It's interesting, to me, how people get pegged. Upon this man falls the mantle of sage, or genius; upon the other one, of reporter. In my case, I am probably taken, by the leaders in my field of reincarnation studies, as a documentarian. That's because I entered the field by producing an independent documentary on the subject; and that is how they were first introduced to me. Likewise, when I interviewed a number of these people for my internet "BlogTalk" radio show, "Metaphysical Explorations." They seem to have been far more reluctant to accept me as a colleague. Had they been introduced to me as a colleague, it might be a different story, I don't know.
That I have had training in the subject of reincarnation from the teachings of God-Realized persons and genuine sages, since the age of 19, is entirely missed by them. They wouldn't understand or appreciate such credentials if I told them, because they aren't capable of it. If they respected such sources (which is rare in itself), they wouldn't be able to discern the real ones from the fakes. Thus, the reaction of this select group would be, "Oh, I've studied these teachers, too." But likely they haven't. They've studied the imitators.
At any rate, the more things change the more they stay the same, and karmic patterns tend to repeat. In the 19th century, I was known as a reporter; and later, a humorist. But never taken seriously as an author or a philosopher. I am not just projecting onto Mathew Franklin Whittier--I have tons and tons of evidence that this was the case, and also how he felt about it, and how he attempted to cope with it.
Remaining anonymous, his work was pilfered and falsely attributed to other authors. I've been over that, before. What prompted me to write this morning (aside from a persistent case of graphomania--I use the term because Mathew wrote a few pieces under the name "Grapho Mania"), was keying in some of Mathew's unsigned lecture reviews for the "Mercantile Library Association" of Portland, Maine, printed in the Portland "Transcript."
I had long-since determined--and proved, by a preponderance of evidence--that Mathew was the reporter for these lyceum reviews. For one thing, he "reviews" his own comic character, "Ethan Spike," giving a lecture for the series. I'd love to share that--perhaps another time.
That was in 1874. But the lectures I was keying in, yesterday, were from 1849. There were four--Rev. Henry Giles, Henry David Thoreau, Horace Greeley, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Unfortunately, I can't share these as whole pdf files, as I have been doing, lately, because I photographed them piecemeal off the microfilm reader screen; and the digitized versions haven't been properly proofread, yet. Perhaps I will share them later on. I don't want to spend all morning on this blog, as I have been doing, lately, so I'll just offer some thoughts without backing them up with examples. I could back them up--I'm just exhausted with writing what amounts to a scholarly paper every morning, when I have so many pieces yet to key in.
Speaking of scholars, I was once again casting about for an expert on Thoreau to share my findings with. I found a famous professor emeritus, who is so big you can't get contact information for him (you know, like a movie star). I did, however, glance through some of his copious works on the subject of the Transcendentalists. He quotes Mathew, without knowing who the writer was, as having given one of the most complete accounts of this 1849 Thoreau lecture. I would love to tell him who wrote it, and what the back-story is. Because I think Mathew and Thoreau became friends; at least to the extent of taking a trip to then-wild Cape Cod two years later. I say that, because Mathew also seems to have penned a review of Thoreau's lecture based on that adventure; and reading between the lines, I get the sense that Mathew was with him on the trip. Of course, as always, Mathew's identity is skillfully excised from both the speech, and the review. But this second one is also is very favorable; in fact, the clear inference is that Mathew is defending him against detractors.
The review of Emerson is also favorable, but somewhat mixed. What he says, in kinder words, is that Emerson is all over the map. He has flashes of brilliance, but doesn't follow them through. In other words, he's kind of on-and-off. And the content (which Mathew faithfully paraphrased for each speaker) reflects it. Some of it is deeply insightful; some of it doesn't quite work. In this lecture, Emerson talks (as I recall) about instinct and inspiration--but he's sort of mixing them up.
Now, I know--from my deep study of Mathew's writing, from past-life impressions, and also from who I am, today--what Mathew's relationship was with the Transcendentalists, and how he viewed them. And this is where I'm going to lose every reader of this blog who judges based primarily on reputation. I've spent quite a bit of "ink" lately trying to get across the idea that Edgar Allan Poe's reputation was entirely smoke-and-mirrors. It wasn't so with the Transcendentalists (with one exception). But it wasn't quite what it appeared to be, either.
First of all, as I understand, Emerson was passing around his copy of the Bhagavad Gita. So this is sort of like praising a restaurant, when they are actually getting in their food already-prepared by a master chef in a neighboring town. Thoreau was honest about it. In "Waldon Pond," he tells us:
In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat–Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions.
