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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



Mobius Strip as Geometrical Image of Gay Spirit


mobius strip flaming

by Toby Johnson

A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
"Little Gidding" by T.S. Eliot


from Gay Perspective: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us About the Nature of God and the Universe.

Making Connections

All human beings need to connect. It's how we join in the general dance. Connection is what supports consciousness and human intelligence. People who can't form interpersonal connections are generally considered insane (infantile autism is the epitome). And sex is one of the major ways humans connect. How we think about making connections influences our experiences of life and love.

Built into the dualistic vision of the world is the notion that virtually everything links by heterosexual connection--opposites attract. Electrical connections plug "male” plugs into "female" sockets. Pipes have male and female joints and connectors. According to this mechanical model, homosexuality doesn't work because the "plumbing" doesn't fit.

There used to be a "homosexuality cure" called Aesthetic Realism. It argued that it is aesthetically pleasing that male and female fit together. By contrast, male and male and female and female don't possess the proper connectors and so are "unaesthetic." Of course, this ignored the fact that homosexuals find members of their own sex attractive. To homosexuals, homosexuality is aesthetically pleasing. Like most cures, Aesthetic Realism assumed homosexuality doesn't really exist.

Curiously, the very image that is used to prove “opposites attract” —the way magnets seem to pull together north pole to south pole and south pole to north pole and repel when pushed pole to pole—actually demonstrates just the opposite. Scientific understanding of magnetism reveals that what’s really happening is the charged fields in the atoms of the magnets are lining up. Magnetism is really like aligning with like: north pointing atoms line up with other north pointing atoms and avoid the south pointing ones.

Rather than heterosexual coitus, the sexual position demonstrated by magnetism is more like a “daisy-chain” of men all lined up performing the same stimulation to another that someone else is performing on them.

Still, we don't have a model to demonstrate how male and male and female and female do fit together. We need an example of how, at the mechanical level, like connects to like. A model of homosexuality also needs to incorporate the "twist" that captures our reversal of the expected pattern. It is, after all, the "twist"--the fact that you have to discover something new about yourself, "come out," and transform how you see the world--that dominates gay experience. Our homosexuality is a 180 shift from what we would have expected.


The Queer Twist in Nature

The wedding band is a familiar symbol for the link between two people in sexual, spiritual and karmic relationship. The band represents how two people become one, closing the circle, as it were. Though they are always separated by the body of the ring itself, the inside and the outside of the ring come together in the unity of the closed band. Beginning with the image of the circle or band, let's introduce a twist with interesting properties that parallel aspects of gay consciousness.

In the topographical figure called a Mobius Strip, we can find an icon for things connecting "homosexually." And it even does something "queer."

 mobius strip simple

This figure is formed by taking a thin strip of paper (like adding machine tape) and gluing the ends together to form a circular band, but with a twist: left and right, inside and outside are switched. This creates a most peculiar construction. Forming the circular band transforms it from a rectangle to a cylinder, from two dimensions to three. But turning it back on itself with the twist moves that simple object into another kind of dimensionality altogether; it has a kind of queer infinity. It even looks like the infinity symbol. The surface area of the strip now contains both sides on the same side. The opposite poles have become each other. A Mobius Strip is an unbounded surface with only one side and one edge: no inside, no outside, no duality.

This is just a model, of course, an affectation. It doesn't prove anything. But like all mythological metaphors, it offers a way of thinking about and giving meaning to experience. It's a metaphor for the queer twist our gay identity gives to the world. It provides a rich, multi-layered focus for meditation. Interestingly, this twisted figure eight pattern is the figure your folded legs form in the half-lotus meditation posture. When you sit in meditation, you're sitting in a Mobius twist--with your sexual center at the place of the twist.

We discover in the metaphor that this twist is part of reality just as much as the male-female connections of plumbing, but--in typically gay fashion--more subtle. Homosexual personality blends masculine and feminine, bringing the polarities together and transcending them, putting both sides of human consciousness on the same side. The Mobius flip is connection by reflection, like the flip in a mirror image. Our beloved reflects our own gender, not a complementary opposite. Gay consciousness, like the Mobius twist, connects by reflection.

One of the most famous "twists" in the discoveries of modern science is the DNA molecule. The double-helix of DNA replicates by untwisting and separating its two strands, then each strand links with free available amino acids to form an exact duplicate of itself, creating a new double helix. While the linking between the bases along the helical strands, adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine (A,T,C,G), is key-in-lock, forming AT, CG, TA or GC pairs, the overall resulting strands are exact duplicates of the original--mirror images. DNA strands are not complementary opposites; there isn't a male strand and a female strand or even a right strand and a left strand. The DNA molecule reproduces by reflection, by forming a mirror image of itself. DNA replicates "homosexually."

