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Toby Johnson's books:
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Articles and Excerpts:
Review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
EnlightenmentYou'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
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
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
The gay-affirming books and magical novels of Toby Johnson
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The Spiritual-Philosophical Autobiography
Toby Johnson's spiritual-philosophical autobiography, Finding Your Own True Myth—The Myth of the Great Secret III, is both a loving memorial to Joseph Campbell and an original extension of his work. Johnson, later a psychotherapist, religions scholar, novelist, and gay spirituality writer, offers insight into the vital role that myth—and insight into myth—play in the modern world and inspiration for anyone seeking coherence and meaning. A wealth of personal anecdotes and teaching stories are woven throughout the text to provide practical applications for these lessons and concrete examples of their power to change lives.
From Joseph Campbell, the renowned comparative religions and mythology scholar, Toby Johnson derived his central insight that there is a “new myth” arising in human consciousness. This is the understanding of the nature of myth itself, a “meta-myth,” the “myth of myth,” according to which our lives are always giving us clues to the secret of our true and deepest nature, and our salvation comes from following our own unique clues.
One of the clues that many cultures share is the tradition of the “wise old man,” the elder who serves as guide, teacher, and companion, helping others on the path to enlightenment. When Toby Johnson, a young Catholic seminarian, left the monastery on his own unconventional spiritual journey, he had the good fortune to find such a teacher in the person of Joseph Campbell. Johnson says in the introduction: Joe demonstrated how to gently leave behind the na´ve religiousness of youth and find wonder, meaning, and bliss in a new post-mythic, but re-mythologized, spiritual consciousness.
Finding Your Own True Myth: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III $18.00
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Toby Johnson offers a remarkable positive and life-affirming description of sexual and homosexual consciousness as a source of transcendent vision and personal life fulfillment.
As editor/publisher of White Crane Journal (1997-2004), Johnson featured articles and stories about gay men's mystical experiences and adventures on the path to psychological and spiritual wholeness. This book follows in that tradition.
Johnson had studied for the Catholic priesthood before leaving the monastery in 1970 and moving to San Francisco to discover gay life and gay consciousness. While enrolled in a graduate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, he met and befriended the renowned scholar of mythology Joseph Campbell and became part of the crew that put on Campbell's appearances in Northern California in the '70s. From studying the world's religions and mythological traditions, especially Buddhism and mystical Christianity, Johnson learned a deeper meaning of spirituality. He still thought of himself as a monk, but now with an understanding broader than his boyhood Catholicism.
While completing a degree as a psychotherapist, Johnson worked in a specifically gay/lesbian community mental health clinic in the downtown Tenderloin District. In that capacity he met social scientist—and nicknamesake—Toby Marotta who was doing a survey for the County of agencies in the Tenderloin. Marotta was just finishing his Harvard Ph.D. on the gay political and cultural movement in New York City. Together they worked to get their respective academic dissertations rewritten into readable style and published as popular books. Then pursuing Marotta's interest in ethnographic research into urban gay lifestyles, they worked in a federally-funded study of teenage prostitution to produce a Resource Manual for social service agencies struggling to address issues raised by the "sexual revolution" of the 1960s and ’70s.
Originally published as In Search of God in the Sexual Underworld: A Mystical Journey, this book recounted Johnson's discoveries and adventures in the hustler study, told from his perspective as a scholar of myth and religion and a seeker on a spiritual path. Now re-released as Finding God in the Sexual Underworld: The Journey Expanded, this second edition adds more details of the author's personal life and again demonstrates how to weave a tapestry of meaning out of seemingly random and sometimes harrowing events.
The Gay Novels:
TWO SPIRITS is a collaboration between noted anthropologist and renowned gay scholar Walter L. Williams professor at the University of Southern California and gay novelist and spiritual writer Toby Johnson.
