This information is presented so that you may make informed decisions. We can not and do not make recommendations as to which groups to join.
Several generations of teachers and students originating from the work of G. I. Gurdjieff,and his chief pupil and friend P. D. Ouspensky have existed and split into various lines during the 20th century. There are also lines originating with other people, in particular, Boris Mouravieff, who also brought the work to the West independently. Some of these organisations survive today, others do not. There are also very many degenerative false schools and groups using the names of people in this tradition.
Caveat emptor! Buyer Beware!
Born on 1884.07.19 at the Manse in Kelso, England, a pupil of both G. I. Gurdjieff and P. D. Ouspensky, he expanded, developed, and taught the Work in England --- at Tyeponds, Birdlip, Quaremead, and Great Amwell House --- from 1935 until his death on 1953.08.30. Among Maurice Nicoll's numerous and important written works is his Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of G. I. Gurdjieff and P. D. Ouspensky, one of the most comprehensive explanations of the work teaching available.
Dr Nicoll was one of the early believers in psychological medicine and was a well-known Harley Street specialist. He was the son of Sir William Robertson Nicoll, the literary critic and editor. He studied at Cambridge --- where he took a first in science --- at St.Bartholomew's Hospital and in Vienna, Berlin and Zurich. After his Army Medical Service in the 1914 War in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia, he became a medical Officer at the Empire Hospital for injuries to the brain and spinal cord, and, owing to the fact that he was a pupil of Dr.Jung he brought in many new ideas in regard to the psychological treatment of shell shock, which had been taken as a purely physical disturbance. In 1921 he met Ouspensky and in 1922 he went to the Institute at Fontainebleau to study directly under Ouspensky's teacher Gurdjieff. He afterwards resumed his practise in London and studied under Ouspensky until 1931 when he was given permission to teach.
Born on 1895.06.04, she studied the Work from 1935 for nineteen years as a pupil of Dr Maurice Nicoll, then continued to teach the Work in England --- in Cuckfield and Brighton in Sussex; in Belsize Terrace and New End House in Hampstead in London; at Dorton House Buckinghamshire, near Aylesbury; and The Dicker, Upper Dicker, Sussex --- from the 1950s until her death on 1967.02.05. She was Dr Nicoll's secretary and archivist for fourteen years and Beryl Pogson's written works have been compiled from her written materials by Lewis Creed, one of her pupils and associates. Two of them are Unforgotten Fragments and Centenary Fragments.
Pupils of Beryl Pogson, after her death they led a group in the 1960s and 1970s in England at The Dicker in Sussex and at Polgwin in Bodmin, Cornwall. The Oldham's written work.
Born on 1909.04.26, he was introduced to the Work in 1935 through some lectures given by Dr Maurice Nicoll. In 1936 he met P. D. Ouspensky and became his pupil in England and the United States until P. D. Ouspensky's death in 1947. After finishing his work The Theory of Celestial Influence --- Man, The Universe, and Cosmic Mystery in the spring of 1948 at his flat in St. James's Street in London, he then emigrated to Mexico in June 1948 where he carried on the study and practice of the Work ideas in Mexico City and Tlalpam. In the spring of 1949 he formed his publishing arm, Ediciones Sol, which began translating P. D. Ouspensky's works into Spanish, and published some fourteen titles including works by P. D. Ouspensky, Dr Nicoll, Rodney himself, and several others connected with the Work. In 1954 his school, as the Unicorn Players, gave twelve public performances of Ibsen's Peer Gynt. Later that year he had an audience with the Pope in Rome and converted to Catholicism. As a result of distributing Ediciones Sol works in South America, groups were started in Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. In the autumn of 1955 the Unicorn Players produced The Lark, a play about Joan of Arc. He died in Peru on 1956.05.03.
Rodney Collin's written works include: The Theory of Celestial Influence --- Man, The Universe, and Cosmic Mystery his best known work, The Theory of Eternal Life, and The Herald of Harmony. After his death, his correspondence was collected and edited to produce other works, among them The Mirror of Light and The Theory of Conscious Harmony.
