Roles and Overleaves
By Shepherd Hoodwin
This is a guide to the core Michael teachings traits.
Each sits on one of the four axes: inspiration (the inner world), expression (bridging the inner and outer worlds), action (the outer world), and assimilation (a neutral resource for the other axes). The first three axes are divided into ordinal (concrete/contracted) and cardinal (abstract/expanded). The assimilation axis is not divided, making seven positions for each category.
Knowing a trait’s position helps you understand it. For example, the first pair of roles, server and priest, are ordinal and cardinal, respectively, on the inspiration axis. This immediately tells you that servers like to inspire in a concrete way, and priests, in a big-picture way.
Please also see “Roles, Obstacles, Overleaves, Love Levels, and Monads” in the Chart Reference Material folder or here:
Your role is the kind of soul you are. It’s your primary way of being, your inner style, and therefore, how you contribute to life. Every role can do any profession, but there are proclivities, and your role indicates how you are likely to approach anything you do. For example, although many artists are artisans, there are people of each role who are successful artists. It’s not so much what you do but how you do it. Priest artists, for instance, might emphasize how they might inspire others through their craft, rather than focusing so much on the craft itself, as an artisan might.
SERVER (Ordinal Inspiration)
Server has a positive pole of service and a negative pole of bondage. Servers have two inputs or psychic receivers through which they receive information. One is for consensus reality (which all souls have) and the other is for their vision of the “common good,” which they serve. Being the most ordinal role, servers can inspire in any situation—there is always some way to help—so they don’t need special circumstances. They like to feel useful and needed, and generally, any appreciated task will do, although, of course, they have personal preferences. There are a lot of servers running government bureaucracies, waiting on patrons in restaurants, and in other forms of hospitality.
In the positive pole, servers are characterized by kindness, caring, and gentleness. They tend to have soft, warm, doe-like eyes. The negative pole leaves servers feeling like a doormat, underappreciated but stuck with their lot; they can be overly officious, manipulative, and rigid in their ideas about what is best. Servers love to care for others, but if they take it too far and forget to take care of themselves, too, they can burn out.
Famous servers include the Dalai Lama, Doris Day, Queen Elizabeth II, Sally Field, John of God, Ray Liotta, Paul McCartney, Vladimir Putin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan Sarandon, Wesley Snipes, Jimmy Stewart, and Mother Teresa.
PRIEST (Cardinal Inspiration)
Without inspiring and being inspired, priests languish. Since priest is on the cardinal side of the inspiration axis, priests need to experience inspiration in an exalted, or expanded, way—they seek the higher good, as they define it. They need to feel that they are on their mission and helping others to do the same.
The positive pole of priest is compassion. Priests are the most compassionate of souls, and it can manifest as a hot, penetrating quality in their eyes. In compassion, they both feel for and feel withothers, which make priests the most adept healers of all stripes (medical and holistic doctors, nurses, therapists, religious and spiritual leaders, etc.) They are also natural empaths.
The negative pole is zeal. In zeal, priests get carried away with their ideas about the higher good, fail to fully evaluate them, and perhaps try to ram them down other people’s throats. Priests are the most susceptible to guilt, both feeling guilty for not living up to their ideal of the higher good (“I really should be perfect and save the world! I’m such a failure.”) and inflicting guilt on others (“You knowthat smoking is bad for you! Why don’t you listen to me?”) Priests can carry the world on their shoulders, and can benefit from more laughter. They easily take on negative energies from others out of a desire to heal them, and need to learn that that is not the best way to help them. In the positive pole, priests have compassion for our human shortcomings.
Well-known priests include Julie Andrews, Joan Baez, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Edgar Cayce, Benedict Cumberbatch, Yogi Amrit Desai, Bob Dylan, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Pope Francis, Francis of Assisi, Sigmund Freud, Mohandas Gandhi, Jerry Garcia, Richard Gere, Alexander Hamilton, Woody Harrelson, Carl Jung, Helen Keller, Gene Kelly, Martin Luther King, Jr., Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, John Lennon, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Mary (Jesus’ mother), Robert Monroe, Barack Obama, Norman Vincent Peale, Mike Pence, Plato, Jane Roberts, Martin Sheen, Yogiraj Siddanath, Bruce Springsteen, Rudolph Steiner, Sting, Nikola Tesla, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Christopher Walken, and Emma Watson.
ARTISAN (Ordinal Expression)
The positive pole of artisan is creation. Artisans are the most creative and sensitive of the roles. Their eyes tend to be childlike and radiant. Many people assume that artisan creativity must manifest as working in the fine arts or crafts; that is not the case. Artisans are also engineers, architects, repairpersons, chefs, designers, and are commonly found in all the trades. Because artisans love structure, form, and delving into how things work, they may also be attracted to math, science, and technology. They are particularly good with their hands. Artisans are drawn to the kinds of sports that require technique and craft (as opposed to brute force). Like all roles, they can also be found in every walk of life. For example, although the field of medicine is typically the domain of priests and scholars, many surgeons are artisans.
