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On the Seth Trail

Zed, thou unnecessary letter!

- William Shakespeare, King Lear, 2.2.65

First observation: Shakespeare could, at least theoretically, have said the same thing about 'w' in William too, for a simple 'o' may replace it in so many cases. He would then be Oilliam. In French it is Guillame. Much depends on good oill and where to put it. And 'shakespeare' too may be subjected to editing, to get more aligned to how words are pronounced. In English, such fit works lags behind by, say, hundreds of years. In Spanish it is much better, and in Finnish better still. But how many talk Finnish?

Second, with a sting: In the Bible, Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old, a son in his likeness and image. It is repeated in 1 Chronicles 1:1-3. After Seth was born, Adam lived for 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived 930 years. When Seth was 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Seth lived a total of 912 years. (Genesis 5:3-10).

Asking for evidence to escape blind beliefs: Where is the evidence that ancient guys in the Bible really got so old or did not get older than a thousand years. In a set of instructions dated to the early third millennium BCE, (ca. 2600 BCE – ca. 2500 BCE), King Shuruppak is presented as the last king of Sumer before the great flood hit Mesopotamia, and the son of King Ubartutu (Ubara-Tutu) who lived for 18,500 years. [WP, "Sumerian King List"]).

Yet in the Sumerian king list recension Ziusudra, or Zin-Suddu of Shuruppak, the last king before the flood is recorded to have reigned as both king and priest for 36,000 years. In this version, Ziusudra inherits rulership from his father Shuruppak, who ruled for 36,000 years.

"Some 900 years may seem long, but 36,000 years seems forty times longer." Compared to the ancient Sumerian kings, the Bible guys that are told of in chapter 4 of Genesis, are short-lived, and we too.

Is there any other good, evidence so far that is not later-edited to prove the Bible claims? That is for you to discern. Here is more from Babylon: [Babylonian wisdom]

Now, in ancient Egypt, Set or Seth (also Setesh, Sutekh, Setekh, or Suty) is a god of chaos, the desert, storms, disorder, violence, and foreigners in ancient Egyptian religion. Set had a positive role on the the sun god's boat; a vital role as a reconciled combatant. In Egyptian mythology, however, Set is portrayed as the usurper who killed and mutilated his own brother. Osiris son, Horus, sought revenge on Set.

In art, Set is usually depicted as an enigmatic creature called the Set animal, a beast resembling no known creature - but during the Late Period, Set is depicted as a donkey or as having a donkey's head. (WP, "Set [deity]")

The Seth Material

Now for the challenging channelings of Jane Roberts. The AIR-BOC design is at the back of the following.

A  Author

We are told that the American (Dorothy) Jane Roberts (1929–84) claimed to channel an energy personality or spirit who called himself "Seth." In Seth Speaks we are told this is an ancient teacher's self-presentation through Jane Roberts:

I can quite literally be called a ghost writer, though I do not approve of the term "ghost." . . . I do not like the word "spirit," either; and yet if your definition of that word implies the idea of a personality without a physical body, then I would have to agree that the description fits me. . . .

Names are not important . . . My name is Seth. . . .

No physical form lasts, and no body, however beautiful in youth, retains the same vigor and enchantment in old age. . . .

Personalities who do not exist do not write books. . . .

I do not speak through Ruburt [Jane Roberts] as one might through a telephone. . . .

You are not stuck in time like a fly in a closed bottle . . . You are sometimes wiser, more creative, and far more knowledgeable when you are dreaming than when you are awake. . . .

I have been conscious before your earth was formed. . . .

I speak through Ruburt [Jane Roberts] twice a week. . . . (All: Seth Speaks, Chap. 1, session 511.)

You may wonder where the personality Seth lived when talking or writing through Jane Roberts? He tells of his background thus:

My environment differs in rather important respects from that of my readers, I can assure you . . . It is more pleasurable . . . but you must die many times before you enter this particular plane of existence. . . .

My environment is a reality of existence created by myself and others like me, and it represents the manifestation of our development. We do not use permanent structures. There is not a city or a town, for example, in which I dwell. I do not mean to imply that we are off in empty space. For one thing we do not think of space as you do, and we form whatever particular images we want to surround us. . . .

[My] changing forms would [be regarded] as immediate clues as to my mood, feelings, and ideas. Permanency and stability basically have nothing to do with form.

My duties . . . are primarily those of a teacher and educator [and I] may teach the same lesson in many different ways . . .

In my home environment I assume whatever shape I please, and it may vary, and does, with the nature of my thoughts. . . .

We do not exist in any time framework as you know it.

For our "vacations" we visit amid quite simple life forms, and blend with them . . . we can spend a century as a tree or as an uncomplicated life form in another reality. . . . We may create, you see, the forest in which we grow. . . . We can form from ourselves, . . . personalities whenever we wish.

