The “Celestial Maiden” is a symbol that represents an abstract concept that language cannot fully describe to beings in their physical state. Future writers will compose entire volumes about the concept. Thus, my images above in no way suggest a portrayal of a specific celestial maiden or even a concept of a “real” one. I did not intend them to represent or portray a physical messenger of God. They are simply evocative, respectful, and prayerful visual meditations.
Is it hard to imagine that the next or future Manifestation might be a woman? Never before in known religious history has a Manifestation of God referred to himself in feminine symbolism. The abstract concept of Holy Spirit and even divine revelation itself has been characterized from time to time in feminine imagery in Islamic poetry and occasionally in Medieval Christian mysticism. (See footnote 2)
I don’t doubt for an instant that there were women Manifestations in the past. We know that some of the great very ancient civilizations were matriarchal. Aside from powerful Pharaohs like Hatshepsut who we still remember, the wise goddesses like Athena and mother goddesses like Isis, Demeter, and Ceres (possible origins of “Mother Nature”?) are probably archetypal memories of very ancient Manifestations. That also applies to Hindu goddesses whose names I can’t recall at the moment.
Although most languages use mostly male pronouns for Manifestations of God and even for the Creator, gender is only a characteristic of the physical matrix of being. We have no actual idea what comes next except in symbolic terms and in our imaginations. Notably the Persian and Arabic languages do not use specific male or female pronouns nor do they assign gender to nouns as some European languages do. In Persian and Arabic God does not have a gender. Both languages have only lowercase characters. Translators assign uppercase to certain words to fit common conventions in other languages and cultures.
Geological and climate changes have erased the most ancient records but the great feminine symbols endure in our DNA and thus deep in our minds.
“Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman, but a definite feminine image. This image is fundamentally unconscious; a hereditary factor of primordial origin engraved in the living organic system of the man, an imprint or “archetype” of all the ancestral experiences of the female, a deposit, as it were, of all the impressions ever made by woman-in short, an inherited system of psychic adaptation. Even if no women existed, it would still be possible, at any given time, to deduce from this unconscious image exactly how a woman would have to be constituted psychically. The same is true of the woman: she too has her inborn image of man.”
(Carl Jung: Marriage as a Psychological Relationship)
Blessed is the soul which, at the hour of its separation from the body, is sanctified from the vain imaginings of the peoples of the world. Such a soul liveth and moveth in accordance with the Will of its Creator, and entereth the all-highest Paradise. The Maids of Heaven, inmates of the loftiest mansions, will circle around it, and the Prophets of God and His chosen ones will seek its companionship. With them that soul will freely converse, and will recount unto them that which it hath been made to endure in the path of God, the Lord of all worlds. If any man be told that which hath been ordained for such a soul in the worlds of God, the Lord of the throne on high and of earth below, his whole being will instantly blaze out in his great longing to attain that most exalted, that sanctified and resplendent station…. The nature of the soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of men.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 156)Cry out before the gaze of the dwellers of heaven and of earth: I am the Maid of Heaven, the Offspring begotten by the Spirit of Baha. My habitation is the Mansion of His Name, the All-Glorious. Before the Concourse on high I was adorned with the ornament of His names. I was wrapt within the veil of an inviolable security, and lay hidden from the eyes of men. Methinks that I heard a Voice of divine and incomparable sweetness, proceeding from the right hand of the God of Mercy, and lo, the whole Paradise stirred and trembled before Me, in its longing to hear its accents, and gaze on the beauty of Him that uttered them.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 284)
Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious! Thereupon the maids of heaven hastened forth from their chambers, upon whose countenances the eye of no dweller in the highest paradise had ever gazed. Glorified be our Lord, the Most High! They all gathered around her, and lo! they found her body fallen upon the dust; Glorified be our Lord, the Most High! And as they beheld her state and comprehended a word of the tale told by the Youth, they bared their heads, rent their garments asunder, beat upon their faces, forgot their joy, shed tears and smote with their hands upon their cheeks, and this is verily one of the mysterious grievous afflictions – Glorified be our Lord, the Most High!
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablet of the Holy Mariner)
O My servants! Through the might of God and His power, and out of the treasury of His knowledge and wisdom, I have brought forth and revealed unto you the pearls that lay concealed in the depths of His everlasting ocean. I have summoned the Maids of Heaven to emerge from behind the veil of concealment, and have clothed them with these words of Mine — words of consummate power and wisdom. I have, moreover, with the hand of divine power, unsealed the choice wine of My Revelation, and have wafted its holy, its hidden, and musk-laden fragrance upon all created things. Who else but yourselves is to be blamed if ye choose to remain unendowed with so great an outpouring of God’s transcendent and all-encompassing grace, with so bright a revelation of His resplendent mercy?
