A Q & A about reading Mitch Walker's lecture on Jungian Analysis


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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

PLAGUE: A NOVEL ABOUT HEALING.

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

Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?

The purpose of homosexuality

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

The Gay Succession

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

Meditation

Historicity as Myth

Pilgrimage

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



Gay Personality Dynamics from a Jungian Perspective



 

A Q & A about reading Mitch Walker's lecture on Jungian Analysis

Harry Faddis and Toby Johnson.

 

Q 1. Toby, what inspired you to choose a topic like “Gay Personality Dynamics from a Jungian Perspective”? Carl Jung was one of the early psychoanalytic theorists along with Sigmund Freud. Do his ideas have any relevance to modern gay consciousness?


A: I just read a really interesting book on the subject and it’s brought up lots of ideas for me:

 
Gay Liberation at a Psychological Crossroads: A Commentary on the Future of Homosexual Ideology by Mitch Walker, PhD

Four talks given in West Hollywood CA for the inauguration of the Institute for Contemporary Uranian Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles.


Mitch Walker was one of the early gay psychologists in the 70s. He’s one of the founders of the Radical Faeries – along with Don Kilhefner, Mark Thompson and, of course, Harry Hay and John Burnside. The idea for a specifically gay spiritual/cultural “movement” centered on the positive strengths of gayness started with Walker and Kilhefner. They approached Harry and John who were living in New Mexico at the time, working on an Indian Reservation; Harry Hay was the Founder of the Mattachine Society, the organization that started modern gay consciousness as we know it.

Hay was always interested in left-wing politics and progressive, post-Christian, post-religious spirituality. As a youth, he’d discovered the writings of Edward Carpenter who was a British philosopher of culture and sexuality in the late 1800s to early 1900s. He was a contemporary of the novelist E.M. Forster. Carpenter wrote about homosexuality—what he called “the intermediate sex”; he was especially interested in homosexuality among “primitive peoples” and the phenomenon that what we would now call gayness was seen as a vocation to be a shaman and spiritual leader. Harry Hay understood modern gayness as a call not just to be a sexual libertarian, but to be part of the evolution of human consciousness and to be outfront, leading the way.

Mark Thompson was cultural editor at The Advocate magazine which at the time was THE major gay media. He had connections AND he too was interested in the idea of gay consciousness as a spiritual phenomenon, coming out of west coast hippie and American countercultural ideologies of the 60s/70s.

These men organized a gathering at the Shri Ram Ashram, a retreat camp in the desert in Arizona in 1979. From that developed the Radical Faeries.

Arthur Evans gets credit for the precursor of this gathering which was a series of talks in 1976 in San Francisco based on his book Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture.

So all these guys were basically “Jungian,” cause Jung’s ideas about psychoanalysis and personality theory and psychotherapy were focused on myth and symbol. Jung understood the goal of psychoanalysis to be spiritual growth, not readjustment to popular neurosis.


Q 2: What is Mitch Walker’s book about? You said that was what inspired you.

A: Walker and his associates, Chris Kilbourne, Doug Sadownick, Roger Kaufman, have established a center for what they called gay-centered psychotherapy. They use a term from the Victorian Era – back to Edward Carpenter. The Center for Contemporary Uranian Psychoanalysis. Uranian came Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first person to ever “come out.” He wrote in the mid 1800s articles acknowledging himself as a homosexual. It comes from the planet Uranus which had just been discovered less than a hundred years before – 1781. Just as Mars was said to rule men and Venus women, so Uranus was said to rule “the third sex” – and just as Uranus had only recently been discovered, so homosexuality was only now being “discovered.”

All this is VERY Jungian; it’s about symbols and myths and “spiritual”/psychological understanding of gayness.

Walker’s book is a series of four talks he gave for the startup of this Institute. The talks cover his own personal development as a psychologist and as a Jungian AND tell about the founding of the Faeries and about Walker’s efforts through the years to keep gay liberation focused on psychological, spiritual health, not just “getting rights and fitting in.”

 
Q 3: This is the essentialist/assimilationist debate, isn’t it? Are homosexuals different from heterosexuals with different values and life goals and satisfactions? What did Jung say about that?


A: Writing back in the early 20th Century, Jung didn’t really know much about homosexuality as such. He surrounded himself with strong women—several lesbian. And, of course, there is a theory that the reason Freud and Jung went different ways about personality theory is that Jung, then a young man, was afraid the older Freud was coming on to him. So there’s some personal stuff there. But in his collected writings, he questioned the idea that homosexuality was pathological because in the biblical myth the original Adam would have been “homosexual” in the sense of being both male and female. You see, the emphasis was not on sexual behavior (with the same sex) but on how maleness and femaleness exist in human personality. Jung seemed to accept the “two-spirit” idea, that gay people have both a male and a female soul.

Jungian theory says that men and women are attracted to one another because all human beings in a way have two spirits or two halves. Their conscious self is one sex; their unconscious is the opposite, so men have an unconscious that is symbolized (in dreams, especially) as a woman. And when they meet a real woman who is like their unconscious they fall in love and vice versa.

What Mitch Walker importantly contributed to Jungian thinking was that gay people aren’t attracted to the unconscious of the other, oppositely-sexed, person, but rather to what he called The Double. He was the first openly gay psychologist to publish about homosexuality in a Jungian journal, back in 1976. (Spring Journal).

His idea is that we look for an idealized reflection of ourselves in order to actualize those ideals. This is a different model for relating than complementary opposites coming together to complete one another.

The archetype of the Double can be found in early myth once you start looking for it—Walker particularly cites Gilgamesh and the early Sumerian myths as evidence that this is basic to human nature.