If my environment is not a permanently structured one, then . . . neither is your own.

So far, so good?

The Seth texts that Jane published, the Seth Material, are kept at The Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives. Texts are published in book form too.

As for Jane Roberts, who is presented as the channeling medium of the Seth Material, she first married Walt Zeh, but then met Robert Fabian Butts, looked at him and said, "Look, I'm leaving Walt, and I'm going to live by myself or I'm going to live with you, so just let me know." When the remarried Jane was in her thirties, she and her new husband Robert began to record what she said were messages from the personality named "Seth." She wrote several books after a September evening in 1963 when Jane sat down at her table to work on poetry and Robert was in his back-room studio. Then "ideas burst into my head," she writes. When she "came to," she found herself scrawling the title, The Physical Universe as Idea Construction.

Neither Jane nor Robert believed in extrasensory abilities then and for quite some time afterwards. Anyway, she suddenly began recalling her dreams, and she managed to land a contract with a New York publisher for a do-it-yourself book on extra-sensory perception. It set wheels rolling.

In late 1963, Roberts and her husband started experimenting with a Ouija board as part of her research for the book. On December 2, 1963 they began to receive coherent Seth messages. Soon after, Roberts reported that she was hearing the messages in her head. During a three-hour session on the evening of Jan. 2, 1964 she began to dictate the messages instead of using the Ouija board. Finally she could abandon the Ouija board after the 27th session on February 19, 1964.

Roberts described the process of writing: Seth would assume control of her body and speak through her, while her husband wrote down the words she spoke during such "readings" or "sessions." A friend attended the 26th session on February 18, 1964.

At the 27th session Seth told the couple how to rearrange the furniture in their apartment. Two days later a psychologist told them in a letter that the very fluency of the material suggested that it might be impossible to tell whether the material came from Roberts' subconscious -

She: "I took it for granted that Seth was a subconscious fantasy, personified, because I simply couldn't accept the possibility of spirits or, for that matter, life after death. Then, after it became obvious that the Seth sessions were going to continue, we kept constant check on my personality characteristics and went to a psychologist . . . Seth seemed far more mature and well-balanced than the psychologist . . . my personality showed no adverse signs of instability.

Jane also purportedly channeled the world views of several other people through a process she described as using a typewriter to write "automatically." That is what she said.

For 21 years Jane Roberts held more than 1500 regular or private "ESP class" trance sessions. In them, she spoke on behalf of Seth. Robert served as stenographer, taking the messages down in home-made shorthand, and having others on occasion make recording of some sessions. The messages were mostly monologues on many different topics, and were published by Prentice-Hall under the collective title Seth Material.

Over the years, hundreds of people witnessed her sessions.

The Seth Material kept coming until late 1969. After that, Roberts wrote books she said was dictated by Seth - ten volumes. The last two books seem incomplete. Robert added footnotes, appendices and other comments to all the Seth books.

Jane described Seth as an "energy personality essence no longer focused in physical matter," and he was independent of Roberts' subconscious. Unlike the wording of psychic Edgar Cayce in trance, Roberts' syntax and sentence structures were modern and clear when speaking as Seth. Another point to notice is that even if later books continued to develop, they did not contradict the material introduced in earlier works.

Seth provided an alternative creation myth to that of the Big Bang, for one thing.

A ghost, according to the guru Yogananda

A spirit and a ghost, what is the difference? There may be none. It depends on what is meant by each word. The following may throw light on Seth, or it may not. In any case, the source is a stenographed and in time published talk by Yogananda, "What are Ghosts?" (Yogananda 1982)

There are all kinds of tales about ghosts, devils, witches, vampires; and not a few persons have claimed to have had various experiences with such creatures. Of the several cases that have come to my attention, most of the persons involved suffered from overly strong and diseased imaginations. - Paramahansa Yogananda 2003, 269

There is another world, the astral, hidden behind this universe. Its inhabitants are garbed in an astral form made of light. Lacking a physical body, they are "ghosts," invisible to us. Ordinarily they are confined to their own sphere, just as we are limited to our own physical world. - Paramahansa Yogananda 2003, 270

When you die, your physical body . . . disintegrates, but . . . your astral body remain intact. Where, then, are all those souls who have left this earth? They are roaming in the ether. - Paramahansa Yogananda 2003, 273

If you were to behold the multitude of astral beings in the ether around you at this moment, many of you would be afraid; and some of you would try to seek among them your departed loved ones. If you concentrate deeply at the spiritual eye you can view with inner vision that luminous world in which are living all the souls who have gone on to the astral plane. - Paramahansa Yogananda 2003, 273

