The world is on fire. Portland, Oregon, in the usually cool American Northwest, reached 116 degrees F. yesterday. The Amazon is burning, smog chokes Beijing and Shanghai, and the polar bears are running out of ice.
“We can feel how something essential has changed, a barrier passed,” writes Sufi master Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee to lead off this issue. And yet: “The fires will come again, the land will burn, but we can keep alive this….knowing passed down through generations, held in the old stories long before we forgot to remember, of how civilizations fall apart, and amidst their ashes green shoots appear.”
Those green shoots are woven throughout these pages. Photographer David Ulrich’s autobiographical essay details a long path to awakening within the crucible of life’s suffering. Journalist Lisa Teasley writes of learning what was found, as well as what was lost, in the conflagration that destroyed her Black Beverly Hills home. Parabola editor Tracy Cochran writes of how the fires of World War II presaged generosity and new awareness as well as destruction. Rev. Daniel Aaron Cohen describes the “fire shut up in the bones” of those who worship at the Black church where he preaches, and author/activist Trebbe Johnson relates how she found new life after the fire cremated her beloved husband.
In addition to these and other inspiring essays, our pages feature four stories with startling perspectives on fire, as well as a marvelous poem by scientist-philosopher Keith Buzzell. There is also a timely reflection on UFOs and a recipe for special chocolate chip cookies that become extra special when baked with loving-kindness.
May this Fall 2021 issue of Parabola warm your heart and ignite your inner growth.
table of contents
Fire Season Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
The planet burns. What lies ahead?
We’re In It Now Tracy Cochran
Shocked into the real world
Mother of God Similar to Fire Mirabai Starr
Reflections on an incandescent icon
Rising from the Fire David Ulrich
A lifetime of art and transformation
Kissed by Fire Trebbe Johnson
Fire Creates. Fire Cooks. Fire Kills. Fire also kisses.
“Fire Shut Up in My Bones” Rev. Daniel Aaron Cohen
The move of the Spirit in Black American churches
The Sunbird Roger Lipsey
A symbol of inner harmony
Firekeepers Ari Honarvar
The heart of Persian poetry
Controlled Burn Michael D. Nichols
Fire’s blessing, fire’s curse
To Light a Fire Keith Badger
What is needed above all is attention
Lost and Found in the Fire Lisa Teasley
The inferno destroyed her home but strengthened her soul
Healing Hands Patty de Llosa
Three modern masters of working with the body
Fighting Fire with Fire Margaret Wolff
She came face to face with the fire demon—and with herself
Baking with Metta Lynda A. Archer
Awakening to chocolate chip cookies
Meeting the Phoenix E. Nesbit
The smoldering start to a classic tale
Agni, Thief of Stars Retold by Nartana Premachandra
Anonymous / Hindu
Kassapa, Fire Worshipper Retold by Paul Carus
Anonymous / Buddhist
The Little Match Girl
Hans Christian Andersen / Fairy Tale
The Fire Keith Buzzell
Fire in the Sky Joe Allen
UFOs and our future
Batteries Not Included
Ellen Dooling Reynard / reviewed by Iven Lourie