiences and choices are encountered during the life, with the agreement and cooperation of other souls involved.

For example, the soul may desire to learn about abandonment, and so will plan an experience of abandonment by a parent in early childhood. Another soul will make an agreement to be the abandoning parent, and will incorporate this event into their own life plan.

Once in physical, human form, there is little or no memory of the life plan. The incarnate soul undergoes a kind of temporary amnesia. This ensures that each planned event (such as early abandonment) is experienced “as real”, with all the shock and suffering that naturally goes with it.


A life plan will often include a specific task to be undertaken in the second half of life. For example, mine is “To acquire and share knowledge in a spirit of joy”. This life task is usually the main focus of the life to come, and much of what is set up in the first half of life is actually preparing the personality for this undertaking in the second half.

That early experience of abandonment, for example, might have been chosen to support the later life task of (say) “Healing parent-child relationships” – the early experience would help to instil the developing personality with the appropriate knowledge, intent and compassion.

When a personality begins to search for their “true purpose” in life, typically around 35-45, this is the calling of the life task (see the seven internal monads). Quite often, the pull to realise and begin the life task puts the personality through a crisis.



In every lifetime we undergo a sequence of seven major transition points, or “monads”. Each one involves a significant transformation in the self that is largely unavoidable:

  1. Birth – from spiritual existence to physical embodiment
  2. Self-awareness (age 2 approx) – from physical interactions to social interactions
  3. Coming of age (approx 15-20) – from socially-defined identity to self-defined persona
  4. Mid-life (approx 30-40) – from false personality to authentic self and purpose
  5. Retirement (approx 60-80) – from purposeful activity to restful activity
  6. Decline (terminal process) – from continuity of life to approach of death
  7. Death – from physical existence to non-physical consciousness

(Note – the ages shown are just approximations.)

Each of the seven monad-transitions is like a mini-death-and-rebirth. On each occasion, the inner self must let go of an old identity and accept a new one. This can go more or less smoothly or it can throw the personality into a crisis and even a rebellion. The outcome can be a successful transition to a new level of being or, at worst, the transition is “abdicated” and the personality remains stuck — a case of arrested development. Even so, the personality will have the opportunity to revisit the abdicated transition in later monads. For example, a person approaching mid-life might suddenly face unresolved issues connected with coming of age or even earlier.

The 4th monad is particularly notorious as a time of inner turmoil, as it may involve undoing 20 years of “hard work” on the false persona as well as 40 years of cultural programming.

A soul “normally” remains with a physical body from its birth to its death. Not all lives include all monads, however. A life that ends in childhood, for example, will pass through the first two monads and then skip to the last two monads.

We often live shortened lives for various reasons – because it is our karma to experience an early death, for example, or because we want to help another soul experience the loss of a child, or simply because of an unplanned accident.

To complete a level of soul growth, however, it is necessary to undergo all seven monads in one life.

(There’s a great book about the seven monads: Spiritual Turning Points by Victoria Marina-Tomkins.)



OverleavesThe “overleaves” are a set of personality characteristics that are adopted by a soul for a particular lifetime. They include a goal (lifelong motivation), a mode (way of acting) and an attitude (way of perceiving).

A person’s overleaves shape how that person thinks, feels and acts in life. They are selected by the soul before birth specifically to help the human personality perform the life task to come. Overleaves are what make up a human being’s true personality.

It is certainly possible to ask a Michael channel to get your overleaves for you. I, for example, was told that I have a goal of growth, a mode of perseverance and an idealistic attitude. Having observed myself (and others) very closely over the last ten years or so, I completely agree with all of these.

See: Overleaves – the Structure of Personality


The goal is the personality’s underlying motivation or basic desire in life. There are seven options:

  • Dominance: desire for power; drawn to opportunities to take the lead.
  • Growth: desire for stimulation and wisdom; drawn to novel experiences and insights.
  • Acceptance: desire for communion; drawn to social interactions and loving relationships.
  • Relaxation: desire for effortlessness; taking life as it comes (the “goal of no goal”).
  • Submission: desire for duty; drawn to opportunities to be of service.
  • Rejection: desire for independence; drawn to being ‘different’, highly selective.
  • Retardation: desire for peace and solitude; drawn to simple, restricted lifestyle.