Emerson, on the other hand, seems to have used the ideas in the Gita as though they were his own thoughts. He's not alone--many have taken that route. I try my best to avoid this error.
My guess is that Walt Whitman read it, and sort of mixed it up with the idea of an earthbound spirit, to create "Leaves of Grass." In other words, half the time it sounds like Krishna's omniscience; and half the time it sounds like a wandering ghost. And for this he became famous, because he, too, didn't cite his sources.
The Gita notwithstanding--which Mathew likely also read--Mathew's training in metaphysics was at least equal to that of any of the Transcendentalists. He had been privately tutored by Abby Poyen, who became his wife in 1836. She, in turn, had no-doubt been taught by her mother, Sally Poyen, whom historians have called "brilliant." It's not easy to be remembered as "brilliant"--and that, practically the only thing you are remembered for--when you are a housewife in the mid-19th century. Abby's first cousin was Mesmerist Charles Poyen, who was no slouch, either (if you read his writings and forget about his unfair reputation). My impression is that the whole Poyen clan was highly intelligent; but that among them, Abby was the little prodigy of the family.
As my website hits, and the hits on this blog, continue to rise, I am thinking that maybe people like to see these original pages. So here is one from the April 2, 1831 Philadelphia "Album." This poem, "Part of an Address to the Stars," is NOT written by Albert Pike. It is written by Abby Poyen--a student in his class in Newburyport, Mass. Pike appears to have been stealing them from her notebook, and sending them off for publication as his own work. That's a long story. Another back-story, here, is that Mathew, four years older and her private student, is mockingly skeptical of some of her ideas, including as regards astrology, and that the stars are living beings. Mathew is already a gifted satirist, and she is struggling, now, with the mysticism that her mother had taught her. She is, after all, only 14 years old at this time. Note that in the article about British poets, one is said to have written the poem, given as an example, at age 14. So such work, by one so young, is hardly unknown during this era.* The wrinkled state of the original is due to the fact that it comes from my private collection. I could have supplied a pdf I downloaded online, but I think it's more fun to see a photograph from a physical volume. Sorry if this takes a bit longer to download--I did set it at medium resolution, but even that may be a bit higher than necessary.
One primary difference between the traditionally religious person, and the mystic, is that the mystic strives to experience, in this very lifetime, what the religious person hopes to find after death. You can see that Abby is a mystic, in her opening lines.
The second psychic medium I used, early in my study, named Joseph Shiel, mentioned Abby's intelligence four times in the course of the reading. For example (from my notes), he said:
Sweet. Intelligent. Woman before her time. Quick. Sass to her answers. Calls it like she sees it. Doesn't bowl people over, give them rope, then levels with logic and sense of humor. Very intelligent. Dry wit.
Liked animals more than people, who could be cruel and stupid, didn't deal well with ignorance. Intelligent, well before her time.
Shiel knew nothing about Abby, i.e., from normal sources, except that I wanted to contact my past-life wife from the 19th century. And I was very careful not to prompt him, to guard against a charge of "cold reading." But when I uncovered her poetry and short stories, I had plenty of evidence, like the poem I linked to, above. Far more than I have time to go into, here.** Clearly, she was a prodigy--in writing, music, and philosophy--and clearly, she was well-conversant with both mysticism and the occult. Very likely, she was psychic, as well.
I also felt, and then substantiated, that she was Mathew's private tutor, beginning when she was only a girl of 11 or 12 (Mathew was four years older). She, herself, had had the advantage of a private French education (meaning, a full liberal education, not just the American version which prepared girls for marriage); and Mathew was hungry for learning, being a farmer's son who, unlike his brother, was denied the opportunity of attending Haverhill Academy by his father.
But, I digress. The point is, what was Mathew's relationship to the Transcendentalists?
Well, except for Thoreau, they were snooty. They thought they knew more than they did; and they looked down on Mathew, who was very shy about tooting his own horn. Mathew liked Thoreau, who, as Abby had, came from a French background. Keep in mind that Mathew's older brother was poet John Greenleaf Whittier; and he was also friends with Oliver Wendell Holmes. He moved on the periphery of this social circle, and he had no trouble gaining access to it--as a junior member. No doubt, Samuel Longfellow, brother to Henry Longfellow, could do the same. This, by the way, is precisely what I said about a felt past life in 2003, in a public online interview, before I had discovered Mathew.
