Review:  Jesus in Salome's Lot: The Dawn of the Pisces Cycle

by Brett Gillette

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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


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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

Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication by Tim Clausen

War Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar

The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal

Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion
by Jeffrey J. Kripal

The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre

Brain, Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A Helminiak

A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey

Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes

The Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson & Rhodes

Keys to Spiritual Being by Adrian Ravarour

In Walt We Trust by John Marsh

Solomon's Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary

A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary

Aelred's Sin by Lawrence Scott

Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou

Internal Landscapes by John Ollom

Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks

Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler

Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson

The Unabridged True Story of Jesus

Nothing Is As It Seems

Jesus in Salome's Lot cover

Jesus in Salome's Lot: The Dawning Of The Pisces Cycle

By Brett W. Gillette

pages, Trade paperback, $22.99


Available from the author

Available from
Jesus In Salome's Lot: The Dawning Of The Pisces Cycle

5 stars

When I was a young man in the 1960s in Catholic seminary, the revolutionary and new way to understand the Bible was through "exegesis" and "hermeneutics." Starting in the middle of the 19th Century, in Germany and in Jerusalem, Protestant Biblical scholars began to try to understand the Bible as it would have been understood at the time it was written by the people it was written for. That was a surprisingly revolutionary idea. The scholars had realized they had to understand the "literary genres" in which the books were written, i.e., how you say something determines what you say: poetry is more metaphorical than history; some poetry is realistic, some "surreal" and allegorical. A particular literary form peculiar to the Hebrews that they discovered is called midrash. It's pseudo-history written with symbols and references from earlier myths and legends. The major example of midrash in the New Testament is the story of the Magi. The Biblical scholars determined that story was made up using references to Jewish history to make a point about the universality of Jesus's teachings. It isn't about actual events; it's about the meaning of the situation those events are portrayed in. In our day, an example of midrash would be the stories of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree or Davy Crockett killing him a bear when he was only three.

By the 1950s, Catholic scholars had begun to align with the Protestants. I was fortunate to study Scripture under such a scholar, a Passionist priest named Barnabas Ahern, C.P. Besides being a Scripture scholar, who'd studied in Jerusalem, he was also a preacher of retreats to nuns—that's what priests of the Passionist Order do. When I met him at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, he was an old man and was somewhat chagrined, I believe, about the consequences of his dual roles. He had taught the nuns all over America in the 1950s that the events in the Bible hadn't really happened—they were "wisdom stories" and parables. There'd really never been any Magi, any Annunciation by an angel, any Visitation, any finding of the boy Jesus in the Temple. Barnabas Ahern was in great part, if indirectly, responsible for the nuns' rebellions in the 1960s. Those women understood the implications of what he'd taught them. Using a term I learned from C.G. Jung and Joseph Campbell—and which Fr. Barnabas would NOT have used—those stories were all myths. They meant something—but it wasn't "history," it was "mystical vision."

Ideas about how to understand the Old and New Testaments that form the Bible have changed over time. The Bible has been taken for absolute truth, word for word. It's also been taken as a source of inspiration for the Holy Spirit to communicate—indirectly—with the devout reader. Remember, the major tenet of the Protestant Reformation was "Private Interpretation of Scripture," i.e., what the Bible means is what it means to YOU. The truth isn't in the words; it's in the consciousness of God you experience when you are reading and understanding the words.

The Bible has also been taken as code; secret meanings are embedded within it which can only be understood by figuring out the clues. Medieval Jewish Kabbalah imagined that the Hebrew letters were alive and that the text was filled with secret meanings that could be understood by rearranging and meditating on the letters.

In the 1990s, the notion of the "Bible Code" was popularized. There are various ways of deciphering the code. One way was to skip to every 50th letter; others were to highlight "equidistant letters" in the Hebrew scrolls. It turned out such methods sometimes resulted in meaningful sentences, and actually held prophecies and predictions for real events that have happened throughout history. Skeptics noted that you could do the same thing with any book or text and get surprisingly meaningful results. When applied to the U.N. Law of the Sea Treaty, for instance, you get such phrases as: "Hear all the law of the sea" and "safe UN ocean convention to enclose tuna"—they are meaningful, but out of nowhere. Nobody wrote the Treaty with the intention of encoding secret messages. But they are there!

Brett Gillette's remarkable and mind-bending book of Biblical meaning, Jesus in Salome's Lot, similarly presents hidden meanings or, at least, new ways to understand the Biblical stories. It seems to me his process is somewhere in between the exegetes', the Kabbalists', the Bible Code's, and Barnabas Ahern's. Whether the secret meanings are encoded intentionally by the writers or by God's intervention, whether they are really there or not, matters less than what you can ferret out and use to amplify your own interpretation. Here's the Protestant principle of interpretation applied at the level of the letters and words of the text—and taken to the extreme.