But Walker’s real fascination has been with the Jungian idea of The Shadow.


Q 4: The Shadow? That sounds like a 1930s radio show!

A: Well, Jung wasn’t referring to the radio show, but the famous line from the show IS exactly what Jung was talking about.

Q: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”

A: Exactly. The Shadow is one of the most interesting ideas in Jung.

The idea is that people project onto others things in themselves they don’t like and don’t want to recognize. When they see these traits in other people, they get compulsively upset and annoyed. It’s the phenomenon that we don’t recognize the “evil that lurks in our own hearts,” so we blame other people for it.

Of course, the perfect example of this dynamic is the Republican Party: they condemn President Obama for calling for "death panels" while, in fact, the Republican governors are cutting medical funding and deciding which patients to let die without health care.

The way to hide the bad things you do is to blame other people.

You see this with the Catholic Church as well. To hide the fact that so many priests are gay—and that they had problems with sexually active priests, the Pope (who sure pings my own gaydar!) condemns honest and openly gay priests and throws them out in order to protect the secretive, closeted and conflicted ones who are the problem AND he objects to gay marriage and gay liberation in order to make himself look straight.

Same thing among politicians.


Q 5: How are these ideas useful in psychoanalysis?

Jung called the Shadow "the royal road to the unconscious" because the shadow is the one archetypal constellation that is easy to bring into consciousness. The shadow is something we experience all the time--and with self-awareness can understand it as such.

This is the shadow as the behaviors we don't like in other people, the things that get us riled up and "compulsively" activated.

Mitch Walker includes in the idea of The Shadow the consequences of "internalized homophobia": how homosexuals' inculcated negative ideas about homosexuality result in "self-loathing" and guilt, shame, fear of exposure, feelings of being "left out," distancing from the body and feelings in the body. These are ideas that psychologist Don Clark wrote about in Loving Someone Gay.

This “self-loathing” is the source of "shadow" in gay people.

The shadow shows up as gay people's disapproval of other factions of gay people. "Straight-appearing, straight-acting" gays don't like drag queens and are embarrassed and annoyed when they see effeminate men. That our community breaks up into so many "warring factions" is the result of the gay shadow.

So in therapy and self-therapy, what you want to do is recognize what bothers you about other people and forgive them, understanding you’re upset because of your own fears about who you are.

This really helps people get over that “self-loathing”—when they come to value and honor their homosexuality then they can recognize how they have changed the ideas that had plagued them when they were growing up.

Therapy is always about getting over your childhood errors in perception.

Where it also comes up, I think, is in the experience of attraction and rejection.

I have a very vivid memory of being at The Midnight Sun on Castro St one night back in the 70s: there was a guy I was attracted to who wasn't paying any attention to my trying to cruise him AND there was another guy whom I could feel sexual vibes from which I resisted and resented because I wasn't attracted to him, so I ignored his effort to cruise me. It was "instant karma"--I was getting back exactly what I was putting out. I think that was a clear moment of shadow obsession. I was hurt and angered that the "pretty man" wouldn't notice me; I judged "pretty men" as being shallow and narcissistic, while I was doing EXACTLY the same thing to the man who apparently had put me in his "pretty" category. AND I resented and judged him for being sexually aggressive and annoying because he wouldn't accept my ignoring him as a no.

I think that is a very common experience of gay men and I think it is a perfect experience of the shadow dynamics.

So in therapy or self-examination, the shadow is easy to see because we can feel it. And as we feel ourselves having strong, compulsive emotions/feelings, we can get a glimpse into our unconscious.

This is a practical way to use the idea of the shadow in therapy: it's a clue to our own unconscious material.

The assimilationism that Mitch Walker and Don Kilhefner and the Radical Faeries struggle against seems a cultural gay shadow. The younger generation of non-identified homosexuals resist and judge "gay" culture as middle-class and shallow because they project their own gay shadow out and are compulsively annoyed at openly gay people because they are afraid of being gay (i.e. afraid of that pain/shame/guilt/etc which you identify as the traumatic shadow).

I want to acknowledge a whole 'nother kind of "gay shadow" and that is the way in which homosexuals are the recipient of projections of straight culture. Straight people don't want to admit their own unruly sexual drives (especially their sexual attraction to their own children--because they see themselves in their children and are automatically reminded of, and turned-on by, their own youthful sexual vitality). And so they blame homosexuals as being child-molesters.

We are the straight culture's shadow.


Q 6: You’re saying that psychological analysis and self-analysis/ self-examination is important to the gay liberation struggle, not just personally but politically and culturally.

A: I think the current gay political activists tend to use reason, logic and appeals to justice to defend gay rights. This doesn't recognize the psychological dynamics behind homophobia. Straight men have necessarily suppressed their boyhood sexual fascination with their own bodies as they become heterosexual adults. Their attraction to themselves in the mirror has been pushed into their shadow as a necessary and automatic consequence of sexual maturing. And so they blame all the bad things that can happen because of sex on those who constellate that shadow, i.e., the homosexuals.

Jung has another idea about how the human psyche has these four functions—thinking, feeling, sensing and intuiting. This is another topic entirely and we shouldn’t focus on it here. But the goal of Jungian analysis was to bring all these functions into consciousness and to understand how the mind works.

This is by yet a fifth function, called the Transcendent Function, meaning the ability to look at yourself and the dynamics of the world as psychological phenomena and to rise above it all enough to not let it ruin you.

This outsider status—taking a “critical perspective” is something gay people are trained at in growing up and discovering their sexual differentness.

So this Jungian model for personality really applies to us and helps us understand what’s going on. AND it shows us that this is a real “spiritual” thing we’re going thru. Being a good homosexual is being a kind of saint!

rainbow line

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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