Current Issue

Secrets: Parabola Volume 45, No. 4, Winter 2020-2021

“Do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?” sang the Beatles in 1963. Nearly all of us would answer “Yes” to both questions, but as this issue of Parabola reveals, most secrets end up being told, for better or for worse.

And so these pages brim with revelations—about little-known Native American lore, about the hidden life of Isaac Newton, about Macbeth and addiction and poet Robert Lax in Hollywood. There are unveilings about the Freemasons, and the Catholic confessional; about animal tracks and trackers, and the mysteries of the Hebrew alphabet.

Rabbi Eliezer Shore indicates in his essay here on the vision of Ezekiel, such a secret can be taught only “to a student who understands it on his own.” To reach that understanding can sometimes demand severe trials, as Cynthia Bourgeault describes in a riveting narrative about her stormy journey into the “imaginal realm.” Ultimately, understanding the deepest secrets seems to depend upon one’s quality of “being”; readers will find their own tested as, with the guidance of commentator Jean-Yves Leloup, they ponder the words of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas: “These are the words of the Secret…Whoever lives the interpretation of these words will no longer taste death.”

There is lighter fare in this issue, too, including a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, an array of prayers from nurse/Zen teacher Ellen Birx, and the three winning poems of this year’s Poetry of the Sacred Contest. There is even a recipe for a Jewish holiday cookie with a hidden center.

May this issue of Parabola serve you well—and if it does, please don’t keep it a secret.

—Jeff Zaleski

table of contents

These Are the Words of the Secret Jean-Yves Leloup
The Gospel of Thomas revealed

Prospero, Jonah, and “The Greek”: A Winter’s Odyssey Cynthia Bourgeault
A journey into mystery and revelation

The Dark Barbara Wright George
Learning to love winter’s night

The Secret Within the Secret Rabbi Eliezer Shore
Of Ezekiel’s vision and its hidden tradition

Not just a man. A mason. The Editors 
The guarded world of the Freemasons

Isaac Newton: Magician Soraya Field Fiorio 
The secret life of the great scientist

Maintaining the Fire J.M. White
A conversation with Native American and Buddhist teacher Dhyani Ywahoo

Simple Prayers Ellen Birx
A multifaith bounty of devotions

Tracks, Tracking, and the Urge to See Keith Badger
What animal tracks tell us about nature and ourselves

A Poet in Tinseltown Robert Hirschfield
The Hollywood Journal of Robert Lax

I Confess The Editors
Behind the seal of the confessional

A Language with a Vision Gilla Nissan
Secrets of the Hebrew alphabet

Facing the Great Secret Anonymous
Behold the Witches of Macbeth — and of our lives

A Drama of the Visible and Invisible Maurice Nicoll
What you see is not what you get

Hamantaschen Rabbi Hanoch Hecht
How to bake a cookie with a hidden center

Tertium Quid Seraphim Winslow
Into the realm of triad

The Whole World is Filled with Divinity Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
A memorable teaching


Twelve Dancing Princesses The Brothers Grimm / Fairy tale

poetry of the sacred winners 2020

Wintered Over Lisa Breger

A Prayer Jed Myers

Sequoiadendron Giganteum Michele Bombardier


Where Do We Go From Here? Trevor Stewart
A report on the 2020 All and Everything Conference and beyond

book reviews

Golden Hummingbird Garden Levi Marinucci
Reviewed by Molly Rose Strugatz