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The Seth Material is a collection of metaphysical texts dictated by the American psychic Jane Roberts to her husband from late 1963 until her death in 1984. The words were purportedly suggested to Roberts by a discarnate entity who referred to himself as "an energy personality essence, no longer focused in physical reality", and calling himself Seth, who, she said, took control of her body and spoke through her. The material is regarded as one of the cornerstones of New Age philosophy, and the most influential channelled text of the post-World War II "New Age" movement, other than A Course in Miracles. Professor of psychology Jon Klimo writes that the Seth books were instrumental in bringing the idea of channeling to a broad public audience.
Other authors have written material they said was channeled from the Seth entity, especially after Roberts' death, including Thomas Massari, who founded the Seth-Hermes Foundation and said he had channeled Seth as early as 1972, and Jean Loomis, director of the Aquarian Center in Connecticut. However, in the introduction to Seth's first dictated book, Seth Speaks, "he" says, "communications will come exclusively through Ruburt [Seth's name for Jane] at all times, to protect the integrity of the material". In The Seth Material, Jane Roberts wrote: "Several people have told me that Seth communicated with them through automatic writing, but Seth denies any such contacts."
Study groups have formed across the United States to work with the Seth Material.
Catherine L. Albanese, a professor of American Religious History at the University of Chicago, said in the 1970s that the Seth Material launched an era of nationwide awareness of the channeling trend and contributed to the self-identity of an emergent New Age movement. John P. Newport, in his study of the impact of New Age beliefs, described the central focus of the Seth Material as the idea that each individual creates his or her own reality, a foundational concept of the New Age movement first articulated in the Seth Material.
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 later 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 using 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 Seth.
According to Roberts, the Seth personality described himself as an "energy personality essence no longer focused in physical matter" who was independent of Roberts' subconscious, although Roberts herself expressed skepticism as to Seth's origins, frequently referring to Seth's statements as "theories". The Seth personality said that he had completed his earthly reincarnations and was speaking from an adjacent plane of existence (or "system of reality" or "universe", all terms which the Seth personality used). The Seth personality described himself as a "teacher", and said: "this material has been given by himself and others in other times and places, but that it is given again, in new ways, for each succeeding generation through the centuries."
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. Roberts often sat in a rocking chair during sessions, and she would occasionally smoke cigarettes and sip beer or wine. Afterwards, she would usually not remember the contents of the session, and she would have to read the transcript or be told what Seth had said.
The core teachings of the Seth Material are based on the principle that consciousness creates matter, and that each individual creates his or her own reality through thoughts, beliefs and expectations, and that the "point of power" through which the individual can effect change is in the present moment.
The Seth Material discusses a wide range of metaphysical concepts, including the nature of God, referred to in the Material as "All That Is" and sometimes "The Multidimensional God" (who takes its form in many parallel or probable universes); the nature of physical reality; the origins of the universe; the limitless nature of the self and the "higher self"; the story of Christ; the evolution of the soul and all aspects of death and rebirth, including reincarnation and karma, past lives, after-death experiences, "guardian spirits", and ascension to planes of "higher consciousness"; the purpose of life and the nature of good and evil; the purpose of suffering; multidimensional reality, parallel lives and transpersonal realms.
The Nature of The Self
According to the Seth Material, the entire self or "entity" is a gestalt consisting of the inner self, various selves that the entity has assumed through past existences (physical and non-physical), plus all the currently incarnated selves, and all their probable counterparts, and reincarnation is included as a core principle.
Wouter Hanegraaff, Professor of History of Hermetic Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam, states that Roberts' views (when speaking as Seth) on the nature of the self have been influential to other new age authors (some of whom use the term "Higher Self" to refer to the same concept), and that Roberts' terminology has been adopted by some of those authors. Hanegraaff states that Seth uses various terms to refer to the concept of the "Self", including "entity", "whole self", "gestalt", and "(over)soul".
