Re: Gurdjieff a fraud and worse
Posted by: mxkitty ()
Date: September 11, 2008 02:09AM

Here is a link to an article about treating those who have survived cult abuse:


If your therapist is part of the cult you are or once were in, he won't be following these guidelines!

Re: Gurdjieff - San Francisco cult groups
Posted by: MalcomSingh ()
Date: February 05, 2009 07:35PM

I'm wondering if someone in has had experience in the mansion at St. Elmo? In the late 70's and early 80's I was connected with a group related to Lord Pentland in NY and also San Francisco. I realize now that the extreme self-focus of self observation exercises and self-remembering and sensation meditations completely messed up my mind. When I think back on it, it was like Gurdjieff and "The Work" is a form of "Emporer's New Clothes" You are told you are nothing, and less than human unless you (do-whatever-energy-type-exercises-and-free-work-for-whatever-money-making-endeavor) do what they tell you you have choice to do (but you don't really have a choice if you want to go from nothing to something... because the only opportunity you get to have the knowledge that is passed from teacher to pupil by 'personal transmission' is them. In sales, I think this is called the "deadline" technique. (i.e. time is running out, it's the "last one") i.e. the "last chance you'll get)

Anyway, it was just this evening that the idea came to me that before I entered those groups I was completely successful and a good wage earner in society, extremely attracted to the intellectual elitism of the gurdjieff cult.... and now many years later I can look back to the time I got heavily involved at St. Elmo, was when all manner of life started deteriorating, beginning with my ability to concentrate, to relate well to other people who were not involved in Gurdjieff, my career took a dive, my personal life took a dive, I started gaining weight. And now reading through the posts I realize that it also had to do with those weekly sessions where we all sat around in a circle and did sensation/awareness exercises. And who knows if we were not put in a hypnotic trance? What are you ex-Gurdjieff folks doing to recover? My whole sense of self went from being a person of value and worth to always questioning, never being satisfied, more fearful. This was about 30 years of good going, then Gurdjieff, about 7 of heavy involvement and then another 30 where everything went downhill and it started with Gurdjieff.

This is the 85 St. Elmo Drive location (makes you feel like you are in the Freemasons to even mention it, like there's some curse if you 'reveal the secret')

The people in the group were womanizers, alcoholics, frail waif-like women and some very high income people in San Francisco society - authors with multiple books, professors, orchestra musicians, presidents of architectural firms...etc Anyway, if you went there and have had to work through all this mess. All my life I'd never thought of myself as a cult survivor, but thought it was just a rabbit trail that I'd been led down in my naive years, lured in by the hope of being more/better/smarter/ part of an elite inner circle. But the truth is that it did real damage that I'm only now realizing as I try to gain back my personal integrity and self esteem and value and worth on this planet... not because I am a human doing or a good subject, but just because I was born. Hope that makes sense to someone. I'm surely wanting help getting out of the jam that that stuff did to my mind.

Re: Gurdjieff - San Francisco cult groups
Posted by: cochineal ()
Date: February 05, 2009 11:00PM

Dear MalcolmSingh,
Your note touched me deeply as I am sure it would many others who have had similar experiences. I have heard so many stories like yours and it grieves me.
For me, the journey of healing began by talking to other members of the group I was in (Alex Horn and Sharon Gans' group in New York and Boston) and realizing that I was NOT cursed if I talked about it because there is no "secret".They continue to hold power over you if you continue to follow their rules especially the one about not talking.
Further recommendations: seek out others who were in a similar situation, talk to anyone you can, reach out to help others, read everything you can on cults and on Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, find a good therapist, start to try to believe in yourself again, live and love.
I did a search and found that the Gurdjieff Foundation did indeed have a center at 85 St. Elmo Way, San Francisco. The Gurdjieff Foundation is still very much in existence and I suggest that you contact them at
I also found another reference to St. Elmo that you might be interested in and you might contact the author as well:

Re: Gurdjieff - San Francisco cult groups
Posted by: MalcomSingh ()
Date: February 06, 2009 12:04AM

I have not lived like a vicitm, but more like a person with a disability that didn't know I'd been disabled or injurred by the process. Gurdjieff and "The Work" were such an idol. Frankly, I believe they are insane and are still practicing the same occult mind control through the lure of becoming a superior "MAN." They are the last people I'd want to contact to help get free of the effects of what they did. The site you reference is recognized, I think he's the one who played the oboe in one of the SF or Bay area symphonies, and haven't been down that far south in years. They're all probably still down in SF playing 'emporer's new clothes' themselves, hoping to approach an ideal by splitting from who they really are inside, self-watching-self, in order to attain something they think they can be...but don't really know what is..but it must be good. No thank you.

