Lawful “Otherwises”and Conjury (or Plain Magic)

 The real world is full of magic

“The chapter on Art of Beelzebub’s Tales (BTTHG) repeatedly speaks of what is called lawful “otherwises” (pages 465,475, 482, and others). What is a lawful “otherwise”? It is a moment or an event in the Law when some form of knowledge or understanding is given to us. We all have had these moments when we understand something knew and we know that is real understanding because it moves us in a certain direction, maybe even a totally new direction. We must pay attention to these moments because they are very important in our work on ourselves. Everything is according to law or law-conformable says Mr. Gurdjieff.  So, a lawful “otherwise” is some moment in the law when we are given an extra edge.

These lawful “otherwises” exist in all of us, buried in the subconscious where all that we need is presently intact, all the data necessary and sufficient for our self-perfecting is there and we do not need anymore than that. This is the Great Hope of this Teaching Mr. Gurdjieff brought to us. It is indeed a Great Hope because there is absolutely no way we can create anything. Only our COMON FATHER ETERNAL CREATOR can create. We are created beings. So, everything we need is already there. What we call evolution is nothing more than a return to what already exists in us. The way that goes is the way that returns. But because of operation of another law known as the law of correspondence what is inside us is also outside us as well. If it is true that as above so below, it is also true that as inside so outside. So, these lawful ‘otherwises’ also occur outside of us. We can call them signs from the Real World. By Real World we mean the world that exists outside of us and that we do not fabricate. We cannot create this world but we can listen to it. But how do we contact these sings from the Real World? Actually, they contact us. All we have to do is to be in a state of questioning, seeking, asking, and knocking. Then they will appear one way or another because everything is according to law. This fact has been known in all the great teachings and has been formulated in many different ways. I particularly like the way the Divine Teacher Jesus Christ formulated it:

“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” 

Mr.  Gurdjieff has another very interesting formulation that I really love. Here is taken from the book “Undiscovered Country” by Katheryn Hulme (I am quoting the entire paragraph):

“Gurdjieff might “make something” for my mother. This was why I had pressed so hard on IRO for a January leave to coincide with his New York sojourn. This was an example of the “conjury” he had once declared operated in individual lives, operating not as magic, but as something you do which will be god for you (but for no one else) because you do it. I looked in the notebook that always traveled with me. It was on the Rivera trip in February of ’37 when he had spoken so cryptically about “conjury. ”Wish or not wish, conjury you must believe because all life consists of conjury.’’ We had had one on the etymological discussions so dear to the master’s heart. Conjury—con, with; jure, to swear—“with swearing” the Canary had suggested hopefully but Gurdjieff said no, that was not the conjury he meant. (later, pursuing the old Latin root of jure or iut, we discovered for ourselves that one of its original meanings was “a religious formula having the force of law.”)”

We can see two things in Mr. Gurdjieff’s formulation. It is a religious formula implying some form of praying but not praying in the way we commonly understand it but in the sense of seeking, asking, and knocking. And it is something one makes for oneself and not for others, although others may benefit from or even participate in the conjury.

I would like now to give two concrete examples of recent conjuries I have had in my life. I have to say that I can fill pages after pages of conjuries in my life but these two are the best I have had in recent time.

I was traveling on train from New York to Baltimore where I was heading to give a talk to a small Gurdjieff group in Baltimore. Trains have always been for me a place of Magic. I will never forget my experiences when a child in Cuba travelling in the train my father worked for. While the train moved smoothly I was reading the chapter “The-Terror-of-the-Situation” of Beelzebub’s Tales which was the topic I had chosen for my talk to the group in Baltimore. At one my moment in my concentrated effort, the train conductor came walking the aisle of my wagon yelling: “Philadelphia! Philadelphia!. At that precise moment I lifted my eyes from my reading and looked through the window. What I saw was three streets converging on a main street. Then in a flash I remembered what Mr. Gurdjieff had said while giving a talk to a group of disciples: “The ways of approach are different, but all must get to ‘Philadelphia.’ The limits are the same.” It was then, in a rapid moment of illumination, that I really understood what he had meant by “Philadelphia.” The train finally left the station and the city of Philadelphia was left behind but my essence-understanding has remained with me since then. That was another true moment of conjury or magic in my life.

