So what position is a viable one to take with respect to Omm Sety’s past life claims and metaphysical experiences? If we took a purely phenomenological perspective, we could argue that everything that transpired between Omm Sety and the disembodied conscious of King Sety was real because she construed it that way. As the intellectual great Carl Jung (1875-1961) postulated, reality itself is a bundle of psychological projections onto the prima materia of the phenomenal world, the macrocosm, so there’s no reason whatsoever why we should disparage, dismiss, reduce, or attempt to compartmentalize her experiences in ways that make them scientifically invalid. Every conscious being in the universe encounters reality from a slightly different angle and so any judgements and assessments made about objective reality through the binoculars of any one archetypal model is bound to be askew and inadequate. Moreover, to reduce the mythical tiers of meaning that she derived from living a momentous double life and precariously positioning herself between the realms of wakefulness and active imagination to an unconscious act of dream madness (called oneirophrenia) that merely compensated for meaning or lack thereof is to depreciate the innumerable subtle forms that conscious experience can take. For a humanistic thinker like myself or anybody who sees the cosmos as more than just a random interaction of atomic particles and chemical reactions, doing such a thing would be akin to cold-blooded murder.
But before we can make a fair assessment about her objective truth as viewed through collective lenses we must first take a look at cold, hard facts minus any personal emotional attachments we might espouse towards her plight. Firstly, let it be known that save for a few anecdotes either verbalized at some stage or inserted into dream journals and personal diaries by Omm Sety herself, there is no hard evidence in the form of eyewitness accounts to substantiate her early testimonials of a former life lived in Egypt or of Sety’s earliest manifestations. Her own father never substantiated claims of her running around the British museum expressing profound emotion and superfluous displays of affection for artefacts of an ancient Egyptian civilization long extinct or of any time in which she glanced at a travel magazine and recollected past-life memories as a priestess of Isis in the Sety Temple at Abydos. Other than her own claims, there is also no proof that three other members of her adopted family–Egyptian husband Imam Abdel Meguid, a close friend of his named Hassan Karem, and father-in-law Haj Abdel Meguid–ever caught sight of some shadowy materialization of the pharaoh. In fact, any scrupulous examination of her life will show that there is nothing in her bag of insights about ancient Egyptian civilization that invokes a supernatural explanation. She definitely knew things about the construction of the Sety Temple, the cultic use of many of the rooms, and what items of interest might be unearthed by focusing archaeological digs in explicit areas however this is nothing that a wholehearted devotion to the practice of Egyptology can’t garner. A sharp and quick-witted mind intellectually and aesthetically orientated towards the recreation of a Golden Age perceived to be long-gone can sometimes come to know things that remain a lifelong mystery to one equally devoted to the subject but void of any emotional attachment. Omm Sety, as we know, had both–cerebral capacity (intelligence) and emotional understanding (intuition). In adopting a binocular vision that monocular-orientated methods of archaeology never implement in their comprehension of the past, she was able to transpose her field of vision to the inclusive mythic level and know without having to expend a single drop of sweat digging into earth with trowels and shovels.
Thus a very likely possibility is that the magical space of Omm Sety’s childhood was so preternaturally real that it somehow reconciled and worked itself into the world which she was becoming acquainted with during her formative years, her teenagehood, and her early adulthood. As her soul transmuted in time, she wanted so much to remain on a plane in which ancient Egyptian heka (magic) ruled; one in which ritual was a fundamental component of everyday life; one in which the romance and passion of the benevolent brother-sister couple Osiris and Isis had occurred; and one which she felt in her heart of hearts to be objectively real that there was a gradual melding of consensual reality and imagination, two facets of consciousness that resemble lava and seawater. As opposing forces these two let off the hot steam of paramnesia, an intermediary realm whereby strands of memories and fantasies become knotted into a multi-coloured and embroidered consciousness matrix. Dogmatic adherence to a self-engendered and perpetuated myth of this type is classical mythomania.
