I am a British-Iranian artist, musician, astrologer, spiritual practitioner and public mystic. I live to serve god(S) of all disciplines, ideologies and theologies. In any other moment in history, I’d likely have become some kind of ordained priest or devotee. Perhaps one day I will. For now, I make do with becoming myself, bismillah.
I gave my formative years to music and performance art, inspiring audiences and growing communities as a performer, director, singer and host, cutting my teeth at the emergent, radical, political, grassroots end of showbiz. People matter to me. Travelling the world to groove and grow with festivals, activist hubs and peace-making organisations – the diverse human ecology which constitutes today’s wildly nascent (r)evolutions – I continued to study diligently, subjects as diverse as Law, Sustainability, Cybernetics, Persian Literature, Quranic Arabic, Astrology, Grief Tending, Spiritual Ecology and Ancestral Lineage Healing.
I love to study, it soothes my epileptic brain and fills the gaps in my heart that have been gouged out by shoddy politics and pervasive systemic injustice. Knowledge is power, after all: power for my people.
My life was transformed in 2011, when I began to offer my own unique adaptation of the Islamic Call to Prayer – the azan/adhan – in unusual contexts all over the world. You can read more about the Call here.
Around 2016, I found myself wishing that I could have some kind of marker to show my commitment to god(S), something that preceded me and introduced me. Like, if I were a nun I’d be called Sister Zaltash, and you’d all know what I was about, you know? The trouble: so far none of the established religions would have me. So, in 2018, I fashioned something for myself…
The Arabic word “habibi” is used to address Muslim nuns, and can be translated as “beloved”. I like this, because Beloved also points towards the Sufic encounter with the Divine, of Allah as the Beloved One, at once vast and intimate. Whenever I am addressed as Beloved, I enact a silent prayer of dedication to the memory of the Persian poet Rumi and his beloved Shams, the echo of their homo-devotional affair ringing queerly into our time.
So, self-styled as Beloved Sara Zaltash, a non-denominational rabble-rouser and soul-soother for a world in crisis, I have dedicated my life to using my skills as an artist, performer, poet, singer, facilitator, teacher, space-holder, ritualist, diviner, psychic and community organiser to catalyse the Great Turning of our shared Being. Key themes that I orientate around are justice, courage, power, humility, integrity and enquiry. I am inspired by our ancestors, the skies, the rivers, the birds, and all pathways of faith and persistence. I love to sing, dance, write, cook and pray.
Born in Reading, UK (1985) to Iranian parents of Islamic heritage, I attained British Citizenship in 1996. My Roman Catholic primary schooling and comprehensive secondary education were followed by a BA Theatre, Film and Television (Bristol, 2008), a Postgraduate Language Certificate in Persian Language and Literature (Tehran, 2010), an MA Performance, Culture, Context (Leeds, 2012), and half a Graduate Diploma in Law (BPP, 2013). I am a graduate of St Ethelburga’s Spiritual Ecology programme (2018) and Spiritual Directors International New Contemplative’s initiative (2019-21). I have performed professionally as an actor and singer since 2003, and committed my solo practice to Live Art in 2013, and committed by soul to Oneness in 2015. At Pentecost 2023, I received the holy sacrament of baptism as Sally Anne-Marie Hildegard into the Anglican Communion at Bristol Cathedral. I am a lifelong student of theological, esoteric and mystical practices from multiple traditions and teachers.
I am a Fellow of the Schumacher Institute, Associate Fellow of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, Resident of Pervasive Media Studio and Studio Holder at The Jam Jar.
My work has been supported by the British Council and Arts Council England, among others, and written about by the BBC, ITV, the Guardian and the New York Times, among many others.
I ask that you address me as Beloved only when I truly am beloved to you.