Months ago I was having lunch with a friend in the Living Teaching. I meet with this friend once a month and since she is into BTTHG like me we have found an interesting way of working together around the book. We take the book to our lunch and we open it at random and then ask questions about the material we read. That day she opened it on the last pages of the chapter on war and we began to read about the way beings from Atlantis separated other beings into three groups and constructed buildings for these groups. One group was male beings, another was female beings and the third groups were those called “middle sex,” which consisted of both males and females. Those of this middle sex were recognized by a series of symptoms, the most important being that these beings had hemorrhoids. When we got to this point my friend made a comment in the sense that once again Mr. Gurdjieff was pulling one’s leg. But I told her that in everything we see in BTTHG there is always some meaning and some teaching, even the funny remarks of the Mullah.  So, as we always do, we began to search for the hidden meaning of the hemorrhoids. But not matter how hard we tried we could not make anything out of it. We went into something else. That day we were having lunch at the beautiful café at the New York Metropolitan Museum, which is located at one corner of Central Park. Diagonal to this corner is the building where I teach. So, I decided to walk through Central Park on my way to my evening class. It is a two miles walk through isolated places which favors something I love to do and that is to think while walking.  I walked with my burning question about hemorrhoid in my mind. At one very isolated place I came across a man younger than me and we both looked at each other quite intensively. After we crossed each other I turned around and he too turned around. He then waved his hands and exclaimed something that I understood like “seat.” I asked him “What?” He then said: “Sitting like sitting down on a chair.” For a moment I thought he was one of those insane people one meets in New York. But before I had taken five steps and in a flash of understanding I had the answer to my question. The thing is that one of the main reason males beings of the middle sex were placed in these buildings is, as it is said on page 1110: “were already entirely deprived of the possibility of ever consciously contemplating.” Then, in flash of insight I saw that for contemplating one must sit but that it is very difficult to sit if one has hemorrhoid. Every thing in BTTGH has a meaning, even if it is much hidden. I felt good and went and gave an extraordinary lecture, which by some “coincidence” that day was on the topic of extracting a signal from a noise or finding the intelligence of a signal through separation from noise, exactly what I has taken place with my conjury.

Yes, Wish or not wish, conjury you must believe because all life consists of conjury. All life indeed consists of Conjury.


Will Mesa


About willmesa

I have been studying and working with the ideas of G.I. Gurdjieff exposed in his Opus Magnum Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson. The intention of this blog is to share these ideas with people around the world. For more information about me, please search in Google for Will Mesa
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6 Responses to Lawful “Otherwises”and Conjury (or Plain Magic)

  1. jonedae says:

    Hi Will,
    I beleive that you have a typo on your page. It is the word “cunjury”. I have checked online dictionaries for obscure words, as well as regualr dictionaries, and that word appears nowhere, so, it seems that you meant “conjury” but just misspelled it.
    Jone Dae.

    • jonedae says:

      Hi Will,
      I believe that you have a typo on your page. It is the word “cunjury”. I have checked online dictionaries for obscure words, as well as regular dictionaries, and that word appears nowhere, so, it seems that you meant “conjury” but just misspelled it.
      Jone Dae.
      P.S. I just found out that WordPress does not leave you any way to edit or remove a reply once you’ve posted it – ! So, here above is mine reposted, with *my* typos corrected.

    • willmesa says:

      Hi Jone,
      Thanks for your comment. You are correct: It should be conjury and not cunjury. I am going to correct it. Thanks again.

      • jonedae says:

        My replies have several typos, as well. I am frustrated that WP provides no way for a person to edit their own comment once they have posted it. That is, I can edit my own blogs, and even the comments of others, but can’t edit any comment on anyone else’s blog. Wish they’d fix that.

  2. hanbledzoiner says:

    Hey Will, sometimes when with a student who is interested in the occult or the Gurdjeff work as if it were going to turn them into sorcerers and wizards I will ask them if they want to see a real miracle. Would you like to see “A REAL MIRACLE?”

