Ferapontoff and Fear of the Normans

The Ferapontoff book (Constantinople Notes on the Transition to Man Number 4) has now arrived, and I have to say, completely objectively, that Beech Hill has done an excellent job in formatting, designing and printing it. Although I set out Ferapontoff’s notes and commented upon them, I don’t at all feel that it is my book, but rather Ferapontoff’s and even, Gurdjieff’s and Ouspensky’s, and I was fortunate to be able to participate in the publication. I am still very grateful to Dr Greg Connor for his foreword. Apart from the balance and penetration of his observations, it helps to make it even more of a joint effort.

Effort is exactly what the good doctor focusses on: the need to use the ideas, even from the point of view of understanding them. Dr Connor states that we must animate ourselves even more than Gurdjieff’s pupils had, as we are without the being of the master to help us. To engage in dialogue with Greg at this point, I wonder if there is not more benefit for us in this? After all, to the extent that the effort is ours, and not aided by someone such as Gurdjieff, who could almost power rockets by his presence alone, to that extent, the effort becomes part of our essence. We have learned the way the way hard way. Incidentally, I have sometimes wondered if some of those who knew Gurdjieff, and enjoyed high states of being, might not have been unable to show others how to find their way to those states because they themselves had been given a leg up, as it were, by Gurdjieff.

I could spend far more time on Greg’s foreword, but I had been thinking that I would like to revisit certain parts of Ferapontoff’s book when I had more time. Well, I am making a little time now, so kindly consider this passage from chapter 34:

34.1  Organic life on earth serves as duct-endings to suck in food. In the sense of fear of the Normans and other senses. The earth feeds and grows old, gradually becoming a sun.

When I first read that, I had a sense of familiarity, but also of freshness. Ouspensky outlines quite clearly, in In Search of the Miraculous, the idea that organic life on earth serves to transmit cosmic forces by receiving, digesting and passing on energies received as food. The idea that the earth could become a sun is also found there, strange as it may appear. But that fear was a food, let alone fear of the Normans, was quite unexpected and, as I said, even a fresh take on it.

What was Ferapontoff’s meaning? Surely, it was that fear was received by organic life as a food, meaning an influence which became part of the body of organic life. That is, that what we feel enters into and changes the earth. How? Is there a direct connection between our experience and the earth (radiations and emanations), or is it from the decay of our bodies once we have returned to the earth? My conjecture is that it is both: some of what we experience may enter the planet directly, just as our state can influence those around us. This has the corollary that we have been blind to the direct effect of our emanations upon the earth. Other aspects of what we are will only enter the earth through our exhalation, through our excreta, and through the decay of our bodies. Different parts of us enter the earth differently, and influence it differently. But there is an influence.

Now, I have come across some comments from Jane Heap to the effect that if species of animals were eradicated, the qualities those animals manifested, even qualities such as ferocity, had to go somewhere, and might go into humanity. Jane was therefore saying that the natures of the animal world are expressions of a cosmic quality which is present on earth, and seeks expression. The fact that it comes through an animal means that the animal is partly, at least, a vehicle for something which begins beyond the earth. Something in us will often take a personal attitude for or against animals such as hyenas. It is a fact that some people hate hyenas, although the hyena cannot help being what it is. Indeed, the hyena is,  on this theory,  the target, so to speak, of forces which come from above organic life on earth. The hyena’s hunting has its place in the chain of life. That hunting is given its peculiar quality, on this view, by cosmic forces. Perhaps by manifesting through hyenas these energies are harmonised into organic life, by being given a role in the chain of life. Therefore, what would be noxious if left free is, therefore, made if not harmless then useful.

To put it another way, perhaps there are cosmic forces out there which, when picked up by wild beasts, make those beasts savage, but in a way which does not endanger the continuance of life. Jane Heap’s point was that if we continue to extinguish those beasts, as we are, those cosmic forces will have to find manifestation elsewhere, and it could be that they will seek manifestation in humanity, thus making us more ferocious. It is a startling idea, but I wonder if I do not see proof of it in the world.

