Table of Contents
Also on this website:
Toby Johnson's books:
GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe
THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evilTWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Articles and Excerpts:
Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"
You're Not A Wave
What is Enlightenment?
What is reincarnation?
How many lifetimes in an ego?
Emptiness & Religious Ideas
Experiencing experiencing experiencing
Going into the Light
Meditations for a Funeral
The way to get to heaven
Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal
The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika
Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva
John Boswell was Immanuel Kant
The Two Loves
Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook
Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer
The Way Out by Christopher L Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson
Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry
Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr
Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois
Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson
Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low
Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman
The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman
Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor
Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine
The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada
The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook
The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther
The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel
Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak
Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez
Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr
Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman
Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano
The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo
The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar
Occam’s Razor by David Duncan
Grace and Demion by Mel White
Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso
The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery
The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass
The gay-affirming books and magical novels of Toby Johnson
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*Peter Grahame's book Contemplations of the Heart: A Book of Male Spirit, Photography, Digital Imagining and Text,
can be previewed at www.ironic-horse.com. Peter and his life partner, Henry Seale, own and operate Ironic Horse Studio in Albuquerque, NM.
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The Spiritual/philosophical Autobiography
Toby Johnson's spiritual/philosophical autobiography, Finding Your Own True Myth—The Myth of the Great Secret III, is both a loving memorial to Joseph Campbell and an original extension of his work. Johnson, later a psychotherapist, religions scholar, novelist, and gay spirituality writer, offers insight into the vital role that myth—and insight into myth—play in the modern world and inspiration for anyone seeking coherence and meaning. A wealth of personal anecdotes and teaching stories are woven throughout the text to provide practical applications for these lessons and concrete examples of their power to change lives.
From Joseph Campbell, the renowned comparative religions and mythology scholar, Toby Johnson derived his central insight that there is a “new myth” arising in human consciousness. This is the understanding of the nature of myth itself, a “meta-myth,” the “myth of myth,” according to which our lives are always giving us clues to the secret of our true and deepest nature, and our salvation comes from following our own unique clues.
One of the clues that many cultures share is the tradition of the “wise old man,” the elder who serves as guide, teacher, and companion, helping others on the path to enlightenment. When Toby Johnson, a young Catholic seminarian, left the monastery on his own unconventional spiritual journey, he had the good fortune to find such a teacher in the person of Joseph Campbell. Johnson says in the introduction: Joe demonstrated how to gently leave behind the na´ve religiousness of youth and find wonder, meaning, and bliss in a new post-mythic, but re-mythologized, spiritual consciousness.
FInding Your Own True Myth: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III $18.00
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Toby Johnson's book are now released by Lethe Press:
The Gay Novels:
TWO SPIRITS is a collaboration between noted anthropologist and renowned gay scholar Walter L. Williams professor at the University of Southern California and gay novelist and spiritual writer Toby Johnson.
Set in the 1860s, it's the story of a young Virginian, fresh out of the Civil War and struggling to find love and manly comradeship without understanding what that means, who inadvertently gets himself assigned to be Government Indian Agent to the Navajos at the Bosque Redondo Reservation at Fort Sumner in the New Mexico desert, a kind of concentration camp experiment in Indian management. The young protagonist comes to appreciate the plight of the Navajo after he falls in love with the Two-Spirit/berdache/ healer. Together the two lovers manage to get the "experiment" declared a failure and so liberate the Navajo people and get them back to their sacred homelands.
Says W Randy Haynes (Cherokee) author of the gay murder mystery with an Indian detective, Cajun Snuff:
"Two Spirits is a spectacular tale based upon the 1860's eviction of the Navajo people from their sacred lands. The reader is transported to an earlier era where little known spiritual traditions were, until recently, unmentionable outside some Native American cultures. With an obvious love and deep respect for the Navajo, Williams and Johnson expose a clash of cultures that will stun many. Two Spirits, a treasure to read, is a rare combination of historical fiction and spiritual wisdom at its absolute finest."
Navajo/Dine scholar Wesley Thomas provides A Commentary at the end of the story discussing the current state of Navajo/Dine culture.
This is a wonderful love story with an adventuresome plot in the style of Western genre, but with a delightfully gay twist and a good and very palatable dose of sensible spirituality.
Two Spirits recounts the true history of Native American cultures -- including same-sex marriage. So-called "gay marriage" was practiced on the American continent for untold centuries before the Europeans arrived. People we'd call "gay" today were revered members of the tribe. They were the storytellers, priests, doctors, ambassadors, counselors. They were the ones who kept culture alive -- just as gay people are today (but with much less thanks and recognition from the mainstream culture).
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo $18.00
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Two Spirits is available as an audiobook narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click here
Walter Williams and Toby Johnson (editor) also worked together on Williams' novel of Pacific Island cultures and 18th century whaling, set during the time of the Civil War.
