That’s What It’s All About…

by VorJack

Here in Albany, the most famous of our odd Christian sects were the Shakers. Today the Shakers are most known for their furniture and their celibacy, but in 18th century they were known for their group dances.

The dances became a tourist attraction of a sort. The hall where the Shakers danced actually has benches in the back for observers. I think this says something about the lack of entertainment options in colonial New York.

One of the Shaker dances was called the “hinkumbooby,” more commonly known to everyone who went through kindergarten as the “hokey pokey,” (or the “hokey cokey” and other variants.)

Why would the Shakers be doing such an odd dance? Well, according to one legend, the “hokey pokey” is actually a derisive joke mocking the Catholic Mass, and in particular the Eucharist. The motions mock the “sit-stand-kneel” routine of the Mass itself, while the nonsense word that makes up the title supposedly mocks the magical nonsense of the Eucharist.

Maybe. The BS Historian grants it only a “plausible,” and I’d add “barely” to that. But maybe this knowledge will be useful.

Focus on that notion, that the “hokey pokey” is actually a joke about the magical nonsense of the Eucharist. Now see if that makes the following clip – featuring a church band playing the “Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey” and extolling its miracle working powers – less ridiculous.

I’m guessing probably not.


The Dome Overhead
I Cannot Tell a Lie
The Great Commoner
Martyrs for Science
  • Igor

    The term “hokey-pokey” or “hocus-pocus” is derived from the Latin phrase “Hoc est enim corpus meam”, the words uttered by the priest (in the Latin Mass) to transform the bread & wine into the Eucharist. It means, “For this is my Body”, the words Jesus uttered as he distributed the bread at the Last Supper. It’s the supposed “magic phrase” mocked by non-Catholics over the centuries. This has been lost to time, but that’s the derivation.

    • Michael

      Yeah, given that “hokey pokey” presumably means “hocus pocus,” I think it is reasonable to assume it was used to mock Catholics. Whether or not the Shakers were involved is another story.

  • painandpanic

    Well goodness me. Look at that! I don`t need a doctor! I need the hokey-pokey!

    *rolls eyes*

  • Question-I-thority

    Two thots:

    “Put your phantom left leg in, put your….” So does anyone at all think that the leadership will follow up with a search for long time results with these testimonies? If they find that that last girl wasn’t in fact healed, would they say anything publicly?

    This vid demonstrates well the depth of dependence in pentecostal circles on emotional brain structures.

  • DShell

    This just proves the fact that anyone will believe what they want to believe.

  • Iason Ouabache

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’m so confused.

  • Richard

    So that is what it’s all about.

  • Mark D

    The clerical classes of both the Shakers and the Roman Catholic Church both hate sex. One group just hates it more then the other.

  • Robert Rogers

    The non-sensical belief in something is still much more logical than the belief in nothing….to criticize and ridicule without real understanding is common from any group that is attempting to convince and re-affirm it’s own belief system (which is a religion unto itself). You can go through of the many religious traditions and find fault and create punch lines for all of them…but the real core of religion is the same for both believers and non-believers….we all believe in a common good….we all believe in the basic organization and mysteries of the universe….we all believe that we should treat each other with common respect….we all believe that love, generosity and forgiveness can heal many wounds…it’s all right here in front of us. Just because you don’t agree with the traditions or cerimonies of a catholic mass doesn’t justify throwing out some of the common agreements that we use to create a dialogue. It doesn’t have to be “all right” or “all wrong”…..the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Take a moment to understand instead of the trying to convince the world that we should be worshiping your intellect….no thanks…I’ll stick with the hokey pokey.

    • Janet Greene

      I agree that none of us have a full grasp of Truth (capital T) and that often truth lies somewhere in the middle. But please don’t compare religion with lack of religion. They are not comparable. Rationalists go with the evidence. As that changes, so do our opinions. We are flexible, we back up our opinions with facts, and never claim to have the larger truth. We only claim those who say they KNOW for a fact what the truth is, and are dogmatic about it (ie the ONLY way to heaven is through jesus – otherwise you will burn in hell). And as for common respect, well, my experience has been that respect flies out the window when religious people are trying to prostheletize. And my experience is quite intensive – my father was a pastor, and we were “missionaries” for a few years. I was also an active christian, trying to witness to my friends and save their souls. When I think back to my ignorance back then, I CRINGE.

      And as your comment about the non-sensical belief in something being more logical than the belief in nothing…I have no idea where that comes from, or even what it means. I do not believe in nonsense, unlikely and unprovable fairy tales. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. But I do believe that we create meaning in life; that there is something intrinsically good about love, kindness & generosity (because it seems to spread good feeling, joy, positive energy, etc.). I believe that when you give love, you generally get it back. That when you approach something with a positive attitude, usually something positive comes out of the situation. I value life as precious (what are the odds that we are even HERE???? – Astronomical…), and know that there is a kinship among all living things on this planet.

      So if you are insinuating that atheists believe in nothing, you have not spent much time with us. But no matter what you think, the belief in nonsense is, well, nonsense.

  • knifehammer

    I have no sympathy for these idiots. So many wasted hours… so much wasted effort. The main bummer is that these hokey poke-tards vote

  • Robert Rogers

    What a great rebutal Mr. Knifehammer….I’m going to guess that you’re about 19 years old and spend a lot of time watching Family Guy. I find it ironic that you chose to respond so unreasonably on a blog that has the phrase “reasonable thoughts on religion, science and skeptisism”….we’ll see if the policy below holds true when it states “no name calling” and “failure to follow the comment policy will result in a ban”….btw…..shake it all about.

    • yahweh

      I spend a great deal of time watching Family Guy and I am much older than 19.

    • Janet Greene

      OK, I gotta defend Family Guy watchers…I am an educated, professional woman who, I’ll admit it, watches & thoroughly enjoys Family Guy. And South Park. Sometimes – even Robot Chicken & Aqua Teen!!!! And although I recognize that this is supposed to be a respectful exchange of views, sometimes you just gotta call a poke-tard a poke-tard….

  • claidheamh mor

    *whew* good thing it’s been a while since breakfast. I couldn’t get all the way through it.