Whereas the life task is a specific objective, such as “Learning to run a business with compassion,” the goal is more of a general a direction to take. For example, if the life task involves being in a leadership role then the chosen goal is likely to be dominance.

See: Goal: the driving force of the personality


The mode is the personality’s approach to life, its way of acting on the goal. It involves the inner or outer use of energy. There are seven options:

  • Aggression: acting at “full throttle” with totally externalised energy
  • Passion: acting with a sense of vision and emotional charge
  • Power: acting with inner confidence and certainty
  • Observation: watching rather than doing (the “mode of no action”)
  • Perseverance: channelling one’s energy into completion of the task despite difficulties
  • Caution: focusing one’s energy on careful prior planning to eliminate problems
  • Repression: holding it all in, reserving one’s energy

Modes model 480w


The attitude is the personality’s overarching perspective or way of perceiving life. There are seven options:

  • Realism: focusing on facts and likely implications
  • Spiritualism: focusing on higher meaning and purpose
  • Idealism: focusing on inherent possibilities
  • Pragmatism: taking each situation as it comes (the “attitude of no perspective”)
  • Cynicism: focusing on gross contradictions
  • Scepticism: focusing on subtle inconsistencies
  • Stoicism: focusing on absence of meaning



The personality’s preferred way of processing its moment-by-moment experiences in life, usually set in early childhood (around age 2-3). There are seven centres in all: emotional, intellectual, moving (physical), instinctive, higher intellectual, higher emotional and higher moving (higher physical). In normal life, however, the personality tends to adopt either the emotional, intellectual or moving centre to assimilate its sensory experiences.

In addition, there is a secondary centering by which the personality processes immediate reactions to those experiences. For example, if sensory experiences are processed emotionally and then reactions are processed intellectually, one is said to be operating “in the intellectual part of the emotional centre.” This means that one experiences life, moment-to-moment, with feeling but one expresses those experiences by talking about them.



If the overleaves chosen before birth make up the true personality, the other traits and habits instilled into the person during childhood and beyond make up an artificial or false personality.

False personality consists of two main components:

  • Early programming or “imprinting” from one’s family, culture and social environment.
  • The false identity (ego, persona) adopted in or after adolescence as a way to break into adulthood.

Whereas the true personality reflects the wise choices and higher consciousness of the soul, the false personality reflects the ignorance and immature perspective of the young person. Whereas the true personality knows no fear, the false personality is riddled with it.

One of the key challenges in life, at the 4th monad, is to overcome your false personality and begin to manifest your true personality—your overleaves, your soul age and your role in essence.



The “chief feature” is a false personality trait, an entrenched character flaw driven by fear and illusion. Its purpose is to protect the person from whatever he or she fears the most as a social being, such as a sense of personal vulnerability, inadequacy or worthlessness.

An incarnate soul can have various bad experiences in childhood and may exaggerate or misinterpret their meaning. These can crystallise into a specific lifelong fear, such as the fear of change. The growing child then adopts certain behaviour patterns to avoid or eliminate the thing feared at all costs. In late adolescence, emerging into adulthood, the fear and negativity become cloaked in a false persona.

There are seven possibilities, and we all have one of these as our chief feature:

  • Impatience: rushing through life (fear of missing out)
  • Arrogance: feigning perfection or superiority (fear of vulnerability)
  • Greed: compulsive acquisition/consumption (fear of lack)
  • Stubbornness: refusing to accept anything new (fear of change)
  • Martyrdom: playing the innocent victim (fear of worthlessness)
  • Self-Destruction: compulsive elimination/annihilation (fear of loss of control)
  • Self-Deprecation: trying to be invisible to others (fear of inadequacy)

Actually, all adults have a primary character flaw which distorts their goal and related life decisions, plus a secondary one which distorts their attitude and hence internal perceptions of life. If like me, for example, your primary is Impatience, you will be anxious about missing out on opportunities to achieve your life’s goal. And if your secondary is, say, Self-Deprecation, you will tend to perceive your life in terms of your own inadequacies.

