Michael On The Seven Modes

Personality Traits



Michael on the Overleaves, Part Two

Michael channeled by Shepherd Hoodwin
March 14, 2010, BlogTalkRadio chat
Transcribed by Gloria Constantin

A human being consists of "human," which is the personality (outer self), and "being," which is the soul (inner self). There are seven different types of souls; we call these the "roles." They are: server and priest, artisan and sage, warrior and king, and scholar. Overleaves are personality traits called that because they overlay the soul.

Each person has a distinctive soul nature that remains pretty much the same from lifetime to lifetime, but you have a different personality in each lifetime, with a different body (which can be either sex), name, parents, environment, culture, astrology, and more. Each factor contributes to giving you a wide range of experience over your series of lifetimes. Above and beyond these are your overleaves, which are the building blocks of your personality; they include centering, goal, attitude, chief obstacle, and mode. Different overleaves facilitate different kinds of lessons; overleaves suggestive of roles other than your own allow you to have a broader range of them.

Your mode is how your personality is constructed to operate mechanically, so to speak--how you run your energy. In any lifetime, your personality may be reserved or passionate, cautious or powerful, persevering or aggressive, or it may operate in a neutral manner, observantly.

Here are the seven modes, with their positive and negative poles, and the axis they are on:

Inspiration Axis:
[Ordinal] RESERVE: + Restraint, - Inhibition
[Cardinal] PASSION: + Self-Actualization, - Identification

Expression Axis
[Ordinal] CAUTION: + Deliberation, - Phobia
[Cardinal] POWER: + Authority, - Oppression

Action Axis
[Ordinal] PERSEVERANCE: + Persistence, - Immutability
[Cardinal] AGGRESSION: + Dynamism, - Belligerence

Assimilation Axis
[Neutral] OBSERVATION: + Clarity, - Surveillance

Let's first discuss the neutral mode, observation. All the traits on the assimilation axis are neutral: they absorb and assimilate other qualities. It is analogous to your digestive system, which absorbs proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

If you have the neutral mode, you operate in a neutral way that absorbs other people's way of being through observing them. Those in observation mode take in the sights. The positive pole, or quality, is "clarity." A person functioning in a constructive manner relative to this mechanism observes the actions of others without bias, seeing things clearly, not necessarily understanding them but not distorting them, either--there is no agenda. In the negative pole, "surveillance," the person is not minding his own business, and there is an agenda--what is seen is judged, perhaps with suspicion or attributing nefarious motivations.

There is built into each overleaf a way to temporarily slide (move) to at least one other overleaf. As with the other overleaves, there are three pairs of modes that are opposites; for example, passion and reserve are opposites because they are on the same axis (in this case, the inspiration axis), so they are linked to one another directly. It is easy for someone in passion mode to sometimes slide to reserve mode, and vice versa.

Someone in observation mode, which is neutral (not part of a pair), can slide to any of the other six temporarily. Some people have sliding patterns, meaning that they slide to other overleaves in predictable ways. You might say of one individual, for example, that she is in observation mode frequently sliding to perseverance or caution. There are rare individuals who slide to all the other modes at times. Someone who slides frequently to other modes might be hard to read as to what her mode is. The sliding structure gives you a lot of flexibility in how you function.

Even without the sliding mechanism, you can temporarily use the energy of another mode, since you are a conscious being with the ability to choose. If you are in perseverance mode, in addition to sliding to aggression (which shares the action axis), you also might, on rare occasions, bring in the energy of power mode, even though there is no structure for you to use for sliding. If you do this, you most likely remember the feeling of it from other lifetimes in which you were in power mode. However, it is far easier to use the structure of sliding to give you variety and help you meet each situation appropriately. That is especially useful if you have a cardinal mode, aggression, power, or passion. By "cardinal," we mean that they are influential on others; they tend to stand out and be intense since they are expansive. The "ordinal" modes are responsive and contractive, so they tend to be quieter. Sliding to an ordinal mode occasionally could, for example, make someone in a cardinal mode less conspicuous.

There are no modes that are intrinsically positive or negative by themselves; they can all be used to further your life task. However, you can use sliding if your innate mode, the one you had at birth, is no longer ideal for what you are doing. For example, power mode might have allowed you to survive a difficult childhood; if it is no longer as useful, you might it find yourself living more in the opposite mode, caution.