The negative pole is artifice or “self-deception.” The dark side of creativity is delusion. Sometimes, artisans not only paint castles in the sky, but move into them and convince banks to give them mortgages on them! An artifice is a false creation. Without engaging, the artisan’s creations lack true originality. Artisans can also be too creative for their own good, reading too much into things or living in a world that bears little resemblance to the world that others live in. For that reason, frequent reality checks are a good idea for them.
Artisans have five psychic inputs, sages have three, and the other roles have one or two. That means that five pieces of information come at artisans at once from outside them. This facilitates creativity, because they have more raw material to “mix and match,” but it can also make for being scattered and flaky, not all “there” because of so much going on in their minds—it’s harder to manage so much information at once. It also makes it harder to close down, so it can make them feel vulnerable, and can make escapes such as substance abuse (or milder ones such as video games, TV, reading, etc.) especially appealing.
Famous artisans include Woody Allen, Fred Astaire, Burt Bacharach, Tony Blair, Emily Blunt, Cher, David Bowie, Johannes Brahms, Matthew Broderick, Jimmy Carter, Julia Child, Hillary Clinton, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Billy Crudup, Matt Damon, Claire Danes, Princess Diana, Leonardo Di Caprio, Walt Disney, Robert Downey, Jr., Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Fallon, Mia Farrow, Colin Firth, Jodie Foster, Lady Gaga, Judy Garland, Paul Gauguin, Lindsey Graham, Rupert Grint, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Prince Harry, Gregory Hines, Scarlett Johansson, Dwayne Johnson, Grace Kelly, Nicole Kidman, Luke (New Testament), Tobey Maguire, Michelangelo, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joni Mitchell, Jason Momoa, Marilyn Monroe, Viggo Mortensen, Wolfgang Mozart, Al Pacino, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brad Pitt, Chris Pratt, Prince (musician), Raphael, August Renoir, Richard Rodgers, Diana Ross, David Sedaris, Sarah Silverman, Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, John Travolta, Melania Trump, Vincent van Gogh, Denzel Washington, Kate Winslet, Stevie Wonder, Virginia Woolf, and Renee Zellweger.
SAGE (Cardinal Expression)
Sages seek insight above all. Sage is on the expression axis, so sages need to express themselves and have their expression be received. It is on the cardinal side, so their expression is abstract, such as the communication of ideas (as opposed to an artisan’s concrete creations). Sages emphasize the fifth (throat) chakra, and music, counseling, and teaching are among the sage’s natural talents. Sages are famous for their sense of humor, and love to laugh. Their eyes can be mirthful and mischievous. Sages often like to try new things and tend to be open-minded.
Sages are the quintessential performers. Sages are all over the media and music industry. More actors, and, especially, comic actors and comedians, are sages than any other role. A large number of writers, producers, singers, dancers, etc. are sages. Sages are also commonly found in public relations, advertising, and sales.
The positive pole of sage is expression; the negative pole is oration. In expression, sages express with sensitivity to their audience, providing what fits, and being quiet when it is not appropriate or when there is not openness. In oration, sages talk too much and/or are irritating, grabbing the attention of others (which all sages need, in order to do their job) rather than earning it.
Well-known sages include Jennifer Aniston, Louis Armstrong, Leonard Bernstein, Jack Black, Lenny Bruce, Flavio Cabobianco, Joseph Campbell, Jim Carrey, Carol Channing, Kristin Chenoweth, Bill Clinton, George Clooney, Stephen Colbert, Bradley Cooper, Tom Cruise, Tina Fey, George Gershwin, Mel Gibson, Whoopie Goldberg, Gene Hackman, George Handel, Bert Hellinger, Ernest Hemingway, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Stephen King, Keira Knightly, Jay Leno, Mindy Kaling, Rush Limbaugh, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Maher, Jr., Michael Moore, Swami Muktananda, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Carolyn Myss, Jack Nicholson, Conan O’Brien, Laurence Olivier, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Osho, Luciano Pavarotti, Amy Poehler, Elvis Presley, John Roberts, Julia Roberts, Ginger Rogers, Franklin Roosevelt, J. K. Rowling, Carl Sagan, Peter Sellers, Desmond Tutu, James Van Praagh, Oscar Wilde, Marianne Williamson, Oprah Winfrey, and Catherine Zeta Jones.
WARRIOR (Ordinal Action)
Warriors are cool and no-nonsense, and quite powerful, because they have one input—they focus all their attention in one place at a time. They are tough, grounded, sturdy workhorses, and the most sexual of the roles. Their eyes tend to be blunt, intense, earthy, and cool.
