Two Spirits: A Story of Life With the Navajo

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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


There is a short version of this press release at Two Spirits Press Release (short)

New book by noted anthropologist/historian and gay culture
scholar documents “same-sex marriage”  as indigenous to the
American continent.

Re: Two Spirits: A Story of Life With the Navajo

Authors: Walter L. Williams & Toby Johnson

Published by Lethe Press, 102 Heritage Ave, Maple Shade, NJ 08052         609-410-7391

Contact: co-author Toby Johnson --

With its sweet tale of inter-racial romance between a young Civil War survivor from Virginia and a Navajo berdache/two-spirit healer of the Old West, Two Spirits: A Story of Life With the Navajo demonstrates gender variance as a source of spiritual power and documents “same-sex marriage”  as indigenous to the American continent.

Twenty years after his influential and ground-breaking perennial bestseller The Spirit and the Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culture, the book that first popularized the berdache tradition among Native American cultures, historian-anthropologist Walter L. Williams has produced a new work on gender and sexual variance -- this time teaming up with award-winning novelist and gay spiritual writer Toby Johnson.

Striking in its evocation of Navajo philosophy, culture and spirituality, this book is a story of tragedy, oppression, and discrimination, but also an enlightening tale of love, personal discovery, and natural beauty. It illuminates the truth of what the United States did to the largest tribe of indigenous people in the Americas. Full of suspense, plot twists, and endearing romance, Two Spirits will captivate readers with its positive approach to life and love.

This novel, based in the historical facts of the fabled West, tells a tale of adventure of a hapless young man from rural Virginia, who is assigned to be the Government Indian Agent on the Bosque Redondo Reservation after the Civil War and discovers himself and so much more.

In the 1860s, the Navajo Indians were held as virtual prisoners of war in the desolate New Mexico desert in an "experiment in Indian management" under the command of an unscrupulous Civil War general who was later removed for swindling money sent by Washington for the Indians’ food and lodging, making himself and his cronies rich at the Indians’ expense.

This story recounts how the fictional Indian Agent develops a romantic relationship with a Two-Spirit healer among the Navajos, and so comes to appreciate personally the plight of the Indians on the reservation. The Two-Spirit Person is modelled on the revered character in certain Native American cultures who blended masculine and feminine genders and so was honored as exemplar of spiritual values.

Through a series of adventures, shot through with Navajo mysticism, the two lovers expose the general’s chicanery and bring about the Indians’ return to their ancestral homeland in eastern Arizona. In the process, the young Virginian learns Native American spirituality and discovers a positive context for his own emotional and sexual development.

His marriage to his Two-Spirit partner demonstrates historical precedent for same-sex marriage on American soil. "Gay marriage" is not new to America. The indigenous cultures on this continent had honored same-sex relationships long before Europeans immigrated here.
The book includes an Afterword: About the Historical Accuracy of this Novel and A Commentary by Navajo/Diné scholar Wesley Thomas.

TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo was awarded a development grant in the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation competition for Gay-positive Art Projects based on Historical Subjects.

Two Spirits is available from gay community bookstores nationwide, major wholesalers, the usual Internet outlets, &, and from

Published by Lethe Press  ISBN 1-59021-060-3 $18.00, 332 pages, Paperback, July 2006 release

Walter L Williams, Ph.D. is professor of anthropology, history and gender studies at the University of Southern California, where he teaches gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender studies, and also American Indian Studies. He is past president of ONE Institute International Gay and Lesbian Archives, and is currently editor of the International Gay And Lesbian Review. For the past two decades, he has been speaking on the berdache (now more preferably called Two-Spirit) phenomenon and has been well-received both by fellow anthropologists and by general audiences. He is author of more than eight books. His The Spirit And The Flesh: Sexual Diversity in American Indian Culturee is a basic staple of any gay reading list and is stocked in bookstores well beyond the network of gay stores.

Toby Johnson, Ph.D. is a writer and former bookseller in the gay genre. He was a counselor in San Francisco in the 1970s and one of the developers of gay-oriented psychotherapy. For almost seven years, he and his partner operated Liberty Books, the lesbian and gay community bookstore in Austin. From 1997 to 2004 Johnson was editor and publisher of the small but respected quarterly journal of gay men’s spirituality, White Crane. He has had published three gay novels and five non-fiction works about the ideas of renowned religions scholar Joseph Campbell. Johnson, only half-joking, refers to himself as "Joe Campbell's apostle to the gay community."

Recently Toby Johnson and Kip Dollar, partners of 23 years, have run gay Bed & Breakfasts first in the Rocky Mountains and then in the Texas Hill Country. Kip and Toby were the first male couple registered as Domestic Partners in Texas.


For a hi-res pdf of the cover


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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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