Andrew Harvey

gay spiritual writer/activist



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Toby's books are available as ebooks from smashwords.com, 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


IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey



Unpublished manuscripts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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Enlightenment


"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


Meditation


Historicity as Myth


Pilgrimage


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


Superheroes


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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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People


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


Enigma by Lloyd Meeker


Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson




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




Gay
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







Gay
Spirituality cover
Gay Spirituality

Gay Identity and 
the Transformation of
Human Consciousness



gay-spirituality-audiobook
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

updated







Getting Life
Getting Life in Perspective

A Fantastical Romance





Getting
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




johnson-the-fourth-quill-audiobook
The Fourth Quill is available as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie Moreland. Click here






Two
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








In
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.



Andrew Harvey

Excerpted from an interview with gay writer, mystic, guide Andrew Harvey on

Andrew Harvey MyOutSpirit.com, conducted by Tom Cummisky.


"The more we see gay people emerging with this kind of broad generosity of soul and wild commitment to transformation and profound love and compassion for all beings and justice for all beings, the more the fears of the straight community about gay people will be healed."

"As victims of separation and victims of division and as victims of unbelievable cruelty, it is up to us to really manifest the kind of compassion, the kind of all embracing understanding and the kind of commitment to love that will truly transform others.  Take the darkness we’ve been given and transform it into golden light."


Read the whole interview below

(copied from MyOutSpirit)


harvey book


Harvey has a new book on spirituality as activism, titled THE HOPE: A GUIDE TO SACRED ACTIVISM.

Find the book at
Andrew Harvey's website




Toby Johnson comments on the interview:

A wonderful statement by Andrew Harvey: Spirituality not as rejecting the world, but as saving the world.

The natural evolution of consciousness leads us to understand the human religious impulse to be not about adhering to strict purity taboos and rules and restrictions, especially about sex, OR about believing in certain mythological doctrines, but about living in such virtuous ways that the problems and suffering in the world clear up in the course of evolution itself AND that human beings come to understand the world's mythological heritage as metaphors, not dogmas, that are clues to the nature of consciousness and of our oneness with "God." World changing, world saving, world serving activism flows naturally from the realization of who we really are at the level of spirit.

The goal of gay spirituality, I think, is to find for ourselves--and to assist other gay people to see--how our homosexuality can be understood as a clue and an operative practice to experiencing that oneness with "God." The goal of the spiritual life is to experience being in heaven now. Meditation and spiritual practice serve to reveal this transcendental reality; they transform experience so that the world DOES appear and BECOMES heaven now. For gay people spiritual vision sees how the styles of gay life can be perceived as--and thereby transformed into--clues to heaven.

Gay spirituality, for instance, sees that a frivolous whimsy of gay life, like drag (from Radical Faerie-style genderfuck to stage drag and serious female impersonation, from Halloween costume to personal effeminacy) resonate with age-old myths of androgynous, bisexual gods and cross-dressing shamans.

Gay patterns of free and anonymous sex resonate with the mystical poetry of the Sufis and of, specifically, St John of the Cross whose poem "On a Dark Night" is about discovering that the man he has had anonymous "park sex" was Jesus--for all of us, mystically, we are Jesus and Avalokiteshvara and God-incarnate to one another, and should behave so!

The gay encounter with AIDS in the last decades resonates with myths of asceticism, voluntary suffering, mystical substitution and self-sacrifice for the salvation of others--by both the "victims" and the caregivers.

Talents of gay personality, like style, design and artistry and, perhaps even more important, sensitivity, compassion and drive to service, show us the virtues we can and should cultivate for our spiritual growth. Our gayness gives us a perspective on life and cultural convention; we understand the world, other people's lifestyles AND religious tradition from over and above; we should strive to be visionaries and world-transformers. Our attraction to same rather than opposite potentially makes us less distracted and obsessed with duality; we are blessed, if we want to be so, with clues to nondual vision.

The work that Andrew Harvey is doing is so important because it demonstrates--both to the gay world AND to the world at large--the evolution of religion and spirituality. This is in line with the great tradition of homosexual and gender-transcending prophets, seers, idealists and spiritual guides. And Harvey reminds us that our spirituality must resonate outward from us to save the world. This is where the evolution of consciousness is taking us all as Earth/Gaia wakes up and we all see heaven now. And, I think, it's a gay thing to point the way.

This is how we, as gay people, give good service by being openly gay AND by transforming what it means to be gay so everybody understands us not as sinners but as saints. This is how we become saints. Spirituality IS self-fulfilling prophecy IS activism in service of humankind.

