Mark Thompson



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Also on this website:


Toby Johnson's books:

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Unpublished manuscripts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.





Mark Thompson Profile

(August 19, 1952 - August 11, 2016)

from Tangents Magazine

By Toby Johnson

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson has proved to be one of the people around whom a major period in gay history formed. He was Cultural Editor for The Advocate Magazine; in that capacity he interviewed most of the newsmakers in the post-Stonewall gay world through the mid-70s, 80s and early 90s. He has republished some of these pieces in several collections. Thompson is an elegant and engaging writer; he weaves his personal biography into introductory and explanatory material that frames the content from The Advocate. These collections show him as a serious though playful, but always earnest and good-intentioned, proudly gay man seeking spiritual, cultural and human meaning for his experience.

Thompson was born August 19, 1952; he grew up in the Monterey Bay area. As a fifteen-year-old, he worked at the Tantamount Theatre, a old-movie house and puppet theater in Carmel run by two gay men, François Martin and John Ralph Geddis. From these two older men and their long relationship, he learned of gay life and love.

His maternal grandfather had been a newspaperman in Nebraska, and his mother had helped at the paper; maybe the ink was in his blood. In junior high, he started a little school newspaper. At Carmel High, he was editor of the high school paper and then, in junior college, was a reporter for The Carmel Pine Cone. On 1973, he moved up to San Francisco to complete a degree in Journalism at S.F. State.

In March 1968, on a field trip to the City for a play at the Geary Theater near Union Square, he broke away from the group and set out on his own to explore Polk Street which he’d heard about. In a clothing store, he found a copy of a mimeographed newsletter very much like that little school paper from junior high; it was The Los Angeles Advocate. “[I]nner alarm bells were ringing all over,” he wrote of that moment.

As a student at S.F. State he joined a gay student group, and soon started a newspaper for them called The Voice. In 75, an issue of The Voice included an essay, “Finding Power,” by David B. Goodstein, the new millionaire owner of The Advocate, who was about to set the magazine on an even more professional course than it had evolved since 68. Mark had done extensive editing on the essay, and Goodstein called him to his office in San Mateo to thank him and discuss future plans. When Mark said he was going on a trip to Europe after graduation, Goodstein invited him to submit a couple of pieces: an interview with David Hockney in Paris, a report on gay life in Amsterdam, and interviews with gay activists in Barcelona who were under siege from the Franco government, a task that involved personal peril and intrigue. It was the start of a new life as a reporter and a real-life activist. He was hired as Cultural Editor for The Advocate.

This job made him a thought leader for gay America through some two decades. And because many of these essays and interviews for the magazine included spiritual and religious material, and have been collected in anthologies titled Gay Spirit: Myth & Meaning and Gay Soul, Mark Thompson became one of the creators and definers of a so-called Gay Spirituality Movement.

“Gay Spirituality” seeks to answer such religious-like questions as “Why am I gay?” “Is there a gay God?—or Gods and Goddesses?” “What does being gay tell us about what a “God” is? “What does gay consciousness suggest about how to treat one another and how to be good?” “Who are the gay people? Why are they here?” Serious questions and unserious: “What do we know that straights don’t?” “How do you put on a ritual? (and can we wear drag?)” even “How does a gay person pray?”—all questions that include but transcend traditional religious explanations and that point to a higher perspective from which to ask such questions of myth and meaning.

Gay Spirit Myth & Meaning
Gay Spirit: Myth & Meaning introduced many to Harry Hay, Edward Carpenter, Gerald Heard, even Walt Whitman as the proto gay-shaman/prophet and to a spiritual/philosophical vision of homosexuality with essays by such thinkers as Judy Grahn, Michael Bronski, Dennis Altman, Will Roscoe and more. Gay Soul presented portraits and interviews with gurus and guides including Joseph Kramer, James Broughton, Andrew Harvey and Ram Dass.

A third volume in this triology, a more personal autobiography rahter than an anthology, Gay Body: A Journey Through Shadow to Self, (1997) fleshes out, as it were, the physical and sexual side of gay consciousness. Its ruminations arose during the hardest days of the AIDS crisis. Near of end of 1992, Thompson’s own gay brother, Kirk, died of AIDS and Thompson had discovered he was HIV-positive himself. He became acutely aware of the questions for the spirit posed by the pleasure-seeking mortality of the gay body, yet always with clear sex-affirmative intention.

In his physical and spiritual quest, he participated in the Native-American ceremony, The Sun Dance, which required real physical endurance and entailed real torture—with hooks in the skin of the chest that attached to the central axis pole round which was dancers circled. In celebration of life, it enacted a cycle of mortification, sacrifice and renewal. For Thompson, this was a ritual of transformation, initiation and completion of the human rites of passage into immanence, a complete and final truthful reconciliation with the Self.