Chief features operate as vicious circles, unconsciously creating the very anxiety they are supposed to prevent. Throughout much of life they cause internal conflict, working behind the scenes to thwart all attempts at fulfillment. Learning to manage your chief features is one of the greatest possible achievements in personal growth.

7CFs2 400

See: Character flaws: The seven chief features of ego.

Putting it all into practice

The Michael teachings give us a coherent framework for understanding the many different ways in which human life unfolds — both on a grand scale (historical, global and spiritual) and at the most intimate level. I for one now appreciate how every aspect of humanity in all its diversity and variety is perfectly valid. Every human being on the planet, past and present, is in exactly the right place for them given their soul type, level of evolution, life task and overleaves.

The Michael teachings explain how the whole of life, in all its ups and owns, revolves around choice. From the private decision to have a baby to the collective decision to go to war, choice is woven throughout every moment of life. The choices we face, and our ability to make such choices, are our reason for being here.

The Michael teachings serve as a bridge between the deepest Truth of our being and the mundane reality we all experience in our daily lives. But given that finding and choosing our own sense of meaning and purpose is precisely how we evolve, taking any of this on faith would defeat the very purpose of the teachings.

The very core of these teachings is:

  • All is chosen.

And that includes what we choose to believe.

See also –

Links to Michael Channels

Here are some channels I have had personal readings from:


Victoria Marina-Tompkins




Terri Benning

Terri Benning

Troy Tolley 200x230

Troy Tolley

There are of course many other Michael channels – I just don’t have personal experience of their readings. See for example:


Shepherd Hoodwin 200x230

Shepherd Hoodwin



José Stevens



Talyaa Liera (Karen Murphy)Talyaa Liera



Stephen Cocconi 200x230

Stephen Cocconi


jp van hulle

J. P. Van Hulle


Mary Jonaitis

Mary Jonaitis


Links to Other Michael Teachings Websites - MT overviewThe Personality Game ( – “a fun way to learn about personality types and their unique — and often quirky — traits.” – website of Barbra Taylor, a Management Consultant who works with the Michael teachings with a focus on improving team-work and increasing productivity within a company.

Flight of the HawkFlight of the Hawk – “Perspectives of the Universe through the lens of The Michael Teachings, Shamanism and Astrology” – Blogsite of Michael channel and Shamanic teacher Victoria Marina-Tompkins headerJosé – “Insights Into Life, Understanding People” – Website of really nice Michael channel and shamanism-teacher José Stevens PhD. José and Lena Stevens are authors of several excellent Michael books, including The Michael Handbook, Tao to Earth, Earth to Tao, and Transforming Your Dragons

Michael Mosaics website eaderMichael Mosaics – “Personality Profiles for Older Souls” – website of another really nice Michael channel, Terri Claire Benning, an Old Artisan.

MEF-logoMichael Educational Foundation – established 1983, website of Michael channel JP Van Hulle, an Old Warrior.

Summerjoy werbsite headerSummerjoy Press – “Books and Sessions that can Change your life!” – website of Michael channel Shepherd Hoodwin, a Sage-cast Sage! Shepherd has authored several book on the teachings. headerTruthLoveEnergy – “Using Truth, Love and Energy to Understand, Nurture and Create Your Life”. Lively website of Michael channel and “goofy man-boy” Troy Tolley, another fun-lovin’ Sage. I have a long-standing connection with Troy; he’s given me some excellent readings, and his freely available library of channelled information is a great contribution! Membership required for some pages.

Septana headerSeptana – German-language website of Varda Hasselmann who, since 1986, has channelled “The Source” – an entity made up of Sages and Artisans – but the teachings are exactly the same. One of her books has been translated into English – see Archetypes of the Soul. [“Soul-Undersanding”] – German-language website on the Michael teachings by Rolf Herklotz.

Listen to spirit headerListen to Spirit – a blog of channellings from Michael by Barbara Taylor headerThe Michael Teachings – It’s the website for Michael-related information and resources… but I’ve just noticed they haven’t linked to this site at all. Can’t be that good then! Website run by long-time student Dave Gregg and with lots of material by Shepherd Hoodwin.

