Stage 5: The Old Soul

Those undergoing the fifth and final stage of reincarnation are known as old souls. In this stage of soul evolvement there is a search for balance and completion, and an urge to pass on the torch before the end of reincarnation.

Journey’s End

Having completed the fourth stage of reincarnation*, the soul has come a long way.

  • In the first stage, as an “Infant Soul” it learned about physical existence, life and death, and the need for nurturing.
  • In the second stage, as a “Baby/Child Soul” it learned about society, culture and community, the need for structure, belonging, and playing a role.
  • In the third stage, as a “Young Soul” it learned about free will and self-determination, taking charge of its own destiny, rising to the challenge.
  • In the fourth stage, as a “Mature Soul” it learned about co-existence and interrelatedness, taking responsibility for its relationships, honouring difference and otherness.

At last, the soul is ready for the final leg of the journey: the return to unity and the end of reincarnation.

* For an overview of the stages of soul evolution, see Reincarnation: the 35 Steps

In Search of Unity

The Old Soul already has a well-developed sense of independence (from its Young Soul phase) and inter-dependence (from the Mature Soul phase). Now the soul also feels drawn to reconnect with the greater order of things, the underlying cosmic unity.

This does not mean overthrowing the lessons of the previous stages in favour of some nice, fluffy notion of oneness. Rather, it means coming to terms with all of life’s dualities (self and other, love and hate, joy and pain, etc.) as integral to the whole. In fact, the main lesson for Old Souls is to do with finding unity within diversity.

The Dalai Lama (Old Server)

The Realised Self

This return to unity does not involve any loss of individuality, as some imagine. The end of reincarnation — “ascension” or “enlightenment” or what have you — does not mean fading out of existence, dissolving into nothingness.

Rather, the soul completes its adventure as a unique individual, like a distinctive star in the night sky, a completely realised Self.

So to begin this stage, the soul will tend to focus on true self-expression and self-actualization. In other words, seeking experiences and activitiies which provide ultimate personal fulfilment within life on the physical plane.

This could be found in, say, art, science, acting, wine-growing, gardening, flying old aeroplanes, or simply being a grandparent. The soul is not interested in success or fame so much as doing something it loves well, living up to its true potential, and finding inner satisfaction.

Then, towards the end of the stage, there is more of an emphasis on teaching rather than simply learning: passing on the lessons learnt, showing others the way.


For some, especially Old Priest souls, the teaching focus is explicitly spiritual. Many of the world’s great spiritual teachers were/are Old Souls: Buddha, Jesus, Ramana Maharshi, and so on.

But that’s not to say that every self-proclaimed guru is an Old Soul. Far from it. There are spiritual teachers at all stages of reincarnation. But the advanced Old Soul has certain characteristics as a spiritual teacher that stand out from the rest: far-reaching wisdom, great compassion, inner peace, and little or no attachment to material things.


Old Soul Perceptions

In this final cycle on the Earth plane, the soul develops a more holistic perception of self, life and everything as part of a bigger picture. So while a Mature Soul (stage IV) comes to perceive others as its brothers and sisters, an Old Soul (stage V) comes to perceive both self and others as integral parts of a greater whole, all unique yet all essential.

In other words, the individual comes to perceive every thing, every being, every moment, as part of one great tapestry.

The issue now is how to relate to this united reality through one’s own being — how to be at peace with all of the conflicts, how to experience the harmony within all of the diversity.

This involves recognising the validity of each being’s chosen path in life within the broader scheme of things. We are all part of the One, and yet we are many, each pursuing a different path. And no path is wrong. Hence the Old Soul motto: “You do your thing and I’ll do mine.”

Old Soul Lifestyles

Old Souls become more relaxed, laid back and detached in life. Human existence is familiar and manageable, and there are not so many problems or issues to deal with.

Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman (Old King)

The main issues, in fact, are existential rather than material or psychological. A potential pitfall for Old Souls is lapsing into apathy or complacency, no longer caring about life and the world. Unlike Young Souls, they are not driven to complete major projects before they die. As the physical plane begins to lose its allure, an older soul can show signs of being world-weary, even from birth.

Doing their own thing, Old Souls end up pursuing nothing but their own path whilst allowing others to pursue theirs, just perfecting their own abilities, being themselves in life to the best that they can. Many do so through artistic, humanitarian or philosophical endeavours, though for many others their greatest form of self-fulfillment can be something as mundane as gardening. Work, rest and play all become the same thing.

In the end, joy is found in simply being as opposed to doing.

Other Old Soul Characteristics

How can you spot an old soul?

Old Souls have a level of self-assurance that is unusual for souls in other stages. This isn’t the same as the brash confidence or “can-do” attitude of Young Souls. Rather, Old Souls are generally relaxed and philosophical about life, at ease with themselves and others, and have fewer worldly concerns.

That’s not to say that Old Souls have no issues; many clearly do. (We all have issues of some sort right up until our very last life.) But unlike Mature Souls, Old Souls do not let their issues stress them out.

Old Souls tend to emanate a calm, steady quality that has substance, depth or gravitas. In contrast, Young Souls tend to appear frantic and superficial while Mature Souls seem perpetually stressed and assailed by life. You can often hear it in the voice —

  • Young Souls tend to talk loud and fast (“I’m right and you know it!”)
  • Mature Souls have a sort of soft tone laced with uncertainty (“I’m really not sure I can cope with this …”)
  • Old Souls tend to have a slow, deep voice – relaxed, assured and unhurried (“If there’s one thing I know, it’s that I know nothing…”).

This inner calm and depth is also evident in the old soul’s eyes. Whereas Young Souls cannot make eye contact for long, and Mature Souls will do so occasionally, when they’re not too stressed or distracted, Old Souls tend to make direct eye contact with an unflinching gaze. (Note: This is not the same as the cold stare of a psychopath!) They are unafraid to look another in the eyes and see into their heart.

Old Souls are like citizens of the world, not so much identified with their country or culture of origin. They tend to be drawn to the quiet life away from the noise of the city. Old Kings in particular will tend to spend their last lives as homeless, wandering teachers.

Some Notable Old Souls

Old souls who become famous tend to do so by virtue of their mastery, compassion, insight and wisdom rather than ambition.

Albert Schweitzer (Old Server)

Many of the finest minds in history have been old souls: Marcus Aurelius (121-180), Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Carl Jung (1875-1961).

In the arts we have the composer J. S. Bach (1685-1750), the painter Paul Gauguin (1848-1903, now apparently reincarnated as artist Peter Teekamp).

Also the writer Walt Whitman (1819-1892), now apparently reincarnated as the writer/activist Alice Walker.

Walt Whitman - Alice Walker
Walt Whitman / Alice Walker (Old Artisan)

In the acting profession, there are numerous Old Souls who excel at playing characters who are, essentially, younger souls — mainly because there aren’t that many scripts featuring older soul characters!

Morgan Freeman is well known for the gravitas he brings to every role.

Morgan Freeman

 Finally, many of the world’s great spiritual teachers have been late-stage old souls passing on their wisdom: Gurdjieff (1866-1949), Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950), Anandamayi Ma (1896-1962), Neem Karoli Baba (d. 1973), the Dalai Lama, Ammachi (Mātā Amritanandamayī Devi), and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Ammachi (Old Server)

The End of Reincarnation

There are seven levels to every stage of soul evolution, including this one. After completing the 7th level of the Mature Soul stage, the soul begins its next life as a 1st-level Old Soul. The soul then undergoes the whole cycle of development, one life at a time, until finally it reaches 7th level. This is the final step, step 35, in the 35 steps of reincarnation.

Now, I occasionally meet people who are convinced that they must now be in their final incarnation simply because they are so “spiritual” and have no liking for the material world. This is not how it works.

The goal of evolution is not to escape from the wretched physical plane, despite what many teach. The end of reincarnation is not some sort of reward for good behaviour. Human existence is not a prison, or a wheel of torment, from which only the most worthy gain liberation.

We incarnate because we want to and we choose to. We keep doing it precisely because we want to come to terms with it. We know that in each life we will probably spend several decades not remembering who we are, not remembering our eternal Home, buying into the illusion of separation, experiencing fear. This is the very stuff which inspires us to become more conscious.

Completion occurs when it matters not whether you are incarnate or discarnate: you see through the illusion and you always feel at Home.


Ramana Maharshi
Ramana Maharshi

Consider Ramana Maharshi, an Old Scholar and a model of pure enlightenment. Towards the end of his life, some of his students begged him not to die, not to leave them. His answer was: “But where could I possibly go?”

