Ralph Waldo Emerson – An Atypical Prophet

by Melody Jean

Ralph Waldo Emerson – an American poet, lecturer, essayist, among much else. Perhaps he’s best known for his role as spokesperson for the Transcendental Movement in the 1840s. For me it doesn’t take much. With this information alone, I am intrigued (by Emerson). Yet, there is so much more.

The New Age, in the Old Age

Emerson was advanced in his thinking in regards to individualism and transcendentalism. Man, oh, man is he someone I’d love to meet. He adorned some of his most famous works with titles such as Self-Reliance, The Over-Soul, Circles, The Poet and Experience. The titles alone say so much and speak to what is comprised in these works. Much of what the contemporary seeker is searching for today, in fact. We talk of this, and more, in the new age.

Mankind, collectively, is advancing in spiritual pursuits and coming to know that which has always been known. It was known, or accepted among fewer individuals (in the old age). Yes. I do believe this to be true. This is why I’m fascinated when I stumble upon someone from “history” who I think might have been onto a golden-nugget of truth. Most just took words of those like Emerson, and their ideas, simply at face value. No more, no less. With comments along the likes of, “A beautiful poem he wrote, that Emerson.” A compliment in its own right, yet few saw the meaning behind the words. Galileo Galilei, another. If we re-examine some of Emerson’s quotes, sonnets and the like, I think that many more today have the capacity to truly know what he intended. Or at the very least understand what he means beyond the beauty of the melding together of various words.

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen.” –Emerson

“Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.” –Emerson

Yes, I think that many throughout history knew of this higher spiritual essence. From Emerson to Galileo, all serve as reminders that this gift of knowing that which we reach for, are searching for, is indeed out there. It has always been there. The spiritual experience through the soul (of the individual) is available to everyone and has been since the beginning of time.

A Prophet or Prophetic – Does it Matter?

Religions maintain that there were special people, Prophets, or messengers from the almighty being. Every great religion has a Prophet(s) in some right – from Jesus to Muhammad. Yet take a moment to read what the term Prophet means via the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. As you read, interpret the definition verbatim without a religious undertone.


1. one who utters divinely inspired revelations

2: one gifted with more than ordinary spiritual and moral insight; especially: an inspired poet

I think Emerson and others can be deemed Prophets in a sense, or, at the very least, prophetic in their thought and knowledge. Many religious gurus may slam me for comparing a mere poet such as Emerson to their beloved Jesus. My intent is not to compare and certainly not to diminish the significance of those holy as noted in our scriptures and religious literature such as the Koran and the Bible. I do not want to take anything away from those deemed holy. I believe they too had divine messages. There are holy among every religion. What I suggest is that perhaps there were more divinely inspired individuals than those we have formally recognized. The more I come to know, and that which I delve into from history; I find many not noted in our historical or religious books who likely knew then what we hope to know today. Perhaps Emerson is one of those? At the very least, he too had a message to share. I think it was on a transcendental level, a knowing in a sense. His insight came from another place.

I believe that these great messengers, or prophets, have been around for a long time. With many more coming to light today. It’s through reading their works, first-hand, that we absorb the true message intended from the creator. No intermediaries interpreting and then rehashing it in a way for us to “better understand.” I think that there is truth that when something is told to you it can get lost in translation.  A little food for thought?

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