Friday, January 18, 2008
Jane Roberts (May 8, 1929 – September 5, 1984) was an American author, psychic and trance medium or spirit medium who “channelled” a personality named Seth. The publication of the Seth texts established her as one of the pre-eminent figures in the world of paranormal phenomena. In addition to metaphysical texts, she was an author of short stories, novels, children’s literature, and various philosophical texts.
In late 1963, Jane Roberts and her husband, Robert Butts, experimented with a Ouija board as part of Roberts’ research for a book on extra-sensory perception. According to Roberts and Butts, on December 2, 1963 they began to receive coherent messages from a male personality who eventually identified himself as Seth. Soon after, Roberts reported that she was hearing the messages in her head. She began to dictate the messages instead of utilizing the Ouija board, and the board was eventually abandoned. For 21 years until Roberts’ death in 1984 (with a one-year hiatus due to her final illness), Roberts held regular sessions in which she went into a trance and purportedly spoke on behalf of the discarnate entity Seth. Butts served as stenographer, taking the messages down in homemade shorthand, although some sessions were recorded. These messages from the Seth personality, consisting mostly of monologues on a wide variety of topics, are collectively known as the “Seth Material” (sometimes referred to herein simply as the “Material”). The Material through 1969 was published in summary form in The Seth Material, which was written by Roberts with substantial excerpts from the Seth personality.
Beginning with the 511th session in January, 1970, the Seth personality began to dictate his own books. Roberts claimed no authorship of these books beyond her role as medium; and according to Roberts and Butts, these “channelled” books were published verbatim with only minor editorial corrections. This series of “Seth books” eventually totalled ten volumes, although the last two books appear to be incomplete due to Roberts’ illness. The list of titles includes Seth Speaks; The Nature of Personal Reality; The Nature of the Psyche, Its Human Expression; The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events; The Unknown Reality; and Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment. Robert Butts contributed notes and comments to all the Seth books, and thus was a co-author on all of them.
The Seth personality described himself as an “energy personality essence no longer focused in physical reality” who was independent of Roberts’ subconscious, although Roberts herself expressed skepticism as to Seth’s origins. The Seth personality said that he had completed his earthly reincarnations and that he was speaking from an adjacent plane of existence (or “system of reality” or “universe”, all terms which Seth used). He described himself as an educator whose task was to impart the principles set forth in the Material to the current generation of human beings.
The Seth personality’s demeanor was notably different from Roberts’, as reported by witnesses who included Butts, friends, acquaintances and students. He was at times stern, jovial or professorial, and he frequently assumed a distinct accent which was not identifiable. Unlike the psychic Edgar Cayce, whose syntax when speaking in trance was antiquated and convoluted, Roberts’ syntax and sentence structures were modern and clear when speaking as Seth.
Sessions were held at regular intervals, usually two per week. For a period of years Roberts conducted one, and then two, ESP classes in addition to the regular sessions. With the exception of the classes, Roberts gave few readings to the public and was mostly focused on publishing the Material in printed form.
Tenets of the Seth Material
The Seth Material covers a wide variety of topics, including the nature of physical reality, the origins of the universe, the theory of evolution, the Christ story, the nature of God, and the purpose of life. The Seth personality made the following assertions, among many others:
- The physical universe is one of a multitude of universes or “systems of reality”, some physical in nature, some mental or spiritual, and some completely foreign to human concepts, each with its own natural laws, and each as valid as any other. As in the “many worlds hypothesis”, our physical universe has multiple “probable” renditions. Any event or action which is likely to occur in one probable universe will be actualized in that or another probable universe, or will be actualized in the dream universe or in some other system of reality. There are, as examples given by Seth, probable universes in which the dinosaurs are still alive, and probable universes in which Christianity did not develop. Each individual has many counterparts within the probable renditions of the universe, not all of whom have the same name, occupation or personal relationships. All systems of reality are, to some extent, camouflages since all beings have an existence which is independent of any system. The number of systems is infinite since new systems come into existence constantly. No system of reality is closed or finite; energy and information pass through all systems.
- Each human individual has many layers, most notably an “outer ego”, which interacts with the physical world, and an “inner ego” or “inner self” which is concerned with the mechanics of constructing the physical world, and which existed prior to any incarnations. The entire self (which Seth referred to as an “entity”) is a gestalt consisting of the various selves that the entity has been through all past existences (physical and nonphysical), plus all the currently incarnated selves, and all their probable counterparts. According to Seth, human beings are generally unaware of the inner self, although it comes through as intuition and the “inner voice” that many people believe they hear. At death, the outer ego lives on and continues to develop; it takes its place as part of the gestalt that forms the entire entity, but it is free to evolve and to develop new associations.