According to the theory of General Economy and the principle of Biological Exuberance, nature "twists" the logic of the male dominance imperatives. There is no scarcity, no need for competition or hierarchy. Instead of utility, efficiency and parsimony, evolution favors extragavance, prodigality, and diversity. Homosexuality contributes to the biological evolution of Earth precisely by not contributing biologically and, thereby, expanding the margins for possibility and diversity. It is these that enhance life's fecundity.

Procreation occurs through key-in-lock connections--connections of opposites. Connection of likes--by reflection--generates consciousness. As we saw earlier, in the brain, the neurons generate a mirror reflection of what the senses apprehend outside the body. This inner world is what we are conscious of as outside. Consciousness itself is our looking back at our own awareness as in a mirror, seeing what's inside as though it were outside. Our minds generate a world that's inside us--and twisted 180, like a mirror image. In a curiously coincidental way, this twist is actually manifested in our bodies in the flip in the connections between the spinal cord and the brain: the left side of the body is controlled by the right side of the brain and vice versa. Our bodies are mirror images of our brains. For every person, this inversion of inside and outside, left and right generates the "queer" dimension that is consciousness.

This consciousness is the consciousness of the Earth. Joseph Campbell said the most potent mythological image for our day is that of Earthrise from the surface of the moon. Human beings' going to the moon demonstrated, practically, the conquest of science and technology and, symbolically, the stance of consciousness able to be aware of itself. With the landing on the moon, for the first time, Earth was able to look back on itself from outside. This is how we now have to understand consciousness, not just from within, but from without--by stepping outside, turning back, and looking at ourselves with an outsider's perspective. For Campbell, this symbolized the new myth: the "myth" of myth, spiritual consciousness understanding the nature of myth from over and above any particular mythological system--from outside.

All people are called to this perspective. Gay people are seasoned by our lives to assume it naturally. For to be gay is to have achieved such consciousness about oneself. A person can behave homosexually without being conscious of himself as homosexual, but to be conscious and to identify as gay is necessarily to have stepped outside and observed oneself and, therefore, to have understood one's life in a larger context.

Mystical Paradox

Bodhisattva by Peter Grahame
In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Jesus offered a remarkably Mobius-like observation about the Kingdom of Heaven: "When you make the male as the female, and the female as the male, and the up as the down and the inner as the outer, then shall you see the Kingdom of Heaven."

Jesus was talking about twisting perceptions. This paradoxical thinking even appears in the canonical gospels: "The first shall be last and the last shall be first" and "To gain your life you must lose it." To see the Kingdom of Heaven, you have to change your perceptions, you have to look at the world a different way. Overcoming the polarities, seeing beyond male and female, is realizing such a transformation.

Around the same time that Jesus was preaching in Israel, a Buddhist tradition was developing in India that expresses a similar idea. Buddhist teachers, who wanted to dramatize the importance of compassion (seeing your self in others) as a religious experience, told the story of Avalokiteshvara, the attractive, lovable, and androgynous young seeker. Like Jesus, Avalokiteshvara saved the world.

This mythological character--called a Bodhisattva, one whose very being is enlightenment--is usually shown as a handsome young man sitting bare chested in a relaxed meditation pose with one leg cocked or hanging casually over a wall. The story goes that he was just about to enter nirvana and escape altogether the cycles of rebirth that Buddhism understands as the true cause of suffering. But in that final moment he became so filled with compassion for the suffering beings he was about to leave behind that he volunteered to forgo nirvana for himself. In an act of world-saving generosity, he vowed to remain in the cycles of rebirth until all other beings had entered nirvana, and to take on himself the karmic debts of all those suffering sentient beings. At that instant, all sentient beings were saved and ushered into nirvana in distant mythic sacred time, leaving Avalokiteshvara alone behind to live out all their lifetimes and all their karma for them.


Avalokiteshvara is therefore the only Being that exists. He saves the world by becoming the world and all sentient beings--that is, all possible perspectives on the world. He saves the world by loving the world unconditionally, twisting the perception that the world is separate from him and that nirvana is somewhere other than here and now. He saves all beings--and himself--by shattering the distinction between nirvana and the world. The Bodhisattva lives in the "Kingdom of Heaven" because he inhabits the infinite Now.

