What about Jane Roberts’ Seth Material?

Jane Roberts
Jane Roberts
Paul Cezanne
Paul Cezanne

Do entities from a parallel universe really exist?


Many years ago I became acquainted with an idea that seems profound indeed. After reading a series of popular books written by Jane Roberts, I began to wonder about the nature of personal reality. Could it be that my sense of physical reality is a product of my own thoughts?

Schooled in Christianity, Eastern philosophy and a little bit of this and that, I figured, well of course we create our own reality, because it’s a simple matter of cause and effect, reaping what we sow, or perhaps something like karma was at work. Few people would argue that our actions create future events.

The nature of personal reality is the gist of Jane Roberts’ so-called Seth Material, which she produced by going into a trance state and then channeling the teachings of Seth, purportedly a nonphysical entity from an alternate universe, the spirit world, the otherworld or, you tell me.

Let’s find out more about Jane Roberts’ Seth Material:

Who was Jane Roberts?

Jane Roberts was born in 1929 and died in 1984 at the age of 54. Roberts was a writer who penned in many genres: poetry, short stories, children’s literature, nonfiction, as well as science fiction and fantasy novels. While in her thirties, Roberts began channeling the point of view of a person or spiritual entity which identified itself as Seth. This information was compiled for 21 years and came to be known as the Seth Material. The Seth Material eventually ascended to a highly influential place in the canon for New Age studies.

Roberts also channeled deceased people such as psychologist and philosopher William James, brother of Henry James, and impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. For these communications she used a typewriter to write automatically.

What about Seth?

In 1963, while doing research for a book on extrasensory perception, Roberts and her husband Robert F. Butts began experimenting with the Ouija board. In December of that year, Roberts began receiving what she claimed were messages from a personality called Seth. Roberts eventually abandoned the Ouija board, as she began receiving Seth’s messages in her mind. Roberts claimed she communicated with Seth while in a trance state and that Seth would speak by using her voice. Her husband recorded notes for these psychic sessions which were eventually compiled into the famous Seth books, most of which published in the 1970s.

What Did Seth Have to Say?

In Roberts’ book Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul (1972), Seth referred to himself as an “energy personality essence no longer focused in physical matter.” Understandably, Roberts began to wonder if Seth was a product of her imagination, but she eventually believed that Seth could take control of her body and speak monologues. Moreover, Roberts claimed she wasn’t the author of the Seth books; she was simply a medium.

Seth went on to say that he had completed his earthly incarnations and was speaking from another reality or parallel universe. Seth also described himself as a teacher who wanted to inform all generations of humans.

The primary aspect of Seth’s teachings is that thought creates reality. The individual creates matter through one’s perception based on thoughts, beliefs and expectations. Change is accomplished by the choices one makes in the present moment or the “eternal now” as some metaphysical proponents have labeled it.

Seth also spoke of the existence of God or “All That Is” and a multidimensional God present in all possible universes. Seth also discussed such concepts as “past lives,” the origin of the universe and the limitless nature of the self, as well as the existence of something called the higher self. The purpose of life and the nature of good and evil are also touched upon. Overall, Seth spoke of many aspects of esoteric knowledge, including karma, reincarnation and the ontological nature of each person existing as a collection of selves, living on earth, including past-life existences and in other planes of existence.

In perhaps the most mind-boggling of Seth’s revelations, he stressed that every event on earth is a product of the collective energy of all humans and animals too. All natural disasters, epidemics and wars are created by the unified interaction of all of earth’s beings and creatures. Implicit in this doctrine is the responsibility assumption, which posits that the individual has total control over everything that happens in his or her existence.

Criticism

As one may imagine, Jane Roberts’ and her Seth Material have had their share of critics. The poet and essayist Charles Upton thought Roberts invented Seth because of her fear of death. Upton also opined that the Seth books are based on a misunderstanding of both Christianity and Eastern religion.

Professor of psychology and critic of parapsychology, James E. Alcock had this to say about Jane Roberts and Seth: "In light of all this, the Seth materials must surely be viewed as less than ordinary. There certainly was the time and talent for fraud to play a role, but we cannot discriminate between that possibility and the possibility of unconscious production. At any rate, given these circumstances, there seems little need to consider the involvement of any supernatural agency."

Of course, Jane Roberts always claimed her communication with Seth was genuine, though she maintained that nobody else could do the same. In her book The Seth Material, she wrote, “Several people have told me that Seth communicated with them through automatic writing, but Seth denies any such contacts.”

Roberts and Butts donated their notes, manuscripts and recordings to the Yale Library.

Afterword

I read a number of the Seth books and was truly astonished at such metaphysical possibilities. The concept of Seth was hard enough to grasp - but believing in multiple selves, people creating their own reality and the existence of parallel universes?!... OMG! Of course, scientists tell us that multiple universes may exist, so perhaps Seth’s assertions can be taken with some degree of scientific credibility.

Nevertheless, it seems true that every individual creates his or her reality. We truly reap what we sow. And I also think our thoughts are much more powerful then we realize. Always be careful what you ponder, because . . . thoughts may be much more powerful than you think.

At any rate, who cares what I believe? Only the individual can decide what is true or false.

Please leave a comment.

