Baha’is abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset for 19 days. While this abstention from food and drink is a test of one’s will and discipline, the Fast is not just about abstaining from food. The Fast is, primarily, a spiritual practice.
The Baha’i Fast falls during the month of Ala–the last month of the Baha’i calendar. During these 19 days, Baha’is abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset. While this abstention from food and drink is a test of one’s will and discipline, the Fast is not just about abstaining from food. The Fast is, primarily, a spiritual practice.
Bre Vader, the creator of Hasten and other marvellous media, has put together a stunning 19-day spiritual journal and a book that can act as companions for the Baha’i Fast. They contain excerpts from the Baha’i Writings and beautiful images. Bre kindly shared with us about these two publications:
Can you tell us a little about the book you’ve created for the Fast?
This book is a measurable way to mark the days as we move through the 19-day period of fasting. I wanted to create something uniquely beautiful that would be a joy to explore each day. The pages were each designed by hand and the images were chosen to enhance the daily writings and prayers.
Can you tell us a little bit about the journal?
Sure! The journal is a resource that I created to be used either during the Fast or really during any 19-day period. It could also be used sporadically. Each page includes a Baha’i Writing accompanied by a beautiful image. I created poignant questions that are designed to be personally reflective of the Writing. For example, ‘Is there something more you could do to create equity and unity in your family, community, or neighborhood’? or ‘what are you doing to build your spiritual capacity’? These are highly personal reflective questions meant to be used during meditation. They can also create opportunities for conversation and consultation with a friend.
What inspired you to create these resources? How are they to be used?
I am most inspired by what others tell me they require in order to serve their families and communities more effectively. I am a very efficient person, so anything that I can offer that helps others to serve with more love and energy, I’m there. I appreciate beauty and design and aim to create materials that are dignified and a pleasure to use.
What did you learn in putting these two books together?
The Fast book took me the longest to pull together of any book I’ve done. I really considered the symmetry and beauty of the pages to create an elegant experience for the reader. I am learning more and more that Baha’is and other spiritually-minded people appreciate this effort to create beauty.
Could you tell us a little bit about Hasten and how they are a part of all the other wonderful resources available?
I created Hasten as a place to share the materials I was designing for friends and for my own community. Initially, it was serving mostly other women, many young mothers who were looking for child-centred resources for children’s classes. There are now many other Baha’is who are doing this beautifully, and my own children have grown into youth. So, Hasten has evolved into a space that is meant to inspire and encourage the varied efforts of community-building all around the world. To enhance children’s classes, there are audio stories read by youth, original colouring pages, and videos. To enhance Feasts and Holy Days, there are programs and selections of Writings, music, videos, and books. I’ve expanded to include some Spanish and French resources over the past year. There is a shop — the proceeds enable me to fund the website and continue this effort. My goal for Hasten is for it to be of service, and as long as it seems to be, I’ll continue adding resources to the space as my time and energy allow.
Thank you, Bre, for sharing this with us!
Visit Hasten to purchase a copy of The Fast or the 19-day spiritual journal: hastenbahais.com
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.