The Seth Material says that all individuals create their own circumstances and experiences within the shared earthly environment, similar to the doctrine of responsibility assumption. This concept is expressed in the phrase "you create your own reality", which may have originated with the Seth readings. The inner self, or inner ego, is responsible for the construction and maintenance of the individual's physical body and immediate physical environment, and the unfolding of events is determined by the expectations, attitudes and beliefs of the outer ego, that portion of the self that human beings know as themselves. "If you want to change your world, you must first change your thoughts, expectations, and beliefs." Or, more succinctly: "You get what you concentrate upon. There is no other main rule"
The books discuss the idea that the physical environment is constructed and maintained by the inner selves of the individual occupants (including the animals). The inner selves project, en masse, a pattern for physical reality which is then filled with energy, as needed, by each individual. All events are also produced in the same manner.
- Roberts, Jane (1966). How To Develop Your ESP Power. Publisher: Federick Fell. (Later retitled and reprinted as The Coming of Seth.) ISBN 0-8119-0379-6.
- Roberts, Jane (1970). The Seth Material. Reprinted, 2001 by New Awareness Network. ISBN 978-0-9711198-0-2 .
- Roberts, Jane (1972). Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. Reprinted 1994 by Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1-878424-07-6.
- Roberts, Jane (1974). The Nature of Personal Reality. Prentice-Hall. Reprinted 1994, Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1-878424-06-8.
- Roberts, Jane (1975). Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-013953-X.
- Roberts, Jane (1975). Dialogues of the Soul and Mortal Self in Time. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-208538-0. Poetry.
- Roberts, Jane (1976). Psychic Politics: An Aspect Psychology Book. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-731752-2.
- Roberts, Jane (1977). The "Unknown" Reality Vol. 1. Prentice-Hall. Reprinted 1997, Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1-878424-25-4.
- Roberts, Jane (1979). The "Unknown" Reality Vol. 2. Prentice-Hall. Reprinted 1997, Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1-878424-26-2 .
- Roberts, Jane (1977). The World View of Paul Cézanne: A Psychic Interpretation. ISBN 0-13-968859-5.
- Roberts, Jane (1978). The Afterdeath Journal of An American Philosopher: The World View of William James. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-018515-9.
- Roberts, Jane (1979). Emir's Education in the Proper Use of Magical Powers. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 1-57174-142-9. Children's literature.
- Roberts, Jane (1979). The Nature of the Psyche: Its Human Expression. Prentice-Hall. Reprinted 1996, Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1-878424-22-X .
- Roberts, Jane (1981). The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events. Prentice-Hall, ISBN 0134572599. Reprinted 1994, Amber-Allen Publishing, ISBN 1-878424-21-1.
- Roberts, Jane (1995). The Oversoul Seven Trilogy. Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1-878424-17-3. Edition: Paperback; May 1, 1995 (originally published as three separate books: The Education of Oversoul 7 (1973); The Further Education of Oversoul Seven (1979); Oversoul Seven and the Museum of Time (1984).
- Roberts, Jane (1981). The God of Jane: A Psychic Manifesto. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-01-335749-2. Reprinted 2000, Moment Point Press. ISBN 0-9661327-5-0.
- Roberts, Jane (1982). If We Live Again, Or, Public Magic and Private Love. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-450619-7. Poetry.
- Roberts, Jane (1986). Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment. Prentice-Hall, two volumes, ISBN 0-13-219452-X and ISBN 0-13-219460-0.
- Roberts, Jane (1986). Seth, Dreams and Projections of Consciousness. Stillpoint Publishing.
- (1993). A Seth Reader. Vernal Equinox Press. Compendium edited by Richard Roberts. ISBN 0-942380-15-0.
- Roberts, Jane (1995). The Magical Approach : Seth Speaks About the Art of Creative Living. Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1-878424-09-2.
- Roberts, Jane (1997). The Way Toward Health. Robert F. Butts (Foreword), Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 187842430.
- Roberts, Jane (2006). The World View of Rembrandt. New Awareness Network. ISBN 0-9768978-2-2.
- Roberts, Jane (1997 and after). The Early Sessions (Sessions 1 through 510 of the Seth Material). New Awareness Network. Edited by Robert Butts. Nine volumes. ISBN 0-9652855-0-2.
