EnneagramFourth Way Gurdjieff Ouspensky School Education Concerning the Work Teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff, P. D. Ouspensky, Maurice Nicoll, and their students.
fourthwayschool/ Tools/ Degenerate Players Misrepresenting the Work

Degenerate Players Misrepresenting the Work

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.

Wolf in sheep's clothing

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Matthew 7.15---20

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

Documentation on Cult Activities


Documentation on cult activities is available from numerous sources, including:

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

Some fruits by which to recognise degenerate groups

Red flag

So many things happened in those 1-1/2 years and most of the time I thought that I was in a real school. However there were some things that I could not reconcile to myself that caused me to question their legitimacy. Yet each time I had doubts I would explain it all away by convincing myself that my level of being was not enough to understand or I thought it was my machine and features getting in the way.

While I was a member it was against school rules to surf the web except for information absolutely necessary for life work. I was specifically told not to search for any 4th way material. They gave the reason that there was too much negative information about the 4th way in general and for new students this may cause too much internal conflict. Now I think that they were aware of information available on websites and did not want any new students stumbling upon it.

When I joined I had a lot of preconceived ideas and expectations. Mostly I think it was my formatory brain interpreting the information I had read. I was expecting to meet a teacher, expecting to find a legitimate school with students. I was expecting for it to be like in the book where everyone's intentions were pure.

I was able to explain away all the warning signs because I thought the teachers and the older students saw things from a higher place. I choose to forget my own 'buried' conscience. When I look back now I can see definite warning signs that should have had me asking questions and demanding answers.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

A group operating from New York, USA, formerly in California

Reported, erroneously, to be a pupil of Lord Pentland, and of a pupil of J. G. Bennett, the late Alexander Francis Horn founded the Everyman Theatre, which performed plays in the USA and other countries from the 1960s to recent years. Published collections of A. F. Horn's plays are available in print, among them In Search of a Solar Hero and Ponderings of a Citizen of the Milky Way.

I was a member of a 'school' here in New York City for 12 years, 1988-2000. My exit from the group was enabled by a number of factors, one of which was information posted on websites such as yours. The information you list warning against 'false gurus', and giving some of their commonly exercised activities and traits, helped me to identify my group's 'leader' as such a personality. All of the contradictions and doubts I had experienced in my time in the group were resolved by this type of research, and by discussions with other ex-members (often more intimately involved with the leader). These ex-members revealed a great deal of previously hidden information about the leader's lifestyle, behavior, opinions, and activities which further confirmed that the group leader is mentally unstable, her background is suspect, and her purpose in having students is to exploit them for power, money, and free labor.

I hope that you will post this group among your 'suspect' list. The group has no name, although sometimes it goes under pseudonyms. Some of these pseudonyms are set up as not-for-profit organizations. An article in Gnosis denounced any claim the group leaders have to a 'legitimate' Fourth Way training. The article recounts that one of them approached J. G. Bennett in England for admission as a student, was denied by Bennet as being unsuited and unstable. He still set himself up as a teacher in San Francisco with his Bennett-trained then-wife and ran a school for a number of years, both with his first wife and then with his second wife. One of his students was the founder of a group based in California who has been much documented as an abusive cult leader.

Ex-members have compiled a considerable body of information on this group, which is posted at www.rickross.com (search on 'gurdjieff'). The group meets regularly in NYC, with another class in the Boston Area, and a third, very small group in Copenhagen. I saw, over the course of my 12 years, numerous friends and acquaintances suffer emotional abuse, physical torment, and a gradual breaking down of self-esteem and security until they became whining dogs, only concerned with exhibiting 'right' behavior, which of course meant behavior pleasing to the group leader. As no one ever knew what kind of behavior might be pleasing to her on a given day, or even at a given moment, these people live in a morass of uncertainty and self-blame.