161 thoughts on “The Michael Teachings

  1. Hallo Barry! I was wondering if you know of any book / website that takes us through any one particular soul’s journey right on from infant to old? i feel a book or site like that would be a gold mine of knowledge. Hope to hear back from you. Many thanks!

    • Yes, indeed — there is a book called Michael for the Millennium. It’s the fourth of the Michael books to be compiled by Chelsea Quin Yarbro. One whole chapter consists of seven such examples, one for each of the roles (a server, an artisan, etc). It’s mind-boggling!

    • Michael. I am intrested to know if you have learned anything about numerology and how that can teach us on the path to enlightenment.
      It is the best tool I know of to help you on your way.

  2. I asked about suicide and the ramifications it has on our souls but my comment wasn’t published. If we commit suicide, do we get reborn into the same life as the one we killed? If so, do we get the chance to make better life choices so that we don’t commit suicide or is suicide in itself a soul “learning moment”?

    • Hi Ken

      Suicide is very much a learning moment for the soul, as are all the major choices we make. The lesson tends to be: “Ending my life early will never solve or change anything. The issues I struggle with are always still there to be faced in another life.” And then, yes, we get the chance to make better choices.

      Just to expand on suicide as a choice:-

      The reasons why people decide to take their own lives are many and varied. Suicide is most often (but not always) undertaken by those with a chief feature of self-destruction. They come to believe that their own existence is intolerable, either to themselves or to others. For example, they feel unable to live with a huge sense of failure, or that they have become a terrible burden to loved ones. They fall into a deep state of depression.

      Such feelings can be so intense that they lose any rational perspective. They fail to consider that there are realistic alternatives to their current state, and they fail to think about the consequences following their suicide – e.g., that their death will make life worse for the very loved ones they believed would be better off. Nevertheless, there is often an element of care or love underlying their motives for choosing suicide — “The good people around me would be better off if I were dead.”

      Aside from those who choose to self-destruct, there are some who choose suicide in order to prove a point, or as a way to cast blame (“Look at what you’ve made me do now”). This is more associated with a chief feature of martyrdom.

      As well as suicide being chosen by different individuals for different reasons, it also has different consequences according to the individual’s circumstances. For example, a sad and lonely person could quietly commit suicide to end the sadness, and their death could have no particular effect upon anyone else. On the other hand, a husband and father who kills himself out of shame following bankruptcy is going to leave behind a struggling family, possibly making their lives worse, especially if he is knowingly abandoning a dependent child. He would then incur karma around deliberate abandonment – it becomes something he will eventually have to experience.

      After a suicide, we don’t get reborn into exactly the same life, but there will be similar circumstances at the appropriate life stages to ensure we face the same issues and learning experiences. For example, if we committed suicide to hurt a parent, we will plan a life in which we are once again with that same parent and this time try not to hurt them.

      Ultimately, suicide is a choice that we are all free to make. Emphasis on the word free. Making our own choices is the very reason why we are here, as it is the means by which we learn and evolve, and no one “up there” — God if you like — will ever get angry or wag a finger at us for making a “bad” choice. All human choices are respected in spirit from a perspective of perfect love and understanding. As soon as one dies, whether through suicide, homicide, cancer or old age, one is welcomed into the realm of love and light which is our home.

      Hope that answers your questions 🙂


  3. Awesome material. One question, can one choose different goals and overleaves? Like say ones soul is one in caution, but would like to be in aggression. Can you decide to be in aggression mode for the rest of your life and if so how? It just seems like we on the physical plane are almost victims to or ourleaves/goals etc and I feel like we should have the power to change them at will if we choose..

    • Hi Chris

      What you’re asking amounts to “can I change my personality at will?” The answer is yes and no – it depends on various things.

      The overleaves are like our default settings for a life. Most younger souls go through each life with a minimum of conscious depth or self-awareness; it’s their overleaves (as well as karma) that draw them along their chosen life path, ensuring that the intended purpose is fulfilled. That’s not to say that anyone is forced or dragged along by their overleaves against their will, given that the overleaves are chosen in spirit. Most of us identify with our overleaves as “who I am”, just as we identify with our own bodies.

