Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Nott and Gurdjieff meet Crowley

I was reading CS Nott's book "Teachings of Gurdjieff- A Pupil's Journal" and came across this interesting passage. It's a first hand eye witness event from Nott himself, who had met "The Great Beast" a few days before Crowley's meeting with Gurdjieff.

I've read about Crowley staying at the Prieure to combat drug addiction. As well as a "magical" showdown that never eventuated. It seems from Nott's recollection the rendevous is a tad milder...... with a cup of tea in the salon, nevertheless the white/black magician impression is commented upon.

"One day in Paris I met an acquaintance from New York who spoke about the possibilities of publishing modern literature. As I showed some interest, he offered to introduce me to a friend of his who was thinking of going into publishing, and we arranged to meet the following day at the Select in Montparnasse. His friend arrived;it was Aleister Crowley. Drinks were ordered, for which of course I paid, and we began to talk. Crowley had magnetism, and the kind of charm which many charlatans have; he also had a dead weight that was somewhat impressive. His attitude was fatherly and benign, and a few years earlier I might have fallen for it. Now I saw and sensed that I could have nothing to do with him. He talked in general terms about publishing, and then drifted into his black-magic jargon.

"To make a success of anything," he said, "including publishing, you must have a certain combination. Here you have a Master, here a Bear, there the Dragon- a triangle which will bring results..." and so on and so on. When he fell silent I said, "Yes, but one must have money. Am I right in supposing that you have the necessary capital?". "I?" he asked, "No not a franc." "Neither have I." I said.

Knowing that I was at the Prieure he asked me if I would get him an invitation there. But I did not wish to be responsible for introducing such a man. However, to my surprise, he appeared there a few days later and was given tea in the salon. The children were there, and he said to one of the boys something about his son who he was teaching to be a devil. Gurdjieff got up and spoke to the boy, who thereupon took no further notice of Crowley. There was some talk between Crowley and Gurdjieff, who kept a sharp watch on him all the time. I got the strong impression of two magicians, the white and the black- the one strong, powerful, full of light; the other also powerful but heavy, dull and ignorant. Though "black"" was too strong a word for Crowley; he never understood the meaning of real black magic, yet hundreds of people came under his "spell". He was clever. But as Gurdjieff says: "He is stupid who is clever."

Orage said about this:"Alas poor Crowley, I knew him well. We used to meet at the Society for Psychical Research when I was acting secretary. Once when we were talking he asked: "By the way, what number are you?" Not knowing in the least what he meant, I said on the spur of the moment, "Twelve". "Good God, are you really?" he replied, "I'm only seven". "


  • This was something I needed to know.

    By Anonymous Marius, at 2:01 pm  

  • Great story. Thanks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:46 pm  

  • thanks for this one.

    By Blogger ro, at 1:55 pm  

  • This is interesting information.... Keep posting such an amazing blog post. Thanks a lot for the share...

    By Anonymous Forzest, at 10:06 pm  

  • Interesting. With the benefit of 100 years of hindsight, we now know that Gurdjieff was batsh*t crazy (dozens of 'students' "cut up and relocate a lawn in inch sized pieces" to 'gain enlightenment' - rubbish) and the much maligned Crowley, far from being a "black magician" was the catalyst for an empirical approach to spirituality that confounds deluded dogmatic Judeo-Christo-Fascists to this day. Ouspensky, the man who "made" Gurdjieff, gave him up after one too many idiotic psuedo-Sufi requests.

    By Blogger Jondalf, at 3:37 am  

  • very interesting indeed.

    By Blogger the hermit, at 5:42 am  

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