Jane Roberts and Rob Butts were born, raised, educated and married in the state of New York. By the time 1960 rolled around, they were settled in a big, drafty apartment in the little town of Elmira, facing the necessity of earning Robertstheir daily bread and staunchly determined to spend satisfying hunks of time on their individual modes of creativity: painting for Rob, the writing of poetry for Jane.
It wasn’t the first time (nor will it be the last) that a combination of playfulness, curiosity and a Ouija Board carved a wider life path for an individual than he or she ever imagined, but it is never a mundane experience, no matter how many times it is repeated. Some evening during the year of 1963, Jane and Rob sat facing one another with the board perched across their knees and began to explore. Tenacity and perhaps an assuredness that came from somewhere other than their rational minds sustained them during the unproductive first sessions, when most of the rest of us would have wandered off to some occupation more instantly gratifying. It wasn’t long before someone or something came through, calling himself Frank Withers. But this personality’s participation was brief: He had served to open a door of consciousness in Jane that allowed the personality essence of someone else to come through, the I-don’t-care-what-you-call-me-oh-call-me-Seth entity.
A friendly-humored, playful spirit, Seth was neither dictator nor doomsayer. But the wisdom he communicated over the next twenty years was so flawless, so common-sense and yet revolutionary, that it would fill numerous volumes, transform the lives of thousands of people, and come, finally, to reside in the archives of Yale University.
Soon after the introduction of Seth into the lives of Jane and Rob, Jane found that she could allow her own personality to withdraw to the background while Seth "borrowed" her voice, and the Ouija Board was put aside. Rob became the faithful secretary, hand-recording the dictation of all the material, as Seth poured forth book after book. He became a "member" of Jane’s regular ESP class, appeared on television and the radio, allowed himself to be subjected to verification testing by conventional scientists, and chatted with Richard Bach, who visited Jane and Rob not long after publishing Johnathon Livingston Seagull.
Seth refused to be exalted as any sort of messiah or father figure, and time after time he would challenge a participant to examine his own consciousness and beliefs for the answers - insisting that all the answers lay within each individual. "If you will forgive my terminology - Blessed are those who have humor! And that is the end of this profound message," he might quip, reminding his listeners to neither take him nor themselves too seriously. But he would also reveal information that was so unlike our conventional beliefs, but so concisely, complexly logical, that his material has attracted physicists and scientists the world over to study.
Seth had said to the students once, in an ESP class, "You are as dead now as you will ever be." With that in mind, Jane Roberts chose at the age of 53, in September of 1984, to allow the complications of rheumatoid arthritis to be the vehicle that released her to other levels of consciousness, leaving this physical reality. During her lifetime, she created a legacy of her own, with books of poetry, with novels for children and adults, and some of those volumes are currently being reprinted, along with most of the Seth books.
Rob still lives in Elmira, and he has undertaken the daunting task of organizing into books some of the thousands of pages of the Seth Material that have never seen a printing press (but which are readily available for reading in the Yale archives.) He has published The Magical Approach, and The Way Toward Health, by Jane Roberts and Seth, and he continues to work on more.
The Seth MATERIAL
The Seth Material is a system of philosophy presented by Jane Roberts and her husband Robert Butts as a consequence of the trance communications of an entity named Seth. The origin of the material, however, is far less significant than its scope. It has logical consistency, and the validation it receives, as millions of people read and use its ideas in their lives, is growing daily. During our current period of worldwide stress and conflicting ideologies, it makes sense of our situation and gives hope. Between 1963 and 1984, Seth communicated through Jane discourses which have appeared in the twenty volumes that comprise the Seth Material.
Seth: "I have been sent to help you, and others have been sent through the centuries of your time, for as you develop you also form new dimensions, and you will help others. I am in this room [speaking to Robert] although there is no object within which you can place me. You have a vehicle to use, a body that you call your own, and that is all. You are as disembodied as I. I come here as though I appeared through a hole in space and time. What you call emotion or feeling is the connective between us."
"Now, there are no limitations or divisions to the self. You can indeed depend upon seemingly unconscious portions of yourself. The seemingly unconscious portions of your body draws energy from food and molecules, from the air to form your body. All this happens because the inner portions of your being operate spontaneously, joyfully, freely; and all of this occurs because your inner self believes in you, often even while you do not believe in it. The you that you consider yourself to be is never annihilated. Your consciousness is not snuffed out, nor is it swallowed, blissfully unaware of itself, in some nirvana. You are as much a part of a nirvana now as you ever will be. You are in the process of expanding your psychic structure, of becoming a conscious participant with the soul. You are becoming what your soul is.
"There is nothing in your exterior experience that you did not originate within yourself. Interactions with others do occur, yet none occur what you do not attract or draw to you by your thoughts, feelings, attitudes or emotions. In your terms this applies both before, during and after physical life. In a most miraculous fashion you are given the gift of creating your own experiences.
"In this physical existence you are learning how to handle the inexhaustible energy that is available to you. Some of your feelings and thoughts are translated into objects. These exist in a medium you call space. Others are translated into events that exist in a medium you call time. Both of the concepts of space and time are illusions. They exist only in the physical realm. Since you are a part of "being," then you in effect give yourself the life that is being lived through you. While physical, while you are in the flesh, you are a portion of nature therefore, not apart from it. You can not strive to be above nature, and still be yourself.
"Beyond myself there is another self and still another, of which I am aware. And that self tells you that there is a reality beyond human reality and experience that cannot be made verbal or translated into human terms."
"Now, reality has no beginning and no end. Hopefully— hopefully— hopefully, in your terms of time, you may get a glimpse of what I mean. There is indeed an expanding universe, and it is formed in the eternal present. In my book I will go as far as I can into those precepts, yet some [of you] will not follow. You create your own reality. That works, and is true, whether or not you follow, or care to follow, into these other realms.
"For those of you who do accompany me, I promise you an adventure, a creative alteration of consciousness, and experiences beyond those that you have known in your terms. You look at the world around you and are amazed at its richness and variety. Do you think that the inner world is not as rich, even more rich, more valid? Do you think there is but one kind of consciousness?
"Your world is formed out of the vast unpredictability of consciousness. From it you form your own ideas of significance and of yourself... You must stop thinking in terms of ordinary progression. It is bad enough when you worry about keeping up with the Joneses. It is something else, however, when you start worrying about which kind of self [Or consciousness] is superior to another kind."
What's in a Name?