Author/Artist: A.G.E. Blake
Publisher: Shambhala Publications
This is the key text for understanding how to use the structural form of the Enneagram as it was introduced by Gurdjieff at the beginning of the twentieth century.
It gives a historical background to Gurdjieff's work and explains the basic principles of his so-called 'cosmic laws' of Three and Seven that underlie the dynamic form of the Enneagram. It also demonstrates its use in a variety of fields that include science, sex, prayer and even movies.
The book is based on the work of J. G. Bennett, with whom Anthony Blake studied for fifteen years, collaborating on several projects. The emphasis of the 'school' developed by Bennett from Gurdjieff's work is on practical method and creativity. The study
of systems and structures originating with Bennett and Gurdjieff continues to evolve and this book indicates how the Enneagram is but one of an almost endless series of forms of understanding.
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Anthony Blake presents both the essence of the Enneagram and enough detail for the reader to become well acquainted with the workings of this symbol.
This book is ALIVE as much as the symbol itself is ALIVE! The Enneagram is not a diagram but an embodiment of the process of transformation, a process that is as much within as it is outside us.
Anthony's own rich knowledge and long experience makes him one of the few really qualified to write on the subject. His presentation of it is rightly rooted in the tradition from which it came.
This is the authentic Enneagram. It is more than a book on the Enneagram and the tradition from which it comes, it is one man's unshakable knowledge.
Table of Contents. PART I - The Frame of Transformation: The Symbol, Overview, Form of Sequence, The Symbolism of Making and Becoming, Sevenfold Architecture, I Put Three Together; PART II - The Hazard of Transformation: Four Paradigms of the Enneagram, the Metabolism of Perception, A Computer Running on Air, Being in Life, Drama, An Enneagram of Crisis. PART III - The Purpose of Transformation: Wheels within Wheels, Cosmic Interlude, The Greater Present Moment, The Great Amen, The Tescooano, Recurrent Meaning, Remember to Remember.
Saleh Majaj from Jerusalem, Israel
... I have been reading books by and about Gurdjieff and The Work for over 25 years now, and I say with total conviction that this book is one of the best I have ever come across. It REALLY helps the reader to understand exactly HOW the enneagram works - in different situations, and on different "levels" (4th Way people use the term "octaves"). Read this book, and you will be sure to come closer to understanding the reality and truth of existence.
... I love the photo on page 36 of the nine-sided building based on the enneagram that was designed and built near London by J.G. Bennett and his students! I love the diagram on page 208 of the "Nine points of evolution" - including the Biosphere, Technosphere, and Noosphere. The photograph on page 33 of the sacred movements class at the Sherborne House in Gloucestershire is beautiful! The last chapter - #19: Remember to Remember - is very good.
... I was a little confused about the way Mr. Blake uses the Buddhist words "samadhi" and "satori" (I believe near page 137). I was always of the understanding that samadhi refers to the non-dualistic, "all is one" state of UNITY of the illusion; whereas satori refers to the TRANSCENDENCE of this unified illusion into the TRUE reality of The Void, where consciousness without an object is only aware of itself - where it simply IS. ... Maybe Buddhist terms are not applicable to 4th Way interpretation?
... I was also a little confused over Mr. Blakes's reference on page 312 to Gurdjieff calling the poppy plant an example of a "trinity-like" being. I had always thought that Gurdjieff helped to free individuals from addictions to opium and hashish, and that he said that: "The sly man takes a pill" - the pill being an allusion to psychedelic substances, or to 4th Way exercises, that may help catalyze spiritual enlightenment, such as: certain mushrooms, peyote, or LSD, as well as kundalini and/or breathing exercises. The opiates do the EXACT opposite - creating a psychological state of self-induced narcolepsy! ... (Maybe he needs to clarify this more?)
... In any case, overall, I found this long and heady book to be very rewarding. The more you get into it, the more you wish that Mr. Blake had actually written in even more detail! If you have the patience and determination to read the whole thing, you will truly benefit from having done so. After reading this book, you WILL understand how the enneagram works as a whole system.