Although almost half the population is in observation mode, that statistic is a little misleading because a lot of people are sliding some of the time. The fact that observation is equipped to slide to any other of the modes is the main reason so many souls choose it. Caution, incidentally, is the second most popular of the modes, after observation. Clearly, it is useful for a lot of human beings to learn through observing or being careful about their choices.

When a person is in observation mode, there is a bit of the quality of the scholar. As we mentioned, the role of scholar is also neutral, and can be seen observing, listening, taking notes, and so forth. A stereotypical scholar may seem dry, detached, or academic; you might think of a literal academic, a professor or researcher, who doesn't have a strong personality, but is more about absorbing knowledge and letting it be center stage rather than self. (Many scholars don't fit this stereotype; for one thing, their neutrality allows them to easily take on the colorings of other traits on their Michael chart.)

Scholars account for only about one-seventh of the world's population, but there are many more people who are in observation mode, doing a sort of imitation of scholar when they are not sliding. People in observation mode, like scholars, are sometimes thought of as aloof, as less involved in life, and that is valid to some degree. However, observing is actually a form of participation, albeit a more low-key form of it--modern physics has shown that you change things by observing them. People in observation mode tend to stare, sometimes without realizing that they are doing it. That is one way to validate this mode.

Q. How can you discern surveillance?

A. In the positive pole of each of the modes, a person reveals herself transparently; in the negative pole, she hides herself. The negative pole of observation may not be easy to discern, depending on how subtle or overt it is, but surveillance is like a spy who tries to observe without being observed, maybe glancing over her shoulder to make sure that she wasn't being followed. The positive pole, clarity, shows up as a person being openly observant. His eyes are neutral, but they are not vacant; there is a sense of presence, of interest in what is going on. In the negative pole, there is furtiveness.

There are many reasons besides the negative pole of observation mode that someone may not mind his own business. Human beings are social animals and are interested in what is going on, both positive and negative, in the community. Partly, this is self-protective. To some degree, the actions of others in the community could affect you, and there can be a strong demand within a culture that everyone conform to certain norms, feeling that that is the best way to make people feel safe, whether or not this is objectively true. Where there is a strong demand for conformity, there are a lot of people surveying others to make sure that they are towing the line. Sometimes there is the attitude that "If I have to follow the (oppressive) rules, then you do, too. I have to give up things that I want to do in order to conform, and I will feel cheated if you get to do those things. I have missed out on so much already." That behavior does not relate directly to the modes, but it might be mistaken for the negative pole of observation. Surveillance shows up more in how a person carries his body, particularly his eyes.

Q. Being unseen seems perfect to me, but nowadays, I feel I must slide into another mode that would allow me to involve myself with people a little more.

A. The desire for invisibility more often relates to what we call the chief feature (or obstacle) of arrogance, which is a fear of being judged and found wanting. It opposes the natural human need to be seen, in the sense of being acknowledged and appreciated. Everyone wants that to some degree, since humans are social animals. The desire to be permanently invisible suggests not feeling safe, whereas the negative pole of observation is more about not letting others see that you are surveying them. There can be guilt associated with not minding your own business, as if you were a peeping Tom. Being too interested in what others are doing often indicates that your own life is not full or interesting enough, in addition to a desire to enforce cultural norms.

If being invisible is now uncomfortable, the first step is to fully see and acknowledge yourself, and then gradually start risking letting others in.

Q. How does observation mode work for an actor?

A. Actors who are neutral in personality are frequently cast as more neutral characters, although a well-trained actor probably uses the sliding mechanism often. Observation mode can be advantageous to an actor who has developed a feel for the other modes and can call upon them when the part demands it. However, the most memorable actors, particularly those who are known for particular kinds of personalities rather than the more versatile types who lose themselves in their roles, tend to have a cardinal mode. Power mode is particularly useful onstage, and not surprisingly, it is the sage-position mode. Power mode amplifies a person's self-expression, and this is useful onstage because it carries to the back row. Throughout most of history, there was no electronic amplification, so a person who had that personality-level amplification had an advantage. Aggression mode is an appropriate fit for actors in action movies. Passion mode is an obvious one for soap operas, dramas, and uninhibited comedies, as opposed to those more designed around cleverness.

All that said, mode is probably not the key ingredient for an actor. There is every possible configuration of Michael teachings chart traits among successful actors. There are many sages and artisans, but since actors portray the range of human experience, it is useful to have all the roles and overleaves represented among them.

