Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Many Rosicrucian students will remember Ella Wheeler Wilcox as the poet of whom Max Heindel wrote in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, "Ella Wheeler Wilcox, with the true compassion of all far advanced souls, champions this occult maxim ( There is One Life - the Life of God ) in the following beautiful words," and them quotes her poem, "The Voice of the Voiceless." But probably few know that she met Max Heindel and conversed with him, as she relates in her autobiography, "The Worlds and I", published shortly before her death in 1919.
That Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an advanced soul is evidenced in her voluminous poetry. Her words of faith, hope, love, compassion, and spiritual wisdom must have helped and cheered millions of people, for she was well known over this country and in England for many years. Her life motto, she tells us, was Service. Her family was for the most part scornful of all things religious, yet she writes,
"From the hour I could think, I always thought with reverence and love of God, the Great Creator of this wonderful universe. Faith was born in my soul, and as a little child my believe in prayer and in my guardian angels haloed my world."
She was often hurt by the irreverence shown in her family and goes on to say,
"In after years I understood why this was. Being an old soul myself, reincarnated many more times than any other member of my family, I knew the truth of spiritual things not revealed to them. I could not formulate what I knew, but what I felt myself the spiritual parent of my elders; and I longed to help them to clearer sight."
Ella Wheeler was born in 1855 on a farm in Wisconsin, the youngest of four children. Her childhood and youth were meager in physical comforts, and in mental, emotional, and spiritual satisfactions. She started writing poetry at a very early age, and was well known as a poet in her own state by the time she graduated from high school. When about 28 years of age , she married Robert Wilcox. They had one child , a son, who died shortly after birth.Not long after their marriage, they both became interested in Theosophy and accepted its teachings. Thoughout life, they were always interested in psychic and spiritual matters . Early in their married life, they promised each other that whoever went first to the realms beyond would return and communicate with the other, if possible, and they had little doubt but that it was possible.
Robert Wilcox died in 1916, after over thirty years of close and loving companionship with his wife. She was overcome with grief, which became ever more intense as week after week went without any message from him.She visited famous mediums all over the country, and also a number of "Wise Ones" of various religious and philosophies, without finding what she sought. A stay at a Theosophical retreat helped her to become calmer, and good friends there warned her against blind dependence on spiritualism. She tells it thus,
"Opposed to spiritualism, which degenerates into fortune telling, and, which delays the souls of those gone on by continual appeals to return for trivial purposes, they yet approved of my investigations into the occult, knowing my purpose was not be misured or abused. They even accompanied me in some of my investigations and helped me to discriminate between mere mind reading, chatter of elementals from borderland, and messages from higher planes."
It was at this time that she went to California, as she heard that the spiritual vibrations were stronger there. She went to see Max Heindel, still seeking help in her sorrow, still unable to understand why she had had no word from her Robert. This is how she tells of this meeting.
"In talking with Max Heindel, the leader of the Rosicrucian Philosophy in California, he made very clear to me the effect of intense grief. Mr. Heindel assured me that I would come in touch with the spirit of my husband when I learned to control my sorrow. I replied that it seemed strange to me that an omnipotent God could not send a flash of his light into a suffering soul to bring its conviction when most needed. Did you ever stand beside a clear pool of water, asked Mr. Heindel, and see the trees and skies repeated therein? And did you ever cast a stone into that pool and see it clouded and turmoiled, so it gave no reflection? Yet
the skies and trees were waiting above to be reflected when the waters grew calm. So God and your husband's spirit wait to show themselves to you when the turbulence of sorrow is quieted".
The truth of his words was proved to her several months later.She returned to her home in the East, and spent hours daily in prayer and meditation. She composed a little mantra which she said over and over,
"I am the living witness: The dead live: And they speak through
us and to us: And I am the voice that gives this glorious truth to
the suffering world: I am ready , God: I am ready , Christ: I am
ready, Robert. "
Little by little she came to understand God's purpose in allowing this suffering,
"Holding in store for me the greatest gift the Lords of Karma have to bestow to those on earth, God wanted me to cast away, one by one, every prop on which I
leaned, and to break every tie which bound me to material things, or held me closely to earthly affections."
Eventually , she made unmistakable contact with her husband, and had soulsatisfying conversations with him.
Afterward she made valiant efforts to give out occult truths to a suffering world[World War I was still in progress] , but she met for the most part with scorn and disbelief. People , she said, were like the country woman who, when she saw a giraffe for the first time, turned away saying , "There ain't no such animal!" Faced with incontroversible proofs of continuing life after death, they would still deny it! She wrote,
"As we think, act, and live here today , we built the structures of our homes in spirit realms after we leave earth, and we build karma for future lives, thousands of years to come, on this earth or other planets.Life will assume new dignity, and labor new interest for us, when we come to the knowledge that death is but a continuation of life and labor , in higher planes".
Now, forty years after her death (1), occult students are still trying to give these truths to a suffering world.Some gains have been made, but the progress seems so slow!
Let us close with Ella Wheller Wilcox's closing words in her book,
"From this mighty storehouse(of God, and the hierarchies of Spiritual Beings ) we may gather wisdow and knowledge, and receive light and power, as we pass through this preparatory room of earth, which is only one of the innumerable mansions in our Father's house. Think on these things".
(1) Editor Note: This article was published in Rays From The Rose Cross, the Rosicrucian Fellowship Magazine in July, 1959.
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