The St. Elmo people considered the Horn/Gans as "not true Gurdjieff" but I never knew why. It seems like the same insider/outsider routine just being run within "the work" in the same way it is referenced with those said not to be in the work. When I think about it, it is very sad that it was many a group of people with lost identites, but I think for the most part well meaning, artistic, idealistic, creative, unloving, harsh and self-hating. I'll check out the poem person, but would prefer to gather with people who have been through those groups AND has looked back and seen it for what it was.

Just finding this site is repairing some things, the acknowledgement that it is a damaging cult. I've no intention of retaining a permanent limp, even if it did take years to get to where the "aha" appeared. If they can mess with a man's mind for seven years, and it can be affected for 27 or 28, then it can be repaired. It's like the fracture is being repaired already.

Re: Gurdjieff - San Francisco cult groups
Posted by: mxkitty ()
Date: February 06, 2009 01:50AM


The "self-remembering" exercise is a form of self-hypnosis.

There is also a phenomenon called "snapping" which is a biological and psychological reaction to cult mind control. The result is a natural high and sense of wonderment which the victim attributes to the teachings of the cult. "Wow! I feel better than I ever have before! This group is great!"

But a crash soon follows: depression, lassitude, difficulty with outside relationships just as you experienced with St. Elmo.

Once a cult deprogrammer - or anyone else for that manner - can get a "snapped" member thinking independently again, even if only for a few minutes, they can snap. There is an excellent book on the subject as follows:

Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change
by Flo Conway, Jim Siegelman

The womanizing, alcoholism and waifs sound so familiar. That's what The Group in Sonoma is all about! Not to mention the MENTAL ILLNESS and RAMPANT PERSONALITY DISORDERS! Gross! Elitism - narcissism.

Re: Gurdjieff - San Francisco cult groups
Posted by: MalcomSingh ()
Date: February 09, 2009 12:13AM

I may have visited sonoma groups. There was one in petaluma (or Santa Rosa) at an architecht's home (and farm) that we were invited up to for a "work" week or weekend a few times. Actually the people in that group seemed genuine and okay, but at this point I am not confident that my memory and emotions of any experiences have a clear view of what was going on. Anything from movements to exercises to meditations, they all could well have been as you say "hypnosis" and by suggestion been made to be differrent than what actually was going on. The draw for me was the pure intellectual elitism, the idea that I would be (or was) part of an inner circule elite. The idea that if you didn't participate, you were food for the moon seemed nuts, but then again, did you really want to take that chance. It caused a great deal of self-doubt and confusion. It never seemed like the typical cult with an intentional desire to control its members, but it had the aspect of manipulating you in a way that it's 'logic' caused you to self-select to follow and not want to question some things. I go back and see that many of the other men involved in these groups would prey on young women some half their age, and if you look at the string of sexual relationships that some of the 'experienced' and long term groups had with 'neophyte' ladies. Free labor for projects as "exercises in self-remembering" abounded. Anyway, understanding that this was truly a cult has been incredibly liberating. I agree with you fully about the elitism and narcissism.

Re: Gurdjieff - On becoming depressed or experiencing "depression"
Posted by: MalcomSingh ()
Date: February 09, 2009 11:06AM

Someone emailed me privately, and I wanted to respond and add my input on the subject of becoming depressed. The person said they'd participated in Gurdjieff groups and as a result had become extremely depressed. My experience was that my whole way of thinking was diminished and disoriented and I can mark that time of life from being well balanced before to later becoming extremely self- focused. I'd also read earlier on this thread someone asking about the attraction of the dances (aka "movements") and so wanted to respond to that, too...

