Issue 25 –15 October 2019

First Anniversary of “Workbooks for the Fourth Way”


Emails Received

Index to the Contents of “Workbooks for the Fourth Way”

Posts to Date


Emails Received

Subscribers to this blog may well be interested to read some of the emails that the issues have generated. Friends and colleagues of mine regularly convey their appreciation for what I am doing, or at least what I am trying to do. Often readers helpfully point out the errors (mistakes) and the terrors (typos) that willy-nilly do occur. I admit that nothing is perfect except for the attempt to be perfect!

No encouragement is given to subscribers to write to the blogsite, for there is no forwarding email address there, but subscribers are free to send emails to me through my website ( Any and all communications received there will be answered privately.

Still, there are subscribers who are otherwise unknown to me who often write to make points and to ask or answer questions that are surprises in themselves. Here are a few queries that I have received since the blog was launched in November 2018.Since we live in the same city [Toronto] we can discuss Gurdjif [sic]. I am available on Tuesday after 6:30. [The email arrived late on a Monday.]

My response to this subscriber, who did not bother to identify himself (or herself), was to direct the correspondent to the website of the Gurdjieff Foundation of Toronto. There was no further communication from anyone.

Greetings and Warm Regards from Sunny Arizona USA. Thank you for your post on RLS & PDO [Robert Louis Stevenson and P.D. Ouspensky]. We have been curious for half a century about Kathleen Speeth’s written list of people influenced by GIG that include Rudyard Kipling. Do you know of any connection? We could never find a direct one. Perhaps her parents who were also in the Work knew something? We have always moved & loved his poem “If” and Kim. Please let us know.


Here is my response from Toronto (where the weather that day was 10 degrees Celsius or 14 degrees Fahrenheit). It is news to me that Rudyard Kipling was influenced by Gurdjieff, though the wildly popular author was very informed about just about everything else, including Freemasonry, which is apparent from reading the short story “The Man Who Would Be King” or rewatching the wonderful adventure movie of that name starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine that was  based on it. Also Kipling was knowledgeable about The Great Game, the struggle between the Russians and the British for control of the Northwest Frontier. This scramble for power between two world powers might or might not have involved GIG. I did check James Webb’s indispensable tome The Harmonious Circle and found in those pages that there are two passing references to Kipling. But they have nothing at all to do with Gurdjieff or the Fourth Way. I asked the couple to share any new information that may come their way with me, if they do find a direct connection. That is where the matter stands.

Someone else who understands and appreciates Daumal.

A year ago out of the blue I received this short email with no explanation but signed by James Cowan. A bit of what passes for “research” on Wikipedia established the fact that the correspondent is a well-known Australian traveller and novelist. His many books were unknown to me at the time. Apparently he had come upon a number of appreciative reviews that I had written some years earlier about the writings of René Daumal, the French poet and novelist who had been much influenced by Madame de Salzmann. The reviews had appeared (and still appear) on Sophia Wellbeloved’s gurdjieffbooks website and Cowan had found them there: hence the email.

He wrote because he felt that at least one other person mirrored his appreciation of Daumal’s writing. Quite true, though admirers of the French surrealist’s writings are numerous. He might also have wanted some cultural companionship from Canada which is “up over” rather than “down under” like Australia. We exchanged emails and I soon learned that he was dying of a wasting disease and had only a few months to live. We corresponded until I was informed of his death at the age of seventy-six, on October 6, 2018, at Bangalow, New South Wales. All the while I was planning to launch “Workbooks for the Fourth Way.” I kept thinking about his travels, his taste for indigenous cultures from around the world, and his respect for the writings and life of René Daumal. So in a sense the spirit of James Cowan informs the present site with its review columns.

18 Feb. 2019 – 30 Aug. 2019


Index to the Contents of “Workbooks for the Fourth Way”

To mark the first year of the publication of this blog, here is a straight-forward, non-alphabetical, chronological listing of the contents of these twenty-five issues. Subscribers to the blog have free access to all of these issues. Non-subscribers have the opportunity to view these issues individually, though it takes some time for Google to index them and make them freely available on the Net. Yet it does take a little sleuthing to locate some of these articles, so dazzlingly expansive is Google. The clue, as I found, is to include the name “Colombo” in the Google request. In other words, keyboard the descriptors (the name of the book and the name of its author) and add my last name. More often than not it works, for no reason known to me. This was not planned!