A important way that Gillette's amplification of the meaning of the Scriptures is different from those others is that he applies his method to the English translation, not to the original Hebrew or Aramaic. The exegetes and the Kabbalists deal with the original text, using documents as old as possible. At least in the old days, God spoke in Hebrew, and Jesus spoke Aramaic and Greek. If you are looking for the meaning in the words as they were originally intended to mean, you probably should use the words in their original language. But if you're looking for a more mystical, esoteric meaning, then it's probably quite legitimate to use your own language, because it is within your consciousness that you are discovering the amplified meanings. And, at any rate, Christians, especially Biblical Fundamentalists, have always held that God oversaw the translations, so they maintain the Divine Inspiration. And, indeed, applying the Protestant principle, God would also be overseeing your own private process of reinterpreting the words.

In some ways, I think this is the most salient point about Brett W. Gillette's presentation: that he can do this is evidence of some sort of "inspiration" function within human consciousness. The meaning you are finding in the text comes from the eyes with which you are doing the looking. Because it is "Sacred" Scripture, a text like the Bible can function for scrying, like a crystal ball, bringing deep intuitions into consciousness, so that God or Higher Consciousness speaks through the text but beyond the actual words of the text.

And, indeed, this is literally true in Jesus in Salome's Lot, for one of the processes of interpretation Gillette uses is looking at the Biblical text with a magnifying glass and observing how the distortions in the lens as you move it away from the page seem to rearrange the letters.

Gillette writes that he applied five methods to decode the Christian Bible:

1. Identify the Characters. Using sound-a-likes (e.g., Cajaphas for Cleophus, Zebedee for Zeus), numbered sets (like the 7 Mary's, the 7 Portholes, the 12 J's, the 4 Swords) and interior clues that Gillette has figured out, the various characters in the Gospels are discovered to be ciphers for one another. The young man wrapped in a sheet who is mentioned at the time of Jesus's arrest will be identified as the disciple whom Jesus loved, the old prophet Bartimaeus, Simon the Leper, Lazarus and the author of the Books of Mark and John. The same people—because they act as conveyors of meaning—are called by different names in different contexts and different sequences.

2. Search for the Timeline Clues. Gillette calculates a 76 day period for Jesus's public life and the stories in the Gospels. He arranges events so they fit into a timeline running forward and a timeline running backwards (actually, there are multiple times lines involving different characters). This allows him to merge the narratives of the four Gospels and place events in meaningful sequences.

3. Convert the Actual Dates. Using references in the text to historical events,
like the death of Julius Caesar and the shift in High Priests from Annas to Cajaphas, Gillette lines up the dates and times in the Bible stories.

4. Research the Historian References. Again using clues within the text, Gillette can compare Jesus's Timeline to Roman and Greek accounts of history.

5. Connect the Past Lives of Jesus, John the Baptist, the Disciples, the Favored Women and the Old Testament Prophecies to the New Testament life of Jesus. Gillette, of course, is mixing Far Eastern notions of reincarnation with Middle Eastern religion—which probably didn't have any afterlife at all originally. But once he makes the assumption of reincarnation, he's able to find correlations between Old Testament and New Testament characters. And, for the sake of uncovering the Code, it doesn't really matter whether there is reincarnation or not, the writers intended to suggest these links—here's midrash again. John the Baptist is Elijah the Prophet. Yes, John fulfills the expectation of the return of Elijah, and the religious authorities actually questioned him if he were the return of Elijah.

The Timelines—Forward and Backward—are one of the most interesting concepts in this book. Though a little difficult to understand, these offer their own story of what is going on. Gillette shifts the history from the daily life of Jesus and the Apostles to the great movements of the Earth in space and the mythic drama within the procession of the Zodiac. Indeed, the procession of the Ages—caused by the precession of the Earth on its axis (the wobble)—runs in the opposite direction from that of the Astrological signs throughout the year, to wit, February is followed by March, the signs of Aries to Pisces. But as Earth's pole slowly rotates through a "Great Year" of 25,920 years, the Ages turn backward from Aries to Pisces. And that is the secret of Jesus and the change in the Age. At roughly the year zero and with the birth of Jesus, the Age changed from Aries the Ram, the lawgiver Jehovah, to Pisces, the two chasing fish in the 69, yin-yang circle of equals, whose God is Jesus and whose law is Love.

To put it in Gillette's whimsical way, Jehovah was fired and Jesus took over the job of being God.

In the year two-thousand, we all recently experienced another change in Age, referred to as the Turn of the Millennium, Y2K. From Pisces, we moved into Aquarius—the Age of Aquarius and a new consciousness. Perhaps Brett W. Gillette's insights into how to "decode" the Bible are a manifestation of this change. Women's Liberation, Gay Liberation, Racial Justice, Civil Rights, the Equality of Human Beings—these are the accomplishments of the Aquarian Age. And decoding the New Testament shows these as among the main teachings of the Gospels. So the change in the Age is a recovery of the real message of Jesus. Gillette calculates that the end of the Great Year of the Pisces Cycle and beginning of the Aquarius Cycle actually occurs on June 21, 2017. He hypothesizes the possibility of a polar shift sometime in the year leading up to that.