My monthly contribution (initially $310 per month in cash) gradually mounted as new 'privileges' were paid for, and new financial demands were placed until my direct contribution was about $800 per month, plus funds needed to underwrite a lifestyle which was controlled by the group (for example, 'work' done for teachers which had an expense, such as copying, were never reimbursed. Asking for reimbursement was discouraged as the student was chastized for not being generous enough to wish to make the work a gift.) Other expenses could include cabs to save transport time or to go home from extremely late (2 am) classes; foods for the teachers, expenses for recruitment work - including buying meals and gifts for potential recruits, etc., etc. The group leader lifted many phrases and maxims from other philosophies and therapeutic systems, such as 'it's never a question of time or money', taken, I learned much later from psychotherapy (a practise generally forbidden by the group leader, although exceptions were made, privately, in a number of cases. Often troubled members were sent to the group leader's daughter, a semi-legitimate therapist, as clients. Group members were the daughter's only clients, despite the maxim that all must work. Obviously there were exceptions, generally for the group leader's children and close associates).

Efforts have been made by ex-members to get information on this group into the public sphere. The best result would have been the exodus of follwers from the group, but the actions of former members have been translated as attacks by the group leader and used to further establish the instillation of phobias. The group members felt defensive and very few have left. However, one can hope, and one can also guard against this group's recruitment of new members by making the information as prominently available as possible.

I have absolutely no interest in the so-called fourth way tradition or its teachings or philosophy. I am writing this to you because it seems that your group has enough conscience and consciousness to recognize that this system is particularly available to abuse. If you are as rational and objective as you appear to be, I hope you will contact me with questions regarding information you might need to add this information to your site, but will not in any way attempt to cajole, argue, or convince me to resume a fourth way life or way of thinking.

You have the strength of association with the teaching, openess, and group support - I hope you will continue to add to your warnings. It can only increase your own credibility.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

Other groups

In the 21st century, a number of other groups have sprung up. Many are based around some form of home-grown 'satanism', and some call themselves names like 'The Cult of' whatever (so we have been warned). They are characterized by odd rituals and strange, 'totally off-the-wall' beliefs. Some also copy information from websites regarding Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and Nicoll wholesale, and present it as their own work, and sometimes add their own skewed remarks.

There are a number of other groups currently under investigation.

These other groups are usually characterised by having a self-proclaimed higher being as a leader.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

Spin-off groups from A. F. Horn

Several pupils of A. F. Horn operated formally and informally in a variety of groups in the USA and Europe starting in the 1970s and the 1980s.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

A spin-off group operating from California, USA

Do Not Enter!

A well-documented spin-off group subject to numerous lawsuits for abuse (sexual, financial, fraud, misappropriation of funds, harassment, and so on) using the names and images of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky in their advertising, `bookmarks', and elsewhere, operates from the western USA, with `centres' and `teaching houses' in major cities in North America, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, South America, and Asia, wherever people with the most money are located. Never giving an address, and never putting anything into writing, this group exclusively use lists of city names followed by the telephone number of a member living in or near that city as the mode of contact.

In recent years, the modus operandi (MO) of this group has expanded, and they use social media. Among other things, it now includes using 'Meetup' to recruit new people. The organisers disguise their connection with the spin-off group and mislead people. They state they are part of the 'Advaita', 'non-duality', 'nondualism' movement, even going so far as to use the names and photographs of well-known people associated with that movement, such as Tolle, in their 'Meetup' self-descriptions. As well as 'Gurdjieff', other key words they use are 'present moment', 'living presence', 'unveiling presence', 'penetrating', 'power of now', 'thirty', 'sequence', 'living in the present'.

This organisation is easily identified by their behaviour patterns and their extremely sophisticated reserved approach to recruiting `prospective students', their display of expensive clothing and jewelery and occupation of large costly houses, preoccupation with seeing the numerals `44' (and other numerals, such as 4, 5, 6, 12, 24, 48, 88, and 96, and words, such as angel) on motor number plates, automobile license plates, digital clocks, digital thermometers, receipts, addresses, telephone numbers, hoardings, billboards, shop signboards, the sides of vans, lorries, trucks --- and elsewhere --- as `signs' that higher forces are working with us', strict hierarchical leadership, their use of emotional coercion to induce a false sense of shame and thereby control `students', their absolute obedience to the group leader who is a self-proclaimed `higher man' (one claim is to be a man '8.2', something which doesn't exist, of course, even theoretically) and self-proclaimed prophet (most, if not all, of whose `prophecies' are wrong, or self-fulfilling), their use of thought terminating clichés, their being cut off from other traditions, the covert and overt control of their communications (for example, in some circumstances, of members' having their mail intercepted, read, or discarded by someone else before it is delivered), and so on.

