Soul Age Detection

Soul Age

When we jump to conclusions about someone's soul age based on current negative behavior, how do we know whether we're seeing the full extent of that person's soul development, or just human immaturity? If you had met John or me in our youth on a bad day, what would you have assumed? Were you seeing true soul age, or pieces of ego not yet processed under the light of day, such as negative poles of role and overleaves, chief obstacle/feature, or imprinting? Any behavior has a number of possible causes. Would you have been able to conceive the John then blossoming into the John now?

The reverse is also true: is someone whose light shines brightly necessarily an older soul?

Is relationship drama indicative of a mature soul, or a sage drama queen at any age? Doesn't *everyone* have some relationship drama? Soul age is strictly a matter of what the central life focus is for the soul, and it may not be obvious from the personality's behavior. It is fair to say that the older the soul age, the greater the possible expansiveness, but it's all relative; the point is to be happy and comfortable at wherever point we are. Later on, we'll each be part of a causal entity, which is certainly more expansive than being physical, but that's just a different experience; each step is needed to fill in the blanks.

Baby souls do not possess a monopoly on narrow-mindedness. Yes, there is a tendency toward rigidity in them, but it can be subtle. My two brothers are baby souls. I observe rigidity in some ways, but not in others. We are each complex, multi-faceted human beings. My baby king step-mother was more obvious in that regard. For example, she had the germ phobia that Yarbro mentioned, but my brothers do not. Well, one brother, who is mildly retarded, had a brief period in which he was taking several showers a day, but most of his life, he's gone to the other extreme, so maybe he was temporarily playing with that issue. My older brother tends to be cut-and-dried, but then, he's a king with all king overleaves, so there's a lot of "no excuses, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, just do it" mentality. With so many influences, it's hard to say where a particular behavior comes from. He has zero interest in metaphysics and avoids the topic, but also avoids religion (we weren't raised to be religious). However, my younger brother, a scholar, has asked me a couple questions about the other side.

I have a friend who is a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy). He's done a lot of work on himself, is very spiritual, and would seem to perfectly fit the stereotype of old soul. I was surprised to get him as a second-mature artisan, but he agreed with it when I talked about the foci of the mature vs. old ages. I had confused the softness of a server-cast five-input artisan with old-soul airiness.

I know some hippie types who are young souls. It's a mistake to assume that every pothead is old, dude. I'm old and I'm allergic to smoke. I am a total failure as a pothead. I can't even tolerate the brownies. Plus, I cut off all my hair. Man!

Validating Soul Age

So how *do* you validate someone's soul age, if not by jumping to conclusions based on superficial evidence? That would be a great question for Michael during the chats. But, for starters, I'd say that you have a better shot at it with someone who seems to be more in his/her true personality/positive poles. If, for example, someone is living from his trauma or mental illness, you tend to see the trauma or illness rather than the true personality. Obsessive-compulsive disorder could, on the surface, resemble the baby soul phase, but any soul age can suffer from it. Someone who was heavily imprinted to be different from her true self and has not thrown that off will likewise be hard to read. By definition, false personality means that the essence is not in evidence, and soul age is an essence trait.

So starting with someone who seems to be mostly in his true personality, look for the basic life lessons. Michael student, John Roth has, in many posts, discussed how infant, young, and old souls are more individualistic, whereas baby and mature souls are more community oriented, so start there: Does the person put greater emphasis on community or societal issues, or is she more marching to her own drumbeat? After sorting that out, ask if the person is more outwardly focused (infant, baby, and young) or more internally focused (mature and old). You might then get the soul age by process of elimination.

