Adam and Steve

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Toby Johnson's books:

Toby's books are available as ebooks from, the Apple iBookstore, etc.

Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III

Gay Spirituality

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

Gay Perspective

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

Secret Matter

SECRET MATTER, a sci-fi novel with wonderful "aliens" with an Afterword by Mark Jordan

Getting Life

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE:  A Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods

The Fourth Quill

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

Two Spirits
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

charmed lives
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with Steve Berman and some 30 other writers

Myth of the Great Secret

THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell

In Search of God


Unpublished manuscripts

About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

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  Toby has done five podcasts with Harry Faddis for The Quest of Life

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  Articles and Excerpts:

Review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

About Liberty Books, the Lesbian/Gay Bookstore for Austin, 1986-1996

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

Why gay people should NOT Marry

The Scriptural Basis for Same Sex Marriage

Toby and Kip Get Married

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

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Gay Consciousness

Why homosexuality is a sin

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

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

The Gay Succession

Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Mysticism of Andrew Harvey

The upsidedown book on MSNBC

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"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

You're Not A Wave

Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging

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

What Anatman means

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

Cutting edge realization

The Myth of the Wanderer

Change: Source of Suffering & of Bliss

World Navel

What the Vows Really Mean

Manifesting from the Subtle Realms

The Three-layer Cake & the Multiverse

The est Training and Personal Intention

Effective Dreaming in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven

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Gay Spirituality

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

The Mann Ranch (& Rich Gabrielson)

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Two Loves

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

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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

Having a Church to Leave

Harold Cole on Beauty

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Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Not lashed to the prayer-post

Monastic or Chaste Homosexuality

Is It Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process

Notes on Licking  (July, 1984)

Redeem Orlando

Gay Consciousness changing the world by Shokti LoveStar

Alexander Renault interviews Toby Johnson

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Mystical Vision

"The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross & the Dark Night of the Soul."

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths

 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

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The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016

The  Gay Hero Journey (shortened)

You're On Your Own


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Seeing Differently

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

Facing the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?

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The Vision

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

A  Most Remarkable Synchronicity in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

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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

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The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

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Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey, and the modern Gay Hero-- a five part presentation on YouTube

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About Alien Abduction

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

Intersections with the movie When We Rise

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

Toby at the California Institute

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

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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 Mark Thompson

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

The Alamo Business Council

Our friend Tom Nash

Second March on Washington

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"

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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: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises 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

Yes by Brad Boney

Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler

Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal

Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson

Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette

The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson

The Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire

"Sex Camp" by Brian McNaught

Out & About with Brewer & Berg
Episode One: Searching for a New Mythology

The Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons

Out on Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert

The Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker

Out There by Perry Brass

The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh

The Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan

It's Never About What It's About by Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja

