Parabola (magazine)

Last updated
Woman Vol. V, No. 4
Publisher and editorJeff Zaleski
CategoriesReligious and cultural traditions
PublisherSociety for the Study of Myth and Tradition
FounderDorothea M. Dooling
Year founded1976
Based in New York City
ISSN 0362-1596

Parabola, also known as Parabola: The Search for Meaning, is a Manhattan-based quarterly magazine on the subjects of mythology and the world's religious and cultural traditions. Founder and editor Dorothea M. Dooling began publishing in 1976. [1] It is published by The Society for the Study of Myth and Tradition, a not-for-profit organization.


Title etymology

The name of the magazine is explained by the editors as follows:

The parabola represents the epitome of a quest. It is the metaphorical journey to a particular point, and then back home, along a similar path perhaps, but in a different direction, after which the traveler is essentially, irrevocably changed.

Subtitle changes

The magazine's subtitle has changed over the years. In its first years, it was Parabola: Myth and the Quest for Meaning, then Parabola: The Magazine of Myth and Tradition, later Parabola: Myth, Tradition, and the Search for Meaning, Parabola: Myth, Tradition, and the Search for Meaning, Parabola: Where Spiritual Traditions Meet and its current title as of October 2019, Parabola: The Search for Meaning.

Issues and subjects

Each issue focuses on a particular subject, with each article related to the main subject. [2] The subjects of the first five years' issues included creation, relationships, death, magic and hero mythology. [3]

Authors contributing articles to Parabola are listed as contributing editors, and include Joseph Campbell, [4] Ursula K. Le Guin, Mircea Eliade, Jacob Needleman, Thomas Moore, Christmas Humphries, William Irwin Thompson, Isaac Bashevis Singer, David Rosenberg, P. L. Travers, Jane Yolen, Robert Lawlor, Pablo Neruda, Keith Critchlow, Elaine Pagels, James Hillman, Robert Bly, Gary Snyder, David Abram, Howard Schwartz, Italo Calvino, [5] David Rothenberg, [6] John Anthony West, [7] and many others in the fields of Jungian psychology, spirituality, ecology and the aforementioned subjects. The journal also publishes interviews with many of the same figures, as well as reviews of books in these fields. [8]

In addition to the journal, Parabola at one time also produced books, recordings and videos, including And There Was Light, by Jacques Lusseyran; [9] Sons of the Wind: the Sacred Stories of the Lakota; I Become Part of It: the Sacred Dimensions in Native American Life, edited by D. M. Dooling and Paul Jordan-Smith; The Bestiary of Christ by Louis Charbonneau-Lassay and D. M. Dooling; A Way of Working, edited by D. M. Dooling; as well as the extended video The Power of Myth , Bill Moyers's interview with Joseph Campbell.

Related Research Articles

Christian mythology Body of myths associated with Christianity

Christian mythology is the body of myths associated with Christianity. The term encompasses a broad variety of legends and stories, especially those considered sacred narratives. Mythological themes and elements occur throughout Christian literature, including recurring myths such as ascending to a mountain, the axis mundi, myths of combat, descent into the Underworld, accounts of a dying-and-rising god, flood stories, stories about the founding of a tribe or city, and myths about great heroes of the past, paradises, and self-sacrifice.

Holy Grail Cup, dish or stone with miraculous powers, important motif in Arthurian literature

The Holy Grail is a treasure that serves as an important motif in Arthurian literature. Different traditions describe it as a cup, dish or stone with miraculous powers that provide happiness, eternal youth or sustenance in infinite abundance, often in the custody of the Fisher King. The term "holy grail" is often used to denote an elusive object or goal that is sought after for its great significance.

Joseph Campbell American mythologist, writer and lecturer

Joseph John Campbell was an American professor of literature at Sarah Lawrence College who worked in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work covers many aspects of the human experience. Campbell's most well-known work is his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), in which he discusses his theory of the journey of the archetypal hero shared by world mythologies, termed the monomyth.

Mythology is the main component of Religion. It refers to systems of concepts that are of high importance to a certain community, making statements concerning the supernatural or sacred. Religion is the broader term, besides mythological system, it includes ritual. A given mythology is almost always associated with a certain religion such as Greek mythology with Ancient Greek religion. Disconnected from its religious system, a myth may lose its immediate relevance to the community and evolve—away from sacred importance—into a legend or folktale.

<i>The Golden Bough</i> 1890 book by James Frazer

The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by the Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer. The Golden Bough was first published in two volumes in 1890; in three volumes in 1900; and in twelve volumes in the third edition, published 1906–15. It has also been published in several different one-volume abridgments. The work was aimed at a wide literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch's The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855). The influence of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature and thought was substantial.