But Mathew's grasp of philosophy, including the "Perennial Philosophy," was deeper than that of most of these people. There was one exception. I got the feeling that Mathew viewed Bronson Alcott as a fool--but in this life, when I read a biographical account of the Alcotts, and read some of his work, I realized I had been mistaken. Alcott's head was definitely in the clouds--but he was genuinely deep, as well.
Then there was Margaret Fuller. Mathew saw her as a pretentious hypocrite; and blasted her with merciless sarcasm. Here, in May 22, 1852, writing for the Boston "Weekly Museum," he has taken on a character named "Sally Sage," who is a great fan of the late Margaret (I have deconstructed some of the references in my book, but won't attempt to do so, here--obviously, they aren't flattering):
I worship her, I dream of her daily and nightly, ever since I have read those three sweetest of all sweet volumes of her biography. Last night I saw her in glory, in the highest degree of the highest sphere, surrounded by a group of kindred spirits--all forming a grand Mutual Admiration Society, and she, the Margaret, was President thereof. In my vision, she was clothed in a pair of brazen breeches, with a sceptre in her left hand, one end of which was in the device of a sharp stick, designed to chastise all the simples whom she dignified by the name of jackasses; the other and uppermost end beseemed to me a trowel with which she used to lay soft soap on to the faces of the compounds whom she had stuffed out into "old Bottoms in lions' skins." Upon her brow was a crown of mandrakes.
She first appeared to me with a pair of tiny scales in her right hand, with which she was weighing the mortal brains of Jean Jadques Rosseau. The balance was struck, and, winking violently, she cried--"My Bestest one!"
Whereupon the fawned lion responded--"Blessedest art thou, Margaret, among women!"
If you think my attitude is too sarcastic in this blog, trust me, I have toned it down considerably in this lifetime.
People like Fuller, and Poe, didn't fool Mathew. He had, after all, known the real thing, in his first wife, Abby. It seemed a bitter irony to him that such phonies would attain public prominence, while real students of the mysteries were ignored by the world. It's not surprising, given the way the world works, but ironic nonetheless. That these other figures, most of whom were at least sincere in their efforts, should be fooled by her to the extent of appointing her as editor of their magazine, would have been a tragic comedy in Mathew's eyes.
In short, there was no talking to them, because they couldn't humble themselves enough to take people like Mathew seriously. As always happens, the famous ones are not necessarily the best ones.
When I glanced at the work of this modern-day expert, the professor emeritus, and saw his praise of Fuller, I had a flash of insight. If you want to attain public prominence as a scholar, you have to tout the party line. You have to write what people want to hear. If people want to hear that Poe was a literary genius, you have to write that. If they want to hear how brilliant Margaret Fuller was, you have to write that. And by thus gaining the nod of the Mutual Admiration Society, you advance in the ranks until you are a famous, celebrated scholar.
The same is true for the John Greenleaf Whittier legacy. If you want to be taken seriously as a Whittier scholar, you have to trumpet the party line there, as well. And there is quite a myth built up around Whittier--but I have dealt with that in my book.
Both of Mathew's reviews of Thoreau--in 1849 and in 1851--have been called the best ever written. But if I'm not mistaken, Mathew was on a par with Thoreau in 1849; and a personal friend, at least to the point of taking an excursion with him, by 1851. No wonder Mathew wrote the best reviews. It's no accident. The reporter was at least as good a philosopher as the subject.
Just as I was, when I interviewed such people as Carol Bowman and Dr. Jim Tucker.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*In case you're wondering, having read the relevant quote in the British article, I don't think that Albert Pike edited this poem. Whenever Pike put his worldly paws on Abby's poetry, he ruined it; and I see no sign of that, here. Pike, who attained a very high rank as a Mason later in life, but who was also pro-slavery, fought as a general for the South in the Civil war, and as a Mason, rationalized a form of Satanism, could not possibly have written this. If you think he could have, you are suffering from a lack of spiritual discernment, such that it all seems the same, to you. You would then have to trust my judgment, since I have studied mysticism for over 40 years and am, myself, a mystic.
**Shiel made some verifiable hits, as for example that Abby came from an upper-class family. I have in my real-time notes that he said: "Willing to get dirty, do gardening, shoe the horse. Most women of her class not allowed to do it."
Music opening this page: "The Children's Waltz,"
by The Free Design,
from the album, "Sing For Very Important People"