We are The Maitreyan Order Of Hsien Tao. Founded in 1976 to promote the philosophical and spiritual traditions of our planet's homosexuals, ours is a NON-RELIGIOUS but deeply committed brother-sisterhood of Gay/Lesbian MYSTICS, practicing and teaching the entire spectrum of Mystical Philosophies of our world.. to EVERYONE regardless of gender or gender preference.. though our own gay lifestyle has naturally caused us to specialize in 'gay spiritual studies.'
What we have found actually SURPRISED US; expecting to find 'maybe SOMETHING' to explain our personal feeling that there must be a spiritual 'meaning' to our way of Love and relating, we have found that not only ARE there such Roots, but they are the most precious parts of virtually ALL of the ancient spiritualities of our species.
In this webpage we will present the fundamental roots of the Gay Spirit, and then we will list some of the ways we may be able to help you connect with any of that which you are drawn to. We hope you ENJOY learning WHY you are what you ARE!! As for the homophobic segment of society around which we must all learn how to survive with some of our dignity intact, please ponder the words of the western world's most famous philosopher, while you study the roots of the homosexual Spirit!
"Homosexuality," Plato wrote, "is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love-all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce."
From the ancient mystical traditions of the Land Of Countless Gods, India, comes the teaching that the Universal Spirit (Brahman, the Creator) first manifested as a Unified Being composed of all of the traits of BOTH HUMAN SEXES. Usually depicted as Female and Black on the left side of the body and Male and white on the right side, this First Being is named ISHVARA.. and it is 'he' or 'she' or 'we' whom Hindus consider to have said "Let us make mankind in our own Image."
According to Hinduism, as any person 'returns to God' through spiritual self-development, the very LAST thing they experience as 'self identity' is ISHVARA; for we retrace the Journey of Life from where we Are to where we Began, and we began as Ishvara.
Thus, anyone who has unified both of the Sexes into their daily self identity is either Ishvara Creating Itself OR Ishvara 'Returning Home' to Brahman. While most western societies frown upon the Androgynous or Gender-Unified individual (a common attitude even in the gay community) and consider them somehow 'distorted' or "un-natural" for not being either a Macho Man or a proper Barby Doll Clone, India recognizes the Ishvaran Androgyne as THE CREATOR, EMBODIED. As we progress through the many cultures of the world, you will see this theme repeated many times, and we hope you will learn from it that Gender-Unified Self Identity is not only DIVINE but capable of original Creations on a scale unattainable by either Gender Extreme.
Naturally, Hinduism recognizes that Ishvara went on to 'split in two' by creating the Gender Extremes in the form of a Male "Father God" and a female "Mother Goddess" who did the actual Birthing of the Universe. Thus, Ishvara and the Androgynous individual are shown as SUPPORTING or giving power to both of the Gender Extremes.. for Ishvara is capable of loving them BOTH quite equally (for who does NOT love themself?!)
The western version of this Gender-Unified First Being is recorded in the writings of the most famous Greek Philosopher, Plato. Plato wrote that the first human beings had four arms and four legs, and were composed of a male and a female half united into a single Self. These beings had to 'roll' rather than walk, due to their anatomy, and this made them unwieldy. Therefore they were divided by the gods into Male and Female halves as we find them today; but the memory of our once-united Wholeness stays with us always, and we feel the pull of this memory every time we are drawn to another person sexually.
While this story is considered purely a Parable of Plato's own invention (for it has no mythic roots in the Olympic legends of the Hellenes,) it does demonstrate that the Ishvara or unified gender of our original nature was clearly known to the classical Greeks.
Homosexuality.. especially between men.. is of course traditionally associated by western cultures as "Greek Love." While the ancient Hellenes certainly did have a strong and deeply respected Family Tradition (every successful Greek man was 'socially EXPECTED' to breed, and preserve the bloodline that brought him to prominence) it is also undeniable that Hellenic Culture rested firmly on a Homosexual foundation. Every city-state in Greece had it's own preferred 'version' (later Europeans would say "PER-version!",) of Gay Love.. though they all recognized that genuine Social Order and creative genius requires (especially) MEN to love one another early in life, to prevent the development of 'estrangements' such as ego-competition, mistrust, violence and warfare.
In the city-state of Athens, the gay pattern of sexuality involved inter-generational 'sponsoring' or Mentoring; a mature or well-established man would take the sons of his neighbors and friends "under his wing" to teach them not only about the birds and the bees, but also about living as a free man outside the family unit. Sex between these Mentors and their Charges was expected to be largely 'touching;' massage, wrestling, bathing together and laying naked together while enjoying each other's bodies until they each ejaculated. Anal sex was considered 'socially incorrect' in Athens; mutual masturbation was the Athenian Way.
