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  • Louis Venters

“He Who is the Mother”: Meditations on History and the Essence of God for Ayyám-i-Há

He Who is the Mother, the Soul, the Secret, the Essence...

I just happened upon this striking essay-poem, “Mother's Name Unknown,” and am feeling pleasantly dumbfounded. What clear writing! And what perspicuous truth it conveys!

I don’t know personally the author, Andreana Lufton, but she is a Policy Fellow at the U.S. Bahá’í community’s Office of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., and I put two and two together and realized that I happen to have been on a conference call with her a few days ago. After reading some of her work, I’m extraordinarily pleased to know that such a keen mind and sensitive heart is engaged in important discussions of race, equality, education, and human rights.

Oh, the amazing things might happen if more policy analysts were poets!

I find the meditations here—on the gaping silences in history, the erasure of women and their emancipation, and concepts of the masculine and feminine Divine—particularly appropriate for Ayyám-i-Há, the Intercalary Days in the Bahá’í Faith. These days “that have not been bounded by the limits of the year,” four in ordinary and five in leap years, occur between the last two months of the Bahá’í calendar (this year, Feb. 26-Mar. 1). They bring a calendar of 19 months of 19 days each into alignment with the solar year, and they serve as a festival of charity, gift-giving, and hospitality that precede the month of fasting. They are a potent “time outside of time” when all things can seem fresh and new and unexpected. The very name of the period—the “days of ,” a letter of the Arabic alphabet associated with the number 5 and, in symbolic terms, with the Essence of God—indicates its immense possibilities.

So, happy Ayyám-i-Há, one and all, and happy reading!

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