People think of older souls (defined in Yarbro as third-mature and older) as being more spiritual, and it's true that there can begin to be more focus on spiritual things, but I think it's really more that older souls focus increasingly on the inner self and personal growth. There are many older souls who are not spiritual as a new ager would define it, and many younger souls who heavily pursue spirituality, especially priests and servers, and especially in cultures that value it more, such as India. A surprising number of gurus were channeled by Yarbro channels as young and even baby. However, what we see as spirituality there is also the local religions. We view the yogic traditions as spiritual in part because we may have to go out of our way to pursue them, but some people are raised in them, just as we may have been raised Catholic or whatever. Any religion becomes spiritual when a participant transcends the dogma and makes a direct, living connection with spirit. And any spiritual practice or teaching can quickly descend into dogma, including the Michael teachings or following a guru.

One's culture of origin has an impact on everyone, whether it's accepted, rejected, or somewhere in between. Even an old soul raised in a fundamentalist home (of any religion) may find that religion acceptable if religion is not a central interest for that person. It may be seen as an adequate vehicle for maintaining family and friends while other goals are pursued. It may not seem to cost much to profess beliefs that please those around one.

Furthermore, only a small minority of people, even among old souls, are seeking to consciously awaken. Soul age does not equal spiritual awakening. Yarbro says that 11% of humans are old, and 24% are mature. Clearly, 35% of humans are not consciously awakening. As Dave Gregg pointed out, a soul can complete the physical plane without ever being spiritually conscious, just as one can complete college without being smart. Soul age is just one factor in the motivation a person might have to awaken. Another is past-life history. And sensitive people of any age may seek spiritually simply because they're unhappy and think they might find answers that offer insight and relief--that was certainly part of it for me.

Soul Age Descriptions

A big problem with the descriptions of the soul ages in the Michael books is that they tend to rely on the most negative and extreme examples. That's understandable, since it is easier to spot negative pole behaviors--positive poles are harmonious and don't stick out as much. Still, we need to avoid over- generalizations. Stereotypes often have some truth in them, but none of them always hold true. They become bigotry when spun negatively and people aren't seen as individuals.

A Michael teachings stereotype may hold true 40-60% of the time, and may help a beginner get a feel for the traits, but you have to really learn the teachings well to get beyond that percentage of accuracy. For example, if you can't recognize a sage who isn't loud-mouthed or a scholar who is, you don't know the teachings well, and its usefulness is limited to you.

Incidentally, it's trickier to discern someone at the first and second levels of a soul age because s/he may not be fully immersed in it. You're likely to see some residual qualities of the previous age.

I took a stab at channeling the poles of the soul ages. I'm sure there are better words, but this is what I got, along with their foci and how Yarbro describes the way they perceive the world:


INFANT: Survival/Existing - Me, not me
+ innocent openness
– terrified aversion

BABY: Structure/Organizing, Arranging - Me, other me's
+ formation and structuring
– rigidity

YOUNG: Success/Doing - Me, you
+ worthwhile accomplishment
– self-centeredness

MATURE: Relationships/Perceiving - You, as you perceive yourself
+ resonant perception
– subjective perception

OLD: Context/Being - You, as part of something greater
+ inclusiveness
– undirectedness

TRANSCENDENTAL: Social revolution - Synthesis

INFINITE: Spiritual revolution - Tao

I sense different energies with different soul ages, but it is hard to put them into words. It's a little like saying, "This second-mature sage has an amusing bouquet that's a combination of French oak and rotting squirrels." or "Here is a clever king that's young but has an elegant nose and a long, satisfying finish." But I'll take a stab at it anyway:


The number one soul age builds a foundation, just as servers, the number one role, are the foundational role.

I have virtually no personal experience with infant souls, but from what I've heard, their lives, while probably not easy, are uncomplicated. The feeling: simplicity.


The number two age, like the number two role, artisan, wants to build a structure on the foundation. It is rudimentary, not yet fleshed out.

Baby souls are less simple than infant souls, but are still relatively simple. They place a high importance on their community structures, whatever they are. It would be unusual to find a baby soul willing to disrupt the status quo very much, whereas an infant soul might, simply out of not knowing better. The feeling: basic.


The number three age correlates with the role of warrior; both are hard-working and are about outer form. A young warrior, especially third-level young, is quintessential. Unfortunately, the only celebrity example I'm able to come up with at the moment is Hitler. Sorry, warriors! If it makes you feel any better, Dane Cook is a sage.