Toby Johnson, author Gay Spirituality: Gay Identity and the Transformation of Human Consciousness



Andrew Harvey gave an address to the LoveSpirit Festival in London, Oct 26, 2013 on the gay mystical experience. Toby Johnson was honored to be invited to follow in Harvey's path and to give a LoveSpirit address in 2014.






Here's the full Interview copied from
MyOutSpirit for preservation


A Third Fire


Rev. Tom Cummiskey for MyOutSpirit:  Your new book is called THE HOPE: A GUIDE TO SACRED ACTIVISM.  Between war, the economic downturn and the difficulty of ongoing struggles for equality, justice and human rights around the world, it’s a challenging time to be hopeful.  Where do we find the strength to hope?

Andrew Harvey: We find the strength to hope that is not threatened by external circumstances, when you discover the truths of the truths of all the mystical traditions that all say with one voice that at the core of every human being is Divine Consciousness and that the meaning of life is to uncover and embody this consciousness.  Rumi says this most beautifully I think when he says,

“The Wine of Divine Grace is limitless.  All limits come from the faults of the cup. Moonlight floods the whole sky from horizon to horizon; How much can it fill your room depends on its windows. Grant a great dignity my friend to the cup of your life.  Eternal love has designed it to hold its eternal wine.”

That poem is six lines only and comes from his work the Mathnawi, but it contains the essence of the essence of the instruction and revelation and experience of all the traditions that the wine of Divine grace is always pouring in every event. In pain as well as in joy, in chaos as well as in order.

There is an alchemy of grace going on at every moment and that you can come to learn this and the great boundless unconditional mercy that is prompting it, the great unconditional love that is sustaining it, when you go on the mystical journey and really experience the beloved inwardly.

The “whole sky” he says is flooded with moonlight from horizon to horizon, and what he is referring to is the experience that comes on the path. And it comes to Hopis’ and to Yamamami’s and Buddhists and Hindus and Christians and those of us who are independent mystics. And when you have polished the mirror of the heart enough and you have the experience that the entire universe is actually a manifestation of blazing Divine white light--the moonlight--that all the stars and nebulae and all the creations of nature are all energy condensations of a light consciousness which is the Divine bliss, “knowledge awareness consciousness,” and that which is the original blessing of the core of every human being.  And how much you can experience this depends as he says, on the windows of your room.

Philipjohnson
If you have a room without windows this torrential light cannot come in.  If you have a room with only dogmatic windows, the windows will be narrow and will only let a little of that light in.  But if you really pursue a wholehearted, whole soul, whole spirited, whole minded mystical path of a universal nature then one day with the grace of the beloved you will have a kind of Phillip Johnson house with glass walls, and this light, revealing the sacredness of everything revealing the holiness of the whole in nature your own essential union with the Divine nature and the core of consciousness will flood your whole being and you will realize the truth of the last two lines, “Grant a great dignity my friend to the cup of your life.  Eternal love has designed it to hold its eternal wine.”

So the great hope is that enough people will take this tremendous journey inspired by the mystics of all traditions at this terrible time and uncover the radiance and passion and power of the Divine Consciousness and start enacting it.  The other great hope I think is linked to that.  And that is, that all those who discover this consciousness, discover and uncover that its essential nature is love.

I once asked the Dalai Lama what is the meaning of life? And he threw his head back and roared with laughter, “The meaning of life is to embody the transcendent.”

To bring this great consciousness down into your mind, soul and body and to start acting with the full passion, the full wisdom, the full generosity, and the full tenderness and the full compassion of your whole nature in reality to embody transcendent love consciousness in acts of justice.  This is the source of a very great hope because when you do start working directly with the Divine consciousness you are given the blessing of the Divine and some of the extraordinary miraculous power of the Divine. And this extraordinary miraculous power can effect very great and very surprising and very mysterious change even in terrible circumstances.

Robert Kennedy said in 1966, "Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

And Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas said, “Those who are united with the will of God can move mountains.”

So I think those two different facets of the same Divine revelation at the core of human nature are what gives me hope.  Pythagoras said, “Take courage for human nature is Divine.”  And at a time that is as dreadful and challenging and menacing as this, the greatest courage we need is to plunge into our Divine nature and start to live it out with its fearlessness and truth and passion for justice on every level and in every realm of the world.

MOS:  How do you explain the difference between activism and Sacred Activism?

AH:  I have a great admiration for all those who stand up for the craziness of the world. I have a great admiration for all those who realize that we are on a suicidal death trip and want to reverse as quickly and as urgently as possible all the various addictions and undo all the various systems of evil that are destroying human beings and nature.  But I have come through my own experience to understand that both mystics and activists, as they are now, have serious and limiting shadows.