- Roberts, Jane (2003). The Personal Sessions. New Awareness Network. Deleted session material. Seven volumes. ISBN 0-9711198-4-8.
- Roberts. Jane. The Early Class Sessions. New Awareness Network. Two volumes.
Seth-Material-related works from other authors:
- Watkins, Susan M. Conversations with Seth. Moment Point Press, 2005, 2006, two volumes. ISBN 1-930491-05-0 and ISBN 1-930491-09-3 (original version published: Vol. 1 (1980), Vol 2 (1981).
- Dahl, Lynda Madden (1995). Ten Thousand Whispers. Moment Point Press. ISBN 1-889964-06-9.
- Dahl, Lynda Madden (1997). "The Wizards of Consciousness: Making the Imponderable Practical". ISBN 1-889964-12-6.
- Dahl, Lynda Madden (2012). "Living in a Safe Universe, A Book for Seth Readers" ISBN 1-889964-13-3.
- Dahl, Lynda Madden (2013). "Living in a Safe Universe, A Book for Seth Readers (Volume 2" ISBN 1-889964-15-7.
- Stack, Rick. Out-Of-Body Adventures : 30 days to the Most Exciting Experience of Your Life. Contemporary Books. ISBN 0-8092-4560-4.
- Ashley, Nancy. Create Your Own Reality : A Seth Workbook. Prentice-Hall Press, 1984. ISBN 0-13-189127-8.
- Ashley, Nancy. Create Your Own Happiness: A Seth Workbook. Prentice-Hall Press, 1988. ISBN 0-13-189226-6.
- Ashley, Nancy. Create Your Own Dreams: A Seth Workbook. Prentice-Hall Press, 1990. ISBN 0-13-189382-3.
- Norman Friedman. Bridging Science and Spirit: Common Elements in David Bohm's Physics, The Perennial Philosophy and Seth. Living Lake Books, 1994. ISBN 0-9636470-0-8.
- Norman Friedman. The Hidden Domain: Home of the Quantum Wave Function, Nature's Creative Source. Woodbridge Group, 1997. ISBN 1-889964-09-3.
- Susan M. Watkins. Speaking of Jane Roberts: Remembering the Author of the Seth Material. Moment Point Press, 2001. ISBN 0-9661327-7-7.
- Dr. Tien-Sheng Hsu. The Secret to Healing Cancer: A Chinese Psychiatrist and Family Doctor Presents His Amazing Method For Curing Cancer Through Psychological and Spiritual Growth. New Awareness Network, 2011. ISBN 0984928502.
- Richard Kendall. The Road To Elmira, Volume 1 : A former student of Jane Roberts recounts his experiences while attending Jane's classes. Rich Kendall Books, 2011. ISBN 0-9835776-0-9; ISBN 978-0-9835776-0-7.
- (Soon to be published). Seth: The Ultimate Guide. New World View Publishing. Compendium edited by Paul Helfrich.
Short Stories and novellas by Jane Roberts:
- Roberts, Jane. "Prayer of a Wiser People" in Profile, 1950.
- Roberts, Jane. "The Red Wagon" in Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1956 (republished 1993, Reality Change Magazine; anthologized in 1975, Ladies of Fantasy).
- Roberts, Jane. "The Canvas Pyramid" in Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1957 (French edition, 1958).
- Roberts, Jane. "First Communion" in Fantastic Universe, 1957.
- Roberts, Jane. "The Chestnut Beads" in Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1957 (French edition, 1958; anthologized in Triple W: Witches, Warlocks and Werewolves, 1963).
- Roberts, Jane. "The Bundu" (novella) in Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1958.
- Roberts, Jane. "A Demon at Devotions" in Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1958 (reprinted in Reality Change Magazine, Winter 1994).
- Roberts, Jane. "Nightmare" in Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1959.
- Roberts, Jane. "Impasse" in Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1959 (Spanish anthology edition ca. 1960).
- Roberts, Jane. "Three Times Around" in Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1964 (anthologized in Earth Invaded, 1982).
