Gurdjieff, George Ivanovich (1872?-1949)
Russian spiritual leader and founder of a movement based on doctrines of enlightenment through meditation and heightened self-awareness that attracted many prominent followers in Europe and the United States. He is regarded by some as the greatest mystical teacher of all time, and by others as a fraud.
Although aware of theosophy and other contemporary occult-spiritual philosophies, Gurdjieff decided to establish his own. He postulated that people are no more than machines controlled by external forces beyond their control, a condition analogous to being asleep. To wake up, various techniques must be used to penetrate the normal state of unconsciousness to access the true consciousness within.
These Gurdjieffian techniques include specially adapted forms of hypnotism, total obedience to a teacher who has achieved enlightenment (a Man Who Knows), constant self-observation, hard physical labor, demeaning tasks, intense emotionalism, exercise and dance routines. The aim of the 'system' was to 'shock' the subject into a state of new self-awareness allowing him or her to transcend mechanical existence and commune harmoniously with the true soul.
Gurdjieff established his Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at Fontainebleau, France, where he settled in 1922. His disciples included architect Frank Lloyd Wright, painter Georgia O'Keeffe, writer Katherine Mansfield, and journalist P. D. Ouspensky, whose books helped to popularize Gurdjieff's teachings.
See Fourth Way, In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching, Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, The Harmonious Circle: The Lives and Work of G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, and Their Followers, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Theosophy, Spiritualist, The Chakra Store, Mystic Gifts and Charms - New Age Gift Shop & Wicca and Pagan Supplies, Love Spells -- Use these powerful love spells to help you find and keep your true love, The Tarot Store, The Chakra Store, Divination & Scrying Tools and Supplies, Unique Amulets, Talismans, Good Luck Charms, and Love Tokens, Powerful Witch Doctor Spell Kits, Powerful Spells - Cast by Andreika the Witch, Webmasters Make $$$, AzureGreen - Celebrating All Paths to the Divine, ISIS - Tools for Your Soul's Journey, and The Pyramid Collection - Myth, Magick, Fantasy and Romance.
Sources: (1) Shepard, Leslie (editor), Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Thomson Gale; (2) Dictionary of the Occult, Caxton Publishing; (3) Steiger, Brad and Sherry Hansen, The Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained, Thomson Gale.
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