Stowe, John R. (1956-)
Stowe, John R. (1956-)
John R. Stowe, a spiritual teacher, cofounder of Gay Spirit Visions, and founder of EarthFriends, was born in 1956. He lived a closeted gay existence until 1979, when he began a quest to discover what it meant to live as an aware, spiritually-engaged gay man. As with many gay men, much of that struggle meant dealing with negative self images acquired from growing up in a world that does not accept homosexuality as a legitimate option amid the myriad options from which people can choose.
After coming out, he found employment as a bodyworker/ masseur and pursued his spiritual and self-understanding quest through a spectrum of alternative spiritual options from the gay-informed Christianity of Episcopal priest Malcolm Boyd to channeller Andrew Ramer. He eventually decided that people have the right to their own spiritual path and that personal spirituality begins in listening to the inner self. He found bodywork as one tool that assisted the exploration of the inner self, but also found help in Jungian reflections on archetypes. He soon emerged as a spiritual teacher serving the gay community primarily in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.
In 1990, Stowe joined with a small group of friends who had pursued similar spiritual journeys, including Ramer, to found Gay Spirit Visions. The primary program of Gay Spirit Visions is an annual conference where gay men gather to explore alternative spiritual options. The work of the group, which Stowe has described as mutual mentoring, provided the atmosphere for him to develop his focus on the archetypes that led to his book, Gay Spirit Warrior (1999). Gay Spirit Warrior was written to assist men begin an inner journey and start to experience the reality of the self, both positive and negative. Stowe views archetypes as universal characters that reside in the human consciousness. Each person carries the archetypes developed to a greater or lesser strength. By looking at each archetype successively, and assessing how each manifests in its particularity, one can come to new levels of self-understanding.
In 1984, Stowe had discovered flower essences, substances distilled from flowers and other plants by a particular method first discovered by Edward Bach, a British physician. Since Bach's death in the 1930s, the number of flowers processed in the manner he discovered has greatly expanded, especially after the formation of the Flower Essence Society in 1979. Stowe began to make his own flower essences from flowers found in the Southeastern United States and use them in his bodywork sessions. In the mid-1980s he founded EarthFriends to manufacture and sell the essences he had developed. One line of products, Exploring Gayspirit Oils, is marketed primarily to gay men.
Nichols, Jack. "Interview with John R. Stowe." Gay Today (October 1999).
Stowe, John R. Gay Spirit Warrior. Findhorn Press, 1999.