Jesus in Salome's Lot is itself written in an idiosyncratic English. The text (though not always the complex ideas) is relatively easy to read, but the punctuation seems to follow rules all its own. The sentences are more like idea-fragments than syntactical units with subject, verb, object, period. Periods—and especially semi-colons—appear in unexpected places. The most peculiar quirk of the language is the word "as." Gillette's writing uses "as" as a conjunction, like "and," as an adverb of time, like "at the same moment as," as a pronoun, like "who" or "which," as in Joanna as Tamar, and maybe even as a preposition, like "in the role of," since that's the first of the methods of  decoding: to identify the characters. The constant use of "as"—often effectively as the subject of the sentence—gives the book a sense of immediacy and flow. Past and present, backward and forward seem kind of simultaneous. As a professional copyeditor, I was baffled by the punctuation, but had no problem reading and following the text. The editor part of me thinks this book could have been titled "Nothing Is As It Seems." And there's that "As."

Another aspect of Brett Gillette's decoding is calling supernatural events in the Bible after their more common pop names today, i.e., UFOs. The Cherubim with the flaming sword at the gate of Eden, Elijah's chariot, the star of Bethlehem, the Voice that comes from above during Jesus's Baptism and His Transfiguration—lights in the sky—are interpreted as UFOs. The Nephilim, the "giants in the Earth" in Genesis, are interpreted as the Serpian Race of extraterrestrials who had visited our planet in the past.

Gillette's decoding finds homosexual secrets within the story of Jesus. Judas's kiss with which he betrays Jesus by identifying him to the Roman soldiers was an act of gay entrapment
. Jesus comments that he had been preaching in public every day and they had not arrested him; they needed a real "crime"—and that was the homosexual kiss. Jesus's injunction to eat his flesh and drink his blood means to give oral copulation. And the "secret of the Kingdom of Heaven" which Jesus was said to teach certain disciples in a nighttime ceremony called Naked Baptism was some sort of sex act. What the Jesus of history was arrested and executed for was homosexuality. And that is a real possibility. (This idea is also propounded in Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low which I have also reviewed.)

A word about the cover is in order. The two women in front of a grandfather clock are not intended to look like Biblical characters, because, of course, they do not: they're blondes, and there weren't clocks in Jesus's time. But, according to a blog entry on, they do represent the "twin sisters" of Magdalene, but, astronomically/astrologically, with as Salome (Pisces) as the approaching Age and Joanna (Aries) as the receding Age. These are among the women who stood at the Cross of Jesus, and they are more than just themselves in the larger story. This Joanna is called Mary, as the sister of Lazarus, and Tamar, as the great grandmother of David. Gillette's decoding of Scripture collapses names, personalities, archetypal meanings—so that Salome, the alluring step-daughter of Herod, becomes also Martha, the sister of Lazarus, and John the Baptist becomes Elijah. In the decoding, the women of history seem to become female principles in the great scheme of the universe. "Salome's lot," that is, her fate, her winnings, her "lot in life," then, is to be the female principle in the cycle of Pisces.

The punch line of the book is that the dawning of the New Great Year of the Aquarius Cycle predicted between December 21, 2016 and December 21, 2017 may result in a shift of the magnetic poles of the planet, including a three-day period during which one side of the Earth will face the Sun and the other the darkness continuously as the planet stops rotating, then reverses rotational direction, so that literally day becomes night and night day. This will be truly a new beginning.

Perhaps such an astronomical event proves the decoding is correct—or maybe not. I think Bible scholars, like my old teacher Barnabas Ahern, would think Gillette's analysis ridiculous; they are looking for the real history. Mystics and visionaries, on the other hand, are not necessarily concerned with the "real" at all. And they might not be concerned that the prediction of a pole shift did or didn't happen. The real meaning is the personal secrets they can decode for themselves, the gnosis, the hidden knowledge.

As a student of comparative religion myself, I'm inclined to think the "coded message" is less in the text of the Bible than in the mystical vision of the student of the esoteric. The "meaning" isn't in the text; it is in the consciousness that is studying the text. The decoding process generates the code. Seek and ye shall find.

Fans of conspiracy theories and students of esoterica and fringe phenomena—from apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to alien abductions to UFOs in the night sky—are likely to find this book fascinating and deeply engaging. Whether Gillette is right about a hidden meaning encoded in the Bible or not, I think he is certainly right that sacred scriptures and ancient monuments and unexplained phenomena all point to a greater reality than the everyday world of scientific materialism. This is a book about the layers of consciousness.

Reviewed by Toby Johnson, author of
The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell, Gay Spirituality, Getting Life in Perspective and other novels and books

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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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