- Each human individual exists in four universes or “planes” simultaneously: the physical universe, which is the result of coordinated mass mental projections on the part of its inhabitants; a dream universe, which is created in the same way but has less rigid natural laws; an adjacent electrical universe, where the inner self resides and all mental activity occurs; and an anti-matter universe of which Seth said very little. The various portions of the self, and the various universes, are all aspects of a single whole, though Seth referred to them separately for the sake of explication. Ultimately, there are no boundaries to the self just as there are no boundaries to any system of reality. All portions of the self contribute to dreams, which continue when the outer ego is awake.
- The physical environment is constructed and maintained by the inner selves of the individual occupants (including animals). The inner selves project, en masse, a pattern for physical reality which is then filled with energy, as needed, by each individual. The energy which is used is the inexhaustible energy which emanates from God. Because all things are composed of energy, and because energy must always be active, change and transformation are constants in the universe, and nothing remains the same from one moment to the next. Identity, however, seeks permanence, so there is a constant attempt on the part of individuals to create environments that feel permanent; the Earth is one such place. Time, which is essentially illusory, has the effect of slowing the perception of experience, and thus creates the illusion of permanence or gradual development. Even amidst constant change, however, identity is never lost.
- All individuals create their own circumstances and experiences within the shared earthly environment, similar to the doctrine of responsibility assumption. The phrase “you create your own reality” was frequently used by Seth and may have originated with him. As stated above, the inner self is responsible for the construction and maintenance of the individual’s physical body and immediate physical environment, but the unfolding of events is determined by the expectations, attitudes and beliefs of the outer ego, that portion of the self that we know as ourselves. Both productive and unproductive attitudes are translated into reality, and thus one of the tasks of the individual is to learn how to direct his or her thoughts in positive directions. In a private session given to a friend of Jane Roberts, the Seth personality said:
“You must watch the pictures that you paint with your imagination, for you allow your imagination too full a reign. If you read our early material, you will see that your environment and the conditions of your life at any given time are the direct result of your own inner expectations. You form physical materializations of these realities within your own mind.
“If you imagine dire circumstances, ill health, or desperate loneliness, these will be automatically materialized, for these thoughts themselves bring about the conditions that will give them reality in physical terms. If you would have good health, then you must imagine this as vividly as in fear you imagine the opposite.
“You create your own difficulties. This is true for each individual. The inner psychological state is projected outward, gaining physical reality — and this regardless of the nature of the psychological state. … The rules apply to everyone. You can use them for your own benefit and change your own conditions once you realize what they are.
“You cannot escape your own attitudes, for they will form the nature of what you see. Quite literally you see what you want to see; and you see your own thoughts and emotional attitudes materialized in physical form. If changes are to occur, they must be mental and psychic changes. These will be reflected in your environment. Negative, distrustful, fearful, or degrading attitudes toward anyone work against the self.”
- Reincarnation is the rule, although many misconceptions abound. For example, human beings never reincarnate as animals; cause-and-effect does not operate from one life to the next (although all lives are interrelated in various ways); and reincarnation does not end in a state of nirvana. Each individual must experience fatherhood, motherhood and childhood, and thus must incarnate at least twice; the maximum number varies, depending on the temperament and needs of the individual. There is a period of rest between incarnations, and sometimes individuals will occupy other planes of existence before returning to the Earth. When an individual’s reincarnational cycle is over, the individual moves on to other systems of reality. There is no heaven or hell, only continued existence in various environments of the individual’s choosing.
- The majority of souls who are reincarnating enter the fetus shortly before, during or after birth. If the mother is considering an abortion, the soul will be aware of that and can choose not to incarnate. If the soul enters the fetus and the fetus is then aborted, the soul continues on to other lives. Some souls seek the in utero experience and do not wish to be born. According to Seth, there is no actual death in the universe; even the cells of the fetus reincarnate.
- Time and space are “root assumptions” of this plane of existence; i.e., they are essentially illusory, and both the past and future coexist with the present in what Seth referred to as the “spacious present”. Therefore, a person’s incarnations in different time periods are actually lived simultaneously, as opposed to consecutively. Communication among the various past, present and future selves occurs during the dream state. Time appears to exist in a linear form because of limitations inherent in the physical human brain. Development, expansion, growth and change do not require time in order to occur.
- There is a God, whom Seth referred to as “All That Is” and described as a “primary energy gestalt”. God is composed of self-replicating and inexhaustible mental energy, and contains all of Creation within it. God is therefore a gestalt of all existence, as in Pantheism and Panentheism (a gestalt is a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts). The mental energy of God is the formative substance of all things, including all beings, all universes, and all events and phenomena. God’s consciousness is carried on this mental energy, and therefore is omnipresent. Thus, God experiences each life that is lived; “all faces belong to God”, as Seth said. For these reasons, all things in existence, including physical matter, have life and consciousness. God wishes to experience existence in all its forms and ramifications, and through its creations is able to do this. God is therefore dynamic and ever-changing and shares in the failures, triumphs, perfections and imperfections of its creations. The individuals that exist within God, though part of God, have free will and self-determination. God does not know of any others like itself, but assumes that something — possibly another “primary energy gestalt” — came before it. If God sprang from another like itself, then the possibility exists that there are many Gods, each presumably aware only of its own existence.
