This is part of a series of posts where I try to summarize the Seth Material.

Seth is the chosen name of a personality channeled by American writer and poet Jane Roberts over a period of 21 years, starting in late 1963 and until her death in 1984. Most sessions were dictated to her husband, Robert Butts, but many were held in front of a small audience of interested students. A small proportion of the sessions were recorded on tape, and an even smaller proportion were recorded and remain available on video.

The bulk of the material was written down by Robert on pen and paper, then later typed. The material spans over 20 published books and can be argued to represent the life work of Jane and Robert, in addition to their other published work. Both the published and unpublished material is now stored in the Yale University Library Archival Collection. The books are available in physical as well as electronic forms. I read them on my Kindle.

The Seth material is hard to get into because it requires such an enormous suspension of disbelief. Whatever assumptions you have, religious or scientific, about the nature of existence – Seth will tell you they almost couldn't be more false. The exact opposite is true, and then Seth goes into 20 books (give or take) to try to explain just what exactly is true. Whether or not Seth is right is up to us to verify. We can do this in our personal lives, and it opens new avenues for scientific investigation. Such investigation must use different techniques from science as we know it, and Seth explains what some of those techniques could be.

Who is Seth?

Seth makes the point forcefully, and numerous times, that he communicates through specific layers of Jane's subconscious, but is not contained in them. He has an independent existence as an energy personality essence which no longer incarnates on a physical plane, but had such existences in what we think of as the past. Our concept of reincarnation contains truth, but is oversimplified because we are not aware of fundamental concepts. In great length and detail, Seth explains those concepts. Once that is understood, Seth can explain that in a "previous" physical existence, what is now a separate Seth and Jane have a common origin as a single personality. They are now separate, because personalities split as they make decisions. However, Seth and Jane remain related. Seth is not more advanced, but he does communicate from a more advanced aspect of himself, to a less advanced aspect of Jane.

To a lesser extent, the personality of Jane's husband Robert is also related to both Seth and Jane. This creates a psychological circumstance that helps Seth "come through" via Jane.

As an "energy personality essence", Seth does not normally use a name. He chooses Seth in one of the early sessions, since names are practical for communication with humans. Seth was his name in one of his physical existences, and he appreciates the mythological undertones.

Seth is not male or female. As an energy personality essence, he has properties of both. Most, if not all personalities – such as you and I – experience physical lives as both. He presents himself as masculine because Jane has hangups about women not being taken seriously in our culture. If Seth presented as feminine, Jane would resist channeling him.

What is the benefit of reading Seth?

It answers questions about life, the universe and everything in a highly detailed and coherent manner, unmatched by any other source – whether it be scientific, religious, or from channeling or hypnosis.

If you comprehend and integrate these answers, then simply as a beginning, this can blow through any chronic despair caused by inadequate answers from science and religion. Furthermore, you can find greater harmony in your everyday life, within yourself and in the way you interact with reality. This can make the rest of your life much easier, and makes it more likely that you will achieve goals and positive experiences which you otherwise might not.

If many people comprehend and integrate these answers, it can make all of our lives much easier, and makes it more likely that we will all achieve goals and positive experiences which we otherwise might not.

Competing materials, and why to avoid them

There are various sources with their own narratives reminiscent of Seth, many of them more accessible. In my opinion, that is their sole advantage. Their disadvantage is that they're simplifications, or worse. These are my takes on a few:

  • The Ra Material, also known as The Law of One. I read all of this before Seth. Its main advantage is that you can find it online, for free. Unfortunately, you get what you paid for. The Ra Material talks of unity, yet is divisive. It avoids explaining things we need to know, and spends way too much time answering questions about the pyramids and the Egyptians – not to mention Martians. It will scare you into believing that, in this life, you must pass some extremely difficult test, where you have no way to measure how you're doing, in order to be "harvested" into 4th density. Otherwise you'll need to incarnate for another "cycle" of tens of thousands of years until the next opportunity.

    After reading Seth, my view is that you take Seth with you on the toilet to read, and you take the Ra Material to wipe your ass with. I cannot recommend this due to its insidious, divisive, fear-inducing nature.

  • The books of Michael Newton and Brian Weiss. These are good reads, great for someone beginning to open their mind, but they are narratives for children. They are great as an introduction. I suggest, after that, reading Seth.

  • The general concept of the Law of Attraction, as expressed through various people and their works. This is fundamentally true-ish, but it is a small subset of what Seth explains. What Seth explains comes with greater coherence, and a rich background into which it sensibly fits. If you only read about the Law of Attraction, you are left with bewildering ideas and loose ends.

  • The books of Dolores Cannon. I have not read these, but I've read summaries. I suspect this doesn't even try to convey truth, because that would be hard to understand, but instead conveys a narrative that's fun to read and easy to convey, except it's fundamentally misleading.

  • Various online stuff, like ZetaTalk. I gave this a chance in high school. These are apocalyptic predictions that have not come true and have been "rescheduled" several times. It appears to be straight-out garbage.

Where to begin?

The difficulty of answering this question is why I write this summary. I would honestly suggest that you read everything. But no one wants to "start" by reading 20 books. They contain a great amount of knowledge, but the way it is conveyed is interwoven and gradual.

Seth conveyed it this way on purpose. The leisurely ways of the material are likely essential to the reader's comfort and comprehension. By summarizing it, I'm worried I'm partially defeating this. But on the other hand, fewer and fewer people seem to read these days, and attention spans are limited to 280 characters. To introduce Seth to people, there needs to be a summary that is shorter.

There is an excellent Seth search engine, and there are some online communities, but they're mostly empty. Almost no one I know heard of Seth. A perspective such as Seth's is desperately missing from our daily experience, and I find the vacuum unsatisfactory. I'm hoping that with this summary, I can interest at least a few people.

I suggest there are two main approaches to the books:

  1. You can read the books in the order they were published during Jane's life. In this case, you should likely start with Jane Roberts' How To Develop Your ESP Power, later retitled as The Coming of Seth. Then continue with The Seth Material, and then with Seth Speaks and The Nature of Personal Reality. These would be the core 4 books, and there is still more interesting information in the ones that follow.

    I made a "mistake" (if it was a mistake) and started with Seth Speaks, skipping Jane's previous books. This skips over a large amount of material that is essential to understanding the later material. I then read all of the books, hoping to find what is actually in the beginning.

    If you read the material this way, you will encounter plentiful interpretations and musings by Jane and Robert. This is valuable since it gives you an idea of who they were, an impression of their personal integrity and what they valued as human beings. However, if you're trying to focus on Seth, the additional ponderings are distracting. At the same time, much of Seth's material personally affecting Jane and Robert and the people in their lives is cut out. Yet now, the people for whom this material was personal are gone, and the full sessions are valuable to read. Therefore...

  2. You can start by reading The Early Sessions. This is 9 volumes of Seth's first 500+ sessions, in chronological order, published over a decade after Jane's death, presented as straightforward as can be. These volumes contain minimal commentary, except to describe life events which Seth comments upon. No parts are cut, no personal details removed. It's all Seth, and the context you need to understand him.

I have a technical mind that likes to get to the point, and I prefer to not miss any details. I therefore enjoy how the content is laid out in The Early Sessions. However, I did read the previous books first, so I trust Jane's and Robert's integrity without their plentiful comments.

You may want to develop an impression about Jane and Robert as distinct from Seth. For this, you will need to read some of the original books. But then, I recommend The Early Sessions.