The three cardinal modes are more "in your face." Aggression is the most cardinal of the three, being the king-position mode. Whereas observation mode, being neutral, is generally the least noticeable, aggression mode can be the most noticeable when it is activated, which puts the person in motion (not necessarily literally, but at least figuratively); otherwise, you may not notice it. Power mode, on the other hand, exudes from a person most of the time, so it is more consistently noticeable.

Aggression and perseverance are on the action axis, so rather than assimilating, they are about doing things. Anyone in aggression or perseverance mode is built, on a personality level, to handle his life by taking action. Aggression is on the cardinal, or exalted side, of the axis, so a person in aggression mode acts expansively, doing a lot of things, keeping many irons in the fire. Like a king soul, he is seen as someone who can handle a lot of responsibility. The negative pole is "belligerence," which brings to mind the king's negative pole of "tyranny." In the positive pole, "dynamism," the person in aggression mode juggles a lot of balls with balance, equilibrium, and control. In the negative pole, a person flies off the handle; there is a breakdown of the ability to master what is going on. Perhaps she loses her temper and yells.

Negative poles of anything suggest a distortion based on fear, which can manifest as ill will or any other kind of negativity. Kings, and also warriors, can have a hard time handling their temper simply because they are so focused; they are dealing with a lot of concentrated power in the outer world. Therefore, when it goes negative, it is pretty obvious for all to see; the same is true of aggression mode. The best way to validate aggression mode is that a person flies off the handle at times, especially when under stress, fatigued, or fearful.

After such an outburst, a person might feel guilty and ashamed, and it is true that acting from such powerful energy in a negative way can hurt others. However, if you understand the overleaves, you can make some allowance for the fact that it is not easy to manage. Someone in aggression mode has challenges that a person in observation mode may not. Therefore, if you are in observation mode, you cannot take a lot of credit for perhaps having greater control over your temper--you are built in a different way. In observation, you also are not likely to be as dynamic as someone in aggression mode. Of course, every trait is essential to the whole and has benefits to offer. If all people were the same, the range of experience would be much narrower.

Perseverance mode, the opposite of aggression, is also about doing, but it tends to hone in on doing one thing, as opposed to many things. It is a good choice for a soul who generally has trouble finishing things. The positive pole is "persistence"; the negative pole is "immutability," meaning that a person insists on finishing something that needs to be let go of, that does not need to be finished or that has already been finished--it is an inability to move on. It is like a cartoon bulldog not letting go of a mailman's leg. (Warriors share the same side of the same axis as perseverance, and a bulldog is not a bad analogy for a stereotypical warrior, either, although, with all things, there are many exceptions to stereotypes.)

If you are in immutability, slide to aggression and be dynamic; think of all the things you want to accomplish, and that will get you moving again. By the same token, if you are in the negative pole of aggression and you are having a meltdown, slide to perseverance: pick one thing to persist in, to complete all the way through; don't try to do so many things. That will help to get you back into the positive pole of being dynamic. We call this the "hands across" technique. In observation, you can slide to the positive pole of any of the other modes to get out of surveillance. This is called the "hands through" technique, since it can involve more than one place to which to slide.

Q. I'm in aggression mode and I get very stressed. Could that be an example of belligerence?

A. Yes, depending on how it manifests. If it comes out with a lack of self-control, a tendency to go to pieces, then that is likely belligerence.

Q. How does aggression's negative pole show up when not around others?

A. A person can have a meltdown without others around. An example is trying to fix something, and when it's not going well, kicking or smashing it out of frustration. There's a lot of concentrated power in all the king-position overleaves. It's not that any trait is inherently more powerful than any other in the long run, but with the action axis, the power tends to be out front, so it is more obvious, especially on the king side via dominance, moving center, impatience, and martial body type. The action axis is, by definition, about the outer world: what you can see and touch, the realm of manifestation--it is about doing things for results.

There is a simplicity in the straightforwardness of the action axis, which goes along with the famous tendency of warriors and kings to be blunt. Although there may be hidden elements or strategies for winning with kings and warriors, they tend to value being obvious and straightforward, without subtlety; they are suspicious of what is not displayed thoroughly. When the king mode, aggression, is working well, its effects are immediately obvious in dynamic productivity, and when it goes awry, when the wires get crossed, the results of that are also immediately obvious in the breakdown that results.

The inspiration axis is the opposite; it's about the inner world. The inner world is feminine; the outer world is masculine. Male genitals are mostly external--they can be seen. Female genitals are mostly internal--much happens within them before there is any result, such as the nine-month gestation of a baby.