- Roberts, Jane. "The Big Freeze" in Dude, 1965 (reprinted in Reality Change Magazine, Summer 1994).
- Roberts, Jane. "The Mission," purchased by Topper magazine in August, 1965. (Publication not yet confirmed.)
Poetry by Jane Roberts:
- "I Shall Die in the Springtime." Patterns. v.1, n.1, October 1954.
- "Lyric." Patterns. v.1, n.1, October 1954.
- "Matilda" in Quicksilver, Spring, 1960.
- "It is Springtime, Grandfather." Epos., v.12, n.3, Spring 1961.
- "The Familiar." Bitterroot. v.1, n.2, Winter 1962.
- "I Saw a Hand" in Treasures of Parnassus: Best Poems of 1962, Young Publications, 1962 (reprinted in The Elmira Star-Gazette, 1962).
- "My Grandfather's World." Epos. v.14, n.3, Spring 1963.
- "Lullaby." Epos. v.14, n.3, Spring 1963.
- "Beware, October." Epos. v.16, n.1, Fall 1964.
- "This Wrist, This Hand." Epos. v.16, n.4, Summer 1965.
- "The Game." New Lantern Club Review. n.2, Summer 1965.
- "The Flowers." Steppenwolf. n.1, Winter 1965-1966.
- "Vision." Dust/9. v.3, n.1, Fall 1966.
- "Who Whispers Yes." Dust/12. v.3, n.4, Spring 1969.
- "Hi, Low, and Psycho." Excerpts published in Reality Change, Third Quarter, 1996.
Relationship with Christianity
According to the Seth Material, Jesus Christ exists as part of the Christ entity, a highly evolved entity who exists in many systems of reality. At the time of Christ, the Christ entity incarnated as three individuals: John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and Paul or Saul of Tarsus.
Charles Upton in his book The System of Antichrist, which critiques the New Age movement, argues that the reason Jane Roberts multiplies the self in many ways is due to a fear of death, and that the Seth texts are based on a misunderstanding of both Christianity and of Eastern religions. Upton also acknowledges that "traces of valid esoteric doctrines can be found in the Seth teachings." The implied influences of Eastern mysticism and philosophy are also highlighted in Astrology and Psychic Phenomena by Terry Holley, E Calvin Beisner and Robert M Bowman Jr, who say "Husband Robert Butts admitted that similarities exist between Seth's ideas and those of various religious, philosophical, and mystical doctrines from the Near, Middle, or Far East . . . and we've done a little reading on Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, and Taoism, for example, not to mention subjects like shamanism, voodooism, and obeah." According to historian Robert C. Fuller, professor of religious studies at Bradley University, the Seth personality filled the role of guide for what Fuller called "unchurched American spirituality," including the topics of reincarnation, karma, free will, ancient metaphysical wisdom, and "Christ consciousness." Psychologist and critic of parapsychology James E. Alcock has concluded: "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."
- Roberts, Jane. ESP Power. 2000; Stack, Rick. Out-Of-Body Adventures. 1988; Hathaway, Michael R. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Past Life Regression. 2003, p. 208; Watkins, Susan. Conversations With Seth, Book 2: 25th Anniversary Edition. 2006.
- Talbot, Michael. The Holographic Universe, 1991; Hanegraff, Wouter J. New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought, SUNY Press, 1998, pp. 122–126; Hammer, Olav. Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age. BRILL, 2004, p. 342; Upton, Charles. The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age. Sophia Perennis, 2005, pp. 169–173.
- Klimo, Jon. Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources. North Atlantic Books 1998, p. 22.
- Fuller, Robert C. Spiritual, But Not Religious: Understanding Unchurched America. Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 187; Newport, John P. The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing 1998, p. 165; Klimo, Jon. Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources. North Atlantic Books 1998, p. 62.
- Larson, Bob. Larson's Book of World Religions and Alternative Spirituality. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2004, p. 484.
- Albanese, Catherine L. A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion. Yale University Press 2007, p. 501.
