June 18, 2023 will mark 40 years since 10 Baha’i women were hanged in Shiraz. Their only ‘crime’ was their refusal to renounce their beliefs in a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truthfulness. This collection highlights Baha’i Blog content relating to the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in Iran.
It’s great to see the development of so many wonderful Baha’i-inspired media initiatives around the world, and with podcasts becoming more and more popular globally, it’s no wonder that the creation of Baha’i-inspired podcasts, like our very own Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson, are becoming more prevalent in the online space.
I was excited, therefore, to learn about a new podcast series called ‘The Soul Salons‘, created by Zarrin Caldwell, which aims to explore our spiritual world and the world of the divine, through the works and teachings of prophets, poets, mystics, and philosophers throughout the ages. Whether it’s taking a deep dive into the works of several known – and unknown – English poets, or exploring some of the teachings of Confucius, each episode is designed to reveal insights that can be applied to our own daily lives.
I caught up with Zarrin to find out more about ‘The Soul Salons’ and here’s what she had to say about her new podcast series:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Zarrin, can you tell us a little bit about ‘The Soul Salons’ podcast?
The aim of the podcast series is to look at the work of prophets, poets, mystics, and philosophers throughout the ages whose teachings have focused on our divine, or spiritual, reality. ‘The Soul Salons’ are purposefully kept short – about 12 minutes each – so that they are easy to listen to and to reflect on.
Baha’i Blog: So what was the main idea behind the podcast, and why did you decide to do it?
I had two reasons. Firstly, I believe that we are both material and spiritual beings, but, in today’s world, it feels like we are giving shorter shrift to the second half of that equation. I think that has had detrimental consequences for both individuals and societies because we are more than just robotic machines with shopping addictions. So, I’d like to play whatever small part I can to restore that balance. Secondly, I’m just really interested in learning more about the spiritual guides whom I will feature. And, doing this podcast is more fun, more creative – and less expensive – then going back to school!
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was raised in a Baha’i family, but I enjoy learning about diverse faith and mystical traditions. Professionally, I’ve mostly worked for international non-profit organizations, but that included a stint at an interfaith organization at one point in my career. I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to travel and live abroad so I’ve been exposed to many different cultures, people, religions, and ideas.
Baha’i Blog: What do you hope listeners will take away from the episodes?
I think we all acknowledge that religious differences have been one cause of wars, but that’s not the whole story. Humanity has a rich spiritual heritage that has grounded and centered civilizations before us, and also brought peace, cooperation, and personal transformation. I hope listeners will come away with a greater appreciation for these contributions. And, the spiritual guides whom I will feature have some very practical wisdoms to offer that I think are applicable to our own times and lives. If each episode teaches you something new and/or gives you one thing to reflect on and put in to practice, that’s great!
Baha’i Blog: How do you decide on where to pull your insights from?
I’ve had no particular method so far, but, as I review in Episode 1, I’m drawing up my initial list from a book called ‘The Spiritual Heritage of the Human Race‘. It’s kind of serendipitous how new names/guides/thought leaders will cross my path in any given week or two. I’ve been interested in these topics for awhile so I have a stack of books, and the internet is an endless resource. A lot of the classics and sacred texts are on the internet in full, and in the public domain. For now, I’m focusing on more ancient traditions because – in my view at least – modern philosophy seems to go out of its way to deny a divine influence or story, and that’s not what this podcast is about.
Baha’i Blog: What was the idea behind the name, ‘The Soul Salons’?
There is an established interfaith devotional program run by Baha’i communities in Australia called ‘Soul Food‘ and I developed a similar, but much smaller, program in my home at one time called the Soul Salons. I preferred the sound and flow of this title. And, during the Enlightenment, a salon was a place that people came together to share ideas so it seemed appropriate. The longer title for the series is: ‘The Soul Salons: Exploring our Spiritual Heritage.’
Baha’i Blog: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
The podcast is pretty basic for now, but, if you like it, please share the link with your networks. It may go out on a couple of local, community radio stations in addition to Baha’i Blog. If it grows and picks up interest, I’ll add some ‘new and improved’ features over time. Enjoy!
Baha’i Blog: That’s wonderful! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview Zarrin, and congratulations on this wonderful initiative!
You can listen to The Soul Salons podcast using the following links:
Naysan is passionate about using the arts and media to explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Back in 2011, Naysan started up the Baha’i Blog project, channeling his experiences in both media and technology companies to help create a hub for Baha’i-inspired content online.
Again and again I like to read Confucius as well as the Gospels of Buddha, Koran, Bhagavad-Gita, Torah etc. They all lie on my bedside table! As much as I like to do research, it’s only a very sure truth. How long the world may exist, and how much we know – was the way to God, is and always will be the same –
Margrit Rita Hurni (August 8, 2019 at 6:14 PM)
I’m just beginning to listen to these, but am enjoying them and have already shared them with others. I love the name, too. We titled our devotional “spiritual salons” for a while, but I love the simplicity of “souls salons”. Thanks!
Ley (August 8, 2019 at 6:38 AM)
I have known Zarrin (Taji) Caldwell since she was six years old, and have always known she is special. It is a joy to listen to her well researched and beautifully presented podcasts on the Soul Salons: Exploring Our Spiritual Heritage! Thank you, Zarrin! with love, Eileen
Eileen Littrell (February 2, 2020 at 5:09 AM)