Questions and Answers on Chief Features
excerpted from private sessions with permission
Victoria Marina-Tompkins

Q1) How does a chief features evolve from a choice to a stranglehold? Also, how does this mechanism achieve its stranglehold, IF it is not in fact the person involved??

Michael: We would describe this as a carnivorous plant with many tendrils. Sometimes the tendrils are there but are not tightened around the personality of the fragment, and sometimes the tendrils are active and manipulate the fragment and the expression of choices through the personality through applied pressure which is often experienced in a variety of ways according to the particular chief feature involved as well as the role of the fragment. The fragment has options as to how they will respond to this experience, and some choose quite wisely to acknowledge this as an energy separate from who they are in essence and from the true personality as well, while remaining in what we might call a more neutral or pensive but aware state. This choice of response therefore does little to promote the further tightening of the tendrils for, without resistance, eventually the chief features will loosen their grip on the fragment. In terms of a choice here, while the fragment can choose to not allow the chief features and fear to be the dominant or primary response in life, it is rare that the chief features can be entirely extinguished and it is more likely that the hold can be lessened and less likely to "strike" as a coiled snake that lies in wait for the appropriate moment. There is much that an individual fragment can do to decrease the power of fear in the life, but we will also remind you that the hold of fear is subtle and often times presents itself as a meaningful choice, a well thought and defined decision, a superlative moment of understanding, all of which are infiltrated by the sly maneuvers of the unseen enemy, fear which disguises itself as a necessary protection. Working with the chief feature and the identification of its influence in a fragments life is good work. It is also likely to increase the fear at first, for there is nothing more deadly (to) that fear when it is threatened and the chief features will stop at nothing to remain in control of a fragment's life and choices.

Q2) What is the STRUCTURE of a chief feature, within a persons psyche, mind, body, etc.? How does this apparently separate existence come into being? How does the internal world of a person change with the formation of this structure?

Michael: When a fragment is born into a physical body, there is no chief feature.
Children are often fairly free of the this influence until the later part of what is called middle childhood and it is at this time, which is generally the age of ten or so years, the fragment begins to openly demonstrate some of the chief feature characteristics that are being considered for later fixation. One of the first considerations for the exploration of possible chief features for a fragment is the chosen chief features of the parents, and it is often those that are first "tried on" as potential choices. "What works for the parent may work for the child" is the slogan here, and a mimicking occurs which is often times supported by the responses of the family. "Look at cute Johnny is: he is stubborn just like his father" is a likely response, as well as "Damn you Johnny, you're just like your father" (said with anger and frustration). The young fragment then evaluates on an unconscious level the effectiveness of the temporary chief features, and then usually continues on through the gamut of seven fears to determine which ones match the external experiences most specifically. It may be that the child fragment sees that while the parents are impatient, that it is not useful to protect oneself against impatience by choosing impatience, but instead hangs on to arrogance due to feeling criticized because they are slower than the impatient parent fragments. The opposite might be true and the child might choose to try on and keep impatience as a way of being accepted in the family. While we would not say that the family is the only influence here, we will say that it is strong.

Two fragments with exactly the same experiences can choose different chief features as a protective response to external stimuli. This varies according to the role, overleaves, and soul level of course, as well as the familial interactions, influence, and iconography. The family icon is also directly related to the chief features as they are also "matched".

The internal world of a fragment changes when the influence of fear begins and the lie of the chief feature becomes entrenched in the automatic response of the fragment to the external world. The lie is "you cannot live without me". This is a very important point, for it is this lie which is then believed by the fragment at the fixation point which anchors in the chief feature on a permanent basis. The internal workings of the personality are of course complex here and a well grounded and well loved fragment has a chief feature just as a disturbed and uncared for fragment does. The severity however can differ for there are degrees ranging from mild to severe, and these can vary according to the particular life experiences occurring at any given time. We do, however, often times use adjectives which accompany the description of the chief features when overleaves are transmitted such as "exalted arrogance", "frantic or scattered impatience", "strong stubbornness" or "weak self deprecation". These adjectives are added to accentuate the degree of the chief feature.

Q3) What is it about the 3rd Internal Monad that provides the opening for chief feature formation? Why this particular time-period and not some other?

