An Introduction to the Michael TeachingsBy DAVID GREGG
Learn about soul age, the seven roles, the overleaves, and more...
The Michael teachings are a fascinating system of channeled wisdom that explores the psychology of the soul.
Using a unique set of tools that charts your spiritual progression from the first incarnation to last, the Michael teachings expand the evolution of consciousness by helping people develop greater self-awareness and more tolerance and compassion for others.
Learning about the Michael teachings helps you recognize your overall development in the reincarnational cycle, shows you where you are on the path, what lessons you will encounter, why you are here, and what is yet to come. It also helps you understand the unique qualities you bring to the world, and why people and societies are the way that they are.
If you're new to the Michael teachings, here's a collection of introductory material to help get you started. You'll find a general overview of the teachings below this menu.
What's Your Role?
A brief, lighthearted introduction to the teachings. Perfect for newcomers, and a fresh perspective for the more advanced student.
An Overview of the Teachings
A wonderful overview by Emily Baumbach.
Another Outline of the Michael Teachings
A longtime scholar of the teachings, Phil offers additional insights to help you understand the rudiments of Michael.
Frequently asked questions.
Celebrity Roles & Overleaves
Discover the roles of celebrities.
Role Photo Study
Study the photos of various role and overleaf combinations.
Michael Teachings Glossary
Basic terms and definitions.
Who is Michael and What Do They Teach?
The Michael entity is a collective of 1050 souls who have completed their incarnations on earth and evolved to a higher plane of existence. As with many other spiritual teachers, Michael's knowledge is conveyed to the physical plane through the use of human channels. These channeled teachings were first published in a book by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, entitled Messages from Michael, and it paved the way for many publications to come.
The Meaning of Existence
A fundamental aspect of Michael's wisdom is that the meaning of existence is, in a nutshell — life. There is nothing else. The experiences we gather from living day after day, lifetime after lifetime, constitute the essential components necessary to grow spiritually. No secret rituals, special meditations, or any other esoteric practices are required. Life itself is the only lesson plan needed to move forward. From this continual dance, we eventual learn the following tenet: we are here to learn how to choose and to choose how to learn.
Unlike familiar information provided by Seth or Abraham, which largely focuses on the principles of conscious creation, the Michael teachings bring a unique perspective to our physical plane explorations, centering on the spiritual growth of the soul and the varied intricacies of the human condtion.
Belief is Not Required
Because these teachings are not based upon dogmatic principles or a requirement to adopt rigid belief systems, the merits of the material can be self-validated, and that which doesn't resonate tossed aside. Belief is not required.
The core of the teachings involves learning to develop self-acceptance and tolerance for others. This is fostered through a set of tools that Michael calls overleaves. The overleaves describe the various attributes of our personality, showing us how we perceive and interact with our world. By learning about these personality traits, we can better understand the inherent behavior patterns of ourselves and the people around us.
It is not the intention of the Michael teachings to pass judgment, or in the words of the occasional detractor, "place people in boxes." The teachings simply reveal the unconscious tendencies or default settings that help color each personality with a unique stamp.
The Roles and Overleaves
The journey of the soul begins when it is cast from the Tao. (Michael prefers the term Tao rather than God because the word God has been masculinized in society).
Think of your soul as a spark of consciousness, released from the Tao into the physical world. Once on the physical, you begin your reincarnational cycle, the coin of the realm in the Michael teachings. Before you incarnate, however, you choose a role (or soul type) and a set of overleaves (or personality traits) that lend additional layers of specificity and growth-inducing challenges to your life journey. Life would be no fun if it were always easy.
Entering the corporeal reality of the physical plane also brings another challenge: the law of duality. Physical existence is awash with dualities — think of common polarities such as up and down, black and white, and good and evil.
Each of the roles and overleaves also fluctuates between polarities, the positive and negative poles, with one side emphasizing love and the other emphasizing fear. While there is no judgment placed on the dual nature of these energies, occupying the positive pole of a role or overleaf enables a greater connection to the true or authentic self (the influence of essence or the higher self), whereas the negative poles are governed by false personality (or ego).
Selected from one of seven roles (or soul types), your role serves as the blueprint for who you are and how you interact with others. It is your primary way of being.
