Esotericism (XXIX): Gurdjieff’s magic? (3): Hulme and Sinclair

Esotericism (XXIX): Gurdjieff’s magic? (3): Hulme and Sinclair

- in Esotericism
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1. Kathryn Hulme acquired fame with her semi-autobiographical novel A Nun’s Story (1956) which was made into a film. She and her dear friend, “little milliner” Wendy, went to Paris and somehow joined Jane Heap’s group who studied Gurdjieff’s teaching in the early 1930’s. A little later she came to know G in person.

In 1936 G formed a ladies’ group “The Rope”. It is said that they were all lesbians – these two, Solita Solano, Margaret Anderson and 3 or 4 others. But after a year the group was disbanded as the ladies moved in different directions. Jane Heap had been sent to England to teach groups. Solita Solano became G’s secretary. Hulme and Wendy went to the USA.

2. “How strong was the Rope?” muses KH (p 158, Undiscovered Country 1966 Brown & Co, Boston). “How long could it hold?” She was not afraid that like other, older students who had separated from G’s “magnetic field”, she would fall by the wayside. She felt they could keep to the path so long as within them they had “the same idea and invincible aim”.

G did not travel to NY in August as was expected because his brother Dimitri died. But in September KH’s friend Wendy fell ill suddenly and nearly lost her life during an emergency operation. And then, the mind she had trained to stand guard over her emotions abdicated and the old die-hard mechanical self “took control” suffered and sent a cable to G in Paris (p159).

3. A friend of Wendy’s, not in the Rope, suggested that she, KH, seek help from an organization called ‘Unity’ whose members would pray for Wendy and KH contacted them. In addition, cables poured in from Paris.

But she also “saw clearly with her inner eye” G (“our master”) “making something with all his will for a distant disciple in peril”. She had seen G do this several times in Paris – but no details are given. The memory of it “gave her belief in what was coming in from him to sustain the ‘Thin One’ ” (as G called Wendy).

And KH wonders: “Was it telepathy, assistance from ‘higher forces’, or simply something out of [G’s] own great powerhouse of inner strength earned through remorseless work on himself all those years in Tibet?” (Of course, it is not known that G had spent “all those years in Tibet”!) She never learnt and neither do we now!

Anyway, the surgeon called Wendy’s recovery “a miracle” (p160).

4. Wendy did not return to the Work.

“The anguish of my fear for her was a strange pain that taught me something about the deeper meaning of ‘brotherly love’, of caring for the soul of another”. Sheer sentiment.

In July 1938 KH sailed alone for France. Her friend never returned to the Work, in fact. She herself returned shortly afterwards to the USA.

G visited NY in the spring of 1939. Then war broke out first in Europe, then worldwide when japan bombed Pearl Harbour in Dec 1941 and thus brought the USA into the conflict.

During the war years KH worked as a welder in the American shipyards and afterwards joined UNNRA and helped repatriate Displaced Persons (=foreign nationals like Poles and Ukrainians forcibly brought to Germany as slave labour in the Nazi factories).

5. KH mentions another attempt at a miracle when she sought G’s help for her mother whose “mind had given way” with old age and impending death (p 278).

G gave her first a scented liquid which KH applied on her mother’s solar plexus (p 282-3). Then he took a photo of KH’s mother and gave her a photo of his own mother. She was thereafter to sit in a room alone with two empty chairs and see “with inner eye” the two mothers and thus generate energy to send to her mother!

After G’s death in Oct 1949 KH turned and was converted to Roman Catholicism. Every other member of the Rope of those that had not died followed her own course in worldly life no longer attending any G-group.

KH’s story shows how prone most of us are to see miracles where we ardently want to!

6. There is also Mrs B Sinclair’s experiences described in ch 6 of her husband’s book Without Benefit of Clergy (2005, Xlibris). She had no doubt of G’s powers because she felt that G actually “touched” metaphysically, from a distance, her jugular vein at the left side of her neck, one evening as a large group were dining – “perhaps to see if I was relaxed”. And then “unbelievably, [G] was able to have a long conversation with me while still engaged in conversation” with the others at the table (p 132). She does not say that this was telepathy; presumably her disbelief and surprise is due to her being new there.

But she was so moved by such experiences that she found herself crying with joy later on her way home in the subway. And another evening, hearing G playing the harmonium she had “divine feelings” and at one moment she felt she “had actually left the planet”.

Then, G asked her to make an appointment to see him but she could not arrange this. G “must have sensed her distress, because he ‘visited’ her in the night while she was sound asleep and asked her many questions” (p 133). So perhaps the first incident was also telepathic but is not clearly expressed!

7. I cannot bring myself to believe such narratives, however willing I may be to suspend disbelief. There is no content in the telepathic “conversations”, only feeling – which can easily be self-induced, self-generated. As for the “touch” – it can so easily be imagined!

As I have not read and do not intend to read all published accounts of different people’s encounters with G, there may be other similar narratives. But as there are no such testimonies from early accounts, nor reports of them in other well-known publications, I think we can stay with O’s evidence only.

1 Comment

  1. Ανώνυμος

    Good evening Nikodemos,
    very interesting details! I admire that you hold on to memory and connect all these forms, names, timings, feelings, relationships and incidents! Suppose tons of sensitive attention …:) And interest (and love) towards these studies and not just …
    Everything comes alive with attention!
    Yours sincerely
    J.P.

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