Warriors are characterized by a “macho” instinctive drive in both women and men. They are the most blunt and non-diplomatic of the roles. They are all about the “bottom line” and productivity. Their domains are business, the military, law enforcement, and anything practical that brings efficiency to society. They are big on self-sufficiency, “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,” getting the job done without excuses, like the Nike ad: “Just do it.”
Warrior has a positive pole of persuasion and a negative pole of coercion. Warriors are good at selling because of their ability to persuade. They help things work more efficiently by getting others on the same page. In the negative pole, they force their ideas on others.
Famous warriors include Jessica Alba, Angela Bassett, Sandra Bernhard, Bono, James Brolin, Julius Caesar, Kit Carson, Prince Charles, Richard Cheney, Andrew Dice Clay, Jamie Lee Curtis, Judi Dench, Kat Dennings, Johnny Depp, Wyatt Earp, Eminem, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, George Gurdjieff, Adolf Hitler, Marilyn Horne, Joan of Arc, Jessica Lange, Jack London, Mao Tse Tung, Matthew (Jesus’s disciple), Golde Meir, Lea Michele, George Patton, Sondra Ray, King Richard III, Theodore Roosevelt, Amy Schumer, Sam Shepard, Barbara Stanwick, Oliver Stone, Barbra Streisand, Thomas (Jesus’s disciple), Clarence Thomas, Harry Truman, Kathleen Turner, Mario Van Peebles, Maria von Trapp, and Sigourney Weaver.
KING (Cardinal Action)
King has a positive pole of mastery, and a negative pole of tyranny. In mastery, kings seek to be in command of their own faculties. Tyranny means expecting too much of others and bearing down on them to do what they think they should, assuming they know best and have the right to decide. Kings seek excellence and are all about implementation; they are prone to perfectionism and can be too hard on themselves and others. Their eyes tend to be knife-like: sharp, metallic, intense, earthy, and cool.
Kings like being in charge, but as Michael says in Messages from Michael by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, “More king souls have been slaves in the world than slave (server) souls have been kings. This is partly because there are more collars than thrones available.” Kings may not be at the top of the food chain in an obvious way, but they have a commanding, powerful presence and inspire loyalty in others.
Kings often have stringent lessons about the use of power, on both ends, because it’s so central to their being. It’s almost certain that kings have misused power in the past, because no one gets it right the first time.
Well-known kings include Alexander the Great, Lauren Bacall, Christian Bale, Bela Bartok, Yul Brynner, James Cameron, Stockard Channing, Cleopatra, Sean Connery, Joan Crawford, Jeffrey Dahmer, Bette Davis, Colin Davis, Queen Elizabeth I, Gal Gadot, James Garner, Siddhartha Gautama, Samuel Goldwyn, Ryan Gosling, Alec Guinness, Katherine Hepburn, Jesus Christ, Steve Jobs, James Earl Jones, Tommy Lee Jones, Khloé Kardashian, John F. Kennedy, Jerome Kern, Jack Kerouac, Dennis Kucinich, Lao Tzu, Lucy Lawless, Li Hongzhi, Niccolo Machiavelli, Lee Marvin, John Merrick, Alice Miller, Thich Nhat Hahn, Jessye Norman, Christopher Plummer, Harold Prince, Wilhelm Reich, Steven Seagal, Paul Selig, Patrick Stewart, Sharon Stone, Elaine Stritch, Kiri Te Kanawa, Gene Tierney, Melvin Van Peebles, Iyanla Vanzant, and Orson Welles.
SCHOLAR (Neutral Assimilation)
Scholars love to learn and tend to be interested in a wide, eclectic range of subjects; academia and research are their natural domains. They can excel in any field, but tend to approach everything by learning as much as possible about it first rather than jumping into it more intuitively. They can be as passionate and intense as any other role, but they more often have a quality of dispassionate objectivity as the detached observer. Their eyes often have a neutral, Van Gogh-ish quality—one can almost see swirling circles in front of them that perhaps allow them to observe without being seen too much.
Scholars tend to have an encyclopedic memory for facts. There are many different types of intelligence (the creative intelligence or artisans, for one); scholars’ intelligence tends to be more stereotypical. They can show off in class with the right answers. They tend to enjoy all institutions of learning (including museums) and like to get advanced degrees. Most scholars love to travel, a way of learning through the body.
Scholars not only have knowledge (the positive pole) about things, they also tend to know how to doa lot of things. In the positive pole, they have living, genuine knowledge that fits in the real world. In the negative pole, they have false or untested knowledge, theory, that sounds good “on paper” but doesn’t pan out when tested. They can be excessively dry and vicarious, rather than participating and living life.
