Body types are sets of physical and psychological traits stemming from the influences of the celestial bodies on our physical bodies. Above are the seven major body types; there are also three minor body-type influences: neptunian, uranian, and plutonian.

Often, our body-type influences relate to our astrological chart, although there is not necessarily a direct correlation. As in astrology, the energy of each celestial body is linked to mythological symbols. For example, Mars, the red planet, is named after the Roman god of war, and people with a martial body type tend to be feisty. Also, people with martial body-type influence tend to have reddish coloring.

The planetary influences have been used for years in general parlance to describe people. For instance, two dictionary definitions of mercurial are “having qualities of eloquence or ingenuity…attributed to the god Mercury" and “characterized by rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood.” These also somewhat describe the mercurial body type. A saturnian person is prudent, sober, and perhaps sluggish. A jovial person, influenced by Jupiter, is convivial and merry. These qualities also relate to their respective body types.

Strictly speaking, body types are not an overleaf, but like the overleaves, they are chosen before the lifetime begins, although there must be adequate genetic raw material from which to fashion a particular body type. There are people with all body types within each ethnic group (although different groups emphasize different types), but if no one in a person’s family has had, say, a saturnian body type for a few generations and his genes don’t lend themselves to saturnian characteristics, it would be difficult for his essence to develop a saturnian body type.

Through one channel, Michael said that both one’s body type and one’s astrological chart are set more by the configuration of planets at the time of conception than at the time of birth, and that if one was born prematurely, one’s astrological chart could be off. No mention was made of genetic influences. However, I have found that identical twins, who have the same moment of conception, do not necessarily have identical body types. I channeled Michael charts on a set of twins, and one was saturnian with a mercurial secondary, while the other was solar with a mercurial secondary. Saturnian and solar are both positive-charged and active, as will be discussed below, but look different. With another set of twins, one was mercurial with a lunar secondary, and the other was saturnian with jovial and mercurial secondaries. Coincidentally, both members of each set share mercurial influences in common, and the planet Mercury rules Gemini, “the twins.” It would surprise me if twins did not have at least one body-type influence in common, but the soul builds the body it wants out of the raw material present, so there is flexibility. As the body ages, it can be increasingly imprinted by the soul, which is one reason identical twins tend to look more and more different as they get older.

The moment of conception indeed does set up certain influences, but essence controls the body type as it does the overleaves, and body type can be viewed as an overleaf in this sense, just as the body itself can be viewed as an overleaf. The planetary configurations (not just the sun sign) “pull forward” genetic raw material for essence to more easily select from—it can be more easily matched to the desires of the essence if the planetary influences are supportive.

Body-type attraction was referred to and discussed in general terms in the Yarbro books, but the specific body types were not mentioned. However, a recent client of one of the Yarbro channels showed me the blank role and overleaves chart she uses, and it included the seven types, with positive and negative poles.

The book Body Types by Joel Friedlander is the only current book devoted to this subject. However, in 1900, a book on palmistry—The Laws of Scientific Hand Reading by William Benham—set out the seven types. Benham learned the material from Gypsies. Russian philosopher George Gurdjieff, who traveled extensively in the East collecting esoteric teachings early in this century, discussed body types in general terms. His pupil, Rodney Collin-Smith, wrote about the types in The Theory of Celestial Influence in 1954. Gurdjieff's teacher Robert Burton elaborated on these writings beginning in the late Sixties. Friedlander was in Burton’s group.

The Michael and Gurdjieff teachings are “cousins” of sorts. In addition to body types, Gurdjieff taught about centers and chief features, using some terms that later became part of the Michael teachings. “Jessica Lansing” and others in her group were also members of Burton’s group before she began channeling Michael. Therefore, Gurdjieff terminology was in her subconscious mind, although Michael used the material somewhat differently, and only in part. (I often find in my channeling that Michael uses the contents of my subconscious, but breaks them down to their primary components and uses them in new ways.)

The body types move in a progression from least developed, lunar, to most, jovial. This progression is in a circle, with jovial connecting back to lunar. Solar is outside the progression, so it is not numbered.

