The Search for Omm Sety – another ‘woman of Egypt’

Ommsety4
Dorothy Louise Eady ‘Omm Sety’ (1904-1981) – her photo, watch and cigarette lighter – photograph reproduced with kind permission – copyright 2016: Lesley Hammam

On Sunday we visited Abydos. After spending time at the temple, we felt it would be lovely to visit the house of Omm Sety – well known for the time she spent in Abydos as Keeper of the Temple of Seti I and as a draughtswoman for the Department of Egyptian Antiquities. Born Dorothy Louise Eady (16 January 1904 – 21 April 1981), she is especially well known for her belief that in a previous life she had been a priestess in ancient Egypt and the lover of Pharaoh Seti I but no less for the considerable historical research she undertook at Abydos temple complex. According to A New York Times article, she has been described as ‘one of the Western World’s most intriguing and convincing modern case histories of reincarnation’.

Sadly, when we arrived at the site of her home, it had been demolished and a new structure built over the original mudbrick house. We were however, invited into a neighbouring house to be shown what is left of her personal possessions – a tiny collection consisting of a photo, her watch and cigarette lighter. But a few moments later, a curtain was drawn back from a cabinet and a door opened on her collection of books – a mixture of novels, instructive guides on embroidery and a few on ancient Egyptian history. We were allowed to look through them and found several with inscriptions inside, written to her by those who had sent her the books. It was a poignant reminder of her life and those who had made a connection with her over the years. More intriguingly, in several of the books, in her own hand, she had obviously used the pages for a ‘word game’ – totting up how many different words she could assemble from one underlined word. Ommsety1

We had the thought that it might have been nice for a small museum to have been set up in her honour considering the impact she had, not only with regards to her remarkable story and the people it drew to Egypt – but also her phenomenal skill in research and identification of areas of the temple complex; but sadly there is not enough of her life left to exhibit.

 

All photographs copyright 2016 – Lesley Hamman and Philippa Faulks

Should you wish to reproduce these images, please contact me for permission.

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