Shakers and Quakers

 Those words, as they relate to our inner and outer life, were popularised by the Quakers and Shakers. The Shakers were originally known as Shaking Quakers because they commonly trembled in religious fervour in their services. Quakerism started in the 1640s through revolutionary insights regarding Christian practice experienced by George Fox.

Both the Quakers and Shakers experienced spirit communications and I believe from my own experience and study that they quaked and shook as the opened to the influence of ‘god’. But the language they used was from the long history of Christian belief. And Edgar Cayce a man who a The New York Times ran an article titled, “Miracle Man of Virginia Beach”, for he too was able to receive ‘spirit communications’, which led to Edgar being swamped with an avalanche of 25,000 requests for help from individuals from all walks of life and belief. Many receive physical relief from illnesses or ailments through information given by Edgar in the readings. Yet, although best known for this material, the sleeping Cayce did not seem to be limited to concerns about the physical body. In fact, in their entirety, the readings – 14,000,000 words of them – discuss an astonishing 10,000 different topics gave a more modern view when he said, “In each atom, in each corpuscle, is life. Life is that you worship as God.” See There is a River – the story of this amazing mans life.

George Fox’s Great Awakening

George Fox and the Quaker (Friends) Movement. “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition.” This discovery of Christ as a present reality turned George Fox from frustrated seeker to joyous finder and initiated a major Christian awakening in England.

“But as I had forsaken all the priests, so I left the separate preachers also and those esteemed the most experienced people, for I saw there was none among them all who could speak to my condition. When all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me nor could tell what to do, then oh! then I heard a voice which said “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition”; and when I heard it my heart did leap for joy. Then the Lord let me see why there was none upon the earth that could speak to my condition, namely, that I might give him all the glory-that Jesus Christ might have the pre-eminence-who enlightens and gives grace and faith and power. Thus when God does work, who shall hinder it? And this I knew by experience.”

Where does the name Quaker come from? One story says that the founder, George Fox, once told a magistrate to tremble (quake) at the name of God and the name ‘Quakers‘ stuck. Other people suggest that the name derives from the physical shaking that sometimes went with Quaker religious experiences.

The shaking and quacking as you received Life’s power or Gods Grace wasn’t a new thing because it was known at the very start of the Christian experience but was radically suppressed when the Catholic Church became the authoritarian leader. Strangely it is also no longer experienced by today’s Quakers, but it is clearly describes in the Bible in Acts 2, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.   And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing   mighty wind, and it filled the entire house where they were   sitting.   And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire,   and it sat upon each of them.   And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to   speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

But those watching thought they were all drunk. But in Acts 2, 13, “Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine. [2] ” Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

“`In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”

But imagine a group of people all ‘worshipping’ as is described of Pentecost, when the disciples were taken to be drunk. (Acts 1:12 to 2:13) There were 120 gathered in a room, men and women being equals – “All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Considering present day Pentecostalism and other forms of opening to the power of Life or God, this large group would include people who would be shouting in strange words, others would be crying, moving their bodies, discerning spirits, and generally creating a bedlam of noise. Any newcomer to the group, not having had explained what was being attempted – that each be open to the Spirit and be moved by it – might think the people were crazy or drunk. The ‘prayer’ spoken of was a complete surrender of themselves to ‘Gods’ power.

As Carl Jung so rightly said, “Today we don’t know God because we can’t bow low enough”. In other words, we do not know how, or want to, surrender our whole self to the unknown God or Life.

“Then having sat for months dropping my aims and beliefs, one night after going to the toilet, I was just getting back into my bed and I heard a disembodied voice say to me, “You have asked how God touches the human soul. Now watch closely.” A couple of days later, having realised all that, I got together with three friends to experiment with how to allow this process of self-regulation to express. How did you give your being freedom to express spontaneously so it could rid itself of what it held unconsciously? How did you allow it to re-balance itself when it has been knocked out of balance?

“All of that came about by allowing my being to express spontaneously without my conscious intervention, by allowing spontaneous movement and sounds, by surrendering or offering my body, sexual self, my emotions and mind to the Life that had brought me forth; to the unknown of myself and trusting it.”

These quotes are from people who did exactly what the Pentecostal group did – surrender themselves. But in doing so they arrived at up to date views as stated below.