The mystic shadow is an addiction to transcendence, an addiction to the light—a forgetting of the responsibilities of mystic consciousness to compassion and justice, and to cherishing and sustaining the real world.  So many mystics, especially in the new age, use their mystical experiences as a kind of “subtle heroin” to sign-off from responsibility to the burning world and justify their obscene passivity and addiction to bliss experiences as great wisdom, which is great blindness.

Many of the activists I know, and I admire their nobility and their fierceness and their commitment, are also in their own narcissism and shadow. This narcissism and shadow expresses itself as a divided consciousness which is very often rooted in anger but projects the unacknowledged shadow of the activist himself or herself onto the demonic other, and that leads very often to messiah complexes, great outrage, offending others by brutal condemnation of them, and tragically, despair and burnout, in the face of the very exhausting task of transforming the world so hell-bent on destruction.

So what I’ve come to understand is that this narcissism and these shadows that afflict both the activist and the mystic can only really be healed when the fire of the mystic’s passion for God is united with the fire of the activist’s passion for justice to form a third fire, which is Divine love and wisdom in action.

And when this third fire is ignited, the shadow of the mystic is healed by the passion of the activist for justice. And the mystics’ temptation to passivity and the mystics’ temptation to go off into the light and forget the responsibilities of the world and not to put love into action are healed by the activists’ passion for just action. And the activists shadow of divisiveness, of burnout, messiah complexes etc is healed by the mystical wisdom and peace and deep, deep union with the Divine and deep union with the sources of strength the Divine can provide.

So this third fire breeds a new kind of activism.  It breeds an activism that flows naturally and profoundly, and wisely, from deep sacred consciousness, deep alignment with the beloved, deep surrender to the will of the beloved, and deep opening on every level of the being, (heart, soul, mind, and body) to the light and truths of the Divine and to it’s mysterious will of transformation in reality.

An activism like this has four main characteristics that make it pliable and supple to the Divine will and to the Divine power and to the great, great strength of the flow to the being from the Divine.

The first characteristic is that it roots itself in sacred practice.  It really takes seriously the truth that is enshrined in all the mystical traditions, that what makes an action in the end most profoundly effective, both inwardly and outwardly, is the truth of its compassionate intention and the wisdom that prompts it.

The second characteristic of such an activism is that it truly surrenders its actions to the will of the Divine love and the hunger for transformation in our world, and in so doing it becomes wise, patient, generous, and compassionate, and feeds directly from the power of the Divine so that it never runs out of energy.  This is very important.

The third characteristic of Sacred Activism is that it really takes shadow work seriously.  Both the activists and mystics I know suffer from a lack of grueling and rigorous shadow work.

Mystics tend to want to drop the shadow and just think of the Divine as the light, whereas in fact, the Divine is a dance of opposites of light and darkness given what we call good, what we call evil, chaos and order.  And without really embracing what we call the dark side of the Divine, you can never have an integrated experience of the One.  And activists that I know very often project their own failings and their own unacknowledged shadow on others thus condemning others, dividing themselves from others, and producing a rhetoric that is so harsh that it puts off the very people that they want to persuade.

A very good example of this is the way that the environmental movement, for all its just knowledge of how we are destroying the planet has failed to arouse the world because it uses very often a very divisive and very angry rhetoric. And another example is the animal rights.  PETA’s philosophy is magnificent, but its practice has alienated millions of people who truly love animals but are outraged at the violence of the tactics that PETA uses.  So, without this kind of grueling shadow work in which everyone who does it comes to understand that he or she is a conniver and a polluter in the destruction of the planet, and someone whose secret thought forms keep alive the systems of cold evil that are destroying the planet--without realizing that we are all implicated in this--the truth of unconditional compassion cannot be born. And, the skillful means of understanding the deep motives of others without divisive judgment cannot be engendered so that the deep ways of transforming yourself and others cannot take place.  So that is the third condition of Sacred Activism.

The fourth condition of Sacred Activism that is really important is that it understands, at the deepest level, that suffering and ordeal and the smashing of the ego’s agendas and illusions play an enormous part in the will of the Divine to create an instrument worthy and clear enough to be an instrument of this energy and will in reality.