      Older souls can live with a higher level of consciousness during life, and therefore experience more choice and freedom in what they are doing. The default overleaves then feel more like “options available to me” rather than “who I am”. The chosen set will be appropriate for the life ahead, but the individual will be better able to move from one goal/mode/attitude at will, if they so choose.

      During periods of extremely high consciousness, i.e. spiritual awakening, satori, kundalini experiences, etc., the freedom of the essence shines forth so strongly that the overleaves practically fall to the wayside. The field is wide open. But sustaining such a higher state of consciousness is rare, even in old souls. When the episode is over and consciousness returns to normal, we also return to our default settings.

      That said, some overleaves are more “locked down” than others. You cannot change body type, for example, without dying and starting over in a new one. Also, you cannot alter anything that is of your essence (role, soul age, casting).

      The “psychological” overleaves — goal, mode, etc — are more fluid and flexible. In fact, we can and do bounce from one to another quite often. For example, we have immediate access to all the lower centres (intellectual, emotional and moving), though we tend to fixate on a primary and secondary early in life. Nevertheless, someone like me who is (in my case) primarily in the emotional centre with the moving centre as secondary can still tap into the intellectual centre quite readily, albeit with a bit of effort. It’s just that the primary centre will always be used by default – effortlessly – when there is no special reason to use any other.

      Temporary shifts in centering and all the other psychological overleaves are relatively easy to do, albeit with conscious attention and effort, focusing on only one at a time. It’s like shifting gears – first switching on “manual override” (conscious choice), then shifting out of your default gear to a different one.

      But as soon as your attention wanders or a new situation comes along, you automatically return to the default settings.

      Sometimes we switch naturally from our default “gear” to its polar opposite as a way of getting unstuck. This is known as “sliding”. For example, I occasionally find myself sliding from perseverance mode into aggression if my perseverance feels stuck in the negative (pointless over-persistence on an unnecessary task).

      But to deliberately go from one trait to another, particularly if it’s on a different axis, requires a consciously controlled shift. To deliberately go from caution to aggression, for example, demands a deliberate shift in one’s approach to any kind of situation. It takes more effort than using your default setting, and you have to know what you are doing; you have to know how the cautious and aggressive approaches differ and “where” they are to be found within yourself.

      (Acting is a good way to do this – to get familiar with the different overleaves by playing different personalities.)

      Using conscious self-control, we can create a temporary shift at will. To create a more permanent shift one would have to keep consciously repeating the same deliberate “gear shift” until it became more habitual than the default one. That’s quite a project, but not impossible. It’s a bit like learning a new language, as you have to override the life-long patterns that have grown around your original overleaves. You have to want to do it, and be conscious and diligent. At first it will be disorienting, like switching from being right-handed to left-handed.

      A couple of other points:

      By working on one’s chief feature with effort, self-awareness, self-acceptance and choice, the chief feature can be diminished, possibly to the point of elimination.

      Generally, your overleaves for this life should not constrain you unless you are acting out of false personality. For example, someone might become obsessed with being a celebrity and so try to override their natural caution by operating from a more extrovert mode of passion or power. The overleaves are usually chosen so as to fit your life plan and life task. These are not etched in stone, however, so it could be that you decide to change direction in life and thus work on permanently changing overleaves. But as I’ve said, that’s quite a project. I suspect it would be easier (and possibly better for one’s growth) to work at expanding in self-understanding and sense of inner freedom so that temporary changes can be employed as and when required.

  4. Hi Barry! I stumbled on your website by chance and am absolutely fascinated by Michael’s teaching. I’ve have had experiences with messages from other higher being , and I’m always interested to read what other higher entities have to say about the nature of our universe.

