Varieties of Gay Spiritualities

Contact Us

Table of Contents

Search Site

home  Home


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

Links to Other Gay Spirituality Sites on the Web

Books on Gay Spirituality: White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

Seek Out Spirits True

(extracted from GAY SPIRITUALITY)

For all that there are crooks and disturbed characters among the homosexual population, the experience of most of us most of the time is that we can trust other gay men. Their spirits are true. We share something in common. We are motivated by the world’s oppression to offer one another the best parts of ourselves and to inspire our brothers to offer us the same in return. We can be friends. What we want from one another is love and friendship and shelter from the storm of the straight world. We seek--and we create--community.

The movement, loosely called Gay Spirituality, is concerned with finding kindred spirits. Gay spirituality shows up in a variety of different expressions. Many of these base their legitimacy in historical precedent.

Modern studies in comparative religion show that in the past people we would now call gay were sometimes considered sacred. From the galli, the cross-dressing, sometimes self-emasculated priests of Cybele and Attis in ancient Rome and Phrygia; the nadlehee, the cross-dressing, homosexually-acting medicine men of the Navajos of the American Southwest; and the winktes of the Lakota Sioux to the cultured and refined and liturgically-bedecked clerics of Anglican and Catholic communions around the world, gender variant men have always played central roles in religion.

Themes in Gay Spirituality:

Circle Makers

Circle-making is concerned with creating community, bringing like-minded people together to unite common intentions and get things done. The building of community and a sense of connectedness and loyalty to other gay people is the heart of gay liberation and gay identity development.

The Circle Maker themes are:
1) Radical Faerie consciousness,
2) gay therapy and self-help/personal transformation programs,
3) gay wild man gatherings,
4) bear identification,
5) pilgrimage and adventure-seeking,
6) 12-step programs and
7) Native American berdache/two-spirit tradition.

Ecstatic Revelers

Intense emotional and physical exercises can bring ecstatic experience. That quest for ecstasy represents another theme in gay spirituality.

The Ecstatic Reveler themes are:

1) Tantric sex,
2) enlightened masturbation and
3) leather spirituality.

Supernatural Seekers

Mainstream religion is the most common outlet for the spiritual impulses of gay people. American Christianity and popular religion in general have an underlying mystical layer. Indeed, mysticism is at the core of the religious urge. Because of AIDS, gay people have discovered another access to the mystical and supernatural in familiarity with death and the experience of grieving.

The Supernatural Seeker themes are:

1) gay church membership and religious practice and
2) AIDS-based spiritualities and interest in healing and miracles.

Transcending All the Themes Of Gay Spirituality

Beyond all the specific practices that can be identified with trends in modern gay culture as a manifestation of spirituality, there is the gay personality itself. Gay men glow.

There is a sweetness and light that surrounds us--not all, not always, and it is perhaps visible more in youth than in age. But there is something in the aura of gay men that identifies us to one another and that makes straight people like us as individuals, even when, paradoxically, they do not like homosexuals in general.

There is a beauty and sweetness and compassionateness that go with gay identity. This is a generalization and many gay men do not fit this image. Nonetheless, independent of the behavior of all actual gay men, there is a cultural stereotype, even among straight people, of the gay man as a loving and unexpected saint.

Leaderless Spirituality

There is a mythological story about the wisdom of leaderless spirituality. In the Arthurian legends, it is told that after the Holy Grail appeared to the Knights of the Round Table and then mysteriously disappeared, the knights vowed to go in quest of the Grail. They agreed that each should begin his quest in the place in the forest that was darkest and most lost, and each should choose his own way and none should follow in the path of another.

Walking The World’s Weird Wall

For some people, homosexuality is a genuine spiritual vocation, you might say, a religion in itself. But it has no set doctrine, explanation of God or the Divine Plan.

The author of this essay believes the insights and observations he’s gleaned about “God” and the nature of religion flow from his homosexual orientation. This is so if only because by being a gay man and so a religious renegade, he’s been able to allow himself to think outside the box of traditional doctrine.

What matters is not having the right ideas, but being a loving person. How we behave is what counts, not what we believe. (In this, the orthodox Protestants with their notion of salvation by faith alone have it exactly backwards.)

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.

 back to top

BACK to Toby's home page

valid html

Essential SSL