On Beelzebub’s Tales

Dear Wisdom friends,

Wow! What an amazing heart-outpouring from all of you! I feel the energy, the strength and, most important, the clarity. I believe that in the space of merely a week we have already become a “morphogenetic field” out there in the cosmos. And the space which the “conscious circle of humanity” needed to have occupied is now activated and beginning to make its presence felt.

I see that many of you are already gearing up for the deep dive into Beelzebub’s Tales, so I did want to briefly share with you these few clarifications and tips. Teaching and reading groups are already starting to self-organize, both formally and informally, on the ground and in cyber space. I hope that by shortly into the New Year we will be able to put together a resource directory helping our keen band of wisdom seekers find their way to the most appropriate venue. But meanwhile…

First, you should all know that I will, myself, be offering a Lenten e-course with Spirituality and Practice on “The Obligolnian Strivings”, the heart of Gurdjieff’s brilliant vision of human purpose and accountability, and the ethical climax of the first book of Beelzebub’s Tales. So stay tuned! The course begins with an orientation on February 27, then kicks off on Ash Wednesday, March 1. Shortly after the New Year it should be available for sign-up on the S & P website.

Now, if you’re determined to forge ahead on your own, know that what you’re dealing with here is Gurdjieff’s sprawling cosmological masterpiece: brilliant and outrageous in equal measures – and definitely not an easy read. Beelzebub’s Tales is also the reason Gurdjieff is sometimes hailed as one of the founding fathers of modern-day science fiction! Set in a vast, intergalactic universe and narrated by the now-nearly-redeemed fallen angel Beelzebub, this cosmological epic unfolds the “tragical history of the unfortunate planet earth”, gradually revealing how human conscious development went so badly off course here. It lays out an alternative history which may at first appear totally mad – but it’s curious how many cosmological facts first “spun” by G in this epic yarn have subsequently been scientifically confirmed…So, caveat emptor here!

It’s largely Book I we’ll be concerned with in this study, which basically lays out the mythic narrative. I am interested in it chiefly because it furnishes some important alternative concepts and images as we engage the work I envisioned in my former post: i.e., exploring the ley line (or is it a fault line?) of causality that runs through 800 years of Western intellectual history. The serious questions I want to explore this spring will be easier to grasp if you already have under your belts: 

  1. some idea of what a real Wisdom School is (i.e., the ancient Society Akhaldan of Atlantis versus the later Babylonian “talking heads”);
  2. the roadmap of human purpose laid out through “the saintly labors of the holy and Essence-loving” Ashiata Shiemash; and,
  3. the destruction of those saintly labors by the “democratic” reforms of the “Eternal Hasnamuss” Lentrohamsanin (chapters 25-28). That in and of itself will furnish more than we need to get ourselves to 2020, the year of perfect vision.

That’s what you’ll find in Book I.  Meanwhile, a few more tips:

  1. Unless you’re already a diehard Gurdjieff fan, I’d recommend skipping the Introduction, “The Arousing of Thought”. Begin with Chapter 2. 
  2. Forget “analytical mode”. This is middle-eastern story-telling in flavor, extended to epic scope. Gurdjieff’s father was an ashok, a local bardic poet who could recite the oral history of the world back 1000 years. Think in this mode: playful, mythologic, humorous; not “buttoned down” mental/esoteric.
  3. Take it little at a time. Reading out loud with a partner, at least in certain sections, can extend and awaken the range of meaning.
  4. There is a very good introductory summary in Part II of James Moore’s Gurdjieff: The Anatomy of a Myth that will help get you oriented.

Remember that there is some method in my madness here. If this big unwieldy tome doesn’t speak to you, don’t feel obligated to wade through it just to get to some concepts that I’ll be unpacking in my own teaching in due course. But since many of you are itching to get underway, I thought I’d at least throw you these few leads.

With Christmas blessing and love,


9 replies
  1. Lilias Darcy-Fox
    Lilias Darcy-Fox says:

    Thank you Cynthia for a wonderful Lent learning about The strivings. I will be going on to learn and work within the Gurdjieff way.
    I live in the UK so would like to have contact with anyone else here, as I am new to Gurdjieff.

    Bless you Cynthia in all your work . Peace, Lilias

  2. Anne Hildyard
    Anne Hildyard says:

    Really glad to hear that the Tales are reaching a wider audience. We are a small group in the UK who have been working over many years with the ideas of JG Bennett and GI Gurdjieff and now those of Cynthia also. We would like to join in this inititive, and welcome anyone else in the UK in person or online.

  3. Kay Bochert
    Kay Bochert says:

    Cynthia, here we go again. After my year in Teilhard now it looks like the new year may be Gurdjieff. As a Master you are always
    interesting and challenging.
    Not sure how this Lenten journey will fit with my commitment to “The Easter Mysteries” but I am game.

    Thank you, Kay

  4. Rita Flynn
    Rita Flynn says:

    Bless you so for bringing a a larger field of attention to the Tales, with which I am familiar. We have a small Work group here in Atlanta , aligned with the NY Foundation, and some of us will be able to participate. Sending much well-wishing to you and all involved in this much-needed effort.

  5. Sioux
    Sioux says:

    I fully trust there is method to your madness, Cynthia, and am truly excited for this journey with you! I’ve just signed up for your S + P course, and can hardly wait for your wise guidance. Slugging through Book I as we speak…

    God Speed! Love to Everyone!


  6. Denise
    Denise says:

    Perfect timing! Synchronistic! Let’s go -myth has many layers. Though I am not American the tales of Beelzebub have many other teachings that are applicable beyond Mr. Trump.

    North of the shores of America we in Canada are in a celebratory mood – we as a country are 150 years old this year!

  7. Serena Newby
    Serena Newby says:

    I have just read your Dec 9th blog and am keen to join in. Thank you for your tips on how to read Beelzebub’s Tales and the other books you have by your bed. I am familiar with some of them. I look forward to being a part of your on line course.

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