Religious Articulations

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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

It's about You

Hindu tradition affirms Tat tvam asi (Thou art that). All that is around one, all that one experiences, all that is joyful or painful—that thou art. There is nothing from which one stands apart.

Sufism, the mystical tradition in Islam, interprets the fundamental Islamic credo, “There is no God but God,” to mean “There is no reality but God.” In the reality of Allah, in all human and spiritual relationships, Allah is the love, the lover, and the beloved.

Rastafarianism, the political, revolutionary, newly arising folk religion of Jamaica, the themes of which pervade popular reggae music, teaches that the personal name of God is “I”; therefore each person, when he or she speaks of self, speaks of God by name.

Judaism, for all that its unnameable god has become concretized in the historical, realistic Jehovah, had seen something analogous to Rasta, for YHWH speaking from the burning bush, was to have revealed his name as “I am.”

The Mahayana myth of the bodhisattva declares that there is but one being who lives in all, who has vowed to be everybody, and who is the one being who lives in the universe.

Christianity says it, in the words of St. Paul, “I live, no longer I, but Christ who lives in me.”

And it’s said in the maxim of Texas Hill Country sage and Science of Mind teacher Walter Starcke: “It’s all God.”

Indeed, one might say, twisting Starcke’s maxim into the Sufi credo, that the secret message of mystical religion is the paradoxical dictum: “There is no god because it’s all God.”

Such myths suggest that we cannot know directly our own nature, that who we are is elusive and slips off into the emptiness as we begin to pursue it, so that finally it can be spoken of only in such tantalizing metaphors. And that is the point of the notion of emptiness: that we cannot know the true nature of the universe. Though we may know that we exist, we won’t know what that means in relation to anything else, and so cannot know what that “we” is that exists. Descartes thought he had reached a basic truth: “I think, therefore I am.” But he still could not say what the thinking subject, which he had discovered existed, really was.

We human beings could, after all, be disembodied spirits, floating in space, interacting with one another; or, perhaps, bottled brains, preserved in sophisticated life-support systems, interconnected with intricate neuroelectronic hookups, hallucinating an embodied world through consensual agreement. These images appear in human thought from Parmenides and his Poem to popular science fiction and its portrayal of so-called advanced races. Perhaps such an advanced race is not so much further evolved in time as more basic in essence, and this portrayal is a mythical way of expressing a truth about who we really are.

The immensely popular movie series, The Matrix, presents just this mythology for the future. "The Matrix" is an hallucinated world in which human minds are kept occupied so that their bodies, held in bio-stasis by machine technology can provide an efficient source of heat to power the machines. Only the hero, "Neo" -- the new one -- realizes the illusion of the Matrix, and so he endures ordeals in order to redeem mankind from imprisonment.

A Zen story tells of the Taoist sage Chuang-Tse who dreamed he was a butterfly. When he awoke he realized that he did not know if he were Chuang-Tse dreaming he had been a butterfly or if, indeed, he were a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang-Tse.

The image of the dream is a familiar metaphor for the state of human consciousness. The common experience of the dreamer is that he or she is always the focus of everything that happens. Perhaps that, too, is the common experience of all of us in waking consciousness, and what we yet carefully deny lest we be charged with narcissism and solipsism. But solipsism is the logical implication of emptiness and of the effort to live the wandering life open to signs of life’s direction. And solipsism is the logical implication of the everyday reality that we never experience ourself as an other. We are always different from the other and curiously mysterious even to ourselves.

When the Buddha was born, having passed from the side of his mother, Queen Maya, as she leaned against a tree, he took seven steps, pointed up, pointed down, and said in a voice of thunder: “Worlds above, worlds below, there is no one in the world like me.”

Joseph Campbell informally appended to his telling of that tale of the Buddha’s wondrous birth the remark by D. T. Suzuki that that same thing is said by each human child when at its birth it cries out for the first time. “I am here,” the child is saying, “Worlds above, worlds below, there is no one in the world like me.”

In The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth: A New Diagram of Man in the Universe, Douglas E. Harding provided a charming example of this sentiment. He said something to the effect that I see that I am not like others because, whereas all the other people I see have hands, arms, legs, and a trunk like mine, atop their shoulders is a head. Atop my shoulders, however, is mounted not a head but a world. I do not experience myself crammed into an eight-inch ball, peering out through portholes. I am free and at large in a world that seems to surround me and yet that obviously comes into being within that part of me that on other people looks like a head.

Listen, let me tell you a secret... (Click here to continue)

Read the opening chapter of The Myth of the Great Secret about Intimations of the secret

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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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