ReCreations, edited by Catherine Lake

Gospel: A Novel by WIlton Barnhard

Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson

Dating the Greek Gods
by Brad Gooch

Telling Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan

The Substance of God by Perry Brass

The Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols

10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort

Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love by Will Roscoe

The Third Appearance by Walter Starcke

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann

Surviving and Thriving After a Life-Threatening Diagnosis by Bev Hall

Men, Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long

An Interview with Ron Long

Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy Conner & David Sparks

An Interview with Randy Conner

Pain, Sex and Time by Gerald Heard

Sex and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak

Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan

Rising Up by Joe Perez

Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez

That Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco

Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman

Wisdom for the Soul by Larry Chang

MM4M a DVD by Bruce Grether

Double Cross by David Ranan

The Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak

Jesus in Love by Kittredge Cherry

In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson

The Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson

Life in Paradox by Fr Paul Murray

Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel Helminiak

Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society by Robert A. Minor

Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien

Queering Christ by Robert Goss

Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage

The Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato

Catland by David Garrett Izzo

Tantra for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson

Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main

Simple Grace by Malcolm Boyd

Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza

What Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett

Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans

Gift of the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen

Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden

The Liar's Prayer by Gregory Flood

Lovely are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman

The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak

3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak

Only the Good Parts by Daniel Curzon

Four Short Reviews of Books with a Message

Life Interrupted by Michael Parise

Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire

The Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman

Conscious Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny

Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman

True Religion by J.L. Weinberg

The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer

Everything is God by Jay Michaelson

Reflection by Dennis Merritt

Everywhere Home by Fenton Johnson

Hard Lesson by James Gaston

God vs Gay? by Jay Michaelson

The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path by Jay Michaelson

Roxie & Fred by Richard Alther

Not the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen

The 9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether

The Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber

AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar

Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost

The Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal

Secret Body by Jeffrey J Kripal

In Hitler's House by Jonathan Lane

Walking on Glory by Edward Swift

The Paradox of Porn by Don Shewey

Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire

Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson

Toby Johnson's Books on Gay Men's Spiritualities:

Perspective cover
Gay Perspective

Things Our [Homo]sexuality
Tells Us about the
Nature of God and
the Universe

Gay Perspective audiobook
Gay Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Matthew Whitfield. Click here

Spirituality cover
Gay Spirituality

Gay Identity and 
the Transformation of
Human Consciousness

Gay Spirituality   is now available as an audiobook, beautifully narrated by John Sipple. Click here

charmed lives
Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling

edited by
Toby Johnson
& Steve Berman

secret matter
Secret Matter

Lammy Award Winner for Gay Science Fiction


Getting Life
Getting Life in Perspective

A Fantastical Romance

Life in Perspective audiobook
Getting Life in Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Alex Beckham. Click here 

The Fourth Quill

The Fourth Quill

originally published as PLAGUE

The Fourth Quill is available as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie Moreland. Click here

Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo

with Walter L. Williams

Two Spirits
audiobookTwo Spirits  is available as an audiobook  narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click here

Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III
Finding Your Own True Myth:
What I Learned from Joseph Campbell

The Myth of the Great Secret III

Search of God in the Sexual Underworld
In Search of God  in the Sexual Underworld

The Myth of the Great Secret II

The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell.

This was the second edition of this book.

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Toby Johnson's titles are available in other ebook formats from Smashwords.

Whimsical story with a profound message about Gay Men's Spirituality by Toby Johnson, a student of Comparative Religion scholar Joseph Campbell


Adam and Steve

by Toby Johnson


In my books Gay Spirituality: Gay Identity and Transformation of Consciousness and Gay Perspective: Things our [homo]sexuality tells us about the nature of God and the Universe and maybe especially in my sci-fi novel Secret Matter,  I argue that gay people's spiritual path has to lead through their homosexuality (not in spite of it) if it is to be successful in changing their lives. The goal of spirituality, after all, is to experience being in heaven now. One's spiritual path should lead one to greater joy, bliss, happiness, and acceptance of life right now.

There are multiple ways to understand one's sexuality and homosexuality in positive ways. What I have written about in my books is how to think about the nature of homosexuality itself in a positive, spiritual light, to see your homosexuality as an important part of your spiritual journey.

One way to think of homosexuality is as an experience of human consciousness "before" the division into male and female.

In mythological terms, one might say homosexual orientation--and modern day gay and queer, consciousness--derive from an Edenic state before "original sin." 

In the metaphoric language of myth, you might ask: "Where were the homosexuals in the Garden of Eden?"

Well, we frequently hear Christian preachers deride gay people's struggle for equality and fairness by joking that God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

Well, maybe they're wrong. Maybe He did.


The Book of Genesis begins with the story of how the gods, referred to in the plural as the elohim, created the cosmos in six days, creating human beings on the sixth day and then resting on the seventh. The story then goes on tell how a particular God, referred to in the singular by the unpronounceable Hebrew name YHWH, who seemed in charge of sending rain, wanted a gardener for his Garden on the east side of the Fertile Crescent called Mesopotamia.

In the second chapter of Genesis, this God YHWH formed a man out of the dust to be His gardener. YHWH was a strict and demanding God and set a rule for this gardener He'd made that he could eat any of the fruit in the Garden except the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And He instructed him to give names to everything in the Garden. As we know, the gardener named the Garden Eden.