Spirit of the Pacific is a dramatization of wisdom from Japanese Buddhism and Hawaiian shamanism
Whaling ships in the Aleutian Islands, Confederate raiders and Union naval vessels in Maui, sloops and skiffs in the Hawaiian Islands--ships sail into the unknown and change lives. This is the story of Eddie Freeman, an African American slave from South Carolina, who escaped slavery in 1860 and got involved in the Civil War in a way that he never would have expected. Eddie learned not to be afraid of change and the unknown. Eddie was attracted to his own sex, and in 21st century nomenclature would be called gay. But in his day he was just a young man trying to find love and give affection. This is a story about the unexpected twists and turns of life, and how sometimes a person must travel one way to get to the other, become a sailor to find solid land, go to the Arctic to get to a tropical paradise. It is about giving up one’s home to find a better home. It is a story about learning to transcend the polarities of slave and free, sacred and profane, love and hate, human and animal. Most importantly, it is a story about learning to transcend the polarity of life and death to become one with nature, experience limitless love, gain absolute happiness, and achieve true spiritual freedom.
Spirit of the Pacific is available from Amazon.com in kindle format and in third party hardcopy.
And from Smashwords.com in ePub and other digital formats.
"Toby Johnson's fly blend of sweet romance, social commentary and entertaining science fiction
gives new meaning to the concept of a 'genre' novel--
the sort of easy-going read rarely found in gay fiction, and very welcome." Richard Labonte
SECRET MATTER is a science-fiction romance novel. It won a 1990 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men's Science Fiction. In 1999, it was one of five books nominated to be the first ever inducted into the Gay Lesbian Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
In November 2005, Lethe Press brought out the current updated, expanded, and revised edition for 21st century readers.
The story tells of the arrival of a race of aliens. They have cameleon-like autonomic functions in their skin coloration which reveal their emotional and psychological states. Thus they are fundamentally unable to lie. For them homosexual activity is consistent with their biology and normal in their culture. Recognizing our society's objection to homosexual activity, however, they try to hide their true nature. The tension created between the two cultures confuses their mission in coming to our world.
The plot is a sweet love story about the relationship between a young gay man and one of the aliens. Through several levels the protagonist slowly uncovers the truth about the aliens' "secret life," including, finally, the fact that they aren't really alien at all, but rather come from a parallel world of Earth. The punch line is that in the creation myth of the Garden of Eden in their world their "Adam & Eve" did NOT commit original sin and their reward was both their inability to hide the truth and, incidentally, their homosexuality. The novel is about the importance of coming out and the innocence of gay experience.
Arthur C. Clarke was a great influence on Toby Johnson's thought and writing style.
Secret Matter $15.00
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The Fourth Quill
originally published as PLAGUE:
A Novel about Healing is the story of an AIDS
educator who uncovers a misconceived plot to suppress an effective
cure for HIV. As he begins to realize the sinister nature of his
discovery, he is forced to take seriously the teachings about healing
and about the nature of evil presented in A Course in Miracles, which
he has been talking about with members of an AIDS support group he
Originally published by Alyson Publications
Rereleased by Lethe Press, 2012 with changes and a Foreword by the author. $18.00
"There is a fresh naivete in [Toby Johnson's] style that rings pleasantly in the ear, like the memory of a 'boy's book' enthusiastically devoured at age 12. Against the sour punk of so much of today's gay male fiction, Getting Life in Perspective is a treat."
GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE is
post-modern novel about a big
city literary editor who, when faced with serious illness, retires to
the country to relieve stress and to write the novel he's always been
intending to write. Living alone in a ramshackle old mansion in the
Texas Hill Country, he begins to imagine that the characters of his
novel are real. Two young gay men from the 1890s then appear to him
and recount the story of their lives.
Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling
edited by Toby Johnson and Steve Berman
Spinning Straw into Gold
Modern society, including--and maybe especially-- gay culture recreates its own mythological traditions in "the old-fashioned way," by telling stories.
Gay storytelling engender myths, allowing the negative elements that traditional society and religion has placed on homosexual identity to be transformed and uplifted.
White Crane Books, an imprint of Lethe Press (Steve Berman, editor/publisher), announces an anthology of writings that do what good myths and storytelling are supposed to do: inspire and evoke meaning (especially out of despondency and darkness), to cheer, to place life in larger context, to hint at secret meanings--stories that inspire gay men to think positively about themselves, their lifestyles, their bodies (of any type), and, especially, their own spiritual paths.
Charmed Lives $18
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(click on title for more info & reviews)
The answer to what gay people are here for!
ForeWord: the magazine of independent and university presses.
A new edition of GAY SPIRITUALITY has been released by Lethe Press with a beautiful new cover featuring art by Stevee Postman.
"...quite simply the best, sanest, most readable book on the subject I've come across..." a reader wrote in email.
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Gay Spirituality from an independent bookstore near you
Gay Perspective from an independent bookstore near you
Secret Matter from an independent bookstore near you
Getting Life in Perspective from an independent bookstore near you
Two Spirits from an independent bookstore near you
Charmed Lives from an independent bookstore near you
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Now out of print
a revised edition of a book by the same name (with different subtitle)
published in 1981 by William Morrow
Used copies are available from amazon.com resellers. Click here.
A "Second Revised Edition" is in the works. Click here.
Bowman's World: the sequel to Awakening
Last Update: 10/07/2017
Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.
Johnson's Lammy Award winning book
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated
PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature
of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are
available now from Lethe
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