Not so, in Sparta! Sparta was a strongly military city-state; every citizen was expected to participate in the defense of the realm. Boys were actually raised in military barracks, acting as orderlies, housekeepers, waiters AND sexual companions of adult officers and soldiers who guarded the Spartan society. Anal as well as oral sex was common, though probably most often by mutual consent. It is an interesting tidbit of military history (red-facedly admitted to by even the stodgiest homophobic military historians) that the Spartan Army was universally considered the best and most courageous in the entire Hellenic world. Plato, writing in his famous "Republic," used the Spartan Army as the model for his Ideal Society.. in which gay sexuality would be the "glue" the holds-together the military of his Utopia. In his opinion, the LOVE between the men-at-arms of Sparta gave them extra reason to protect and defend their own troops (for who would NOT fight for the life of one's Lovers?!)
Lesbians had their Isle of Lesbos.. where the poetess Sappho and her followers created a miniature version of Hellenic culture based entirely on sex between women. Bisexuals can likewise point to the god Apollo, whose many loves of both young men and young women earned him a permanent place as the sexiest 'swinger' on Mount Olympus; and heterosexuals can of course always find ample proofs that Greece was ALSO open to their own 'perversions.' All in all, Hellenic Civilization remains the most important monument in our past history to the importance and value of LOVE in all it's forms, and SEX as a natural but sacred way of SHOWING Love to others.
Predating both Indian and Greek society (and all other advanced societies of antiquity except that of China) by many centuries, EGYPT has always been recognized as the oldest true civilization of the mid-east. Recent discoveries have shown that even Mesopotamia in the Fertile Crescent of Iran and Iraq was predated by the early culture of the Pharaohs. Early French and English explorers did their very best to cover-up the fact that Egypt was ALSO just about the sexiest spot in the old world. They defaced sculptures, friezes and wall-paintings; censored papyri and hid the juicy bits from European audiences.. but they could not hide ALL of the facts which have now been "uncovered" for modern view.
The sexy side of Egyptian culture began with AMUN.. also spelled Amen, Amon and Ammon.. who was the First Being in the Egyptian Creation Tale. Amun was depicted as a well-built human macho-male wearing a crown depicting the head of a male GOAT; Amun's other symbol was a Ram or male goat, symbolic of sexual drive. For those who did not grow-up around a barnyard, the male goat is famous the world over for his insatiable desire and ability to have sex; as often as possible, with everybody he can. THAT was the 'Original God' beloved throughout Egyptian history as the greatest God of the Pharaohs.
According to the Egyptians, Amun existed alone before the creation of the universe. He created the universe SEXUALLY; he was the God of Creative Masturbation. Jerking-off in his own hand, Amun then drank his own semen; and having thus impregnated himself, he 'spat out' or gave birth to the first entirely Male and Female Gods.. Geb the Earth-God and Nut the Sky-Goddess who then began copulating heterosexually, giving birth to the rest of the gods and their mortal offspring.
Amun remained the most important diety not only to Pharaohs but to their people as well, because his Temples were literally Temples of Sexual Creation. In every Temple of Amun stood his statue, depicting a tall, muscular man wearing a crown and holding a very long hard-on with one hand, in the act of Original Virtue (YES that is what masturbation was considered!) The Temples were attended by Orders of men and women both, who performed sexual surrogacy (some have called it "Temple Prostitution") for the general public (by donation, no doubt!) As for the Pharaohs, a special room behind the Statue of Amun was dedicated to a literal re-enactment of the First Creation; standing inside the hollow statue of Amun, the Pharaohs would ejaculate through the penis of the statue, then no doubt drink his own semen to act-out the other half of the legend.. before copulating with his Royal Wife, to associate them both with the Father God and Mother Goddess Geb and Nut. The Pharaoh himself.. as the only person in Egypt allowed to perform the Rites of Amun in the Temple.. was considered permanently the embodiment of Amun, the First Creator.
All of this was unutterably 'filthy' to the not entirely spotless minds of the European explorers who first rediscovered the Rites of Amun. Priceless works of art were deliberately destroyed, defaced and covered-over to prevent you from learning what you just learned. THAT is how distorted western 'civilization' had become by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today we are slowly getting our Nature back from the prudes and censors of the past.. but it is a lot of work to erase the judgements and religious bigotries even from one's own mind.
Fortunately, the gay community of today CAN look back to the Oldest God of the oldest civilization of the western world, and say "AMEN!," and really mean it. Divinity, by the way, in Egyptian was pronounced "Neteru:" the very Gods of ancient Egypt were called Natures.. and the eldest of them all was Amen or Amun, whose name means "HIDDEN WITHIN EACH." Certainly I have found him Hidden Within! Can you not find him there too?!
