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12 December 2016 | Draft

Ian Gordon-Brown

in memory of a person of influence

- / -


Provisional comment: What follows is an effort to bring together various threads relating to Ian Gordon-Brown Having known Ian since the 1960s, it seemed that the relation between his various roles was no longer widely remembered.


Ian Gordon-Brown (1925-1996) was born in Quetta (now in Pakistan). His father was Douglas Spencer Gordon-Brown (1895-1982), who had attended Winchester College in 1914 -- as indicated in the Cricket Archive Europeans vs. Quetta (7th August 1925). He retired with the rank of captain in the British army. His mother was Rose Gertrude Robinson (1896-1959). They had four children.

Ian attended Bryanston School (Dorset, UK) from 1938 to 1943. He was a strong sportsman, captaining the First XV Rugby, First XI Cricket and First XI Hockey during his time at school and receiving colours in all three sports. He also represented the school at squash and athletics. Alongside his sporting achievements, Ian was a popular and talented singer, performing at many choral events, often singing solo. He was one of those involved in forming the Pioneer Youth Movement for which he was secretary for a time. The group studied and discussed public issues of particular interest to youth in the post-war world -- seeking links to other youth organizations to that end. Nicknamed "Horse", he became Head of School in his final year.

School Captain as depicted in
Old Bryantonian Yearbook (1997)
Retiring director of Industrial Participation Association (Spring 1979)

Wartime record: It is recorded that Ian was commissioned as a cadet (#214229) on 7 November 1941 in the Royal Regiment of Artillery (of the Regular Army) under provisions for Emergency Commissions (Supplement to the London Gazette, 7 November 1941).

University education (1943-1949): As reported by the archivist for central student records of the University of Cambridge:

Ian Selby Gordon-Brown matriculated, that is formally enrolled in the University, on 3 November 1943, having been admitted as an RAF cadet to Selwyn College on an Economics course for service cadets. He completed this course with a second class pass in March 1944. He then returned to the University in Michaelmas term 1947 and read for an Honours BA in Moral Sciences. He was awarded an upper second class pass in the examinations for Part II of the Moral Sciences Tripos (as the Honours BA is known) in Easter term 1949. He graduated BA by proxy on 22 June 1949 (sources: UA Graduati 12/93; Exam.L.84). [For more information on these terms]

Moral Sciences encompassed psychology at that time, and that was Ian's focus.

Interests: Ian's interests included ways of expanding individual and group consciousness, esoteric movements and social networks. He died in October 1996. He married and had three children. He wrote and lectured widely throughout, on questions of individual and social development and the spiritual challenge and responsibility of the time. He was recognized as a gifted orator -- generous with his time and always willing to speak to a variety of groups, whenever invited. However he was resistant to having his lectures recorded and most of his writings were presented anonymously within particular group processes.

Industrial psychology

Ian first worked as a member of the scientific staff of the National Institute of Industrial Psychology, founded in 1921 as a non-profit making scientific organisation for the study of industry and commerce. It aimed to promote the application of psychology and physiology within the fields of industry and commerce.

The archives of the Institute indicate no trace of writings by Ian.

World Goodwill / Lucis Trust (1958-1969)

Ian worked with Lucis Trust for 14 years, becoming director and an international trustee. He notably served as executive director of World Goodwill from 1959 to 1969. The trust has Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC);    World Goodwill is recognized by the Department of Public Information at the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

Ian made the following contributions to their periodical The Beacon (1922-), both before and after working in that context:

Ian's framing of human development in relation to an understanding of the Problems of Humanity (Lucis Press, 1964), as initially articulated by Alice Bailey, was one inspiration for the instigation in 1972 of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential by Mankind 2000 in collaboration with the Union of International Associations (UIA). The pattern of triangular relationships may well have influenced the subsequent networking focus of the latter,

Ian had contact during that period with both Eyvind Tew, the editor of the UIA Yearbook of International Organizations, and with James Wellesley-Wesley, founder of Mankind 2000 in 1972. Ian subsequently became a member of Mankind 2000, during his period as director of the Industrial Participation Association (see below).

