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Toby Johnson's books:
YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned
from Joseph Campbell: The
GAY 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:
Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods
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: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with Steve Berman and some 30 other writers
THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell
IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey
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 Third Appearance: A Crisis of Perception
by Walter Starcke
trade paperback, 240 pages, $18.95
Available from Amazon.com -- new and used -- paperback.
The Third Appearance: A Crisis of Perception
This review of the first edition appeared in White Crane Journal #63 Winter 2004/05
There have been two previous “appearances” of divinity, according to Walter Starcke. The first is manifested as the worldwide mythology of a creator God who brought the universe into being, watches over it, and judges human beings for how they contribute to its maintenance and well-being. The second appearance was manifested in the mythology of a human incarnation of that God, primarily in Jesus Christ (but also in Krishna and perhaps other human personifications of God) that dramatized God’s concern for individual human lives and personal involvement with the historical unfolding of creation. The third appearance is manifested in the growing realization in our own day that the myths of the past have been less about external reality and more about the nature of consciousness itself as manifested in those individual human beings and that divinity now appears as us!
Walter Starcke is one of the “wise old men” of my acquaintance, a figure in San Antonio’s gay community and among local and national New Age thinkers. In my own current book, I cite Starcke’s formula “It’s All God” as a modern day aphorism for the perennial wisdom behind all religion.
Walter, now a spry 84 year old, still writing and lecturing worldwide through the various churches of Religious Science and Unity, is a marvelous storyteller. [Starcke died October 25, 2011.] His friends are all awaiting publication of memoirs with tales of his life as a Broadway producer and buddy of such characters as Tennessee Williams and Tallulah Bankhead and then later Aldus Huxley and Christopher Isherwood. As a young man Walter became partners with New York theater legend John van Druten famous for bringing Isherwood’s Berlin Stories to the stage as “I Am A Camera.” (Walter jokes that to this day every time a singer does a number from Cabaret, he gets a royalty!) Later he became an entrepreneur and community developer in the gay-popular artist colony of Key West. The greatest influence on his spiritual life was the Christian mystic and meditation teacher Joel Goldsmith with whom he studied some eighteen years and who set him on his second or third career as a teacher of spiritual wisdom himself.
Summarizing his central message in this newest book, Starcke writes: “. . . I have outlined a few imperatives. We must see ourselves as consciousness rather than form, we must get rid of the superstitious belief that there is a God apart from our own being, and we must recognize the divinity of our humanity. We must also develop the capacity to consciously double-think, and go beyond the duality of good and evil. When those conditions have been met we will witness the Third Appearance of God and realize that it is us—it is our individual selves and humanity as a whole.”
The idea of “double-think” is one of the richest in this book—and demonstrates, though he makes no direct reference to his homosexual identity in this book, that his thinking is characteristically gay, and that the message he preaches to the Unity and Religious Science churches is basically to think like gay people. “Double-think” means being able to entertain different–and even seemingly contradictory –ideas at once. This is the notion in new paradigm science that ultimate reality is counter-intuitive and that we can only think about such matters through metaphor and suggestive imagery. To think about God one has to be able to believe and doubt at the same time, for God neither exists nor does not exist. God, indeed, is an idea that is supposed to raise us above linear thinking into “mystical” awareness of our own deepest selves.
In this book, Starcke demonstrates a practical application of this realization in how he speaks about himself. He does what many of us probably do in our inner thought processing: to speak to ourselves in third person and thereby understand the “I” that is speaking as us is also far beyond us and is a hint at consciousness itself. The book culminates in a lovely guided meditation applying the imagery of the Mass to self-realization.
This isn’t exactly new revelation, but The Third Appearance is a readable and thoroughly interesting explication of what’s happening in the spiritual awakening of humankind—by a wise sage and one of our own.
All of Walter Starcke’s books are available through Amazon.com and his own website walterstarcke.com.
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Revised and Updated: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It's Too Lateby Thom Hartmann
Broadway Books, Revised Edition, 2004, 400 pages, $16.00
Available from amazon.com in paperback and for Kindle
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Revised and Updated: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It's Too Late
Speaking of the spiritual awakening of humankind, Thom Hartmann’s The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight is an enlivening reminder of the ecological crisis that is facing modern Earth and a needed antidote to the possible quietism in New Age awakening. Yes, we are Gods and everything is perfect just as it is AND Mother Earth is in danger from modern political and business practices. We’re about out of oil (i.e. “ancient sunlight” stored in the carbon bonds of organic material deep under the earth), clean air, and clean water. AND the government and the media are hiding this reality from the general public–with the terrorist wars being one of the biggest examples of misdirection. “They” don’t hate us because of our freedom, but because there is major competition for resources. It has practically nothing to do with Islam and Christianity and everything to do with diminishing food and energy availability.
Though this isn’t a gay book and the author is not a gay man, this book should be of interest to gay men because part of our spiritual/shamanic identity down through time has been as protectors of the planet and spokespersons for the non-human forces of the planet. In the one place Hartmann treats of homosexuality, he cites Will Roscoe and Walter L. Williams on the Native American traditions that honoring sexual diversity and he proposes homosexuality as a preferable form of population control natural to planetary dynamics.
Subtitled “The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It’s Too Late,” this is a moving and wonderfully readable book. It will wake you up. The insights into the workings of corporate business, of governmental manipulation of information, of media dominance are both enlightening and upsetting. How can this be? What can we do about it? And, indeed, Hartmann makes good on his promise to say what to do. Of course, part of the work is political, but more importantly Hartmann recommends transforming religion and redeveloping a sense of the sacredness of life.
Hartmann holds out the possibility that it is not too late. Human beings have lived on Earth, happily and harmoniously and with little suffering and privation for 150 thousand years (during which time, by the way, gay people were recognized as spiritual leaders); it’s been only in the last two thousand years (of dominance by patriarchal styles of thinking) that suffering and overpopulation have become threats. A return to simplicity is still possible. Hartmann concludes his book on politics and economics realities of planet Earth’s ecological crisis with a statement of spiritual awareness. “In helping to ‘save the world,’ the most important work you and I face is to help individuals transform their ability to perceive reality and control the stories they believe—because people do tend to live out what they believe is true.”
So Walter Starcke’s wisdom that we’re all God and everything’s just fine also includes realizing there are crises going on around us that we must deal with. Everything is indeed perfect, is God, and yet precisely because so many people don’t believe that and live it out, there are terrible problems.
Ah, I can hear the voice of consciousness in me, in Starcke’s mode of double-think and self-talk (maybe even in Walter’s mellifluous speaking voice): “Now, Toby, of course this is heaven now and you are my experience of myself in the world, enjoying the world just as it is, but that doesn’t mean the experience doesn’t also include the recognition that the human world—especially the American world—needs a major kind of conversion.”
Both Starcke and Hartmann are helping move us all to this great shift in consciousness that is happening now—and that includes gay awareness –and that alone can save the day.
Reviewed by Toby Johnson, author of Gay Spirituality: Gay Identity and the Transformation of Human Consciousness, The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell and other novels and books
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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