Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ran across an interesting Seth piece today...

It's from a writer who goes by the name of Tom Dark (not sure if this is a pseudonym) and it discusses Seth Cultists. Tom indicates that he was acquainted with Robert Butts and, particularly, Sue Watson. I thought the piece was fascinating because there's not a whole lot out there about from folks who actually knew the Buttses; indeed, not a whole lot out there about Seth in general. I'm a subscriber of an email list administered by a couple of students in Jane Roberts' class, but have never really felt compelled to enroll in the classes they are offering. Mr. Dark highlights a problem that I think is probably exaggerated--the danger that the Seth works will engender a cult. He cites an unpublished Seth session wherein Seth calls the New Agers "imbecilic personalities" and dismisses New Age gatherings as "psychic sideshows." If Seth indeed said this--which I really doubt; it's more in line with what Jane herself might say--he's probably right. It's fairly clear, however, that Jane Roberts intensely disliked the New Age movement in general, and her refusal to market herself when she was alive has probably guaranteed that Seth will never be the household name that Ramtha is (or was).

Add to this, the fact that the Seth books are so damn unwieldy, both intricately complex and willfully oblique, it's no surprise that robed teens aren't on corners chanting "Hare Sethna" and Seth's "followers" aren't booking the Deepak Chopra circuit.

What it does create, however, is a wide-open field for Seth scholarship, which some have attempted (and have done well at). I found an essay online by Paul M. Helfrich, who does a better job than I can ever hope to do at pulling together a series of Seth quotations that explain "The Origin of the Universe and of the Species--an Integral Conscious Creation Myth." Despite its ponderous title, the essay is a fascinating attempt to explain the creation of our physical universe from the non-physical perspective--and, surprisingly, Seth's, story largely mirrors the creation myths told by indigenous peoples.

So maybe I can throw a few feeble words onto the screen in the coming months and see if any stick. In order to do this, however, I realize that I will have to go back and re-read much of the Seth material from scratch. There's simply too much wealth of information to begin to parse; and I've been lucky in my twenty-five-plus years of study to scratch the surface of a few basic concepts. Mr. Dark notes, pointedly, that many associated with the Seth phenomenon seem to been largely uninfluenced by any of Seth's writings. He may be right--but I suspect that every reader who approaches this tome will, by necessity, be able to pick out only fractions of the material for personal application... and with so much to assimilate, individual approachers will derive vastly different applications from the same material.

What I'd like to do first, though, is see if I can find Whitley Strieber's hypnosis session where he revisits an apparent past life during the time of Christ, and see if his story bears any similarity to Seth's description in "Seth Speaks."

Basically, I'm approaching it from a scholastic angle. One of the few things that I think I do okay at is literary analysis. I think I can drill into the material and come up with some interesting stuff--particularly since, like Mr. Dark, I've actually tried to put the material to personal use. I promise that nothing I do will be any threat to any New Agers who want to found the next Seth International Congress.


  1. I found Tom's article last night for the first time and I really enjoyed reading it. What else have u found out about him? So curious! I write about Seth too on my blog at musings of a wiccan dot com. I'm gonna read more of this blog today. Marlon

  2. What's the big mystery? I'm right here. Try my blog at tommydark.blogspot.com or @tomdark9 on Twitter.

    1. why did you not reference the seth sessions the material came from?

  3. Oh. Yeh. And Seth really did say those things. Laurel dug 'em up.

    1. I would be interested in seeing this written down somewhere (maybe from a class session or private reading). Not that the comment is wrong--but this is more like something that Jane Roberts would say, rather that Seth.

    2. Nope, I read it at Rob's house one afternoon. "First of all, words like 'spiritual' are ludicrous," Seth dictated. Laurel passed that bit around for a long time. She's accessible somewhere. Also on the coffee table was an angry letter of complaint from some people in Australia about Ricky Stack.

      No, my longstanding concern about people using the Seth material for cults isn't exaggerated. They've grown since I wrote that thing years ago. The thing keeping it is the material itself doesn't lend itself to cultifying very well. But where there's an imbecile, there's a way.

    3. I have to mention that in my past life, I was a literature major, and I like analyzing a particular text for the author's intent, meaning, ideas, and whether the text has anything to say to us about "life in general" or whether it has been informed by what we know of the author's experiences or beliefs. Seth was a very literate "writer," and so I instinctively approach his material from this angle--while at the same time enjoying his remarkable construction of ideas from a perspective that (I believe) is outside our physical framework.

      I think that asides like Seth's "spiritual" comment are fascinating because these unguarded moments are as close as we will get to discovering what Seth really "thought"--as opposed to the more formalized lecture-type dictations that constitute his official books.

      Seth was careful not to prescribe any particular philosophy or belief (while displaying a certain happiness at deconstructing any belief that he regarded as limited, erroneous, or just plain stupid). By avoiding setting forth his own "personal" beliefs, I think that he hoped to prevent any misuse of the Seth material in any future cult or orthodoxy. This seems to be a deliberate intent throughout all the official books, and Seth was largely successful at achieving it. So it's very entertaining--and informative--when Seth drops the Seth persona briefly and serves up a well-placed insult at this-or-that group of people. We get a glimpse of the "real" Seth.

      That said, everyone who has bothered to half-study the Seth material will inevitably walk away with a personal application or interpretation. These interpretations are largely incompatible and often contradictory. Some are, in fact, probably "wrong." It's unavoidable. I think that Seth knew this and did the best he could to minimize any fallout.

      For me, one of the most fascinating sections of the material involve his discussion of how the early Christian ideas were distorted and misused and turned into an overarching belief structure that bears little resemblance to what was originally "said" by the historical Jesus. Seth said consistently that any translation of nonphysical information into physical, temporal language will always result in "distortion" of the original meaning. If so, perhaps the best way to honor Seth's original intent with his writings is to quietly find our own personal meaning in them, while avoiding the temptation to misuse them to impose our own personal beliefs on others.