The most internal mode is reserve. The original term for it is "repression mode," which was not meant negatively, although it is sometimes interpreted thus. It is simply the opposite of passion. The positive pole of passion is "self-actualization." Passion is about letting the inner world take its course without restraint. Reserve, on the other hand, has a positive pole of "restraint." Obviously, there is a place for restraint. In reserve mode, a person operates in such a way as to create an inner world of refinement and beauty. If you compare modes to dance, reserve would be ballet, in which there is, ideally, full control of every muscle in the body to express something graceful and lovely. Reserve is chosen when a person wants to wake up consciousness in the subtlest levels of his inner world. However, when this mode operates without consciousness, it simply shuts things down, and that is called "inhibition." Like the role of server that it correlates with, this is the most ordinal mode, so it can be very contractive. A person in the negative pole of reserve can be crippled by an inability to feel anything, so rather than being an elegant, gracious expression, it is blocked, unable to have enjoyment and a free flow.

Passion mode explores the other end of this polarity. It is about the positive and negative sides of not controlling the inner world. In the positive pole, there is great joy that comes from freedom, from letting the natural take its course. It is like free-form dance, such as in a nightclub, people moving however they feel. There is also potentially much beauty in it; it is not a refined expression, but it makes up for that in its joie de vivre and spontaneity, in which something new may come through as a result of not controlling anything.

The negative side of "letting it all hang out," of having few boundaries, is loss of self. In the positive pole of reserve mode, there is a clear sense of the sanctity of self. For example, someone who has studied ballet for many years likely carries himself with an awareness of the boundaries and shape of self, and there is an ability to move through space in a self-assured manner with fine posture and grace. In the negative side of passion mode, there is an inability to know who you are. The positive pole means that you find out who you are by pouring your whole self into what you are doing, and you gain an actualization through the thing that you are giving yourself to.

Let's say that you volunteer for a charity organization, you work hard, it gives you a lot of pleasure, and you learn things about yourself because you didn't hold back; your passion came from within you and filled this larger form, giving you a greater sense of self. In the negative pole, "identification," you take it too far, and your self is like a leaky boat that sinks to the bottom of the larger form, rather than being buoyed by it. There's not enough sense of who you are left apart from that outer thing to hold yourself together. For example, you get involved in a romantic relationship. At first, you are on cloud nine because you are running your energy freely. Your lovemaking is exuberant (it may not be refined; refinement would come from the opposite, reserve mode) but it brings much pleasure because it is free. Then, however, everything starts to become about the other person, and you lose touch with your own needs and feelings. If this happens, slide to the opposite mode, reserve, and use restraint. This means you start to make a lot of little choices about how you carry yourself in that situation, so that you can get back to self-actualizing. On the other hand, a person in inhibition would do the opposite, and throw himself into something freely in an effort to let go into a larger container rather than holding on to the small internal container. These two modes illustrate the need to balance form and content, boundaries and exuberance. Those who are in one of these modes play with those polarities.

A person in reserve mode is not usually too hard to spot. There's often a graciousness, but there can also be an uptightness from not being able to let go internally, to feel freely (whereas in the negative pole of perseverance, a person can't let go of what she's doing, and in the negative pole of caution, of his expression). Passion mode is easy to spot when a person manifests it in physical or emotional ways. Emotional passion, especially, often manifests in ways that stand out to others. However, if a person is, say, in the moving part of the intellectual center and is not very emotional, there would still be a sense of passion mode's not trying to control the inner world, but you would have to be able to see the person's intellectual passion at work in order to identify it.

Q. I've been pouring through the work of Virginia Woolf, and she's been channeled as being in passion mode. In some of her letters, she's written about the personal challenge of having boundless, effusive emotions that she sometimes struggled to harness intellectually. She also mentions an eternal quest to find the self, and many of her characters are driven by this same quest.

A. It is a matter of true boundaries versus false. Passion mode seeks to minimize boundaries in order to discover a truer boundary, one that will emerge from within. In passion mode, you throw yourself into something new and see what shape it will take so that you can find out that you are something more than you realized you were earlier. Reserve mode, on the other hand, is about exploring the self that has already been created, and discovering that it is beautiful rather than a straitjacket. They are like the two goals on this axis, reevaluation and growth. Growth adds new experiences, and reevaluation processes the old ones, bringing them to their highest state.