Famous scholars include Ben Affleck, Marcus Aurelius, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Art Bell, Candace Bergen, Susan Boyle, Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, George W. Bush, Gabriel Byrne, Lord Byron, Truman Capote, Orson Scott Card, Helena Bonham Carter, Deepak Chopra, Aaron Copeland, Daniel Craig, Leonardo Da Vinci, Emily Dickinson, Vin Diesel, Matt Dillon, Mike Dooley, Albert Einstein, Jerry Falwell, Robert Frost, Ira Gershwin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kathy Griffin, Oscar Hammerstein II, Daryl Hannah, George Harrison, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Randolph Hearst, Charlton Heston, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Holly Hunter, John of Patmos, Samuel Johnson, Rudyard Kipling, Michio Kushi, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ramana Maharshi, Somerset Maugham, Robert Mitchum, Richard Nixon, Nick Nolte, Michelle Obama, Pontius Pilate, Sergei Prokofiev, Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Robbins, Fred Rogers, Karl Rove, Stephen Schwartz, David Schwimmer, William Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, Stephen Sondheim, Jon Stewart, Hilary Swank, Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson, Eckhart Tolle, John Wayne, Walt Whitman, Prince William, Woodrow Wilson, and Natalie Wood.
Your role is a trait of your essence, or soul, making it true for all your lifetimes. Next are the overleaves, personality traits that overlay essence and can be different in each lifetime.
The seven overleaves from innermost to outermost are:
- Goal: what we do
- Attitude: why we do it
- Mode: how we do it
- Center: part of self from which we do it
- Obstacle(s): what blocks our doing
- Body type: what embodies our doing
- Soul age: perspective of our doing
The goal may be the most significant overleaf but it’s not usually the most obvious. It’s your motivator, what pulls you through your lifetime, what you ultimately seek from each circumstance.
REEVALUATION (Ordinal Inspiration)
Being on the ordinal side of the inspiration axis, reevaluation, the rarest goal, focuses on the inner world in a contracted way. It has a positive pole of atavism and a negative pole of withdrawal. In atavism, people live a simple, quiet, “back to basics” life. In withdrawal, they just retreat, hiding from life rather than fruitfully processing their experiences. Those in reevaluation sometimes fantasize about retiring to a cabin in the woods or a cottage on a lake. Fishing is a typical reevaluation activity for men, and knitting, for women.
GROWTH (Cardinal Inspiration)
Growth (+ comprehension, – confusion) is the most common goal; forty percent of us have it. It motivates people to expand (cardinal) internally (inspiration) by seeking stimulation via new things, whether learning a new language, cuisine, or environment. Growth makes people busy and perhaps more self-involved (not necessarily negatively) than some of the other goals do. It creates a lifetime of challenges that they can overcome if they work hard, as opposed to, say, acceptance, which creates a lifetime of “like it or lump it,” or flow, which rewards letting go and allowing things to happen as they will.
DISCRIMINATION (Ordinal Expression)
Discrimination, aka “rejection,” is the second rarest goal and one of the most challenging overleaves. The intellectual center is also ordinal expression; in the positive pole, sophistication, the intellectual parsing of discrimination helps one learn to discern and make better choices, which is a key concept of the Michael teachings. Discrimination is about appropriately saying no, as opposed to acceptance, which about appropriately saying yes. Their eyes may squint as if they’re working to discern. The negative pole is prejudice; in its strongest manifestation, it can make people reject others without cause, driving them away without examining and thinking about it.
ACCEPTANCE (Cardinal Expression)
Acceptance is the second most common goal; thirty percent of us have it at any given time. It is among the softest of overleaves, making one a “nice guy.” Those in acceptance are mediators, the “glue” that helps hold societies together. In its more exalted form, people with this goal work to have acceptance for all things, including not being accepted by others. It is called the highest goal because we are all ultimately learning agape (unconditional love), its positive pole, but tolerance and greater inner peace are excellent steps along the way. The negative pole of acceptance is ingratiation—at its worst, it’s brownnosing. In seeking the acceptance of others, there can be fear about not being liked and then trying too hard.
SUBMISSION (Ordinal Action)
Submission has a positive pole, devotion, that is reminiscent of servers, whose positive pole is service. However, submission is on the action axis, so it involves doing: people in submission devote themselves through action. Servers obviously also act, but for them, service is more a state of being; action is a means to inspire more than an end in and of itself. Mother Teresa, who was channeled as being a server in submission, combined these traits. Submission is also a natural overleaf (same side of same axis) of warriors, and manifests in their devotion to their principles (and, often, their leaders). The negative pole is subservience, which is similar on the surface to the negative pole of server, bondage—people give their power away.
DOMINANCE (Cardinal Action)
Dominance puts people into a position of leadership (positive pole) to create win/win solutions. Dictatorship, the negative pole, can make them bossy. With dominance, it’s not necessarily that people want to be a leader, but that they end up being one anyway, since this goal tends to propel them into that position—others see them that way. This goal looks different on a role like artisan or server than on, say, a king or warrior, since artisans and servers don’t gravitate as much to being in charge and tend to be gentle, but one can lead quietly.
