The Soul's Journey

An excerpt from "Journey of Your Soul"

soul journey


We are vast and multifaceted, and there are many ways of describing our various parts. However, the Michael teachings outline three basic levels of self: personality, essence (or soul), and spark.

Our personality is our outermost level; it is who we are for this lifetime only. It is a composite of physical, mental, and emotional traits and is influenced by factors such as overleaves, body type, heredity, imprinting, numerology, astrology, and many others. Our personality develops from what we learn in this lifetime.

Our essence animates our personality, providing our spiritual component. It is the part of us that continues from lifetime to lifetime on the physical plane, as well as through the six higher planes of creation in the universe. It is influenced by factors such as role, cadence position, entity, frequency, male/female energy ratio, and many others. Our essence develops from what we learn in all our earth lifetimes and our periods between lifetimes, the “astral interval.” When our personality integrates lessons from our present lifetime, they become part of our essence’s knowledge.

Our spark animates our essence. It is our core, the part of us that is a unit of consciousness of the Tao, which is also referred to as the “All That Is” or the “Ground of All Being.” The Tao is what is beyond the universe, the source from which the universe springs. Thus far, the Michael teachings don’t delineate traits on the spark’s level as they do with the personality overleaves and essence roles. Our spark develops from what we learn in all our experiences in the universe. When our essence integrates the experiences of our series of earth lifetimes, as well as our higher-plane experiences, they become part of our spark’s knowledge.

Our spark created our essence to enable us to express ourselves in the universe. Our essence, in turn, created our personality to enable us to express ourselves specifically on the physical plane. When a spark creates an essence, Michael refers to that as “casting“ from the Tao.


The Tao consists of an infinite number of sparks, or units of consciousness, that are at once wholly unified and individual, like the cells of our body. Some of these sparks are purely potential, and others have experienced varying degrees and kinds of realization in the universe and in the Tao itself. The Tao is the fundamental creator, and it created the universe to be its “workshop,” a place where it could manifest and further know itself. The Tao pervades the universe with love, which is the animating force, the fundamental impulse, in all creation. Our spark, being part of the Tao, shares in the Tao’s creativity. When we created our essence, we cast or extended ourselves from the Tao into the universe in order to expand the Tao. We explore, experience, and create in order to actualize more of the Tao’s potential and bring back to it a wealth of new knowledge about itself. Since the Tao’s nature is love, what we are really about, ultimately, is expanding love.

This journey from the Tao into the universe and back to the Tao again has seven main “destinations.” These are the universe’s seven planes of creation. Our first destination is the physical plane, which obviously is where we find ourselves now. When we complete the physical plane, we will next have a cycle of experience on the astral plane. When that is complete, we will move on to the causal plane, and so forth, until we have ascended through all the higher planes and are again fully focused in the Tao.

When we are cast from the Tao, we become a “fragment.” During the middle of our time on the physical plane (the young soul cycle), we are at our most fragmented or individual. After that, our journey back to being fully focused in the Tao, which is the experience of total oneness, begins. (Humanity as a whole is on the verge of this—the average soul age on earth is sixth-level young; this will be a first-level mature planet probably within fifty years.) This journey involves incremental steps of reunification. On the upper astral and lower causal planes, our entity reunites; our entity is our spiritual family, consisting of about a thousand souls. On the upper causal plane, our cadre reunites; a cadre is a group of seven entities. At this point, we experience enough unity that we are no longer considered fragments. As we move through the three high planes, consecutively larger groups of cadres reunite, until everything is reunited back into the Tao.

I call the big “loop” to and from the Tao a “grand cycle,” to differentiate it from shorter cycles such as the old-soul cycle. It is like taking a great journey around the world and returning home with a much-expanded awareness. Someone on a journey around the world may feel that his heart remains at home, no matter how wonderful the journey is. On our journey through the universe, our heart could be said to remain at home in the Tao. In casting from the Tao, we never actually leave it; our spark is eternally a part of it.

Our essence is a sort of “vehicle” for the spark‘s journey. A spark cannot live in the universe without a relatively dense form to anchor it. Picture a spark cast from a fire—it is ephemeral, gone in a moment. So our essence gives our spark form in the universe. The Michael teachings refer to the seven basic kinds of essences a spark can create as the “roles” or “essence roles.” They are server, priest, artisan, sage, warrior, king, and scholar. They are rather like the various basic kinds of vehicles we can choose from if we wish to drive on a trip: sedan, hatchback, truck, van, and so on. To continue the analogy, the make and model of the vehicle, the kind of interior, the color scheme, and the other choices we have when selecting a vehicle roughly correspond to such elements of our essence as male/female energy ratio, frequency, and the larger configurations in which we participate, such as our entity—these modify the “basic vehicle.”

When we are ready to incarnate on the physical plane, we have several other choices to make that will further shape our experiences, giving us a specific personality and set of circumstances so that we can accomplish our life plan. These include our overleaves, body type, agreements, and so on. We also choose our parents and physical body, and can, to a degree, influence our time of birth (which affects our astrological influences). To continue the analogy of a trip, the personality and circumstances we take on might be compared to the motel and city where we spend a night.

Michael is fond of saying that all is choice. Obviously, the choices of other people affect our lives, but we are the primary creators of our experience. Sometimes people complain, “I didn’t choose to be born.” Although that’s true on the level of personality, which is the creation of our essence, on an inner level we did choose to be born. We are both creator and creation.

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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