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

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

Gay Spirituality

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

Gay Perspective

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

Secret Matter

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

Getting Life

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

The Fourth Quill

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

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

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

Myth of the Great Secret

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

In Search of God


Unpublished manuscripts

About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

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

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  Articles and Excerpts:

Review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

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

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

Why gay people should NOT Marry

The Scriptural Basis for Same Sex Marriage

Toby and Kip Get Married

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

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Gay Consciousness

Why homosexuality is a sin

The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?

The purpose of homosexuality

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

The Gay Succession

Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Mysticism of Andrew Harvey

The upsidedown book on MSNBC

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"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

You're Not A Wave

Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?

Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right

What Anatman means

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

Cutting edge realization

The Myth of the Wanderer

Change: Source of Suffering & of Bliss

World Navel

What the Vows Really Mean

Manifesting from the Subtle Realms

The Three-layer Cake & the Multiverse

The est Training and Personal Intention

Effective Dreaming in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven

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Gay Spirituality

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

The Mann Ranch (& Rich Gabrielson)

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Two Loves

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

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The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality

Having a Church to Leave

Harold Cole on Beauty

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Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Not lashed to the prayer-post

Monastic or Chaste Homosexuality

Is It Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process

Notes on Licking  (July, 1984)

Redeem Orlando

Gay Consciousness changing the world by Shokti LoveStar

Alexander Renault interviews Toby Johnson

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Mystical Vision

"The Evolution of Gay Identity"

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

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

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The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016

The  Gay Hero Journey (shortened)

You're On Your Own


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Seeing Differently

Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"

Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes

Facing the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom

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

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The Vision

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

A  Most Remarkable Synchronicity in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

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The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby

Part 2: The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara

Part 3: Jesus and the Resurrection

Part 4: A Course in Miracles

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The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

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

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About Alien Abduction

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

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

Intersections with the movie When We Rise

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

Toby at the California Institute

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

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Kip and Toby, Activists

Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

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

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Mark Thompson

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

The Alamo Business Council

Our friend Tom Nash

Second March on Washington

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

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Book Reviews

Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter

The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois

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

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

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

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

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

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

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

War Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar

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

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

The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre

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

A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey

Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes

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

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

In Walt We Trust by John Marsh

Solomon's Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary

A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary

Aelred's Sin by Lawrence Scott

Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou

Internal Landscapes by John Ollom

Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks

Yes by Brad Boney

Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler

Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal

Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson

Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette

The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson

The Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire

"Sex Camp" by Brian McNaught

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

The Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons

Out on Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert

The Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker

Out There by Perry Brass

The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh

The Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan

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

ReCreations, edited by Catherine Lake

Gospel: A Novel by WIlton Barnhard

Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson

Dating the Greek Gods
by Brad Gooch

Telling Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan

The Substance of God by Perry Brass

The Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols

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

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

The Third Appearance by Walter Starcke

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann

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

Men, Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long

An Interview with Ron Long

Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy Conner & David Sparks

An Interview with Randy Conner

Pain, Sex and Time by Gerald Heard

Sex and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak

Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan

Rising Up by Joe Perez

Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez

That Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco

Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman

Wisdom for the Soul by Larry Chang

MM4M a DVD by Bruce Grether

Double Cross by David Ranan

The Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak

Jesus in Love by Kittredge Cherry

In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson

The Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson

Life in Paradox by Fr Paul Murray

Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel Helminiak

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

Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien

Queering Christ by Robert Goss

Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage

The Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato

Catland by David Garrett Izzo

Tantra for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson

Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main

Simple Grace by Malcolm Boyd

Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza

What Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett

Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans

Gift of the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen

Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden

The Liar's Prayer by Gregory Flood

Lovely are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman

The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak

3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak

Only the Good Parts by Daniel Curzon

Four Short Reviews of Books with a Message

Life Interrupted by Michael Parise

Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire

The Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman

Conscious Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny

Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman

True Religion by J.L. Weinberg

The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer

Everything is God by Jay Michaelson

Reflection by Dennis Merritt

Everywhere Home by Fenton Johnson

Hard Lesson by James Gaston

God vs Gay? by Jay Michaelson

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

Roxie & Fred by Richard Alther

Not the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen

The 9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether

The Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber

AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar

Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost

The Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal

Secret Body by Jeffrey J Kripal

In Hitler's House by Jonathan Lane

Walking on Glory by Edward Swift

The Paradox of Porn by Don Shewey

Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire

Enigma by Lloyd Meeker

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.

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.



Malcolm Boyd
June 8, 1923 - February 27, 2015

Mark Thompson
August 19, 1952 - August 11, 2016


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.

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

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


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


Archetype of the Double

By Mark Thompson


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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