Festival of Ridvan

  • Ridvan celebrates Baha’u’llah’s time in 1863 in the garden of Ridvan in Baghdad when He publicly declared His station as a Manifestation of God. The Ridvan Festival is 12 days long and is also the time of year when Baha’is elect their governing bodies.
Find Communities in Australia

Join activities, celebrations, study groups, spiritual empowerment and education programs for young people, and more.

Learn about the Baha’i Faith

Baha’i beliefs address essential spiritual themes for humanity’s collective and individual advancement. Learn more about these and more.


Monthly Reflection: Mashiyyat (Will) BE 179 – On Womanhood, Time and Nature

September 27, 2022, in Articles > Baha'i Life, by

The following is our monthly newsletter. You can get a copy sent directly to your inbox by signing up on our homepage!

Hi friends!

I just got back from a five day Indigenous retreat near Canada’s Rocky mountains. I listened to knowledge keepers speak about plants, known as the Standing People, which give us all the nourishment and medicine we need; I learned about animals and forged a relationship with a gentle horse (a species I was previously heart-thumpingly terrified of); I studied the stars and I took off my wool socks to walk in the forest and commune with the earth, known by many as “that which sustains us”.

We talked about the seasons and, remembering that seasons differ from place to place and from people to people, I asked if the Ojibway, Cree and Mohawk marked time with the four seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter. Tracey, my teacher, chuckled softly and shook her head. She explained that seasons are not heralded by dates on a calendar. Seasons are a lived experience: each is delineated and indicated by what the earth, the sky, the plants, and the animals are telling us. You know it’s spring when you’re a part of spring.

I was disappointed. I despaired that no matter how immersive the retreat was, I would never be able to understand this way of living, that I would never be able to unshackle myself from the Gregorian calendar and the 24 hour clock and understand time as it is lived with the earth.

And then, from deep in my gut, I remembered.

I remembered that I know intimately what it means to live a calendar. Ever since I was a junior youth, my time on this planet has followed the rhythm of a 28 day cycle in which there are seasons of rest and slowness, and times of renewal and energy. For the majority of my life I have been a living breathing calendar.

Over the course of the retreat, I not only strengthened my connection with the earth, I also fortified my relationship with my body as part of creation. It is oddly synchronous that at this time Baha’i Blog celebrated Women’s Health Week. Among other things, we explored normalizing menstruation and period poverty. We highlighted how the powers of the feminine are gaining ascendency. Several Australian women shared what they do for their health on our TikTok channel. And I wrote a somewhat embarrassingly personal piece about what I’ve learned about encouragement from at-home workout videos.

In light of my recent experience, there are some nature related resources on Baha’i Blog that I’ve been rediscovering, such as how wind is a metaphor for the Will of God (which is very apropos for the month we are entering!), Abdu’l-Baha’s connection to the natural world, and how Baha’i Holy Days can create a schedule for working on a garden.

The retreat also made me ponder on the Baha’i (or Badi) calendar and how Baha’is and their friends all over the world are charting history as we living it. In the last week, we shared an incredible talk by Paul Lample about the launch of the Nine Year Plan, what we have achieved, and where we are going. I highly recommend listening to it.

These are a few of my musings as we enter the month of Mashiyyat.

Thanks for joining me and we’ll see you in nineteen days!



Posted by

Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.
Sonjel Vreeland

Discussion No Comments

Leave a Reply


"*" indicates required fields

Receive our regular newsletter

Join activities, celebrations, study groups, spiritual empowerment and education programs for young people, and more.

Find Communities in Australia

or Internationally

Horizons is an online magazine of news, stories and reflections from around individuals, communities
and Baha’i institutions around Australia

Visit Horizons

Baha’i beliefs address essential spiritual themes for humanity’s collective and individual advancement. Learn more about these and more.

What Baha’is Believe

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia.

We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their cultures; and to elders both past and present.

Baha’i Blog is a non-profit independent initiative

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent authoritative views of the Baha’i Faith.