Vibration and shaking are movements, and movement is one of the main signs of life. Life and growth are interwoven, and one of the first signs of massive personal growth or change is shaking or vibration in the body or pelvic movement or even electricity running through your body. That was why the Quakers used that name, because they shook or quaked.

The push to grow is often thought to come from ambition or ones urge to succeed in life, but that growth is usually from our personality, but the major source of physical and psychological growth is from the process of Life. People tend to think of life as an automatic and senseless process. But human experience in personal growth points in another direction. The next example is from a man who had repressed hid sexual feelings for years because of a personal problem.

The vibration or shaking is often a sign of what is often called spiritual growth but is better named the emergence of a person’s innate immense potential. Here is a man describing what, because I know his history, was the first sign of great personal growth. See The Healing Experience

 Example: There was a peculiar conscious and semiconscious experience without dream images. My hips and pubic area vibrated. Moved is not the right word, as the movement was too quick. I have seen the movement on a buck rabbit during mating. Not really a backward or forward movement, but very rapid vibration. This occurred with me quite spontaneously, and I relaxed and let it happen. There was no direction as far as I know. It happened about four or five times, and then as I became more conscious, disappeared.

Now a description as the person is learning to work with the Life process.

 Example: Somehow I felt Life was working on me in this stillness, healing the memory of this traumatic event in me. Then, gradually, a new movement started. I began to shake in the genital movement, my whole body vibrating at fantastic speed. This, I knew, was the full movement, and it had only now been able to break through properly due at last, to the clearing of the enormous fear I had about what was happening to me.

Because such vibrations emerge from the Life process which move us spontaneously – as when we carry on breathing, our heartbeat, a spontaneous movement, even while in deep sleep – it can be seen to not be something the person consciously produces, as in the next example.

 Example: The vibration was not nearly as fast as it was this time. It is like a very rapid tremor involving the whole body, emanating from the base of the trunk. My wife told me that over the last few weeks she has seen me vibrate like this in sleep several times. She saw me because she had to get up to see to the baby.

The next example shows how there is so much that we fail to understand about Life/God in us and how we can communicate with it.

 Example: I experienced being in a landscape and notice that everything is brown; the whole world is brown and lifeless. There is also a feeling of solemnity or dullness. I have enough awareness to wonder why the world of my dream is so brown and dull. As I ask this I become more aware of what feeling the brownness expresses. It is seriousness – with no room for humour or fun. The feeling deepens, real enough and clear enough to look at and understand. I see it is my father’s attitude to life that I have unconsciously inherited. I realise how anxious he always felt about life, and how I took this in. That is how I became a ‘brown’ person. I see too that I do not need to be either brown or serious anymore.

Then the landscape changes. There are trees, plants and animals in brilliant colour. I wonder what this means, and the landscape begins to spin until the colours blend and shimmer. Suddenly my body seems to open to them, as if they are spinning inside of me, and with a most glorious feeling, a sensation of vibrating energy flows up my trunk to my head. With this comes realisation. I see how stupid I have been in my brown, anxious existence, how much life I have held back. The animals and plants are the different forces in my being that blend into energy and awareness. I feel I am capable of doing almost anything, like loving, writing a song, painting, telepathy, or speaking with the dead. This sparkling vibrating energy is life itself and can, if I learn to work with it, grow into any ability or direction I choose. I wake with a wonderful sense of my possibilities. See Self-regulation in dreams and fantasyOpening to Life –  Keyboard ConditionKeyboard Condition

Strangely, even the Pentecostal Movement appears to have repressed or disown the real touch of Life or God.

As can be seen from this photo of a typical Pentecostal meeting, they are not drunk on the power of God, but are all raising their arms acting out what they think Pentecost means, or have been told or are simply doing what everyone else is doing. If you take a moment to see what the great Creative Life does, it is amazingly unique. Everyone is unique with different fingerprints and DNA. God makes every snowflake uniquely different and in its Creativeness it expresses differently in its action upon us. So why does a crowd of people who are supposed opening to Gods action all do the same thing.

