Just feel like writing. I'm in the habit of getting up early to work on my book, and now that there's nothing to do, I just write for entertainment. I thought, this morning, I'd try to explain how interrelated everything is in that book. How much it is like a tapestry, or the internet, or an ecological system.
It seems to me, as I "dip a toe" into the world of alternative archeology on YouTube during my lunch breaks, that what the scientific establishment is really afraid of is the demise of the concept of linear progress. Not "evolution," per se, because evolution can be cyclical. But the idea of a beginning, and an end. This is as much true when it comes to mankind's historical development, as it is with an individual's life--the "course of life." We think of "cradle-to-grave"; and we equally think of cavemen, early civilizations, and modern man. That it could be "cradle-to-grave-to-astral-to-cradle-to-grave-to-astral..." is unthinkable, and the concept must be denied, marginalized and squelched wherever it appears. Because, obviously, it would require an entire re-do. But there is a deeper reason they resist. Linear progress is vanity. It points to a purpose of life within life itself. But cyclical reality makes this pointless. If it's all a big circle, and if it has a point, that point must lie outside the circle, itself. In other words, this entire world is a workshop for the Realization of God. It is not here for its own sake. And the real purpose of life is not to enjoy life, itself, or to have a good life, or a pleasant life, or a powerful life. Life is a school, or as Swami Vivekananda put it, a "moral gymnasium." Or, as my Guru explained, it is for the purpose of developing consciousness, and then, releasing that consciousness from the fetters of the ignorant mental impressions which have built up over countless incarnations, in the process.
This shoots down not only philosophical Materialism, but its values, as well. Note that the same absurd linear logic has been grafted onto Christianity, giving us one lifetime with eternal heaven or eternal hell at the end of it. But Meher Baba remarked, "Jesus taught Vedanta."
All this reminds me of a vivid dream I had many years ago. I am in a room, where all along the walls is placed stainless steel machinery. Something like a plastic is being processed--one machine washes, one machine extrudes, one machine weaves--and as you follow the process around the room, half-way through it begins to revert. The weaving is being melted, and so-on, until suddenly I had the realization that it was all cyclical, and woke up laughing!
Now, anyone's life is a tapestry. So inasmuch as I have been studying a real historical figure, about which very little is readily known, the more I learn about any specific point in his life, the more that discovery will tend to radiate out and implicate other aspects and areas. I'm going to give an example, shortly.
But I am not just researching a historical figure--I am also researching a proposed reincarnation match, and the method is simple--I set down impressions gained through past-life memory, at a time when I have almost nothing to go on by way of scholarship; and then I see whether I was right or not.
But here, too, we have a tapestry. Because any given discovery may shed light on several of those impressions, which are interconnecting.
Got it? Here we go.
About a month ago, I stumbled across a Boston newspaper dated Dec. 8, 1838 for sale on Ebay. As near as I could make out, on the front page, was an article I strongly suspected had been written by my subject. It was, perhaps, the last in a series defending St. Paul, in this Unitarian paper. It appeared, in the fuzzy sample photograph, to be signed "P.," which is a pseudonym I suspect Mathew of using (he used several, including various of his initials, "MFW," or "Poins," or "P.," but at this early stage, more likely "F" or "P").
I bought it for $10; but the seller refunded my money, because he couldn't find it. He said he would let me know if he ever came across it, which usually means you can just forget about it; which is what I did.
So then, of course, I announce for the 10th time that I'm finished with my book, and not days later, he writes me to tell me he has found it, and would I still like to buy it? I did, though there was some confusion about when he had successfully re-posted it, and how to find the posting. While I was at it, I asked him to clear up what the signature said, which included where it was written from. He responded that it is signed "F.," from "Hampton Falls."
Okay, now we plunge in. At the time this was written, November of 1838, Mathew and his young wife, Abby had been married about two years, after having eloped. In 1837, his first business had failed in Dover, NH, in no small part due to both shunning (as I gather), and also the "Panic of 1837," precipitated by that era's Trump, Andrew Jackson. They had regrouped back in Amesbury, Mass., adjacent to their hometown of East Haverhill, where he had obtained a clerk's job working for a local newspaper, and then--perhaps inspired by the life of his namesake, Benjamin Franklin, he struck out on his own with a self-published paper, the Salisbury "Monitor," and a night school. The school was part charity, inasmuch as the tuition was kept low enough for millworkers to attend in the evenings. He taught handwriting and bookkeeping. Both ventures had folded--again, I strongly suspect, based on shunning and persecution. He had been forced to seek work in Michigan, and while he was on the trip, their 11-month-old son, Joseph, had died in a local scarlet fever epidemic. They probably were living in the poor section of Amesbury Mills; partly out of idealism, and partly out of necessity.
