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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

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

TWO 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


About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

The purpose of homosexuality

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the  "Statement of Spirituality"

"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

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

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality

 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross &
the Dark Night of the Soul."

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"
Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Part 2:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Part 3:
Jesus and the Resurrection
Part 4:
A Course in Miracles

The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?

The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

Kip and Toby, Activists

Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash

Book Reviews

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

What I Learned from Joe Campbell

Joseph Campbell

Renowned Comparative Religion scholar and mythographer, Joseph Campbell was the Great Teacher and "wise old man" in the life journey of gay novelist, spiritual writer and former White Crane editor Toby Johnson.

For five summers during the early 70s, Johnson was fortunate to have worked on staff at a Jungian oriented conference center in Northern California called The Mann Ranch Seminars. There he met and befriended Joseph Campbell. He corresponded with Campbell for over 10 years.

Johnson writes:

I was in grad school at CIAS in Jungian Psychology in San Francisco in 1971. I saw a notice on the bulletin board that Joseph Campbell was giving a seminar at a conference center in Ukiah California called the Mann Ranch. I’d read The Hero with a Thousand Faces a couple of years before and it had opened my eyes to the nature of religion. I wanted to go.
Joseph Campbell on the front porch at the Mann Ranch
Being a poor hippie flower-child student in those days, I applied for a work scholarship and so was asked to come up early. I hitchhiked the hundred miles to Ukiah on Thursday, the day before the weekend seminar.

Campbell also arrived early and I had the chance to meet him personally and make friends. After the seminar I was invited to join the Mann Ranch Seminars staff. First at the Mann Ranch, then at  the "Reminding" lecture series at Dominican College in San Rafael and as a volunteer for Barbara McClintock, Campbell's major contact on the West Coast, over the next ten years, I was on the team that put on Joe’s talks in Northern California. And I corresponded regularly with him in thoughtful, mostly handwritten letters. Joseph Campbell was the Wise Old Man in my personal hero journey.

Here's a photo I took of Joe lecturing on the front
porch of the Mann Ranch rambling old ranch house.


ranch house 1972

There’s an Austin connection. Betty Sue Flowers at the University of Texas edited the book The Power of Myth from the 1988 TV series with Bill Moyers that made Campbell famous. That’s the year Kip and I moved to Austin to take over running Liberty Books.

We first saw The Power of Myth in a series of very well-attended public showings Betty Sue Flowers hosted at Tarrytown United Methodist.

Joseph Campbell is known for his aphorism Follow Your Bliss. “If you follow your bliss,” he said, "you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living… Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid and doors will open where you didn't know there were going to be doors.”

Austin is a "Follow Your Bliss" kind of city… lots of doors opening here.

Toby is author of the book The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell. Here's an excerpt.

Joseph Campbell was not himself gay, though he lived most of his life in a little two-and-a-half room apartment on the 14th floor of a building on Waverly Place and Gay Street overlooking New York City's Sheridan Square and Christopher Street. Perhaps he watched from his almost monastic-like urban aerie as street riots ensued from the police raid of the Stonewall Inn in 1969. Though enthusiastically in love with his wife and delightfully ribald at times about heterosexual attraction, in some ways he lived like many a gay man. He was a college professor and scholar. His wife, Jean Erdman, was an illustrious choreographer on the New York scene. They were certainly both acquainted with the sophisticated gay art world. From early on, they agreed not to have "earthly children," but only "spirit children": books and plays and creative productions. They chose a lifestyle other than normal heterosexual family life for the sake of a larger contribution.

Campbell's all-inclusive ideas and his lovingly irreverent sarcasm toward religious institutions provide a framework for understanding religion that gay people can readily embrace.

Keeping alive this vision is the work of the Joseph Campbell & Marija Gimbutas Library on the campus of Pacifica Graduate Institute near Santa Barbara. Membership in the Library supports the kind of revolution in religion most of us seek. Write Campbell & Gimbutas Library, 249 Lambert Rd, Carpinteria CA 93013. (Toby Johnson is proud to report that two of his books are included in Campbell's library, positioned on the shelves just as Joe left them.)

The Joseph Campbell Foundation also supports and encourages Campbell's wise understanding of religion. The Foundation offers internet-based conversations about Campbell's vision. Please consider supporting both the Library and the Foundation.


Campbell is most famous for his advice: "Follow your bliss."

If we gay men were not actively following our bliss, we'd never have come out in the first place.

Joseph Campbell said, "People ask me: 'Do you have optimism about the world, about how terrible it is?'  And I say, 'It's great just the way it is.' What else can you say?"

ead about Toby's learning the
"Secret of the Clear Light" from Joseph Campbell

From The Hero with a Thousand Faces,
a very wise statement about The Nature of Religion

Read about Themes in Campbell's thought

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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 GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book  GAY 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 Press.

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