Experiences of people who opened to Life in them:

To people coming into opening themselves I would say not to base their expectations on anything you have been told or read about it.  It is very individual.  It is easy to be discouraged if you have been with very noisy people, and your experiences are not noisy.  It would be easy thing to believe, ‘I’m not having the real thing.’ This may be linked with me because it happened when I had given up.  I stopped expecting anything to happen.  After three months of, to me, nothing happening, but my lying there for ninety minutes listening to other people making a noise.  But in the way a lot happened because my feelings and thoughts had changed considerably in those three months.  I had gone through fear, contempt, attempting to cut it down to size, saying it wasn’t a valid experience for those people.  I was very much the outsider for a long time.  Then, when I had given up any hope something happening, it happened to me.

Sounds have played a very big part in my experience of opening. Early on it was mostly about healing old hurts. As I lay on the floor, I felt as if I were falling, falling into immensity, into my Self. I cried out a little. Also, a very bad pain developed in the back of my head, and I cried and held my head. I cried with a high sound like a baby. Gradually this mounted, and the pain went.

I sucked my thumb and wept, jumbled sounds pouring out in the crying. Then the sounds developed into words, and I cried out again and again for my mother – “Mummy – mummy – mummy. I want my mummy.” It went on and on and became even more intense. It was as if a door opened, and I knew not only my own misery, but also the misery, hurt, rejection and loneliness of children all over the world. But gradually it changed. It ended by my gently and lovingly holding myself in my arms and singing my love to God.

Quakers Basic Beliefs

“Inner Light” is a term Quakers use to describe the theological belief that the presence of God resides inside every person. John 1:9 is a verse central to this doctrine:

“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” KJV

“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” NIV

This doctrine was important as Quaker founder, George Fox, argued that Christians didn’t need the Church to know God; they could just look inward. Quaker apologist, Robert Barclay, writes:

“This most certain doctrine being then received, that there is an evangelical and saving Light and grace in all, the universality of the love and mercy of God towards mankind, both in the death of his beloved Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the manifestation of the Light in the heart, is established and confirmed, against all the objections of such as deny it.”

Quakers are encouraged to be attentive to their inner light and then share with others what they believe God revealed to them, particularly in the setting of corporate worship.

Outward Sacraments

Most Quakers don’t practice the outward sacraments of water baptism and communion like many other Christian denominations do. Refusal to participate in outward sacraments is intended to safeguard Quakers from reducing an observance to a purely external act, void of the presence of God. However, some Quakers suggest that Christians experience an inward “baptism” of the Holy Spirit and eating meals with others is a type of “communion.”

Peace testimony

The “Peace Testimony” of Quakers isn’t a theological doctrine, but an application of Jesus’ teaching to love one’s enemies by refusing to engage in physical combat. The Quaker peace testimony takes on different forms, from claiming the status of conscientious objector during times of war to refusing to pay taxes that are used for military purposes. The Quaker community won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947.

Spontaneous worship

Quakers regularly meet together to worship, a time characterized by periods of silence and the lack of a human leader such as a minister or pastor. Traditionally, when Quakers worship together they will wait upon the Holy Spirit to speak through their inner light. Many people may speak at a worship service and their words may include testimonies and words of encouragement.

Shakers Basic Beliefs

Shakers, are a millenarian nontrinitarian restorationist Christian sect founded circa 1747 in England and then organized in the United States in the 1780s. They were initially known as “Shaking Quakers” because of their ecstatic behavior during worship services. Espousing egalitarian ideals, women took on spiritual leadership roles alongside men, including founding leaders such as Jane Wardley, Mother Ann Lee, and Mother Lucy Wright.

The Shakers emigrated from England and settled in Revolutionary colonial America, with an initial settlement at Watervliet, New York (present-day Colonie), in 1774. They practice a celibate and communal lifestyle, pacifism, uniform charismatic worship, and their model of equality of the sexes, which they institutionalized in their society in the 1780s. They are also known for their simple living, architecture, technological innovation, and furniture.

Their beliefs were based upon spiritualism and included the notion that they received messages from the spirit of God which were expressed during religious revivals. They also experienced what they interpreted as messages from God during silent meditations and became known as “Shaking Quakers” because of the ecstatic nature of their worship services. They believed in the renunciation of sinful acts and that the end of the world was near.

Shaker communities were largely self-sufficient: in their attempt to separate themselves from the outside world and to create a heaven-on-earth, members grew their own food, constructed their own buildings, and manufactured their own tools and household furnishings.

The Shker community were very inventive nad here are some of their inventions that are common household intruments now.

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