By Richard Kendall
I want to tell you about a woman I knew who grew up on welfare; was kicked out of college; went cross-country on a motorcycle; married and divorced three years later; smoked; drank wine and beer; and at times swore like a sailor. Her name was Jane Roberts. Shortly before Jane died, she told Rob, “DON’T LET THEM MAKE A GOD OUT OF ME.” So I hope that by providing some details of Jane’s personal life, both before and after Seth emerged, you will be able to see her more clearly, as the very human being she was. Yet her accomplishments in the field of consciousness exploration spring from that same humanity, so I will also include examples of her often remarkable abilities.
Jane was born in 1929 and grew up in Saratoga Springs, NY. Her parents divorced when she was three years old, and Jane lived with her mother, Marie, who was an invalid. Those early years had their share of difficulties.
“I once tried to poison the welfare lady, Jane recalls. I took Brillo and Comet, and mixed it in with the hot chocolate and set it down. My mother must have known from my face that something was up. This woman had a beautiful white suit on and my mother said, ‘Mrs. Calkins, I wouldn’t drink that if I were you. I don’t like the look on my daughter’s face.’ And the welfare lady said, ‘Oh, she’s the loveliest girl, Marie.’ So she took a sip and promptly spit it up.” Like any young kid, Jane participated in her share of youthful pranks.
When Jane was about six, her mother became completely bedridden because of an acute arthritic condition. It then became Jane’s responsibility to take care of her, which included cooking, cleaning, bringing her the bedpan, and getting up in the middle of the night to refuel the stove. Her mother used to tell Jane that she was going to turn on the gas jets in the middle of the night and kill them both. “My mother was a real bitch,” Jane says, “but she was an energetic bitch. When my mother attempted suicide for about the fifth time, she took a whole mess of sleeping pills and was in the hospital. I went to the welfare lady and said, ‘I can’t take it anymore. I’ve just got to leave.’”
Jane had been going with a fellow named Walt at the time, and they decided to go to the west coast by motorcycle to see Jane’s father. Walt and Jane then married. “Three years we lived together,” Jane says in an interview. “Then I found out — while I was working in a radio factory putting lover-boy Walt through school, everybody else in town knew – he isn’t going through school.”
Then, Jane met Rob: “I wrote him a poem the second time I met him. The fourth time, it was a party, we’d never kissed, we’d never had a date. I just looked at him and said, ‘Look, I’m leaving Walt, and I’m going to leave by myself or I’m going to leave with you, so just let me know.”
The following excerpt from one of Jane’s personal journals, written in 1978, sheds some light on the nature of her relationship with Rob:
“I think, this minute anyhow, that I am lonely; except for Rob, my work or Seth’s is so often misunderstood; used for ends that to me are unfortunate, as if somehow despite all Seth says or I say, we are just a slightly more exotic species of the psychic master and his holy sister.” This passage reminded me of times when Jane questioned whether her books were really helping anyone, including those of us in class. I don’t think she was looking for praise or even reassurance, but simply sharing with us some of her doubts about the value of the work she was doing.
Over the years, hundreds of people witnessed Seth speaking. Some went to class for an evening, others attended for longer periods. Outside of the class structure, Jane gave many personal Seth sessions to various individuals who had written her, asking for help. She never charged for those sessions; however, she did charge $3.50 a class when I first attended. When the books began to sell in sufficient numbers, she dropped the fee.
During class, Jane remained seated in her rocking chair, as the vocal power of Seth and the Sumari seemed to shake the walls at times. About halfway through class, there was a break when Jane went across the hall to her other apartment for about 15 minutes until class resumed. I remember a particular evening, Jane got up from her rocker to walk across the hall as I had seen her do so many times before, and yet this one night, it was as if I were watching her do this for the first time. I had never noticed the extreme difficulty she had in getting her legs to move, in just putting one foot in front of the other. It was an impression that never left me.
On the other side of the coin, the speed and dexterity of Jane’s mental gymnastics were in sharp contrast to the physical constraints with which she lived. Here is an example of Jane’s mobility when it came to her consciousness. This occurred one evening after class had officially ended for the night. Jane said, “Rich, look at me; now I am Jane.” In that moment she was Jane as I knew her in her usual state. Then she closed her eyes for an instant, opened them, and said, “Now I am Sumari.” Jane’s face now displayed the look and feel of when she sang Sumari, a distinct difference from her usual countenance. Then, closing her eyes again and quickly opening them, she said in her normal voice, “Now I am what you think of as Seth, without the voice.” I stared with wonder into Seth’s eyes as he peered back into mine. Once again Jane closed her eyes, opened them, and Seth said, “Now I am what you think of as Seth with the voice!” Jane closed and opened her eyes again, “Now I am something you don’t know yet.” Eyes closed, opened, and she was back to the usual Jane, who then said, “Do you see the difference?” I had just witnessed a demonstration in the nature of consciousness that lasted all of 30 seconds, a demonstration one could ponder for a lifetime.
Another incident from class that stands out in my mind transpired while Jane was singing Sumari. Her arthritis was so severe that she could not lift her arm over her shoulder, yet while in trance singing Sumari, she lifted her arm high above her head, to everyone’s amazement. When she came out of trance, the class informed her of what she had done. She said Seth had told her many times there was nothing wrong with her bones. Now, no longer in trance, she could barely lift her arm to shoulder level.