This was in August. I have two clues suggesting they went to stay with some of Mathew's extended family in Methuen, Mass., which is about 19 miles southwest of Amesbury. One is a psychic's comment (he suddenly said, "I hear M, M, M, Mathew, Methuen"). The other is a humorous sketch featuring two people in a laziness contest, named "M" and "P," set in the town of "M," which I finally proved was written by Mathew.* It struck me that Abby may have been suicidal and would take long walks by the river (near the relative's house), and that Mathew felt he had better accompany her, so that neither did any visible work while there. (Mathew was probably writing for Boston papers for extra cash, but nobody knew that.) The local people just assumed they were sponging off the relative, and did nothing but take walks--and this ostensibly humorous sketch, written and published many years later, was Mathew's secret revenge. No-one would know where it was supposed to be taking place, except the people concerned. They would get the message.
But the article I just found places them in Hampton Falls, NH,** which is about five miles northeast of Amesbury. There appears to have been extended family there, also (anyone familiar with Mathew's famous brother's legacy, will recognize that John Greenleaf Whittier died in Hampton Falls, and that his mother's side of the family hailed from there).
I thus conclude that my impression was correct--after their son's death in Amesbury, where they were being shunned by the very people they were trying to help, they began drifting about the area, staying with various members of his extended family. There are a number of implications which branch off from this. First of all, that they were being shunned, which I reported feeling long before I had any evidence. Their first impulse, at this point, would be to get out. Secondly, that they didn't go to live with Mathew's immediate family, from which he was somewhat estranged, and with whom Abby certainly wouldn't have felt comfortable because they had not approved of the marriage. Thirdly, that Mathew would have indeed been earning extra cash, even when paralyzed by grief, by publishing articles in Boston newspapers.
Aside from all this, we have the content of the article, itself. I still haven't received it in the mail, but I can read enough of it in the Ebay photograph to get an idea of it. The earliest published work that Mathew's student biographer could point to was the first instance of his known character, "Ethan Spike," which appeared in January of 1846. But I have discovered his work published as early as Sept. 1831 (a periodical featuring the work of the members of a young men's club). I also have one or two of his pieces written while he was a clerk for the "News and Courier" in 1837/38 (as you can see above), and then, a couple of short pieces he wrote for his own paper, the Salisbury "Monitor," in 1838.
Through the years, Mathew occasionally wrote forceful essays, making his case in a logical style. Sometimes he was ghost-writing, so that it became attributed to the person he was writing for. This may have been the case with an anti-slavery sermon given by one Rev. David Root, who pastored a church in Dover, NH; it was almost certainly the case with a treatise defending Spiritualism against fundamentalist Rev. William Dwight in Portland, Maine, published in 1857. That piece seems to have become well-known in Spiritualist circles, and an original (I have one) is rather pricey. But this is really Mathew's work, not the work of the president of the Portland Spiritualist Association, as it appears to be.
He had written a very similar one in defense of the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg, in 1842; and there is another, an 1856 anti-slavery booklet, which I am quite certain is also Mathew's, written in precisely the same style.
Not counting Rev. Root's sermon, which can't be proven as Mathew's work, this 1838 defense of St. Paul is the earliest I've found. He brought in St. Paul in the 1857 Spiritualist piece, as well. This is ironic, and provides some deep insights. Why?
Mathew's family of origin was et up, as they say, with neurotic hypocrisy. It would appear, from various clues, that his father was sitting on unresolved revenge (being a Quaker), toward a man who had done something to his sister; and this bitterness colored his relationship with his family. That, and his having adopted a philosophy of "toughening" boys. Meanwhile, his mother must have had a kind of split personality, where she was exaggeratedly saintly, until she "blew." So in that family atmosphere, Mathew turned to Nature, such that this became his mother and father, emotionally.
