St. Peregrine

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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

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


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

St. Peregrine Laziosi

st. peregrine

It was for a magical reason that I joined the Servite Order in 1967: for I discovered that Peregrine was a Servite name.

St. Peregrine was a
14th Century Italian Servite friar who’d been canonized for his good works--and for his having been miraculously healed overnight of a melanoma lesion on his lower leg. Peregrine is the patron saint of cancer patients and, more recently, of people with AIDS. He’s usually shown pulling his tunic up to expose the lesion. (Peregrine’s malady was probably actually phlebitis; as an act of mortification and austerity Peregrine always stood, he never sat down. That’s a sure way to get varicose veins and phlebitis. The instant cure is no less remarkable though! What he called his "penance" might have been a case of sciatica. He didn't sit down because it hurt his lower back.)

I’d become attached to the name when, as a fervent young man fresh out of high school and about to enter novitiate with my first Order, the Marianists, the word “peregrination” was the secret word on a local radio station for which you could win a prize by calling in when the D.J. used it. I was proud of myself for knowing the relatively obscure secret word, and proud of myself for recognizing that I was starting a true spiritual peregrination.

Several years later, I was told to leave that first religious order because I was too modern and too independent a thinker--I understand now that that was a euphemism for my burgeoning homosexuality. But still drawn to monasticism, I soon discovered in the Servites an Order that was seriously making an effort to modernize AND that had a St. Peregrine. On Peregrine’s feast day, May 2, 1967, a whole series of coincidences fell together including, interestingly, Joseph Campbell’s notion of embarking on a “hero’s journey” and the Buddhist bodhisattva spirituality that readers of my books will recognize as ongoing theme--and all coordinated by a young Servite seminarian I had a crush on (Allan Pinka).

The synchronicity seemed to me a sign I should join the Servites. I moved in with them in the St. Louis University Grad Student dorm (the old Coronado Hotel) and lived as a Servite seminarian my last year of college. Then transferred to Catholic Theological Union in Chicago where the ’Vites were combining their theologate (priesthood training) with that of the Franciscans and the Passionists.

And what a good decision that was! I loved living in community. I loved the brotherhood of idealistic and innocent young men. And Servite life proved a great way for me to finally figure out my sexual orientation--within the context of being a spiritual pilgrim.

It also got me to San Francisco
in 1968 where the Servites had a house on Stanyan St. on the edge of the Haight-Ashbury still heady and hippie from the Summer of Love.

Indeed, I’d been a hippie seminarian as a Servite. I got in trouble with them for wearing my hair too long and--again--for being too independent a thinker. While in seminary in Southern California, I inadvertently got to be editor of the Servite Provincial newsletter. I really was only supposed to be the printer (because the Provincial printing press was in the basement of the seminary). But since I had to do the typing and layout, I couldn’t resist including my own column.

Peregrine was the monastic name I chose as a Servite--in my second venture in Catholic religious life. The name means “pilgrim” or “wanderer.” It seemed like the perfect religious name. The spiritual quest is frequently metaphorized as a pilgrimage. Joseph Campbell likened the effort of every person to live a full, rich, contributing, and worthwhile life to the “hero’s journey.” Being a hero is saying yes to life, achieving maturation and beauty of character, learning to cope with challenges and difficulties -- through discovery of one’s true spiritual being as invincible and eternal and beyond ego.

homosexually oriented souls, being gay is the great challenge. Being gay calls for being a wanderer, seeking an idealized life beyond the difficulties, for we are cast out from the conventional roles of householder and paterfamilias, called to discover our own special path. The journey is to wholeness and virtue, to fullness of experience, and to being a source of love and joy in a world so often bereft of love and joy these days.

Being a pilgrim or wanderer means accepting the insecurity of life, being open to change. It’s the opposite of being a householder obsessed with stability and safety--and self-reliance. Being a wanderer puts you at the mercy of the seasons and vissicitudes of human history. It means sometimes relying on the kindness of strangers and being a stranger yourself and a hero, on a quest, doing good deeds and showing kindness along the way.

Being a wanderer means placing your faith in something bigger than yourself and
your own powers. Being a spiritual wanderer means responding to signs--“karmic resonances"--to reveal the path you should be following. It may mean believing in luck, synchronicity--and magic.

I wrote an article reminding the Servite Fathers that the Order was
originally founded as mendicant at the time of the Franciscan reform of monasticism, meaning the Servites were supposed to practice an especially rigorous form of poverty. I wrote that I thought they ought to abandon their automobiles and hitchhike around Los Angeles --relying on the kindness of strangers. You can see the hippie in me in that advice! It wasn’t long after that I was out of my second religious Order and standing by the side of California Highway 101, hitchhiking to San Francisco: a true mendicant seeking liberation.

The funny thing was that here I’d taken the name Peregrine who’s always shown with his staff and begging bowl and his skirt hiked up showing his leg--just like Claudette Colbert in "It Happened One Night," teaching Clark Gable how to hitchhike!

The peregrinations have taken me on many a turn since then. The next step was going to be to discover gay activism, to meet Joseph Campbell, to find that I could write books that got published, and in quite a surprising way to “heal” a boyfriend of cancer (by insisting he go to a doctor urgently and, the next day, undergo emergency surgery—on May 2nd, St. Peregrine’s Day). My pilgrim steps then led me to be a gay psychotherapist, then gay bookseller, novelist, and with Kip (now through 19 years), quasi-eremitical gay B&B Guestmaster.

Spring 2003 White Crane Journal #56

Peregrine-Bodhisattva by Nicholas Markell

As evidenced elsewhere on this website, I have a great fascination with the Buddhist character Avalokiteshvara. Interesting, I have come upon this modern icon (by Nicholas Markell) of St. Peregrine looking awfully much like the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.

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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