A role is maintained by a soul for the entire reincarnational cycle, which can range from as few as 37 to over a thousand lifetimes. A particular role is not more praised or sought after than another, as each role offers a unique set of experiences of equal value.
Six of the roles are in pairs, referred to by Michael as the inspiration, expression, and action axes. One role occupies a neutral category, called the assimilation axis. (This is discussed more in other articles.)
The Seven Roles:
▪ Servers and Priests are aligned with the Inspiration axis and are roles that dedicate themselves to the service and spiritual evolution of the soul, and to the physical needs of the people on the planet.
A server might be the kindly nurse or doctor that took care of you at the hospital or a world beloved humanitarian like Mother Teresa. In the positive poles, servers are capable, caring, competent, devoted, friendly, inspiring, loving, nurturing, practical, sweet, trustworthy, and warm. Other servers are Doris Day, Sally Field, Al Gore, John Kerry, the Dalai Lama, and Susan Sarandon.
A priest might be your local minister or an inspiring figure on the world stage, such as President Obama. In the positive poles are compassionate, guiding, enthusiastic, healing, humanitarian, inspirational, nurturing, on a mission, visionary, and spiritual. Other priests are Julie Andrews, Edgar Cayce, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, and Bruce Springsteen.
An artisan might be the local artist who paints seascapes at the beach or an actor on the big screen, such as Audrey Hepburn. Artisans in the positive poles are creative, dreamy, fresh, imaginative, inventive, innovative, original, spontaneous, and stylish. Other artisans are Matthew Broderick, Princess Diana, Scarlett Johannson, Natalie Portman, and Vincent Van Gogh.
A sage might be a popular novelist like Stephen King or the actor/comedian Jim Carrey. Sages in the positive poles are articulate, colorful, dramatic, entertaining, enthralling, expressive, friendly, fun-loving, humorous, informative, inquisitive, knowledgeable, light-hearted, perceptive, good storytellers, and wise. Other sages are Leonard Bernstein, Bill Clinton, Tina Fey, Howard Stern, and Oprah Winfrey.
A warrior might be the policeman that came to your rescue when your car broke down in traffic or a dynamic and magnetic charmer like Harrison Ford. Warriors in the positive poles are deliberate, energetic, determined, focused, grounded, organized, principled, productive, protective, proud, skillful, and survivors. Other warriors are Judi Dench, Jessica Lange, Oliver Stone, Barbra Streisand, and Kathleen Turner.
A king might be the CEO of a major corporation or the actor that played James Bond, Sean Connery. Kings in the positive poles are benevolent, charismatic, commanding, composed, comprehensive, expert, inspirer of loyalty, magnanimous, masterful, natural leaders, perfectionists, stable, strategists, and trouble-shooters. Other kings are Susan B. Anthony, Cate Blanchett, James Cameron, Sean Connery, and Katherine Hepburn.
▪ Scholars are neutral and assimilators of knowledge. They are profoundly curious and document the experiences that interest them.
A scholar might be your college history professor or a favorite writer of literary fiction. Scholars in the positive poles are adventurous, curious, easy-going, grounded, knowledgeable, logical, mediating, methodical, neutral, and observant. Other famous scholars are Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Anthony Hopkins, William Shakespeare, and Emma Thompson.
To gather a variety of experiences we choose a set of personality attributes (overleaves) for each new lifetime, since our role remains the same throughout the reincarnational cycle.
Understanding and accepting the differences of others is the key to unlocking greater levels of tolerance and compassion, both for ourselves and those around us. The overleaves show how we pre-incarnationally decided to experience life, providing a road map for what it means to be human, and how to operate from the true personality — the state of being where real spiritual growth occurs.
The main overleaves are goal (the significant issues that motivate us), mode (our means of expression), attitude (our life perspective), and center (how we react).
▪ Reevaluation simplifies and rids the life of unnecessary distractions to focus on one or two issues.
▪ Growth is a life busy with challenges and hurdles, yet a person with this goal longs to tackle even more.
▪ Discrimination creates critics who reject in life what doesn't meet their exacting standards.
▪ Acceptance produces highly agreeable and friendly people who accept others — warts and all.
▪ Submission is selflessly devoted to a cause or person, serving with unwavering support and commitment.