I think (what's wrong with Gurdjieff) is that gets you so focused on yourself and so feeling that you are less than and so isolated and later into self-loathing and self-hating. that's why I believe it leads to depression. I'm just beginning to get perspective that I was never inwardly focused and self-hating in all the years before G groups. But that that quality characterized my life for many years afterwards, and that it is truly not who we are. I actually believe it is sinister, designed to disable human beings from being happy, joyful and engaged participants in life and love. Certainly I'm getting out of that pit, but it is a lot of years to suddenly later figure it out. It's so dangerous because it looks so voluntary and harmless. You don't see how it will change the lens through which you see life and yourself until many years later. So it is robbing people of their lives and souls. Nice to see and get angry at it as a passage to moving on and then really thriving. One of the things that's helping me is to take a look at what I saw in it/them. What attracted me to certain people or groups. What did I do for free for them that I would never have given freely in any business or friendship transaction, and how I got led there. I did a lot of things in the name of "learning about self" or "self-remembering" It truly is like they convinced you that something not-there was essential for you to know so you did not lose out in the end, and then they got you hunting and searching for it, and never finding it, but becoming all the more urgently seeking it... and so you started to de-value things that most people need to have value for in order to lead a happy and productive life... while increasingly putting value on the internal, self-examination, mysterious, wondering about producing the right energy to become something more... (i.e. a 'hydrogen' wild goose chase... where there is no goose). It seems to be the same thing with the 'ascended masters' in things like the Alice Bailey, Lucis (aka Lucifer) trust, except there I think there are intentional occultic influences designed to capture people's way of thinking for a purpose that is being manipulated -- in other words they say they are "channeling" ascended masters who are always thought of as benevolent. But the truth is if you open your mind and consciousness up to hypnotic or trance influence, why assume it is benevolent... oh yes, it is what someone else said about 'snapping'.. meaning that the exercises and technique produce a biological response of serotonin rise (i.e. feel good neurotransmitters). Where you can't exactly see the connection with Gurdjieff with direct manipulation, it shares that same 'feeling good' and 'feeling mystical' but there is no obvious individual agent of manipulation. I didn't feel that sense of a controlling nasty leader with the exception of some visiting people at work weeks and the "STOP" exercise and perhaps in the movements. But for those who were wondering about movements, it wasn't the 'dance' but it was the context that you were told/taught about the dance, that it would produce some magical energy in you to make you more aware of yourself, able to transcend, able to become "more"..combined with the physiological and biochemical effects of moving in synchronization with others and having your body-knowledge take over in order to perform them. I think there are some examples on You-tube. In order to do them you kind of go into what from the outside looks like a meditative trance-like state.... but basically you are disengaging intellectualy from what your body is doing. Anyway, I think depression results from it because of the extreme self-focus and also because you are making an idol of the people and the activities and the "work" itself and going to it for needs to be met that really never are personally realized, and then there is the constant drumming drone of the mindset that tells you that you are less than sufficient. That's enough to make anyone depressed until they decide that they've agreed with lies, and it's time to accept oneself. And then I think there's a period of practicing the truth, and the emotions (serotonin levels) of being a normal happy person, will follow.

Re: Gurdjieff - San Francisco cult groups
Posted by: mxkitty ()
Date: February 10, 2009 03:12AM

"Food for the moon?"

That's a new one. What on earth (or the moon) does that mean?

A lot of young people were recruited, I believe, to increase the pool of sexual fodder for the older members. These people, of course, had no idea, and are probably still involved, likely impressed with the wealth, local influence, and and intellectual elitism of the older members.

There also seems to be a posturing practice reminiscent of some of those based on ancient female-based mythology (Isis, Sheila-Na-Gig, "horned god', etc.) in which girls and women pose as if they are exposing the vulva - fully-clothed in public of course, but who knows about other locations. It's degradation disguised as an expression of "female power." Yeah, it repulses the unititiated, but not because of it's power, but because it's disturbing, a sign of sexual abuse.