    My question is, what does Michael say about other interplanetary/star system’s life outside earth? Are we here to be “enlightened” from this earthly life only to experience other lessons in other star system/planets? What about life in other realm/dimensions? If we do reincarnate in other places outside earth, will our soul type still be the same?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Jackson

      According to the Michael teachings (to the best of my knowledge), soul type is consistent for one entire cycle of soul evolution, as is the species used for reincarnation. So at the moment there are several waves of souls undergoing reincarnation on this planet as human beings. (There are also other waves reincarnating as cetaceans.)

      Having finished the journey with our species of choice on one planet, we continue to evolve collectively through higher planes, eventually becoming one with the source. There is still a spark of consciousness that is individual, however, and any individual consciousness can separate from source again if it so desires, and thus we may begin another grand cycle in another species on another world. Alternatively, we can remain in oneness, or we could be non-physical helpers for others, or any number of other things I can’t even imagine.

      I think there are said to be something like 2 million intelligent species in our galaxy alone.

      As for other dimensions, we do of course reside in a non-physical dimension between lives, and can revisit it in a near-death experience or while asleep, meditating, tripping, and so on. The physical plane is teeming with life; the higher planes are teeming with consciousness.

  5. My Goodness! So much here to take in – thank you so much for sharing this in the way that you have – I’ve learned so much – it will take some time to inwardly digest and properly assimilate, but what amazing soul-food to stumble across. Thank you so much, janina

  6. Hi Barry
    If there is one thing that fills me with despair, it is cruelty. I know so many good and kind people (myself included), who have needlessly been treated very cruelly over a long period of time. It causes enormous emotional damage.
    Thankfully for me, it is now in the past. I am very strong, tough and resilient now, but still kind and empathetic. I have recently made two new friends (they don’t know each other). They are both very nice, kind, decent people, who are being treated very cruelly by family members and partners (like I once was). Mental/emotional abuse.
    I support them all I can. I try and advise them to be strong, not weak & break away from toxic relationships. I try and bolster their self worth and confidence.
    My question is this: I don’t understand the nature of cruelty. Why are people cruel? What lessons do cruel people learn in future lives? Are they punished?
    So many times I have witnessed a highly negative, destructive bullying individual bring havoc and misery to an innocent individual (s). I know lots of people who have adopted abused and abandoned animals too.
    Sorry if ths is a long statement. You are extremely wise and I hope you can enlighten me.
    Thanks x

    • Hi Helen

      I have often found myself feeling overwhelmed at the amount of pain and suffering in the world, especially when it’s deliberately inflicted out of sheer ignorance and malevolence. It has taken me a while to see a bigger picture in which it makes sense. That’s not so say that I am content to let people mistreat each other; it’s just that the bigger picture shows a great number of factors that co-exist in a meaningful way – the suffering of others, our own suffering, our own desire for wellbeing, our outrage at others’ behaviour, our evolving compassion and understanding, and so on. It’s all one vast tapestry.

      Let’s start by zooming right out.

      All souls originate from, and exist eternally in, a state of unconditional love. Between lives that’s where we return. From our human perspective we might call it Heaven, but from our soul perspective it’s simply our own true nature, our essence.

      The same is also true of freedom. All souls originate from, and exist eternally in, a state of absolute freedom. Again, we experience this absolute freedom as a feature of “the afterlife” every time we die, but in reality it is simply the true nature of ourselves, and of all that is.

      The same is true of other spiritual qualities – unity, joy, peace.

      Between lives we are so immersed in these eternal qualities that we take them for granted — but we do not know how to manifest them by choice, from our own being … until we do. That’s why we incarnate. We come to Earth precisely to experience being in a place where there is an ABSENCE of all that love, freedom, etc.

      If there were only unconditional love and freedom, joy, etc on Earth, then it would serve no purpose for us to bother incarnating here.

      Our mission on Earth isn’t to find love etc in this dark world, however, but to find it all in OURSELVES whilst WE are in this dark world.

      We have to personally experience the absence or loss of love before we can recognise the love in our own nature, and from there we can learn to honour and express our love, and ultimately we become able to bring unconditional love into any loveless situation.

      We have to experience the absence or loss of power in order to first recognise that power is in our own nature, and then we learn to willingly express our own power in any situation. You see how it works? The same applies to freedom, joy, peace, etc.