He knew that both he and everybody else are already Home, and always will be, having never really left it.

→ See: Abide As The Self [DVD]

So the last lifetime is one in which you are very content to be in physical form, using it as an opportunity to teach and enlighten others – or to simply enjoy being physical one last time. If you have issues with being physical, then you still have a way to go.

Cycling Off: The Higher Stages

On completion of the seventh level of the Old Soul stage (or “cycling off”), there is no longer any need or desire to reincarnate. The soul will unify its consciousness with soul mates who have also completed, and it may serve as an elder spirit guide to others still undergoing reincarnation. But there is no longer value to be had in incarnating as a human being.

There are some rare exceptions, however.

A number of old Priest souls such as the philosopher Socrates, the Prophet Mohammed and Mahatma Gandhi are said to have incarnated to become vehicles for a higher level of consciousness capable of inspiring a cultural revolution. The higher consciousness manifested through these individuals only in later life. From that point on, they are referred to in the Michael teachings as “transcendental souls”.

Rarer still, Jesus Christ and the Buddha are said to be examples of old King souls who returned to become the physical embodiment of divine love, pure consciousness and ultimate truth, the Tao itself in human form. In other words, avatars. Again, the transformation did not occur until some point in adulthood. But from then on, these individuals are said to be manifestations of the “infinite soul”.

Recommended reading

The Michael Handbook

A Channeled System For Self Understanding
(Warwick Press, 1990)
Amazon link

Journey of Souls

Case Studies of Life Between Lives
(Llewellyn, 1994)
Amazon link

Old Souls

The Sages and Mystics of Our World
(KINDLE only: Amazon, 2013)
Amazon link

The Five Stages of Reincarnation

Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5
Infant Soul Baby Soul Young Soul Mature Soul Old Soul

402 thoughts on “Stage 5: The Old Soul

    • Hi Donna

      A life journey that involves chronic ailment is often, but not always, one of learning through adversity, driven by the goal of Growth. Souls can deliberately choose a disabled body or mind, either to develop a specific capacity within themselves, or to counterbalance an over-developed aspect such as self-importance.

      It isn’t a “karmic punishment” by the way; it’s a considered choice.

      On the other hand, chronic mood disorders (like depression and anxiety) can be “hangovers” from undigested traumas in previous lives. Many of those who suffered sadistic abuse at the hands of the Nazis, for example, have come into this life with chronic depression.

      But there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Through a life of mental disability, incapacity or illness, and with appropriate external support, a soul will learn how to cope with the particular limitations of the condition.

      For example, a painful condition can foster inner strength; a condition that imposes dependence on others can foster humility; a condition that attracts social discrimination (such as AIDS in the 1990s) can foster the ability to speak up for oneself, or to unite with fellow sufferers.

      Interestingly, both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have been found to correlate with creative perceptions and talents.

      The idea of a link between “madness” and “genius” goes back to ancient times. While the Greek philosophers suggested that creativity comes as a gift from the gods, we would now say it comes from higher consciousness, or specifically from the higher emotional and intellectual ‘centres’.

      Those who have psychotic hallucinations (schizophrenics) tend to have an innate ability to see the world differently (not just in a psychotic way). Both creative and schizophrenic thinking relate to what’s called “divergent thinking” or “thinking outside the box”. While this can be a great talent, it seems that in schizophrenics this ability can go places beyond their understanding and out of their control. What they “see” in their psychotic episodes can be extremely horrible for them and distressing for those around them.

      A milder version of schizophrenia is the schizotypal personality (characterised by very eccentric thoughts/actions plus a need for social isolation). These people have a more stable access to their creative thought process than full-blown schizophrenics.

      From a reincarnational perspective, a schizophrenic is typically a soul that has incarnated with (a) creative talents developed over previous lives and (b) one or more suppressed traumas associated with those same lives. The traumas get triggered whenever the individual’s mind is either stressed or moves into creative thinking. This tends to evoke associations that are mysterious (to the conscious personality) but at the same time deeply meaningful. The conscious individual is like a “captive audience” to their own shattered mind.

      Strong links have also been found between creativity and mood disorders, particularly bipolar manic-depression as well as unipolar depression and anxiety.

      One factor may simply be the harsh realities of trying to live a creative life. People are most creative when they are in a positive mood, and love the experience so much that they want more and more of it. But pursuing a career in the arts is stressful and often comes with rejection after rejection. This alone may bring on anxiety and depression.

      But creative talent doesn’t apply just to the arts, of course. One can be a highly creative leader, for example. And it is worth noting that Winston Churchill is believed to have had bipolar disorder, as well as the artist Vincent van Gogh and the writer Edgar Allan Poe.

      In bipolar disorder, the individual experiences unpredictable and extreme mood swings. From a spiritual growth perspective, this condition brings the soul’s emotional life into the foreground, inescapably so. The soul’s challenge is to experience, accept and learn how to handle these emotions, rather than suppress them.


  1. Very interesting to see all these thoughts/responses put into words. Whether an old soul or a new soul it is very enlightening to read that we are all moving forward and learning to be. We are none of us long for this world, remembering to take joy out of it can sometimes be something we forget to do. I have come across this accidentally and would just like to say thank you, as you mature you sometimes wonder if it’s only you and reading this has made me feel more comfortable and not as so many around me wold think ‘a little mad’ (I am laughing to myself)

  2. Hi. Thanks for this. What is an solitary soul or lonely soul. Is that the same as mature soul or old soul?
    I feel like solitary soul, do have many old soul symptoms, but with the eye contact and the voice not exact like you have described. What am I?

    • Hi

      So you’re saying you feel solitary/alone and you’re wondering if/how it relates to soul age? I’m afraid I can’t tell anything about an individual’s soul age from how alone they feel; I’m not aware of any correlation. Please say more…

  3. Why is the Ancient Soul not commented on here? I know about the levels but was not aware that there were so many of them. Could you tell me that it is feasible for me to tell others that we do not come to earth at the same time as our “soul mate”. That would take away with why we were/are here if we spent all of our time looking for our soul mate~!

    • Hi Marilynn,

      Not only is it feasible, it is accuarate. We have many soul mates.

      1. First, we all start off as fragments of a whole, a soul collective of about 1,000 souls in all. These are our “entity mates”.

      2. Among them we have a close-knit circle of soul siblings, who will actually look quite a lot like us. (Example: Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter.) Our small group of siblings is known in the jargon here as a “cadence”, so these guys are our cadence mates.

      3. In addition, we have an “essence twin” — a soul mate who is extremely similar to us in their spiritual make-up and who serves as our “evolution buddy”.

      4. We also have a “task companion” — a soul mate with whom we do many of our lessons on Earth that involve role-play tasks, such as parent + child or attacker + victim.

      5. There are also others we pick up along the way such as “travel companions” (my wife is one of mine).

      It is a daft myth that we need to spend our time on Earth looking for long-lost soul mates. That would be like going to Borneo looking for our best friend who is already sitting next to us on the sofa. Our soul mates are never lost, and in any event we see them the whole time between lives!


      PS : “the Ancient Soul”? You’re not the first one to mention it but I don’t know where the term comes from. We’re all pretty ancient as it is.

  4. intresting ! i have a question about how to befriending with a person who comes to be my murderer in my past life?any instructions?

    • well,repeated dreams about the person in an ancient period of time!!! and even more intresting that we have tough problems again in this life time!i’m sure this person won’t kill me again in this life! but the friction still remains. I’m totally a peacful person,giving it all to god to solve.But i’ll be happy to solve the issue! i don’t think this person knows any thing about our karmic state.i kept praying for the persons soul many times.will it work?

      thanx for reply

    • barry ! why didn’t you answer my question? i didn’t want to kill any one from my past life!(if its the reason that you didn’t answer!)

    • Ok…sorry Sasha, I have a torrent of questions and comments every day, and sometimes lose track.

      I get that you’re having relationship difficulties with this person, and also that this person apparently killed you a long time ago, but I still don’t know what the issue is that you need help with. Are you anxious about it?

  5. Jesus is a server/healer (old-7), Christ is a transliminal soul. Gautama Buddha is old-6. Don’t know if he became transliminal or transpersonal later.