As a gay man in the liberated 70s, Thompson had had some experience of the leatherworld. His book Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics and Practice is a collection of essays, woven through with personal experience and self-reflection, that place this so misunderstood (even by its practitioners) phenomenon of consensual sadomasochism, “lethersex,” in a context of healing, psychological growth and spiritual awareness. Thompson concludes Gay Body with the wisdom that the final sacrifice by which the spiritual journey is finished for gay men must be to give up the woundedness itself that drove the journey, to transcend homosexuality and all the struggles attendant to it as pain and to let go of the past and to be happy.

In spring 1979, gay psychologist, counselor and a founder of the Los Angeles Gay Community Services Center, Don Kilhefner visited Mattachine Society founder Harry Hay in New Mexico where Hay and his partner John Burnside were working on a Native American reservation. Kilhefner had been on a retreat with Baba Ram Dass at Lama Foundation near Taos. He and Hay talked about the need to counter the “assimilationist” tendencies of gay poltical efforts to make gays just another variation of patriarchal culture with no specific talents or identifiable role. Hay and Kilhefner decided to convene a gathering that coming Labor Day. The trick now was to get people to attend.

On May 1, Hay did an interview for The Advocate with Mark Thompson in which he talked about these ideas and about the plans. The article was a godsend in reaching a population of men who would come to call themselves Radical Faeries. Mark was pulled into the organizing and then attended the gathering himself that gave identity to this anti-assimilationist, gay “essentialist,” neo-pagan, enthusiastically sex-affirmative, new age spiritual thrust in the population.

Thompson jokingly refers to himself as an Episco-pagan, for not only is he a major character in Radical Faerie/gay spirituality circles, he’s also an Episcopalian preacher’s wife. In 1984, he’d come down from San Francisco where The Advocate was then still based to interview Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy. He was also on a mssion for David Goodstein to check out L.A. in preparation for Goodstein’s plans to relocate the magazine there. Mark was staying at a gay motel that advertised with the magazine. When he got back from the interview, he found a message from Don Kilhefner that Malcolm Boyd was staying at the same hotel, saying they should meet. That visit lasted three hours and would prove the start of a two-year coutership and a relationship that was going to last the rest of their lives. So long-term, stable love and being a role model for acceptance of gay relationship within the established church became another facet of Mark Thompson’s activist career.


Mark and Malcolm youngBoyd was a 40s Hollywood producer associated for a while with actress Mary Pickford. In 1951, he shifted identities and became an Episcopal priest. He was active as a clergyman within the American Civil Rights Movement and even was a “Freedom Rider” in 1961. His book of progressive Christian “prayers” and ruminations, Are You Running With Me, Jesus (1965), was wildly influential. In 1977, Boyd acknowledged his homosexuality and wrote about this in Take Off the Masks (1978, White Crane Books 2008). In 2004, Mark and Malcolm’s relationship was blessed by Bishop J. Jon Bruno and five other bishops at the Los Angeles Cathedral Center of St. Paul. They lived in Silver Lake.

Partly because of health and partly because of the changes in management, in 1992 Mark retired from The Advocate. His last job was to produce a coffee table-sized book Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement (1994), from St. Martin’s Press with editor Michael Denneny.

After leaving The Advocate, Thompson attended Antioch University and received a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. Over the next decade, he worked in mental health services for gay and lesbian youth and for people living with AIDS—the wounded healer.

Thompson was an accomplished photographer, having captured candid images of Faerie and gay cultures through his life and specifically portrait photos of major characters like Harry Hay and John Burnside, Isherwood and Bachardy. His photographs form the traveling exhibition, sponsored by White Crane Institute, titled Fellow Travelers: Liberation Portraits.

Thompson has joined with White Crane Books to produce, with Bo Young, The Fire in Moonlight: Stories from the Radical Faeries 1975-2010 and to oversee release of the Vito Russo Reader, Out Spoken, and an updated edition of Arthur Evans’s ground-breaking Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture, the book, based on a series of lectures in San Francisco in 1973 that, arguably, initiated the idea of “gay spirituality.”

Mark & Malcolm older
Mark Thompson’s books, Gay Spirit, Gay Soul and Gay Body, combine elements of gay history and mythology and New Age spirituality. They have changed gay cultural history.

Thompson tells how he learned to pray in Advocate Days & Other Stories, a memoir published by Queer Mojo in 2009, as “lowering a bucket of conscious intent into my own deep well of faith and personal meaning. I wasn’t asking to be saved or to avoid suffering (because I believe prayer doesn’t quite work that way), but rather to be fully awakened with acceptance and grace to the challenges ahead.”

Mark Thompson’s life, his writings and interviews, and especially his weaving his own life into the history fulfills that prayer and gives a model for us all for a gay spirit that transcends myth to discover and create meaning.



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R.I.P.

Malcolm Boyd
June 8, 1923 - February 27, 2015

Mark Thompson
August 19, 1952 - August 11, 2016


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This biographical sketch was written for C. Todd White's welcome 2016 resurrection of Tangent Magazine, the publication, print and digital, of The Homosexual Information Center, Inc and The Tangent Group. Here's a link to the website.