What isn't mentioned in the second chapter of Genesis is that there were other people in Mesopotamia. That was told in the creation story in the first chapter. Before Adam, the elohim had created human beings, male and females, and they followed instructions and went forth and multiplied.

In fact, just down the road from Eden, this creative myth we're making up here tells us, there lived a cute young fellow. Let's call him Clay because he was probably born from the dust of the Earth, just like YHWH's gardener. But he wasn't created by YHWH. He was created by the elohim. Since the elohim were plural, among them were masculine and feminine gods, that is powers and spirits of creativity and intellectual acuity and also powers and spirits of receptivity and feeling sensitivity.

As it says in that first chapter of Genesis, the elohim created man in their own image, that is, both masculine and feminine. The text in Chapter 1, line 27 says in the image of God He created him, male and female He created him. The writers of ancient Hebrew weren't sophisticated enough to understand the distinction between gender and sex, so when they wanted to say the first man was masculine and feminine, they said he was male and female.

This was Clay, the cute young fellow who lived down the road from Eden, who was both masculine and feminine.


Modern day Scripture scholars now explain that the two different creation narratives in the first and second chapters of Genesis, first by the elohim and second by YHWH, are actually two separate traditions in the development of Hebrew Scripture. The Northern Kingdom of Israel called its God by the more abstract, philosophical plural term, while the Southern Kingdom of Juda called God by the more personal and homey YHWH. The elohim create by word and thought. YHWH, the more personal in spite of His difficult name, created by shaping dust and breathing into it; He walks in the Garden with his creation, a kindly fellow though also a strict and demanding employer.

The creation story occurs twice, the scholars tell us, not because there were two creations, but because there were two myths that got woven into one when members of the priestly clan organized the nomadic Hebrews into a single tribe with a written tradition. It's their stringing the two narratives in sequence that results in the two stories.

But those Fundamentalists--the ones who grouse about Adam and Steve--generally don't have any truck with modern scripture scholars. They dismiss all that book learning and research as unnecessary at best and the work of the Devil at worst. They don't need scholars explaining the different stories. They say you can take the Bible word for word, exactly the way God wrote it.

So it's according to that kind of literal belief in the words that we can weave our myth about the androgynous fellow who lived down the road.

We're calling him Clay. He wasn't assigned any particular job by his creators like that gardener YHWH created. (Those scripture scholars tell us that name would have been pronounced Yahweh, if anybody had dared say it aloud. Yahweh was a friendly personal fellow, but obviously a little neurotic. He didn't like anybody getting chummy enough with him to call him by his personal name.)


So Clay hung around the beautiful spot of land the elohim had given him. He played with the animals and birds and enjoyed life. He especially enjoyed having the beautiful body the elohim had given him.

He loved to look in the water and see his own reflection. The sight of his lithe body reflected in the water excited him and pleased him. It made him feel such love and wonder for the gods who created him so marvelously. And he loved to caress himself and wrap his arms around himself and squeeze and squeeze in boyish bliss. And also boy-like, he loved to excite his body. He discovered the wonderful wand the gods had given him and he loved to stimulate himself and come to orgasm, so that he felt at one with all the beautiful nature in the garden world he been given for a home. Sometimes the gods would come to watch. They would laugh and applaud when Clay came because they were pleased they could enjoy Clay's embodiment with him.

Clay was perfectly content living down the road from the Garden of Eden.

When they were both young and fresh from their creators' hands, Clay and the gardener (whom we all know is going to get named Adam a little later) used to play together. Clay showed Adam how he could get his body to respond to touch and friction. Clay taught Adam how to kiss. And how to see his own reflection in the water. They had wonderful times together, though Adam would sometimes get very nervous and worry that Yahweh would see what they were doing and not like it. Adam enjoyed his job and especially liked walking with Yahweh in the cool of the evening, but he was always on edge cause Yahweh seemed so easily ticked off.

Well, of course, the story goes on to tell that Yahweh thought Adam should have a helper. So he cast Adam into sleep and took a bone from his side and fashioned a woman to be Adam's helper and mate. This was Eve.

Once Eve came around, Adam took to visiting Clay less often. And since he was having an adult sexual relationship with Eve, Adam didn't want to play the boyish games with Clay Clay had taught him.

