Wisdom Finds Her Voice

The Proverbist of Hebrew Scripture tells us,

Wisdom shouts in the street;
in the public square she raises her voice.
Above the noisy crowd, she calls out.
At the entrances of the city gates, she has her say…
(Proverbs 1:20-21)

I wonder if Wisdom could learn a thing or two by listening to Paulette Meier voice the words of Wisdom she found in her encounter with the Quakers that she shares in her album, Timeless Quaker Wisdom in Plainsong.

Wisdom may have shouted or even “yelled” on the street corner, but plainsong might help the words take root.

A disclaimer first off – I am not a musician. In point of fact, I have Zero musical skills or ability. And no, I am not going to tell you, “… but I know what I like.”

I will tell you that these songs, sung in plainsong (a kind of chant, if I understand the term correctly), are beautiful as Paulette Meier sings them, have a quality that is rich in sound, rich in the Wisdom distilled from Quaker writings, and in themselves are not only a great introduction to Quaker spirituality, but should make everyone who hears them, dig deeper into the spiritual soil that Quakers have tilled for us.

And listeners can begin their exploration of the Quaker spirit with the liner notes that come with the album.

The liner notes are not only about the music but also about Meier’s background as a folk singer, peace educator, and her journey to Quaker spirituality where she found “inward mystical experience of the Divine Light was grounding and sustenance for the outward work to be done in the world.” As many before her, this balance of the Inward Light with a commitment to the work of peace in the world drew her to the Quaker faith.

Her reflections on her journey do not end there but give us a road map of the support she received from the Quaker community as she found herself moving more deeply into the spirit of Quakerism and becoming acquainted with the depths found in the Quaker writings.

As her reading took her to William Penn and George Fox, she found, “My troubled mind was eased whenever I reviewed a certain quotation of George Fox: ‘Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit. . . .’ I wanted to commit these words to memory, and when I did, a melody came with them. And thus began a practice of turning Quaker passages into chant-like songs.”

And on this album we hear some of what came of that practice, with the first song being,

Be still and cool in Thy own mind and spirit, from thy own thoughts,
and then thou wilt feel the principle of God to turn thy mind to the Lord God,
whereby thou wilt receive God’s strength and power from whence life comes,
whereby thou wilt receive God’s strength, to allay all blusterings, storms, and tempests.

But, don’t just read the words here, go to her web site where you can hear some samples of the songs, https://paulettemeier.bandcamp.com/album/timeless-quaker-wisdom-in-plainsong .

There are 22 songs on the album that Meier sees moving through four themes: (1) ”first is the act of centering deeply into stillness” (2) “second is the experience of the vision, the discovery of the hidden pearl,the Kingdom of God within.” (3) “The third is about spiritual relationship”, and (4) “the fourth describes the internal leadings that call us outward into the world.”

As I read and listen to these songs, I find myself thinking of how they could be used in a number of personal and group settings, even forming the core of retreat. Do I have any “takers” on that.

She draws from many of the Quaker writers, both male and female. Some of the songs speak directly to the Quaker belief that both the Inward Light and giving voice to that Light is not restricted to one gender. All voices are to be heard.

The liner notes include the words to the songs, information as to the sources of the quotes in Quaker writings and transcriptions of the music.

Let me close with one more of the songs drawn from the words of George Fox,

Be patterns, be examples in all countries,
places, islands, nations, wherever you come;
that your carriage and life
may preach among all sorts of people and to them;
then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world,
answering that of God in everyone ;
whereby in them ye may be a blessing
and make the witness of God in them to bless you.

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this album free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.


Wisdom Finds Her Voice — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Does your journaling read like this? | Disciples' Walk

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