life of Dorothy Eady ..............(Om Seti).
Tales of reincarnation and past-life memory are rarely proven. In some instances the recollection seems fanciful and speculative, in others the information may be provocative and the details unique.
One of the most convincing examples of the latter in modern times is the extraordinary life of Dorothy Eady, an Englishwoman born at the turn of the 20th century who later became known to many as Omm Sety. Portions of her life have been documented in books and on film in recent times, describing her conscious memory of a life as a priestess in ancient Egypt, which began to awaken at the age of three following a serious fall. She told the dramatic story of how it came about candidly to many people, and made no apologies for her peculiar interest in this past life or for her remarkable affinity with a well-known monarch of Egypt's 19th Dynasty, Pharaoh Sety I (c. 1320-1200 B.C.E.).
I came to know Omm Sety at a dramatic time in my own life, when I made my first pilgrimage to Egypt in 1976. I had begun a temple practice in the canon of the ancient Egyptian religion, and was determined to find answers to my questions about this long-forgotten spiritual work and its meaning in the present day. Books on Egyptology and arcane religions did little to satisfy my confusion about what it meant and why I was doing it. I knew the solution had to exist in Egypt.
It was there that I met Omm Sety and with her encouragement, began my own journey of awakening, just as she had decades earlier.
|Dorothy Eady’s Transformation
Born January 16, 1904 in London of Irish parents, Dorothy Eady was headstrong and more than a handful to her parents as an only child. After her early childhood accident (in which the attending doctor had initially pronounced her dead), the door between her past life in ancient Egypt and her present persona fully opened, and she began to regularly dream of being in an Egyptian temple. At times, she believed that she actually visited the temple at night, in her astral body.
Eventually, she discovered that the temple in her dreams really existed, at the ancient site of Abydos in Upper Egypt. As she grew up, she sought more information about this place and just about everything Egyptian, telling her parents longingly that she “wanted to go home.”
She read every book and listened to every story about Egypt, and had the good fortune to be living near the British Museum. There, she befriended and learned hieroglyphs and Egyptian history from the eminent Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities, Ernest A. Wallis Budge, whose prolific books on Egyptian myth and magic are still in print today.
Dorothy did these things not under the tutelage of her
parents or mentors, but solely on her own, and this was to be her
pattern for the rest of her life. After a sporadic education that was
interrupted by the first World War, she agreed to marry an Egyptian man
in 1933, admittedly so that she could go to live in the world of her
dreams. The match lasted only two years because, “He was ultra modern,
and I was ultra ancient,” she said about the split. They had one son,
whom she insisted on naming Sety. Years later, she adopted the name
Arabic name Omm Sety “mother of Sety,” which designated her identity thereafter.
She eagerly accepted work at Giza, assisting some of the eminent egyptologists of the day, including Selim Hassan and Ahmed Fakhri. Serving as amanuensis and drafts person, she provided invaluable support to those who excavated and recorded the extensive cemeteries and pyramid complexes of Lower Egypt.
|The Two Worlds of Omm Sety|
When she went to the Per Neter (“divine house”) at Abydos, in dream/astral state, Omm Sety did not see the temple as it was in her day. Rather, she saw it as it had been thousands of years ago, replete with braziers, incense, white-robed priests, and brilliantly-colored wall reliefs, finished in gold. And in those ethereal visits to her spiritual home, she saw herself moving through the corridors and chambers, going about daily life and performing the rites of a priestess of Isis, chanting the lamentations of the goddess at the funeral of her husband Osiris, to whom the temple was dedicated.
Ancient myth told of the horrific death of the god at the hands of his brother Set, and his mystic renewal through the magic of Isis. These solemn events were celebrated at Abydos in festivals throughout the year that commemorated his death and physical reconstitution, and these observances became the prototype for the funerary tradition of ancient Egypt that lasted for millennium.
Through her dream life and visits from spirits of this past life who came to her at night, she learned that she was Benefactress, a young orphan girl given to the keeping of the temple as was the custom in ancient Egypt. But the more remarkable detail about her life as the young priestess was that she had caught the eye of the visiting pharaoh, Sety I, and they had broken religious law by having a physical relationship that was discovered. Nevertheless, their bond still existed, and he paid her frequent nocturnal visits throughout her present life to prove it.