▪ Dominance is driven to lead, with a motivation to control and direct what is encountered.
▪ Flow is about rest and not fighting against the current. It seeks the path of least resistance.
To better grasp the influence that your goal can have on your life, think of your life as an unfinished poem. Each new stanza leads you to a conclusion or observation about something, but until you read the poem in its entirety, the meaning remains unclear. Even the finished poem, in some instances, can seem meaningless if its words appear without direction.
Your goal, therefore, is what it all means: the sum of your poem, the reason you wrote the words in the first place. And while it is often normal not to know the precise meaning of a poem as you write it, knowing your goal helps to remove the unnecessary clutter of words that distract you from the intended purpose of, in this case, your life. Your goal is the theme of your life, the take home value, if you will, that connects everything that you ever strived for to a common purpose.
Finding this common theme is one way to identify your goal, and thus determine if you are on track with essence and not losing your focus with too many tangential themes.
We all choose one of seven modes for a lifetime. The modes are Reserve, Passion, Caution, Power, Perseverance, Aggression, and Observation.
▪ Reserve is characterized by emotional restraint, discipline and an appreciation for beauty.
▪ Passion loses itself in an intensity of emotion or energy. Unbridled enthusiasm is the modus operandi.
▪ Caution hits the brakes on boundless enthusiasm and plays it safe, choosing more deliberation before taking action.
▪ Power is the voice of authority, expressing all opinions with confidence and unmistakable presence.
▪ Perseverance is the Energizer Bunny that keeps going and going and going. Long-term goals are usually completed.
▪ Aggression is highly assertive and ready to take a stand. These people are full of life and ready for any challenge.
▪ Observation looks at life with detachment. They quickly absorb the details of their environment.
The modes govern how we approach life and how we accomplish our Goal. If we're in dominance, for instance, are we passionately dominant or cautiously dominant? The modes also express how we live our life, with either perseverance, aggression, reserve and so on. Essentially, our modes add the necessary spice to life that flavors our experiences and prevents unnecessary blandness.
We all choose one of seven attitudes for a lifetime. The attitudes are Stoic, Spiritualist, Skeptic, Idealist, Cynic, Realist, and Pragmatist.
▪ Stoics do not make waves. They accept the world AS IS and never gets flustered by the sticker-shock of life.
▪ Spiritualists are inspired by the possibilities of what could be and are guided to whatever is visionary and uplifting.
▪ Skeptics take nothing on faith and insist on investigating any unsupported claims.
▪ Idealists embrace life with an enthusiasm for positive change in the world.
▪ Cynics often expect the worst and find amusement in life's absurdities.
▪ Realists judiciously weigh the facts and view life as it is without embellishment.
▪ Pragmatists are efficient, practical and keenly interested in what gets the most results.
The attitudes represent the overall outlook, frame of reference, or the lens through which we view life: Are we skeptical or idealistic? Cynical or realistic? The attitudes are the most malleable overleaf, meaning our outlook can easily change if we so desire, but this also means our attitude is often the first to go when things become negative, potentially starting a negative chain reaction that derails the goal and the mode, as well. This effectively spoils the party for the rest of your overleaves and drags everyone down to the level of the unruly guest that gets sick in the punch bowl.
The centers regulate how we react to the world around us. They could then be thought of as a window that looks out at the world.
There are seven centers in all, and four that are used routinely: emotional, intellectual, moving, and physical, as well as two that are rarely used for prolonged centering: higher emotional and higher intellectual (although we always have access to them for conceptual insights and bouts of emotional ecstasy).
The higher centers are considered transformational states of awareness, and they are not dominant in our experiences, encountered mostly during meditative states or peak states activated from exposure to music, art, and sex. Since prolonged exposure to the higher centers eventually burns out the body, no one is ever centered for more than brief periods there. The instinctive center can also be used as a primary center, but this is extremely rare since it operates in the background of our lives already.
Centers usually represent the most prominent part of a person, especially how the person is perceived by other people. They are a vital component in the Michael teachings, but are often misunderstood or overlooked by most students. However, mastering how to react from the center that's most appropriate is an important part of spiritual growth.
The most commonly used centers:
▪ The Emotional center experiences life through their feelings and the emotional connections they have with others.