    I make sure this sinks in and then I take my forearm and show it to them and I turned my hand either palm up or down and I will simply turn my wrist so the palm which was facing the ground now faces the sky and I declare:

    THAT IS A MIRACLE! That I can turn my hand like that is part of the real miracle of life itself. Sometimes it gets through and sometimes they think I am just jesting – but I am not. I am dead serious – being able to do that IS miraculous.

    I’d like to speak of another True Miracle that without the work never would have occurred. When I was very little we used to go back into the backyard and look at the stars, and watch sputnik cross the sky and see who could spot it first, because it moved faster than any other object and was tin or silver or something shiny so was easy to spot. This must’ve been 1959 1960 – something like that and I was like 6 to 8 years old. One of my relatives started teaching me the constellation’s. There is the big dipper, there is the little dipper, here’s how you find the North Star, and those 3 stars form the belt of Orian, etc. but my burgeoning science mind suddenly one night realized that all the constellations were phony – the stars that made them up weren’t anywhere near each other, especially in distance, so I stopped looking up at the stars – soon after that I moved permanently to New York City where nobody looks up except at skyscrapers. This lasted 40 years – and as a musician I went to bed at dawn were a breakfast special was the last meal of the night, and I woke up at dusk.

    Then I found The Gurdjeff Work, and my first group was led by a man and a woman and we would read from Ouspensky’s book, which I had already read but hearing it out loud produced even more shock when in the middle of an otherwise completely lucid and cogent lecture by Mr. Gurdjeff he sticks the sore thumb in and declares that we are food for The Moon. Complete lunacy smack dab in the middle of an otherwise super intelligent description which resonated with me completely and this statement about The Moon shocked the hell out of me, so that when I left the meeting I nearly got run over looking for the Moon, which I found floating a little over half way from full and I just stood there in astonishment and wonder – questioning, questioning, questioning. What the hell did he MEAN? And I probably stood there for about 5 minutes before turning and continuing home.

    But I could not get this idea out of my head, so whenever I was outdoors at night I was looking for the Moon. Eventually it led to an interest in the solar system itself in its clockwise precision and I began thinking about the solar system, which was also traveling, probably around a sub system called the Virgo group with perhaps the star Sirius as our sun’s center, and I began studying astrophysics, a bit of Western and also Siderial Astrology, cosmology, cosmogony, astrobiology and on and on. I found out that when the earth was about a half 1 billion years old it is thought that a planet sized mass struck the earth which then formed the rings which turned into the Moon, and that the moon was much closer & the earth rotated 6 hours per day so there were huge tides, and because the Moon moves in the opposite direction of the earth’s rotation it produces “drag” which slowed the rotation of the earth that what it is now – 24 hours or so a day, and the Moon was slowly moving farther and farther away until it would break the bond of gravity between Earth/Moon and become a planet of its own. But before that happens our Sun will have gotten old, fat and red and will very likely incinerate the earth – moon system. But that’s a couple of billion years off, so don’t worry.

    I could say much more but what I have spoken is quite sufficient to prove that this single ‘Sore Thumb’ in the middle of this otherwise highly intelligent lecture woke me up and brought life to something that had died in me when I was 8 or 9 years old and had given up on learning the constellations. If you could imagine each human being as a tree, it could be said that one of my larger branches had died. Trees are like that – even a large branch they die without killing the entire tree, so in that area I was dead, and Mr. Gurdjeff’s words, as ludicrous as they sounded at first, caused sap to begin to flow into this previously dead limb, until it was more than restored to life – it flowered and blossomed and produced delicious fruit.

    That’s only one example. Anyone who tries to denigrate that it is not falling into the definition of a miracle has no idea of what a real miracle is

  3. willmesa says:

    Yes, what you relate here are real examples of real magic or conjury as Mr. Gurdjieff called them. Our childhood world is full of them and then we grow up and we become concerned with the world of facts of adult life, some facts harder than other. In other words we no longer see the magic around us. We then encounter a piece of jewel in something we are told or something we are exposed to and magic returns. I have lived through that and I am a witness to that. But we have to become as little children if we expect to return to the world of magic.

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