Hindu mythology Mythology in India

Hindu mythology are narratives found in Hindu texts such as the Vedic literature, epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, the Puranas, the regional literatures like Periya Puranam. Hindu mythology is also found in widely translated popular texts such as the Panchatantra and Hitopadesha, as well as Southeast Asian texts.

In many historical societies, the position of kingship carries a sacral meaning, that is, it is identical with that of a high priest and judge. The concept of theocracy is related, although a sacred king need not necessarily rule through his religious authority; rather, the temporal position has a religious significance.

<i>The Hero with a Thousand Faces</i> 1948 book on comparative mythology by Joseph Campbell

The Hero with a Thousand Faces is a work of comparative mythology by Joseph Campbell, in which the author discusses his theory of the mythological structure of the journey of the archetypal hero found in world myths.

<i>The Power of Myth</i> book and six-part television documentary

The Power of Myth is a book based on the 1988 PBS documentary Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. The documentary was originally broadcast as six one-hour conversations between mythologist Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) and journalist Bill Moyers. It remains one of the most popular series in the history of American public television.

Heros journey Pattern in storytelling

In narratology and comparative mythology, the monomyth, or the hero's journey, is the common template of a broad category of tales and lore that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed.

Wendy Doniger American Indologist

Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty is an American Indologist whose professional career has spanned five decades. A scholar of Sanskrit and Indian textual traditions, her major works include, Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva; Hindu Myths: A Sourcebook; The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology; Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts; and The Rig Veda: An Anthology, 108 Hymns Translated from the Sanskrit. She is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of History of Religions at the University of Chicago, and has taught there since 1978. She served as president of the Association for Asian Studies in 1998.

Heinrich Zimmer German historian

Heinrich Robert Zimmer was a German Indologist and linguist, as well as an historian of South Asian art, most known for his works, Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization and Philosophies of India. He was the most important German scholar in Indian Philology after Max Müller (1823-1900). In 2010, a "Heinrich Zimmer Chair for Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History" was inaugurated at Heidelberg University.

Comparative mythology is the comparison of myths from different cultures in an attempt to identify shared themes and characteristics. Comparative mythology has served a variety of academic purposes. For example, scholars have used the relationships between different myths to trace the development of religions and cultures, to propose common origins for myths from different cultures, and to support various psychological theories.

Miwok mythology

The mythology of the Miwok Native Americans are myths of their world order, their creation stories and 'how things came to be' created. Miwok myths suggest their spiritual and philosophical world view. In several different creation stories collected from Miwokan people, Coyote was seen as their ancestor and creator god, sometimes with the help of other animals, forming the earth and making people out of humble materials like feathers or twigs.

An origin myth is a myth that purports to describe the origin of some feature of the natural or social world. One type of origin myth is the cosmogonic myth, which describes the creation of the world. However, many cultures have stories set after the cosmogonic myth, which describe the origin of natural phenomena and human institutions within a preexisting universe.

The New Monthly Magazine was a British monthly magazine published from 1814 to 1884. It was founded by Henry Colburn and published by him through to 1845.

Greek mythology Body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks

Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures, and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.

BackTrack is a monthly magazine, published by Pendragon Publishing, concentrating on researched articles and photographic features about British and Irish railway history. It is available through newsagents in the UK and by subscription from the publisher, but does not rely on advertising income and therefore does not publish an ABC circulation figure.

Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although often of leaders of some type, are usually contained in legends, as opposed to myths.

Rank–Raglan mythotype

In narratology and comparative mythology, the Rank–Raglan mythotype is a set of narrative patterns proposed by psychoanalyst Otto Rank and later on amateur anthropologist Lord Raglan that lists different cross-cultural traits often found in the accounts of heroes, including mythical heroes.


  1. "Dorothea Dooling, 80, Founder of Magazine". The New York Times. 7 October 1991. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  2. "Topical Index and Table of Contents, 1976-2017" (PDF). Parabola. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2018.
  4. "Elders and Guides: A Conversation with Joseph Campbell". Michael McKnight. Vol. V, No. 1 (1980)
  5. Vol. V, No. 4 (with index of back issue contents)
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-15. Retrieved 2009-04-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "Inaugural Lines: Sacred geometry at St. John the Divine", Vol. VIII, No. 1, Spring 1983
  8. The Doctrine of Awakening: The Attainment of Self-Mastery According to the Earliest Buddhist Texts, by Julius Evola, translated by H. E. Musson. Reviewed by Richard Smoley. Vol. XXIII, No.4 (Nov. 1998) pp.94-96
  9. "And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran; translated by Elizabeth R. Cameron". 1987-07-19. Retrieved 2019-10-16.

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