Kenneth Walker's numerous important written works include The Conscious Mind --- A Commentary on the Mystics, Diagnosis of Man, A Doctor Digresses, Life's Long Journey, Making of Man, Only the Silent Hear, The Physiology of Sex, Sex and Society, A Study of Gurdjieff's Teaching, Venture with Ideas.
A pupil of G. I. Gurdjieff, he was the editor-in-chief for the English language edition of All & Everything, he was also editor of The New Age in London. A. R. Orage's written works include: On Love --- With Some Aphorisms & Other Essays., Essays and Aphorisms., Psychological Exercises & Essays., and On Love --- Freely Translated from the Tibetan.
He first met G. I. Gurdjieff in the 1920s, and studied for a short time at the Prieuré. He then was a pupil of P. D. Ouspensky until the latter's death. At that point he reestablished contact with Mr Gurdjieff in Paris. After Mr Gurdjieff's death, Mr Bennett travelled a double path: one tangent of his own mostly unconnected with the Work, and another where he taught the Work from the 1950s through the 1970s. A prolific writer, many of J. G. Bennett's written works are of value to the serious pupil who can separate the wheat from the chaff. Among them are Gurdjieff: A Very Great Enigma, Gurdjieff: Making a New World, Enneagram Studies, and Sex. Some pupils of J. G. Bennett and his decendants.
A pupil of G. I. Gurdjieff, he became director of the Gurdjieff Foundation in New York until his death. He was the primary force behind the compilation of the book Gurdjieff --- An Annotated Bibliography.
For me, I don't understand why students of the Work from any background cannot communicate with one another. The late John Pentland talked about this. He told me he thought it was ridiculous that different Work groups/schools had to be totally autonomous and kept `secret' from one another. HE thought any sincere and genuine Work student would be able to converse with any other sincere and genuine Work student.
Unfortunately, after his death the organisation crystallised into a rigid form, became very secretive, and was unable to adapt to changes in the circumstances of everyday life. Members are characterised by a rigid, unemotional mask, a flat tone of voice, a lack of a sense of humour, and a preoccupation with `lineage' and `hierarchy'. As well as through personal contacts, and in other works, this crystallisation is documented in William Patrick Patterson's Eating the I, David Kherdian's On a Spaceship with Beelzebub, and elsewhere.
My interest in the ideas began about 29 years ago, through active readings of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and Nicoll. I have read Beezelbub once with often review and most of G's other writings. I have a similar familiarity with Ouspensky and Nicoll.
About 8 years ago, I joined the New York Foundation and studied in a group that was led by FS. Two years later, I moved to Los Angeles and studied with several people affiliated with the New York Foundation, known as the LA Group. This group operates under a house previously owned by Lord and Lady Pentland.
I had the opportunity in New York to hear Madame DeSalzmann speak and met her on several work days at the Foundation before she died. I was particularly impressed with the level of presence that many older people in the work exhibited.
My affiliation with the foundation ceased in 1994, when I got married and subsequently had a child.
I have had limited exposure to movements associated with G's work. Due to time constraints, I always seemed unable to get into a movements group at the Foundation. The movements groups were coordinated out of France through the efforts of PR. This area is of particular interest to me, as is the music of DeHartmann. The foundation never really allowed me to study the music of DeHartmann, as they felt I was not yet ready. I play the piano well and would like to access the original music of Mr. DeHartmann.
The New York Foundation, though real and sincere, is highly political and hierarchical. Perhaps you have a suggestion as to how to get back on `the road that leads to Philadelphia...' as G would have said.
Taught in Geneva, Switzerland during the 1960s. He wrote the three volumes of Gnosis, an important addition to the literature.
Taught in the USA during the 1970s. A student of approximately 40 years has made transcripts of his lectures "Studies of the Inner Being" available.