In the 1970s a series of books entitled The Seth Material quietly erupted into the world, expanding the minds of a generation and birthing an entirely new cultural movement. The books that began this “new age” were not written by a guru living in some psychedelic ashram. In fact, they weren’t written by anyone living at all. According to the couple who produced the series, they were dictated by a “personality” who lived in another plane of reality altogether.
In 1963 Jane Roberts and her husband Robert F. Butts were experimenting with a Ouija board when an entity who called himself “Seth” initiated contact. Although he was identified as a male, Seth described himself as an “energy personality essence” that was no longer “focused in physical matter.” In time, Jane began to channel Seth directly, allowing him to speak through her. For over twenty years the couple held regular trance sessions in which Seth would temporarily gain control over Jane’s body. Jane’s husband took religious notations of these sessions and the resulting papers and books are collectively called The Seth Material.
Initially, Seth merely conversed with those in the room, giving short lessons and lectures. With time, however, he began to dictate complete books. These books – given through Jane over the course of years – were published word for word. Seth called himself a “teacher” and specified that he had completed all his earthly reincarnations and now taught from another plane of existence. According to Seth, the information he gave within the Seth Material is not new, but immeasurably old. The first seeds of our greatest religions, he claimed, grew out of the same knowledge.
Seth covered a dense, galaxy-sized range of topics in his books; everything from the origin of the universe to the Dead Sea Scrolls. He discusses the nature of God or “All That Is,” the power of creativity, the evolution of the soul, and the limitless existence of all beings. The Seth Material is a veritable encyclopedia of deep-seated metaphysical quandaries.
The central tenant of The Seth Material revolves around the idea that the mind creates all matter, and never the other way around. According to Seth, each person designs his or her own experiences, beliefs and reality. At our essence, each one of us is a creator. We actually, physically, manifest our deepest wishes, fears and desires. We dream up our lives, and then we live them.
According to Seth, what we experience as physical reality is just another creation. The physical world we inhabit is ultimately an illusion, a “camouflage” for the true non-physical nature of being. The scope of existence, Seth implores, is much, much greater than physical reality and is available to every person in their daily lives through dreams, meditation, and deep thoughtfulness.
In his many books Seth touches upon the nature of the “self.” In our day-to-day existence, each person is merely a portion of a much more expansive “whole self.” The purpose of our lives, Seth implores, is to learn more about the higher self and the mystery of “All That Is.” Seth also explains and expands upon the concept of reincarnation and past lives. Each reincarnation, in the physical world or elsewhere, is a tailored course of self-study. Just as you select classes in college, so your higher self chooses experiences and lives.
Like a stone dropped into a vast pool, the publication of these books caused a ripple of exploration, criticism and thought. Some dismissed Seth as an elaborate hoax of smoke and mirrors. Others maintained that Seth is the devil himself, bent on destroying humanity. Since the publication of these books, however, many great thinkers have pointed out the similarities between Seth’s teachings and those found within the various doctrines of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen and Taoism. Modern scientists have also found profound correlations between Seth’s descriptions of time and space and current theories within fields of physics. The books have caused such a storm of scholarly interest that the Yale University Library maintains a collection of materials documenting the entire career of Jane Roberts.
Whether you believe everything you read about The Seth Material or choose to skeptically classify Seth’s teachings as theories (as Jane Robert’s did herself), the books themselves are intriguing, expansive and still wholly mysterious. If you have the time, and the space within your mind, I highly suggest opening up one of these books. Find out for yourself why these texts ignited a revolution.
“As in your terms the caveman ventured out into daylight of the earth, so there is a time for man to venture out into a great knowledge of subjective reality, to explore the dimensions of selfhood and go beyond the small areas of himself in which he has thus found shelter.” Seth, The “Unknown” Reality, Volume 1, Session 684