I have a few clients who are late young. I don't recall any who are younger, although I've done charts for a few who have shown mild interest. Among the clients, those who have come to me out of their own interest (not because someone else pushed them) have done equally as well as those I've gotten as being older, both in terms of understanding/grokking the material and responding to the energy work. So I don't think that soul age limits capability as much as interest. An analogy is young people, even children, who are masterful musicians--it's unusual, but completely possible.

The young soul cycle is a time of individuation, the point at which the soul most experiences self as separate, furthest from a sense of oneness with the whole. The soul must get to know itself without outside influences before it can rejoin the whole with self-knowledge. You might think of youngsters whose cry is
"Let me do it myself!"

All chart elements work together. Priests and servers, being inspirational, are always about connection, so they manifest young less extremely than, say, warriors and kings, who highly value self-sufficiency (although they balance that with a strong emphasis on loyalty).

Young souls have a hard determination, not unlike the steely resolve of a warrior. In extreme cases, there is ruthlessness, like the corporate mogul who will do anything to succeed. However, most are more benign. Like young people, young souls are characterized by high vitality, allowing them to pursue outward
success. However, that doesn't exclude also pursing a rich spiritual life if desired. The feeling: coolness. Even in warm-hearted young artisans and servers I know, there is a certain cool flavor there reminiscent of the warrior.

In heavily young-soul cultures, like Hollywood and the corporate world, this quality is exaggerated.


The number four age correlates with the role of scholar. The stereotype has mature souls being emotional and dramatic, which is at odds with the stereotype of scholars being neutral and detached, but they share in common the internal processing of assimilation. And there are many mature souls who are not overtly dramatic. The majority of my clients are mature. The feeling: newly plowed earth, friction, texture, and heat.

Mature-soul cultures, such as those typified on television dramas and soap operas, exaggerate that heat.


The number five age correlates with the role of sage, and also the higher intellectual center. Old souls seek an overarching philosophy to explain it all. To do so, they must detach somewhat from the physical plane. In the positive pole, old souls are refined and light. In general, the feeling: breezy.

I find mature and old souls to be much more alike than different. Both have an inward focus, as opposed to younger souls, who have a more outward focus. The main difference between mature and old souls is that mature souls go deep, and old souls go high.

Everyone has relationships; consistent with mature souls going deep, their relationships are two-pronged, in the sense of trying to grok the deeper meaning of "you and me." Old soul relationships are three-pronged, seeking to understand "you, me, and context," as if viewing them from above. Younger souls may value their relationships just as much, but they are taken more for granted in order to focus on the outer world; relationships come into the spotlight at the mature level, rather than being means to an end.

Even the oldest souls, being human, have issues to work on. There is no end to the available lessons of the physical plane. It's like what they say about writing: you never finish--you just stop. There are no perfect people; there is a spectrum from less conscious to more conscious, although we may be conscious
in some areas and not in others, so it's complicated, and it's not primarily a matter of soul age. One of the most conscious people I know is fifth-mature.

There's a simple test to determine whether you still have issues: Look down. If you see a body, you still have issues. If you don't see a body, you *really* have issues, and need to go find your body!

- From a MT list post

About Shepherd Hoodwin

Shepherd has been channeling since 1986. He also does intuitive readings, mediumship, past-life regression, healing, counseling, and channeling coaching, where he teaches others to channel. He has conducted workshops on the Michael teachings throughout the United States. His other books include Enlightenment for Nitwits, Loving from Your Soul: Creating Powerful Relationships, Meditations for Self-Discovery, Opening to Healing, Growing Through Joy, Being in the World, and more to come.

Visit his website at

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Soul Ages

Our goal sets the theme for a lifetime, acting as a primary motivator that guides our course of direction in life.


The Old Soul

Learn about the Overleaves, personality traits that shape our individual experence during each lifetime.