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My Thoughts on References to Wine and Intoxication in the Baha’i Writings

In this article I aim to explore a question which may have occurred to many when reading the Baha’i Writings: why are the terms “wine” and “intoxication” used if drinking alcohol is strictly forbidden to Baha’is? (If you’d like to read more about this topic, this Baha’i Blog article offers a medical perspective on why Baha’is don’t drink alcohol and this article discusses the social implications of this law.)

My question has actually been clearly and concisely answered in a letter of the Guardian written in 1926:

The wine mentioned in the Tablets has undoubtedly a spiritual meaning for in the book of Aqdas we are definitely forbidden to take not only wine, but every thing that deranges the mind. In poetry as a whole wine is taken to have a different connotation than the ordinary intoxicating liquid. We see it thus used by the Persian Poets such as Sa’di and Umar Khayam and Hafiz to mean that element which nears man to his divine beloved, which makes him forget his material self so as better to seek his spiritual desires. It is very necessary to tell the children what this wine means so that they may not confuse it with the ordinary wine.

Inspired by this quotation, I think an exploration of this answer can be a fruitful exercise. To do this I will attempt to provide some historical context to the terms as used in the Writings (although it must be noted I lack the academic background to provide more than the cursory explanation of a layman), and to look at the symbolic meanings of the terms via some quotations from the Writings themselves. Continue reading

Scale of Significance: How Significant Are You? – Erik Friedenberg (Justice Conference 2019)

In this talk titled ‘Scale of Significance: How Significant Are You?’ given by Eric Friedenberg at the Justice Conference 2019, Erik engages the audience in a meaningful conversation about the intrinsic values one has from an inner knowledge. If you live and work by these values, you will make decisions that are based on love and unity and therefore add meaning to you or your company’s environment and achieve significance. Erik talks about his dream, and facilitates the sharing of ideas about working from a place of unity and what it means for a company. He argues that if being driven by significance becomes the standard in companies and the financial world, then this will result in a total change in behavior everywhere. Continue reading

Scale of Significance: How Significant Are You? – Erik Friedenberg (Justice Conference 2019) [Audio Track]

In this audio version of a talk titled ‘Scale of Significance: How Significant Are You?’ given by Eric Friedenberg at the Justice Conference 2019, Erik engages the audience in a meaningful conversation about the intrinsic values one has from an inner knowledge. If you live and work by these values, you will make decisions that are based on love and unity and therefore add meaning to you or your company’s environment and achieve significance. Erik talks about his dream, and facilitates the sharing of ideas about working from a place of unity and what it means for a company. He argues that if being driven by significance becomes the standard in companies and the financial world, then this will result in a total change in behavior everywhere. Continue reading

Worlds Within: An Album by Danny Stevenson

Danny Stevenson is a friend I met years ago in Namibia, and some of you may recognize him from his Baha’i Blog Studio Session recorded in the UK called “Crimson Ink”. It’s always great to hear when someone who’s participated in our Studio Sessions series goes on to record their first album, so I was excited when I heard that Danny has released Worlds Within, a devotional album inspired by the Baha’i Writings.

I wanted to find out more about the album and the inspiration behind it, so here’s what Danny shared with me: Continue reading

“O Son of Spirit” by Michael and Laura [Audio Track]

Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions is an initiative where we invite Baha’is and their friends from around the world to come into a studio and share the Baha’i Writings put to music.

In this Baha’i Blog Studio Session, we’re in Toronto, Canada with Michael Ferguson and Laura Friedmann who sing “O Son of Spirit” from the Writings of Baha’u’llah Continue reading

A is for Allah-u-Abha: A Children’s Alphabet Book by Andrea Hope

Andrea Hope is no stranger to the Baha’i Blog team! In the past, we interviewed her about her spoken word (you can read all about it here). Now she has taken her skills with words to create a book for young children called A is for Allah-u-Abha. Illustrated by Winda Mulyasari, this bright and bold book will help little ones learn spiritual qualities, Baha’i concepts and history such as equality, the Fast, and the station of Abdu’l-Baha as our exemplar.

Andrea lovingly shared how her picture book of poetry came together, the process involved, and what she’s working on now. Here’s our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I publish under the name Andrea Hope, which is my first and middle name. “Hope” comes from my great-grandmother, Virginia Hope Jones, who was the first Baha’i in our family and my spiritual guide. Growing up, I was always quite empathetic toward the plight of humanity. At age 11, I found my first solace in writing poetry with lines like, “If the world were full of blind men what a beautiful sight it would be … we’d be forced to feel, not see.” I remember wondering as a junior youth, “Why would God put me on this earth if there was nothing I could do about suffering?” The Baha’i Faith both relieved and empowered me. I have been working for some time to combine my passion for the arts and children’s education with the needs of the Faith. This has included developing children’s programs for holy days, organizing a theatre performance of the children’s book Rooth Sees a Trooth, creating Baha’i Holy Day memory cards, writing a poetry activity book called I Am & I Can, and now, publishing the picture book A is for Allah-u-Abha. Continue reading

June Perkins Interview from the Ink of Light Baha’i Writers’ Festival

This interview from the 2019 Ink of Light Baha’i Writers’ Festival features author, poet and blogger June Perkins.

Ink of Light is an annual festival that explores and celebrates the work of Baha’i writers and creatives, who all come together to share ideas, learn from one another, and celebrate creative expression.

Dr. June Perkins is a Brisbane-based poet, blogger and children’s author, of Indigenous Papua New Guinean and Australian background, raised in Tasmania by Baha’i parents. She utilizes multi-arts and multicultural stories to inspire an enriched sense of belonging and compassion in those who encounter her work. She recently shared Magic Fish Dreaming at the Asia Pacific Triennial Pacific, Summer Program 2019 APT9 and became a member of Mana Pasifika research Institute. She maintains an interest and dedication to promoting diversity in the Australian, Pasifika and Baha’i literary landscapes. Continue reading

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