Also on this website:
Toby Johnson's books:
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of
Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature
of God and the Universe
LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE
A NOVEL ABOUT HEALING.
Articles and Excerpts:
Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate
Shame on the American People
cause of homosexuality
What Jesus said about Gay Rights
of Gay Spirituality
"It's Always About You"
Not A Wave
The myth of the
Toby Johnson Believes
The Joseph Campbell Connection,
"The Evolution of Gay Identity"
"St. John of the Cross &
Dark Night of the Soul."
Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.
Prostitution and the Nature of Evil
retirement and the "freelance monastery"
Seeing with Different Eyes
The Techniques Of The World Saviors
Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the
Part 2: The
Part 3: Jesus
and the Resurrection
Part 4: A
Course in Miracles
Secret of the Clear Light
Understanding the Clear Light
Finding YourTiger Face
Souls Get Reincarnated
and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.
In his signature book, The Hero
with A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell cogently and eloquently
explains the nature of religion. Understanding this in all its richness
and complexity--and hints at a "greater reality" that undergirds our
daily existence--is, I believe, the work of spirituality.
Here is a long, and somewhat difficult, but incomparably
wise, quote from Hero (to aid readibility, I've added numerous
paragraph breaks that do not appear in the original):
And so, to grasp the full
value of the mythological figures that have come down to us, we must
understand that they are not only symptoms of the unconscious (as
indeed are all human thoughts and acts) but also controlled and
intended statements of certain spiritual principles, which have
remained as constant throughout the course of human history as the form
and nervous structure of the human physique itself.
Briefly formulated, the universal doctrine teaches that all the visible
structures of the world--all things and beings--are the effects of a
ubiquitous power out of which they rise, which supports and fills them
during the period of their manifestation, and back into which they must
This is the power known to science as energy, to the
Melanesians as mana, to the Sioux Indians as wakonda,
the Hindus as shakti, and the Christians as the power of God.
Its manifestation in the psyche is termed, by the psychoanalysts, libido.
And its manifestation in the cosmos is the structure and flux of the
The apprehension of the source of this
undifferentiated yet everywhere particularized substratum of being is
rendered frustrate by the very organs through which the apprehension
must be accomplished. The forms of sensibility and the categories of
human thought, which are themselves manifestations of this power, so
confine the mind that it is normally impossible not only to see, but
even to conceive, beyond the colorful, fluid, infinitely various and
bewildering phenomenal spectacle.
The function of ritual and myth is to make possible, and then to
facilitate, the jump--by analogy. Forms and conceptions that the mind
and its senses can comprehend are presented and arranged in such a way
as to suggest a truth or openness beyond. And then, the conditions for
meditation having been provided, the individual is left alone. Myth is
but the penultimate; the ultimate is openness--that void, or being,
beyond the categories --into which the mind must plunge alone and be
Therefore, God and the gods are only convenient means--themselves of
the nature of the world of names and forms, though eloquent of, and
ultimately conducive to, the ineffable. They are mere symbols to move
and awaken the mind, and to call it past themselves.*
Heaven, hell, the mythological age,
Olympus and all the other habitations of the gods, are interpreted by
psychoanalysis as symbols of the unconscious. The key to the modern
systems of psychological interpretation therefore is this: the
metaphysical realm = the unconscious. Correspondingly, the key to open
the door the other way is the same equation in reverse: the unconscious
= the metaphysical realm.
"For," as Jesus states it, "behold, the kingdom of God is within
you." Indeed, the lapse of supereconsciousness into the state of
unconsciousness is precisely the meaning of the Biblical image of the
Fall. The constriction of consciousness, to which we owe the fact that
we see not the source of the universal power but only the phenomenal
forms reflected from that power, turns superconsciousness into
unconsciousness and, at the same instant and by the same token, creates
the world. Redemption consists in the return to superconsciousness and
therewith the dissolution of the world. This is the great theme and
formula of the cosmogonic cycle, the mythical image of the world's
coming to manifestation and subsequent return into the nonmanifest
Equally, the birth, life, and death of the individual may be regarded
as a desent into unconsciousness and return. The hero is the one who,
while still alive, knows and represents the claims of the
superconsciousness which throughout creation is more or less
unconscious. The adventure of the hero represents the moment in his
life when he achieved illumination--the nuclear moment when, while
still alive, he found and opened the road to the light beyond the dark
walls of our living death.
And so it is that the cosmic symbols are presented in a
spirit of thought-bewildering sublime paradox. The kingdom of God
within, yet without, also; God, however, is but a convenient means to
wake the sleeping princess, the soul. Life is her sleep, death the
awakening. The hero, the waker of his own soul, is himself but the
convenient means of his own dissolution. God, the waker of the soul, is
therewith his own immediate death.
Perhaps the most eloquent possible symbol of this mystery
that of the god crucified, the god offered, "himself to himself.' Read
in one direction, the meaning is the passage of the phenomenal hero
into superconsciousness: the body with its five senses--like that of Prince Five-weapons stuck to Sticky-hair--is
left hanging to the cross
of the knowledge of life and death, pinned in five places (the two
hands, the two feet, and the head crowned with thorns). But also, God
has descended voluntarily and taken upon himself this phenomenal agony.
God assumes the life of man and man releases the God within himself at
the mid-point of the cross-arms of the same "coincidence of opposites,"
the same sun door through which God descends and Man ascends--each as
the other’s food.
The modern student may, of course, study these symbols as he
will, either as a symptom of others' ignorance, or as a sign to him of
his own, either in terms of a reduction of metaphysics to psychology,
or vice versa. The traditional way was to meditate on the symbols in
both senses. In any case, they are tel1ing metaphors of the destiny of
man, man's hope, man's faith, and man's dark mystery. (The Hero with a
Thousand Faces, pp. 257-260)
* This recognition of the secondary nature of the
personality of whatever deity is worshiped is characteristic of most of
the traditions of the world. In Christianity, Mohammedanism, and
Judaism, however, the personality of the divinity is taught to be
final--which makes it comparatively difficult for the members of these
communions to understand how one may go beyond the limitations of their
own anthropomorphic divinity. The result has been, on the one hand, a
general obfuscation of the symbols, and on the other, a god-ridden
bigotry such as is unmatched elsewhere in the history of religion.
See also The Campbell Connection
regarding Toby Johnson's only half-whimsical claim to be "Joseph
Campbell's apostle to the gay community."
For addition info about Joseph Campbell,
Joseph Campbell Foundation and
Library and Archives at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Both of these organizations support and encourage the
understanding of religion that Joseph Campbell espoused. They are both
membership organizations. Please consider joining one or both to add
your own participation in the transformation of religion.
See also: C.S. Lewis on the mystical
"The Great Dance"
Toby Johnson adds:
Just as our bodies are the surface in the dimensions of space and time
of our consciousness, so the material cosmos (what the Hubbell
telescope looks at) is the 3 or 4 dimensional surface of Deep
What the scientists are now calling "dark matter" and
"dark energy" are indications of the universe at the level of mind. And
Deep Consciousness has structures, just like the material cosmos has
structures. And just like the material structures radiate light and
information, so the structures of Deep Consciousness radiate waves of
"information" about the nature and shape of consciousness.
are received by us--and sorted and formatted (to use cyberimagery)--as
religious intuitions. The Blessed Virgin Mother, Jesus as Savior, the
Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, Buddha's Enlightenment, Mohammed's
Revelation-- all are structures of Deep