Omm Sety showed a remarkable familiarity with the period in history that Sety represented, and often referred to him by his throne name, Men Maat Ra, “established in the light of truth.”
Pharaoh Sety I, father of Rameses II
Reconstruction from his mummy by Marianne Luban
Rameses the Great
Omm Sety’s memory of one of the great figures in ancient Egypt was quite personal. Her past life lover’s son, Rameses II, was one of the most prodigious (and prolific) monarchs of ancient times, leaving thousands of monumental works and a multitude of children (111 sons and 69 daughters are recorded in temples and tombs throughout Egypt). And though he is known in history as “the great,” his ubiquitous appearance at most of the sacred sites in Egypt has also earned him the name of “the inevitable.”
“He’s a much maligned young man,” she said of Sety’s famous son, speaking simultaneously in her past and present persons. “But I can never think of Rameses except as a teenager. And yet when he died he was a very old man, I think he was about ninety.”
She remembered young Rameses racing through the halls of his father’s temple, where she served as a priestess. In the life of Bentreshyt, she would only have known Rameses to be around her age at the time. She died in her Egyptian life as a young woman, and could not have seen him in old age. Her reminiscences of him reflected that.
“Even now when I go to the temple, I can always see young Rameses coming in, rushing through the corridor -- a very restless boy and rather noisy,” she confided.
Omm Sety loved her cats, and we shared stories about our feline friends. I told her that my cat at home ate the food offerings from my temple altar, which I thought might be highly improper for spiritual work. But she was indulgent. “It doesn’t matter,” she said. “After all, they are sacred, too.”
Her cats seem to have shared her propensity for seeing the ancient spirits that interrupted her daily life. She once had a ginger-colored male named Horemheb who liked to ride on her shoulder, and she reported an intriguing incident about this cat, who often accompanied her to the temple. “One day,” she related, “He went into the chapel of Sety, and let out a loud shriek. He came running out with his tail and his back puffed up.”
Abruptly, she added, Horemheb then went back into the chapel and Omm Sety followed. “It was a vision of Sety that gave him the fright,” she said matter-of-factually. The encounter with her soul-mate was evidently a surprise to the cat, but commonplace to her.
Her last and most favored cat was named for the goddess of domestic felicity, Bastet. She had a batch of kittens on Omm Sety’s bed in the spring of 1981, and they had just opened their eyes in the days before she passed over.
With Omm Sety 1976
| And as incredible as her story may sound in its telling,
those who knew her – from scholars and tourists to townspeople –
regarded her with respect and affirmation. Even while she was living,
she was called the “patron saint of egyptology,” because of her
knowledge – derived from both her practical experience living and
working in Egypt – and her personal reservoir of recollection and
intuition. Few separated those aspects of Omm Sety from their
acquaintance with her, and even fewer questioned the validity of her
beliefs because they were expressed so convincingly. It took a great
deal of courage – rarely found in a woman at the early part of the last
century – to pursue her unfinished life at Abydos and fulfill her
dedication to the temple.
After she passed away, I received a message from Bill Donovan, of the American Research Center in Egypt, an institution that had many members who worked with Omm Sety. “Ms. Eady was truly a remarkable person and she is highly respected by those in the ARCE that knew her,” he commented. Afterward, many egyptologists acknowledged that her contribution to the research and writings of many in their profession was extensive.
|Remembering Omm Sety
The most accurate monument to Omm Sety’s unique life is the manner in which she lived it. Ancient records left by the Egyptians show that they lived close to nature, regarding their animals and divinities with equal affection, and celebrating the simple pleasures – from enjoying freshly-brewed beer to sailing on the Nile – with delight and appreciation. These things she did in this life, and she spoke of doing the very same things in the life she recalled.
For these reasons, Omm Sety accomplished something extraordinary and unique – she lived a life worth remembering twice, both in the ancient and modern worlds.
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