International Journal for the Study of New Religions, Vol 4, No 1 (2013)

A Gurdjieff Genealogy: Tracing the Manifold Ways the Gurdjieff Teaching Has Travelled

Johanna J. M. Petsche
Issued Date: 7 Sep 2013


This article examines the diverse routes that G. I. Gurdjieff’s (c.1866– 1949) work has traversed, from the time of the very first Gurdjieff-based groups established in his lifetime in England, America and France, to the new groups that formed around the world after his death. Focus is inevitably paid to the dramatic changes made by Jeanne de Salzmann after Gurdjieff’s death, when she took the reins from Gurdjieff and restructured groups, forming a network of orthodox, hierarchical “Foundation” groups that taught Gurdjieffian principles and exercises in a formalized manner. These Foundation groups and their core practices will be examined. Not all of Gurdjieff’s followers amalgamated into this network; an assortment of Gurdjieff-based groups remain outside of it. These can be considered “independent” and “fringe” groups, and will also be considered. An indepth study of the existence and development of these Gurdjieff-centred groups has never before been attempted, and is crucial to an appreciation of the influence and relevance of Gurdjieff today. It is primarily through these groups that Gurdjieff’s work has been carried on, expanded, modified, preserved, and/or assimilated with other religio-spiritual teachings.

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsnr.v4i1.49


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