  6. Thank you for this article. It came to me as i was searching for something on feeling just the disconnect with the physical world. Lately i have deny like it will be my time to leave this earth and do more of what i was meant in the spiritual world. Can’t even explain the feeling, it’s just odd. But, from what I have read, it’s not uncommon for old souls, and our ultimate job ous to teach others…..which I do, a lot. Am i understanding this right? Any help and guidance would be appreciated…..tysm

    • I enjoy the irony of an old soul seeking guidance from a mature soul like me 🙂

      A lot depends on how old you are (biologically). If you’re a teenager, say, then I might point out that your sense of disconnect from life is common across the board, and not necessarily to do with soul age. Is this sense of disconnect like a desire to “leave the nest”, or is it something else? If you’re in your 30s, say, then I would advise you to start shedding any false elements in your personality and focus inwards on your truest sense of purpose, that which you are most drawn to do in life. Are you drawn to teach, and if so what exactly, and to whom?


  7. Hi, I found this article after googling “old soul” to try to find the exact meaning. While tucking my daughter, age 9, into bed, she started to describe reincarnation. My mind was blown when I read you and saw that is closely mirrored Z’s description of the process.
    People, even strangers, have called her an “old soul” since she was a newborn and once when she was five, a note was left on my doorstep telling me she has all these certain abilities and that she is psychic!!
    Anyhow, tonight she talked about levels and how one progresses through them toward perfection. She told me that she was “up there” as in mid-high. She also told me she was Laura Ingalls Wilder and Martin Luther King Jr, ha. She’s extremely intelligent and athletic but has no sense of drive, aggression or competitiveness. It’s as though she doesn’t learn anything but knows it already. Very calm and confident. Takes criticism and compliments exactly the same way. Stoic, but gentle. Very loving and kind. Profoundly gifted with the elderly.
    I’ve never had to punish her for anything but being flighty and daydreamy and not paying attention. She’s never reacted in anger or thrown tantrums even as a baby. My husband and I never say this to anyone but one another, but she seems like a perfect child. Or like something more than human.
    I kinda spend my time waiting for the ax to drop. Will she change? Will she die? Based on your descriptions, I’m a very new soul. Full of fight and fury. Anxious, impatient, extremely naive, fearful, restless and oversensitive to everything. It’s hard to parent well when you’re that way.
    Anyhow, all this is new to me. I was raised very Christian so this type of consideration was not acceptable. I have not read Michael, nor do I know who he is, but this is interesting.
    Zeia is very different. Do you think she might be something like what you’ve described?

    • Hi there,
      Wow, I’m only just catching up with a stream of questions/comments that came in during December. My apologies elizetal – I will respond properly v soon!

    • Hi there,
      Wow, I’m only just catching up with a stream of questions/comments that came in during December. My apologies elizetal – I will respond be soon!

  8. Hi
    A great article, I must say. I’ve been told, whether by psychics or angel card readers (and I don’t always go to the same people) i’m an advanced soul. I’m a woman, married with children and I do hope, one day, that I can fulfill my purpose and also be successful whilst achieving this. In other words, I would like the materials. Your site, as well as others state that the old soul is not attracted to material wealth. So is there something wrong, if I still want these things?

    • Well, first thing to note is that there is a difference between being told you’re something and knowing it as your own truth. Always look within to see if you can validate for your yourself what others label you as.

      Second, there is nothing inherently “wrong” with wanting material things at any stage. You don’t have to go renouncing material desires to “prove” you’re highly evolved — that’s putting the cart before the horse. If and when there comes a point in this or any life when you feel ready to let go of material desires, fine. Let that unfold in its own sweet time. Otherwise, why ignore those desires? Above all things, be true to yourself.

    • Hi Joyce,

      The simplest answer is “forever”, as your soul exists eternally beyond the perception of time. But I suspect you probably mean “how long my soul has been reincarnating”? You will have to ask a professional channel/medium for that, though the most likely answer is a few thousand years, assuming you’re not a newbie 🙂


    • Hi Barry,
      Do you happen to know how the professional channel / medium determines how many reincarnations your soul has had? I went and saw a sharman/clairvoyant the other day who told me that this was my soul’s 957th reincarnations.Unfortunately I didn’t take the opportunity to ask her how she knew this. Do you happen to know?
      Many thanks in advance for your help!

    • Whatever a medium tells you can come from a variety of sources:

      1. It is information relayed to them, either from their own guides or from yours.
      2. They are directly accessing the “akashic records” – the cosmic memory bank where all knowledge is stored.
      3. They are following their intuition, i.e. they don’t know why but that’s what came to them in that moment and they feel inclined to trust it.
      4. They are making it up, consciously or unconsciously.

      The trouble with information like number of past lives is that there is no obvious way to corroborate it. She could have said any number at all.

      Personally I’d be surprised if the number were much higher than 100-200. Say for example you’re an old soul at step 30 (out of 35), and you’ve spent on average 5 lives getting through each step, that would amount to 150 lives under your belt. So 957 seems incredibly high to me.

    • I remember seeing a TV item on Akiane. Amazingly talented as a painter, and clearly in touch with the higher/inner planes.

  9. Thank you for such an indepth article on old souls. I was told last night that I was an old soul. I thought it a very interesting idea and wanted to learn more. The ego in me wants to be an old soul. But thats just ego trying to create value for its own identity. In the end, we are here and no where else. Lets enjoy it!

    But the ideas are very interesting and definitely worth exploring, thanks for the article again and please continue your path of love and care. We all need beacons in dark times.

  10. Barry,
    Can you explain why some people are drawn to drugs and alcohol? Why do people have addictive personalities? How can one learn to break an addiction?

    • Different drugs have different effects. People take specific drugs (anything from heroin to a cup of tea) because they like the effect it has on how they think, feel or act.

      Most souls enjoy the social “lubrication” effects of alcohol, getting over their own inhibitions. In the case of Mature and Old souls, it also numbs their existential angst.

      Young souls particularly enjoy cocaine because it makes them act and look more powerful and charismatic.

      Mature souls particularly enjoy the heart-opening and truth-telling effects of ecstasy.

      Mature/Old souls with a goal of growth are easily drawn to experiment with consciousness-altering substances like LSD.

      Mature souls are most easily stressed by life’s challenges, and therefore most prone to use drugs as a form of relief.

      Addiction is what happens when a drug is used so often that the person’s physiology resets itself to accommodate the constant presence of the chemical in the system, at which point the drug seems to become an essential part of the self. The addicted individual has lost contact with their true essential self, which needs nothing to sustain itself at all.

      Some people have what we are known as “sensitive” personalities. This just means that their nervous system is wired predominantly for sensing rather than processing or acting. Sensitive types are particularly prone to addiction merely because privately they feel more intensely than they know how to live with. The numbing chemicals (alcohol, etc) “dampen” the intensity of their everyday experience. These people are more prone to addiction.

      To overcome addiction, there are various options:

      – Eliminate all access to the substances (… Not always feasible);

      – Counterbalance high sensitivity by developing the other faculties: become more open (expressive, articulate) among friends, and lead a more physically active or productive life. Spend less time alone with one’s inner feelings.

      – Focus on experiencing the true self. Take an Enlightenment Intensive, or try meditation or psychotherapy.

      – Above all, make the conscious choice to overcome addiction/dependence; but at the same time, avoid judging oneself and others too harshly for having such a habit; it’s just a way of dealing with the human condition.

    • Good question. I would say to some extent, but I think what I said above, which is really a high-level view, is valid “in theory” but possibly too spiritual-sounding for a lot of people in practice. A practical program for the general public should probably try to avoid philosophical concepts that might alienate people.

      This is I believe a limitation of the AA 12 steps (one of several). Although it’s non-denominational, it’s still essentially a religious approach: having faith in and surrendering oneself to a higher power. There are many people who are alienated by such language, or for whom it simply has no meaning that they can relate to, so 12 steps isn’t really for everyone.

      AA also views alcoholism (or any addiction) as a chronic disease — and an incurable one at that. Anyone who successfully overcomes the habit is not viewed as “cured” but instead is “in remission”. This has the effect of branding and disempowering people. Instead of perceiving oneself as a former alcoholic, one is always a recovering alcoholic who has managed to stay sober for X days/months/years. It’s not exactly positive psychology.

      That said, where I think AA actually succeeds is not in the spiritual/religious angle but in the honest and authentic human contact that the meetings provide. The permission to speak freely, the sharing with emotional honesty, the confession of guilty secrets, the non-judgemental acceptance, and the intent to help one another to cope with the human condition — these I suspect are the key antidote to addiction because they put the individual back in touch with aspects of their essential nature: their humanity, their heart, and their ability to both give and receive love.