Even as we experience the suffering of life in the world, we are all incarnations of the Bodhisattva. We are all that One Being. We have only to awaken to our true nature. And we do this by joyfully participating in the world out of unconditional compassion, by saying yes to life because that is what we have already done in sacred time as the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

The Three Wonders

The All in One by Stevee Postman
This Buddhist myth reminds us of the links between our androgynous gayness, our delight in incarnation, and our search for spiritual insight. For there are Three Wonders of the Bodhisattva: The first wonder is that he transcends sexual duality, being simultaneously male and female. The second that he transcends the difference between time and eternity, seeing no difference between earth and heaven. And the third wonder is that the first two wonders are the same!

The Bodhisattva's third wonder is like the twist in the Mobius strip, doubling back on itself and giving a whole new "dimension" of meaning to what went before. Androgyny is nirvana.

Purple mobius
The metaphor of the "queer twist" in nature, though just a metaphor, captures the role
gay people have played in society
of promoting culture and consciousness: We are the artists, poets, storytellers, designers, and creators of beauty who contribute, not at the level of biology, but at the level of mind. In meditation, you can feel the twisted figure eight of your legs; you can visualize the DNA in your cells twisting and untwisting; you can realize how your life and destiny demonstrate and manifest nature's exuberance; you can imagine your nervous system creating your internal world and sense your body as the mirror image of your brain; you can imagine yourself as planet Earth and look back at yourself from outside. You can remember being Avalokiteshvara. You can find a place for your own kind of consciousness, with your special kind of twist, in the basic nature of things.  (This lovely image of two men forming a mobius and infinity sign together appeared in the ADVOCATE in an ad for KY "Intrigue" brand lubricant.)

You can even go one step further, you can perform the twist in judgment that repudiates all those male domination imperatives. Imagine yourself judging the world--like Jesus in Michaelangelo's fresco of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. Observe all the sin and injustice in the world, all "man's inhumanity to man," all the failure, cruelty, and stupidity. And then twist the judgment and forgive it all. Will that all beings be welcomed into Heaven and that none be cast into Hell. Then you too are participating in saving the world.



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GSspiritGSspirit, a site that explores new areas of thinking and experience of what it means to be Gay. GSspirit > can stand for Gay ( S) sacred, soul, spirit, shaman, sexuality - Spirit or spirituality. A web-community, social network site based in Australia. Here's their facebook page

(Toby Johnson is pleased that Darren and Bradley have adopted the mobius strip for their logo.)
GSspirit mobius







Here's a wonderful image of a mobius-strip gear chain

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/images/gifs/moebgear.gif
 




A Three-Dimensional Mobius

The Mobius Strip captures the imagination. It's a physical representation of paradox. Though, of course, it's just whimsy that a one-sided object with only one edge can actually exist, that IS techincally what a Mobius Strip is: a two-dimensional geometrical figure that is twisted into three-dimensional space as just such an object twice as long as itself with only one edge and one face. That play-in-thought then suggests some additional dimension into which the "other side" and "other edge" have been projected. It's a dimension of consciousness, a hidden dimension. And so the Mobius Strip is a metaphor about consciousness. Klein Bottle


The traditional idea of a three-dimensional Mobius is the Klein Bottle; but it's imaginary; it really can't exist (the "tube" would have to pass through the wall of the "flask" without intersecting the surface; the opening through the wall exists only as an imaginary space).

Mathematician Yale Landsberg has found a way to extend the metaphor into three dimensions to suggest yet another fourth.  Folding the flattened strip of the Mobius and then opening it allows a new way of seeing the shapes embedded within it, sexual shapes, lingam and yoni.

mobiliskmobiyoni

Images, courtesy of Yale S.Y. Landsberg; M.S. Operations Research, New York University


And, lo and behold, there's the physical manifestation of the secret gnosis revealed by the Jesus of the St. Thomas Gospel. Landsberg's twists and folds reveal the lesson of seeing the Kingdom of Heaven.

Was Jesus twisting one of these strips in his fingers when he was teaching his logion of immanent salvation, you have to wonder.


Click here to read Yale Landsberg's article:
RevelationZ: How Saint Thomas's Mobius “God” Strips?
Yale S.Y. Landsberg is the inventor of the TrueTyme Sun/Moon/Self natural time smartclock and smartwatch app, which is described on TrueTyme.org, and is found on Google Play. He is  also a Founding Member of The Open Conspiracy Of SCI'RE "revival" -- which seeks to reintroduce more natural thinking methods that address the mass-education "corp-think" issues found on John Taylor Gatto's OpenConspiracy.org

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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