- God had a beginning, and there was a Creation, though it differs markedly from the Christian version. In God’s early stages, the universe existed in a state of potentiality within what Seth referred to as God’s dreams. The agony of knowing the potential of the universe, yet not being able to express it, compelled God to find the means to actualize its dreams. Additional impetus was provided by the individuals in its dreams, whom God had imbued with life and consciousness, and who clamored to be made real. In a passage of the Material addressed to Robert Butts, Seth said:
“The first state of agonized search for expression may have represented the birth throes of All That Is as we know It. Pretend, then, that you possessed within yourself the knowledge of all the world’s masterpieces in sculpture and art, that they pulsed as realities within you, but that you had no physical apparatus, no knowledge of how to achieve them, that there was neither rock nor pigment nor source of any of these, and you ached with the yearning to produce them. This, on an infinitesimally small scale, will perhaps give you, as an artist, some idea of the agony and impetus that was felt.
“Desire, wish and expectation rule all actions and are the basis for all realities. Within All That Is, therefore, the wish, desire, and expectation of creativity existed before all other actuality. The strength and vitality of these desires and expectations then became in your terms so insupportable that All That Is was driven to find the means to produce them.
“In other words, All That Is existed in a state of being, but without the means to find expression for Its being. This was the state of agony of which I spoke. Yet it is doubtful that without this ‘period’ of contracted yearning, All That Is could concentrate Its energy sufficiently enough to create the realities that existed in probable suspension within it.”
- Christ, who still exists, is a highly evolved entity who has existence in many systems of reality. However, Christ has the same relationship to God that all other individuals do — i.e., he is part of God. At the time of Christ, the Christ entity incarnated as three individuals — John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and Paul or Saul of Tarsus — and each was to some degree aware of his role in founding a new religion (although Paul/Saul was not aware of his role until after his conversion to Christianity). Seth said that Jesus was not crucified, and that it is not in the nature of enlightened individuals to sacrifice themselves. Rather, a willing and deluded surrogate, who believed himself to be the Messiah, was substituted in Jesus’ place, and it was this surrogate whom Judas betrayed (and who was then crucified). Jesus was then able to be “resurrected” because he had not actually died. Seth said that the crucifixion of Jesus did occur as a shared psychic event, but it did not occur as a physical event.
- Paul/Saul will reincarnate in the 21st century to correct mistakes that he made that set Christianity on the wrong course, and a period of spiritual awareness will ensue. Paul/Saul will not identify himself as Christ, and some will view him as the anti-Christ since his appearance will hasten the decline of traditional Christianity, along with other organized religions. Paul/Saul will be known as a psychic; he will strive “to straighten out Christianity, which will be in shambles at the time of His arrival”, and he will form “a new system of thought when the world is sorely in need of one”.,The events surrounding the return of Paul/Saul will substantially be complete by the year 2075, but the ensuing changes to society will take a century to unfold.
Jane Roberts died in 1984 at the age of 55 after a long battle with what appeared to be an autoimmune disease. In 1996, sessions 1 through 510 (the “early sessions” which preceded the dictation of the Seth books) were published posthumously by Robert Butts in nine volumes, along with six volumes of previously unpublished personal messages which accompanied the later sessions. Roberts’ and Butts’ manuscripts, notes and recordings were donated to the Yale Library. Robert Butts has remarried and currently lives in Sayre, Pennsylvania.Here are some videos of Jane Roberts:
Short clip of Jane Roberts speaking, as Seth, one version of his famous sentence: You Create (form) your own Reality Taken from a very old video interview where Jane and Rob Butts are interviewed for half an hour, the other half shows jane speaking for Seth in one of her regular classes.
I've read that site. Is it yours? My husband channels. Once connected with a vibe saying they were St. Germain..on 11/11/99...
I wish more people were in to Seth.
All Good Things,
Check out Seth's new book. It describes the current consensus reality quite nicely.
Love and Light
Mark Allen Frost
Why would Seth be so attached to that name he used with Jane and Rob that he would feel the need to use it again?
I thought he said to them that he would never come through another? Not sure if that's true, but I am curious.
Thank you for your comments - and all good things to you,
Seth has been speaking to humanity as Seth since the beginning, always packaging his messages in terms his audience can understand.
He has said that he would not speak through others while Jane was alive. Any promises to NEVER speak again are misperceptions on the part of Jane or Rob. It seems pretty straight forward to me. Seth likes to talk and he likes to teach. He is continuing to do both.
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