Each of the types has either a positive or negative charge (which is not the same as positive and negative poles). The positive types are more like the day: brighter, more optimistic, emphasizing the outer, and tending to overlook flaws. The negative types are more like the night: darker, more pessimistic, emphasizing the inner, and tending to notice what needs correction. Obviously, both kinds of charge are needed.

The positive types are saturnian, jovial, venusian, and solar. The negative types are lunar, mercurial, and martial body type;. It is easy to see why solar is positive, since the sun creates daylight, and lunar is negative, since the moon and the night are so closely connected. Solar types tend to be radiant and light-hearted, and lunar types tend to be sensitive and thoughtful. The traits of other positive types are, like solar, brighter—the jovial type, known for its mirth, is an obvious example. The traits of other negative types are, like lunar, darker—for example, the mercurial type can be given to sarcasm.


Each body type is also active or passive, but unlike positive and negative, it isn’t either/or; there are degrees of activity and passivity. Body types wax and wane in this regard around the progression. The first body type, lunar, is the most passive. The second, venusian, is less passive. The third, mercurial, is active. The fourth, saturnian, is the most active. The fifth, martial, is again active, but less so than saturnian. The sixth, jovial, is passive, but less so than lunar, the first, which begins the progression anew. Solar, which, again, is not part of the progression, is also active, lightly or neutrally so: neither wound-up (mercurial), stolid (saturnian), nor explosive (martial).

Activity and passivity refer to whether the body’s tendency is more “to do” or “to be.” For instance, if someone has a totally free day with nothing he “has to” do, he is likely to do something athletic or take on a project if he has an active type, whereas someone with a passive type might choose to read quietly or watch a movie (although it’s not cut-and-dried).

Active types easily muscle up with exercise; passive types don’t. I know a woman with a saturnian type, and martial and mercurial secondaries—all active types. She’s afraid to exercise because she gets so muscular. That would be great if she were a body builder, but she is an actress, and too much muscle could limit her ability to get the parts she wants. Active types also tend to be thinner, even without exercise, whereas passive types tend to be larger, softer, and rounder (although the active-type actress just mentioned is also large-breasted, which I assume is a genetic exception to her normal body-type influences). I know a man with a jovial type whom others often perceive as being too thin. I suspect that if he were a mercurial type, and had the same weight and frame, he would be perceived as being at his normal weight. The passive types are meant to have a little more “meat on their bones.” Any body type can be fat or thin, but active bodies have a “boxier,” less-round look even when they’re fat. The current ideal of beauty is a thin, tall saturnian type with a martial secondary. Bodies that are naturally heavier are out of fashion. It is unfortunate that our young soul society promotes the idea that everyone should look the same. This attitude makes it more difficult to appreciate the beauty of each type.

Positive and active are both considered masculine traits—they are on the same “side” of their respective polarities. Saturnian, both positive and the most active of types, is considered the most masculine body type. Astrologically, Saturn is the father figure, meting out discipline. Negative and passive are both considered feminine traits. Since lunar is both negative and the most passive of types, it is considered the most feminine body type. This is not surprising, since the moon is a prevalent symbol of femininity, and women’s bodies are particularly affected by the lunar cycle. Lunar men and saturnian women are more likely to be homosexual or bisexual than when the reverse is true, although body type is only one of many factors influencing sexuality. (The percentage of lunar or saturnian influence and the secondary body-type influences determine how strong a factor the lunar or saturnian influence is.) Both mercurial and martial are a blend of negative and active, so they are characterized by the apparent paradox of being active yet more internal. The opposite is true of jovial and venusian: they are passive yet more external. Venus, named for the goddess of love, is also a symbol of the feminine, but perhaps not as “purely” as the moon. We each have a primary and secondary body type. People often have a tertiary and sometimes even a quaternary type as well. Virtually no one has only one body-type influence, although single body-type influences show up in cartoons and archetypes. For example, Uncle Sam of U.S. Army recruitment posters is saturnian, and Disney’s Snow White is solar. The proportion of a person’s body-type influences can shift during his lifetime. For example, lunar accounts for fifty-three percent of my body’s energy. My secondary is thirty-seven percent martial, and my tertiary is ten percent venusian. My percentage of lunar is decreasing, and my martial is increasing. A few years ago, lunar accounted for fifty-six percent of my body’s energy, and martial was thirty-four percent (the ten percent venusian has remained the same). Also, each body-type influence moves toward the next one in the progression—for example, lunar moves toward venusian—although that movement tends to be very slow and gradual. If I incarnate again, I might choose a venusian body type, since it’s next in the progression. However, one’s own body type occupies a single point on the progression, whereas the whole body type designation occupies a band of frequencies, like a color of the rainbow that spans the space between one frequency and another. A person can be lunar more toward jovial (which precedes it on the progression), or more toward venusian (which is probably true of me), just as green can be more toward yellow, or more toward blue. We are usually most comfortable with types the same as or adjacent to our own on the progression (many married couples have adjacent types), and most excited by the type opposite our own, which is what is meant by body-type attraction. With opposites, one is positive and the other negative, and one is active and the other passive. The principle of body-type attraction relates to all relationships, not just sexual ones.