      So when you see cruelty going on and are repulsed by it, this shows that you rightly recognise that cruelty is not our best nature. But there are still many souls on the planet who have yet to learn this – and it will probably be the same for centuries to come.

      It might be worth remembering that we all go through our phases of terrible behaviour in our soul evolution. After all, perhaps you yourself were once a brutal slave driver or an abusive prison guard… You have “done the cruelty class” and graduated. Others are still in the middle of it.

      All those who commit atrocities against others WILL eventually learn through the process of karma. An immature soul, for example, might abuse a child for the fun of it, out of sheer ignorance, but in a subsequent life they will experience being an abused child – and then they will find empathy.

      Karma is never punishment or retribution, by the way; it’s just the to-and-fro of experiences – when one imposes an experience on another without empathy, they will develop empathy as soon as that experience is returned to them.

      So that’s the bigger picture. If we zoom in a bit, we can see how souls at different stages will act very differently, and then hopefully it really begins to “make sense”.

      As we evolve, life after life, we get more of a hold of the light, spiritual qualities within ourselves. But in the beginning, we start at ground zero – complete darkness. So infant souls are basically immersed in the sheer panic of separation, utterly oblivious to the possibility of love, freedom, etc., and they will do the most atrocious and horrific things to each other driven by blind instinct.

      With baby souls there is a step up – they have learned that they can find ways of living together harmoniously, just so long as everyone agrees to stick to the same rules, and no one does anything unorthodox or out-of-the-ordinary. So they learn to strictly control their own instincts, but their terror of ‘temptation’ is such that they will project pure evil onto anyone who appears to cross the line – to act wrong or even look wrong is to BE wrong, i.e. sub-human.

      Ironically, baby souls will resort to the most evil forms of punishment in the name of upholding goodness and righteousness – drowning witches, burning heretics, stoning, hanging, crucifixion, public torture…

      Young souls will play by the rules only when it suits them, but being SEEN to play by the rules is important if you want to win the long game. They play life strategically, and much as they will try anything to win they don’t want to be caught cheating. So with young souls we often find a split between a public persona of hard-earned success and a private life of exploitation and corruption.

      As mature and older souls we might look upon all this with horror – and that is perfectly correct, perfectly appropriate for our own level of consciousness and our evolving compassion. So while some souls are going through the class on “What happens when we are cruel to each other?”, others are going through the class on “How do we respond to cruelty in the world?” It’s all part of the tapestry of learning through personal choice and experience.

      Hope this helps…

  7. Greetings Barry,

    Again I must commend you on the site you have created. I was introduced to the 35 steps of Reincarnation a week or so ago and have been studying all the information linked to the 35 steps page. I really can’t find anything that I personally disagree with. It’s much like recovering knowledge that I had forgotten. Anyway… I was interested in the “MT Student Community” to continue my quest for a greater understanding of these very important perceptions. Yet, the link comes up with a 402 error. Do you know if this group still exists? If not, is there a group that might be similar that I may join? Thanks again…keep up the great service towards mankind…. education!


    • Generally, yes. We might want to experience what it’s like to be helpless or dependent (if, for example, we feel we have swung too far in always being autonomous and independent). Or we might plan to spend a life completely internalised, just observing and reflecting without the ability to interact. We can choose to live with minimal intellectual abilities; or with minimal physical abilities; or with minimal emotional abilities. Or we might agree to play the role of a dependent child for another soul who wants to have the experience of being a parent to such a child.

  8. one can die “simply by an unplanned accident”? isn’t everything in this process organized perfectly and by order?

    • Our life plans are just outline sketches with certain waypoints and planned incidents, but nothing is set in stone. Life is a massive multiplayer game where anything can happen. The whole point of it is to improvise using our free will. For example, you might plan to die at a ripe old age, and perhaps have a contingency plan to be run over in your 40s if things aren’t going too well and you want out, but then it turns out during your 20s that you develop an addiction and die of an unplanned overdose. Life is all about free will, and making choices in the face of uncertainty. Sometimes our experiences and choices fit our pre-life plan, sometimes they don’t.