      This excellent talk by Johann Hari – “Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong” – is based on 3 years’ research and is a real eye-opener. Essentially he finds exactly this: addiction springs from existential angst, loneliness, and alienation; the antidote to addiction is real and positive human contact, i.e. love.

      But returning to the potential role of spirituality:
      Growing evidence suggests that the quickest, most effective and most reliable treatment for alcoholism is … guess what … LSD. Even a SINGLE high dose given by a therapist in a safe, supportive setting is sometimes sufficient. It appears that the drug (in a sufficiently high dose) facilitates a profound spiritual experience which, combined with a debriefing/therapy session, can lead directly to recovery. In other words, the individual gets in touch with their essence, and finds it is at one with the essence of all that is.

      And how’s this for irony? It appears that one of the AA co-founders, Bill Wilson, later successfully used LSD to alleviate his alcoholism, and then advocated using the drug to treat addiction. 

  11. Ty for responding. I Will be 39 this year…..i have since become pregnant with our fourth baby. So when you say I’m an old soul seeking answers from a mature soul…..of course i just cried. I really had that feeling for a while that maybe my work here was done , or at least I felt the disinfect with the physical world for quite some time. With that said, I see my work on earth obviously for obvious reasons is not done. But, when it is, i will never be afraid. I will cherish like I do with everything.

  12. Hi Barry,

    I am just wondering about people who develop chronic pain conditions (such as Fibromyalgia) in their prime of life (early 30’s). It is usually women who contract it. I believe that I am an old soul (and have been told this many time by many different people as well.

    I would be interested in your comments about this. It is something that has become more and more prevalent in the past 10 yrs., and I done a lot of research about it, but your viewpoint would be appreciated.

    Thank you!

    • Well, I’m not a woman and I’m not an old soul, but I personally developed chronic fatigue syndrome at the age of 47. It ruined my life for six years until just last year, when a friend suggested I ask myself, “What is my body trying to tell me?” When I did so it set in motion a series of openings, insights, and synchronicities that culminated in a kundalini awakening. (See my most recent blog posts.) The key insight was that I wasn’t allowing myself to shine; I was stuck in hiding my light under a bushel (is that the phrase?).

      Hope that helps.


    • Hi kim. Look into some natural and herbal remedys! These i have found far more effective than over the counter drugs. The have a good look at your diet. I know fresh vegetables and fruits can really help in pain management.

  13. wow i’m def an old soul ever since I was young I would always carry a feeling of being tired and wanting to go home and I always just felt really old at heart. people always described me as being apathetic or “chill” my whole life. & I never allow myself to make mistakes? like I just know the lesson before having to experience it??Therefore I don’t experience it, for a sense of “knowing” what’s to come? Is that normal? Also I get depressed sometimes for knowing so much but lack of experiencing it.

  14. I was told I was a old soul, I’m not sure. As I’ve been told by my family I have very little patients for them, and I find them irritable. I have no interest in what they pursue, purchasing homes, talking about bills, debts, furniture.. Blaa, blaa, blaa… My interest are in science, quantum mechanics and spiritual science, and discussing about universal consciousness. I practice Reiki and healing I mediate too, I’ve felt spirit and have seen things. My family say I take it too far, and I’m unhealthy. I should do Reiki on my family, but as far as I’m concerned, they should see themselves as they are, if they want and ask for Reiki I’ll do it. Not gonna force it on them. I don’t really talk to them, as there is full lack of understanding in both parties. So can’t be that old, if I lack compassion to want to participate with them. If they want to do those things and pursue them, that’s fine, but I have little interest in it. I feel very smothered by there programing, to be more like them.

  15. A long story short I had someone read my aura, and she said that my right side was red, left was lavender, and my head was a whitish yellow or pale yellow. Then she saw 5 rainbow color balls/orbs around my head, that’s what i didn’t understand. Would you happen to have any insight to what those balls/orbs mean? I tried doing my homework about it but there was little to find. I appreciate you for taking the time to read this peace.

    • As far as I understand, such orbs are probably the presence of soul mates or spirit guides who are hanging around with you, watching you or watching over you.

  16. I feel very old in knowledge even though I’m at my 25 years. I have this strong gut feeling that I forget something important, I always ask my self a question why am I here, why the society are complicated when it can be easily fixed and so on. I have this knowledge with in me that I did not learn it here, it’s very very old knowledge. I realized that I volunteer to be here to help this earth lift up the positive energy and consciousness of the people and and the earth.

  17. i think no one is just one way. we all have aspects of all souls where one soul dominates at a time and i think life is how you feel at the moment. if you are bored, life sucks! if your having fun, that is ze life!!!nothing to do with souls.
    we were all born knowing, it was written in our souls even before our souls entered our bodies. education just helps us process it. For all people the same thing.Thats what we all strive for.

  18. If a soul reincarnates, can it still communicate to a medium, as the person it was when it last died?In other words, if my son went on to another life after he died, can he still communicate to me, as I knew him?

    • In your dreams. I mean, literally, it would occur in the dream state while the conscious personalities are offline.

  19. Could it be possible that old souls are prone to depression? I seem to be an old soul and I’ve experienced this illness with its own lessons. I’ve always felt old inside and had this deep inner knowledge beyond my years. I’m just wondering if it’s my last reincarnation and if I still have some lessons to learn. I’m 20 and my adolescence had many obstacles that taught me great lessons (or reminded me of those lessons learned in past lives).

    • Old souls are indeed more vulnerable to depression than to other mood disorders or major psychological issues. That’s not to say that anyone who ever experience depression is an old soul. Nor does it mean that a given old soul must or will experience depression.

  20. Hello, I read this article and found it so interesting. I have always wondered about reincarnation and did not know the different levels. I have a question though. Why do souls get stuck here, example- a ghost. I have had a lot of experiences with the paranormal and after reading this article made me think of these spirits/souls/ghosts that are “stuck” or “stay”. Are they lost? Do they ever get to reincarnate?
    Thank you for reading and hope to hear what the answer could be.

    • Hi Angel,

      At the point of death, the soul detaches from the physical body and the individual consciousness often has what is called an out-of-body experience (floating above the scene, flying elsewhere at will). Normally, once it recognises the fact that is no longer able to inhabit the body, a soul will want to move on, leaving the physical plane altogether. However, some spend a long time in the out-of-body state, hanging around the physical plane.

      This is basically what a ghost is: a soul who has departed their body but either doesn’t yet realise it or doesn’t feel ready to accept it. Some simply don’t understand what has happened to them; they may be disoriented, grief-stricken, angry, and don’t know how to seek help. (Their guides will try to intervene, but the soul has to be willing to accept their help.) Some are simply determined to watch over their family (or property!) before agreeing to move on.

      These are always temporary conditions – it’s just a matter of time before the soul comes to “see the light” – literally! Then it’s back to normal – assimilating the lessons of the last life (and death), hanging out with soul mates, and planning the next life.

  21. Greetings!! I would like to know is it necessary for a soul to suffer on earth in order to rise high? Can’t a soul learn without going through suffering? Would it be difficult for a soul to grow from happy moments…would like to hear your thoughts…Thank you so much.

    • Certainly we can learn through experiences of joy as much as from experiences of suffering. And in theory, yes, a soul can learn without suffering at all. The catch is, the soul must choose to do so, and to be able to do that it must first know (from experience) that it has the choice, and how to apply it in practice. So in a sense, our suffering is like a barometer of our self-knowing. The more we evolve, the less we cause ourselves and others to suffer.

  22. Hi,
    I have been told in a few occasions that I am an old soul. For the past few years I have been struggling with understanding the purpose of life. Nothing seems to bring inner joy and peace. Essence and existence are getting complicated about life. Dreams and desires fluctuate high and low. And even with creativity and service to others that I enjoy deeply creates a question within me that what and why is this needed?
    Social life and everyday actions are becoming difficult because true interest is going off. Spiritual talks and learning, quiet peaceful nature gaZing or just reading or being alone is all I wanna do. Since it’s not possible I find myself struggling as it feels I am living a fake life the other way.
    Is it normal to go through this struggle? What am I missing?

    • Hi Gangvi

      A few possibilities spring to mind.

      Disillusionment with the trivia of everyday human life is not uncommon for older souls who sense a deeper meaning behind it all, but have yet to find a way to access it or express it. You may simply have to go through a period of disillusionment before you can let go of “illusionment” and seek the Truth beyond the illusions.