Friedlander writes that solar, being outside the progression, “lacks the tensions of attraction and repulsion that inflame the other types.” That sounds like the neutral assimilation axis, upon which the solar type sits on the Michael chart, and the neutral role, scholar. It is interesting that the solar type is perceived as being androgynous rather than the ultimate masculine, despite its being both positive and active, like saturnian. The sun itself is a potent masculine symbol, but it is also suggestive of the neutral assimilation axis in that its light and heat interpenetrate everything in the solar system. The sun is the resource for the planets, just as the role of scholar is the resource of knowledge (positive pole of scholar) for the other roles. Since solar is active and positive like saturnian, we might think that it is also most attracted to lunar, the one type both passive and negative, but solar itself doesn’t favor any of the other body types, again, because it is outside the progression. Friedlander writes that if someone’s type is solar, his secondary type(s) determines his attractions. Although both mercurial and martial are active and negative, they are different in their attractions because of their position in the progression. They receive different influences from their neighboring types: whereas mercurial is moving toward saturnian, which is more active, martial is moving toward jovial, which is passive. Venusian and jovial, which are both passive and positive, are likewise in different positions in the progression. Saturnian, being the apex of masculinity, is at a pivot point. Mercurial has a quality of “building steam” toward it, whereas martial is “losing steam,” or discharging energy. This makes mercurial more high-strung—it seeks opportunities to wind up—and martial more explosive—it seeks opportunities to wind down. Saturnian, having reached that apex, can “afford” to be utterly still. Similarly, lunar is at the apex of femininity. Jovial approaches that apex, so it is releasing itself into passivity, through the pleasures of company, among other things. Venusian, coming from passivity toward activity, is “gearing up” for it, taking in stimulation from martial, which wants to release it. In the opposite way, jovial releases stimulation to mercurial, which wants to absorb it. Lunar is not in motion in either direction; like Saturnian, it is still. As a result of this “stillness,” both lunar and saturnian types tend to be calm and slow-moving, even though saturnian is an active type—it is calmly active. Both mercurials and martials are more obviously active and energetic, in different ways. Martials express their active energy in being feisty and strong. Mercurials, on the other hand, tend to be “zippy,” lively people with fast metabolisms; they are often the kind of people who can eat anything and burn it up. However, that is, of course, not always true; it depends on many factors, such as health and secondary body-type influences. One mercurial I know has the nervousness of the negative pole, but not the liveliness and agility of the positive. He tends to be sluggish and put on weight because of a glandular dysfunction, and he also has a secondary body type of venusian, which is passive.

Body-type attraction is not the same as thinking that someone is beautiful or handsome, or even that someone is our “type.” These reactions have more to do with conditioning. Our image of beauty may relate to what advertising and the media in general promote; our “type” may be someone who reminds us of one of our parents or an earlier lover. Body-type attraction is more subtle. It is our body’s fascination with its opposite, which is partly a magnetic attraction between positive and negative, and between active and passive. Simply sitting next to someone with an opposite body type can excite or stimulate your body, even if he’s not your type or of interest as a sexual partner. Body-type attraction can also account for our being drawn sexually to someone who doesn’t seem to be our “type” or conform to our image of “good-looking.” In addition, it can account for some of those “odd couple” relationships, such as a thin, wiry mercurial type in relationship with a large jovial type. If there is not some body-type attraction or at least body-type compatibility between two people in a romantic relationship, there are probably other elements of attraction between them, such as opposite male/female energy ratios, compatible overleaves, or close essence bonds.