Collaboration between World Goodwill and Auroville (Pondicherry): In his capacity as executive director of World Goodwill, and as editor of the World Goodwill Newsletter, Ian visited the Auroville/Shri Aurobindo Ashram (Pondicherry, India) early in 1962 and it was agreed that, as the aims and ideals of their respective journals, World Union and World Goodwill, were similar, they should jointly operate a single journal. Consequently in April 1962 the name was changed to World Union-Goodwill with Marguerite Lidchi and Ian Gordon-Brown as its joint editors. Contributions by Ian Gordon-Brown to the joint publication, World Union-Goodwill, include:

This collaboration reportedly gave rise to a compilation covering that period, whose existence in distinction to the individual issues it has not been possible to establish (Marguerite Lidchi and Ian Gordon-Brown (Eds.). World Union-Goodwill: twelve miscellaneous issues 1962-1975, Auroville Press). In June 1964, as reported by Auroville, Ian retired as editor and World Goodwill ceased to be a co-partner in publishing the journal owing to the distance and the time involved in editorial consultation between England and India.

Promotion of centres

Promotion of a centre for voluntary associations in London: In the 1960s, in his capacity as executive director of World Goodwill, he acted as coordinator for a committee endeavouring to set up an International NGO Centre in London with low-rent office and meeting facilities. He continued this activity in the 1970s. Information on NGO groupings in the U.K. had been collected together by Ian and his wife Eleanor. The study was originally undertaken during the course of International Cooperation Year (1965) but was unfortunately never completed.

The information obtained, covering approximately 790 organizations established in the U.K., was supplemented with details from a number of other sources as indicated separately (International NGO Groupings, International Associations, 1969, 2, pp. 89-93). One aspect of this initiative took the form of a feasibility study by the Social Work Advisory Service (London), as separately described (Shared NGO Services: an analysis of a feasibility study for an international centre, International Associations 24, 1972, March, pp. 155-157 [PDF version]. The latter study ultimately contributed to exploration of the feasibility of the International Associations Centre in Brussels.

Envisioning a spiritually-oriented education centre: In the 1970s, Ian was variously involved in exploring the possibility of a new form of university. One indication is offered by Sir George Trevelyan (Something of an Autobiography from Exploration into God, 1991):

To return to 1971. I now entered a new phase, with burgeoning possibilities! 'Retirement' meant (as so many have found) a release into a new field of activity. We now had 1,500 names on the mailing list for the spiritual conferences. I could not let them down. So with advice from Major Bruce MacManaway, Ian Gordon-Brown and Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard, we conceived the idea of an "Educational Trust concerned with the spiritual nature of man and the universe", to mount conferences all over the country. What was it to be called? I looked out of the window at Attingham and saw our local mountain, the Wrekin and thought: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." I will call it the Wrekin Trust after this central hill in England.

Industrial co-partnership (1969-1978)

After leaving World Goodwill, and following his earlier work with the National Institute of Industrial Psychology, Ian joined IPA in November 1969 and was appointed director in 1970. IPA was originally founded in 1884 as the Labour Association for Promoting Co-operative Production based on the Co-partnership of the Workers (known as the Labour Association). In 1901 it became the Labour Co-partnership Association, in 1928 the Industrial Co-partnership Association, and in 1972 the Industrial Participation Association, of which Ian became the director in 1978? [It subsequently took its current name as the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) in 1989]. In that capacity he produced:

The association's journal, Industrial Participation, edited by Ian from 1970 to 1978 (IPA http://mrc-catalogue.warwick.ac.uk/records/IPA/6/7/62) includes articles by Ian:

A tribute to Ian is included in Industrial Participation (Spring 1979, page 8; with the photo included above), following his departure in 1978. It notes that Ian had joined IPA at a critical period when its very future was open to question, bringing to it a rare combination of sound judgment and visionary outlook that did much to transform IPA from what it then was into what it became. He was much valued for his understanding approach, and particularly for his ability and indeed insistence on seeing problems as a whole, and seeking causes not just dealing with symptoms. He was acknowledged to be one of those relatively few people with whom in conversation new ideas seem to generate themselves, he sparks off ideas himself, and sparks them off also in others

The main IPA archive includes more issues of Industrial Participation which may include more articles.  Copies of Industrial Participation will be held by various other organisations, including Oxford University and the British Library.

John Bank, Trade Union, Managerial and Employee Perceptions of Organisational Participation and Democracy at Work. Cranfield University, 2005-2006, Appendix Book Review by Ian Gordon-Brown from Industrial Participation, Summer 1977 ****

Transpersonal psychology

As a force, transpersonal psychology emerged through a group of men and women interested in inner states of consciousness and their empirical, scientific study. Its pioneers include Richard Bucke, William James, Carl Jung, Roberto Assagioli, Abraham Maslow and Viktor Frankl.  The term ‘transpersonal psychology’ was first defined in 1968 in the USA by Anthony Sutich. The birth of the transpersonal as a distinct and fourth force in psychology was marked by the first issue of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology (1969) and the establishment of the American Association for Transpersonal Psychology (1971).  Among the original board members and editorial staff of the new Journal of Transpersonal Psychology were some other familiar names: James Fadiman, Stanislav Grof, Arthur Koestler, Michael Murphy, Ira Progoff, Anthony Sutich (editor), Miles Vich, Alan Watts.