▪ The Intellectual center experiences life through the power of thought and analysis — or left-brained thinking
▪ The Physical center reacts to the world by imploding. The reaction is physical like the moving center but internalized.
▪ The Moving center experiences life through physical movement and action. The moving centered are always on the go.
The Chief Fears (formerly called Features)
The seven chief fears are Self-Deprecation, Arrogance, Self-Destruction, Greed, Martyrdom, Impatience, and Stubbornness.
▪ Self-Deprecation is the fear of inadequacy.
▪ Arrogance is the fear of being judged.
▪ Self-Destruction is the fear of losing control.
▪ Greed is the fear of not having enough.
▪ Martyrdom is the fear of feeling worthless.
▪ Impatience is the fear of missing out.
▪ Stubbornness is the fear of change.
The chief fears are chronic phobias that act as persistent obstacles during a lifetime. They are generated by the false personality in late adolescence and are the only overleaf that can be changed or eliminated, although it requires considerable effort and is a rare feat.
The chief fears bear some similarity to the seven deadly sins in the Bible or the Kleshas in Buddhism. They differ from negative poles in that they pertain to social pressures and concerns, whereas the negative poles affect the core being of a person.
Misinterpretations of painful events during childhood often shape the course of a chief fear, where false personality, in an attempt to protect itself from further pain, fortifies its perceived vulnerability with a wall of protection against what it most fears the most, such as a fear of missing out (impatience) or a fear of not having enough (greed).
Your chief fear is often accompanied by a secondary fear; the primary fear distorts the Goal, and the secondary disrupts the Attitude. In this scenario, the primary chief fear, in its misguided attempt to protect the Goal, actually impedes its progress by clouding the energy in an atmosphere of anxiety and apprehension. The same occurs with the secondary fear that distorts the positive virtues of the Attitude.
The ideal way of defusing the chief fears is to come to the realization that they are simply facades erected by false personality that serve no useful purpose other than to create discord and difficulty in life. Michael often suggests photographing the fears, which is similar to mindfulness exercises in Eastern religion.
As we continue through our thread of lifetimes, copiously gathering experiences, learning lessons, and fulfilling agreements, an evolutionary process transpires and this course of development is called Soul Age.
Soul age charts the growth a person has attained during their many incarnations (or past lives). The number of lives lived is not as important as the spiritual development achieved, although one soul age is not any better than another. Soul age symbolizes the school of life and each step along the way is a vital part of the curriculum.
There are five soul ages that we progress through during our cycle on the physical plane.
▪ Infant souls deal with issues of survival. Life experience is usually primitive at this level and leans toward the rituals and customs of tribal cultures. Infant souls often incarnate near the equator, where less frigid temperatures allow them to thrive without modern shelter.
▪ Baby souls have a need for structure and tend to live according to beliefs based on dogma, such as religion; they are all about following and enforcing rules. Baby souls are typically model citizens that do the right thing, but their rigid, black-and-white thinking betrays a lack of complexity in their personalities. For this reason, they prefer the conservative cocoon of small town life and can be found scattered across middle America. Baby souls are also well represented in the Middle East and other areas of the world where religious fundamentalism thrives.
▪ Young souls are success oriented. Some of them set personal achievement at all costs, and are about winning and leaving their mark in the world. They are ambitious with a capital A, relentlessly pushing for more wealth, power, and esteem. Young souls do not like to lose. They are goal-driven workers and entrepreneurs who exemplify the US Army's motto of BE ALL YOU CAN BE. Technological innovations and enterprise often flourish at this stage, leading to many modern conveniences and benefits. Young soul countries include Japan, China, Israel, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and the United States.
▪ Mature souls are relationship focused and tend to gravitate toward emotional connection (and sometimes drama). They are interested in creating deeper bonds with people and their community, fulfilling a need to explore their inner world. Emotions can be intense at this level, leading to greater creativity and a strong stance on social and environmental issues. Mature soul countries include Italy, Greece, England and parts of Mexico.
▪ Old souls seek the larger perspective of life and have less interest in playing the material game. They have detached from the emotional turmoil of the mature soul state, and favor a live and let live approach to life. Although quite competent, old souls are often out of touch with the mainstream world and lean toward an interest in spiritual growth. Old souls do not often come to a full awareness of their soul age until age 35.