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Comments 14 comments

CMCastro profile image

CMCastro 5 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

I remember seeing a book in my mother's library called "Seth Speaks". I was made aware of paranormal things as a young child because my mother took on that philosophy as truth. What I now know is this- Spirits from the kingdom of darkness as well as the kingdom of Light will always try to manifest themselves in people's minds through a vehicle, making one think that they are a true person. That is why Spirit Possession is more prevalent than one may think. The trick of the devil (who is Satan, who fell from Heaven into Darkness and landed here on earth bringing 100 million angels with him) is to find a vehicle to appear as the "All Knowing". That vehicle is the Ouija board. There is proof that Seth did exist (one of Adam's descendants) but it can not be proven that the Seth that Jane Roberts talks about is the one and true Seth from the Bible.

I personally will only rely on the Holy Bible to tell me who the One true God of All Creation Is. Thank you for sharing.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

A very interesting hub, Kosmo. I think people believe according to a number of things: their predilection for that belief, early childhood programming, their desire to believe, their need to believe. So, I guess I agree with you that we all create our own reality, though much of the time that creation may be due to forces beyond our control. Thanks for the food for thought. Lynda


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

I remember reading the Seth books when I was very young and just starting out to study esoteric knowledge, the paranormal and so on. I was fascinated and intrigued by what the book/Seth has to say. I am very opened minded and certainly believe in an after-life, other dimensions, parallel universes and so on. And as much as I wanted to believe (and maybe I still do) in Jane Roberts/Seth, I just can't buy into the idea of Seth being anything other than Jane's sub-conscious or even higher self. I do think there may well be higher beings somewhere in the other worlds, and I do believe in higher energies such as the archangelic and Christlight energies - but for some reason, I just can't buy into Jane/Seth. I can only say that this is a gut feeling and I don't think she was deliberatetly de-frauding or deluding herself. I think she firmly believed that what she was saying about Seth was the truth. But for me, it doesn't work and I can't really explain it anymore than that.

Great hub - I thoroughly enjoyed this. Voted up!


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, CMCastro. I'm afriad I'm too much of a skeptic to believe in entities from other universes, etc. but the concept is fun to ponder. Anyway, I also put some credence in the Bible, though I don't believe in its literal translation. Later!


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, Immartin. It's always good to have you stop by. In a fashion at least, we all create our own reality, because thoughts definitely have energy, though, of course, chance events will always play a part. Later!


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Hey, Seeker7, I also don't believe in the existence of Seth. I think Jane Roberts created the whole scenario, but she honestly believed Seth was real. Anyway, the human imagination is a powerful thing. Without it, we'd all be autistic, right? Or something like that. Anyway, thanks for the comment. Later!


Ed Michaels profile image

Ed Michaels 5 years ago from Texas, USA

Unconscious production I can buy--and automatic writing by the time of the Seth productions had a history in art and spiritualism. Yeats was a famous experimenter with the process. Some "frauds" are merely self-delusions made public. But "thinking makes it so" fails the reality test for there are real situations which you cannot think your way out of: the will of others to physically impose their desires on unwilling others is too strong, and backed by too much coercive power--gulags, concentration camps, chinese prison labor. Of course, if we think more humanely, and practice thinking more humanely, whether guided by beneficient spirits or some deity or a humanist respect for individual life and worth, we will act in better ways for ourselves and for others. But it is the acts that matter in the end, not the thought.


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the thought-provoking commentary, Ed Michaels. I think we agree on the power of thought, though in the end only actions create physical change. Later!


John W. Robinson 5 years ago

I have met 5 people that were in the classes where Seth was speaking through Jane Roberts. They all validate the experience. If one studies all the material in detail and compare to other writings in Psychology, Philosopy & Religion as well as metahysical literature, you will come to the conclusion regarding the validity of all material that can be validated. Even to the latest from the Quantum Physist that have "discovered" possible faster than light communication.


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, John W. Robinson. I'm very happy to hear from somebody who's had at least indirect contact with Jane Roberts while channeling Seth. And you're right, modern theoretical physics seems to support some facets of the paranormal, though I don't think anything in quantum physics can prove the existence of Seth. Nevertheless, I try to keep an open mind about virtually everything. Later!


Lucidity 4 years ago

Seth is one of the best books ever written in human experience. Its not the whole truth, but even Seth said that, but it is one of the best.

"Seth: In a manner of speaking, you must be a practicing idealist if you are to remain a true idealist for long. You must take small practical steps, often when you would prefer to take giant ones — but you must move in the direction of your ideals through action. Otherwise you will feel disillusioned, or powerless, or sure, again, that only drastic, highly unideal methods will ever bring about the achievement of a given ideal state or situation.

Life at all levels of activity is propelled to seek ideals, whether of a biological or mental nature. That pursuit automatically gives life its zest and natural sense of excitement and drama. Developing your own abilities, whatever they may be, exploring and expanding your experience of selfhood, gives life a sense of purpose, meaning, and creative excitement — and also adds to the understanding and development of the society and the species.

It is not enough to meditate, or to imagine in your mind some desired goal being accomplished, if you are afraid to act upon the very impulses to which your meditations and imaginings give rise." - Seth.


gail641 profile image

gail641 3 years ago from Mason City

I have read a book about Seth, too. It does sound interesting and makes you wonder if its true or not. I wonder if reincarnation is true or not? Very interesting hub. I don't think its good to use ouija boards, in case, evil enities came through and cause a lot of bad things to happen. That would be horrible.


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, gail641. I agree about the Seth books being very interesting, although I admit this subject matter seems very dated by present standards. In those days, I was fairly certain Roberts was actually communicating with people from another plane of existence, whereas now I'm just about certain she wasn't. Later!


gail641 profile image

gail641 3 years ago from Mason City

Your welcome!

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