A comparative study of Gurdjieff and Crowley
David Hall, who died in 2007, will be a familiar name to many as one of the founders and editors of SOTHiS, the substantial and diverse Thelemic magazine which was published from the United Kingdom in the 1970s. David was passionately interested in the work of Gurdjieff as well as that of Crowley, and in the early to mid 1970s he wrote this penetrating study comparing the work of both men. Unfortunately it failed to find a publisher at the time, although publication was referenced as forthcoming in Kenneth Grantís Nightside of Eden. (Muller, 1977)
Crowley took an interest in the work of the Greek-Armenian occultist G. I. Gurdjieff, and visited Gurdjieff's Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in Fontainebleau in 1924 and 1926. There have been other comparative studies of the work of the two men, the most recent being The Three Dangerous Magi by P. T. Mistlberger (O Books, 2010).
Examining in turn the life and work of the two men at various levels, the author discerns a common source. Commenting circa 1919 on the first chapter of The Book of the Law, Crowley wrote “Aiwaz is not as I had supposed a mere formula, like many angelic names, but is the true most ancient name of the God of the Yezidis, and thus returns to the highest Antiquity. Our work is therefore historically authentic, the rediscovery of the Sumerian Tradition”. Similarly, the author here shows that the roots of Gurdjieff's work can be traced to the same source.
With a full-colour wrap-around dustjacket, a substantial Foreword by Alistair Coombs, plates, tables and line-drawings throughout the text, a Bibliography, a comprehensive Index, and an Afterword about the author with contributions from Mike Magee, Jan Magee, Michael Staley, Janet Audley-Charles and David Tibet, this book will be of considerable interest to many.
Read here an Appreciation of this book by Paul B. Taylor, prominent author of several studies of Gurdjieff and his Circle.
The image above left is of the front cover, utilising a painting Melek Taus (© Stuart Littlejohn, 2012), showing the Peacock Angel emerging from under a Yezidi arch; click on the cover to see an image of the painting without the text. The image to the right is Beelzebub and the Beast (© Richard T. Cole, 2012), depicting Gurdjieff and Crowley as facets of a continuum.