Having finally succeeded in driving the remaining Greek-inspired Gays of their own continent into well-locked closets, European society discovered the New World.. and promptly had to deal with it all over again; for (with a few exceptions among tribes which were truly homophobic) Native America had a very active Gay Society from time immemorial. Usually found within what has been named 'the Berdache tradition,' this uniquely Native American homosexuality was inextricably interwoven with Native American SPIRITUALITY as well.
The word 'Berdache' is originally from the Mideast, and denotes both a Homosexual and a 'Transvestite;' and that is a perfect picture of the Native American Homosexual. Essentially a Hunter/Warrior culture, males in Native America were expected to enter into a military career "if typically male." However, it was also recognized that the warrior as well as the hunter needed the spiritual advice and magical assistance of the Shaman, Medicine Man and Spirit Worker.. and THAT was almost universally recognized throughout the Americas as Gay Territory.
The connection between Gay Identity and Spiritual Power was as obvious to Native Americans as the connection between women and cooking was to the European settlers; the two went hand in hand. To be Gay MEANT that one was 'outside the world;' homosexuals were considered Spirit-gifted, automatically. "Homosexual" ONLY meant the individual who preferred the 'female role' (especially anal sex).. for ANY 'straight' man could freely have sex with a Homosexual without having his manhood questioned (in fact, having a Gay 'wife' or lover was considered a very high honor which raised one's status within the Tribe.) As for the Berdache himself, the Gay Mystic in most Tribes was expected to wear 'the dress' just as they were once expected to wear 'the robe' in old European societies to denote exactly the same status: He/She.. the Ishvara.
This Third Gender or Both-Sexes-In-One was understood as being innately more Intuitive, Nurturing, Wise and Skilled.. all words of vast importance to Native societies. Gay children were considered so great an asset to a family that many Tribes had a tradition of trying to 'teach' Gay Spirit to their young boys in the hope that they would 'become' Berdache. All of the professions which we now call Healthcare, Counseling, Education and the Ministry were ALL Berdache specialties, as were the Arts, Music, Dance and above all else, the entire spectrum of Mystical or Psychic Sciences.. which were considered the almost exclusive domain of the He/She.
Like Mystics of all other continents and ages, the Native American Gay was a Robe-clad figure of extreme veneration and honor, without whose services the society itself could not have functioned smoothly. While the Gay Male was also the invariable butt of countless giggled innuendos whenever he was seen in the company of a new 'husband,' they were the giggles not of derision but of playful banter; and the unique status of the Berdache was valued so highly that any man lucky enough to win the sexual favors of the tribal Ishvara knew they had finally made it big-time; "what a MAN he must be," all of the people would be saying as he passed, and he knew that. "Why, he even pleases the He/She, and you KNOW how choosey HE is!"
Recent discoveries in the Incan region of South America have uncovered the remains of a vast labyrinth-maze of ruined Temples filled with artwork, pottery and sculptured images which prove that this Berdache Spirituality extended the whole length and breadth of the Americas. Early men of the Andes could travel to the Mystical City and walk through the maze of hallways to choose which of the many Berdache Medicine Men they wanted to relate with as both Seer, Healer, Counselor and sexual Lover all in one.
Less is currently known of the Lesbian traditions within Native American cultures.. largely due to the continued strength and secrecy of the Women's Societies (female "clans" devoted specifically to women's issues and activities.) Certainly women were free to pursue any traditionally male pursuit they chose.. including the Warrior Path. Since women were traditionally viewed as intuitive, nurturing and 'wise,' they were often associated with spirituality in the popular mind, and many women served as Medicine Workers, Healers and Shamans. Hopefully, future disclosures will fill-in the details currently missing about the role of homosexuality in Native Women's Societies.
We have a long way to go, still. We have only begun to scratch the surface of Gay Spirituality in the true history of our world. But even this small sample should prove to you that your sexual identity is FAR from 'base' or 'animalistic' no matter what the hateful or fearful have yelled at you. Like the Navaho Indians of Arizona around whom this writer was born and raised (whose Supreme God is a powerful Man dressed as a Berdache,) all we today have to do is MEET THE SPIRIT anywhere, and we will find our own reflection in the mirror of Ishvara.
Now that we have explored the roots of Gay Spirit, let us examine what is currently known about the actual structure of the Self (or Psyche.) The following diagram and explanatory notes are taken from the mystical traditions of Yoga, Kaballah (the traditional Hebrew 'yogic mysticism' as distinguished from religion) as well as the fundamental principles of Jungian Psychoanalysis.