Very often nowadays, mystics are addicted to what I call “Mysticism Light,” the marzipan mysticism of this grotesque New Age, which refuses to acknowledge the necessity of a death into life that all the authentic mystical traditions talk about. And activists tend to assume, that just being right about the systems of cold evil will secure in the end a victory over them.  Both the contemporary mystics that are addicted to a totally fake cheerful vision of the Divine, and activists who are addicted to reason and a clear-eyed vision of justice as being enough, are deluded--because the only thing that can transform the way in which we are being and doing everything, is a radical transformation of human nature.

And this radical transformation of human nature as all the great pioneers of Divine human being have shown us from Jesus, to the Buddha, to Rumi, to Ramakrishna, to Teresa of Avila, to all the great mystics of our time, can only take place when people really risk the death into life, the dark night of the soul, the stripping and burning down of the agendas and illusions of the ego, and risk it in such a way that they surrender their will to the Divine and go through whatever is necessary for them to be clarified and purified of their false agendas as to be born into the power and radiance and ego-less service of the Divine self.

This is very important not only because it enables a human being to go through a quantum leap of transformation, but because, and this is crucial for our understanding of how activism of this kind can work in the world at this moment, this purified ego, this ego in the service of the self, the being that has been through this death and has been resurrected in this Divine life, is a being that can be flooded with the powers and wisdom and compassion and energy and passion for just action that belongs to the love of the Divine and so can be enormously more effective than any activist who has not been through such a transformation.

An activist who has not been through such a transformation may very well be highly effective, with great intelligence, highly decent, and a very brave person.  However, an activist who has been through this transformation is someone far more powerful.  He or she is a Divine human being surrendered to the will of God, used as an instrument of the will of God, radioactive with the grace of God, and filled with the energy and power of God.

And I think that given the enormous challenges of our time – a time in which the whole of humanity is threatened, and a time in which, in our addiction we may have destroyed the whole of nature – what is called for is a wholly new level of power.  And this power does not belong to the ego, it cannot be wielded by the ego, it cannot be streamed by the ego and it can only stream through someone who has died into life—someone who has gone through the dark night of the soul, into the experience of the resurrection of Divine consciousness through the death into life.

This kind of activist, this kind of being, is what we need—warriors of peace, great armies of these kinds of activists to do the work that can now, in these extreme circumstances, preserve the planet.

MOS:  In Buddhism, a spiritual warrior who achieves enlightenment and comes back to help others achieve it is called a bodhisattva.  Christianity has its saints.  In Shirt of Flame, spiritual gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activists are called “Sidhe,” after the high faeries of Ireland.  But whatever the label, we can all effect change in many ways.  Where do you see in the LGBT community our need to acknowledge our shadow and even though we all have an individual shadow, what are some of the most pervasive collective shadows of our community?

AH: Well, I think that the deepest shadow is that all of us in the gay community are still deeply stricken at very profound levels by the patriarchal religions’ hatred of homosexuality.  That in each of them, in Islam, and in Judaism, and in Christianity, and unfortunately also in certain aspects of Buddhism and Hinduism, we have been condemned as disgusting and crazy and obscene.

When you add this condemnation of homosexuality to the general way in which all the patriarchal religions have condemned the body, demonized sex, then, what has been created is a vast internal shadow which breeds self loathing, shame, rage against the body, hatred of ones sexuality, and a kind of perpetual secret despair.  This shadow is immense and very destructive, and in my experience can only be healed by a very profound experience of the Divine feminine and the Tantric glory that that opens up.  The blessing of the body, the blessing of sexuality, the blessing of the whole of nature not as an illusion or as doomed or as fallen, but as a manifestation of the splendor of the creator, the splendor of the Father/Mother.  That is the first thing.

From this shadow stream four aspects of the gay community that I think need to be addressed very strongly, now.

The first aspect is that, because I think that because we have not been allowed to believe in the holiness of our sexuality and in the holiness of the desires of our love, many of us have given ourselves over to mindless promiscuity which makes the birth of the authentic tantra impossible.  People tend to veer between Puritanism and pornography, without anything in between.  And the sexual meaninglessness of the gay world is now a kind of epidemic where people pretend to be living wildly liberated lives, but are in fact living lives in which energy is being leaked off at every level, in lives without any authentic connection. I’m not being moralistic about this, I am just pointing to the dereliction of the work of authentic energy that results from this concentration on meaningless sex.

I think another aspect of this shadow is that in the gay community there is an epidemic of meth and crack addiction. And what is this epidemic—but a manifestation of profound self-loathing. It is absolutely terrifying to me, the amount of gay men and women I know—mostly men, who are ruining their health and ruining their hearts and ruining their minds by plunging in despair into addiction. And the extent of this addiction makes quite clear to me that all these years of sexual, so called sexual liberation, haven’t really gone down deep enough to heal the self loathing and sense of isolation and sense of meaninglessness and sense of desperation that unfortunately, we as homosexuals have inherited.