Clay sometimes got lonely when Adam didn't come around. Not that he needed anybody; as an androgynous being perfectly balanced between masculinity and feminity, he never really had a bad mood. But he did miss the camaraderie.

He'd go down and visit Adam and Eve. Indeed he got to be better friends with Eve than Adam. Adam had gotten so bossy and patriarchal. He wanted his own way all the time. Eve was much easier to get along with. Clay and Eve loved to sip tea together in the morning and talk about the problems they were having with Adam.


One day while Clay was down at his own little grove, enjoying the beauty of the morning, he heard an enormous commotion over at Eden. There were lightning bolts flying and booms of thunder rolling across the countryside. Clay went running to find out what was happening to his friends.

He arrived to discover that Yahweh was standing out by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil having a hissy-fit, and stomping at a big snake curled around the foot of the Tree, while Adam was alternatingly begging God to calm down and whacking Eve on the side of the head, shouting, "This is all your fault!"

Suddenly another big explosion and an angel with a flaming sword came swooping down out of the sky and forced Adam and Eve to go fleeing out of the garden.

Clay ran up to his friend Eve and asked what had happened. She hurriedly told him how the snake had tricked her into tasting the fruit of the tree and it was so tasty she got Adam to try it also. Then God had shown up and all hell broke loose. "Now he's fired us and put a curse on us," she said. Then added, "Look, Clay, he doesn't have any control over you. And I know he likes you. Won't you go back in the garden and see if you can talk Him into changing his mind."

So Clay slipped back into Eden. When the cherubim with the flaming sword demanded to know his business, Clay reminded him he was the androgynous first creation of the elohim and the Cherubim let him pass. "For you, the two sides of the sword have no power; they are male and female; you are beyond their power to cleave, for you comprise both sides in yourself."

(People who are androgynous can always slip into Eden by the front door--but most of us just haven't thought we'd been invited!)

Clay arrived just in time to find Yahweh satisfied the snake was gone. He was still huffing and puffing, but his anger had cooled down.

When Yahweh saw Clay, he sighed loudly and exclaimed, "What's a father to do? I gave them everything they asked for. But they couldn't obey one simple little instruction. You tell me, Clay, what's a father to do?"

Clay smiled, a litle sheepishly and a little patronizingly, "You could forgive them."

"Well, I am sure I will," Yahweh answered. "But not yet. Let them stew in their own juices for a while."

"Now, don't be cruel," Clay said.

"Cruel? It's for their own good," Yahweh retorted. "Look, Clay, if I had given all this to you and the only thing I'd asked is that you not eat the one apple, what would you have done? Yeah, tell me. What would you have done?"

"Well, Lord God," Clay answered carefully, "you're right. I wouldn't have eaten the apple. There's so much abundance here in Mesopotamia, there's no reason to eat something marked dangerous. But, still, you've got to be merciful with them. They have such a hard time making up their minds because their feminine side is in Eve and their masculine side is in Adam and they have such difficulty ever figuring anything out beween them."

"You're damn right about that," Yahweh said, with a thunderclap to punctuate his point.


Not seeing what more he could do for his friends by imploring God, Clay left God in the Garden and went out to help the Adamses carry their stuff to town where, maybe, they could find a cheap apartment. They were unemployed now and finding housing wasn't going to be easy. Clay offered to help with the first and last month down.

A couple of days later, Clay was back in his own grove sitting by the water side, relishing the feelings and sensuality in his body--and occasionally feeling sorry for Adam and Eve, but also understanding it was their own fault. Though Clay liked Eve a lot, he certainly saw that the marriage had changed Adam. It was that cocksure thing that Adam did around Eve that made him distrust Yahweh's rule.

Just as Clay was getting into his morning sex ritual, the elohim arrived at his door. They tittered a little, but said they were hoping to get a look at his play. He reminded them that they were always welcome. And then they said, "Well, we have a surprise for you."

"We were talking with Yahweh and learned he'd fired his gardener and Eden is down there without anybody to tend it or keep it beautiful. We think you should take the job."