Man dons a physical form [and] becomes a visible being in this world. After the death of his physical body, he remains in the astral form as a "ghost": an intelligent, invisible being, with essentially the same mentality and characteristics he had on earth. - Paramahansa Yogananda 2003, 274

So you see, before you took on this physical form you were a ghost, and when you die you will become a ghost again. We are also ghosts when we sleep, for in sleep we are not aware of ourselves as a physical body at all. Since you are a ghost when you are asleep, and you will be one after death, why be afraid of ghosts? - Paramahansa Yogananda 2003, 275

At night and when we die we become ghosts. We must learn to know our ghostly nature, our . . . nature. - Paramahansa Yogananda 2003, 275-76

In addition to the fear of ghosts, some people have a dread of black magic and other black arts. - Paramahansa Yogananda 2003, 279

I  Identity

The Seth Material is a collection of writings that is said to have been dictated by Jane Roberts to her husband from late 1963 until her death in 1984. Roberts told the words were spoken by a bodyless entity named Seth. The material is regarded as one of the cornerstones of New Age philosophy.

The core teachings of the Seth Material include "The individual can affect change . . . in the present moment." "Evolution of the soul" is another topic, "reincarnation and karma" is another, and past lives and after-death experiences two more. "The purpose of life and the nature of good and evil; the purpose of suffering" are central in the material.

Professor Wouter Hanegraaff at the University of Amsterdam points out that Seth uses various terms to refer to the concept of the "self", including "entity", "whole self", "gestalt", and "(over)soul".

R  Readers

Readers are, roughly said, persons interested in New Age thought and maybe channelling too. Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Shakti Gawain, Dan Millman, Louise Hay, Richard Bach and others have let themselves be influenced by the Seth Material.

Historian Robert C. Fuller, a professor of religious studies at Bradley University, wrote that Seth filled the role of guide for what Fuller called "unchurched American spirituality," related to concepts of reincarnation, karma, free will, ancient metaphysical wisdom, and "Christ consciousness." (WP, "Jane Roberts")

B  Background

The US society in the early 1960s and a few decades after it.

O  Other literature

Edgar Cayce's readings go into many similar matters.

C  Criticism, critics

Since Biblical times the practice of consulting spirits has been forbidden and punishable by stoning - (Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10-13)

King Saul consulted a medium for guidance. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David. (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)

New Testament reveals that the Holy Spirit, with a capital S and not spirits are to be teacher and guide. (cf. (John 14:26)

It is also told that "some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." (1 Timothy 4:1)

Since a Christian has not been taught "all things," and has not been much reminded that Jesus told his rightful followers are depraved Jews only (John 15:26); that it is far better to be healthy, on his word; and that the Missionary commands most likely are forgeries - many have failed in a large enough picture. (Vermes 2012; 2010:37, 41; Acts 15:27-30; 21:25).

"Call the bluff," and "See through the charade" are two tips. They are linked to: [More] How? "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits (1 John 4:1)" and "Know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16) ," may count for parts of one tip. "Actions count more than ostentatious boasts devoid of fruits," is another.

The bible scholar Geza Vermes sums up:

Fl. During his days of preaching, Jesus of Nazareth addressed only Jews, "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:5-8; 15:24). His disciples were expressly instructed not to approach gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5-8). On the few occasions that Jesus ventured beyond the boundaries of his homeland, he never proclaimed his gospel to pagans, nor did his disciples do so during his lifetime. The mission of the 11 apostles to "all the nations" (Matthew 28:19) is a "post-Resurrection" idea. It appears to be of Pauline inspiration and is nowhere else found in the Gospels (apart from the spurious longer ending of Mark [Mark 16:15], which is missing from all the older manuscripts). Jesus' own perspective was exclusively Jewish; he was concerned only with Jews. (Vermes 2012)

To clarify such matters further:

Hm Jesus reserve his teachings and salvation for Jews (Matthew 15:24; 10:5-8; Vermes 2012), but only ill (read: depraved) Jews: those of sound moral and spirit are not called by him, and the healthy do not need him (Mark 2:17; Matthew 9:12-13; 12.11). Jesus further puts his sheep on a path to perdition in that he teaches his sheep what is opposed to sound self-preservation. Thereby eyes, limbs, property, fit living-conditions and life itself soon enough are at risk (Matthew 5: 29-30; 39-42). Finally, marring losses come to those who call him 'Lord, Lord' without doing as he tells. (Luke 6:46)

For Gentile followers, all the disciples and the Holy Spirit dispensed with all but a few laws for Jews. And not a word by Jesus for ill Jews went into the Apostolic Decree from 50 CE either (Acts 15:19-29; 21:25). The four requirements for all Gentile Christians include no to eating blood sausages (blood food) and wrangled chickens and other poultry (choked animals) and two more, added to getting the Spirit of Truth on board.

