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/michael typology/

In the early nineties I came across a peculiar personality typology, called the 'Michael Teachings'.

The origin of this system 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 characterization and a psychology, which in my opinion, are well worth studying. 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 the Enneagram.

In Michael's system, every person has a number of modalities that are called 'Overleaves'. For example, each person has a Focus, a dominant Role, 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 the original writings. And 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 I see it mainly as a tool to illuminate and learn to understand certain sides of myself and others.

For instance, I recognize that my personality is characterized by a focus on Being, a primary role as Scholar and a secondary role as Artisan with a goal of Acceptance, in Caution mode, with a Realist attitude, Intellectually centered and a chief feature of balancing between Self-deprecation and Arrogance.


Below an overview of all the typology overleaves. Find out for youself what is true for you on

Role+ creation
- self-delusion
+ dissemmination
- oration
+ persuasion
- coercion
+ mastery
- tyranny
+ service
- manipulation
+ compassion
- righteousness
+ knowledge
- theory
Goal+ differentiation
- exclusion
+ affiliation
- ingratiation
+ devotion
- subservience
+ leadership
- dictatorship
+ simplicity
- withdraw
+ comprehension
- confusion
+ adaptability
- stagnation
Mode+ deliberation
- paranoia
+ authority
- oppresion
+ persistence
- monotony
+ dynamism
- belligerence
+ restraint
- repression
+ self-actualization
- identification
+ clarity
- surveillance
Attitude+ investigation
- suspicion
+ coalescence
- naiveté
+ argument
- denigration
+ objectivity
- speculation
+ tranquility
- resignation
+ verification
- beliefs
+ practical
- dogmatic
Center+ conceptualization
- rationalization
+ truth
High Intellectual
- telepathy
+ productive
- frenetic
+ harmony
High Moving
- lust
+ sensitivity
- sentimentality
+ love
High Emotional
- sympathy
+ essential
- mechanical
Chief Feature+ sacrifice
- suicide
+ desire
- gluttony
+ selflessness
- victimization
+ audacity
- intolerance
+ self-effacing
- abasement
+ pride
- vanity
+ willfulness
- obstinance


The original Michael-teachings support the belief in a 'soul' that 'develops' itself into a better or 'higher' version via reincarnation through many lifetimes. The stages of this development are called 'soul age', that form a clear hierarchy from 'infant soul', over 'young soul' and 'mature soul' to 'old soul' and even beyond that into a disembodied 'transcendental soul'.

But belief in 'souls' is exactly that: a belief, not a fact. Also this idea of development into 'higher' states is a belief, not a fact. Personally I think these ideas are completely delusional and egotistical: "I am an 'Old Soul' and you are only a 'Young Soul'. I am actually looking down on you but I pretend I am not".

What does seem to exist is for people to have a central focus on a certain area of life, where most of their personal drama is being played. Many people are absorbed in the 'game' of relationship. "Who can be trusted?". "Am I loving enough?". "What does friendship mean?". These are the questions of their life which need clarification for them. Other people are completely caught up in the game of social position and power. "Am I winning or losing?" "How can I be in control?". And then you have people who are busy with the game of existential questions. "What is true and what is delusion? What is the big picture?". Physical survival is another focus for a lot of people, especially in socalled 'underdeveloped' countries, a focus on life and death. Again another group of people is mainly wrestling with a moral code, asking themselves: "What is right and what is wrong? I have to make a stance and choose a side".

All these games are equal. There is no higher or lower game. All games are also equally intense for the people involved and do not feel as a 'game' at all, but are felt as absolutely real.