From the early 1990s until about 2000, I was seriously involved in the study of Zoroastrianism, the ancient and still-living religion of Persia. I attended many religious services, study meetings, lectures, and social gatherings all around the country, meeting Zoroastrians from both Iran and India. Zoroastrians in India are known as "Parsis." In 1993 I started writing articles about the religion for the non-Zoroastrian world.
GNOSIS magazine was a wonderful periodical devoted to mostly Western esoteric traditions. It ran from 1985 to 1999. I wrote a number of articles and book reviews for this magazine. One of the ones I wrote, for which I drew this illustration, was called "The Light of the Sacred Fire," and it was about Zoroastrianism and its influence on later religions such as Judaism and Christianity. (It has also had a lesser influence on Islam and Buddhism.) The article was published in June 1994.
I am still a student of Zoroastrianism and I still have some contacts with the community, but I'm not active as a scholar and writer any more. The Z. community now has plenty of resources of its own to educate the public, and I needed to go on and do other studies. I'm still much indebted both artistically and spiritually to this venerable faith.
"Light of the Sacred Fire" shows an Indian Parsi urn with the sacred fire burning on a dish placed on top of it. The fruits, nuts, and flowers on the table are typical of a Zoroastrian festive table. The winged disc man emblem on the wall, which was once the insignia of the Persian King, is now the symbol of the Zoroastrian faith.
Illustration is 9" x 6", ink on illustration board, November 1993.