    • There is a sense of ease, motivation and enthusiasm leading towards fulfilment. When we are off track, there is a sense of efforting, resentment, stagnation or frustration.

  9. Hi Barry
    So Many Questions I know, I m not expecting to get all the answers but it worth trying.
    you mentioned in a comment that “It might be worth remembering that we all go through our phases of terrible behaviour in our soul evolution” my question is : if a soul is now peaceful and empathetic and loving, is it possible to lose these traits in a another life and become cruel?

    • Very unlikely. The lessons we learn through lifetimes of harsh experience, such as empathy and compassion for others, become ingrained in our being as our innate wisdom. When we incarnate again, the lessons are not conscious but we do have a sort of subconscious wisdom. As an example, I am very sensitive to others’ feelings. When I was a pre-school kid I used to play a lot with a certain cousin. One day she bit me so hard that I ran to my mother crying, and told her what had happened. My mother said, ‘Why don’t you just bite her back?’ I found that a completely unacceptable suggestion, saying ‘Because that would hurt HER.’ I just can’t find it in me to be hurtful to others.

  10. Hi Barry…a big heartfelt thanks…every have written has resonated deeply with me and given me some sheer joy and happiness:) it is like reading everything I already knew deep within. Now the task.of bringing these thoughts into a more.deeper.practise in life. from.all.i have read.i resonate most with being a warrior with a.goal of.acceptance and passion and arrogance as some points that stood out for me. My struggle now is how to being this awareness deeper and use it to repair…rework my negative relationship patterns esp.with my partner and children s father…someone I deeply love but am also share a very difficult relationship. Any insights?
    And again a big thank you for articulating everything so beautifully.

    • Hi

      Negative relationship patterns will stem from / come through the negative poles of your various traits. The negative poles manifest when we are dominated by ego, fear and lack of empathy. We act positively (i.e. access the positive poles of each trait) by being more present and self-aware in the moment, resisting the gravitational pull of negativity, and making a conscious choice to “do better”.

      If your intuitions are valid then the things for you to watch out for would be:

      – As a warrior, the negative pole is coercion (forcing people to cooperate whether they want to or not) and the positive pole is persuasion (persuading people to want to cooperate).
      – With goal of acceptance, the negative pole is ingratiation (expressing whatever pleases others to win their acceptance) while the positive pole is agape (a-GAH-pay) (expressing your unconditional acceptance of others).
      – With the mode of passion, the negative pole is identification (losing oneself in all the excitement) while the positive pole is self-actualisation (finding oneself in the joy of the moment).

      And here’s the clincher…
      – With a CF of arrogance, the negative pole is termed vanity but in modern terminology is closer to narcissism (perceiving oneself as superior or special, while criticising others, to hide a fear of vulnerability), while the positive pole is pride (consciously recognising one’s better qualities without interpreting them as signs of specialness or superiority over others).

      So the challenge is to watch how you get diverted into those negative poles – especially the chief feature, which will negatively pull down the goal – and to consciously choose the better alternative in the heat of the moment. The positive choice is always characterised by heart rather than ego, positive feelings rather than negative feelings, and empathy rather than interpersonal conflict.

      Hope this helps!

  11. Yes…makes so much sense…and in a way is what I have been slowly becoming aware of and trying to practise at every level…thank you so much…

  12. hi I am interested to know what Michael says about new souls…apart from the countless souls reincarnating and evolving through the 35 steps are new souls created anew and if so how; or are we all just a finite number of souls continually recycling?

    • What I’ve read is that there is a finite number of souls (fragments of Source) in the totality of existence, but the number is so high (a trillion?) as to be virtually countless. Most are not reincarnating anywhere; of those who are reincarnating, the ones who are currently doing so as human beings on Earth are a minuscule fraction.

      There is no need for new souls to come along. There may be souls who are new to life on Earth, but they themselves are not newly created souls; they would simply be the latest from the vast pool of souls to start reincarnation on this planet.

      “The creation of individual souls has no specific target number. All the fragments that are needed to sustain the current learning processes exist now. Will more be needed in the future? There are too many variables to say with absolute certainty, but we do not anticipate the creation of any additional souls.” –

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