Table of Contents
Also on this website:
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of
Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature
of God and the Universe
MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press
with Afterword by Mark Jordan
LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.
THE FOURTH QUILL, a
novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the
Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into
Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story
A NOVEL ABOUT HEALING.
THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET:
An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Crane Gay Spirituality Series
Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The
Dimensional Structure of
Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San
Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate
Why gay people should NOT Marry
The Scriptural Basis for
Same Sex Marriage
Wedding Cake Liberation
Gay Marriage in Texas
Shame on the American People
The "highest form of love"
Second March on
Why people need
homosexuality to be a sin
Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality
cause of homosexuality
origins of homophobia
about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness
What is homosexuality?
is Gay Spirituality?
What Jesus said about Gay
Common Experiences Unique to Gay
Is there a "uniquely gay
The purpose of homosexuality
The Reincarnation of Edward
The Gay Succession
Interview on the Nature of
What the Bible Says about
Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men
of Gay Spirituality
of Gay Liberation Activity
Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality
as Artistic Medium
Monastic or Chaste Homosexuality
Is it Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process
Notes on Licking (July, 1984)
Easton Mountain Retreat Center
Andrew Harvey &
Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and
the "Statement of Spirituality"
"It's Always About You"
The myth of the
Joseph Campbell's description of
Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.
Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging
Not A Wave
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
Cutting edge realization
What Anatman means
Advice to Travelers to India
The Danda Nata
& goddess Kalika
Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva
John Boswell was Immanuel Kant
The Two Loves
Toby Johnson Believes
The Joseph Campbell Connection
Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy
The Nature of Religion
What's true about
Gay is a Blessing
Drawing Long Straws
Gay Spiritual Functions
The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.
The Sinfulness of
for a study of gay nondualism
"The Evolution of Gay Identity"
"St. John of the
Dark Night of the Soul."
Let Me Tell You a Secret
Religious Articulations of the
The Collective Unconscious
Driving as Spiritual Practice
upsidedown book on MSNBC
Step in Evolution
The Moulting of the Holy Ghost
is a Bodhisattva
The Hero's Journey as archetype
Immaculate Conception & Assumption
Prostitution and the Nature of Evil
Hu: "God is present here"
The Life is in the Blood
retirement and the "freelance monastery"
Seeing with Different Eyes
experience at the Servites' Castle in Riverside
Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis
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
Souls Get Reincarnated
In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke
Karellen was a homosexual
About Alien Abduction
are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?
about Gay Mental Health
Ideas for gay
Kip and Toby,
Toby at the
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"
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 Sterling Houston
About Michael Stevens
Our friend Tom Nash
Be Done on Earth
by Howard E. Cook
Pay Me What I'm Worth by
The Way Out by Christopher
The Gay Disciple by John Henson
Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry
Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth
the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois
Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay
Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson
Dark Knowledge by
Janet Planet by Eleanor
Kairos by Paul E. Hartman
with Jesus by D.K.Maylor
Kali Rising by Rudolph
Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada
Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook
The Scar Letters: A Novel
by Richard Alther
Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel
by Charlene Spretnak
Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez
Cut Hand: A
Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr
by Eleanor Lerman
Rizzoli by Felice Picano
to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo
The Door of the
Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar
by David Duncan
and Demion by Mel White
Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L.
Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery
Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass
Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication
by Tim Clausen
Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar
Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by
Jeffrey J. Kripal
America and the Religion of No Religion
by Jeffrey J. Kripal
Invitation to Love by
Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A
A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey
Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes
Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson & Rhodes
Spiritual Being: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises by
Walt We Trust by John Marsh
Solomon's Tantric Song
by Rollan McCleary
Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary
Sin by Lawrence Scott
Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou
Internal Landscapes by John Ollom
Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks
Yes by Brad Boney
Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson
We are all wanderers here
The Myth of the Wanderer has always had personal meaning for me. In my
Catholic religious life experience, when I was with the Servites, I
took the religous name Peregrine. St Peregrine was a Servite in the
14th century. The word "peregrine" means wanderer or pilgrim. Peregrine
falcons are called such because it used to be thought they made no nest
and so were always moving from place to place (that's only partly true).
Here's a link to a page about St. Peregrine and peregrination.
The story in my novel Getting Life in Perspective
appeals to the Wanderer Myth. It's got a novel-within-the-novel that is
set in the late 1800s at the time of the Tramp Movement. The characters
hop freight trains and stay in tramp campgrounds on their way to discovering
a "gay utopian colony" out west in the Rockies.
Here's a Code of Ethics agreed to by a convention of "hobos" in 1889.
Hobo was the next generation of wanderers after the tramps.
The Hobo Code of Ethics
At the 1889
National Hobo Convention in St. Louis, a strict ethical code was
established for all hobos to follow. Here are some tips we could all
use, no matter what you carry in your rucksack.
