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Sophia Wellbeloved

Sophia WellbelovedSophia Wellbeloved was a member of the Gurdjieff Society in London from 1962-75 and completed her Ph.D. at King's College, London in 1999. The second revised edition of her thesis, Gurdjieff, Astrology & Beelzebub's Tales, with a foreword by Wallace Martin was published by Solar Bound Press in December 2002.
Dr. Wellbeloved is a member of the Advisory Board for the annual All & Everything Conference.

Changes in G.I. Gurdjieff's Teaching the Work

There are now four articles on the GIG site.

Sophia Wellbeloved

Gurdjieff, Astrology & Beelzebub's Tales

Author/Artist: Sophia Wellbeloved
ISBN: 0972208755
Publisher: Solar Bound Press
First published: 2002

A.T. Mann, author of The Round Art of Astrology & A New Vision of Astrology: essential and very valuable key to understanding and working with his most profound and relevant ideas.

Paul Beekman Taylor, author of Shadows of Heaven: Gurdjieff and Toomer & Gurdjieff and Orage: Brothers in Elysium:
With this work,Gurdjieff criticism comes of age. Above all, Wellbeloved provides for the first time a structure of Gurdjieff's Tales according to astrological principles. This will enable a fresh reading of Gurdjieff's principle work which is generally neglected in academic studies of 20th century religious and philosophical movements.

Prudence Jones, co-author of A History of Pagan Europe:
...integrates Gurdjieff into the canon of Western occultism and esoteric thought while also revealing the provenance of his paradoxical style...

Book Description:
This book presents an analysis of the narrative subject matter of Beelzebubs Tales in terms of astrological correspondences. It contains preliminary information relating to Gurdjieffs teaching, to astrology and to the links which connect them. The events of Gurdjieffs life/myth are given in the light of cultural and historical contexts and these are related in general to the forms he gave to his teaching and in particular to some of the literary strategies he employed in the Tales. Gurdjieffs cosmological Laws of Three and Seven are examined in relation to some of their possible origins in Christian, Western European Occult, and Theosophical ideologies. Gurdjieffs knowledge of astrology is explored and his cosmological laws are shown to be similar to those of astrological cosmology and to be largely derived from them. There is an account of zodiacal structure and terminology, and of the system of correspondences used in popular astrology of the 1920s and 1930s. The Tales four sets of twelve chapters are examined. Each set is analysed in terms of subject matter in correspondence with the twelve signs of the zodiac. The relationship between these sets of chapters is explored in terms of the symbolism of the sun, moon and mercury, the functioning of the cardinal, fixed and mutable astrological modes and in terms of Gurdjieffs Law of Three. The conclusion reached through this analysis of narrative subject matter is that the Tales is a zodiacally structured text.

Solar Bound Press has kindly sent us the Foreword to Gurdjieff, Astrology & Beelzebub's Tales. The Foreword is in pdf-format - you need a version of the Acrobat Reader to read it.

Foreword to the Book

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New Views for Further Studies
To find a structure in the Tales is an achievement in itself! Gurdjieff's main literary work is difficult to read, to study and to understand. Ideas that help in the process are more than welcome. Dr. Wellbeloved not only finds a structure - she also points towards new ways for further studies of the book.
This book is not aimed at attempts to interpret Gurdjieff's message, but instead aims at keeping alive questions on the meanings and interpretations of what he actually meant. In her view the Tales are open to a wealth of meanings that are there to be discovered and experienced by the reader.
We are warned against a literal understanding of the Tales: "If Gurdjieff's text is taken as literally true, then there really was a space ship in the sky over New York in 1921, containing Beelzebub, Hassein and Ahoon".

Dr. Wellbeloved draws attention to another important aspect of the Tales: its kinship with the Turkic oral tradition. Originally the Tales were read aloud. Special music was composed for the readings; at each reading Gurdjieff observed the reactions of the listeners and made changes to his texts.
But why would this be important? Is it not OK if I just read it just the way I am used to reading books? Well, to follow Gurdjieff's own advice you should do just that, but not stop there. You should after your first 'mechanized' reading read it 'as if aloud to another person' and only after that you should try to 'fathom the gist of my writings'.
The advantages of the oral tradition over just reading a book are that the stories are made alive while you are in the middle of them. In other words you have a different experience, which most likely touches not only your intellect, but also your emotions. Gurdjieff used to ask 'what does it make you feel', not what does it mean.

Dr. Wellbeloved's recent book 'Gurdjieff; The Key Concepts' was inviting for further studies of his ideas. Her new book points out new ways of approaching the Tales and it is an important book for those people who want to study Gurdjieff's writings!

Reijo Oksanen, Switzerland
added 2003-01-16

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