The third shadow, I believe, that really needs to be addressed in the gay community is that the great majority of the gay people I know have suffered very deeply in their lives but the great majority of them, because of the secret shadow of self loathing have never used their suffering in deep enough ways to transform themselves.  This hatred of religion, which I can completely understand in most gay people, because after all, the patriarchal religions have done this terrible dirty deed on us, as we’ve mentioned, has unfortunately prevented many gay people from understanding the crucial difference between religion and mysticism, between the patriarchal dogmas of religion and the incredible and all transforming power of the mystical traditions.

So, the very people who need the direct connection with the direct Beloved, beyond dogma, are prevented by their own wild and completely justifiable rage at religion from using the pain that they have been through to help them plunge into an authentic spiritual path, so as to be able to discover the Divine consciousness that lives within them, the holiness of the Mother aspect of God--the sacredness of their deepest selves, which would be the most profound source of healing.

I think it is very important now to address the shadow in the gay community and it is very important that those of us who are gay who have taken extensive and intensive journeys into the Divine self to say to all of our gay brothers and sisters, “Stop being hung up on the craziness of the religions--we know that.  That is given!  Turn to the great mystics, turn to the enlightened ones, and take courage from them, and know that if you go on a journey like theirs, what you will uncover is the great treasure of the Divine light consciousness that lives within you.  What you will discover is that you are holy and blessed and filled with sacred energy at the deepest level and this will change your life!”

The fourth great shadow of the gay community and this I think is very serious and is a result of that primordial self-loathing and self rejection that comes from this interjection of the madness of the ways in which gay people have been thought of through history.  It’s astounding the apolitical nature of the continuing gay movement.  It completely astounds me that so few of my gay friends who are so passionate about sexual liberation care anything about the liberation of the poor or the liberation of the animals who are being tortured to death or the liberation of the forests from the fires of our greed or the liberation of the seas by pollution.  You would have thought that living through AIDS, living through millennia of oppression, living through our own sufferings of the stings and ferocities of patriarchy would have given all of us a much sharper, much more radicalized sense of the oppression of power of all kinds, but this is not the case.

The hedonism, the crack addiction, and the sense of inner alienation that stems from that profound primordial shadow has also made most of the gay people I know very apolitical and unconcerned with the fate of the world and unconcerned with the political destiny of our culture and unconcerned in any way with any form of activism, and this has of course led to a massive disempowerment in the gay community, and must now be addressed.

One of the things that is very depressing to me as a person and as a teacher, is that I have been writing for 30 years as an openly gay mystic, and now for 10 or 15 years as a gay radical Sacred Activist, and nobody in the gay press has bothered with the work that I have done, and no one takes seriously the works of other enormously prophetic and important gay teachers such as Matthew Fox.

So that the people in the gay community who could reach out to gay brothers and sisters, and say, “For God’s sake, let us use our pain, and our passion and our hunger and our desire, and our understanding, to become warriors of justice and peace and compassion in a burning world,” the very people who could give the most inspiring message that they themselves wrestled out the depths of their lives, are not given any prominence, or any help from the gay media, which itself keeps going all of the negative images of homosexuality and feeds the shadow appetites created by that shadow I described.  This has to change.

MOS: So, we need to have billboards in the gay community featuring mystical traditions rather than the usual cigarettes, designer clothing and vodka!  I think too, that the level of concern in the community has been primarily focused on rights and marriage and equality in the workplace. Are there things that could have been done differently within a spirit of Sacred Activism?

AH:  Well, I think that if the gay community were true Sacred Activists I don’t think that they would be so completely obsessed with the issues of gay marriage and equality in the workplace, important though they are.  I think that they would put these issues in the context of claiming complete dignity so as to be a voice of radical transformation in the real world.  I want everybody who wants to be married to be married, and I totally support gay marriage, but if marriage keeps going bourgeois arrangements, and smug contentments and self-absorbed individualistic living as it so often does, it cannot be the foundation for the kind of radical transformation that we now need.  And equality in the workplace is extremely important, and protection of human rights is extremely important, but they are only the means to the end of becoming fully empowered citizens with a fully distinctive voice that serves justice.

