Conversations with Tom

Seth Cultists?
August 15, 1997
© Copyright Tom Dark, all rights reserved

I am Tom Dark. I live in the California low Sierras. I grew up partly in Saratoga Springs, New York, and attended Skidmore College there. Although I used to tread through Jane Roberts' old neighborhood daily, and very likely knew many of the same old-timers she did, I never met her. In 1973, a friend asked me if I'd like to listen to Jane Roberts give a lecture at Skidmore. I didn't know of her and wasn't interested. I was trying to sort out a tremendous inner experience a mental voice called "superconsciousness," and I still am.

It was the result of a study of hard-core yoga.

From steady study and practice of the exercises of Jane Roberts' and Seth's books, I garnered practical and astonishing results. I still do. Seth's information on the value and use of nightly dreams most especially can be employed by anyone for a change in "the rules of the game" [INDIVIDUAL/MASS EVENTS]. Dreams operate in tandem with candid recognitions of one's limiting or false beliefs, as well as with healthy personal beliefs.

As a part of my training in the art, I kept in touch with Jane Roberts and Robert Butts and Seth through dream states, as well as with many others whose inner inclinations put us in touch at different levels of dreaming. I kept written correspondences with Jane and Rob, documenting my progress in the use of Seth's information. In 1981, I wrote Jane's reluctant protege, Susan M. Watkins, new author of CONVERSATIONS WITH SETH. She answered my letter. Shortly afterward I dreamed I would be staying with her, and would later return to Northern California, having found "the highway I was seeking." I am on that pretty highway now.

In 1986, Sue Watkins invited me to live with her to study dreams in a rural spot near Elmira, New York. I stayed there until 1990 and helped raise her teenage son. I helped edit Sue's DREAMING MYSELF, DREAMING A TOWN, and took the jacket photo -- she is wearing my Banana Republic Jacket standing at Bright Angel Point at the Grand Canyon. I received no credit or mention for having helped with the book. I am mentioned in it as "a fan from California." The excerpt is from an essay I once wrote titled "Community Dreaming."

In my sojourn with Sue, I met frequently with Rob Butts and his live-in, Laurel. He is an artist whose works are deeply admirable, and, whether he would own up to it or not, the result of an expanded consciousness. I doffed my cigarette ashes in Jane's beloved abalone-shell ashtray and we drank beer and chatted on this and many other subjects.

Largely through Sue, I met a number of former ESP class members, and got to know some of them fairly intimately. Although my experience with Sue does not compel me to fully recommend her accuracy as a journalist, I can say firmly that Seth's observations on ESP class members were plainly accurate. Although each was fond of showy reminiscing, it didn't appear to me that any one of them had ever used the kindly advice recorded in Sue's book of the ESP class, or that, years later, they even recognized what they had been told. I should say no more, except that I have not met all the ESP class members, and have had my fill anyhow.

I fear that many of you, if not all, will find un-ease reading some of my next statements. By the time I accepted Sue Watkins' invitation, I had organized the course of my life according to my understanding of my nightly dreams. It is an utterly safe thing to do, incidentally, so long as one banks on one's own comprehensions and common sense. Seth is quite right, dream comprehension does away with a need for quite a few "authorities" (my phrasing), particularily those wheeling about selling "new age" fol-de-rol to the gullible at painfully high prices.

An aside before I continue: one afternoon at Rob's house I noticed a copy of a Seth session that Laurel intended to send "Reality Change," a cultish organization in Texas. In that session, Seth referred to "new agers" as I've described above, as "imbecilic personalities." He referred to these sorts of gatherings as "psychic sideshows." Seth's words were otherwise adamant and nearly salty. Maude Cardwell, PhD., a former english teacher and publisher of "Reality Change," refused to print this document. I was not alone, then, among those whose letters "Seth Boards-of-Directors" would not have others read. The present organization in Oregon, "SNI," is no different. Mrs. Cardwell finally died after years of cancer -- a brain tumor, if I recall -- and "miraculous cures," and so on, and her "mission" was taken over.