Michael: Yes, this is a good question. The third monad is a time when the adolescent fragment moves out into the world and is expected to become more independent, while remaining tied to the familial operations and this includes the expectations of how the fragment will proceed in the world. Often times in order for the fragment to begin the crucial developmental process of individuation, choices will be made that are not in alignment with the preferences of the family and thereby create conflict. This pushing off from the family of origin is necessary, and the chief feature is ripe by this point, prepared to step in with its trickery and deception in order to provide false protection for the fragment. We emphasize the word "false" for in fact it is fear and serves to act as a buffer between the fragment and the world, but it is not necessary. It is, however, part of the process and it is not likely that the fragment will be able to reduce the chief feature in any measurable fashion until after the completion of the fourth internal monad when the family icon is broken. For you see, as we have stated before, the chief feature and the family icon go hand in hand. The choice of the chief feature at this point allows the fragment the buffer that is perceived as necessary so that a separation can take place, and the defense mechanism is then in place for this process. With regard to any other time period, the first and second monads are not a time when the fragment is yet an individual in terms of solid preferences, and although the family icon is in place at the time of birth, there is not the need for defense, for the family is also still protective of the child fragment. The later monads are not appropriate times for in fact the fragment has many years of experience with the world before the 4th or 5th monad occurs, and it is during this time between the 3rd and the 4th monads that the chief feature is most likely to be "in charge" and to have a field day if the fragment is unaware of the false personality which is the manner through which the chief features are presented in the world. The chief features operate through the negative poles of the overleaves and this is what we call the false personality, or the personality that is learned or taken on, but is not the true expression of the positive poles of the overleaves which is the vehicle for the expression of essence.

Q3a: What is the fixation point for a chief feature? And what causes it?

Michael: The fixation point for the chief features occur when the tendrils are at a developmental stage when they can sink their teeth into the fragment as what we might call "anchors". This is of course a description for the attachment process which takes place when a decisive moment occur when the fragment has an experience which is so painful that the chief features are chosen, one at a time. There is often a process which begins approximately 6-12 months before the actual chief feature is fixated, and this process can be marked by a rather sudden or dramatic change in the personality of the fragment. This change heralds the onset of the fixation process which happens in an instant, but has a rather lengthy precursor which is the development of fear as demonstrated through the false personality. Often times teen fragments will begin to act in a strongly contrary fashion which can include what parents see as subversive behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and sexual acting out. Depression can also be a symptom here but this is not usually true until the several months prior to and following the actual fixation. In addition, small "events" can begin to occur which are directly related to the upcoming chief feature which is about to be fixated and the others, which may have been in contention up until this point, fall to the wayside temporarily as the primary chief feature takes hold. As this occurs, there is often a crisis which is the focus for the family, and many times the parents become involved in this process as well and this can become even more difficult if the fragment shares the same chief features with the parents, and which are likely to become more pronounced and active during this period. As you might expect, the fixation for teenagers often times takes place during the 4th monadal transition for parents which makes the process even more "sticky" for all concerned. Following the actual event there is a settling in phase which can last anywhere from several months to well into the following years, and it is at this time that the process begins again with the gradual move toward the fixation of the secondary chief feature which is geared toward relationships specifically while the primary was related to the world at large. The secondary then focuses on relationships, such as when a love interest gone astray which serves as the breeding ground for the fixation of the secondary which works through the attitude as the primary works through the chosen goal. The primary influences the goal that the fragment is seeking in a given incarnation, and the secondary influences the manner through which the fragment relates and sees life. We think this is an important distinction.

Q4: I am really curious about this confusion of identity that seems necessary for chief feature stranglehold. Even though, "I am not my chief features and they are not me" the chief features work through my identity, do they not? In other words, a person says to herself, or himself: "I am less worthy than someone else, or "I am more worthy than someone else" or "I am afraid about missing out on something" or "I am afraid of making changes.." etc, etc. These are just a few examples. Please comment on what makes this confusion of identity possible.

Michael: Yes, the chief features work through the personality and this includes the way that a fragment perceives him or herself. You are not your chief feature.
You are not your overleaves either, for they are the mode through which you have chosen to express essence, or not, in a given lifetime. The only "you" is your essence and casting order. Essence does not experience fear. It is the personality that experiences fear through the negative poles of the overleaves and it is the chief features that influence the inflation or deflation as demonstrated with the chief features of arrogance and self deprecation, the value issues of martyrdom the time issues of impatience, the control issues of self destruction, the lack issues of greed, and the issues having to do with change and stubbornness. All of these fears are obstacles to true and clear perceptions and to love and agape. Agape cannot be experienced when fear grips the fragment, but agape is always available and ever present. Fear is also ever present, and it is an option to allow it to remain "at bay" even when it knocks loudly at the door. It is possible to distinguish between fear, the influence of fear and you, but it does take practice and this is why we have suggested to our students the process of photographing the chief features in action in order to see where they are likely to become active and under what circumstance they are likely to remain dormant. END

© 2007 Victoria Marina-Tompkins
All rights reserved.

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