Along with all communities and organisations throughout Orkney, the UK and indeed the rest of the world, we are finding ways to stay connected with those we have been used to seeing in friendship and fellowship over the years. Today has been designated as “A Day to Pray” by the National Assembly of the the Bahá’ís of the UK and along with other Bahá’í communities and their friends far and near, we have been making a special effort to connect and share prayers and meditations together through online Video meetings, phone calls and other social media. Our online meeting in Orkney this morning brought together friends from within and Orkney and beyond, and we enjoyed sharing prayers and music in four languages – English, German, Italian and Spanish (not to say Orcadian!) Along with prayers, we shared some beautiful and inspiring poetry and music.
We will be continuing to hold our Saturday and Sunday devotional circles online at 11.00am on both days. If you would like to join, to say a prayer or share a poem or mindful text, or just to listen, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org . You will be very welcome!
This year (October 2019 – October 2020) marks the bicentenary of the birth of one of the Founder Figures of the Bahá’í Faith, known to Bahá’ís as the Báb, a title in Arabic meaning “The Gate”. You can learn more about the Báb, His life and His mission here.
Bahá’ís in Orkney are joining Bahá’í communities across the world in celebrating the life of the Báb. They have marked the beginning of the year with prayers on Wideford Hill, where the Bahá’ís own land donated to the Bahá’ís of the UK for the future building of a Bahá’í Temple. We hope to develop this site in the immediate future as a site for prayer and reflection not only for the Bahá’í community but for people of every faith, or indeed of none.
Members of the Orkney Bahá’í Community gathered on Wideford Hill to celebrate the Bicentenary of the Báb
Carrie Varjavandi from Dundee shared her experiences of three and a half years in the city of Xi'an in China where she worked as a teacher in an international school as well as working with various Bahá'í educational groups of all ages.
An artist as well as a teacher, Carrie is particularly fascinated by the surviving traditional crafts and artisanship she dicovered there, and shared some of what she learned of the popular art of paper-cutting with those gathered in Inchvannie in a short hands-on workshop.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
(from The Song of Wandering Aengus, by William Butler Yeats)
Yeat's powerful poem draws on an ancient theme, the theme of how a yearning search for the desire of one's heart can take us through a state of madness towards ultimate fulfilment. Our session last Sunday explored how such deep spiritual promptings have served as an inspiration for poets and artists for centuries. It follows how the theme flows through stories and poems related by ancient sufi poets to modern classic rock songs, painting and animation. The following story of The Nightwatchman, told through stop-motion animation by Sam Goodwin, a contemporary film-maker, rooted a 12th century Persian poem, is a powerful contemporary rendering of a motif linking love, yearning, despair and fulfilment.