Gurdjieff
International Review

April 2000 Issue, Vol. III No. 2

In Memoriam: Some Pupils of Gurdjieff

Editorial Introduction

Our tenth issue continues our memorial focus on Gurdjieff in recognition of the 50th year since his death in Paris on October 29, 1949. In this issue, we draw upon accounts of some of Gurdjieff’s first generation pupils. All back issues are available in their entirety as printed copies.

Jane Heap
As Remembered by Some of Those She Taught

[Excerpt Only]

A. L. Staveley recalls vivid impressions of her work with Jane Heap in London during World War II which prepared her to meet Gurdjieff in 1946. This sketch was first published in Jane Heap 1887–1964: As remembered by some of those she taught by Two Rivers Press, 1988 in a limited edition and is reproduced here with their kind permission.

Threads of Time
Recollections of Jeanne de Salzmann

In this excerpt from his autobiography, Threads of Time, Peter Brook—who had attended Jane Heap’s group for more than a decade—offers a succinct and vivid cameo of Jeanne de Salzmann who was close to Gurdjieff for thirty years.

William & Louise Welch

Patty Welch Llosa provides a candid glimpse of her parents as well as an account of their roles as leaders of Gurdjieff groups.

For Dr. William J. Welch

Roger Lipsey’s eulogy of Dr. Welch is deeply felt and conveys a life vibrantly lived. It was delivered during Dr. Welch’s funeral at St. Thomas church in New York City on July 12, 1997 and here includes biographical details that were unnecessary on that occasion.

A Remembrance of W. A. Nyland
In the Ear and Eye of the Beholder

Terry Winter Owens, former student of Willem Nyland, notes that “With the passage of half a century since the death of Gurdjieff, it becomes increasingly obvious that there now flourish a number of different threads of the Gurdjieff work… As yet, little has been written about W. A. Nyland although he had a profound impact on many people.”

Louise March

Louise March was Gurdjieff’s only follower fluent in German, and the translation of Beelzebub’s Tales into that language fell largely to her. In the late 1950s, she established a community in upper state New York named the Rochester Folk Art Guild. A group of her pupils offer a brief account of her life followed by selections of her writing and sayings.

Pamela Travers

The Gurdjieff Society of London offers an account of Pamela Travers—the creator of Mary Poppins—and points out how “her special skill in connecting or linking the pearls of spiritual tradition … was undoubtedly her greatest and perhaps her unique contribution.”

George Mountford Adie

Joseph Azize—a long-time student of George Adie—describes Mr. Adie’s practice of Gurdjieff’s teaching and his singular contribution to establishing the Work in Australia; in so doing, he offers valuable observations on the pupil-teacher relationship.

Dr. John Lester

David Kangas, a member of Two Rivers Farm, observes how the “fall of 1999 saw the passing of Dr. John R. Lester, and with his death we count one fewer who actually saw Gurdjieff with his own eyes, heard his voice with his own ears, sat at Gurdjieff’s table.”

Combining Good and Truth, Now
An Homage to Maurice Nicoll

The author, Bob Hunter, was a student of Beryl Pogson—Maurice Nicoll’s secretary and biographer. He emphasizes that Nicoll’s “special contribution to the Fourth Way is that his teaching, by leavening the method transmitted by P. D. Ouspensky, helps people to value the Work [and] showed how to see the good of it.”

Other New Features

Gurdjieff Heralds the Awakening of Consciousness Now

James George writes for this issue taking a bird’s eye view of the influence of Gurdjieff’s teaching over the past eighty years and noting that “now the spreading is amplified by the electronic revolution of the Internet, for worse or for better. The spiritualization of the global village has begun. Suddenly, there are rays to the sun everywhere. One of these rays—the one that has meant the most to me—is the ‘Work’ or teaching of Gurdjieff.”

Beelzebub, a Master Stroke
Belzébuth, un coup de maître

In this penetrating examination of Beelzebub’s Tales, Rainoird emphasizes that Gurdjieff’s master work “cannot be read as we commonly read our books—and which simultaneously attracts and repels us.” Rainoird’s commentary was first published as Belzébuth, un coup de maître in Monde Nouveau (Paris) October, 1956 as a review of the publication of the first French edition. This translation is the first to offer the complete text in English.

