The Seth Material
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 called 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. 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. 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.”
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 that the information in the Seth Material is given to every generation of humans.
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 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.
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 0811903796.
- Roberts, Jane (1970). The Seth Material. Reprinted, 2001 by New Awareness Network. ISBN 978-0971119802 .
- Roberts, Jane and Robert F. Butts (1972). Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. Reprinted 1994 by Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1878424076.
- Roberts, Jane (1974). The Nature of Personal Reality. Prentice-Hall. Reprinted 1994, Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1878424068.
- Roberts, Jane (1975). Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 013013953X.
- Roberts, Jane (1975). Dialogues of the Soul and Mortal Self in Time. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0132085380. Poetry.
- Roberts, Jane (1976). Psychic Politics: An Aspect Psychology Book. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0137317522.
- Roberts, Jane (1977). The “Unknown” Reality Vol. 1. Prentice-Hall. Reprinted 1997, Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1878424254.
- Roberts, Jane (1979). The “Unknown” Reality Vol. 2. Prentice-Hall. Reprinted 1997, Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1878424262 .
- Roberts, Jane (1977). The World View of Paul Cezanne: A Psychic Interpretation. ISBN 0139688595.
- Roberts, Jane (1978). The Afterdeath Journal of An American Philosopher: The World View of William James. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0130185159.
- Roberts, Jane (1979). Emir’s Education in the Proper Use of Magical Powers. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 1571741429. Children’s literature.
- Roberts, Jane (1979). The Nature of the Psyche: Its Human Expression. Prentice-Hall. Reprinted 1996, Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 187842422X .
- Roberts, Jane (1981). The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events. Prentice-Hall, ISBN 0134572599. Reprinted 1994, Amber-Allen Publishing, ISBN 1878424211.
- Roberts, Jane (1995). The Oversoul Seven Trilogy. Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1878424173. 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 0013357492. Reprinted 2000, Moment Point Press. ISBN 0966132750.
- Roberts, Jane (1982). If We Live Again, Or, Public Magic and Private Love. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0134506197. Poetry.
- Roberts, Jane (1986). Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment. Prentice-Hall, two volumes, ISBN 013219452X and ISBN 0132194600.
- Roberts, Jane (1986). Seth, Dreams and Projections of Consciousness. Stillpoint Publishing.
- (1993). A Seth Reader. Vernal Equinox Press. Compendium edited by Richard Roberts. ISBN 0942380150.
- Roberts, Jane (1995). The Magical Approach : Seth Speaks About the Art of Creative Living. Amber-Allen Publishing. ISBN 1878424092.
- 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 0976897822.
- 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 0965285502.
- Roberts, Jane (2003). The Personal Sessions. New Awareness Network. Deleted session material. Seven volumes. ISBN 0971119848.
- Roberts. Jane. The Early Class Sessions. New Awareness Network. Two volumes.
Seth-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 1889964069.
- Stack, Rick. Out-Of-Body Adventures : 30 days to the Most Exciting Experience of Your Life. Contemporary Books. ISBN 0809245604.
- Ashley, Nancy. Create Your Own Reality : A Seth Workbook. Prentice-Hall Press, 1984. ISBN 0131891278.
- Ashley, Nancy. Create Your Own Happiness: A Seth Workbook. Prentice-Hall Press, 1988. ISBN 0131892266.
- Ashley, Nancy. Create Your Own Dreams: A Seth Workbook. Prentice-Hall Press, 1990. ISBN 0131893823.
- Norman Friedman. Bridging Science and Spirit: Common Elements in David Bohm’s Physics, The Perennial Philosophy and Seth. Living Lake Books, 1994. ISBN 0963647008.
- Norman Friedman. The Hidden Domain: Home of the Quantum Wave Function, Nature’s Creative Source. Woodbridge Group, 1997. ISBN 1889964093.
- Susan M. Watkins. Speaking of Jane Roberts: Remembering the Author of the Seth Material. Moment Point Press, 2001. ISBN 0966132777.
- Rich Kendall. The Road To Elmira. Rich Kendall Books, 2011. ISBN 0983577609; ISBN 978-0983577607.
- (Soon to be published). Seth: The Ultimate Guide. New World View Publishing. Compendium edited by Paul Helfrich.
Example 2: A Course in Miracles
A Course in Miracles (ACIM) was “scribed” by Schucman between 1965 and 1972 through a process of inner dictation. She experienced the process as one of a distinct and clear dictation from an inner voice, which earlier had identified itself to her as Jesus. Schucman’s scribing of A Course in Miracles began with these words: “This is a course in miracles, please take notes.”
Wouter Hanegraaf distinguishes Shucman’s process as a type of channeling that articulates revelation, clarifying that “… in cases of inner dictation in which the medium hears a voice dictating messages, (s)he writes down [these messages] in a fully conscious state.” Hanegraaf continues by specifically characterizing Shucman’s case as spontaneous channeling, indicating that “…[o]ver the years the voice proved to be remarkably consistent, stopping the dictation when interrupted [by Shucman's daily activities] and continuing at the next opportunity.” Hanegraff also references specific dialogue between Shucman and Thetford citing author Robert Skutch, among other authors, including Kenneth Wapnick, whom Hanegraaf indicates as a “good” source for complete discussion on this subject.
During this time, Schucman worked in a collaborative venture with William Thetford in scribing A Course In Miracles (ACIM) and also with its initial edits. The main transcription process took seven years, from 1965 through 1972, during which time she would take down the notes in shorthand, then each day read back these notes to Thetford, who would type them out while she read them. After all the ACIM material had been initially transcribed it was then edited for publication by Schucman and the other two primary editors, Thetford and Kenneth Wapnick.
Schucman also wrote two supplemental ACIM pamphlets by the same process as well as a collection of poetry later published as The Gifts of God. Following the transcription and editing, Schucman began to reduce the level of her direct involvement in the ACIM related effort and was never as heavily involved with teaching or popularizing the material as were its editors, Bill Thetford and Kenneth Wapnick.
Robert Skutch (1996). Journey Without Distance: the story behind “A Course in Miracles”. Mill Valley: Foundation for Inner Peace. ISBN 1-883360-02-1. (discusses the pre-publication history of ACIM)
Kenneth Wapnick (1999). Absence from Felicity: the story of Helen Schucman and her scribing of “A Course in Miracles” (2nd ed.). New York: Foundation for A Course in Miracles. ISBN 0-933291-08-6. (discusses Helen Schucman and the pre-publication history of ACIM)
Sarasota Psychic Medium – Channeled Automatic Writing