Wrong Way!

Other features of this group include their requiring a `donation' of a minimum of 10% of a `student's' gross income or several hundred dollars, whichever is greater, per month. This is indeed a `minimum', as it is only the start of a long series of demands for money made on pain of `dismissal' made monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, and at other times called `special donations', `centre donations', `flower donations', `traveling teacher donations', `concert donations', `winery donations', `farm donations', `renaissance donations', `apollo donations', `yearly donations', `annual donations', `end-of-year donations', `teacher's christmas and birthday present donations', and so on.

People never graduate or leave the group in good standing. Those people who leave the group are ostracised and shunned by current members; for example, current members have a `task' to cut off all contact with people who leave the group, to the extent of ignoring them or turning their backs to them when they meet in the street, to have nothing anymore to do with them, to refuse to accept or return their telephone calls or letters, and so on. The group require a very substantial fee to re-enter.

All people outside the group are called `life people', and are regarded as being utterly lost and whose only hope is to join the group for life, as the group's `students' themselves have done. For example, one will hear group members refer to their own biological family as their `life family', to their spouses who are not members of the group as their `life wife' or `life husband', and to their children who are not members of the group as their `life children', ad nauseum. Among other things, this produces an effect of having no respect for the laws of whatever country they are operating in, for example, violating immigration, customs, and corporate reporting laws and regulations, and agricultural controls, when it suits the desires of the leader or his minions.

They consider their group to be the highest and only `conscious' school since the time of Christ, and that they will be the only group that will survive a worldwide nuclear Armageddon and that only they will establish a new renaissance on earth.

An an example of what can happen to those unfortunate people who have become caught up in the thought control environment, members of the group who read this paragraph will believe that what is written here highlighted by the links is a sign from `higher forces' that proves their false beliefs. Yes, it may sound strange --- or ridiculous --- but this is the sort of thing that happens in such an environment.

This is a description of just the smallest tip of the iceberg of abuse and exploitation that occurs in this group. All very chilling when you know the truth about what really goes on, but packaged in an attractive and sophisticated package. In recent years the bulk of the population of this group has shifted from the USA to Europe.

We made the mistake of getting involved in this cult. You will very quickly get in way over your head.


The group leave bookmarks in metaphysical books all over town: that is how most people contact them. They were young (mostly in their thirties) professionals, and I realized that most of them lived in the house where they held their meeting. It was an old house, in the neighborhood where the upper middle class used to live in Victorian times. They used a deck of cards to illustrate a concept, talked about `life' work meaning what they did for a living, and seemed a mix of friendly and ever so slightly arrogant. The house was furnished beautifully, in a manner suggestive of the early days of Madame Blavatsky, but without the clutter of a real victorian home (and no Boston ferns).

I am a single mother of several young children, so living in that house was of course out of the question. But, they said, they have classes. Apparently something about me appealed to them, because they were willing to bend somewhat on the demand that was a REAL stickler: a minimum of $200.00 per month, or 10% of income, whichever was greater. I know that we are supposed to be strong in life, but to have several kids and no husband, I can earn a much larger income than average (which I sometimes do) and still feel poor because there are so many demands on that paycheck. Just surviving is being `strong in life' sometimes.

But another thing made me not go back: they had (whether on purpose or sincerely or accidently I cannot say) made me feel special, intelligent, and more advanced than the ordinary person. Part of me felt very drawn to them and part of me said `Danger---your buttons are being pushed'. So I didn't pursue it.

I think the school pressed my buttons which were pride, arrogance, desire to be special, but also a sincere desire to seek and learn. I was in the school for about five years, until I ran out of money. I think the arrogance that you mention about the school was quite visible and seeped down from the "teacher" himself, who claimed he was a man number 8.5--which is?--, and so on down the line, so I often felt in the "school" there were 995 "big chiefs in charge" and about five Indians. The "big chiefs in charge" from the teacher on down loved to dine on gold plates, stay in the best hotels, etc., I think it made them feel like they were somebody, but it was a school of false personality.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

A spin-off group operating from Blackheath, London, England

This group has opened `centres' and `teaching houses' in England, the USA, Europe, and Mexico. Modelled on the well-documented spin-off group mentioned above, it is an imitation with all the trappings, replete with `bookmarks', a self-proclaimed `higher being' who is `conscious', `a law unto himself', and who demands the frequent infusion of large quantities of money and other `personal services' from his followers. They fancy themselves to be an "academy", and the group has survived the death of it's founder.