Drawn to the development of transpersonal psychology, Ian Gordon-Brown, Joan Evans and Diana Whitmore worked together with the Italian psychologist Roberto Assagioli, upheld as "the father of psycho-synthesis" and one of the original pioneers in transpersonal psychology. Later they each returned to Britain and became the founders of three important Centres representing transpersonal psychology there, variously guided and supported by Assagioli:

Centre for Transpersonal Psychochology: Originally conceived as a group for consciousness training and research, the Centre for Transpersonal Psychology was founded in London in 1973 by Ian Gordon-Brown and Barbara Somers. An earlier legal form of the Centre had functioned under the name Human Development Trust, founded on 18 February 1971 of which Ian had been director. He took on the formal role of of director of the new Centre in 1992 (and "resigned" in 1996). [NB: There is some confusion in that the Centre is variously referenced as the Centre for Transpersonal Psychology, itself distinct from the Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education, established in 1984]

The Centre became an accrediting member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and a member of the College of Humanistic and Integrative Psychology (HIPC) of UKCP.

Ian and Barbara met in 1970 and began to run workshops together (as described in an informative account by Barbara Somers, Some Early History of the Transpersonal in Britain, Transpersonal Centre Rock Bank). Barbara (born 1929 in London) was literary editor for Amalgamated Press; later she originated the Freelance Group of the Society of Authors, ran it for ten years and co-edited their journal, dealing daily with the creative and emotional problems of authors, poets and artists.  Working full time as psychological counsellor, therapist and workshop leader, she was also much involved in the supervision of therapists from all backgrounds who turned to her (Beata Bishop, A Celebration of the Life of Barbara Somers 1929–2013, Transpersonal Perspectives, 2013).

Before founding the Centre for Transpersonal Psychology, both Ian and Barbara had been particularly interested in the many ways of expanding human consciousness; and also in the synthesis of Eastern and Western thought.  Barbara loved Zen, and the work of Jung, Maslow and Assagioli. She was developing work with dreams, meditation and imagery. Ian was keenly aware that from time immemorial there have been mystery schools and centres of spiritual training (ashrams, religious orders, fraternities) offering seekers a progressive initiation into new, expanded states of consciousness. He saw his transpersonal work as being in preparation for the mystery schools of the twenty-first century. Ian emphasised that each phase of the individual journey is paralleled by similar processes in the collective psyche.

Ian and Barbara adopted the term "transpersonal", with its sense of looking "beyond the merely personal". Together they held that there is a spark within each one of us, the Centre,  or true Transpersonal Self; that our awareness of this Centre, itself pure, free, happy and eternal, needs renewal; that birth and death are neither the beginning nor the end; that there is a purpose to our lives.

Training in transpersonal counselling and psychotherapy: For over two decades Ian and Barbara ran a highly successful programme of workshops and seminars in London and elsewhere in Britain.

With their combined backgrounds Ian and Barbara designed their own workshops. These proved so successful that that they began their first training course for psychotherapists. In 1977 Barbara established the Centre's training for counsellors and psychotherapists in the perspectives and techniques of transpersonal psychology. This included the training and supervision of therapists already trained in other approaches. It was an informal certificate course for professionals in transpersonal skills in counselling and psychotherapy, from which, eventually, over 500 people graduated. Ian helped with this; together with Barbara, he was chiefly engaged in developing the workshops and in lecturing widely in transpersonal psychology and related subjects.

The model of the human psyche at the heart of the Ian and Barbara’s workshops and training was that  transpersonal psychology is a perspective based on the reality of a spiritual Centre or Self within every individual, a higher or deeper or inner Self that is the director, controller and monitor of our lives. The task of the transpersonal psychologist is to facilitate the release of this energy in individuals and in groups.

For them, the main perspective of transpersonal psychology is that there exists in every individual a central essence -- the self -- which is the fundamental and co-ordinating energy within the psyche. Their understanding was that the real dividing line between what is transpersonal and what is not, was an acceptance of the reality of the self: In the beginning was the self, in potentia. At the end there is the self, realised and actualised.