Perhaps parts of the Bible stuff may be discerting to a medium who publishes books. The fact that Roberts and her husband tried Ouija board and went on to trance messages, has not gone unnoticed. For example, various ministries have warned members about the dangers and deceptions of reading channeled messages from Roberts and others. The Seth Material has been considered to be "entirely written by a demon," and Seth has been understood as "a demon from hell contacted through a ouija board." (WP, "Jane Roberts")

"We cannot please all (Norwegian proverb)

Now, rather than confuse guys and demonise anything that does not agree with one's schemes or mad faith or prejudices, many try to be eclective - selective, that is. If not all in the Seth Material is good, may one thousandth? Or much more? The challenge is to find out of which parts may be for folks along general lines, if any. That might be an impossible challenge; better keep away from the Seth Material that does not conform to ancient Hebrew teachings, some might hold and mean it.

As for the red-eyed Christians who think they are followers of Jesus without being Jews and without doing as he tells his followers to do in the way of self-maiming and so on - let us ignore them, and ignore them well, for they ignore far too many words in the gospels. Look what Jesus tells about true followers and the fate of fake followers. [They are far from Schweinehunde.]

We are told Seth told

- all through Jane Roberts:


Suffering is not good for the soul unless it teaches you how to not suffer. - Seth, Seth Speaks, Chap. 1. Session 580

Illness is often simply a natural sign of imbalance, a physical message to which you are to listen and make inner adjustments accordingly. - Seth, The Seth Audio Coll., Vol. 1

Your psychologies do not explain your own reality to you. - Seth 1996, 1:xxxi-xxxii.

My voice rises from stratas of the psyche in which you also have your experience. Listen, therefore, to your own knowing. - Seth 1996, 1:xxxii

Think of a given "self" as a nucleus . . . of consciousness. - Seth 1996, 1:18

The organizations of consciousness "grow" even as cells grow into organs. - Seth 1996, 1:28

We must . . . often deal with analogies, because they can form bridgeworks between concepts. - Seth 1996, 1:39

The basic unit of consciousness obviously is not physical. Within itself always maintains the kernel of its own individuality. Its own identity is not annihilated. This basic unit is endowed with unpredictability. - Seth 1996, 1:39

The greatest scientific discoveries . . . come from intuitional creativity, when suddenly a new kind of significance is seen that was not "earlier" predictable. - Seth 1996, 1:143

After death . . . you still possess a memory, though it does not operate through the physical organism as you understand it. - Seth 1996, 2:450

You can decide to enlarge your world view by taking advantage of your dreaming activities. - Seth 1996, 2:456

To some extent language does make the unknown known and recognizable. It sets up signposts that each person in a culture recognizes. To do this, however, it latches upon certain significances and ignores others. [That is in essence what concepts do, as they are general descriptions and thus somewhat like sketchy outlines. They usually dispense with details.] - Seth 1996 2:459

You . . . often ignore the playfulness of the intellect, and force it to become something less than it is. - Seth 1996 2:544

Extremely hot and extremely cold countries go largely undeveloped." - Seth Anthology, Session 32, p. 247.

There is no such thing as dead matter. - Seth, Seth Speaks, Chap. 1.

Seth Material and Jane Roberts, Literature  

Horney, Karen. 1950. Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Toward Self-Realization. New York: W. W. Norton and Co. ⍽▢⍽ (2nd ed. 1991). In Neurosis and Human Growth, one of the most influential psychoanalysts of the twentieth century discusses the neurotic process as the antithesis of healthy growth. Dr Horney unfolds the neurotic's maladaptive solutions for relieving the tensions of conflict in such emotional attitudes as domination, self-effacement, dependency, or resignation instead of living up to one's potentialities.

Seth by Jane Roberts. 1995. The Nature of the Psyche; Its Human Expression [channeled by] Jane Roberts. San Rafael, CA; Amber-Allen Publishing.

Seth by Jane Roberts. 2012. Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. San Rafael, CA; Amber-Allen Publishing.

Seth by Jane Roberts. 1996. The "Unknown" Reality [channeled by] Jane Roberts. Vol 1. San Rafael, CA; Amber-Allen Publishing. (1977)

Seth by Jane Roberts. 1996. The "Unknown" Reality [channeled by] Jane Roberts. Vol 2. San Rafael, CA; Amber-Allen Publishing. (1979)

Vermes, Geza. 2010. The Real Jesus: Then and Now. Minneapolis, MI: Fortress Press.

Vermes, Geza. 2012. "From Jewish to Gentile: How the Jesus Movement Became Christianity." Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) 38:06, Nov/Dec.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. 2003. Man's Eternal Quest. 3rd Indian Paperback ed. Kolkata, IN: Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.

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