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I’m Holding You in God’s Chocolate: A Zine about Quaker Spiritual Support

Lewis Steller created this zine to explore the ways that the traditional Quaker understanding of “Holding in the Light,” a spiritual practice related to intercessory prayer, can be expanded to allow a broader range of understandings of how the Divine or Spirit can support us. This expansion can help reduce unnecessary pain that centuries of contrasting “good” light with “bad” dark can bring upon people who are racialized targets of white supremacy culture.

“I’m Holding You in God’s Chocolate”

For accessibility, here is the text of the zine with some visual descriptions:

PAGE 1 (cover)

I’m Holding you in God’s Chocolate

A Zine about Quaker Spiritual Support


In the Society of Friends, also known as Quakerism, it is common to tell someone that you are “holding them in the Light.”  This is an open-ended term for prayer or spiritual support at a distance – a way to let others know that you are holding them in your heart.

But what does “holding someone in the Light” really mean?  The “inner Light” is one term for that of the divine in each person, but framing God as “light” and evil or despair as “darkness” has ugly connotations.  At Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting in fall of 2018, Ellany Kayce encouraged us to move away from metaphors that pit “light” against “dark,” since this has broader connotations about people with lighter skin being good and darker skin being evil.  This zine opens a space to think about other ways to describe divine love and clarity and the ways we care for each other.


This zine is for anyone interested in learning more about the diverse ways we support one another at a distance, whether you are a seasoned Friend or new to Quakerism, an enthusiastic prayer partner or someone curious about how to begin.  It might be a way to start a conversation among f/Friends about our personal prayer practices, or thinking through other ways of decolonizing our shared language whose history stretches across centuries.  My hope is that by exploring the ways we nurture each other, we can find innovative, clear, and liberatory descriptions of the beauty and power of our prayer.

Much gratitude to all the Friends who shared their thoughts & practices for this collection.  Quakers believe that Spirit speaks through all of us; each new voice adds to the larger whole.  Individuals are not named, but all contributions were gathered from different Friends from various theological traditions in the fall of 2018.

-Lewis Maday-Travis

University Friends Meeting, Seattle, WA


[image description: a person in Meeting imagines a Friend bathing in warm, molten chocolate.]

In 2012, I heard a Friend give a message in Meeting for Worship about her personal practice of holding someone in the Light.  She said each time she prayed for someone, she imagined them swimming in warm, molten chocolate.

[image description: a person with short hair and earrings is lounging in a warm fuzzy blanket.]

I thought for myself… what do I imagine when I am holding a person in prayer?  I decided I’d like to imagine them in the softest, glitteriest blanket, all safe and warm in my heart.

[image description: a white man writes on a clipboard while a Friend imagines a candle’s flame.]

I asked a number of Friends what they do or visualize when they are holding someone in the Light.  This zine shares some of their ideas.


[Image description: a floating figure is wrapped in a fire-like ribbon of energy.]

I wrap them up in energy.  Like a fire.

[Image description: a person sits in a wheelchair, eyes closed, hands open to the sky.]

I sit and hold my hands in my lap and just try to be open.  I send them love.

[Image description: a cat sleeps stretched out while sparkles shower down around it.]

I have a lot of cats, and I imagine my friend basking in the sun like a cat.  Sometimes there are sparkles showering down.


[Image description: a WOW emoji.]

Light can be gentle and healing, or it can be fierce, like lightning. Sometimes you’re sunbathing and sometimes you get burned.  It’s kind of like the WOW emoji on facebook – you can’t always tell what kind of clarity you’re going to get.

[Image description: a lightbulb shines on a person in a basketball jersey and shorts.]

I tend to be pretty literal.  I imagine them bathed in light.

[Image description: A person in a dress is wearing a big bow.]

One time, at Christmas, a person in my Meeting said she was wrapping up each person in a big red bow!

[Image description: A person sits in a rocking chair and sews something on their lap.  A bald person in an apron kneads bread.  A wrapped gift box with a bow.]

When I’m making something, like a hand-sewn potholder or a loaf of bread, I imagine the person I am praying for with each stitch or each time I knead my dough.  If they’re nearby, I will share what I made with them – a prayer made manifest as a gift.


[Image description: The name Jesse is written in a circle.  Doodles surround the name of ribbons, swirls, a violin, birds, and a canoe on a calm lake.]

I do a prayer doodle – I will write the person’s name on paper and settle into a worshipful silence.  Whatever comes to me I will doodle around their name – colors, designs, patterns all representing the energy I am sending to them in that moment.

[Image description: Two people are hugging.  One says “I’ll be thinking about you.” The other replies, “Thank you so much.”]

Most of the time, just telling someone that I will hold them in my prayers is the extent of my work.  I think it is enough for them to know they are in my thoughts and in my heart.


[Image description: a lantern on a crook and two holding hands.]

From a message in Meeting for Worship at Pacific Northwest Quarterly Meeting, fall 2018:

I’ve heard a quote that says And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” 

-Minnie Louise Haskins, 1939

So maybe, instead, we should say “I will dwell beside you in the divine darkness.”  That would be more truthful and more powerful, as we never have clarity on what is coming next.

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