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What about Jane Roberts’ Seth Material?
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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.
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.
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.
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