'O still small voice of calm' is the final line of a hymn which I first heard about sixty years ago at the funeral of our physics master, a Congregationalist. It begins: 'Dear Lord and Father of mankind/Forgive our foolish ways' and continues with six verses of pleading to 'Break through the earthquake, wind and fire' to show mankind how to lead lives of peace and service.
'The Brewing of Soma' Only days ago I was surprised to learn that W. Garret Horder had used the last six verses of Quaker John Greenleaf Whittier's lengthy poem for his 1884 Congregational hymn. The poem exposes the dangerous futility of anyone trying, by means such as alcohol, drugs, trances, orgies, etc, etc to achieve a 'higher' state of mind in which to hear the still, small voice: www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3620986/Sacred-mysteries.html
What is Soma? I have just spent too long on trying and failing to identify the active ingredient in the ancient plant-based Soma brew as, say, tetrahydro-dintitro-benzyl-something-or-other. Prosaic explanation: they don't seem to know, that's why. But I did find something else interesting.
The prophet Elijah (9th Century BC) Only days ago I was amazed to find that, at a troubled point in his reign when he had developed suicidal ideation, he heard a 'still, small voice' after 'earthquake, wind and fire' and he could then think and plan clearly (I Kings 19, 11-13). The passage has its basis, not in trying to find religion through ecstasy but through reason and morality based on monotheism (www.britannica.com/biography/Elijah-Hebrew-prophet).
'Speak through the earthquake, wind and fire
O still, small voice of calm.'
It's almost two years since I published In Our Fathers' Footsteps (see under BOOKS). My latest book, One Dog and His Cop, about my cousin's police dog,was published 30 November this year (see under BOOKS).