1. YOU DO YOU.
"Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you."
2. SHOW SOME RESPECT.
"When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times."
3. DON'T BE AN OPPORTUNIST.
"Don't take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos."
4. GET A JOB.
"Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs
nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but
ensure employment should you return to that town again."
5. BE A SELF-STARTER.
"When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts."
6. SET A GOOD EXAMPLE.
"Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals' treatment of other hobos."
7. BE MINDFUL OF OTHERS.
"When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another
hobo will be coming along who will need them as badly, if not worse
8. DON'T LITTER.
"Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling."
9. LEND A HAND.
"If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help."
10. PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE.
"Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible."
11. BE COURTEOUS WHEN YOU'RE RIDING THE RAILS ...
"When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal
chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad,
act like an extra crew member."
12. ... AND WHEN YOU'RE NOT.
"Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard."
13. HELP OUT THE KIDS.
"Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home."
14. SAME GOES FOR HOBOS.
"Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday."
15. LEND YOUR VOICE.
"If present at a hobo court and you have testimony, give it. Whether for or against the accused, your voice counts!"
What a wonderful statement of human ethics! It doesn't give
commandments or laws. These are not handed down from God above. The
code derives from compassion and human experience.
From my experience of the Counterculture of the 60s and 70s and my life
in San Francisco (I lived at one time in an apartment on the actual corner of Haight & Ashbury), I think the word "hippie" could be substituted for
"hobo" every time.
And, for that mattter, "homosexual" or "gay man."
Isn't this what the notion of HOMINTERN was about? The brotherhood of
gay men around world--and sisterhood of lesbians--who help and support
one another because of a "secret understanding between them when they
meet." (For more about this quote…)
~ ~ ~
About the Myth of the Wanderer
from Hermann Hesse's
Narcissus and Goldmund
“Obedient to no man, dependent only on weather
and season, without a goal before them or a roof above them, owning
nothing, open to every whim of fate, the homeless wanderers lead their
childlike, brave, shabby existence. They are the sons of Adam, who was
driven out of Paradise; the brothers of the animals, of innocence. Out
of heaven's hand they accept what is given them from moment to moment:
sun, rain, fog, snow, warmth, cold, comfort, and hardship; time does
not exist for them and neither does history, or ambition, or that
bizarre idol called progress and evolution, in which houseowners
believe so desperately. A wayfarer may be delicate or crude, artful or
awkward, brave or cowardly—he is always a child at heart, living in the
first day of creation, before the beginning of the history of the
world, his life always guided by a few simple instincts and needs. He
may be intelligent or stupid; he may be deeply aware of the fleeting
fragility of all living things, of how pettily and fearfully each
living creature carries its bit of warm blood through the glaciers of
cosmic space, or he may merely follow the commands of his poor stomach
with childlike greed—he is always the opponent, the deadly enemy of the
established proprietor, who hates him, despises him, or fears him,
because he does not wish to be reminded that all existence is
transitory, that life is constantly wilting, that merciless icy death
fills the cosmos all around.”
I used to read this to myself over and over as a reminder of Buddha's discovery of impermanence. It's glorifying, of
course, what is in fact a burden and a tragedy today. Being homeless in
modern America is not the same thing as being a pilgrim in the middle
ages. Though I hope today's homeless wanderers can find some meaning in
their lives by referencing this myth. In the excerpt from The Myth of the Great Secret below, I offer an example of a homeless man who seemed to be living out the myth.
For us, I think this myth reminds us to live in the present "now"
moment, to acknowledge the fragility of life and the inherent danger of
The Buddha was a wanderer.
Jesus was a wanderer.
As songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen reminds us--with a slight variation from land to sea:
"And Jesus was a sailor, when he walked upon the
water, And he spent a long time watching, From his lonely wooden tower
and when he knew for certain, only drowning men could see him, he said
'All men shall be sailors then, until the sea shall free them'."
In C.S. Lewis's Perelandra,
a novel set in a waterworld where "islands" of seaweed mat float and
drift across the sea and there is only one small "continent" that is
solid called the "Fixed Land," the "original sin" was sleeping
overnight on the Fixed Land, wanting to know what the future held and
to control one's own fate, taking one's hand out of God's, to say to
God "this, but not that," to live on solid ground, not on the waves of
~ ~ ~
Here's an excerpt from The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell
THE PATH OF THE WANDERER
Eternity isn’t some later time. Eternity isn’t a long time. Eternity
has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now
which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don’t get it
here, you won’t get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right
here and now is the function of life.
There’s a wonderful formula that the Buddhists have for the Bodhisattva, the one whose being (sattva) is enlightenment (bodhi),
who realizes his identity with eternity and at the same time his
participation in time. And the attitude is not to withdraw from the
world when you realize how horrible it is, but to realize that this
horror is simply the foreground of a wonder and to come back and
participate in it.”
(Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth video, II)
We are each a self—and the Self—searching through our
store of experiences, past and present (which is the world), to find a
path and to create a future. Each of us is constructing a life story.
We are all wanderers, seeking the face of God. It is our heritage. Adam
was a wanderer, walking with God in the cool of the evening, beholding
God face to face, living open to every new experience as a further
revelation of the divine presence. That weary afternoon at the castle,
I experienced an enlightened moment and beheld the face behind the veil
of my time-and-space reality. I have beheld God face to face. (See Intimations)
Indeed, in each face into which I have looked I have beheld God. That
was the revelation of that day. Likewise, early twentieth-century
English mystic Caryll Houselander described a period of a few days in
her life during which she saw the face of Christ behind that of every
person on the street. I have come to understand this Truth, but most of
the time my sense of it is only very intellectual and distant. But now
and then, behind certain faces the divine presence becomes especially
real, and a person who might otherwise have been just another person on
the street becomes a manifestation of transcendent mythical reality.
One night, I was with friends in front of a theater in the San
Francisco’s North Beach area. A friend and fellow former Servite was
acting in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. A young
man engaged me in conversation. I was at first a little put off. He was
disheveled, his clothes crumpled and worn, his face and hands dirty.
But his eyes were bright and alive and his smile captivating. I ended
up standing there in the street for an hour or more while he told me
He said his name was Monty. He was in his early thirties. He’d been an
executive in an advertising firm, he said, successful according to
American standards. He had, however, come to feel that the security and
success of his career were an impediment to his spiritual growth. He
felt that there was no challenge left to his soul. And so one day—I
imagine in the fervor of conviction—he quit his job, sold or gave away
his belongings, gave up his apartment, and went to live on the streets.
He was surviving by living simply and frugally, foraging food,
occasionally accepting an invitation to stay at someone’s house (in
those days before the explosion of homelessness in America, it wasn’t
hard to get an invitation to crash some place in San Francisco),
depending on Providence, and overcoming desire. Overcoming desire, he
said, was the most necessary thing if the spiritual life were to
He never asked me for money, but I did give him my address and invited
him to visit. A couple of days later, just after supper, Monty came to
the house. He had been at the beach to watch the sunset. I was living
then with four others in a house near the ocean. I invited him in and
fixed some food for him. He was grateful.
I spent a long time talking with him. I was deeply affected by his
decision to be a wanderer. He seemed to be living the mendicant life in
a way that put to shame my safe, protected, and institutionalized
attempts. I wondered if I should try to follow his example. I was
frightened by that thought.
It got late. I invited him to sleep over. He accepted. But when I
offered to prepare a bed for him, he declined. Fighting the temptation
to need comfort, he said, was the hardest part of his life choice. The
luxury of the bed would only make that temptation worse. He preferred
to sleep on the floor in the living room. The next morning he left and
I have never seen him again.
Late that night, as I wrestled with the example of mendicancy he
presented me, he took on a magical aura. He held me loosely in his arms
to comfort me and told me that my life—like the lives of all of us, I
suppose—would be full of suffering and that, even so, I would make it
through. He said I’d been right to choose the bodhisattva’s path. He
said it was not the suffering I had to fear, but the fear of it. Most
any suffering we can survive; few hardships are so terrible that they
destroy the soul. But what will destroy the soul, cause it to wither up
and die unnoticed, he said, is the fear of suffering that builds up
walls around the heart and keeps out the life. The sources of that fear
are anger that things are the way they are and not as we’d like them to
be and desire that they be different from the way they are.
The message of Monty’s appearance in my life was, perhaps, that what
mendicancy really means is not so much destitution—though it probably
does demand basic simplicity—or lack of security, but the willingness
to accept life as it comes. There’s nothing in itself wrong with making
plans for the future or keeping a savings account. But there probably
is something damaging to the spiritual life in trying to make sure that
every possible future is foreseen and every exigency accounted for.
Such an attitude restricts the life and limits experience. Fear and
desire must be overcome, because until they are one can never enjoy
what is actual.
The cynicism that my training in psychiatry has taught me argues that
Monty was schizophrenic, compensated enough to survive on his own, but
living in a dreamworld. I wonder if his dreamworld wasn’t a better
place than the collective dreamworld the rest of us live in.
Despite the madness that might have characterized Monty’s psychology,
he was for me an “incarnation” of the Buddha. In my interpretation of
my life, I can see how he had passed beyond the polarities and awakened
from the dream of the world. I can understand how he presented me with
a clue to the meaning of my own life-dream. The day Monty came to
visit, he brought me a present. It was a small glass bottle, encrusted
inside with sea sand and smelling faintly of spearmint. He’d found it
on the beach. Perhaps it came from far away. I still have it, a
souvenir of my wandering, my present from the Buddha.