Successfully advancing through each soul age stage is dependent on progressing through the seven levels of the soul age, as well as the the completion of the Internal Monads.
Soul Age Levels
Each soul age consists of seven levels of development that must be competed before graduating to the next soul age. A soul level typically takes three lifetimes to complete, sometimes more, sometimes less. An Infant soul, for example, would begin at level one and gradually progress through six more levels before moving up to the Baby Soul stage. This continues until the 7th level of the old soul stage is reached. All and all, as Varda Hasselmann mentions in her book, there are thirty-five levels in total that must be completed before cycling-off the planet, the 35 steps of the reincarnational cycle.
If you include the levels of the internal monads, which are discussed next, there are actually 245 steps required to complete the reincarnational cycle.
LIFE STAGES (Internal Monads)
The internal monads (similar to rites of passage or stages of human development) are a chronological series of life lessons, marked by seven major transitional points during the lifetime. The change that occurs at these stages can be unusually difficult and even traumatic for some souls, but if the change is handled successfully, a peaceful plateau unfolds that extends to the next monad
▪ The first stage is BIRTH; the child takes the first breath and instills hope for the life to be lived.
▪ The second is EARLY CHILDHOOD, where the child learns to walk and talk and develop self-awareness.
▪ The third is LATE ADOLESCENCE, where the young adult seeks independence and learns to make his way in the world.
▪ The fourth is the MIDLIFE, typically a tumultuous period where the adult begins to question the meaning of existence. There may be less interest in playing the societal game at this stage and an urge to write a new story for the remainder of the life.
▪ The fifth is the LIFE REVIEW (or golden years). At this point, the experiences of the life are evaluated and compared to what had been originally intended.
▪ The sixth is DYING or the onset of what will cause death.
▪ The seventh is DEATH and the return to the astral (or afterlife).
Read a more comprehensive article about the internal monads at the Stages of Life
One of Michael's most quoted phrases states that ALL IS CHOICE.
According to Michael, there are no good or bad choices. Each choice leads to an inevitable outcome and from that outcome we learn from the experience. Some choices feel better than others, of course, and that's the conundrum: learning how to make choices that accelerate growth and happiness. Still, since we are all eternal souls there is always something to be learned from the choices we make, both good or bad. We can't get them wrong.
This doesn't suggest an individual life should be thrown away — on the contrary. It simply means that the choices we make help shape our destiny and add to our collective experience as souls. Comprehending that our choices have value — no matter what the outcome — is instrumental in accepting life as it unfolds and embracing the richness it brings.
This may seem harsh if the consequence of a choice is particularly unpleasant or detrimental to another, but we can't learn from mistakes if we don't make them.
Michael (through me) offered the following words about choice.
Personal choice is an instrument of learning that's used to test the expression of yourself. From the stand point of growth, individual choice can never be wrong since it powerfully reasserts the pronouncement of your divinity and validates your existence in the world. Choices are neither good nor bad, but when they compromise the integrity of your higher purpose and negatively impact the choices of others, they will have ramifications. And from your perspective, the outcomes may not always be pleasant ones.
Any choice, either positive or negative, is reflected back to you in all of its resplendent glory. Since the Universe reflects any image you send to it, this can be a challenging lesson for some of you. When your personal mirror becomes tarnished by enough unpleasant experiences, you quickly learn to make different choices. Choices that hurt other people are the Universal equivalent of the child who learns not to touch a hot stove. Since the energy you expel is always returned to you in the same way you express it, much can be learned from burned fingers.
Q: How does our role affect choices?
A: Servers makes choices that benefit those around them (or at least what they subjectively feel to be the most beneficial). In the negative pole, they may limit the choices of others in order to serve them. This stems from a misguided belief that controlling people is the only way to be their caretaker.
Priests make choices that, of course, inspire others to seek greater aspirations and create a reflection of the Universe that's radiant and pure. In the negative pole, however, the choices of others may be dissuaded or circumvented until they match the personal vision of the Priest.
Artisans makes choices that add subtle hues to the canvas of life. Each choice is a soft brush stroke that adds layers of insight and creativity to a work that will always be in progress. Artisans in the negative pole will try to blur this canvas, as if they took a finger and smeared the wet paint until the image was unrecognizable. In this case, the choices will only serve to obscure and delude.
