Parabola Podcast Episode 41: Androgyny

“At the very outset of the journey inwards, there is a crossroads. Signs point in both directions, and I am pulled both ways. I find that I am double. I want something and at the same time I don’t want it; I love and hate the same person. I am light and dark; I aspire to the heights and love my comfort. What is the meaning of this built-in contradiction, and what can my meaning be in the face of it?

The inherent duality of being has been expressed perhaps since time began by the symbol of the Androgyne: the two-in-one, the perfect being which accepts, includes and reconciles its opposites. In this issue, PARABOLA tries to come closer to the significance of this idea of the reconciliation of duality, from many different points of view . . . “

D.M. Dooling, from the issue’s Focus


Story Editor Betsy Cornwell shares excerpts from the Winter 1978 issue of Parabola, “Androgyny,” including an exploration of female self-sufficiency in the Gnostic Gospels and PL Travers’ beautiful rumination on the zodiac in “Letter to a Learned Astrologer.”

Music: “Dreaming: Op 15 No 3” composed by Amy Beach.






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By Betsy Cornwell

Betsy Cornwell is Parabola’s story editor and digital editor. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Mechanica and other novels and teaches at the National University of Ireland. Find more of her work at