Even though my body’s energy is thirty-seven percent martial, and I have the reddish hair and ruddy complexion of the martial type, the psychological profile of the martial type in Body Types doesn’t fit me, whereas that of the lunar type is, in many ways, very apt; it explains things about me that are not explained elsewhere. One reason that lunar seems so much more “me” is that some other elements of my Michael chart, such as intellectual centering, and some of my imprinting, emphasize its influence, whereas there is less that supports martial personality elements. Also, even though fifty-three percent is relatively low for one’s primary body-type influence, it is still half again more than thirty-seven percent. My ten percent venusian energy adds to the passivity of the lunar, so my body is sixty-three percent passive. The venusian energy is the only positive-charged body-type energy I have; both lunar and martial are negative, so my body is ninety percent negative, which is a significant factor in my life, influencing me to be more sensitive and internal.

Of course, even taken together, the lunar, martial, and venusian archetypes do not account for all my traits. Body types merely describe influences coming from the body. The rest of the Michael Reading chart describes influences from the personality and essence. Countless other factors beyond those considered on a Michael Reading chart, such as imprinting, numerology, and astrology, also play a part—we are marvelously complex beings! Essence and overleaf traits have more influence on a person than body type, especially in older souls and in people who are physically older. A sage with a lunar body type looks quite different from, say, a lunar-type server, who might be more stereotypically lunar. Friedlander’s wife, Jill, an expert in “diagnosing” body types, felt that, because of my “sunny” disposition, I also have some solar influence, which did not agree with my channeling. I explained that being a sage essence, I’m naturally outgoing, and my lunar body type is a little bit like an actor being cast against type; sages, as mentioned, are the most social of the roles, whereas lunar is the least social of the body types. Mercurial, for example, is more natural for sages, since it facilitates communication and wit. I also have an idealist attitude, which tends toward optimism and brightness, whereas lunar is a negative type, and tends to notice the dark side more. Although that is definitely part of me—it’s easy for me to notice flaws, and sometimes become bogged down in dealing with them—the fact of being an idealist and a sage predominates; I’m basically an upbeat person, albeit with a darker, lunar undercurrent.

When secondary body-type influences are strong, they can obscure the main one, at least at first glance, especially when they’re opposite—opposite types can seem to cancel one another out. For example, jovial and mercurial are opposite. If someone is fifty-three percent jovial and forty-seven percent mercurial, it might be difficult to read his type; he won’t stand out as being either passive or active, positive or negative. If someone has a strong saturnian secondary and is quite tall, we might guess saturnian as his main type, since his height is what strikes us about him first. (Although saturnians tend to be tall, a person can be tall with no saturnian influence; jovial and venusian influences can also make for tallness. Also, not all saturnians are tall—specific genetics still play a part—although shorter saturnians tend to look taller than they are because of their lanky build and prominent bone structure.)

According to Yarbro, task companions, when incarnate together, tend to choose the same body type, and essence twins tend to have opposite body types. Body types are different from overleaves and roles in a few respects: Although seven main celestial influences are recognized (from the sun, the moon, and the five closest planets), there are also many other celestial influences that impact the body, whereas there are only seven roles, for instance; there are no other types of essence energies, only combinations of the seven. Also, a soul has only one role, and, in most cases, only one of each overleaf (although a person can slide to others), whereas a body type is dominant only because the body happens to have a higher percentage of its energy, not because the body is that type, in the way that a soul is an artisan (or whatever), despite other influences. Therefore, when I’m channeling a person’s body type, and two types have almost equal influence, sometimes Michael pauses to discern which is slightly higher. That one is given as the body type, and the one that is slightly less in influence is given as the secondary type. If the types shift in influence, this could be reversed. It is not like an overleaf that is constant for the lifetime.


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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