      I could recommend going on a spiritual retreat, such as an Enlightenment Intensive (can be hard work) or a Vipassana retreat.

      It’s also possible that you have come into this life a specific goal which goes by the unfashionable name of Retardation – but which simply means deceleration, pulling back, taking stock. (See ) How this usually manifests is as a desire to be in nature, or to become a contemplative or renunciate (monk or hermit), or to trek into the wilderness. If this is the case for you, it might be worth noting that there are “normal” professions in which you can you do this sort of thing, such as working in a nature reserve.

      Hope this helps


    • Thank you so very much Bary for replying!
      Your suggestion of retreats is being thought upon and so timely for me.
      I had teary eyes and heavy heart when I read your article about Retardation and do feel strongly that it fits my life right now. It’s like when everyone fails to understand me even myself, this came as a welcome acceptance and knowledge about self. But Is there a way to understand if this is a permanent part of my rest of this life or a phase before next growth? It did happen for me right around 28th birthday that I started contemplating more and more on life and it’s purpose.
      Your reply and article came as relief. For the past 3 weeks I am just trying to “Be” and not “do”, of course other than everyday chores and worldly things for family. And my anxiety for soul quenching seems distant. But background has the questions and I am waiting for right and enough time when I will be able to pursue it….some questions get further complicated with right answers…or that’s an illusion as well?

  23. Hello. Today, I was told again that I am an old soul. I got a reading done, and I was told that I have been through 65 lives. The whole thing seems amazing to learn about past lives and such. And, that we do this to grow spiritually, closer to god. I was also told of the stages again.

    I’m wondering how I could grow spiritually besides meditating.

    • Anything that leads to experiences of truth, love, beauty, peace or joy for self and/or others.

      You can pursue these things in any life activity, not just in dedicated “spiritual practices”. For example, being a parent or an employee or a tourist — all are opportunities for being and acting with greater consciousness and aliveness, and inspiring the same in others.

      Meditation is the superhighway for self-transformation, but there are infinitely many smaller roads to explore 🙂

    • I should add: if you wish to accelerate spiritual growth, I would recommend taking an Enlightenment Intensive.

  24. “The soul will unify its consciousness with soul mates who have also completed, and it may serve as an elder spirit guide to others still undergoing reincarnation”
    Do we lose our indivuduality when this happens?

    • Not exactly. There is still a you that is uniquely you. But there is no longer any need or desire to explore the existence of you as an individual alone. Been there, done that.

  25. Do like this article, though from what I’ve studied, I tend to disagree with the view that teaches human life is not a torment. Indeed, that is a much more positive light to place humanity and existence in. In my opinion, and I respect opposite opinions, the world is a cage; a test, and we can choose to realize the illusion that envelops it. Once we realize this, then we can begin to undergo our advancements. Individually, a person does not escape the cage of human existence by themselves; it is also helping out others who are stuck too. It is to improve everything about us: to advance to the next level. It’s always a journey, though; we are always adventuring throughout the universe. As the universe expands, so do our journeys.

    Still skeptical of reincarnation; sometimes I think it’s possible, sometimes i think other things are more likely than reincarnation. Perhaps reincarnation might be something entirely different than what we have known it to be for centuries.
    And then again, we could very well be in a hologram and simply be part of some computer too… disconcerting, but we must keep all possibilities open.

  26. Gracias Barry. It’s amazing how detailed your answers are that help people towards their Truth…specially my fellow teens. So much love and fascinating stories out there.


  27. Hi Barry,

    I used to write to you couple of years ago I think when I kept stumbling on souls once known as Paul Verlaine and River Phoenix, and I have been channeling that time to time through that time to understand the meaning of all that – and I would like to share with you the understandings I have now about them.
    So first soul, who was known as River Phoenix till 1993. His previous incarnation prior to becoming Phoenix was Neal Cassady (1926-1968). Prior Cassady he was incarnated as Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) and then there´s empty space, but I know that one of his 18th century incarnations was Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). They all are Old souls and by my channeling, Scholar cast Warriors.
    And then also Verlaine´s “partner in crime” – Arthur Rimbaud. Results I´ve had, have made me to understand (with doubts first I have to admit) that he was incarnation of my soul (Marta Tuule is my pen name, I am not interested in revealing my true ID – but if you like, check out also my blog or Facebook site “Life is matter of love and death”- it can be accessed also without being member of Facebook).
    But I also do not identify myself with all those incarnations of my soul – cause right now it is my time and my soul´s journey does not identify with that, who I am right now – I just accept that part of me now and that´s it.

    So going back, it looks like this – Marta Tuule was born in 1975. Prior incarnation of that soul was Albert Camus (1913-1960). Prior to Camus, was it´s incarnation as Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) and then there was incarnation in beginning of 19th century I don´t have name for (I think that his last name started with A), but he was in a military (Napoleon´s army I think) (but I´m pretty sure he was a cleric in a army) and turned out to be a traitor due to some events – and was executed as young man due this. I think I recognized him due to my late husband- cause I saw a glimpse of that life when I wanted to know more about the soul, who was incarnated as my late husband in this life- and I saw the karmic bond between us – cause in that life he was the soldier, who´s bullet killed the incarnation of my soul in the beginning of 19th century. And prior to “cleric A”, my soul´s incarnation was Sweden´s Gustav III (1746-1792). That´s all I know. They´re all also Old souls, Scholar cast Priests and the reason why I have been able to channel that information, is thanks to my discarnate twin soul- the one I described above, known last time as River Phoenix. I have discovered the pattern in the past, that if a soul is more or less preordained to have tragic ending (probability for that is bigger than the opposite), then soul often does not return to Earth very fast. What goes for Phoenix, I have seen that he´s about to be incarnated soon again – I think in 2016 and once again to US. He´s such a tenacious warrior :).


  28. Hi Barry,
    I just discovered your website last night and I’m absolutely fascinated by some genuinely interesting topics that people are bringing forward, as well as your very insightful responses and attention to all. I wonder how you find the time and energy to do it, really. 🙂

    So much of what you say are things that I’ve also been thinking myself for quite a long time. One particular element that strikes me is the notion that when we “die”, our soul takes a break from this material world for some time to take stock of all the lessons learned and lived throughout various incarnations and, on the basis of such reflections, choose our next incarnation. Somehow, I firmly believe this to be true.

    I am currently 63 years old and feel very strongly that I’m ready to move on to what I would consider as the total essence of the universe, precisely because I know who I am (I think), am aware of my strengths and shortcomings, am also aware of my blessings and frustrations in my current incarnation. I know that there is only so much I can learn and accomplish in my current life form and, frankly, I often feel exhausted and ready to take “a long nap” before tackling on my next life. To that effect, I have a very determined plan of how I would like my next life to take shape. I’m also aware of the old axiom: “Be careful what you wish for…”, as I can imagine that whatever I choose for my next life will bring other challenges and surprises that I may not always agree with. However, I am prepared to assume responsibility for whatever choices I make. Que sera, sera… whatever will be, will be.

    In my next life, I would like to fill a few voids that I am currently experiencing as “myself” right now. Essentially, there are three major sources of frustration in my current life that I feel will need to be addressed and perhaps resolved in my next life: sexual frustration, stunted musical aspirations and pervasive anxiety. Over the course of my life, I have been blessed with many things, including a loving wife who has been with me for the past 40 years, an abundance of artistic and linguistic talent (music, writing and languages), as well as an engaging personality (I attract people’s interest very easily.) That’s my good side. Unfortunately, I also have a bit of a dark side, as we all do, I’m sure: the older I get, the more impatient I become when things that don’t go my way, and sex (lack of) is a big part of my personal frustrations. I also suffer from a lot of general anxiety about my life as a whole.

    I’m not seeking advice on how I can improve my life, as there is also a part of me that accepts the fact that life is not perfect and, as Mick Jagger says in one of his songs: “you can’t always get what you want.” In the end, on the basis of what I read on your website, I’m pretty sure that I fit into the “mature soul” category, but I also know that I still have a long way to go before I reach the “old soul” level. That’s fine, I’m in no hurry, but I do want to get there eventually.

    I would like to know whether you agree with this personal self-assessment. On the basis of your response, there is another topic that I would like to address with you: i.e. I’m convinced that my 30-year old daughter is the reincarnation of my mother. There is a lot that I could say about this, but right now, I first need to find out from whether you think my philosophical meanderings are making any sense. I would be grateful for any insights you may wish to share with me.

    Thank you for your valuable time and attention. 🙂

    • Hi Raymond,

      Great to hear that you like my website.