Copyright Conventions in an Unconventional World: A Note about the Writings of Gurdjieff and his Circle

Roger Lipsey, former editorial manager for Triangle Editions who hold copyright on Gurdjieff’s writings, examines the question of legitimate and illegitimate publication of Gurdjieff’s works.

Brother in Elysium: Orage in Gurdjieff’s Service
[Excerpt Only]

Michael Benham reviews Paul Beekman Taylor’s Brother in Elysium: Orage in Gurdjieff’s Service forthcoming Samuel Weiser, Winter 2000/2001. Drawing on a wealth of unpublished Orage family archives, Taylor assembles the most comprehensive Orage biography to date. He vividly reconstructs the 1922–1933 period to demonstrate that A. R. Orage’s involvement with Gurdjieff was the natural evolution of his own search and not an aberration as presumed by Orage’s literary biographers.

The Strange Cult of Gurdjieff: an Insider’s Story of the Most Mysterious Religious Movement in the World
[Excerpt Only]

First published in Practical Psychology Monthly around 1937. Although Gorham Munson propagates the false rumor that Gurdjieff was the Tibetan Lama Dorzhieff, his flamboyantly titled article presents the richest and most detailed account of the enigma of Gurdjieff available up to 1937. With more than ten years as a student of Orage’s and occasional meetings with Gurdjieff, including a summer spent with him in France, Munson, writing under the pseudonym “Armagnac,” describes Gurdjieff’s school at the Prieuré and the teaching presented there.

Around the Theatre
The Voice of Moscow

[Excerpt Only]

On the first few pages of In Search of the Miraculous, P. D. Ouspensky describes his return to Russia in November of 1914 and how, working as a journalist, he came across this notice and put it in his newspaper that winter, shortly before his first meeting with Gurdjieff.

About This Publication

The Gurdjieff International Review is published by Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing. Any information or opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or editors.
G. I. Gurdjieff
Pencil sketch of Gurdjieff by Ziga Valishevsky, circa 1919


The greater the height to which Beelzebub goes, the more the confusion of our usual jumble of ideas is dispelled. What emerges is the opposite—we see in high relief what was previously screened and misunderstood. The high has illuminated the low. Infinite spaces have ceased to frighten us.

Manuel Rainoird

I can too easily assume that this “I AM” of Gurdjieff’s (or of the Bible) is all about me and my personal development. It may take years of inner work to come to the realization that this self-centered attitude of mine is the greatest barrier between me and the impersonal highest in me, which he calls “I.”

James George

Madame de Salzmann would always rise graciously to welcome a visitor. She would sit upright, still and contained, and would respond with laughter or seriousness, finding precisely the words and the idiom that corresponded to the age and understanding of the listener.

Peter Brook

Jane [Heap] seldom if ever said, “Go here—go there. Do this—do that.” Her method of transmitting the teaching was to create learning situations, and from these you learned. Or did not learn, as the case might be.

Annie Lou Staveley

It’s a question of emphasis. You put emphasis on its [negative emotion] strength, when it should more practically be on your weakness. And that relates to your understanding. All negative emotion has is momentum, but if you are there, it stops.

George Adie

The first step is to ‘learn to listen,’ to wish to listen, to wish to drop the chaos in oneself in the same way that we drop the body at physical death. This step means that we won’t interfere any longer, will not change anything (in the beginning not even ourselves); that we will not quarrel, that we have no opinion to insist upon; that we will not translate what we hear into our automatic daily language—which would be equal to letting it go out the other ear.

Louise March

I have chosen to focus on what I remember and believe Mr. Nyland himself considered important: his unrelenting imperative to work on oneself and to do so correctly and in accordance with an accurate representation of inner effort and its relationship to the ideas as a whole.

Terry Winter Owens

He turned his full attention towards me, which, I can tell you, was considerable, and said “Is more important that you say I am, than is that you breathe.”

John Lester

The hours of sleep were short; the hours of labor long. Gurdjieff constantly pushed his pupils past their states of “imaginary fatigue,” and on through their “second wind” to real fatigue.

Gorham Munson


Copyright © 2000
Gurdjieff Electronic Publishing

April 1, 2000