In recent years, the modus operandi (MO) of this group has expanded. Among other things, it now includes using 'Meetups' to recruit new people, and other social media.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

A spin-off group operating in Mexico

Modelled on the well-documented spin-off group mentioned above, it is an imitation featuring a self-proclaimed `higher being' who requires the frequent infusion of large quantities of money and other `personal services' from his followers. He also decides who will have sexual relations with whom, and members change sexual partners frequently within the group.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

A spin-off group (formerly defunct from Utah, USA) but now operating again from Arizona, USA

This group is now operating again, this time from Phoenix, Arizona, directed by a `Rev'.

This group was also modelled on the well-documented spin-off group mentioned above, replete with `centres', `teaching houses' and the rest of the trappings already mentioned, with the addition of the threat of `keeping the magnetic center' of any `student' who wanted to leave, or who refused to make a `valuation payment'. This so-called `magnetic center' was a white powder stored in a small glass bottle. The leader of this group, who among other things said he had `improved' the movements, was released from federal prison after serving many years time for a conviction of sexually molesting a minor.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

A spin-off group operating from Colorado, Kansas, Florida, Kentucky, and the midwest USA

Modelled on the Utah group, with centres in various cities in the USA, this group features a tollfree telephone number on the `bookmarks' they distribute nationwide. They have been known to appear on community television in some areas, giving demonstrations of their `improved' version of the movements, and talking about some of the work ideas. They have several websites using different domain names.

I have been spending much time thinking about my involvement in my previous group. I followed a link to a website {and website} and discovered to my surprise the same group that I was a member of. I can't tell you my surprise when I saw that website and read the accounts of the group in Kentucky. I couldn't believe that there was a website devoted to a place that I thought could not have touched more that 50 - 100 lives. I was shocked to see the pictures of the farm and house. I stayed there three times. Learning these facts makes me feel more than a little embarrassed and ashamed.

The group did not give a name. There were three phone numbers on the bookmark, one in Denver, Evergreen, and Boulder. Yesterday I bought and read a book by a woman named Speeth, who described several groups. `My' group closely resembles her description, although I never heard anyone use a name while there. I remember now that they gave us a list of words not to use that included `I', `very' and `oh'. They also showed us some sort of presentation projected on a screen in a darkened room, about the enneagram and planets and types of people, but I was distracted by the fact that they were watching us like hawks in the darkness the whole time. The introduction was similar to that reported in Speeth's book: I called the number and was invited to an introductory meeting. There I met with four others like me and we sat on a huge leather sofa and were confronted by about 5 of them. There was a lack of sponaneity in their presentation---they had obviously planned very carefully who was going to say what and when. That's ok, but I include this information to help you possibly identify which group this is. This is the group that leaves the bookmarks all over town: I have found them from Boulder to Littleton.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

A spin-off group operating from Utah, USA

This group is also modelled on the well-documented spin-off group mentioned above, replete with members using a lowercase `i' in their correspondence to avoid using the word `I', and a very strange use of the work terminology. They are located in major cities in the USA.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

Other spin-off groups

There are several other small spin-off groups from the well-documented spin-off group, but sometimes they are confined to a small geographic area. They are located in the North of England, the USA (especially California), Mexico, and Sweden. They are often characterized by a friendly soft-spoken approach, until they are asked details about their organisation, at which time they will respond usually with attitudes of secrecy, suspicion, and exclusiveness.

A spin-off modelled on the well-documented spin-off group mentioned above has appeared recently with multiple websites referred to as 'pillars', featuring long, seductive, rambling essays about 'presence', and decorated with images of paintings and sculpture from the 1600s. As usual, there is a self-proclaimed `higher being', etc., etc., etc.

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

Spin-off groups from P. D. Ouspensky's school operating in England and the USA

Descriptions of this multi-named group are available from:

hannyaCaveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!hannya

Grateful thanks to everyone who has provided information thus far over the years. Any further information you can provide is appreciated.

Destiny of wolf in sheep's clothing-Barlow-1687
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