The Search for Omm Sety: A True Story of Eternal Love and One Woman’s Voyage through the Ages by Jonathan Cott ’62. Jonathan’s work is very wide-ranging: from interviews of great children’s writers to a memoir on memory loss, to now this exploration of reincarnation. This book spans the 3000 years of one woman’s life. It may be true! The woman in question certainly believes it is true. I am a sceptic, but, nonetheless. I found this saga of reincarnation compelling reading. Her ancient persona is a young girl named Bentreshyt. As a priestess of Isis in the temple at Abydos, Egypt, she is forbidden secular love. The much older Pharaoh Sety sees this fair maiden in the temple garden and is much taken with her. After a time of clandestine meetings, he goes away. She turns up pregnant and, in order to spare her true love any public evidence of their mutual crime, commits suicide. He vows never to forget her.
In the 20th century, a British girl named Dorothy Eady, for no apparent reason, finds herself fascinated by all things Egyptian. Eventually she comes to believe that she is that long dead Egyptian girl and has spooky and sensual visitations from the pharaoh, some of which seem to be corroborated by other eyes. Her diary entries often tell us, “His majesty came to me. . .”
The story unfolds through the changes in her name – from Bentreshyt to Dorothy Eady to Bulbul Abdel Meguid, her name when she marries an Egyptian, to finally Omm Sety. Her marriage lasts long enough for her to have a child, whom she names Sety. When she finally makes it to Abydos, villagers ask her if she has a child and what his name is. Omm Sety means ‘the mother of Sety.’ This is the name she keeps for the rest of her life.
Her passion for Egyptology leads her to work in museums and at archeological sites. With no formal training, she becomes highly respected in the field. Certainly she seems to be an old soul, with a quirky, curious personality and an amazing sense of adventure. If you have any inclination to poke a hole in your own rational convictions, here is a place to start.