- Newport, John P. The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing 1998, p. 165.
- ESP Power, by Jane Roberts (2000) (introductory essay by Lynda Dahl). ISBN 0-88391-016-0
- Other Lives, Other Selves: A Jungian Psychotherapist Discovers Past Lives, by Roger Woolger (1988). ISBN 978-0-553-34595-7
- Chapter 1, Session 511, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, by Jane Roberts (1972).
- Klimo, Jon (1998). Channeling: Investigations on Receiving Information from Paranormal Sources. North Atlantic Books. p. 30. ISBN 1-55643-248-8.
- Chapter 10, The Seth Material, by Jane Roberts (1970).
- Chapter 1, Session 511, and Chapter 2, Session 514, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, by Jane Roberts (1972).
- Roberts, Jane (1970). The Seth Material. Prentice-Hall. p. 7. ISBN 0-13-807180-2.
- Tyler, Paula J.; Fran Stagg (1987). New Age Metaphysics: An Introduction for Young Adults. Ozark Mountain Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 0-9617920-0-0.
- Chapter 1, Seth Speaks, by Jane Roberts (1972); "Consciousness creates form. It is not the other way around".
- Clarke, Peter Bernard (2006). New Religions in Global Perspective. Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 0-415-25748-4.
- Leskowitz, Eric D. (1999). Transpersonal Hypnosis: Gateway to Body, Mind, and Spirit. CRC Press. pp. 107, 163, 173. ISBN 0-8493-2237-5.
- Bruce, Alexandra (2005). Beyond the Bleep: The Definitive Unauthorized Guide to What the Bleep Do We Know!?. The Disinformation Company. pp. 116–117. ISBN 1-932857-22-2.
- Wolf, Joachim (2003). Understanding the Grand Design: Spiritual Reality's Inner Logic. Trafford Publishing. pp. 136–7,163,176–8. ISBN 1-55395-567-6.
- Hanegraaff, Wouter J. (1998). New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. SUNY Press. pp. 122–4,125,126. ISBN 0-7914-3854-6.
- Upton, Charles (2005). The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age. Sophia Perennis. pp. 169–173. ISBN 0-900588-38-1.
- Fuller, Robert C. Spiritual, But Not Religious: Understanding Unchurched America. Oxford University Press 2001, p. 60.
- Neff, Joanna Neff (2003). Soul Retrieval: Return to Wholeness. Trafford Publishing. pp. 59, 63. ISBN 1-4120-1613-4.
- Brennan, Barbara Ann (1987). Hands of Light. Bantam. p. 243. ISBN 0-553-34539-7.
- Hanegraaff, Wouter J. (1998). New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. SUNY Press. p. 214. ISBN 0-7914-3854-6.
- Roberts, Jane (1981). The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events. Prentice-Hall. p. 295. ISBN 0-13-4572599-9 Check
- Roberts, Jane (1994). The Nature of Personal Reality. Amber-Allen. p. 45. ISBN 1-878424-06-08 Check
- Session 610, The Nature of Personal Reality, by Jane Roberts (1974). ISBN 0-13-610576-9
- Hanegraaff, Wouter J. (1998). New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. SUNY Press. pp. 215–216. ISBN 0-7914-3854-6.
- Kole, Andre; E Calvin Beisner, Robert M Bowman Jr, Terry Holley Astrology and Psychic Phenomena Zondervan Publishing House 1989 ISBN 978-0-310-48921-4 p.51
- Kole, Andre; E Calvin Beisner, Robert M Bowman Jr, Terry Holley Astrology and Psychic Phenomena Zondervan Publishing House 1989 ISBN 978-0-310-48921-4 p.52
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Jane Roberts#Quotations as Seth|
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- Guide to the Jane Roberts Papers, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library Archival Collection includes both published and unpublished materials
- Seth Network International  The Global meeting place for Seth readers
- Seth Center Index to the Early Sessions
- Seth Learning Center An overview of titles and related audio clips, New Awareness Network
- Nirvikalpa Archive of over 1500 quotations and excerpts