Gurdjieff and the Women of the Rope

Gurdjieff and the Women of the Rope Gurdjieff and the Women of the Rope
Notes of Meetings in Paris and New York
1935–1939 and 1948–1949

ISBN: 978-0-9559090-6-1
Binding: Casebound
Publisher: Book Studio
Publish Date: 2012
Pages: 284
Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″

During the mid-thirties in Paris, Gurdjieff drew together four women: Solita Solano, Kathryn Hulme, Alice Rohrer, and Elizabeth Gordon—and formed a special, mutually supporting work group.

In allegory he explained: You are going on a journey under my guidance, an “inner-world journey” like a high mountain climb where you must be roped together for safety, where each must think of the others on the rope, all for one and one for all. You must, in short, help each other “as hand washes hand,” each contributing to the company according to her lights, according to her means. Only faithful hard work on yourselves will get you where I want you to go, not your wishing.

Among themselves they called their foursome “The Rope.”

The company around Gurdjieff’s table, his principal teaching site, soon expanded to include Louise Davidson, Margaret Anderson, Georgette Leblanc, and Jane Heap.

Buy from Amazon: UK | USA | Canada | France | Germany | Japan

Large Print Edition: UK | USA

Kindle: UK | US | CA | IN | DE | FR | ES | IT | NL | JP | BR | MX | AU | IN

Joseph Azize Reviews: Gurdjieff and the Women of the Rope


3.0 out of 5 stars Important first-hand accout of life w/ Gurdjieff but confusing and difficult to follow

I have mixed feelings about this book. In one respect it's an important read for any serious student of Gurdjieff as an eyewitness first hand account. But it's boring and confusing to actually slog through. The writer/s reproduce G's accented pidgin English. Indeed one gets the feeling the whole group started talking this way. It's an interesting approach that brings the reader closer to the experience of living and studying with G. But it's tiresome to read. I get no sense of who is talking and often feel lost in the lingo. Long meandering descriptions of the food they ate ... yet precious few details of their spiritual work or personal struggles. Perhaps they were forbidden to write about the spiritual work? I'm about 75% through the book. I keep falling asleep b/c it gets boring. The Bennetts' diaries give a more thorough account that touches upon the actual spiritual struggles they faced. Women of the Rope seems like it was written by food critics rather than spiritual seekers. Energetically, the book connects me with the 4th Way current ... so there is magic here. But it's missing something. I can't connect with the writers and wonder why they were there?

Nat Kat August 18, 2021

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book

Must have if you into Gurdjieff! Good that this book doesn't include Patterson's narrative as in "Ladies of the rope"

Dmitri Va October 25, 2017

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars


amanda patterson October 18, 2017

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars

Compelling transcripts of years of meetings. A unique book.

Seeker May 30, 2017

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Astonishing! You could say he was brutal with his students but he was pushing them to fight for their souls!

This is the most entertaining of all the 4th way/Gurdjieffs books I've read so far. Gurdjieff was a flame thrower with his students, especially in the beginning of their education. That said, he got results and it was all supposed to happen in 6 months. What I find most hilarious is that Gurdjieff people have a reputation for being 'Spock-like,' people who do not emote. Gurdjieff was outrageous yet disciplined. There are so many hilarious and astonishing episodes. These women felt exhausted, stressed and emotionally stripped to the bone a lot of the time, but they learned and they changed for the better. It reads like a play, but actually it is taken straight from the women's notes during the months that they lived together with Gurdjieff in a French villa. Most of them were lesbians, a fact that does not make any difference in the book. Every day he assigned each one their personal thought exercises. He also dictated their health regime and aspects of their diet. One night he insisted they all had to enemas. It's not very abstract, it is mostly day to day gritty reality. He finds a thousand ways to make them see how stuck in their ruts they are and keep them desperately clawing their way toward liberation.

M. W. February 18, 2017

5.0 out of 5 stars "Rope" is not inspirational or hope-giving, but unexpectedly encouraging.