FLOW (Neutral Assimilation)
Flow is also known as “stagnation,” “relaxation,” and “equilibrium.” It is on the neutral assimilation axis; it is the goal of not having a goal, of being “in the zone,” and can give flexibility to a lifetime. Those in flow tend to be easy-going—they are learning to “Let go and let God.” When they do their part and then let things happen rather than forcing things, life unfolds gracefully. In the positive pole, suspension, they are like a leaf carried on the river. They tend to have their material needs such as food and shelter met fairly easily. In the negative pole, inertia, they get stuck, like a rock at the river’s bottom. Flow makes for a potpourri lifetime: those in flow do A for a while, then the flow moves them into B, and then C—a little of this, a little of that. Flow may be chosen for a lifetime of rest, but it also may be chosen to work on flowing even through choppy waters.
Your attitude is how you look at the world, the sorts of things that tend to jump out at you.
STOIC (Ordinal Inspiration)
Stoics look at the world through a buffer that says, in effect, “What’s out there doesn’t matter that much; all is well.” In the positive pole, tranquility, the stoic is not bothered by external events as much as others might be. In the negative pole, resignation, stoics don’t take action when they arebothered, saying, “What’s the use?”
SPIRITUALIST (Cardinal Inspiration)
Being cardinal inspiration, spiritualist is a natural overleaf for priests. Spiritualists look at the world through a lens that says, “Anything and everything is possible.” They can remind others to believe in themselves and their dreams. Spiritualist heightens one’s interest in spiritual things. It is one of the most softening overleaves, and can temper an otherwise potentially harsh chart. The positive pole is verification, in which spiritualists check to see whether what they envision is actually doable. The negative pole is faith, as in blind faith, imparting them with a gullibility and naiveté than can lead to severe disappointment.
SKEPTIC (Ordinal Expression)
Skeptic is one of the more challenging overleaves. Skeptics look at the world with an element of doubt. In the positive pole, investigation, skeptics ask the necessary questions to get to the bottom of things; they make excellent journalists and scientists. Once they get enough good information, they can totally get behind something that has proven itself. In the negative pole, suspicion, no amount of information is enough.
IDEALIST (Cardinal Expression)
Idealists (+ coalescence, – abstraction) tend to see everything in terms of how it can be improved. They dream “the impossible dream.” They are the people who most change the world because they optimistically believe that they can, and will work hard to do so. On the downside, they are often disappointed; however, idealists have a basic cheerfulness and tend to bounce back.
CYNIC (Ordinal Action)
Cynics view the world in terms of what isn’t (realists, their opposite, view it in terms of what is). The positive pole is contradiction, the negative, denigration. They are the devil’s advocates who cut through obfuscation and falsity. They make sure something is worthy by challenging its performance—for example, kicking the tires when checking out a used car or pulling on a chain to find its weak link. Cynic is the warrior attitude, since both are on the ordinal side of the action axis, and challenge is a key word for both. The cynic’s world view emphasizes what isn’t working or what won’t work, which can be useful in business, and business is in the warrior domain. Although most cynics have an acidic quality, in the positive pole, it can be appealing (as with all positive poles), just as acidic foods can be refreshing. In the negative pole, cynics are overly harsh and throw out the baby with the bathwater.
REALIST (Cardinal Action)
Realists have a matter-of-fact way of viewing life. Things either are or aren’t; here the emphasis is on what they are (cynic emphasizes what they aren’t). It is the king-position attitude, giving an overview. The positive pole is perception, the negative, supposition: what the realist supposes rather than what is actually the case. Projected into the future, it can look like, “Suppose this or that happens.” All facts look pretty equal to realists, so they can have trouble making up their mind. Realists tend to take things at face value.
PRAGMATIST (Neutral Assimilation)
Pragmatists, in their positive pole, practicality, take a practical approach to life. They go with whatever works. The negative pole, dogmatism, might make them rigid, as in, “This is how we always do things. They’ve worked before and there’s no reason to change them.” Although pragmatist can be a grounding influence, this can lead to becoming stuck, as a car might be in neutral gear (pragmatist is the neutral assimilation-axis attitude). It can also result in not taking the time to “smell the roses.” That aligns with other negative neutral overleaves, such as the chief obstacle of stubbornness and the negative pole of scholar, theory.
Your mode is how you run your energy and operate in the world. It determines how you achieve your goal.
RESERVE (Ordinal Inspiration)
Reserve (+ restraint, – inhibition) seeks to control energy internally, like a ballet dancer who seeks to have control over every muscle. It is the opposite of passion mode, in which the dance would be more like that in a club: let it all hang out, lose control as the energy pours out freely. Those in the positive pole of reserve are known as being elegant and graceful. In the negative pole, they might be uptight and have trouble letting go.
