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Messages from Michael

Channelling' was an important part of many spiritual subcultures in the 1970s and 1980s. Mediums claimed to have contact with 'entities' in other dimensions, through a Ouija board or by going into a trance. Others 'hear' messages coming through their heads. Well known is the Seth material, channeled by Jane Roberts and some time earlier there was Edgar Gayce. A "Course in Miracles" is also very well known. In 'my' circles, at that time, 'Lazaris' was also very popular, which only 'came through' through the medium Jach Pursel. Apart from the origin, those messages usually contain the same story: your thoughts and beliefs create the reality in which you live, an idea that is very popular in New Age circles anyway ...

And then there is the Michael material. The origin of this is sought by most fans in the 'entity' or group of entities called 'Michael' that resides in some afterlife: "Michael is a reunited Mid-Causal Plane Entity of over a thousand individual souls". Sure... Much more likely is an origin to be sought in the work of George Gurdieff, who had his sources in Sufi traditions. Sarah Chambers, who originally 'channelled' Michael, is known to have been a member of one of Gurdieff's study groups...

The core of the material is a personality characterisation and a psychology, which in my opinion are well worth studying and using. There are clear similarities with the Enneagram system, which is indisputably known to have come from Gurdieff and his students (Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo). Michael's system is much more complex than the Enneagram and contains much more than just the psychology of the nine personality types of this system.

In Michael's system, every person has a number of modalities that are called 'Overleaves'. For example, each person has a dominant Role, a Level, a Goal, a Mode, a Centre and an Attitude which are innate. Then there is the Chief Feature, which is formed in the individual's childhood and adolescence and this modality determines how the individual is governed by fear, for example through greed, stubbornness, or arrogance. There are seven varieties of each Overleave. So there are seven Roles, seven Goals and so on. A lot of other things have been added since then, but I have never dealt with them. If you search the web for Michael's teachings now, you will find that the original work has been snowed under by a hopeless load of New Age nonsense...

The value of the system for me was (and still is) learning to accept and understand my own personality and that of the people around me. Suddenly I could understand why I react in a certain way in certain situations. One danger of such systems is of course the tendency to pigeonhole people, while someone will never fully (or sometimes not at all) meet the criteria of the system. So see it mainly as a tool to illuminate and learn to understand certain sides of yourself and others.

Anyway, this article is of course not the place to explain the whole system, but to give an example, here is the description of the seven Roles:

All modalities come in four different manifestations:


The expressive roles are Artisan and Sage. Artisans focus more on the individual ('ordinal'). Sages focus more on groups ('exalted').

Active roles are Warrior (ordinal) and King (exalted).

The inspirational roles are Server (ordinal) and Priest (exalted).

There is only one assimilating role and that is the Scholar, who is at home both in a one-to-one relationship and in groups.


The positive quality of this role lies in its creative expression. Artisans need to create things, they are often artists, architects and the like. If they don't, they create an atmosphere (pleasant or otherwise). Artisans can also easily pretend to have a different role. Examples: Michaelangelo, Björk. The negative pole of this role is self-deception.


The quality of the Sage is communicative expression. Here we find TV personalities, marketplace vendors, politicians, entertainers, and so on. Examples: Oscar Wilde, Dolly Parton. In a negative pole, they are unreliable babblers and disputants.


The Warriors stand for assertive action. They are the doers and go-getters among us. Examples are: Julius Caesar, Salma Hayek. The flip side is putting pressure on people, forcing them.


There are not many people in this role. They are usually leaders who exercise authority. Negatively, they can be tyrants. Examples: Elizabeth I, John F. Kennedy and yes, Donald Trump.


There are many Servers. If the role is perceived positively, they are people with a great sense of duty who put themselves at the service of others or an idea. They can be housewives (and househusbands, of course), civil servants, nurses. Examples: Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama. In a negative role, they tend to cancel themselves out, to be a doormat.


The Priest has a message, a (moral) vision that has to be carried out. They are often real priests, but also teachers and educators. Well-known examples are Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama. In the positive mode they are people with a big heart, in the shadow mode they are pushers and fanatics.


And then there is the Scholar, the knowledge sponge. Always recognisable by his or her bookshelves and passion for collecting. They are scientists, writers, journalists. They will rarely take sides because they understand all sides. So they are good mediators, but in the negative they have a tendency to be too pompous and to theorise too much. Examples: Marie Curie, Ken Wilber and yes, also yours truly :-).

See also this posting about 'soul age'.