The Michael Teachings
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The Michael Teachings is a body of channeled New Age spiritual doctrine that originated in the early 1970s as a 'conversation' via a ouija board between members of a spiritual study group in the San Francisco Bay Area and a channeled spiritual entity who became known as 'Michael'. The teachings received from the entity were first published in book form in 1979 as Messages from Michael, by novelist Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, the first in a series of four books by Yarbro chronicling the Bay Area sessions. Since that time, the teachings purportedly from the same entity have continued to accumulate and expand via a growing number of channels based in other locations.
Summary of Teachings
Broadly, the Michael Teachings are a non-theistic spiritual doctrine describing the evolution of souls through stages of reincarnation, known as 'soul ages', and a system of personality structures, known as 'overleaves', which souls choose to experience in each lifetime. The core concept is that, spiritually speaking, "All is chosen, and all choices are equally valid".
An expert on new religious movements, Olav Hammer, describes the Michael Teachings as a "fairly well-structured set of doctrines, expressed in a distinct vocabulary". According to Hammer, Michael is described by believers as a "group soul, a collective consciousness of 1050 essences". Hammer states that the channelers of Michael study the earlier "transmissions" and use similar terminology, making it easier for readers to accept the new material as part of a doctrines. Jon Klimo, professor of psychology and parapsychology author stated that the Messages from Michael book series helped to make Michael-channeling into one of the best known examples of channeling during the 1970s and early 1980s, and noted similarities in the events of the initial Michael channeling sessions to those that led to the Seth Material. Klimo reported that more than a dozen people in the San Francisco bay area claimed to channel the same "Michael", using a variety of methods, ranging from automatic writing to speaking while in a trance.