PASSION (Cardinal Inspiration)
Those in passion pull out all the stops. The positive pole is self-actualization, meaning that they pour themselves into what they are doing so fully, with such enthusiasm or intensity, that they achieve their goals without necessarily having the finesse of reserve mode (although they can slide, or temporarily move, to it on occasion). The negative pole is identification, in which they lose boundaries and forget about their own needs, or even who they are. It’s like trying to save someone drowning in quicksand by jumping in with her and drowning, too, or working so hard to help someone who is sick that you get sick as well. Balance is the key to all things.
CAUTION (Ordinal Expression)
Caution is about learning to “look before you leap.” It’s the second most common mode, accounting for thirty percent of us. Caution puts on the brakes and is risk averse—it would rather play by the rules. It can be a party-pooper in the negative pole, phobia, in which the person is afraid to make any choice out of fear that it will be the wrong one. In the positive pole, deliberation, the person does make choices, but carefully, with due consideration.
POWER (Cardinal Expression)
In the positive pole, those in power exude authority—they sound like they know what they’re talking about because they come on strong. In the negative pole, oppression, they cannot hide a bad mood; they blare loudly and seem more opinionated that they might feel themselves to be because their expression is amplified (cardinal side of expression axis) and negative feelings fill the space around them, bearing down on others.
PERSEVERANCE (Ordinal Action)
Souls often choose perseverance (+ persistence, – immutability) when there is a need to hang in there with challenges that they might otherwise give up on. The negative pole can look like a bulldog whose teeth are firmly planted in a postman’s leg: they don’t know when to let go.
AGGRESSION (Cardinal Action)
Those in aggression (+ dynamism, – belligerence) tend to have a lot of energy and irons in the fire. In the negative pole, they can fly off the handle and, rather than keeping several balls in the air, they start throwing them at others. 🙂 Those in aggression mode may show a lot of teeth when they smile. It can be a challenging overleaf. In the positive pole, others think of them as dynamic people who get a lot done.
OBSERVATION (Neutral Assimilation)
Observation operates in a neutral way. Half of all people are in observation, so it is the most common mode. The positive pole is clarity; the negative, surveillance (looking over one’s shoulder too much or not minding one’s own business). People in observation tend to go through life observing and perhaps staring a lot. From the neutral assimilation-axis overleaves, it is easy to slide to any of the others, so they may, for instance, temporarily move to perseverance when necessary, but observation is their normal resting place.
We all have all seven centers: emotional (everyday feelings) and higher emotional (exalted feelings), intellectual (day-to-day matters) and higher intellectual (philosophical/conceptual/big picture thoughts), physical (bodily excitations) and moving (whole-body actions or higher energetic states), and instinctive (automatic survival operations). One of four is chosen by the soul as our primary center, the front door of the personality that opens when someone knocks: either intellectual (most common in the U.S. and Western Europe), emotional, physical or moving. Another is our secondary or part of center. Please see “Centers” for a discussion of twelve combinations of primary and secondary centers in the Chart Reference Material folder or here:
Our chief obstacle is our primary stumbling block, the focus of our fears and illusions, something we deeply believe on a gut level to be true, but isn’t. We can also have a secondary and tertiaryobstacle, etc. The positive pole of an obstacle is the lesser of the two evils, since it is still based on fear—it is just less extreme and more easily rationalized as being a good thing.
Obstacles can be blatant or subtle, strong or weak. They may be visible only when we are experiencing high stress and fear. However, they still may be working in the background to thwart our growth, so “photographing” them in action and working to reduce their influence is a priority if we wish to grow. For each of us, overcoming our chief obstacle is a linchpin of personal growth.
The cardinal obstacles artificially expand the self, while the ordinal ones artificially contract it. Each pair of obstacles, like the other overleaves, is composed of opposites. The inspiration-axis (inner world) obstacles are arrogance, which perceives self in an inflated way, and self-deprecation, which perceives self in a deflated way. The expression-axis (bridging the inner and outer worlds) obstacles are greed, which attempts to add to the self from the world, and self-destruction, which attempts to subtract from it. The action-axis (outer world) obstacles are impatience, which audaciously tries to act on the environment, and martyrdom, which experiences the environment as acting on itself. The neutral assimilation-axis obstacle is stubbornness, which tries to stop the world.
SELF-DEPRECATION (Ordinal Inspiration)
Self-deprecation is defined as a fear of being inadequate, not measuring up. The positive pole is humility, but because it is fear-based, it is false humility, based on an erroneous premise, so in this context, it’s not a good thing. The negative pole is even worse, abasement, which means humiliation or degradation. Self-deprecation feels forlorn and collects faux pas.
Our spiritual evolution is moving us away from a “better than/worse than” model to one in which we’re each seen for being parts of the same whole, equal in worth.
Affirmation: “I believe in myself. I have everything it takes.”