As you can see from the diagram above, the Hebraic Mystical Science called Kaballah (also spelled Cabala and Qaballah) recognizes THREE PATHS of self-development.. identified as "the Three Pillars" of The Tree Of Life. The LEFT PILLAR is depicted as Black (or "mysterious") and identified with "Aima" the Great Mother, and represents FEMALE PSYCHOLOGY, or 'Feminism.' The RIGHT PILLAR is shown as White (or "starkly obvious") and identified with "Abba" the Great Father.. representing MALE PSYCHOLOGY. And up the CENTER PILLAR (which is in fact the main 'trunk' of The Tree Of Life) runs GENDER-UNIFIED PSYCHOLOGY.. or Ishvara.
Traditional Kaballist writers have compared these three with (Left-Pillar) the HERMETIC PATH of Mental-Intellectual Study; (Right Pillar) the ORPHIC PATH of Spiritual/Emotional Idealism and discipline; and (Center Pillar) the MYSTICAL PATH of Occultism, Psychic Phenomena, Visionary Experience and direct contact with 'the gods.'
Carl G. Jung, the famed Swiss psychoanalytic theorist, named these three potions of Self-potential 'the Anima' (Left-Pillar or Female Psychology,) the 'Animus' (Right-Pillar or Male Psychology,) and 'the God-Self' (Center-Pillar or Gender-Unified Identity.) Jung described in his work a 'Process Of Individualization' by which every Self begins their Journey by meeting their SHADOW or Self-Fear and Self-Denial Phase (something familiar to most Gays and Lesbians!;) and then progressing into the ANIMA-ANIMUS or Opposite-Sex Phase, during which one EITHER absorbs the traits of the opposite sex into one's own personality OR 'divorces' oneself from that personally and 'transfers it' onto Lovers of the opposite sex.
In Jungian theory, it is ONLY those who are able to INTEGRATE the opposite-sex psychology into their own self-identity, who can then proceed into the higher (Self and God-Self) phases of self-development; all the rest of the 'gender-polarized' populace are left behind to marry, divorce and remarry their own potential indefinitely until they finally learn that what they are looking for is essentially WITHIN THEMSELVES.
In the same way, Kaballah describes the Central Pillar as the only one of the Three Paths that leads directly to the TOP of The Tree Of Life; both the Female and the Male Psychology patterns must eventually MEET and BLEND (producing a Mystical rather than a Male or Female identity) before one can reach the Pinnacle of self-attainment.
Both of these traditions (one ancient and Mystical, the other modern and 'scientific') agree that the Gay and Lesbian individual has attained SELF-UNITY on a level that the gender-polarized cannot even imagine.. and that it is this Unity between the sexes WITHIN ONESELF that gives us access to the higher creativity, spirituality and psychic skills called 'divinity' and 'cosmic consciousness.' ISHVARA alone connects the Self with the Creator in every tradition throughout our planet's many cultures and ages of history.
Unlike the average "Ken" or "Barbie" in the straight world.. who can subsist fairly well on surface-level (even trite) explanations of Reality.. all homosexuals are literally FORCED to develop a spiritual philosophy of some sort, in order to survive the moralistic judgements handed down by the religious community. Perhaps the only really important thing about it all is that it WORKS for you; if you already have found a happy self-integration of the two genders within yourself, and some level of comfortable self-respect in the society around you.. then you have done your work quite well already, and we congradulate and "cheer" you!
But if you have not yet accomplished that personal "balancing act" and could use some help with it all, please remember that you have somewhere to turn for help. Our Order is devoted to the spiritual wellbeing of the gay and lesbian community, and we will happily counsel, listen, encourage and (wherever possible without "telling you what to do") advise you on your Path to self-wholeness. Email us at the address below, anytime you wish. We guarantee all contacts are confidential, and we never give away or sell mailing lists.
If you happen to live in gay old New England as we do, and would like a more direct, personal contact at our home-center in Ashby Massachusetts, we happily cover the entire spectrum of topics: Kaballah, Tantra Yoga, Taoism, Alchemy, Gnosticism, Totemic Animism or any other spirit Path you are drawn to. Naturally, you must be 21 years old and "of sound mind" (meaning not under psychiatric or psychological care) to attend, but that is the only "requirement." Call or e-mail for more information.
Whenever possible (meaning "when enough people are interested") we also offer monthly "Community Gatherings" for gay and lesbian spiritual Pathwalkers.. here in our gay little home in the woods. Let us know you are interested, and we will keep you posted! Meanwhile, whether we ever meet "virtually" or "literally," we are glad you have stopped-by our site and given us the opportunity to share our work with you. Wherever your Path leads you, we hope you will remember the Teaching of Ishvara; that gay Spirit is DIVINE!