The Seven Chakras

How I learned chakra meditation from my friend Adolphine Carole

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Toby Johnson's books:

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

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

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

Gay Spirituality

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

Gay Perspective

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

Secret Matter

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

Getting Life

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

The Fourth Quill

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

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

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

Myth of the Great Secret

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

In Search of God


Unpublished manuscripts

About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

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  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

Advice to Future Gay Historians

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

Queer men, myths and Reincarnation

Was I (or you) at Stonewall?

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Mysticism of Andrew Harvey

The upsidedown book on MSNBC

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"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

You're Not A Wave

Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging

Toby's Experience of Zen

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

What happens at Death?

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

A Funny Story: The Rug Salesmen of Istanbul

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

Drawing a Long Straw: Ketamine at the Mann Ranch

Alan Watts & Multiple Solipsism

How I Learned Chakra Meditation

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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

The Monastic Schedule: a whimsy

Is It Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process

Notes on Licking  (July, 1984)

Redeem Orlando

Gay Consciousness changing the world by Shokti LoveStar

Alexander Renault interviews Toby Johnson

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Mystical Vision

"The Evolution of Gay Identity"

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

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

Sex with God

Merging Religion and Sex

Revolution Through Consciousness Change: GSV 2019

God as Metaphor

More Metaphors for God

A non-personal metaphor God

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The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016

The  Gay Hero Journey (shortened)

You're On Your Own


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Seeing Differently

Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"

Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes

Facing the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom

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

A Different Take on Leathersex

Seeing Pornography Differently

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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

My first Peace March

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Kip and Toby, Activists

Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Mark Thompson

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

The Alamo Business Council

Our friend Tom Nash

Second March on Washington

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

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Book Reviews

Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter

The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois

Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication by Tim Clausen

War Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar

The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal

Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal

The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre

Brain, Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A Helminiak

A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey

Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes

The Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson & Rhodes

Keys to Spiritual Being: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises by Adrian Ravarour

