Quaking/shaking/fits in modern religious services?

Quakers and Shakers, if I remember correctly, were so called because of their tendency (at least in the early part of their history) to go into convulsions during times of worship - quaking or shaking out of fear, reverence, or being touched by the Spirit, et cetera.

This phenomenon occurs today in some Pentacostal services, when a person is considered to be full of the Holy Spirit.

Are there any other religious movements in whose services such acts may or do occur?


My understanding is that some hybridized religions which include imported African beliefs (I’m thinking of Santeria and voudoun) include “fits” as signs of posession by various beings. I don’t practice any of these religions and am no kind of expert, but maybe somebody else is more knowledgeable.

Ah, well I suppose the phenomenon can be described as a sign of posession - by the Holy Spirit in the case of Christian movements.

I have not been to a large ceremony where one is supposed to become possessed (although I did attend a small gathering in honor of a woman being crowned with Yemaya (maferefun Yemaya!) - one person seemed to have become possessed, but possessions were not the point at this gathering so they sat her down until she recovered).

Vodun, Candomble, Palo, Santeria, Ifa, other Afro-genous movements, et cetera, I know have elements of possession.

Any others?


I’m sure there are; the lunatics aren’t considerate enough to stick to one single faith so we’d know who to avoid.

If I sound bitchy, it’s because I really have a severe hatred on for this kind of thing. The church that victimised my friend who suffers from a mild form of Tourette’s (just twitching, no foul language), telling him he was sick, evil, doomed to hell eternal, unclean, and needed to be exorcised, was heavily into this crap as well.

As far as I’m concerned the ‘talking in tongues’ was the least insane thing in that church, however I reckon any church that goes in for that kind of thing has outed itself as either being a cult or at the very least a gathering point for religious crazies.

I have seen no quaking at the Quaker meetings that I have attended.

The origin of the name “Quaker” is obscure.

From wikipedia:

From ReligiousTolerance.org:

Times change, of course, but Quakers seem like a pretty sane lot to me, so I’d tend to go with the “judge” explanation.

When I was younger, maybe about 7 or 8, I was forced to go to church by my father. Mainly to get me and my siblings out of his hair so he could do his drugs in peace…but I digress.

The people at this church were insane, I tell you. Pentecostal, btw. Every day, a group of them would line up at the front, the (father? pastor? preacher?) would rub some funky smelling oil on their foreheads, and they would fall to the floor in convulsions. I thought they were dying, as no one explained to me why they were doing a croppy flop on the floor. Then they would get up after about 5 minutes, and say that God had spoken to them. Well, this wasn’t a good enough answer for me, so I asked a few of them what “He” had said, and boy was that the wrong move. They would get royally PISSED at me for asking that, and tell me it was none of my business. Which led me to the conclusion that they were liars. If a God spoke to me, I’d be happy about it at least! These people freaked the fuck out when I asked them about what happened during their seizures. So my opinion on the whole spastic episode was that it was a load of crap. My 2 cents.

No, Quakers and Shakers don’t go into convulsions today. But they may have in their very early history. Such phenomenon are neither rare nor common.

Does “holy rollers” refer to people who experience such phenomenon?