Sages often make choices that are highly conspicuous in order to draw attention to their personal truths, and they will find a way to communicate something in just about everything they do. In the negative pole, however, Sages might make choices based on how it affects others, in both positive and negative ways. There is little discrimination here; just a selfish desire to dramatize their choices before a captive audience, pun fully intended.
Warriors make choices that break new ground and punch through obstacles. They love anything that presents a challenge, and personal choices will often be weighed on their ability to maximize the benefit of a chosen ideal. In the negative pole, choices made by the Warrior can be swift and brutal, with little regard for the frail soul that crosses their path.
Kings make choices that can affect the greatest number of people. For this reason, there are fewer Kings than any other role. Kings usually make choices that encompass the greater good of all. In the negative pole, however, one errant choice by a King can destroy entire nations and create wide-scale damage. Repercussions from such an event will be felt for centuries to come.
Scholars make choices that strengthen their ability to broaden their understanding of the truth. These choices are often experiential, however, leading to a slippery slope that does not always fare well if too many risks are involved. Scholars are willing to take more chances than most roles, and to borrow an old cliche from TV, will "boldly go where no man has gone before." In the negative pole, Scholars can make choices that distance others. There can be a self-centered drive to obtain knowledge at all cost, even though their quest may be more theoretical than factual.
Getting the Most Out of the Teachings
Learning to recognize the manifestations of false personality is an essential part of the Michael teachings.
False personality is the fabricated part of self, a distorted sculpture you chip away at over a lifetime that bears little resemblance to your true self; yet, you have coerced yourself into believing it is your true likeness. False personality is the lie you tell yourself each day, a lie that feeds off your justifications, distortions of self, and erroneous assumptions. Fortunately, false personality is not difficult to recognize if one does not deny its existence. False personality, however, lives in the darkest corners of all that incarnate and is the chief reason why so many incarnating souls are spiritually asleep and disconnected from essence.
The Michael teachings help you recognize the unwelcome traverses of false personality by revealing your natural tendencies for negativity and how they typically manifest. This is accomplished by knowing your negative poles and chief features, and learning how to effectively navigate them.
In the end, it is really a balancing act between the polarity of love and fear. Michael (through me) spoke a little about love and fear, and I will conclude this article with their words.
LOVE AND FEAR
Q: If we are vessels to hold and spread love in our lifetime, then how is it that sometimes this vessel of mine will spread other than love? Where does this "other than love" come from?
A: You refer to a goal sought by all fragments during their incarnations. We know firsthand of the struggles involved in this journey, and want you to understand that the attainment of Agape is a worthwhile goal even if its fulfillment eludes your grasp at times.
On the other hand, if we condensed Agape into a bowl of soup, for example, and you only managed to get one spoonful per day, you would still be doing good work. Based on what we can see of your life, though, we think you are far ahead of most. We sense that you are too hard on yourself and want to remind you that if you swallow hot soup all at once it will only scald your throat. There is nothing wrong in sipping life's lessons one spoonful at a time.
Regarding your vessel, only two energies can occupy its space: love and fear. Fear is a seduction that's greater than any sexual caress and when it charms and engulfs your vessel, as you call it, one recourse is to stop judging the feeling and momentarily accept what it has to offer. Seeing fear from this perspective allows you to quickly learn what the opposite polarity feels like. With this comparison, there will be less fear of letting go and a greater ease in releasing negativity.
Fearing fear is just as self-perpetuating as loving love, and although we will not say it's easy, the energy you choose to perpetuate during your lifetime is ultimately your choice.
Learn more about the Michael Teachings at the Study Center (workshops, videos)
About David Gregg
David is the webmaster of MichaelTeachings.com and also moderates the Michael teachings discussion list at Yahoogroups. He has been a Michael student since 1996 and began channeling as a tool for spiritual enrichment. He is also a professional musician and plays the saxophone, clarinet, and flute, with a lifetime love for jazz and classical music. He enjoys literature and book collecting, and writes short stories in his spare time.
He occasionally writes reviews and profiles of jazz musicians at his jazz blog, Jazz Reader.
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