ARROGANCE (Cardinal Inspiration)
Arrogance (+ pride, – vanity) is a fear of vulnerability, of being judged and found wanting. Those in arrogance usually had a childhood of being mercilessly teased or criticized until they reached a point where they said to themselves, “If I’m judged one more time, I’ll die.” They then erected a brittle wall around themselves. Arrogance collects embarrassments.
There are three strategies they may use to cope with potential criticisms: shyness, self-judgment, and stereotypical arrogance or haughtiness. It is helpful to realize that criticism can provide useful insights and does not have to be painful. Finding the freedom to be vulnerable and risk the judgments of others allows us to receive love.
Affirmation: “I am safe in my vulnerability.”
SELF-DESTRUCTION (Ordinal Expression)
Self-destruction (+ sacrifice, – immolation) is defined as a fear of loss of control. It may spring from a childhood perception that the world was unstable, chaotic, and undependable. Those in self-destruction couldn’t count on others, so they had to count on themselves by trying to set up their own safe environment that they could control. Their effort to maintain control over themselves leads to swings from excessive self-discipline to totally losing it. Self-destruction collects malfunctions.
The key to healing this is finding a true spiritual foundation, a working identity in one’s eternal self, which is the only thing any of us can really count on, ultimately.
Affirmation: “I am safe in the universe.”
GREED (Cardinal Expression)
Greed (+ egotism, – voracity) is defined as a fear of lack or loss. It’s usually fixated on a specific area. Money or food are stereotypical, but especially in older souls, it can be something abstract such as experiences, knowledge, acknowledgment from others, or even spiritual advancement. Those in greed feel a hole inside them that they are trying to fill in ways that will never be successful—it is a bottomless pit. In its most negative manifestation, it can lead to ruthlessly trampling over others. Greed collects losses.
Counting their blessings can counteract the tendency not to notice and engage with what they already have. The ultimate solution for all of us is to find a sense of wholeness within by consciously connecting with essence and allowing it to fill us.
Affirmation: “I am rich in love.”
Martyrdom (+ selflessness, – mortification) is defined as a fear of unworthiness. It brings up images of loudly proclaimed suffering or silent manipulation. However, like all obstacles, martyrdom can be subtle. It can manifest, for instance, as chronic back pain in people who don’t complain or otherwise act like martyrs; they unconsciously put into their body their belief in their unworthiness and need to suffer in order to earn worth. They may be motivated by a need to prove themselves. Martyrdom collects derisions.
Those in martyrdom believe that the outer world is more powerful in their life than they are.
Affirmation: “I deserve the blessings of life. I am worthy of them just for being who I am.”
IMPATIENCE (Cardinal Action)
Impatience is defined as a fear of missing out. It has a positive pole of audacity and a negative pole of intolerance. It brings to the personality issues about time: it seems that there is never enough. Those in impatience are wound up; they race to next thing, “chomping at the bit” like a horse that can’t stand waiting. In audacity, they might boldly ask, for example, that a store add check-out clerks to save time. The negative pole is testiness, undisguised irritation. Impatience collects disappointments.
With impatience, the key is to prioritize and not try to do it all, which we can’t anyway. Slowing down just a bit can actually make us more efficient, but impatience argues that one cannot do that. Life is, in part, a game of learning to outwit our chief obstacle.
Affirmation: “I live in the eternal now. I have all the time in the world.”
STUBBORNNESS (Neutral Assimilation)
Stubbornness (+ determination, – obstinacy), the most “popular” obstacle, is defined as a fear of change and new situations. Stubbornness collects disasters.
Those in stubbornness often had a childhood in which others foisted change on them without adequate preparation, and the only defense seemed to be to dig in their heels and say, “Nobody is going to tell me what to do!” People in stubbornness erect a glass wall around themselves to which they can be oblivious, but others ram into it and are frustrated by the inability to move forward.
Affirmation: “I welcome change. I am fluid, cooperative, and flexible.”
Please also see “Body Types” in the Chart Reference Material folder or here:
Body types are the influences of the celestial bodies on our physical bodies.
Virtually no person has just one body type. Most people have two, and some have three or even four. The types blend together, so we have some traits deriving from each of them.
Two people having opposites make for body-type attraction: their bodies form a sort of electrical circuit. (A couple that doesn’t have body-type attraction can still have many other elements of attraction.) Same body types make for comfort, as opposed to the excitement of opposites.
Body types have three attributes:
- Positive- or negative-charged. People with mostly positive body type influences emphasize the good things and ignore the negative, sometimes leading to failing to read the handwriting on the wall and ramming into it! People with mostly negative body type influences can notice every flaw and be overly sensitive.
- Masculine or feminine. Energy moves out from a masculine body type, and into a feminine one.
- Active or passive. Passive bodies are still, and active bodies want to move. Active bodies have faster metabolisms; passive bodies put on weight more easily.