According to part of the information of a number of spectacular dreams, I was to move in with Sue Watkins to help discourage cultism around the Seth material after Jane's death. Sure enough, a number of events dropped into my lap, a few of very high emotional charge. I don't intend to detail them here. Some aspects could be deeply embarrassing to those involved. There were a number of people who were circling Rob Butts like vultures, ingratiating themselves (at least one stating she was waiting for him to die), who felt either entitled or "destined" to secure their hands on the publishing or other rights to the astonishing amount of material left behind by Seth. I did not solve these problems. They weren't mine to solve. I do not know that those unfortunate turns of probability have ceased. (Note Seth's mention of a probability where America breaks into cults, UNKNOWN REALITY. It is not a predestination, mind all.)

Another afternoon, Rob mentioned to me that in cataloguing Seth's dictations, in 1964 alone he dictated one million words. "That's 10 books of 100,000 words each," he said.

As to quotes from "authorities" then wheeling about representing themselves as Seth-experts, hoping to build an organization upon Jane's ashes, let me quote from memory a failed veterinarian who made money at the Austin Seth Center/ Seth World Conferences: "you can talk to me about anything you like, just pay me my sixty dollars an hour."

So-called "non-profit organizations" ostensibly selling ideas taken from the Seth material invite fraud and cultism. I can testify in pure candor what advantages and what successes I have learned from following the "trip" Seth promised, with vigor. It is never necessary to spend a nickel on a self-appointed (Or Board-of-Director-appointed) "Seth expert," and doing so may be a mere symptom of a lazy mind. "As to the lazy-minded, I can offer no help," if I recall correctly. Look: I made money by Concentrated Natural Hypnosis, not by selling new-age blather to the gullible. I also took pains to explore those selling their products as though they had authority, or a mission to fulfill. My words on the subject are as adamant as Seth's about "imbecilic personalities and their psychic sideshows." I can guarantee to any sincere reader that such organizations are unneccessary. I recommend those interested form their groups, try their experiments, alone and with each other, keep correspondences -- anything but contribute to the presumptuous on false missions. So what if somebody had "350 out-of-body experiences"? I have had thousands. And if Seth is to be understood, one's consciousness does leave the body somewhere around a dozen times an hour. Is anyone yet paying attention to this? Certain ESP class members didn't believe Seth said this. However, none of them I met had actually read much of it outside of class. Anyone study UNKNOWN REALITY? Want to know what ESP student Richard Wolinski thought of the dictation session he sat in to listen to? He told me in 1985 "It was really boring. I fell asleep." Wolinski is known as "Will Petrosky" in CONVERSATIONS WITH SETH.

The Seth Material and its emergence are bound to have effects for centuries. Astute readers will recognize how those concepts have already begun to leach out naturally into arts, entertainment, sciences, philosophy, and basic culture -- even commercial ads written by copywriters. The material will stand on its own. It is protected by its own quality at the many levels of the existence our species has barely begun to recognize for its multidimensionality. It IS "centuries before we have begun what we seem to have begun," as I recall Seth remarked.

The quality of that material creates its own word-of-mouth publicity. Those who have such peculiar zeal, supposing Seth needs preached (for more-than-equitable compensation) preach only to the gullible. Those who are most capable of selling those ideas are yourselves, only after you understand them emotionally and intellectually. Those who understand big-time publicity -- I've met a few -- are best qualified to sell books of any kind. What did I just say here? Well, I've revealed a bit of a private conversation between a certain lovable old artist and myself. Do inquire after Rob Butts' painting and sketches.

I've written two manuscripts from 20,000 pages of notes on experimenting with nightly dreams, documented telepathic communications, as well as with some profound mystical experiences, "reincarnational" and probable recognitions, and more. No takers so far. No hurry. I'm not selling anything here, either. I would like those who do have information to contribute from their studies and explorations with the Seth material to do so free and casually.