Friday, November 27, 2015

Perennial lessons of Oversoul Seven


"Let's see...I'm a man on Wednesday and Friday, a woman on Sunday and Thursday, and I have the rest of the time off for independent study.
   "Actually...this is somewhat more complicated. Each life is lived in a different area of time to which various designations are given. As Lydia I'm in the twentieth century, as Josef in the seventeenth, as Ma-ah in 35,000 B.C., and as Proteus in the 23rd century, A.D."

As the opening of a novel, this is hard to beat as an attention-grabber. I remember sitting forward in my seat, catching my breath, the first time I read these lines in the summer of 1988, fifteen years after they were written. If you don't recognize the source, maybe it's time for you to go find it, even if you think you don't like didactic fiction. The Education of Oversoul 7, the first of a trilogy by Jane Roberts, presents a working model of our possible relationships with personalities connected to us in other places and times, and with intelligences on higher levels of being and consciousness.
     The speaker on the opening page is Oversoul Seven. He is a fallible being, responsible for four very fallible humans facing different, yet interrelated, challenges in different places in time, from the Ice Age to a future in which most humans are "floaters" living in a plastic environment suspended above the Earth.
     The first lines of the novel are not a spoiler, because we soon come to understand that things are even more complex and exciting than Oversoul Seven understands at this point. He is not some all-knowing "spirit guide" or guardian angel. Though to a certain extent he can play guide and teacher to his trans-temporal set of human charges, he is answerable to his own mentor and supervisor on a level above himself. This mysterious entity, who never stays long in any single form, is identified as Cyprus. It is hinted that Oversoul Seven, like the humans he supervises, may be one of a set of "oversouls" all related, and subject, to Cyprus. Most certainly, Oversoul Seven is no "master". He is a student whose classroom is the world. All his engagements with his human personalities are tests on which he is being graded.
      When he's reporting to Cyprus, as he is doing in the opening scene, Oversoul Seven generally adopts the default appearance of a fourteen-year-old boy, very appropriate since in relation to higher intelligence he is a schoolboy. When his humans perceive him, most often in dreams, they see him as a wise old man. His ability to stay present to all four of his human personalities and help out in times of crisis is impeded by his tendency to play favorites and get drawn into one of the dramas, while losing track of the other three.
      Thus the first great lesson we derive from the adventures of Oversoul Seven is: the teacher is a student too. Our ability to gain from our teachers and communicate with the Self on higher levels will be severely limited until we understand this simple and fundamental truth.
      The second great lesson, for us, in the Oversoul Seven story is that we may have relationships with personalities in other times and other probable realities, past and future, that are intensely relevant to our current life dramas - and that all these lives are going on now. What is happening in 35,000 B.C. can change a situation today, and what is happening in the 23rd century can inspire and transform the life of a painter living in the 17th century. There are constant "bleed-throughs" between one life and another life, rarely noticed by humans on the ground except in dreams that are frequently forgotten.
      That is the third great lesson: that to understand how all of this works first-hand, we need to become more active and conscious dreamers.
      The fourth great lesson, for me, is this: yes, reincarnation is possible, but it is not automatic and it does not operate only according to the rules of linear time. One of Oversoul Seven's favorite personalities is Lydia, a feisty, chain-smoking woman writer who has set off in a well-furnished trailer, at seventy-three, for a sunset romance with her younger lover. In the first Oversoul Seven novel and in its sequel (The Further Education of Oversoul Seven) we follow Lydia's journey through death and the choices she comes to make when her understanding of the soul (which she wasn't sure about in life) begins to grow. She enjoys herself, for a time, in a young and attractive body in a personal post-death world she builds from her desire and imagination. When this begins to pall, she eventually agrees to be reborn as the child of a person in the family of selves that Oversoul Seven is supervising. She will take up residence of a baby that will be born in the seventeenth century. Her past life will be her future life. By my own experience and observation, by the way, such things are entirely possible.
     There are profound and perennial lesson here. When I re-read The Education of Oversoul Seven over Thanksgiving this year, I was as excited and impressed as I was in 1988.
      This is fiction, right? Yes and no. For one thing, it is grounded in Jane's long engagement with the entity called Seth who dictated a series of books that - to my mind - contain one of the best working models of the multidimensional self. Jane, a brilliant original thinker and writer as well as a gifted psychic medium, shows here that she knows how to bring ideas to vivid life, in many voices.
      Then again, when I consider genres, I remember a young boy who was once in line ahead of me for a library sale. His mother asked him if he knew the difference between fiction and nonfiction. This was his response: "Nonfiction is what you think in your head. Fiction is what you 
see."
      The Oversoul Seven stories are books through which we 
see. For me, the idea of reincarnation in a "previous" time is entirely plausible. But don't let's just sit on the sidelines discussing these things. Like Jane Roberts' "Seth" books, the Oversoul Seven novels are an incitement to gather first-hand knowledge of these matters by dreaming on them.


I write about the impact of the Seth material and the Oversoul Seven books in a critical phase of my own life in chapter 13 of The Boy Who Died and Came Back.


3 comments:

Diane Rizun said...

Ha! Just started re-reading that book. I have all the Seth books, also re-reading 'Unknown Reality', so helpful about time and parallel lives.

M R Clark said...

I am just reading the third book of the trilogy now and wish it would go on forever. I have read so many Seth books but not enough of Jane Roberts. I can't believe I never read this before and it would make such an utterly fantastic film. She was so wonderful at visual descriptions and now there would be the skill at interpreting it technically. Can you imagine how fun? People changing form and time periods co-existing and fluctuating back and forth.mind blowing stuff! Plus I think everyone would love the completely wonderful characters in this trilogy. She was a brilliant writer.

I had taken a break in between the 2nd and 3rd and read your latest book and enjoyed it very much. Thank you for putting it out into the world. I have been keeping a dream journal for many years but I think I need to start including bringing it into the waking hours and recording everything that pops up of interest as you suggest. I am trying to use dog walking time looking for things of interest. I often think dreamlike things happen during waking hours so I am always open to symbols popping up or surprise interactions that prod me to examine myself.

I wish I had been transcribing into a searchable database as you suggest. It is not the first time you have said it! But I do title my dreams and make follow up notes. I also re read them with an eye to see if there are any precog dreams. You have been a wonderful inspiration to me and I am so happy to see you bring up the OverSoul books on your blog.

Rain-in-the-Face said...

The OverSoul books had been brought up in November 2010 and August 2011
on this blog. Rather repetitious!

Furthermore, the character of wise-cracking Lydia and her younger lover, was
embodied in the 1971 quirky movie "Harold and Maude" which has a cult following.

Jane Roberts had Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Seth appeared in
the same time-frame that Gene Roddenberry got the inspiration for Star Trek.

Jane Roberts' mistake was to be seduced by a delusion, if she had presented
herself as a Writer of science-fiction fantasy, the concepts she was bringing
through (as a medium) would not have been so easily dismissed by the mainstream.


Better luck next time.