These notes taken from life – and death – have been an excellent reminder that high ideas are worth little if not stirred into the pot of daily events – our ordinary life. The words used by both teacher and pupil(s) are plainly printed on each page of human need-aspiring. That this giving-of-necessary-data even to such excellent examples of contemporary humanity could take place is not miraculous – it is utterly arresting. Of course this isn’t a good book in any conventional sense – it probably will not speak to “good” readers either. Frequent examples of “destroying mercilessly” and “providing new material” are to be found, as well as numerous apparently apt (and much enjoyed by their originator) “formulations” of Mr. Gurdjieff. It is a little surprising to note that while almost everyone mentioned in the book is “colored” in a quite specific manner, no one is ultimately painted with any undue sentimentality.

BadBob May 23, 2016

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading for all interest in George Gurdjieff and The Fourth Way Teachings

Recommended reading for all interested in George Gurdjieff and The Fourth Way Teachings.

Clearsky311 April 3, 2015

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read

A fascinating selection of entries giving snippets of who Gurdjieff was

Ash February 28, 2015

4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars

just great

june simpson January 27, 2015

This book takes you back to paris in the 1920's ...

This book takes you back to paris in the 1920's and 30's while giving a glimpse of how direct work with gurdjieff changed the lifes of his pupils

Josefa Halby November 29, 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars A Dance Through Time

I really enjoyed this book. It gives a clear window into day to day interactions between Gurdjieff and 'pupils'. Something that shines through is the humanity and humour and obvious egalitarian nature of his relationships with these women. It puzzles me why so many Gurdjieff groups are the opposite of humane and light hearted. Jeez......what happened? If they are all trying to emulate Gurdjieff they are way way off according to these notes. Anyways....whatever. If you are into Gurdjieff then I highly recommend this book. It's a great read and a look into how it really was after he gave up all the headbanging at the Prieure. Only criticism is there are lots of references to exercises but hardly any full descriptions. But I suspect this is more to do with the ladies' papers than the book. Gurdjieff people are soooo secretive. Love to all.

Peter Crockett March 9, 2014

5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you!...

... for publishing this book. I have on my bookshelf Patterson's "Ladies of the Rope", and I am very glad I got the chance to read this one first: from the diaries of the women who actually interacted and Worked with Gurdjieff. I feel that I will have a more objective understanding of who these women were, how they thought, and their relationship with G from their accounts. Of the three books Gurdjieff wrote my favorite from him - and one of my all times favorite - is "Meetings with Remarkable Men". It was the book that helped me See Gurdjieff as the man he was, through the people who influenced him in his life. And through his seeing them, I saw him. That's the only way I can express it in the moment. Later, reading Ouspensky's "In Search of the Miraculous", though I got a better understanding of his teaching, I didn't "find" the man I met in his own writings. Neither did I in Patterson's "Struggle of the Magicians", although I am not denying that both books were important in getting the "bigger picture". It was when I started reading the notes of these two women who were part of a small group among other intelligent women whom Gurdjieff taught in Paris in the years before WWII, that I Saw him again. And though for them he was their Master, through their descriptions of Work subjects for the development of an individual I, the cooking, cleaning and the magnificent dinners, the coffee dates and drives through France, the Easters and Christmases they spend with him, but above all, the intimate relationship each had with him, the spirit and humanity of Gurdjieff shines through.

Irini September 6, 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars Long-Awaited First Hand Stuff

A must for everyone interested in Gurdjieff as a teacher and his methods. I waited a long time for this material. A selection of it was already published by W. P. Patterson in his "Ladies of the Rope", but here you get the whole cake, complete without addition or omission. I found a lot of surprising and valuable hints in it, here is one of them - Karpenko, Dr. Ekim Bey and Skridloff represent the astral body of man. But this is not all, to read the intensive talks between these intelligent women and Gurdjieff is an vivifying experience in itself.

Brueck July 13, 2012