Set in the 1860s, it's the story of a young Virginian, fresh out of the Civil War and struggling to find love and manly comradeship without understanding what that means, who inadvertently gets himself assigned to be Government Indian Agent to the Navajos at the Bosque Redondo Reservation at Fort Sumner in the New Mexico desert, a kind of concentration camp experiment in Indian management. The young protagonist comes to appreciate the plight of the Navajo after he falls in love with the Two-Spirit/berdache/ healer. Together the two lovers manage to get the "experiment" declared a failure and so liberate the Navajo people and get them back to their sacred homelands.
Says W Randy Haynes (Cherokee) author of the gay murder mystery with an Indian detective, Cajun Snuff:
"Two Spirits is a spectacular tale based upon the 1860's eviction of the Navajo people from their sacred lands. The reader is transported to an earlier era where little known spiritual traditions were, until recently, unmentionable outside some Native American cultures. With an obvious love and deep respect for the Navajo, Williams and Johnson expose a clash of cultures that will stun many. Two Spirits, a treasure to read, is a rare combination of historical fiction and spiritual wisdom at its absolute finest."
Navajo/Dine scholar Wesley Thomas provides A Commentary at the end of the story discussing the current state of Navajo/Dine culture.
This is a wonderful love story with an adventuresome plot in the style of Western genre, but with a delightfully gay twist and a good and very palatable dose of sensible spirituality.
Two Spirits recounts the true history of Native American cultures -- including same-sex marriage. So-called "gay marriage" was practiced on the American continent for untold centuries before the Europeans arrived. People we'd call "gay" today were revered members of the tribe. They were the storytellers, priests, doctors, ambassadors, counselors. They were the ones who kept culture alive -- just as gay people are today (but with much less thanks and recognition from the mainstream culture).
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo $15.00
Two Spirits is available as an audiobook narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click here
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Walter Williams and Toby Johnson (editor) also worked together on Williams' novel of Pacific Island cultures and 18th century whaling, set during the time of the Civil War.
Spirit of the Pacific is a dramatization of wisdom from Japanese Buddhism and Hawaiian shamanism
Whaling ships in the Aleutian Islands, Confederate raiders and Union naval vessels in Maui, sloops and skiffs in the Hawaiian Islands--ships sail into the unknown and change lives. This is the story of Eddie Freeman, an African American slave from South Carolina, who escaped slavery in 1860 and got involved in the Civil War in a way that he never would have expected. Eddie learned not to be afraid of change and the unknown. Eddie was attracted to his own sex, and in 21st century nomenclature would be called gay. But in his day he was just a young man trying to find love and give affection. This is a story about the unexpected twists and turns of life, and how sometimes a person must travel one way to get to the other, become a sailor to find solid land, go to the Arctic to get to a tropical paradise. It is about giving up one’s home to find a better home. It is a story about learning to transcend the polarities of slave and free, sacred and profane, love and hate, human and animal. Most importantly, it is a story about learning to transcend the polarity of life and death to become one with nature, experience limitless love, gain absolute happiness, and achieve true spiritual freedom.
Used copies may be available through amazon.com, click the title below
Spirit of the Pacific by Walter L. Williams (2013-02-04)
"Toby Johnson's fly blend of sweet romance, social commentary and entertaining science fiction gives new meaning to the concept of a 'genre' novel--the sort of easy-going read rarely found in gay fiction, and very welcome."
SECRET MATTER is a science-fiction romance novel. It won a 1990 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men's Science Fiction. In 1999, it was one of five books nominated to be the first ever inducted into the Gay Lesbian Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
In November 2005, Secret Matter was released updated, expanded, and revised edition for 21st century readers.
The story tells of the arrival of a race of aliens. They have cameleon-like autonomic functions in their skin coloration which reveal their emotional and psychological states. Thus they are fundamentally unable to lie. For them homosexual activity is consistent with their biology and normal in their culture. Recognizing our society's objection to homosexual activity, however, they try to hide their true nature. The tension created between the two cultures confuses their mission in coming to our world.
