View Full Version : Long awaited - Gurdjieff

solomon levi
06-06-2009, 05:18 AM
So what did G have to say about alchemy?

"The whole work is about putting our ordinary centers into a right state so that they can transmit intelligently the influences of higher centers which exist in us fully formed and are continually at work, but to which we cannot respond." - Maurice Nicoll

Sounds like spagyrics to me - seperate, purify, recombine... and Frater Albertus' definition of alchemy as 'the raising of vibrations'.

In "In Search of the Miraculous" Gurdjieff quotes twice from "a book of aphorisms" (p. 217) which he says has never been published:
"A man may be born, but in order to be born he must first die, and in order to die he must first awake.
When a man awakes he can die; when he dies he can be born."

I like that one. It relates to what I said before about losing the human form when the kundalini awakens. And in alchemy we have the putrefaction before the virgin birth.

The main part of what was considered alchemical is too large for me to describe, but I'll find a link...

Here's sort of an intro to the idea from the book "In search of P.D. Ouspensky":
"The cosmological lectures continued and Ouspensky was particularly fascinated by a strange system of inner chemistry, a kind of contemporary alchemy, that involved substances G called "hydrogen", "carbon", "nitrogen", and "oxygen", but seemed to have no relation to the ordinary chemicals these names refer to. G spoke of impressions as a form of nutrition, along with food and air. He explained how making efforts at becoming conscious changes our impressions, and how this change creates a shock that enables us to transform coarse substances into finer materials. Eventually, after much work, these finer materials accumulate, and with them we can attract even finer substances from which we obtain the energy to transform ourselves."

These finer substances create finer bodies - i.e. etheric, astral.

And here's the link to the book "In Search of the Miraculous" where the system is explained:

http://books.google.com/books?id=0tzRflrRDeIC&pg=PR10&dq=In+search+of+the+miraculous+Gurdjieff+alchemy+i mpressions#PPA167,M1

You'll probably need the whole of chapter nine for context, but the three leveled house begins on 182. If you've never seen this it may appear complex, but it's rather simple and intelligent if you have the time to familiarise yourself with it.

Another interesting tool is the Enneagram. I'll let you search that yourself in the same book. The whole book is a masterpiece worthy of study.

solomon levi
07-14-2009, 05:54 PM
Ok. Not so long-awaited. :cool:
Deviadah, what say you?
What have you gleaned from G?

07-14-2009, 06:27 PM
Well I am overcome with fake work right now (the one that pays), so I feel a bit dead in the head right now... but the best non-Gurdjieff work about Gurdjieff is Colin Wilsons The Outsiders.

Try and read that if you can... (don't have my notes with me right now)!

It is not an alchemical book per se, but who is more an outsider than the Alchemist?


07-14-2009, 07:22 PM

So what did G have to say about alchemy?

Another interesting tool is the Enneagram. I'll let you search that yourself in the same book. The whole book is a masterpiece worthy of study.

Referenced materials from http://www.quartavia.org/inglese/enneagramma2.htm

The Enneagram

... the aspect of the Enneagram in which people are generally most interested is that of analysing the personality. In other articles we have clarified the fact that in human psychology there is the illusion of the stable and ultimate “I”, which is, on the countrary, not one “I”, but a mixture of parts of the “I” which are in fact often in conflict and opposed to one another. The Enneagram was used by Gurdjieff to this end. He used it to analyse and study the various mechanical aspects of the human personality. In this way, he was able to identify what kind of work would be most suitable for each particular seeker. There are, however, no traces of any written legacy on this subject by Gurdjieff. What he passed on to his followers in this regard, he passed on directly via oral transmission.
Let’s start with the concept that every person has his/her own personality, which is the result of both a series of social influences and his/her own processes.

The personality is, however, in sharp contrast with the part known as “Essence”. “Essence” is the sole target of sacred psychology in general. Its intention is to bring “Essence” back into a balanced and flourishing state.

The Enneagram indicates nine aspects of the personality. The personality, in trying to free itself of its identifications, is attempting to find once again its lost originality. The excessive fixation of a person on a particular point of the Enneagram, shows the areas in which it would be necessary to act for that person in order to redress his/her hardness and excesses.

Acting in this way, a person moves towards an experience of liberation from his/her personality fixation, which is the main cause of his/her suffering.

(end of quote)

Play_Dough's Comment:
The above description alludes to alchemical processes associated with Mercury (quicksilver) and sulphur, wherein the Mercury represents our 'genuine essence' and the 'sulphur' represents our 'ego-personality'.
In a lab experiment it can be observed that sulphur absorbs mercury and represents (alchemically) the distortion of our true-self (a mercurial vapor or spirit) by the captivation of ego (sulphur).
So, the 'task' is to free-up the mercury from the sulphur...... and, according to my understanding, this is accomplished by the application of a subtle heat which causes the mercury 'to rise' as a vapor and get free of the sulphur.

The process, as described, also alludes to The Emerald Tablet where one gently and diligently 'separates the subtle from the gross' and 'rises to the above'.

The 'heat' is, most probably, The Alchemist's Secret Fire which begins the process of separation immediately following the realization that 'who we thought that we are' was, actually, only one expression of who we can be.

Mercury (quicksilver) 'takes the shape' of the container into which it is placed.
When 'The Messenger of The Gods" (Mercury) is placed into a human form it 'takes the shape' (adopts the attributes of) of that 'container'. It becomes a divinity behaving as though it were a human being and assumes all of the limitations of the form (a mercurial bio-suit).

If "G" had adopted alchemical analogies he may have found a willing audience among the alchemists (because of the symbolism) but "G", it seems, was seeking a larger audience among the general (non-alchemist) population.

Gurdjieff stated (In Search of the Miraculous) how difficult it is to choose an ordinary language to exactly convey his thoughts.

The sheer beauty of alchemy is that it provides a foundation, using alchemical experiments and processes, that can be employed to easily explain otherwise obtuse spiritual phenomena.


solomon levi
07-15-2009, 06:13 PM
"The above description alludes to alchemical processes associated with Mercury (quicksilver) and sulphur, wherein the Mercury represents our 'genuine essence' and the 'sulphur' represents our 'ego-personality'."

Seems obvious now, but I never saw that quite so clearly.
Thanks Play Dough.

"Outsiders" - haven't read that one.
I'll look into it. I liked Wilson's "Mind Parasites". :)

07-16-2009, 04:53 AM
Read that Sol' ("M P") - great book

07-16-2009, 08:35 PM
Here is a very related free e-book (link)

Download button a few inches down from the top left, then choose the desired format (.pdf, etc.) .... 250+ pages of related information (Colin Wilson, etc.) ..... discusses things like "Frankenstein's Castle" and "What to do with your 2nd brain". :-)

Scribd.com is excellent, free and it is quite amazing what you can find and download from there.


07-17-2009, 04:24 AM
PD I tried your link but the site it is on (scribd.com) had such a long terms of agreement thing and it wants 3 uploads before it will let you download. I gave it a miss.

Thanks all the same :)

07-17-2009, 02:40 PM
oops! didn't realise you could read it online.:o

solomon levi
01-05-2011, 12:06 PM