Winter workshops by Alan FrancisJanuary-February, 2018
Solita Solano, writer, editor, and longtime companion of Janet Flanner (who, like Gertrude Stein, was a peripheral observer and occasional visitor to Rope sessions: both strongly resisted and rather resented Gurdjieff and his influence over the members of the Rope). Solano was for a while Gurdjieff's secretary and other than Heap was the member of the group most familiar with the intricacies of his teaching. Both Anderson and Hulme relied heavily on her advice (and superb editorial skills) in their own books about Gurdjieff. (She edited all of Hulme's books for publication.) Her personal notes of The Rope's sessions with Gurdjieff are a treasure trove of information about his method and his own personality. Through her correspondence with the other members, she became the central focus of The Rope after Gurdjieff's death in 1949 until her own death, in Orgeval, France, in 1976.
Solano quotes Gurdjieff saying:
‘After a certain age this effort [his teaching] is very difficult and often impossible. There is an artificial aid by means of physico-chemical substance… for example a substance can be injected which will furnish artificial help for prayer … If the effort and the amount of the chemical are not balanced, it becomes a dangerous poison for the organism.’ (In January, 1936, p. 18).