Symbolism and Metaphor in the Writings of Shoghi Effendi

By Faris Badii

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #128
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, MI
October 9–12, 2014
(see list of papers from #128)

    A unique characteristic of the work of the Guardian is His use of symbolism. An examination of His writings, plans and directives reveals continual use of metaphor in almost all of His major and minor works. Questions such as why eight pronged stars, instead of nine pointed ones, were utilized in the landscape of the Bahá'í holy gardens? What precise significances are embedded in various aspects of the design of the superstructure of the shrine of the Bab or the International Archives building? Why did He pen some of His writings the way He did? What was the motivation behind the dates of completion of some of His announcements and letters? Why did He place the photographs He did in certain places for the pilgrims to see. This brief presentation is an inadequate attempt at bringing into focus the uniqueness of the use of symbolism in His differentiating style.

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