      It occurs to me that you have you just completed one of the 7 major life transitions (See Victoria Marina-Tompkins’ book ‘Spiritual Turning Points’, which is shown somewhere on the sidebar to the right). I’ll describe them here in a nutshell, and see if you agree that you’ve just completed the 5th one in a healthy, conscious and positive way.

      1st = INCARNATION
      The shift from nonphysical to physical existence via physical birth.

      2nd = SELF-CONCEPT, approx 1-3 yrs (the “terrible twos”)
      Letting go of dependent attachment and asserting new-found (but limited) autonomy via a sense of one’s own identity, albeit within a safe, secure context. This is the big one for Baby souls.

      3rd = ADOLESCENCE, approx 12-25 yrs
      Internal construction of a new identity as an independent mover & shaker in the adult world. No longer willing to be seen as *merely* a member of a one’s original family, neighbourhood, school, etc (“leaving the nest”). Eventually reconciling the two. This is the big one for Young souls.

      4th = MID-LIFE, approx 35-50 yrs
      Internal search for and discovery of one’s true self and life’s purpose. Gradual release of predefined/acquired ideas, goals, fears, and personality. Allowing the true self (essence role and soul age) to emerge. The beginning of “true work”, the soul’s special task for this life, that which the previous 4 decades have been leading up to. The big one for mature souls.

      5th = LIFE REVIEW, approx 60+
      Internal assessment of life task achievements and what is left undone.
      Gradual change from active worldly existence to quiet review and happy retirement.
      The big one for old souls.

      6th = RECONCILIATION WITH DEATH (age variable)
      Conscious recognition that physical existence is finally in irreversible decline, whether due to cancer, heart failure, drug overdose, car crash, bullet in the brain, etc. Could occur at any age but current average is late 70s/early 80s.
      Enlightened souls take it in their stride.

      7th = DEATH (or as Abraham likes to all it, “croaking”)
      From physical to non-physical: Ejection from the physical body, reabsorption into the astral (“Home” “Light”), greetings by loved ones, life review with guide, interview with elders, catch up with soul mates, leisure time, then think about next life.

      So, I suspect you have completed #5 as you sound satisfied with the way your life task (#4) has gone and while you don’t feel any outstanding loose threads in this life you are already aware of what you’d like to work on in the next. Great!

      I know others in a similar position.

      The only snag is the irritating aches and ailments that go with old age (which according to the latest research doesn’t even begin until about age 74 these days).

      So yes, I’m totally on board with your “philosophical meanderings”. You should hear the philosophical meanderings that go on in our house! I’m also feeling honoured to hear your self-awareness and maturity coming across, for what it’s worth.

      As for your mother-daughter connection, I’d need to know a few more details before I could comment specifically. e.g., who died when?

      In general, it does often happen that soul-mates (of which we each have many, not just one or two) turn up again and again in overlapping social circles, sometimes for a special reason, sometimes not. Your old uncle from your childhood could now be your brother’s daughter; your primary school headmistress could now be the kid who delivers your newspaper. The quiet kid you sat next to in class but died at a young age could now be a South Korean techno whizz-kid you’ve seen on YouTube.

      Edgar Cayce laughingly called himself “a grandfather sandwich” as one of his grandfathers had returned as one of his grandsons.

      From a human perspective, we can get a bit short-sighted and think, “Why would so-and-so return to ME in this way, it must be for a special reason.” But not necessarily. The soul has a much bigger picture. After all, you have to be born somewhere, and why not just be born with people you already now and love (… unless your specific life goal is Growth, like mine, in which case better just expect the unexpected…)

      What I’m getting at is, your daughter may well be a reincarnation of the soul who was your mother.

      But if so, just take care to note the wording: your daughter is not your mother; rather, a soul who once lived playing (among other things) the role of your mother is now here playing (among other things) the role of your daughter in this life, perhaps with a different perspective and different life agenda.

      The family roles do not define who we are; they just provide different vehicles for love to find a way to flow between us.

      Hope this helps

  29. Thank you so much for your answer, Barry. I really appreciate the explanations regarding the seven major life transitions. I can see how I may indeed have reached the “life review” cycle, as you put it so eloquently. Perhaps the fact that I’m actually so very much AWARE of it may be testament to my soul’s maturity in its long journey. And yet, I feel that I still have a long way to go…

    So now, here’s my story about my daughter, who I strongly believe happens to be the reincarnation of my mother. In any event I’m anxious to hear what you will think of all this, If nothing else, my testimonial could very well serve as an interesting case study on reincarnation. I swear, on both my parents’ grave, that what I’m about to tell you is the absolute truth, with no embellishment or ravings of an hyperactive imagination. Now to the facts…

    My mother died of pancreatic cancer in December 1981, at the young age of 67. On the eve of her death, she whispered to my ear something that was barely audible, but I heard her loudly and clearly nevertheless: “Do not worry about me, I will be back.” My immediate reaction to these words was that my mom was trying to tell me that she wasn’t done fighting in this world. However, I knew in my heart at that time that this was the last time I would ever see her.

    A few years passed, and during that time my wife and I decided that we wanted to adopt a child, since for some unknown reason to science, we could not manage to “make” a baby on our own. Ultimately, we ended up adopting a baby girl who was nearly six months old when we had her. Our daughter, who remains today our only child, was born in August of 1985. From the first instant my wife and I lay eyes on her in early February 1986, we both had some strange thoughts that we immediately felt the urge to share. Literally, my wife felt that she was SEEING my mother, while at the same time, I was HEARING my mother’s voice in my mind: “Well… it was about time you got here.” As you can imagine, both my wife and I were a little freaked out by these coincidental occurrences, but then we quickly dismissed these thoughts as ridiculous nonsense.

    On February 13, 1986, the adoption became official and we took our daughter home. As the months passed, family and friends were introduced to her, as everyone welcomed her with open arms and were genuinely happy for my wife and myself. Over the course of a full year thereafter, I can recall at least four SEPARATE incidents when some individuals who saw our daughter for the first time each reacted in exactly the same fashion. In each case, these were women who had been very close to my mother. One of them was my godmother, one was an aunt, one was my brother’s mother-in-law, and one was a close friend of my mother. Four times, the exact same comments came out their mouths, with the same expressions of astonishment and feelings of slight embarrassment, as they each said: “Oh my God” (as in each case, they put a had to their mouth), “I don’t know why I’m saying this… you will think I’m crazy, but this is your mother that I see… I’m so sorry, I know how ridiculous this must seem to you…” In each instance, my wife was with me when these occurrences took place. Well, as you can imagine, by the time we went through the third… and then the fourth round of this same pattern, my wife and I both looked at each other with a big knowing smile, as we anticipated when these women were going to say. These women, I must add, had no way of having spoken to each other before they saw our daughter for the first time, as they barely knew each other, if at all. These were really completely separate incidents, I must emphasize.

    Over the next year or so, there were a number of other times when I could easily visualize or feel my mother’s presence when I looked at my daughter, but that feeling eventually dissipated and now I feel no more of this odd “mother-daughter” connection. As you pointed out in your response, my daughter is indeed NOT my mother, and I can assure you that I’ve understood that for a long time. Most importantly, I do not consider this as an issue in terms of my relationship with my daughter. I see her for who she is today and love her strictly as my daughter, period.

    However, I can not help but draw many significant parallels and connections between some things I remember about my mother’s life and my daughter’s life today. It would be too long and personal to delve into details here, but I often wonder why my mother decided to reincarnate herself into my life. As you can see, I’m not even asking myself whether or not this is the case: I simply wonder: “Why? Oh why?” Clearly, in my mind anyway, there were a lot of issues that were unresolved in my mother’s life and — for whatever reasons — she decided that it was my turn to help her out with her journey. I can tell you, in a nutshell, that the challenges in my daughter’s life are enormous. Whatever problems my mother had, they were huge if I base myself on my daughter’s needs today.

    Oddly enough, I dream about my mother every once in a while and each time I’m furious at her, but never do I tell her in my dreams that I’m pissed off at her for burdening me with her multiple issues. My anger towards my mother, in my dreams, is rather directed at her specifically — for things that I subconsciously begrudge her in the past. For that same reason, I do not blame my daughter for a second; quite to the contrary, I embrace my role as a father who will do everything in my power to provide for her and surround her with all my love. In the end, if this is what my mother needed from me, I’m giving it to her, but I’m really doing it for my daughter. Some people would think that I’m not making any sense, but I’m pretty sure you know exactly what I’m saying.