LUNAR (Ordinal Inspiration)
Lunar (+ luminous, – pallid), the most feminine and passive body type, is pale with a moon-shaped face and soft body. It can show up as the “nerd” type: people who are less physical and more in their head. Lunar bodies are especially affected by the moon, which fosters contemplation and dreaming.
Lunar is negative-charged, feminine, and, passive. Its opposite is …
SATURNIAN (Cardinal Inspiration)
Many models today, both female and male, have strong saturnian influences. Saturnian (+ rugged, – gaunt), the most masculine and active body type, is tall or looks taller than it is, with a prominent forehead and bone structure, and tends to be lean, although any body type can put on weight, depending on diet and health.
Saturnian is positive-charged, masculine, and active.
JOVIAL (Ordinal Expression)
Jovial (+ grand, – extravagant), named for our largest planet, Jupiter, is the type most prone to weight gain. It is round and can become very large. Its personality is also jovial in the sense of being fun-loving and able to enjoy life. A thin jovial might seem too thin—it benefits from some “meat on the bones.”
Jovial is positive-charged, masculine, and passive. Its opposite is …
MERCURIAL (Cardinal Expression)
Mercurial (+ agile, – frenetic) is compact and lithe, with an oval face. Mercurials can be nervous and high-strung, just like the word mercurial suggests.
Mercurial is negative-charged, feminine, and active.
VENUSIAN (Ordinal Action)
Venusians (+ voluptuous, – obese) tend to have lush, voluptuous, or teddy bear features. They easily put on weight, but like jovials, need to have some padding to avoid looking too thin.
Venusian is positive-charged, feminine, and passive. Its opposite is …
MARTIAL (Cardinal Action)
Martials (+ wiry, – muscle-bound) are squat, ruddy, muscular, and feisty; they can be explosive.
Martial is negative-charged, masculine, and active.
SOLAR (Neutral Assimilation)
Solar (+ radiant, – ethereal) is delicate, fragile, and radiant. It shows up in the face as a pixie-ish quality.
Solar is positive-charged, androgynous, and active.
Please also see Soul Ages Crib Sheet:
And “Soul Age: What It Is—and Isn’t (How We Evolve)” or PDF:
Soul age tells what our lessons are about. It is not about spiritual advancement per se, because at any age, one can become conscious and aware. Furthermore, when people say that someone is an old soul, they are not referring to the specific soul age categories of the Michael teachings. They are just sensing that someone has a lot of experience and depth.
SURVIVAL FOCUS / INFANT SOUL
Souls new to a planet, in their first lifetime, are first-level infant and are like newborns. Infant souls (+ innocence, – aversion) focus on survival, such as finding food and not being killed, and otherwise getting used to a new planet. They tend to live in tribal settings or urban “jungles.”
STRUCTURE FOCUS / BABY SOUL
Baby souls (+ acculturation, – rigidity) are like toddlers learning the rules; they are learning to work within a societal structure, In the negative pole, they are prone to fundamentalism.
ACHIEVEMENT FOCUS / YOUNG SOUL
Young souls (+ accomplishment, – self-centeredness) are parallel to youngsters playing hard, acting out worldly roles. This is when the soul, now equipped to prosper on the physical plane, looks to have maximum impact on it and be successful in an outer sense.
The average person on earth is fifth-level young, so there is a worldwide emphasis now on success, climbing the ladder of prosperity, and so forth. Five is the sage number, so there is particular emphasis now on expanding communication and technology (such as the internet).
RELATIONSHIP FOCUS / MATURE SOUL
The biggest shift for the soul is from the increasingly outward thrust of infant/baby/young to the inward focus of mature/old.
The mature cycle (+ resonance, – subjectivity) is like adolescence; it is about delving into self and relationships. It can have a lot of drama and subjectivity.
CONTEXT FOCUS / OLD SOUL
The last stage on the physical plane is old (+ inclusiveness, – undirectedness), similar to going away to college. It is about living from a more detached, larger perspective. Mature and old soul cycles are both about the inner world: mature souls go deep, and old souls go high.
Soul Age Levels
Each soul age has seven levels. JP Van Hulle channeled an analogy comparing the seven levels to going to the beach: At first level, we stick our toe in the water. At second level, we are in the water up to our waist (half in and half out). At third level, we dive in and are completely submerged. At fourth level, we reemerge, fully wet with that soul age’s perspective. At fifth level, we splash around and play. At sixth level, others splash us. And at seventh level, we return to the shore.
Manifested Soul Age
Your manifested soul age is what your life currently is focusing upon. If your chart says “same,” that means that you are living from your age’s perspective. If it shows a lower soul age, you are reviewing lessons you covered in previous lives.
Michael teachings home page:
My book Journey of Your Soul:
Roles, Obstacles, Overleaves, Love Levels, and Monads:
Sample chart explanation:
“What’s Your Role?”: An Introduction to the Michael Teachings: