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[James Webb was assumed to have made up stories or at least accepted made-up stories and he refused to include footnotes and cite sources. He also had an axe to grind with Mr. Gurdjieff and eventually went insane and died. But it makes for a great story – one which is not backed up by an eye-witness. While the second account is by CS Nott who was present at the meeting between Aleister Crowley and Mr. Gurdjieff].

"Two events of some importance took place that year. The first was the visit of Aleister Crowley. Crowley knew the town of Fontainebleau well-in 1924 he had spent a tormented period there in an attempt to cure himself of heroin addiction. The Great Beast was a familiar figure in Paris expatriate circles, and Nott met him in the capital while himself staying at the Prieure. Crowley's interest was aroused either by a general occult curiosity or by Gurdjieff's reputation as a specialist in curing drug addiction; and he soon afterward turned up at Fontainebleau, where he was the object of some amazement. To one of the inmates, the Wickedest Man in the World seemed overfed and inoffensive-with the exception of his almost colorless eyes, the antipodes to Gurdjieff's heavy gaze. The published accounts of Crowley at the Prieure speak only of a brief visit and a vaguely sinister impression. Nott records that Crowley spoke to one of the children present about his son whom he was teaching to be a devil. "Gurdjieff got up and spoke to the boy, who thereupon took no further notice of Crowley. " But the magician's visit was extensive, and his confrontation with Gurdjieff of a more epic nature.

"Crowley arrived for a whole weekend and spent the time like any other visitor to the Prieure; being shown the grounds and the activities in progress, listening to Gurdjieff's music and his oracular conversation. Apart from some circumspection, Gurdjieff treated him like any other guest until the evening of his departure. After dinner on Sunday night, Gurdjieff led the way out of the dining room with Crowley, followed by the body of pupils who had also been at the meal. Crowley made his way toward the door and turned to take his leave of Gurdjieff, who by this time was some way up the stairs to the second floor. "Mister, you go?" Gurdjieff inquired. Crowley assented. "You have been guest?"-a fact which the visitor could hardly deny. "Now you go, you are no longer guest?" Crowley-no doubt wondering whether his host had lost his grip on reality and was wandering in a semantic wilderness-humored his mood by indicating that he was on his way back to Paris. But Gurdjieff, having made the point that he was not violating the canons of hospitality, changed on the instant into the embodiment of righteous anger. "You filthy," he stormed, "you dirty inside! Never again you set foot in my house!" From his vantage point on the stairs, he worked himself up into a rage which quite transfixed his watching pupils. Crowley was stigmatized as the sewer of creation was taken apart and trodden into the mire. Finally, he was banished in the style of East Lynne by a Gurdjieff in fine histrionic form. Whitefaced and shaking, the Great Beast crept back to Paris with his tail between his legs."

~ James Webb "The Harmonious Circle"

“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 kind of 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 pubhshing, you must have a certain combination. Here you must have the Master, here the 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 Prieuré 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 whom 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 a 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’ is 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”.’

~ CS Nott “The Teachings of Gurdjieff - A Pupil's Journe




“It was just this by me previously known tendency that I had braced myself against when returning to New York in the fall. I had my own life and affairs, my own world; I had not wanted to be absorbed by him [Gurdjieff] into his affairs and his world, even though I liked his cooking, always got something from being with him, and, in a way, really and sincerely considered it a rare privilege to be in his company. I may be mistaken but I also believe that thousands of people also would consider it such a privilege, if they had a genuine sense of him, if he would discontinue his strange baffling antagonism-arousing tactics. Through the fog which he himself creates around himself there are but few who can see and sense him — and of these few, all are alternatively drawn towards him and repelled, praising, damming, appreciating, cursing.”

~ Jean Toomer



“In relation to the use of narcotics all schools may be divided into two classes: in one case narcotics are used for attaining certain definite results, for instance, experience may show that a certain substance, introduced into the organism, can give a man certain powers and capacities which he ordinarily does not possess. In that case narcotics may be used for creating these states and for using them for definite purposes. For example, under the influence of certain narcotics a man may become clairvoyant, may read other people's thoughts, foretell the future, see events which take place at great distances and so on. Or he may get a great hypnotic power enabling him to suggest to other people or to a whole crowd one or another idea, or make them see pictures and images which do not really exist. Naturally such a temporary increase of man's powers and capacities has nothing to do with growth and evolution.”

~ George Gurdjieff “Gurdjieff's Early Talks 1914-1931”



“Narcotics creating ecstatic state... do not affect the higher centers, but the lower, temporarily abolishing in them that which prevents them from hearing the voice of the higher centers, and uniting the three centers – the formatory, the emotional and the instinctive—for joint work. But the action of the ordinary narcotics is very unsure and inexact; although, at the same time, it is possible to prepare special substances which would act in a very exact manner on the centers of the human organism and produce one or another effect at will. These specially prepared narcotics are used in Eastern psychological schools for various experiments.”

~ George Gurdjieff “Gurdjieff's Early Talks 1914-1931”

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