Another evening, when we were once again hanging around after class, Jane looked at Bobby Axelrod, one of the students, and spontaneously gave him the following reincarnational data: She told Bobby that he was a beautiful woman with long black hair with combs in it, and that he lived near Majorca, Spain. He was a highly skilled dancer, and had eight children, of which five were stillborn. He believed in the superstition that if a stillborn child was buried in the earth, the next would survive. Jane then said that because of the dancing and acting in that life, he can easily switch between male and female movements in this life.
So not only were we on the edge of our psychic chairs, not knowing what Seth might say at any given moment, we also never knew what Jane might come up with. For example, Jane once said to me, “Rich, you were an Indian”, then continued on with class. Seemingly apropos of nothing, she looked at one of the students and said, “I think you once killed me, yet not from hate but clumsily. It almost seems amusing.” Another time she told the same student that at 14 years old he had picked up an idea about the nature of reality that has held him back sexually. She said a math course and a woman named Sylvia were connected.
The student revealed that in 10th grade Geometry, he had a teacher whose first name was Sylvia. These are just a few examples of what were no doubt thousands of psychic impressions Jane had during her lifetime. Looking back now, I can only wonder at the other things Jane picked up that remained unspoken.
When class resumed at the “hill house,” as Jane and Rob called their new home, Jane was much more open than she had been before. I remember her talking about some person in class who, in her words, “used to drive her up a wall.” Hearing her say that surprised me; I guess I was so mesmerized by Seth and so struck by Jane’s abilities that evidence of the everyday Jane’s feelings, feelings we all have, caught me off guard. One note along these lines: Jane once told us that if she wanted to, she could have had us all wrapped around her finger, but it was an important point in her development not to use her abilities in such a manner.
People came to Jane always wanting something. However they rarely ever wanted it from Jane, they wanted it from Seth. Jane mentioned once she still resented it when new people came to class with the attitude, “will Seth come through?”
The Air Force once contacted her to see if she could help locate a missing pilot whose plane had crashed while he was on a training mission in upstate NY. Jane told them she had an impression of the letter “M” and “twin mountains”. They later found the pilot at Mt. Matumbel. She picked up so much information about the pilot, the government began to suspect that somehow, she may have been involved in the incident; an interesting example of what sometimes happens when unofficial abilities meet the official world.
The following passage from one of Jane’s personal journals caught my eye recently:
“I dreamed that in the future, all households would be connected to interconnecting computers, keeping track of all inhabitants, actions, goods, and so forth.” She wrote this in 1981, long before the word Internet was part of our everyday vocabulary. Jane never used a computer and said she hated typing her own material and was a lousy speller.
The following incident, also in 1981, further underscores the great depth of Jane’s abilities. I was experiencing health problems, which led me to call Jane. I was unable to speak with her but spoke briefly with Rob, who said he would relay my message. After the call, I took the train to the city to run some errands, and while walking around Manhattan, I felt a sudden wave of calm energy encircling my body. It was quite tangible. I didn’t connect the experience with my phone call to Jane, since I had not spoken with her. I returned home about 7:00 PM, and Jane called. She told me she had tried to reach me by phone numerous times during the afternoon. Unsuccessful, she concentrated on sending me healing energy, imagining it going all over my body with support and concern. I didn’t realize until years later, the extent of Jane’s health problems at that time; yet, she reached out with healing energy for others.
The last experience I’ll relate, happened in 1978. Although classes had officially ended, a friend and I stopped by unannounced to see Jane and Rob. I started telling her how I hoped to be able to create my life with high after high, infused with peak experiences, like her. I spoke of wanting to feel part of a meaningful universe.
Without putting down my intent, Jane explained to me that while she had her highs, her life was not an endless series of peak experiences, but was filled with ups and downs like anyone else’s life. Then, quite unexpectedly, Seth came through and said the following: “YOU ARE NOT SO MUCH PART OF A MEANINGFUL UNIVERSE, AS THE UNIVERSE IN PART. That is the next step for you to joyfully follow.” I think that is the next step for us to follow joyfully too. Thank you!
I am also writing a book (done) called, “The Road To Elmira.” It recounts my experiences while attending Seth classes during the 1970′s.
Kendall, Richard Obituary
Memories of Jane Roberts was published with permission from Rich Kendall. Since Seth plays such a prominent role on this website and others, I thought readers would want to know more about Jane Roberts.
Pete – https://realtalkworld.com
Wow. How sorry am i that I came so late to this post. Jane Roberts/Seth entered my life in the mid 90’s. I can’t recall how, but I do recall returning many times to the used book store in my neighborhood to purchase each of her books, in turn. I have most of them, still.
I never have forgotten and daily recall the teachings from Jane/Seth. Thank you for your input.
I don’t remember how I came across Seth Speaks. I was in my twenties looking for answers as to why am I here? I am from Elmira and lived there for many years. Her book led me to a lifelong search of my question.
I discovered Jane and Seth in the early 70s and read most of her books. I was crushed to learn of her death. The Seth materials had a huge impact on my life. For years I hoped someone would try to make a movie based on “The Education of Oversoul 7” even though I realized it would be a complicated undertaking! But I so wanted to see that wonderful adventure shared with more people. I bought and gave away many paperback editions of Seth books. At the time of Jane’s death there was not much information available about it, so I was happy to find this page. I still feel a connection with Jane, Rob and Seth.
I recently added an excerpt entitled, “Introduction to Seth Speaks.” It’s very clear and powerful for people unfamiliar with Seth, Jane, and Rob. I’ve also written a piece called: Jane Roberts and My Healing Meditation Surprise. It includes experiences with her before and after her death. It was amazing! All in this together – partners in evolution.
Thank u. Thoroughly enjoyed all you so graciously shared.