Back in 1979, novelist Chelsea Quinn Yarbro presented a whole new framework for understanding personality and spirituality. This framework wasn’t hers, but had been “dictated” to a group of friends in San Fransisco through a Ouija board. The source of the information referred to itself simply as “Michael”.
Rather like the ultimate computer in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Michael would readily answer any question about life, the universe and everything. Thousands of messages came through, giving clear, dispassionate, almost clinical, answers to every question asked.
The Ouija board is now long gone but the questions and answers have never stopped. There are now well over a dozen people who can “channel” Michael.
Messages from Michael tells the story of the origins of the Michael teachings. Since then, Michael has continued to give us a detailed, mutlifaceted system of psychological and spiritual knowledge. This wisdom contains just about everything we need to know in order to understand who we are at every level.
So where to begin?
Let’s start with…
Who – or what – is Michael?
When the messages first came through, the source explained that each individual soul evolves in consciousness through the long and often difficult process of reincarnating, living many different lives in many different circumstances. As Michael puts it, the soul “enters the physical plane as many times as is necessary to experience all aspects of life.” In doing so, the soul gradually becomes more self-aware, more capable, more loving, less fearful, less separate.
At the end of this learning process, when all there is to experience as a separate being has been experienced, the soul unites with others in its wider group to form an integrated “entity”. This is a far greater body of consciousness and intelligence than any single soul. After re-integration, the soul is no longer a separate fragment but part of a greater whole.
The being we call Michael is one of these—an integrated entity. The group consists of precisely 1,050 souls who have all completed their own process of reincarnation. And according to Michael, they exist not on the astral plane (where we reside between lives), but on the higher “causal” plane of pure thought and intelligence.
The Michael entity is not yet a single being; it is a group, a collective. This is why the entity refers to itself in the plural: “we”, “us”.
But why the name Michael?
It is just a name for convenience, as Michael explains it:
You may call us anything you wish.
The last name a fragment of this entity used was Michael.
And what does Michael teach exactly?
We are not the path to spiritual enlightenment. 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.
Our purpose is to teach some understanding of the [soul’s] evolution on the physical plane so that the 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.
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:
- Kings: commanding leadership
- (e.g., Elizabeth I, John F. Kennedy)
- Priests: inspiring vision
- (e.g., Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama)
- Sages: expressive communication
- (eg., Oscar Wilde, Dolly Parton)
- Scholars: knowledge integration
- (e.g., Marie Curie, Ken Wilber)
- Warriors: forceful action
- (e.g., Julius Caesar, Salma Hayek)
- Artisans: creative exploration
- (e.g., Michaelangelo, Björk)
- Servers: selfless service
- (e.g., Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama)
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 article: 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 making important choices as an individual, 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 article: Reincarnation – the 35 steps
Souls evolve through five stage of reincarnation:
Each stage has a distinct focus that requires particular learning experiences:
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.
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.
The seven internal monads
In every lifetime we undergo a sequence of seven major transition points, or “monads”. Each one involves a significant shift in the soul/personality’s sense of self that is largely unavoidable:
- Birth – from spiritual to physical form
- Self-awareness (age 2-3) – from physical to social identity
- Coming of age (15-20) – from socially-given identity to self-defined identity
- Mid-life (35-45) – from false identity to true identity and work on the life task
- Retirement (60-70) – from active life to reflective life
- Decline (terminal process) – from living to dying
- Death – from physical to spiritual form
(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.
The “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.
For more information about the overleaves, see article: Overleaves – the Structure of Personality
The goal is the personality’s underlying motivation or basic desire in life. There are seven options:
- Dominance: taking the lead in life
- Growth: overcoming challenging experiences
- Acceptance: opening to others, being warm/inclusive
- Contentment: taking life as it comes (the “goal of no goal”)
- Submission: committing oneself to the service of others
- Rejection: being highly selective/exclusive
- Retardation: radically simplifying the life experience
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 article: 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
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 (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.
See also these blog posts -
- 10 things everyone should know about reincarnation
- The soul of Barack Obama – overleaves compared
- Michael Jackson – the reincarnation of Mozart?
- John Lennon – the reincarnation of Branwell Brontë?
Links to Michael Teachings and Channels
- The Michael Teachings – key website for Michael-related information and resources – FAQs, channels, etc
- MT Student Community – “a place for Michael Teachings, run by students, for students” – The only definition of being a student is that you are interested in the Michael Teachings [MT] material and perhaps feel drawn to get deeper into it. The MT Student Community mission is to create an environment in which students can help each other grow.
- The Personality Game (itstime.com) – “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 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
- José Luis Stevens, PhD – “Insights Into Life, Understanding People” – Website of Michael channel José Stevens
- Michael Mosaics – “Personality Profiles for Older Souls” – website of Michael channel Terri Claire Benning
- Summerjoy Press – “Books and Sessions that can Change your life!” – website of Michael channel Shepher Hoodwin
- TruthLoveEnergy – “Using Truth, Love and Energy to Understand, Nurture and Create Your Life”. Lively website of Michael channel and “goofy man-boy” Troy Tolley, aka CocteauBoy.
- Polaris Rising – “Step into the Flow of your Life” – website of Karen Murphey who channels a higher being known as Polaris, incorporating both Michael and Seth.
- Seele-Verstehen.de ["Soul-Undersanding"] – German-language website on the Michael teachings by Rolf Herklotz.