    So, this is my story. When my mother told me that she would be back, she meant it… I’m now sure of that. I look forward to your thoughts — and perhaps suggestions — on this.


  30. I heavily enjoyed this article. I have never felt like I could relate to my peers, due to the fact I have always felt much, much older. When in elementary school, I always hung out and talked to my teachers rather than other kids since they thought of me as boring and in turn I saw them as too naive. Luckily, I have 2 friends whom I’m very close to; together we constantly debate things, challenging each other to think deeper( p.s. I shared this article with them). My friends also say I’m uncanny when it comes to reading people. As a person, I’m very laid back, perfectly content to just observe the world I live in and I hate confrontation. I understand I am young at only 15, but I believe that souls can have an age and that, I myself, am somewhere at the mature to older range of the spectrum.
    My great grandmother has always called me an old soul since the day she met me, hence where I heard the term. Do you believe that it is easier to identify older souls in children?

    • Well, it can be easy to spot a child who is likely to be an old(er) soul if the child demonstrates their soul age in some way. A child may come out with profound and unexpected wisdom, for example, and people will say How can there be such an old head on such young shoulders? But another child of the same soul age might be more introverted and leave no clues whatsoever.

      True soul age becomes more and more apparent as we approach middle age. This is because for the first few decades we are so heavily involved in and identified with a new body, a new family, a new culture and so on. For example, let’s say you are born in France and the French language is new to you. You are unlikely to articulate anything profound — or even THINK anything profound — until you have mastered your language.

      Having said all that, I think there are often clues in the eyes of the child — the windows to the soul. Sometimes you can just look at a kid and see that there’s an ancient consciousness behind those eyes.


  31. Hey Barry,

    I’m sorry to say but I’m not sure if I agree with the statement about old souls not experiencing much psychological discomfort. I’m an old soul and my life’s full of it, although I’m not sure if it’s due to the fact I’m still developing as I’m still quite young. I know it’s been said that everyone has to go through past soul levels so that they can reach there current level, so do you think it’s to do with that?


    • Hi Jake,

      I’ve emphasised the differences between stages, and while I do know that old souls go through their own shit it’s nothing like the agony that confronts mature souls. I don’t mean to suggest or imply that life is easy for old souls.

      I personally know some old souls who are struggling with stuff that is emotionally difficult. But unlike mature souls, old souls are very unlikely to be driven insane by their issues. Uncomfortable issues are certainly still there to be dealt with, otherwise there would be no reason to reincarnate. But old soul issues are more quietly existential (“how do I reconcile myself with finding meaning in a meaningless world?”) while mature souls are more likely to experience torment until they find “the way”. Jack the Ripper, for example, has often been described as a mature priest in torment.

      As you have pointed out, being still quite (physically) young in your own case, it is likely that you are “tying up loose ends” from old issues before getting stuck into your current true life task as an old soul, which will commence around age 40-ish.

    • Thanks, yeah I can imagine mature souls go through a lot of shit. I guess for me it’s all stemmed around being so fundamentally different. In a young soul world it’s hard being two steps from the norm.

  32. I think it is quite likely that when we incarnate as an old soul, we have to climb the steps of former levels in the early years (recapitulate), and if we can “test out,” then we can “get credit,” without having to go through the whole thing again. It is shown that as embryos we pass through stages where we have gills and a tail, among other things, so why not have something analogous (mentally) as we incarnate to a higher level?
    I have experienced several episodes in this life where I found that once I understood why the same thing kept happening, and what I was supposed to do about it, that type of thing stopped happening, and I was able to move on…or move up.

    • The Michael teachings refer to this recapitulation as the gradual manifestation of true soul age. But it’s not just about revisiting unresolved stuff from the past — it’s also a natural and inevitable growth process. A newborn infant, even if she is an Old Soul, has to start individuating as a new and distinct personality from scratch: equivalent to infant soul, level 1.

      In each life, no matter what our soul age on the “inside”, it takes about 3-4 decades before we can fully manifest the true depth of our perception and awareness in our outer behaviour. This is partly because of the veil of amnesia that affects us with each new incarnation, and partly because we are always born into a fresh body with a different brain, in a new family and culture. We generally have to adapt to WHERE we are before we can find ourselves and then act from WHO we are. (There are some exceptions, but this is the usual pattern.)

      So in our first few years of each life, we act outwardly like Infant souls, then as young kids we act more like Baby souls, and so on. An infant soul will “level out” pretty early on in life, but for most of us the level-out point is usually around age 35 or so (i.e. the approximate mid-point of human life). In other words, we spend the first half of a typical life gradually “coming to” and “coming out” with our true soul age (awareness, depth), and then the second half of life using that to work on our soul task for that life.

      Some people (personalities) can turn into a case of arrested development. For example, a Mature soul might get “stuck” at manifesting like a Young soul if they are always surrounded by Young souls and have no access to insights from other Mature souls (e.g., art, literature, science, philosophy, spirituality).

      As you point out, though, each passage through an earlier stage is also an opportunity to resolve anything left unresolved from the past. In our 20s, for example, we might revisit issues with (say) fame and fortune that originally arose for us as Young souls.

      I am writing an article about all this which should be available v soon!


  33. I will certainly want to read that article. I know that my parents did not pressure me to do any particular thing with my life (maybe since I was a girl growing up in the ’50s.) I married and had a family. But I did begin to use my initiative in my mid-30s, began taking some college courses in my 40s, got divorced, went back to school for my degree, and changed careers at 50. Now at 77, I am still single, retired, happy, and writing 3 blogs.

  34. I find this interesting. I was approached by a man, whom I know as an acquaintance, and was asked to provide my full name and date of birth. He invited me to dinner a week later where I met his wife. She described my personality to a disturbing perfection, and explained to me that I was an ancient soul, that this was to my last journey on this plane, and that my main goal in this life was to learn to be fully independent.

    I am not spiritually inclined, though a strange woman at a barnes & noble once told me I have an “enormous aura”. It’s merely a strange coalescence.

  35. I read this and it just resonates so much with me, especially the traits of an old soul. That reads like some who knows me well and can describe me in great detail.

    I’ve come to many of this pages findings on my own, but it is nice to see that I’m getting these feelings and thoughts correct. GOOD POST.

    • Why, Tonya? I think that this is a pretty reductive argument. You may be right, but then again you may be wrong (nice Billy Joel song 🙂 Maybe some people are old souls and actually know that they are, while others (as you say) may think that they are, but they’re not.

  36. My view with what I am experiencing and my research of it.
    On your last incarnation you are born a medium, and at some stage run into your twin soul. This meeting is set up prior to birth, and is rare.
    You both then go to the higher dimensions together. (when you pass of course)

  37. Hi..i am always worried about ending the journey i am tired of the world..i am an old soul that is what my inner voice tells me..but till recently i was stuck in relationship issues which i always approached on a soul level that is craving my soul to merge into him. The relationship was full of insecurity of separation. The feelings were too intense to tolerate . I am 23 . My issue is self doubt and insecurity..i am never too sure of any answer i get about life..theories and answers come up but i keep doubting. I want just ‘someone’ one person if at all to completely see , understand and know me as i am it is. I feel misunderstood.

    • Sabbi, these days, that desire is often expressed as, “I just want someone who GETS me.” Wanting to merge into someone else is just as bad as trying to lose yourself in the initial emotional euphoria of a mutual attraction. The fear of separation is the belief that you will be nothing without him. A lasting relationship is built on true friendship, respect, trust, and loyalty. You may see yourself in the other person because you share the same values. But there must be differences, too, so that each of you can grow and find out new things about each other and yourselves. That keeps it interesting. Wanting someone to see you as you really are is a one-sided relationship; you must also want to see him as he really is.

  38. I remember a past life. I also know I found someone that I know from a past life. When we saw each other I felt home again. I don’t think we need to fallow each other along side by side in this life. I think we came to learn what we could not learn in the last life. He had died and I could not do anything about it. I love him more than words can say, but in this life I think I’m supposed to help and learn from him and then allow him to learn for himself. Sorry for the random post. thanks for reading.

  39. Filmmaking seems to attract ‘old souls’. A lot of great film directors fall into the category.

    Bresson, Ozu, Mizoguchi, Antonioni, Renoir, Rossellini, Dreyer, Rivette, Hitchcock, Rohmer-all Old Souls I’d say.

    Bunuel, Godard, and Pasolini you could all make a case for as either old or mature.