You might compare this to the way progress occurs in music. In his day, Johannes Sebastian Bach was considered old school; he did not pioneer new techniques; he took old ones and did everything he could with them. That is like reevaluation and reserve on the ordinal inspiration axis, working with old forms and making them beautiful. Beethoven came along not much later, built on Bach's work, and pushed into new, more passionate and expansive experiences, which is like growth and passion.

Progress always has some of this back-and-forth. You need a lot more growth than reevaluation, but reevaluation balances the growth; it makes sure that it is really growth. Likewise, you need more lifetimes in passion mode than in reserve, but occasionally going into reserve helps you to make sure that the passion is real and under control. Another analogy is pruning a garden: most of the time, you want the plants to grow freely, but once in a while, you cut things back. Reevaluation, reserve, and the stoic attitude are like pruning shears, whereas the more common growth, spiritualist, and passion are expansive to the inner world.

Lastly, we come to the two modes on the expression axis, which links inspiration (the inner world) with action (the outer world) through communication and creativity--the expression axis scans and mines the inner world for something that can be used in the outer world. Power mode radiates outward what is in the inner world, amplifying it (since it's cardinal). It has a positive pole of "authority." Authority turns up the volume on what is in the inner world so that others, in the outer world, can see it. If you are in power mode, your soul is interested in making sure that people pay attention to you. It might be because you expected to be in circumstances where that might not have otherwise happened, or it could be that you tended to be invisible in other lives. If you are in power mode, it is hard not to be noticed. If you also have a chief obstacle of arrogance, these two forces can be in conflict in your personality because arrogance wants to hide from scrutiny, while power mode makes sure that you cannot "hide your light under a bushel." Everything is amplified, whether you are consciously choosing that or not.

If you are a sage in power mode, the mode is stronger because these two traits reinforce each other by reason of being on the same side of the same axis. A sage in power may seem more opinionated than he thinks himself to be. Sages are all about insights, understanding how things happen, and disseminating knowledge that could be useful; that includes the realm of opinion. When a sage in power expresses an opinion, it is expressed in an amplified way. The sage may feel that this is just his opinion, but to others, it may seem like a very strong opinion. This could be perceived in a positive or negative way, but it certainly gives the person a quality of authority, because people who express their opinions strongly tend to be taken more seriously. It is assumed that if you strongly believe in what you are saying, there must be something to it.

Caution mode, the opposite, is wary. In the positive pole, "deliberation," a person tends to be careful about how she expresses her opinions, perhaps being more precise and fair due to giving conscious thought to them (caution is on the same side of the same axis as the intellectual center). However, they may seem weaker to others for their lack of authority.

The negative pole of power mode is "oppression." That is simply an amplification of any negative mood that the person might have. A way you can validate people in power mode is that they are usually unable to hide a bad mood. If you are in oppression, slide to deliberation: be more careful about how you express yourself. The negative pole of caution mode is "phobia." Instead of simply being careful about how you express yourself, you don't express yourself at all out of fear of making a mistake, of expressing the wrong thing. This is not unlike the negative pole of reserve, inhibition, but being on the inspiration axis, is about the inner world--frozen by fear, it holds its emotions in. Perseverance, on the action axis, is frozen by fear into robotic, thoughtless repetition of the same action.

Knowing the axes--knowing that when you are talking about caution and power, you are talking about expression--serves to illuminate what these modes are about and how people who have them function. Simply having an expressive mode, whether caution or power, tells you that your life task has something to do with self-expression. Likewise, if your mode is reserve or passion, your life task is more involved with your inner world. Etc. So there's a lot of understanding to be gained by simply looking at which axis an overleaf is on and whether it's cardinal or ordinal (expanded or contracted), and what the overleaf itself is about. Mode is about mechanics, about how you as an essence interface with the world. Do you interface with the world cautiously or with power? Are you dynamically aggressive or particularly good at sticking with one thing until it's finished? Are you restrained or passionate? Or are you neutrally observant? Mode indicates the mechanics of everything else on your Michael teachings chart.


If you know what your mode is, feel how it operates in your life. If you don't, notice how your energy tends to operate in your life. If you are in observation mode, notice if you slide to any of the others. If your mode is ordinal or cardinal, notice if you sometime slide to the opposite. Whatever your mode is, ask that your inner self show you how to use it more consistently constructively. Feel yourself being attracted to its most positive expression.

Related Articles:

Michael on Goals
Michael on Attitudes
Michael on Modes
Michael on Centers
Michael on Chief Features
Michael on Soul Age
Michael on Soul Age, Part 2


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 ShepherdHoodwin.com


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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 experience during each lifetime.