In Walt We Trust by John Marsh

Solomon's Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary

A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary

Aelred's Sin by Lawrence Scott

Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou

Internal Landscapes by John Ollom

Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks

Yes by Brad Boney

Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler

Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal

Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson

Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette

The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson

The Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire

"Sex Camp" by Brian McNaught

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

The Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons

Out on Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert

The Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker

Out There by Perry Brass

The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh

The Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan

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

ReCreations, edited by Catherine Lake

Gospel: A Novel by WIlton Barnhard

Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson

Dating the Greek Gods by Brad Gooch

Telling Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan

The Substance of God by Perry Brass

The Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols

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

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

The Third Appearance by Walter Starcke

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann

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

Men, Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long

An Interview with Ron Long

Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy Conner & David Sparks

An Interview with Randy Conner

Pain, Sex and Time by Gerald Heard

Sex and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak

Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan

Rising Up by Joe Perez

Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez

That Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco

Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman

Wisdom for the Soul by Larry Chang

MM4M a DVD by Bruce Grether

Double Cross by David Ranan

The Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak

Jesus in Love by Kittredge Cherry

In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson

The Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson

Life in Paradox by Fr Paul Murray

Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel Helminiak

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

Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien

Queering Christ by Robert Goss

Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage

The Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato

Catland by David Garrett Izzo

Tantra for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson

Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main

Simple Grace by Malcolm Boyd

Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza

What Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett

Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans

Gift of the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen

Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden

The Liar's Prayer by Gregory Flood

Lovely are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman

The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak

3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak

Only the Good Parts by Daniel Curzon

Four Short Reviews of Books with a Message

Life Interrupted by Michael Parise

Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire

The Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman

Conscious Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny

Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman

True Religion by J.L. Weinberg

The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer

Everything is God by Jay Michaelson

Reflection by Dennis Merritt

Everywhere Home by Fenton Johnson

Hard Lesson by James Gaston

God vs Gay? by Jay Michaelson

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

Roxie & Fred by Richard Alther

Not the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen

The 9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether

The Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber

AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar

Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost

The Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal

Secret Body by Jeffrey J Kripal

In Hitler's House by Jonathan Lane

Walking on Glory by Edward Swift

The Paradox of Porn by Don Shewey

Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire

In Search of Lost Lives by Michael Goddart

Queer Magic by Tomas Prower

God in Your Body by Jay Michaelson

Science Whispering Spirit by Gary Preuss

Friends of Dorothy by Dee Michel

New by Whitley Strieber

Developing Supersensible Perception by Shelli Renee Joye

Sage Sapien by Johnson Chong

Tarot of the Future by Arthur Rosengarten

Brothers Across Time by Brad Boney

Impresario of Castro Street by Marc Huestis

Deathless by Andrew Ramer

The Pagan Heart of the West, Vol 1 by Randy P. Conner

Practical Tantra by William Schindler

The Flip by Jeffrey J. Kripal

A New World by Whitley Strieber

Bernhard & LightWing by Damien Rowse

The Mountains of Paris by David Oates

Trust Truth by Trudie Barreras

How to be an Excellent Human Being by Bill Meacham

The Deviant's War by Eric Cervini

What Is the Grass by Mark Doty

Sex with God by Suzanne DeWitt Hall

Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson

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

Perspective cover
Gay Perspective

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

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

Spirituality cover
Gay Spirituality

Gay Identity and 
the Transformation of
Human Consciousness

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

charmed lives
Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling

edited by
Toby Johnson
& Steve Berman

secret matter
Secret Matter

Lammy Award Winner for Gay Science Fiction


Getting Life
Getting Life in Perspective

A Fantastical Romance

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

The Fourth Quill

The Fourth Quill

originally published as PLAGUE

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

Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo

with Walter L. Williams

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

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

The Myth of the Great Secret III

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

The Myth of the Great Secret II

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

This was the second edition of this book.

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

The Spirit is in the Flesh

All of us know that what is real is what is physical. Unless we can get a physical sense of something, it just isn’t real. We don’t believe in it if it can’t be manifested either in some thing or in the behavior of some thing or some person. Thus the religious and mythological traditions have always used physical manifestations—sacrament, ritual, and meditative visualization—to convey the spirit.

The myths reveal that the multiple layers of reality are all continuous with and contained within our own bodies. That too is behind the Christian myth of the resurrection of the body: we take our bodies with us into the Kingdom, for the Kingdom is in the body. It is not somewhere or sometime else. It is how we see the world we live in, how we transform our senses.

His body was “his mind’s present image of itself,” wrote Arthur C. Clarke of the newly gestated Star-Child in his 2001: A Space Odyssey. Isn’t that true of all of us all the time? Our bodies are our minds’ images of ourselves. Our bodies are how we experience ourselves. Our bodies are our way of locating the various functions of consciousness and of extending experience into three-dimensional space.

Meditative systems frequently superimpose the macrocosm of the many-layered universe onto the microcosm of the individual body. Primitive shamanistic meditation leads the initiate in trance to experience dismemberment, evisceration, and reconstruction of the body with objects, like quartz crystals, that are believed to possess spirit power. The Kabbala presents the Sephiroth, the levels of manifesting being, as “organs” of the body of the perfected, transpersonal being, Adam Kadmon, so that meditators can locate these mystical organs in their own bodies. Astrological imagery correlates areas of the anatomy with the zodiacal influences so that adherents can find their physiques visited, and perhaps renewed, organ by organ, as the sun passes through the year, constellation by constellation.

Indian and Tibetan mythology teaches that our physical bodies (anna-maya-kosa) are but the densest of five sheaths which crystallize from and around our consciousness. Interpenetrating them and becoming finer and more subtle are the sheaths of our vital or breath bodies (prana-maya-kosa), personality or thought bodies (mano-maya-kosa), consciousness or spiritual bodies (vij˝ana-maya-kosa), and universal consciousness or bliss bodies (ananda-maya-kosa). The physical body, nourished by food and enlivened by breath, though the most limited and spatially and temporally bound, is penetrated by all the other bodies. It is the link between heaven and earth, the “sacrament” by which personality, depth consciousness, and enlightened bliss are manifested in the world of experience.

A variation on that mythology in kundalini and tantra yoga describes power centers in the body, called chakras, that correlate both with physiological nerve plexuses and with psychological states of consciousness. Chakra meditation focuses on these energy centers in order to open the energy flow throughout the whole mind-body system. Such meditation is believed to improve the working of the body as well as to enlighten the mind. By locating the functions of consciousness within the body, the system of chakras reveals the body as a surface in three dimensions of a being far more complex and dimensionally extended.

The system of chakras appears in various myth systems all around the world. (It is what is represented, for instance, by the familiar medical symbol of the caduceus.) Being part of the interest in “Oriental religions” of the ’60s countrerculture, it has been discovered in the West. Especially because it places the sexual functions on a continuum with the psychological and the spiritual, it forms the basis of many current discussions of sex and spirituality.

I first learned of the chakras from Dr. Kimberley McKell, a Jungian psychologist who taught at the California Institute of Asian Studies (which later became the California Institute of Integral Studies); Kim introduced me to whole new world of spiritual thought when I arrived at the Institute in 1971, fresh out of Catholic religious life. (There's a page on this website about Kimberley McKell, PhD.)