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 327)
O PEOPLE of the earth! By the righteousness of the One true God, I am the Maid of Heaven begotten by the Spirit of Baha, abiding within the Mansion hewn out of a mass of ruby, tender and vibrant; and in this mighty Paradise naught have I ever witnessed save that which proclaimeth the Remembrance of God by extolling the virtues of this Arabian Youth. Verily there is none other God but your Lord, the All-Merciful. Magnify ye, then, His station, for behold, He is poised in the midmost heart of the All-Highest Paradise as the embodiment of the praise of God in the Tabernacle wherein His glorification is intoned.
(The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 54)
O Temple of Divine Revelation! Sound the trumpet in My Name! O Temple of Divine mysteries! Raise the clarion call of Thy Lord, the Unconditioned, the Unconstrained! O Maid of Heaven! Step forth from the chambers of paradise and announce unto the people of the world: By the righteousness of God! He Who is the Best-Beloved of the worlds — He Who hath ever been the Desire of every perceiving heart, the Object of the adoration of all that are in heaven and on earth, and the Cynosure of the former and the latter generations — is now come!
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 53)
On her be My blessings, and My mercy, and My praise, and My glory. I Myself shall atone for the loss of her son — a son who now dwelleth within the tabernacle of My majesty and glory, and whose face beameth with a light that envelopeth with its radiance the Maids of Heaven in their celestial chambers, and beyond them the inmates of My Paradise, and the denizens of the Cities of Holiness. Were any eye to gaze on his face, he would exclaim: “Lo, this is no other than a noble angel!”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 135)
Say: Step out of Thy holy chamber, O Maid of Heaven, inmate of the Exalted Paradise! Drape thyself in whatever manner pleaseth Thee in the silken Vesture of Immortality, and put on, in the name of the All-Glorious, the broidered Robe of Light. Hear, then, the sweet, the wondrous accent of the Voice that cometh from the Throne of Thy Lord, the Inaccessible, the Most High. Unveil Thy face, and manifest the beauty of the black-eyed Damsel, and suffer not the servants of God to be deprived of the light of Thy shining countenance. Grieve not if Thou hearest the sighs of the dwellers of the earth, or the voice of the lamentation of the denizens of heaven. Leave them to perish on the dust of extinction. Let them be reduced to nothingness, inasmuch as the flame of hatred hath been kindled within their breasts. Intone, then, before the face of the peoples of earth and heaven, and in a most melodious voice, the anthem of praise, for a remembrance of Him Who is the King of the names and attributes of God. Thus have We decreed Thy destiny. Well able are We to achieve Our purpose.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 282)
The mystic and wondrous Bride, hidden ere this beneath the veiling of utterance, hath now, by the grace of God and His divine favor, been made manifest even as the resplendent light shed by the beauty of the Beloved. I bear witness, O friends! that the favor is complete, the argument fulfilled, the proof manifest and the evidence established. Let it now be seen what your endeavors in the path of detachment will reveal. In this wise hath the divine favor been fully vouchsafed unto you and unto them that are in heaven and on earth. All praise to God, the Lord of all Worlds.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words)
Verily, verily the new heaven and the new earth are come. The holy City, new Jerusalem, hath come down from on high in the form of a maid of heaven, veiled, beauteous, and unique, and prepared for reunion with her lovers on earth. The angelic company of the celestial Concourse have joined in a call that hath rung throughout the universe, all loudly and mightily acclaiming: “Hail, O City of God! Abide Thou, and make Thy habitation with the pure, virtuous and holy servants of Thine; for they are Thy people, and Thou art their Lord.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Section, p. 350)
Within this Paradise, and from the heights of its loftiest chambers, the Maids of Heaven have cried out and shouted: “Rejoice, ye dwellers of the realms above, for the fingers of Him Who is the Ancient of Days are ringing, in the name of the All-Glorious, the Most Great Bell, in the midmost heart of the heavens. The hands of bounty have borne round the cup of everlasting life. Approach, and quaff your fill. Drink with healthy relish, O ye that are the very incarnations of longing, ye who are the embodiments of vehement desire!”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 31)
1) If you are a user of the Ocean software package you can search for “Maid of Heaven;” “maidens of beauty;” “Maid of Eternity;” “Divine Maiden;” “Deathless Maid;” “Maid of Glory;” and “Maid of Paradise.” All are references to the Prophets symbolized as feminine.
Upon that misty night
In secrecy, beyond such mortal sight
Without a guide or light
Than that which burned so deeply in my heartThat fire ’twas what led me on
And shone more bright than of the midday sun
To where she waited still
It was a place where no one else could come
Within my pounding heart
Which kept itself entirely for her
She fell into her sleep
Beneath the cedars all my love I gave
— St. John of the Cross, a Medieval Christian cleric and mystic who was writing about his love for Christ in symbolic terms.
3) Further Study
Refer to “A Study Compilation on the Tablet of the Holy Mariner”
“References on the “Maid of Heaven” — the prophet(s).”
“Voice of Tablet: Bahá’u’lláh, the Maid of Heaven, and God speaking through Bahá’u’lláh.”