    Bergman, Fassbinder, Truffaut, and Tarkovsky were most likely mature.

    • Great observation. And not forgetting Old Warrior Clint Eastwood. Spielberg is very much a Mature Artisan, and Bresson appears to be too, though I doubt he’s also an Idealist like Spielberg.

      Looking quickly at some of those faces, I would tentatively guess…

      Bergman — 7th level Mature or early Old Scholar
      Bresson — pos a Scholar-cast Artisan, not sure of age
      Bunuel — hmm, tricky, Looks a bit mad so probably a Mature Priest
      Godard — Mature Artisan
      Hitchcock is known to be a Server, presumably with dominance
      Mizoguchi – more than a hint of Server there, maybe Scholar-cast Server or v-v?
      Ozu – I lean to Priest, Mature or Old
      Pasolini — wow, Old King at a guess
      Renoir – I’d guess either a Warrior or a Sage with mode of aggression
      Fassbinder – quite a complex face, which suggests Mature. And at a guess, a King-cast Artisan.
      Rossellini – looks pretty enigmatic, so I would guess Old Proest
      Truffaut – Mature Artisan? (Priest cast?)
      Tarkovsky – Mature / Old Warrior?

    • Godard’s tough to say. If he’s Mature I’d go with scholar personally, but certainly in the second half of his life, he’s acted ‘old’ in many ways. His whole “the world is fucked, but there’s nothing I can do about it, I’m just going to go retreat to my lakeside village near Geneva and smoke Cohibas” screams old soul to me.

    • As for Spielberg, I’m sorry, but I can’t see him being anything more than young. I just don’t think mature or old souls would produce art that’s THAT commercial friendly and universally ‘beloved’. Just my opinion though.

    • Spielberg’s films may be populist, but I think he is great at sincerely portraying the emotional dramas and multi-layered complexities of the characters, even in an action-horror film like Jaws. A young soul is relatively blind to the different inner worlds of multiple characters – young soul movies (e.g., Rambo) take a single perspective and the story revolves around worldly success through action, adventure and victory.

      Mature souls aren’t shy of success, they just struggle to come to terms with it. Many have cried “Down with capitalism” or “World peace now” and have made a nice fortune from doing so. Nothing wrong with that – it’s all grist for the mill to a mature soul, trying to reconcile the apparent conflict between “saving the world” and “fulfilling my own desires”.

      Many of the world’s most beloved works, such as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, are made by Mature Artisans at the height of their creative powers. Not all of them get recognition and financial success while still alive though.

    • Perhaps Spielberg was on the Young/Mature cusp. I don’t know. By and large though mature souls tend not to value worldly success. With that in mind, young souls I think can still be highly intelligent and artistically talented. I don’t think *creative genius* is strictly the purview of mature and old souls. I think it’s reductive to suggest young souls all just want to be investment bankers. I think young souls can be geniuses to, although to their detriment, they may be emotionally invested in being *Great Artists* above all else, overly concerned with their own cultural capital. Picasso, Dali, Fellini, and Miles Davis all come to mind IMHO. As for Clint Eastwood, he’s too much of a rank and file Republican to be an old soul in my opinion, even if his public persona is that of the ‘wise old man’ singing the virtues of Americana, “back in my day men were men” and blah blah blah. I’m sorry, but I can’t buy a bonafide ‘old soul’ making a speech at the Republican National Convention. Bogie and Brando on the other hand I’d say were arguably old souls. And also possibly Burt Lancaster.

  40. Hi Barry,

    Thank you for all the valuable information. I’ve been searching for answers for about as long as I can remember- my major conflict is that I feel lost in every moment and unsure generally of who I am at the very core. When I read about the soul at all stages, I identify greatly with all types and have a difficult time narrowing it down.

    What are some ways I might find out? Are there ways/methods, or is it purely an internal understanding?

    Thank you so much,

  41. Homie, just got my reading from the Troy. I am stage 1 old soul. And apparently… My frequency is 98. And I this is Cray Cray. I am a stubborn sammich smuthered in self deprivation, martyrdom, and arrogance. And a bun made of stubbornness…. Wow………… [meow]

  42. I am an old soul and my life has been full of challenges. From physical, diabetes and alcoholism to mental/emotional with PTSD. Looking at my issues from within meditation, the answers seem simple. All my issues seem to originate in the old belief that i am separate from God. When i practice the presence of God, my entire being shifts and i become more open to the flow of the energy and movement of God. The more i am aware that i am the presence of God in my individualized form, the less important my issues become. Karen Drucker wrote a song called “I am the Face of God”. This says it very well.

    I am the face of God.
    You are the face of God.
    We are the face of God.

  43. Hi, I have just learned about the subject of old souls and spirituality tonight and I am very intrigued. I usually doubt things like this but I am curious to learn more. What books are recommended for someone who knows little to nothing about spirituality? I’ve display many of the characteristics of an old soul but I feel lost and do not know whether or not I am living the path I was intended to follow. I am the oldest of four brothers, my dad is elderly, and I am currently majoring in chemical engineering–something I do not really care for. I am studying chemical engineering to pay back my father for everything he has done for me, to be a good example to my younger brothers and to be financially stable in the future. I’ve always wanted an easy life, I am not materialistic, I could probably live a happy life on a minimum wage job, but I feel like I am under pressure to become a successful engineer for my family’s sake. Any insight to my situation is appreciated, and I am willing to answer any questions as I have left out a lot. Thank you.

    • Dear Greg, Old Soul or not, you will never be sorry that you have a marketable skill or craft. But you should choose one that you enjoy, like doing, or at least, don’t hate.

    • Hi Greg

      I’m guessing you’re about 20? Most of us don’t find our true path until post-35 or so. The first half of life is like a preparation for the real work to come in the second half. But I understand exactly what you mean – the feeling of not being on track. From a spiritual perspective, I could say that your soul (your deepest consciousness, the innermost YOU) is recognising that where you are now is not where you are going to flourish and live up to your full potential. You are in a set of circumstances that appear to be imposed upon you, not of your choosing, and in a surrounding culture or mindset that doesn’t sit easily with your non-materialistic outlook.

      My one key take-away piece of insight or advice would be to assume that everything before you is offering you a choice: you choose how to react to what happens to you and also how to determine what WILL happen to you. There is NO right or wrong choice, by the way, it’s just that life is an exercise in choice. And the more aware you are of this, the more conscious and free you will be as an individual – and the more likely you are to be happy with your choices rather than just attracting things you don’t want and wishing things were different.

      You could choose to stay exactly where you are in the life that has been carved out for you, but do so in a way that has some kind of deeper meaning and purpose for you (not just with resignation). Or you could choose to let life take you where it will, just say yes to whatever opportunity comes your way. Or you could choose to plan out your ideal life and work at creating that, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks.

      Again, this is not saying that you should choose this or that – accept this career or reject that relationship, or whatever. It’s just recognising that it is your choice — always.

      I’m not sure what to ask about that you might have left out … What springs to mind is, Have you suffered depression? (Could be way off – just ignore if so)

      For someone new to spirituality I could recommend various books, though the ideal one would depend on your preferred ‘style’ – you might prefer something intellectually persuasive over something emotionally uplifting, for example. A lot of people who follow this site could probably list their own ‘top ten life-changing spirituality books’, all different.

      Here are some personal suggestions:

      The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

      Old Souls: The Sages and Mystics of Our World

      Your Soul’s Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born

      Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing

      Emmanuel’s Book: A Manual for Living Comfortably in the Cosmos

      Feel free to come back with questions or clarifications.

    • Hey Greg, same for me here… oldest of my family; Graduating this year med school(because i wanted to do like other people) and going on to become psychiatrist; one of the jobs compatible with my old soul(basically helping people with their mental and soul issues). If it wsn’t for my family, i would’ve gone in the film industry, which is my true love. Psych and movie industry. Now, what you should do? First, it’s good that you started with engeneering. it’s a useful test for old souls. If you’r a old soul you are naturally lazy, but also wise and adaptable… you can do it, it gives you confidence and leverage… It’s the first step to growth. Than, after that you should find a job with your engineering degree that suits your needs or work part time so you can enjoy the rest of your life in tranquility. So all in all, university is a good thing for lost old souls since it’s a good opportunity for growth… I’ve read that old souls are often found in the streets/ homeless but that’s not exactly my understanding of an easy life. Being homeless is actually not a smart move for an old and experienced soul. Basically it’s about finding the best way to live the easiest and chillest lifestyle;…

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