1 Oct. 2019

Posts to Date


Index (Issue 1 – October 2018 … Issue 25 – 15 October 2019)


Issue 1 – October 2018
Gurdjieff Reconsidered (Roger Lipsey)

Issue 2 – November 2018
Higher Being Bodies (Ocke de Boer)
A Stopinder Anthology (David Kherdian)

Issue 3 – 15 November 12018
Short Reviews of Five Books
The Occult Webb (James Webb)
Finding Time for Your Self (Patty de Lhosa)
Gurdjieff Group Work with Rita Romilly Benson (Benson)
Spiritual Physics (Jerry Brewster)
Philosophy between the Lines (Arthur M. Melzer)

Issue 4 – December 2018
The Wisdom of Writing Reviews
Kenneth Walker’s “Venture with Ideas”
Sophia Wellbeloved’s “The Key Concepts”


Issue 5 – 15 December 2018
Transcripts of the Work
Remembering P.D.O.
The Importance of Archives
The Importance of Transcripts
Meetings with Louise Welch in Toronto
Compassion for the Human Condition
G.I. Gurdjieff: Paris Meetings 1943
Gurdjieff’s Early Talks 1914-1931
Orage’s Commentary on Gurdjieff’s “Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson”: New York Talks 1926-1930

Issue 6 – January 2019
The Nature of these Reviews
A Sense of Wonder when I Do Not Know (Natalie de Salzmann de Etievan)
Gurdjieff, Astrology & Beelzebub’s Tales

Issue 7 – 15 January 2019
Moving Mandala
In Search of the Miraculous

Issue 8 – February 2019
Introduction to the Gurdjieff Work
The Song of the Morrow

Issue 9 – 15 February 2019
Gurdjieff’s Early Talks
Edward Carpenter & the Swami

Issue 10 – March 2019
The Journal Known as “Gurdjieff”
Work-related Humour

Issue 11 – 15 March 2019
Gurdjieff International Review
Gifford Lectures

Issue 12 – April 2019
The Work in Fiction
In Search … the Movie
Madame’s Video

Issue 13 – 15 April 2019
James George
The Little Green Book on Awareness
A Visit to James George

Issue 14 – May 2019
In Praise of Seymour B. Ginsburg aka Sy
The Contributions of Seymour G. Ginsburg aka Sy

Issue 15 – 15 May 2019
Strange Meeting (Jeffrey Masson)

Issue 16 – June 2019
Man and Thunderbird (by Norval Morrisseau)
Catafalque (by Peter Kingsley)

Issue 17 – 15 June 2019
Fourth Way on the Web
Why I Review These Books

Issue 18 – July 2019
Approaching Inner Work (James Opie)
Facilitation Techniques

Issue 19 – 15 July 2019
“Universe” 59 Years Later
A Pertinent Question
Impromptu Remarks

Issue 20 – August 2019
In the Region of the Heart (Jack Caine)
Real Worlds of G.I. Gurdjieff (Paul Beekman Taylor)
Further on Gurdjieff’s Age
Again, Gurdjieff’s Age

Issue 21 – 15 August 2019
Learning to Love (Barbara Wright George)
Christian Wertenbaker’s “Man in the Cosmos”
The Enneagram of G.I. Gurdjieff (Christian Wertenbaker)

Issue 22 – September 2019
A Mammoth and Unusual Publication (Jessmin & Dushka Howard)
Useful Summary
Favourite Books

Issue 23 – 15 September 2019
An Interview with Simson Najovits
The Rochester Folk Art Guild and Louise Goepfert March

Issue 24 – October  2019
Remembering Henri Tracol
Subud and the Work
Two Websites of Interest

Issue 25 – 15 October 2019
First Anniversary of “Workbooks for the Fourth Way”
Emails Received
Index to the Contents of “Workbooks for the Fourth Way”
Posts to Date