Adolphine CaroleLater I learned a specific technique for focusing on the chakras from Adolphine Carole, a meditation teacher in San Francisco. Adolphine, slightly older than me, has a boyish look and charm that make her curiously ageless. She’s been an actress and a producer of TV shows and commercials. She’s always been a little psychic. Some years ago, bored with TV production, she took a course at the Berkeley Psychic Institute. She discovered her intuition was often uncannily accurate and her practice of psychic meditation healing and transforming. After completing the full course of studies at B.P.I. she began teaching on her own.

(The photo is of Adolphine in 2015.)

The Psychic Institute does not seem to produce the crackpots its name might suggest. Adolphine seemed to have an open-minded and intelligent approach to the psychic world. I was always surprised and pleased to find how sanely she spoke of such odd-ball topics as pyramidology, aura reading, spirit guides, UFO’s, and the like—topics I’d heard too often as signs of incipient psychoses. I had come to understand these psychic and pseudo-scientific phenomena as metaphors for experiences of alternate realities. But I’d seen that, like the metaphors of myth and religion, some people took these metaphors too literally. Adolphine appeared to have found in herself and her own spiritual process a way of passing right over the bizarre exterior to the symbolic truth beyond.

In teaching the chakra meditation Adolphine ignored the complex Vedic and Hindu mythologies and esoteric symbols. Kundalini and tantric practices, I had heard, could be powerful and even dangerous. The Indian holy man and British civil servant Gopi Krishna reported that his unprepared practice of the meditations left him anoretic and virtually schizophrenic for years (Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man, 1967). Adolphine’s method seemed simpler and safer precisely because it avoided the techniques and breath practices that could unleash the torrent of neurological activity called the kundalini. Her method worked simply to normalize energy flow, activating the potential levels of awareness in a smooth rhythm.

chakras as disksAdolphine led her students, usually eight to ten at a time, in guided meditations on energy flow. She suggested visualizing the energy as movement of color through channels in the body, and, holding up a telescoping vegetable steamer from her kitchen to illustrate, she suggested visualizing the chakras as valves that open and close to control the flow through these channels. The aim is to be able to open and close them appropriately, even intentionally.

Encrustations develop on the chakras that block control and result in neurotic traits (fears, obsessions, rages, denial, and the like) that prevent people from fully experiencing life. As we visualized each chakra and the emotional/intellectual state associated with it, Adolphine explained, the blocks would surface as memories, distractions, or fantasies. The blocks could be opened by observing them and running energy through them, thus “discharging” and “grounding” them.

chakrasOver a period of weeks, Adolphine taught us how to localize consciousness in the center of the head and ground ourselves so that our thoughts were not being constantly tugged at by outside concerns, then to attend to energy moving through us, and to visualize the seven major chakras along the spine and the minor chakras in the hands and feet (which are the basis of palmistry and foot reflexology). She taught us to be aware of ourselves not merely as bodies stuck in space and time but as energy beings, in fact, able to move in time by means of memory and anticipation; in space by way of imagination; and in consciousness by visualization and intentionality.

Chakras“At the base of the spine,” she explained, ‘‘is the first chakra. This chakra controls the simplest, most primitive, and often autonomic aspect of the person. Here are the survival mechanisms of the body: metabolism, immunity, and the will to live. When energy is blocked here you feel insecure, threatened, diseased, desperately grasping for food, for goods, for attention, and sure that there must be a scarcity of such things. When the chakra is closed down, you feel uptight and compulsive; when it is open all the way, scattered and out of control.

“The second chakra is at the level of the genitals. Here are your primary pleasure centers. Here the body joins with other bodies in direct chakra-to-chakra contact. Here infatuation and erotic relationship, as well as procreation of new life are controlled. From the second chakra are also regulated endocrine functions: the juices that keep you young-looking, attractive, vital, and appealing to others. When the chakra is closed down you look and feel unattractive, the body ages and affections wither, the thought of other people making love seems repulsive. When it is open all the way, you are buffeted about by sexual urges and compulsions, your emotions seem out of control and your behavior unpleasantly outrageous. When the chakra is operating smoothly you feel sensuously alive, attracted and attractive, responsive to other people’s affections. Encrustations on the chakra may be experienced as guilt or as memories of parents or authorities telling you to behave yourself or as obsessions with sexual images or compulsions toward fetishes.