His brother, older by five years, was also a sort of parent figure--but John Greenleaf followed in the footsteps of his mother, emotionally. All of this saintliness and piety was identified with Quakerism; but it was really neurosis. Mathew struggled with this confusion all his life. He became a fearless warrior, with his pen, against hypocrisy anywhere he found it--but at the same time, he was never quite able to come to grips with his mother's neurosis, nor his brother's. He would vacillate between belief and cynicism. And this confusion made him an easy mark for con artists. He was taken in over and over again, especially by business partners.
This brings us directly to St. Paul, because in this life, I am convinced that Paul was a fraud--essentially, he was doing an inside job on the Christian community for the Pharisees, having failed to effectively wipe them out by external persecution. He stole and borrowed what he heard from the Apostles, mixing it in with his own Pharisee background, and came up with a toxic, watered-down concoction that was palatable to the gentiles. It was this poisonous brew which became official Christianity, such that the real teachings were declared "anathema," and the real Christians were persecuted.
But Mathew had swallowed Paul's subterfuge, precisely because of the footprint in his teachings left by the Apostles; and he defended Paul quite eloquently. So here I am seeing the exact same mind as my own, being used in the service of a mistake. And not just any mistake--a mistake where he has been fooled by a hypocrite--perhaps the greatest hypocrite of all, one who still has vast numbers of people fooled. One who promulgated distorted ideas about life after death, so that in this life, I am spending a great deal of energy trying to teach reincarnation--and hence, to undo what Paul did, and whatever I did by unwittingly championing him.
There is much, much more. I could follow the threads of this tapestry clear across to the other corner and back, if I wanted to, just starting at this little discovery. I could also send a researcher into this new periodical, looking for Mathew's articles (some of which he may have had left-over from his own paper, earlier that year). I might also find some of Abby's own writing; and each piece would tell a story. Each piece would have links to other pieces, published in other years. There is, in short, no end to it.
That is how my book has grown so large. But in the process, two things have happened: I fleshed out this obscure historical figure to an amazing degree, and I proved that I actually was dimly remembering my own past life in the 19th century.
You can get some idea of how significant the first achievement was, by the fact that I am convinced, now, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Abby was the original author of "A Christmas Carol," co-authored or edited after the fact by Mathew; and that he was the original author of the poem, "The Raven." I have identified well over 600 of Mathew's published works, in various genres. This was a "dark planet" orbiting the skies of 19th century literary America; and someday, he will be studied in depth. Now, nobody takes me seriously about him. I will definitely get the last laugh on this one--either publicly, or privately, if scholars successfully do an end-run around me and leave me entirely out of the picture.
As for the reincarnation case, yesterday it struck me once again just how relevant reincarnation theory is, when I was attempting to dialogue on Facebook with some political progressives. The astral body joins the fetus at about 21 weeks. I won't go into how I know this, here, but I have it on good authority, first-hand; and it fits with everything else I have studied for over 40 years. That means that abortion past this time is infanticide. Whatever laws are passed, should take this into account. Secondly, if past-life therapy were ever to be embraced by the Society at large, I think 90% of current medical procedures and drugs could be eliminated. Just those two practical implications should give you some idea of how important this work I'm attempting, is.
I know, you probably think I am an eccentric on the fringe, toying with my harmless little project. A curiosity. I write fairly well, and have imagined myself to be the reincarnation of someone that nobody cares about. So, it's kind of interesting to see what he's ranting on about, today, while you down your roll-and-coffee before work.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*The proving of this pseudonym, "Quails," is significant in itself. Mathew was, apparently, working as a postal inspector. In-between assignments, he offered these humorous sketches in lieu of his travel letters; but the travelogue, itself, amounts to a weekly published diary spanning from late 1849 to mid-1852. It includes such things as acknowledging a personal friendship with Oliver Wendell Holmes (one of the young men who hung out with Charles Dickens in Boston, during Dickens' 1842 American tour), and a visit with Victor Hugo at the latter's home, in Paris. It also has "Quails" receiving a copy of the "Ultima Thule" portrait of Edgar Allan Poe from the daguerreotypist, and, as near as I can tell, acting as a secret liaison for abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, meeting with heads of state, other abolitionists, and the President. The travelogue is claimed by and for someone else, and it took a great deal of work to disprove that claim.
**The signature could, however, simply mean that he wrote it from there.
Music opening this page: "A Leaf Has Veins" by The Free Design,
from the album, "You Could Be Born Again"