Current Issue

Fire: Parabola Volume 46, No. 3, Fall 2021

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.

—Jeff Zaleski

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

book review

Batteries Not Included  
Ellen Dooling Reynard / reviewed by Iven Lourie