Re: Gurdjieff - San Francisco cult groups
Posted by: stillhere ()
Date: January 04, 2010 03:09AM

Hello Malcom,

I've read your posts and agree with you completely. Yes, I was there too...yes, when you were there and yes, I've suffered years of deplorable self-loathing, depression and aimlessness. You can dress it up in Gurd language and say I'm 'stuck between two stools', but the irony of using Work language to express the experience is that it misses the actual experience, which in very ordinary terms is that you're a damaged individual. After exposure to this method and the folks that direct it you've lost your footing in life. In many ways, that's the point. However, it comes to pass that without the teaching there is no longer a place to reside within yourself and so you knock about for years trying to understand what's the matter with you. It's always YOU and not what was done to you. In truth, I was always advised that it was dangerous, but what they fail to communicate is that if you're involvement brings you to a stage where you're being warned of it's potential, it's already too late. The method has set up residence in your psyche.

Reading your post filled me with sadness for the past and hope for the future. I'm relieved that the SF group and St. Elmo in particular is being identified openly as a sickly, dysfunctional medley of so-called seekers. The label I love best is "esoteric Christianity". Hah! These 'seekers' would let you die in your hospital bed without a single visit after years of close association, betray your confidence to the highest bidder and regard you as little more than a psychotic piss-ant should you challenge to power elite. Elite my ass, there were holes in the Foundation that needed to be filled with people and often they pulled from the bottom of the barrel because that's who was willing. I'll always remember one drunk in particular...

To anyone interested in estoeric anything and considering joining a group of any kind I'd say RUN. Do the tough stuff yourself. Trust that life and the universe will slam you enough times to get the message across without the necessity for a power-mongering 'spiritual leader' to violate you. What good is the GOOD if you've lost your individual power to act? And to whoever reads the misguided advice to Malcom to find a therapist from the ranks of the Work!?!?, it doesn't get much more idiotic than that. Believe me because I did. Things just get pushed to a yet deeper, more obsured level.

Re: Gurdjieff a fraud and worse
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 04, 2010 08:40AM

Dont give up in despair. That is letting the wrong side win.

Here are some potential traps that so very many of us easly get caught in.

I was not ever in Fourth Way stuff but I was snagged in other dead ends and
will offer my limited perspective.


I was always advised that it was dangerous, but what they fail to communicate is that if you're involvement brings you to a stage where you're being warned of it's potential, it's already too late.

The person I got entangled with said, at one point, 'I wonder if you understand the risks involved.'

I was 25 years old.

Was I going to stop short, and say 'Glee, I am so glad you gave me this warning. I am in fact, a fraidy cat and am going to stop right here.'

Hell no. I stepped right up to the plate, said I was ready to face the risks. (Little did I imagine that the guy giving me the warning was himself the greatest danger)

Joyce Maynard, the woman who was a secret girlfriend of JD Salinger, wrote in her memoir, that after she'd become famous for her essay Growing Up Old in the Sixties, she began to receive appreciative letters from Mr Salinger. He made a point of warning her about exploitative older men.

Maynard, looking back, with the perspective of years, wrote that Salinger was the one he was warning her about.

You see, often seducers, whether emotional, or cultic, warn the mark or target about the dangers right at the point when the mark has already become so emotionally involved in the venture that its like walking away from a dare, or turning down a chance to participate in The Great Adventure.

And if you have any streak of machismo (and in the US, it is indoctrinated into us, whether we are male or female)...we are already preformatted to be triggered by anything that seems a dare.

And if we walk away, the G work people have an answer for that, too. They smirk and make it seem you were wimpy and inferior, and that even if you walk away, you've still been 'infected.'


And I agree. Stay far, far away from any therapist who has the slightest ties with anything Gurdieff related, including enneagram stuff. Its all a dead end.

You can get your actual self back--its like pulling alien crab grass from your infested
garden so that the indigenous foliage can slowly grow back and reclaim its turf.

For insight into the techniques, this is from a discussion about a quite different group


And, to examine all this from a different perspective, you can go here, scroll through
various items and stuff listed on the sidebar.


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