Another possibility is that she developed some form of retrocognitive telepathy, an unconscious ability to align herself with interactive fields of ‘ether’ on which events of the past are carbon-copied and continue to exist. This way they can be recapitulated and experienced as present events in one’s mind without actually activating the entire web of consciousness on which human cognition rests. Suggestions of this kind have drawn ample criticism from many theorists and researchers as being pseudo-scientific though growing evidence in the guise of meta-analyses and ‘exceptional’ experiences documented in psychological and transpersonal journals do suggest that some aspect of human consciousness can break the spatiotemporal laws and move back and forth in time in the manner that a manual automobile shifts gears from first to second and third and then back to first again. The aforementioned model seems to harmonize well with the fact that Omm Sety experienced a psychic opening in her youth; often, she would have visions of places she’d never actually visited and she would experience precognitive dreams about personal and world-scale disasters only days or weeks before they actually happened. The same sort of psychic channels could have been responsible for sourcing information about Egyptological issues that modern archaeology would later expose as being entirely valid.
Of course if we entertain ideas of morphic resonance which involve a violation of known physical laws then we must also be prepared to admit that some part of human consciousness can, in fact, survive death and become part of the psychic composition of another fleshly incarnation, human or otherwise. Perhaps the jolt to the head she received when she was three years of age caused an anomalous scrambling of cerebral wiring that enabled passive viewership of the past or the remembering of memories not part of the psychospiritual makeup of the present, self-conscious personality. Might the personal conscious be like the earth crust, where one jolt can spawn cracks and fissures large enough to cause an eruption of fossilized contents from the soul’s solid inner core? It’s not completely impossible. At any rate, the assessments we make and the approach we adhere to should take into consideration the bifurcated nature of her life and the fact that the unique sequence of events that evolved during her nocturnal unconscious life is an inverted version of the one which characterized her diurnal conscious life. Interesting, right?
Looking at her incarnations as an ancient Egyptian priestess of the goddess Isis named Bentreshyt and as the eccentric twentieth-century Englishwoman Dorothy Eady, we begin to see the striking parallels. The two were exotic, blue-eyed foreigners amidst a desert backdrop of Egypt where the physiological norm was a much darker physiognomy. They found meaning and solace in the same cosmogony. They loved and stayed faithful to the same man. Further, both personalities endured a spiritual emergency when they were three; the first suffered abandonment at the hands of her father who was an Achaean (Greek) mercenary whilst the second suffered a knock to the head which triggered a psychic opening in the guise of past-life memories. Unlike Bentreshyt, Dorothy wasn’t orphaned in the physical or conventional sense of the word although her overt oddities and obsessions with all things ancient Egyptian gives us the impression that she was disenfranchised from popular culture and something of a cultural orphan. It also appears that both Bentreshyt and Dorothy became acquainted with King Sety I in some form or another at the inception of their womanhood (about fourteen years of age) and both immersed themselves in the same traditions and artistic ventures. Dorothy’s individual life path as a scrupulous and dedicated student of Egyptologist Sir Wallis Budge (1857-1934) who played the role of Isis in a theatrical version of the passions of Osiris at school was definitely mirrored by Bentreshyt’s tutelage under Antef, the high priest of Abydos, and her involvement in an ancient mystery play about the same leitmotif.
Looking at Omm Sety’s psyche as an integrated whole we see that the life path of the second personality successfully atoned for the divine transgression garnered by the first, creating a corporeal myth that authentically reflects the collective Egyptian one featuring the divine archetypes of Isis and Osiris. In the state myth, the benevolent brother-sister couple’s earthly reign over Upper and Lower Egypt is brought to a halt when Seth’s hateful plot to murder Osiris comes to fruition. Similarly, Bentreshyt and Sety’s sprouting earthly love is prematurely cut short by a conscious, premeditated act of suicide. Putting her mastery of magic to good use, Isis brings Osiris back to life to sire little Horus; in her twentieth century incarnation as Omm Sety, Bentreshyt does exactly the same for King Sety, the pharaoh who has become an Osiris by re-membering their brief moment together in New Kingdom Egypt. The second personal myth is an authentic recapitulation of the cosmic myth; Dorothy Eady remembers King Sety in the manner that Isis retrieves an agglomeration of dismembered body parts (Osiris) that have been scattered across the whole of Egypt by the evil Seth and re-members them correctly to create the first mummy in history. After his physical death, Osiris is raised as a pillar of stability and indestructibility and as Lord of the Underworld in the Egyptian afterlife or the Amenti. To put it another way we might say he remains in the memory of all gods and mortals. King Sety follows suite, but in a personal Amenti created through Omm Sety’s creative deed of active imagination. The second myth is obviously a clone of the first, its actualized counterpart. Superimposed atop one another, the pair delineate the same cosmic pattern; Omm Sety is Isis and King Sety is Osiris.
It doesn’t get any more romantic than that, does it?