So I feel that the importance of Sacred Activism for gay folks is not to make them feel that they have been wasting their time on these causes, but to ask the question, are these causes enough?  What do you feel about the burning down of the environment?  What do you feel about the fact that 2 million people live on less than a dollar a day?  What do you feel about the fact that women are still oppressed all over the world? What do you feel about child prostitution?  What do you feel about the almost total domination by the corporations by our government and of all forms of the media?  These are the burning questions.  And what I am so disappointed by is that gay people, in their search for their legitimate rights, come across as spoiled and entitled and consumerist in their vision of reality instead of placing their claiming of these rights in a much larger, more powerful context.

MOS: I think about this happening on a small scale. I’ve heard of a gay bar in Houston, which every year raises thousands of dollars for a local public school for supplies and books. It’s a small gesture, but it assists in realizing that there is life beyond us and it establishes a connection to the greater community.

AH:  Well yes, and it sends a marvelous message to a community that is frightened of gay people, a message which says, “We are human beings and we care about you!  We are not just asking you to tolerate our wild sexual habits and to let us be free and let us marry, and let us have equal rights; we’re not just doing that because we want those things, we’re asking you to give us those things, because we want to be fully empowered to be of help, to serve you and be compassionate citizens with you and to be your brothers and sisters.”  I think that sends a healing message to the community, and the more that gay bars, and gay businesses, and gay movements of all kind can have this all-inclusive, all-embracing compassion, the more power that they will have in the world.

MOS: What does that vision mean for already-established organizations? For example, I could see LGBT community centers evolving into something new. Should our community centers become hosts for what you call Networks of Grace?

AH: Let me explain what Networks of Grace are first. I think it is important that people have a very clear idea of why I am grounding my vision of Sacred Activism in what I call Networks of Grace.  Networks of Grace are cells of between 6-12 persons who group around a heartbreak, a profession, a passion or a local cause, who meet regularly, to pray together, to infuse each other, to share each other’s suffering and joy, and to hold each other accountable for real work, real action, real service in the real burning world.

I had this idea because I was meditating for a long time on what I think is one of the great questions of our time: “Why is it that the dark and the despotic and the evil and the demonic find it so easy to organize, and why is it that the good and the well-meaning are so often so na´ve, so disorganized, so lonely, and so unwilling to get together with other people of like mind to do something real in the world.  And I studied the organization of terrorists, and the organization of certain very fierce evangelical and right wing organizations, and I realized that the core power of both terrorist and right wing organization comes from their cellular structure—being organized as cells.

Why, I thought, can’t those of us who truly want the birth of the Divine humanity not come together at this moment in unpretentious, synergistic, and mutually supportive as Networks of Grace (these are the words that came to me,) so as to sustain each other, to help each other, become instruments of Divine love together?

Then I remembered a conversation that I had with Deepak Chopra when he describes what happens to a caterpillar when it dissolves in the cocoon, as the gunge gets gungier, and as the whole body of the caterpillar starts completely to decay, what wakes up in the gunge and actually feeds off the gunge what are called imaginal cells, and when they constellate together, they create the body of the butterfly which actually breaks out.  And then, as if by a flash of lightning, I saw that Networks of Grace could be those imaginal cells that when they constellate together all over the world could create the body of a new Divine humanity that breaks free of this cocoon of greed, despair, and paralysis, meaningless living and addiction that is now threatening everything.

So on Thanksgiving Day this year, my Institute of Sacred Activism is going to release a global network of Networks of Grace, a global website, so as to enable people of all persuasions, and of all passions and all heartbreaks, and all professions, to start forming these all over the world so that people can start empowering themselves for radical change: spiritually, intellectually and emotionally so as to really start a grassroots revolution of Sacred Activism.

I think it would be absolutely wonderful if the gay community could start in whatever way that was natural to it and in whatever circumstances that they find themselves, creating Networks of Grace, Networks of Grace that would have essentially four functions specifically tailored for the gay community.

First of all the people who met in those Networks of Grace would really pray and meditate together beyond dogma, and so to begin to get in touch with the Divine beloved, the Divine consciousness that is the source of the universe, the source of all revelations, and the source of human consciousness. This is crucial because as we’ve already discussed it’s because people are not in connection with this great shadow of self-rejection that is still threatening everything.

The second thing that I think these Networks of Grace could do is to really help gay people uncover this shadow that we’ve been describing together—really start listening to each other’s distraction, listening to each other’s struggle with addiction, listening to each other’s constant battle with despair, self-rejection, self loathing, as well, so that there can be a really deep exploration of these things, without shame, without judgment.