The plot is a sweet love story about the relationship between a young gay man and one of the aliens. Through several levels the protagonist slowly uncovers the truth about the aliens' "secret life," including, finally, the fact that they aren't really alien at all, but rather come from a parallel world of Earth. The punch line is that in the creation myth of the Garden of Eden in their world their "Adam & Eve" did NOT commit original sin and their reward was both their inability to hide the truth and, incidentally, their homosexuality. The novel is about the importance of coming out and the innocence of gay experience.
Arthur C. Clarke was a great influence on Toby Johnson's thought and writing style.
Secret Matter $15.00
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The Fourth Quill
originally published as PLAGUE:
A Novel about Healing is the story of an AIDS
educator who uncovers a misconceived plot to suppress an effective
cure for HIV. As he begins to realize the sinister nature of his
discovery, he is forced to take seriously the teachings about healing
and about the nature of evil presented in A Course in Miracles, which
he has been talking about with members of an AIDS support group he
Originally published by Alyson Publications. Rereleased in 2012 with significant changes, the new title, and a Foreword by the author. Now from Peregrine Ventures, 2018. $15.00
GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE is
post-modern novel about a big
city literary editor who, when faced with serious illness, retires to
the country to relieve stress and to write the novel he's always been
intending to write. Living alone in a ramshackle old mansion in the
Texas Hill Country, he begins to imagine that the characters of his
novel are real. Two young gay men from the 1890s then appear to him
and recount the story of their lives.
Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling
edited by Toby Johnson and Steve Berman
Spinning Straw into Gold
Modern society, including--and maybe especially-- gay culture recreates its own mythological traditions in "the old-fashioned way," by telling stories.
Gay storytelling engender myths, allowing the negative elements that traditional society and religion has placed on homosexual identity to be transformed and uplifted.
White Crane Books, an imprint of Lethe Press (Steve Berman, editor/publisher), announces an anthology of writings that do what good myths and storytelling are supposed to do: inspire and evoke meaning (especially out of despondency and darkness), to cheer, to place life in larger context, to hint at secret meanings--stories that inspire gay men to think positively about themselves, their lifestyles, their bodies (of any type), and, especially, their own spiritual paths.
Charmed Lives $18
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Gay Identity and the Transformation of Human Consciousness
(click on title for more info & reviews)
The answer to what gay people
are here for!
Lambda Literary Award winner
Nominated Best Gay/Lesbian Non-Fiction Book of the Year by ForeWord: the magazine of independent and university presses.
A new edition of GAY SPIRITUALITY was released
with a beautiful cover featuring art by Stevee Postman.
"...quite simply the best, sanest, most readable book on the subject I've come across..." a reader wrote in email.
"An illuminating, honest, provocative, and significant exploration of gay spirituality. This is must reading for all seeking the spiritual element in the gay experience."
--Malcolm Boyd (Take Off the Masks, Gay Priest, & Look Back in Joy) & Mark Thompson (Gay Spirit, Gay Soul, & Gay Body)
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Since the cost includes postage, the price from the author and from discount internet booksellers is about the same since they add postage. BUT if you're buying other books and the combined total is over $25.00 you can save money with their free shipping. If you're going to order gay genre books, please order from a gay community bookstore, like Giovanni's Room in Philadelphia.
Gay Spirituality from an independent bookstore near you
Gay Perspective from an independent bookstore near you
Secret Matter from an independent bookstore near you
Getting Life in Perspective from an independent bookstore near you
Two Spirits from an independent bookstore near you
Charmed Lives from an independent bookstore near you
Finding God in the Sexual Underworld from an independent bookstore near you
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Now out of print
A "Second Revised Edition"has been published as
Toby Johnson's first book was titled The Myth of the Great Secret: A Search for Spiritual Meaning in the Face of Emptiness. It appeared in 1981 published by William Morrow.
Bowman's World: the sequel to Awakening
Last Update: 08/20/2020
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.
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness won a Lambda Literary Award in 2000.
PERSPECTIVE: Things Our [Homo]sexuality Tells Us about the Nature
of God and the Universe was nominated for a Lammy in 2003. They
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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