Also implicit in what has been said by Ferapontoff is that the cosmic influences which are, so to speak, trapped by the personality of the man, woman or animal, are conducted into the earth, and become part of it. Ferapontoff says a little more on this in the book but I shall not go into all of it here. I would like, rather, to return to the strange reference to the Normans. Later on, Ferapontoff writes:

50.7  The medieval fear of the Normans now lives in the guise of bacilli. New modern diseases.

Ferapontoff is therefore saying that some of the diseases we know today have developed as a result of human activities. This is interesting in very many ways: first, it is interesting that it is bacilli, a class of bacteria, which feel the effects. Whether our emotions have an effect on, for example, trees, is not said. But it is not absurd to think that bacteria, whose live on a different dimension of life, may feel the effect for a longer subjective period of time (remember Ouspensky’s table of time in different dimensions), and may be more likely to change than other life forms.

Another question is: how would Ferapontoff or Gurdjieff know about the Normans and the effect that fear of them has had in the development of disease? It makes me wonder: did this idea commence at the time of the Normans, or at some point in the modern world, after the discovery of bacteria, in about 1665? Is it Gurdjieff’s or Ferapontoff’s own idea?

But now, if one sits back, and ponders all this, what can it mean except that we are making our own world far more thoroughly than we had ever understood? And can there be any doubt that this is correct? Our upsetting of the balance of nature is upsetting even the human balance of society.

All we can do is our own bit to be better people, and to consciously work against the trend to violence. I have lately been thinking over how Our Lord used to speak of having to deny ourselves, and of how we seek to make everything easier rather than to do that. I think, in the end, it comes down to that: denying ourselves in the pursuit of holiness.

Joseph Azize, 29 July 2017



  1. I think Miss Heap was on to something. Cosmic forces are going to strike the earth (as you might say, from above the sun or below it, ) These forces will then be transmuted for a greater cosmic purpose in one way or another. (i.e. they won’t simply disappear) The question is to what end? We know that, in a human, different centers are capable of doing work not proper to it, resulting in less than ideal results. What of planetary dysfunction? Or planetary re-direction might be a better term.

    As an aside, In my study of Kabbalah I once had a Rabbi tell me communicable diseases like influenza were the result of many people speaking badly, or harmfully about each other. He urged the avoidence of negativity as much as possible.

    It is also interesting to consider whether or not positive results are possible in time of great disruption. Mr. Gurdjieff, for instance, lived at a time of great human upheaval where the levels of destruction were mind boggling. Was he able to leverage this insane volume of human death on a planetary scale for his own use?

  2. So many tantalizing questions are raised by this post. Is it likely that what is negative (or ferocious or fearful) in one context may not be so in another? If we attempt to eradicate what is negative or (ferocious or fearful), will it necessarily manifest in the same way (e.g., the genetic modifications of vaccine -resistant bacteria) or, as Daniel suggests, could it be transformed in positive ways rather than futile attempts at eradication?

  3. I remember a long time ago my teacher asked all of us that were present at the time, what is the aim of this teaching, I remember everyone having a different answer and my teacher said all were right but all are wrong, the aim of the teaching was to act as a whole, the our whole consisted of three bodies that merge into a fourth, he said we could call this fourth body, master, I, okidanokh, whatever we wish but the proper aim we should have is to acquire this fourth body so we then become whole. He went on to say, that we as abnormal men have
    only one body developed. This lead us to question if this was the case how do we actualize the other body’s, he then pointed to this text, and said after 1 is 2.

    ” those unpleasantnesses to their presences which proceed from the accepted privations to their planetary body, because such beings already well understand and instinctively feel that this lower being-body of theirs is, in their own sacred cosmic law of Triamazikamno, the indispensable source for a certain kind of denying manifestation, and as such, of course, always must and will manifest only as denying for their affirming part, that is, that the manifestation of this lower part of theirs must obligatorily be always opposite to what is required for them by their higher being-part.
    “In other words, every wish of the planetary body is taken as undesirable for the higher divine part which has to be coated and perfected, and therefore all three-centered beings of our Great Megalocosmos constantly carry on a relentless struggle against the wishes of their planetary bodies so that there should be formed in them, in this struggle from the what is called ‘Disputekrialnian-friction,’ those sacred crystallizations from which their higher Divine being-part arises and is perfected in them.
    “In this constant struggle of theirs, the equilibrating harmonizing principle is their second being-body,

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