In my experience, and I’ve actually participated in gay Networks of Grace like this, when people begin to be honest about the amount of self loathing they have, it does not lead to gloomy talk, but similar to most Twelve-Step meetings, it leads to great hilarity and to great compassion.  This is very important because the gay discourse at this moment is unbelievably banal and trivial.  It is so important in this Network of Grace that a much deeper level of shameless, naked, confessional, and honest conversation occur because from that, great truths can be born and great compassion can be engendered.

The third thing that gay people really need to start doing is to look for ways to get together to develop new and broader, richer tactics to secure the rights we need, and to go forward in this great battle for gay marriage in a much larger, much more inclusive context.  And I think this is very important to start in these groups a conversation about how to do so and to find ways to reach out to the greater community in ways to start to heal the community’s fears and in ways to make the community aware of a compassion that spreads to all people and all animals that really educates the community of the real goodwill and the real desire to help that is in gay people.

And the fourth thing that these Networks of Grace should really, really address is other real causes that go beyond gay causes, which the Network of Grace encourages the people who are in it to address.  For example, you might have a gay network of grace surrounding animal rights.  A lot of gay people I know have a very deep passion for animals partly because we don’t have children, and I myself am a great lover of cats and I could imagine a gay network of grace that would deal with the problem of feral cats in the neighborhood, that would work with prayer together, that would work with the shadow together, which would work on getting an a more inclusive all embracing vision of the gay community out to the community at large but that would also specifically focus on a cause.

One of the things I have said in my book, and I really believe it, is that the key to finding your mission in this burning world, is to ask yourself the question, “What of all the causes that I care about really breaks my heart the most?”  Because, if you follow your heartbreak, what you will find at the core of the heartbreak is a fountain of burning and deathless passion that will never run dry as Rumi says.  When you find that fountain of deathless and burning passion you also find an incredible empowering source of energy. So I would encourage all these gay Networks of Grace not merely to be dealing with the gay shadow and the gay pain and the gay rights issue, which are of course extremely important, but also to focus on causes of global concern in a local way.

If all of these different four aspects are brought together then there is tremendous possibility for Networks of Grace to elevate and educate and inspire and ennoble and absolutely focus the tremendous energy and passion and suffering and understanding that is in the gay community on the real transformation of the whole world that is really struggling, in this nightmare of death, to take place.

MOS: And I think too that it is so critical that Networks of Grace form in the gay community. I could join another organization, similar to the cause, but it would not provide that inner healing that we are talking about.  It will not lead to that transformation not only for that heartbreak, but for that inner transformation as well.

AH: And who can understand each other better than gay people? And who can speak to each other more honestly than gay people? And who can really share the real sufferings that what we go through and the real victories of gay people?  It would be a wonderful next stage for the whole gay liberation movement to be a movement that liberates not only gay people but others through coming together and sharing this deep wisdom and healing and the pain and devoting their energy to not just gay rights and issues but to those issues now that are threatening the whole life of the planet.  This is the next step of the whole gay liberation movement I believe.  The next step must be one of Sacred Activism, or the suffering we’ve been through, all the wisdom we’ve acquired, will be wasted in the meaninglessness of our addiction and in our alienation from the world.

MOS:  I agree that in the gay culture, identity is important to a degree, but then we have to go beyond that identity to transform that.  So in what ways is a gay identity helpful and sometimes unhelpful?

AH: Well I think that a gay identity can be an enormous gift because I think that all gay people have to, very early on, face the fact that they are different. And that can be an enormous initiation into the suffering of all those people who are afflicted under patriarchy: women, the poor, animals, and it can breed a very deep compassion for all beings and it can be an enormous help in authentic transformation.

The other aspect that I think can be very, very helpful for one’s transformation as a human into a Divine human being, is that very early on, a gay person has to choose the authenticity of love over power, because they are given a choice. Either you are going to pretend not to be gay, and get the goodies of a culture that despises who you truly are, or you are going to risk being authentic about what you truly desire and what you are truly hungry for, and face the contempt and the sometimes ruthless destructiveness of that culture.  If you can choose love over power at an early age, you can begin the extraordinary transformation from a human being into a Divine human being.

So, in those two ways, the way the pain and suffering of being different can initiate you into a much deeper and unconditional compassion for all beings who suffer in the same way, and choosing love over power, it can give you very early on in your life, a very enormous sense of your own potential strength, the strength of love, of the absolute holiness and necessity of love and prepare you for the great courageous transformations that all those, straight or gay go through on the journey to Divine being.

