Table of Contents
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
THE FOURTH QUILL, a
novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The
Dimensional Structure of
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"
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
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
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
11 Steps to Your Divine Self
by Eleanor Lerner
130 pages, ISBN 978-1511448055
Trade paperback $7.95
reviewed by Toby Johnson
I have read (and reviewed) Stephenson & Rhodes' previous book of esoteric wisdom, titled (sort of whimsically) Can Christians Be Saved? I was very impressed and moved by the sensible, but also mystical, blend of religions into a modern vision of God and life—and of the oneness of God and life.
This book, The Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools, presents a similar exposition of modern mystical religion. This book is more specifically Christian in the sense that the "11 Steps" of the mystical journey are presented through investigation of pivotal events in the life of Jesus.
The conceit of the book is that in ancient times there were "mystery schools" that taught the true, deeper secrets behind religion, doctrine and myth, and that these schools used a technique similar to the psychotherapeutic process of psychodrama. "Mystery plays" were created by small groups of initiates who ritually relived and acted out stories from sacred texts as though they were dreams. In a dream, it is said, you, the dreamer, are really everybody and everything, and to understand and amplify a dream you can reimagine the dream from all the various different perspectives. So the same with the sacred stories. To understand the passion and crucifixion of Jesus, for instance, one might imagine oneself as the Cross. What would the tree that had been cut down by the Romans to use in their horrific criminal punishments have thought about its wood being used in that way? And how would the tree have felt when it discovered it was the incarnate God nailed to its limbs? Such questions amplify the dream and the myth and encourage new insights.
Stephenson & Rhodes' book is based on real experiences of this kind of work with meditation and study groups they've run, but it's slightly fictionalized with the actors using Biblical names in order to be less personal and more universal. It is laid out like a workbook with blank, lined pages after each chapter for answering study questions or noting individual insights.
The Biblical stories are all relatively familiar. I think I know what they all mean. But as I read through this book, I found new ways of understanding and appreciating them. This is a good technique; it relies on one's own inner wisdom and so discovers that inner wisdom to be one's own "Divine Self."
This book stands on its own as a good read. It would also make a wonderful focus for a meditation or church group, especially because it would recreate the group as just such an "ancient mystery school." The group would become what the book's about.
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
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated
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
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