The Badí‘ (Bahá’í) Calendar: Reshaping Our Material, Social, and Spiritual Reality
Faculty: William Collins, Nicola Daniels, Mark Lutness
This is a story of patience, which, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says, is an immutable spiritual truth. In 2015, Linda Gillette, a Bahá’í from Hendersonville, North Carolina, USA, took the Wilmette Institute’s new course The Badí‘ (Bahá’í) Calendar: Reshaping Our Material, Social, and Spiritual Reality. Like all Wilmette Institute courses, this one encouraged learners to set goals for their work and to consider including among their goals a presentation, a devotional, an artistic project, a research paper, or something else of their choosing. Linda chose an artistic project. Her journey, which she tells in her own words, is truly a journey of patience:
I took the course on the Badí‘ calendar at the Wilmette Institute in November 2015. It was a wonderful course, and I was intrigued to learn about the history of religious calendars, which made the new Badí‘ calendar all the more significant.
You challenged us at the end of the course to try to do something artistic. I am a quilter and decided I would make a wall hanging. I struggled with several design possibilities and eventually came up with one that uses interlocking hexagons. It’s the only pattern I’ve ever found that can accommodate nineteen elements in a symmetrical design. At every stage of the process there was much confusion and hesitation. So it took four years to come up with the finished product.
I settled on the approach to the nineteen months from the four divine realms with their associated colors as outlined by Robin Mihrshahi in “A Wondrous New Day: The Numerology of Creation and ‘All Things’ in the Badí‘ Calendar,” 2013.
The colors represent the four elements of the earth created by God and the spiritual connections:
- First three months, red/orange for fire, and the spiritual realm of creation and glorification
- The next four months, yellow for air and the realm of eternity and spirit
- The next six months, blue for water, the realm of unification and affirmation
- The last six months, green for earth and the realm of magnification and life given to those who die from all else save God
I was unable to fit in the nineteen days for each month and still have yet to place the Holy Days in each month, probably just by a star within the outside circle of months.
After Linda sent the Wilmette Institute the story of her journey, she finally settled (in 2019) on pearl heart buttons for the Twin Birthdays of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb, pinning them on the wall hanging so that she can move them each year. For the other holy days, she has chosen pearl buttons.
In May of this year, Linda entered her wall hanging in the Garden of Quilts show in Flat Rock, North Carolina, an event sponsored by the Western North Carolina Quilt Guild. From the judge, Susan Edmonson, from Concord, North Carolina, it received an honorable mention.
After the Garden of Quilts show, Linda said that she knew that her description of the quilt was too brief to spark an interest in the Bahá’í Faith in those who viewed her quilt. Her new goal is designing other quilts that will teach the Faith more directly.