Mark Thompson's wonderful article on Harry Hay in Gay Spirit: Myth & Meaning is available on The Tangent Group website.


Link to Mark's website


Link to a very comprehensive obituary & bio by Karen Ocamb in The Pride, Los Angeles' LGBT Newspaper.


JamesBroughton-WilliamStewart-MarkThompson-byJoelSinger
Here's Mark (right) with James Broughton and William Stewart in 80-81. Photo by Joel Singer.


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From issue #48 of White Crane, The Shadow and in honor of Mark Thompson

 

Archetype of the Double

 
By Mark Thompson

 

Q
ueer eros holds multiple purposes in our lives — pedagogic, religious, creative, even altruistic — beyond the near-meaningless context it’s been assigned. No matter how it’s dealt with, being Gay must certainly encompass more than whom we choose to have sex with. We’re not different because of what we do in bed. The difference comes from what’s happening under our skins, not the sheets. A psyche-based paradigm of Gay nature puts homosexuality in a new light. To be Gay, as currently defined, gives us a limited place to stand in the world and a lever with which to somewhat move it. But an understanding of our lives stemming from psychological mindfulness permits a much better view of society’s queer men as potential healers, soul guides, and culture makers for all people.

 
There is a wealth of archetypal forces residing within us; as many, one might say, as there are gods in the heavens. Some archetypes can be literally imagined, such as the Questing Hero or the Wise Old Man. (In Western culture, major archetypes are seen in the personae of ancient deities, on tarot cards, or in the image of certain pop icons.) But others are representational of more abstract images and ideas, like Self or Individuation, which are known as archetypes of transformation.


Some archetypes are widely experienced in Western culture (the Senex, or Judging Father, is one). But other archetypes are more acutely felt, for reasons of biological or social inheritance, within individual minds. Archetypes of the Same or Double, the Wounded Healer, Divine Chi ld, Lunar Phallos, and Trickster are especially ascendant and at work in the psyches of Gay men today. I believe the fundamental basis of being queer is an archetypal matrix, or inner constellation, characteristic of those who have been so labeled. This biologically determined psychic structure is further organized according to the vicissitudes of one’s personal and collective upbringing.


Because these archetypes contain energetic forces vital to challenge and change — necessary to the discovery of new ideas and modes of being, but revolutionary in that they upset the established order — individuals acting out the contents of these archetypes are shunned and suppressed. Recognizing this helps us to see how certain capacities of the soul could be assigned as “Gay” throughout time; their value, adaptation, and even survival contingent on the specific cultural milieu in which they’re perceived. Seen from this vantage, being Gay is more about what we do — our social role and function—than about what and how we’ve been sexually labeled. It is a subjective, multidimensional view of same-sex love, not a further justification. After al l the damage that’s been done, what recourse do we have but sublimity?


In way s both covert and blatant, a large percentage of us are soul-wounded early in life. We know this hurt better than any lover. And so we wonder: Are we damaged due to too much love from one parent and not enough from the other? Despite the rhetoric of Gay pride, may be there really is something “abnormal” about being homosexual. Then again, perhaps there’s nothing wrong at all except for society’s prejudice. Whatever the reason for rejection, is our wounding a curse or a spiritual occasion? Maybe it’s an opportunity to take the road less traveled. Because a false self and its sensibility of shame has been implanted in our souls, not many have been able to see clear enough to answer these questions. That is why striving to create an autonomous awareness is crucial. As someone who assiduously tended to the wounds of his own soul, some of Jung’s insights about same-sex love hold value for us today. For it was he who finally grasped the one truth essential to any Gay person: Our homosexuality has a meaning peculiar to us, and us alone. Taking the downward tumble into our own depths demands that we become conscious of that meaning.


Archetype of the Sames


The archetype of queer love itself is the Double. What inquisitive Gay boys seek is an unfailing mirror in which to see themselves. But what sensitive Gay men desire is the ideal companion with whom they may share that reflection. So we search for someone just like us, a twin or double self. As an archetype of sames, the Double is the source of democracy, justice, and equality in the world, transcending boundaries of age, class, and nationality. This is what Walt Whitman implied when he talked about “adhesive” love, one celebrating “the need of comrades.”


The Double is one of the most important and ascendant elements within a Gay male psyche. We feel its presence erotically, and project it — in ways both direct and subliminal — on the men we encounter and the work we do in the  world.


It is the wellspring of our creativity and endurance; it is the very root, in fact, of our modern Gay identity. Men who do not regard themselves as homosexual experience this archetype, too. For them the Double is not as prominently situated in the anatomy of the soul, or else its libidinal charge has been devalued and contained in hollow ritual, or even made taboo. For these reasons, the Double is one of the most thwarted archetypes in modern Western society, having been perverted from the enabling of loving comradeship to purposes of competition, envy, and war.


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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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