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Roberts, Jane (1929-1984)

Roberts, Jane (1929-1984)

Public name of Jane Butts, an American psychic who became the medium for communications from an entity named "Seth" who claimed to be a minor pope of the fourth century.

In 1963, Roberts and her husband, Robert Butts, experimented with a ouija board and received the first "Seth" messages. Later, she started going into trance, and when "Seth" spoke through her, Roberts's voice and features changed character. In her autobiographical work Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology (1975), Roberts gives the background and development of the "Seth" communications and discusses what she calls "aspect psychology," based on the concept that human consciousness is mobile.

The "Seth" communications developed in various levels of awareness (Seth I, II, and III). They were tape recorded, and have been transcribed and published in a series of books, notably Seth Speaks; The Eternal Validity of the Soul (1972) and The Nature of Personal Reality: A Seth Book (1974). The popularity of the volumes led to the production of a series of texts through the 1970s and have been credited with generating the renewed interest in channeling so evident in the New Age movement of the 1980s. These communications cover a whole range of topics of concern to religious and metaphysical belief, from personal belief and development to mental and physical health, illumination, good and evil, sexuality, art, creativity, spiritual grace, and modern problems.

An early book by Roberts titled How to Develop Your ESP Power (1966) was reissued under the title The Coming of Seth (1976). It describes the day-to-day emergence of the personality of "Seth" and the experiments involved, with suggestions for experiments that readers can attempt. Roberts subsequently regarded this early book as occasionally naive, reflecting her own inexperience at the time. It was supplemented by The God of Jane; A Psychic Manifesto (1981), discussing her early life, psychic experiences, and outlook. Other "Seth" books include: The "Unknown" Reality (1977), The Nature of the Psyche; Its Human Expression (1979), and The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events (1981). Some of the "Seth" titles have been reprinted by Bantam in paperback.

Roberts lived a quiet life in spite of the demands of a growing readership. She rarely spoke in public and refused all suggestions that she head a "Seth" organization. She died September 5, 1984, in her home town, Elmira, New York. The Austin Seth Center was formed to spread the ideas of the "Seth" Material; it also publishes the quarterly magazine Reality Change.

In Roberts's posthumously published book Seth, Dreams and Projection of Consciousness (1986), her husband Robert Butts stated: "I think that I've had a number of waking and dreaming experiences in which Jane and I have communicated with each other since her physical death. So have others."


Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Melton, J. Gordon. Religious Leaders of America. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991.

Roberts, Jane. Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1975.

. Dreams, "Evolution," and Value Fulfillment; A Seth Book. 2 vols. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1986.

. The God of Jane: A Psychic Manifesto. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1981.

. How to Develop Your ESP Power. New York: Frederick Fell, 1966. Reprinted as: The Coming of Seth. New York: Pocket Books, 1976.

. The Nature of Personal Reality: A Seth Book. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1974.

. Seth, Dreams and Projection of Consciousness. Stillpoint Publishing, 1986.

. The Seth Material. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1970.

. Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972.

Watkins, Susan. Conversations with Seth. The Story of Jane Roberts's ESP Class. 2 vols. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1980-81.

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