“The third chakra is located in the solar plexus. Here are your emotional and motivational centers. Here you experience rage and ambition, as well as fright and ‘butterflies in the stomach.’ When the chakra is closed down you feel timid and weak, impotent and feckless. When it is open all the way, you feel irrationally confident or strong, driven by anger or competition. When the chakra is functioning smoothly you have all the get up and go you need as well as the control over your emotions.

“The fourth chakra is located in the heart. Here the energies of the lower chakras are transformed by love and compassion and carried up into the spiritual and intellectual realms. When the heart is closed, the lower passions drive you. Concerns of security, pleasure, and power dominate consciousness. When the heart is totally open you lose your identity in the oneness with humankind, and you may become nonfunctional. When the chakra is functioning smoothly you remain aware of yourself and your feelings, but you also feel involved with other people. You can love and be loved.

“The fifth chakra is in the throat. Here are located in the thyroid the function of controlling metabolism and in the larynx of speaking to other people. The chakra is associated with discipline, especially religious discipline and ritual, and with teaching and communication. Communication is the major way of shaping your environment and discipline is your way of shaping yourself to fit your environment. When the fifth chakra is closed down, you may feel inarticulate and tongue-tied; you may seem obsessed with rituals—from Church services to neurotic compulsions—but unable to understand what the rituals are for. When the chakra is opened totally, you may find yourself talking uncontrollably, rambling tactlessly, unable to discipline yourself and resenting others’ discipline; the fact that people enjoy going to church, for example, might seem galling. When the chakra is functioning properly you are able to communicate openly and tell the truth; you are secure in your ability to perform your duties and you can profit from social rituals and religious practices.

“The sixth chakra is located in the center of your head. Here your experiential world is created. Through the eyes and ears, primarily, enters the information on which you base experience; in the way you sort that information your universe is created. Here also, through your ‘third eye,’ spiritual sight is experienced. When the chakra is closed down you feel a victim of the world you see, unable to take any responsibility for what happens; the world seems desolate and two-dimensional; time seems to drag on; nothing is pleasurable. When the chakra is open all the way you feel ecstatic, but spaced-out, deluded into thinking you can control the universe for your whims; you may feel prideful and self-righteous. When the chakra is functioning properly you see the beauty of the world and you perceive it as the figure against the ground of divine being; you can realize the attractiveness and splendor of the physical world and the multiplicity of worlds that coexist with it.

“The seventh chakra, called the ‘thousand-petalled lotus,’ is located a few inches above the top of your head. Here God sits as in ancient Hebrew tradition YHWH sat on the extended wings of cherubim atop the Ark of the Covenant. Here is your connection with the One Being who lives the life in all and who sees through your perspective. When the chakra is closed down there is no energy entering your body from above. You are alive but life seems a burden. There is nothing to do but eat, excrete, and reproduce; and the work you have to do to accomplish these makes it all seem worthless. When the chakra is open totally you, as a separate entity, are gone; your perspective disappears and you may simply discorporate and turn into light. Then you end the game and your universe dissipates; your perspective is lost to God. In moments of mystical rapture you may feel blessed that the chakra has opened, but you should remember in those times to stay grounded so that you don’t discorporate. When the chakra is functioning properly you feel light and easy in life, detached from taking worries too seriously, but prudent in your affairs, realizing how precious life is and what a treasure you possess and cherish. Only perhaps at the moment of death, when all the chakras are tired and you have exhausted this perspective, will you want to open the seventh chakra fully and gratefully return the life you were given. You should remember this experience, associating it with thoughts of a good death, so that when the time comes you can do it for real.”

Traditionally, Western religious life has been based on vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience—that is, surrender of material security, sexual pleasure, and personal will. These are the issues of the first three chakras. The vows were intended to divinize these issues. And the way to do that is to see them through the love and compassion of the heart. The first three chakras are mirrored in the heart as the upper three chakras, as discipline, creative vision, and spiritual security.

winged heart

The heart is the pivot. It controls how we value the world around us, whether we love it or resent it. It controls how we value the experience of life and of our plurality of selves, whether we deny the range of the chakras, focusing (for the venal and profligate) only on the lower three, or (for the abstracted, spaced-out, or moralistic) only on the higher. It is from the heart that God utters the divine assessment: it is good.

Adolphine’s meditation reminds us that life is multi-faceted and that it takes all the chakras smoothly opening and closing with the flow of energy to make our lives. The goal of meditating on this fundamentally sexual energy, called kundalini, is to sacramentalize the experience of being embodied so that the physical manifests the spiritual and the spiritual perceives itself and acts in the physical.

Excerpted from In Search of God in the Sexual Underworld  by Edwin Clark Johnson, ie., Toby Johnson

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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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