I think the potential shadow of a gay identity is that you can confuse your essential identity with your homosexuality.  I don’t believe that in the end that we have any final identity except that of the Divine consciousness.  So whether you are straight or gay, to confuse your essential identity with your sexuality is a tremendous mistake.  One’s essential identity is the Divine-self itself.  So the danger of over-identifying yourself is that you limit the power of your Divine nature.  It’s an understandable limitation when you’ve been so pressed for so long. But I for one have never thought of myself as only and totally gay.  I’ve thought of myself as a human Divine being who expresses its human divinity through my art, through my creativity, through my capacity for friendships, through my love of cats, from the way I adore roses, and the voice of Maria Callas, the music of Bach, and also of course through my sexuality---and it’s a gay sexuality. But the essential self that is expressing itself in all of those ways completely transcends any kind of identification or any kind of description, or any kind of limitation.

MOS:   And it’s easy for anyone, gay or straight, to over-identify with their culture and to buy into it to an extreme.

AH: Right.  So somehow we have to evolve, we must now evolve as an extension of the heroism of the gay liberation movement of the 60’s and 70’s, a new gay mystical language that says to all gay people, “Your sexuality is powerful, and noble and holy just as heterosexuality is.” But both gay people and heterosexuals have to go beyond these narrative positions of who they are to discover who they essentially are—and that is the Divine in human form.

Once this is recognized, we start acting from that innate divinity, whether you are gay or straight, in ways of extreme, all-inclusive, unconditional compassion and with a great passion for justice. And I think the more we see gay people emerging with this kind of broad generosity of soul and wild commitment to transformation and profound love and compassion for all beings and justice for all beings, the more the fears of the straight community about gay people will be healed by the very splendor of their [gay people] presence and by the very truth of their nature, and by the very effectiveness of their actions.  It calls not for a rejection of the more narrow rhetoric of the past, but for a widening of it by the mystical revelations of the traditions and by the call of Sacred Activism to answer this agonizing situation by radical commitment on every level, to be and do what you must be and do to be of real help.

MOS: We have to go deep within and work on our own healing transformation in order to shine throughout the world as who we truly are.

AH:  This is what I am trying to model in my own life. I don’t stand up as a gay teacher-- I stand up as a teacher—who is gay!  Just as Carolyn Myss and Marianne Williamson are straight, I am gay!  But I am not defining my teaching as gay; it’s a Divine teaching, I hope.

MOS: Exactly—your teaching does not carry any labels or orientation…it’s for everyone!

AH: It’s for everyone!  It’s for straight people, it’s for dogs, it’s for animals it’s for plants it’s for stones, it’s for the air, the wind, the fire, it’s for the threatened seas, it’s for everything.  I never pretend not to be gay. If it ever comes up I express it naturally, I always talk about my marriage and my husband, and all that, and I have never and will never allow anyone to define me in a way that defines the revelation that is trying to come through my work.  Because it does not just belong to the gay community--it has a very deep message that I’ve tried to give in this conversation to the gay community. But I hope that Sacred Activism transcends black and white, gay or straight, Buddhist or Hindu, and speaks to every single human being at this moment and says, “For God’s sake, claim your Divine truth, claim your Divine identity, go beyond the dogmas, go beyond the separations, work out your salvation with diligence and start humbly serving all beings, and start doing something real from your heartbroken sense of the real worlds burning to death in the real world to turn the situation rapidly around.”

MOS:  You said by Thanksgiving your Institute will be launching the Networks of Grace website.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if gay community centers around the world could be meeting places for those who are interested in animal rights for instance, or other burning issues?

AH: Yes!  It is very important to say to the gay community who have a gay Network of Grace on animal rights—work on all the gay issues we have described, but you can also work with straight Networks of Grace on animal rights with great joy!  There cannot be any more exclusion, because in that exclusion you keep going sadly, the separations that cause all the suffering.

MOS: Right, Right, It leads to separation and people wondering, “What are those gay people are doing over there?”

AH: Right.  Have a gay focus because that can enable you to work at great nakedness, to understand and also to heal the shadows we described, but when you work, work with everybody who cares.  Work with everybody, even sometimes with Republicans, why not?  If they care about animals, work with them. And many of them do.  We have to be strong enough to go beyond all our categories and dogmas and separations, otherwise we simply are going to keep them all alive in ways that quite now are killing the world.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t attend to the necessary healing that the gay community needs, it just means that we do not make that attention to our healing an excuse for separating ourselves from others.  We’ve got to lead the way forward.  As victims of separation and victims of division and as victims of unbelievable cruelty, it is up to us to really manifest the kind of compassion, the kind of all embracing understanding and the kind of commitment to love that will truly transform others.  Take the darkness we’ve been given and transform it into golden light.  


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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