"It's a lot of work. Adam had to get Eve's help to keep up," Clay replied. "But thank you very much for the offer."

"We'll give you help too," the elohim replied with a snicker of knowing in their voice.

"Clay," they said, "look in the water. See your reflection. See how you encompass all the masculine and all the feminine traits in yourself. See how beautiful you are. Gaze upon the beauty of your reflection in the pool of time."

Clay experienced the voices of the elohim drawing him into a profound mystical experience. He sensed how, as their creation, he was a manifestation of their divinity in the stream of time. He saw his own beauty--and God's beauty--reflected back at him.

And then to his great surprise, Clay saw his reflection seem to take on flesh and to rise up out of the water.

Yahweh appeared next to him at that moment. "As a reward for your willingness not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, I pass on to you the land I'd created for my servant Adam. And I create for you a partner, an equal, a reflection of yourself, a lover beyond the duality of male and female."

So when Clay's reflection came up out of the water, he embraced himself with great love and affection, and he felt wonderful sensations of sexual pleasure rise up in his body. What a wonderful thing this is, Clay thought.

"Thank you, so much, Lord God Yahweh," Clay explained. "I wasn't expecting a reward for obedience. I just thought you must have had a good assessment about the edibility of that fruit."

And Yahweh said, "You shall always have your reflection as a helpmate. Your attraction to one like yourself is my gift to you in acknowledgement of your virtue."

Another thunderclap and Yahweh was off.

The elohim gathered around Clay and his beautiful new boyfriend. "Clay," they whispered, "what are you going to name him?"

Clay thought about a name. He'd liked Eve a lot. She was a great partner for Adam, even if Adam didn't always see it and appreciate her. Clay thought he'd name his partner for Eve. But since Eve was a woman with a woman's name, Clay chose a more manly sounding version. He called his partner Steve.

So, see, there was a Steve in the Garden of Eden. There still is.


Well, Clay and Steve moved into the garden and took very good care of it. They decorated and designed and beautified til there was just nothing more to do.

The Adams family was still living in town and Adam and Eve used to bring the children out to Eden occasionally to visit. Their teenage boys were terrors, always getting into fights with each other. Everybody in town knew they were going to come to no good.

But Adam and Eve had other children and they all came around. Sometimes Clay and Steve discovered they could see reflections of themselves in some of the kids. They weren't going to be parents themselves. They understood Yahweh's gift of living in the garden and not having to cope with the problems of original sin the way the Adamses did meant they wouldn't have their own children. But always among the children who came to visit, there were those like them. Clay and Steve always invited the cute gay boys and the sissies and the tomboy girls to come back without their parents so they could be instructed in the secrets of cultivating the Garden.

The Secret of the Garden is that we’ve never really left. This world, as it is, is the Kingdom of God on Earth. What keeps people from seeing Paradise is the blinding clash of the dualities—good and evil, desirable and undesirable, winner and loser, dominant and submissive, masculine and feminine—that all arise from being male and female. The way to see beyond the dualities is to understand both sides and not make anybody wrong, to be non-competitive and loving, to choose things the way they are. This is why the “children” of Clay and Steve can forgive all the others. We see sex and love and reproduction differently, and that gives us a special perspective and a particular vocation. We’re the artists and poets, caregivers, teachers, service-providers, priests, wizards and fairies; we are the way-showers. It’s our job to tend the Garden and keep up the look of the place, to make the world beautiful, and to share the secret with the others. This is the way to see Heaven.

That’s why we’re here: to show how to see things differently.

The fanciful story of Clay and Steve might remind us queer gay people we can see our sexuality differently from how we were taught and remind us that it is our vocation—why the elohim created us—to embody that victory over cruelty and chaos, beyond the dualities, that saves the world.

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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of nine 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, four 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 and editor of a collection of "myths" of gay men's consciousness. 

Johnson's book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness won a Lambda Literary Award in 2000.

His  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our [Homo]sexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was nominated for a Lammy in 2003. They remain in print.

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III tells the story of Johnson's learning the real nature of religion and myth and discovering the spiritual qualities of gay male consciousness.

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