The trainings were continued by them until Ian's death in 1996. Ian remained in private practice as psychotherapist and consultant psychologist. Later, in 1995 Barbara also founded Transpersonal Perspectives (London), dedicated to keeping the spirit of their work and in recent years has held many events open to anyone drawn to the transpersonal journey The Centre for Transpersonal Psychology itself became more involved with UKCP and accreditation, and no longer offers training. After Ian’s death until 2000, Barbara had a private practice in Chichester, Sussex.

Writings on transpersonal psychology

Ian articulated his understanding of transpersonal psychology in an early collective compilation (Ian Gordon-Brown, Transpersonal Psychology. In: John Button and William Bloom (Eds.), The Seeker's Guide: a New Age Resource Book, Aquarian Press, 1992). Together Ian Gordon-Brown and Barbara Somers presented a chapter on Transpersonal Psychotherapy, in a compilation by John Rowan and Windy Dryden (Innovative Therapy in Britain, Open University Press, 1988).

Ian’s sudden death in October 1996 caused the training programme to come to an untimely end. Concern was expressed that the materials might be lost. Using notes, recordings, and with the help of Barbara Somers, Hazel Marshall (who trained at the Centre) reproduced in four volumes much of the material from those programmes. They carry recommendations by several well-known figures, including the late David Fontana, a founder of the Transpersonal Section of the British Psychological Society.

Ian therefore features -- in collaboration with Barbara Somers -- through his writings and otherwise, in these volumes published after his death. These were notably reviewed by Hazel Guest in the Network Review (Winter 2011, pp. 53–54), of the Scientific and Medical Network, and subseqently adapted as a book review for the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology (44, 2012, . 2, pp 251-254).

As noted by the reviewer, although the series, which is collectively titled Wisdom of the Transpersonal, is designed primarily for psychotherapists and counsellors to enrich their understanding of the human psyche, they are also designed to be read by anyone who has an interest in pursuing a path of psycho-spiritual self-healing and development. Each new concept starts off at a simple level with definitions, helped along where needed by illustrative diagrams, and an index at the back of each volume that enables the reader to select specific topics.

As noted, with the guidance of Hazel Marshall, some parts are more closely associated with Ian alone than are others. Particular examples of his writing from the The Raincloud of Knowable Things are:

Journey in Depth: A Transpersonal Perspective
by Barbara Somers and Ian Gordon-Brown;

edited by Hazel Marshall

and illustrated by Ian Thorp and Frances Crawford

(Archive Publishing, 2002).

This first volume in the series takes us straight into the idea that psychotherapy needs a spiritual dimension; that it is not just about helping people with problems to adjust to society’s norms, but rather it is a journey of the soul towards wholeness. The volume is a distillation of the method developed by Ian and Barbara, and a mode of teaching that was unique to them, drawing on their own personal study and their life-experiences. It will be extremely useful to therapists who have been working for some years, reconnecting them with their own original point of entry into this study and also affirming and adjusting many of the ways they now work. It is considered fascinating to those just starting on the path of psychotherapy, as it gives them insights that no other book can do. Although easy to read, the book is not easy to forget.

It deals with the experiences of childhood, of parenting, the challenges of having siblings or of being an only child, how the Shadow comes about, the Mother and Father archetypes, one’s sense of personal space, mental and physical illness as symptoms, and dreams as a portal to the unconscious. The endorsement on the 2002 edition by Lady Diana Whitmore (President of the Psychosynthesis and Education Trust) indicates the volume integrates the personal with the transpersonal, allowing readers insight into their childhood and the greater challenges they face on their psycho-spiritual journeys. Notable contributions of Ian's are the chapter on Space and Boundaries, especially the sections on Spirit of Place, Power in Organisations, and Working with People.

The Raincloud Of Knowable Things: A Practical Guide To Transpersonal Psychology: workshops, history, method

by Ian Gordon-Brown (primarily) with Barbara Somers,

and edited by Hazel Marshall

(Archive Publishing, 2008, 448 p.).

This book presents rich source material; it makes no claim to being academic, though referring whenever possible to works available to the authors (the bibliography more or less stops with Ian Gordon-Brown's death in 1996). However, those interested in Transpersonal Psychology as an academic discipline will be able to avail themselves of the wealth of original material here and take it into the world of comparative study. Its origins could be traced back way beyond Jung, Frankl, Maslow and Assagioli to Far Eastern and Aboriginal sources, to Greek and later Western teaching, to other great transpersonal pioneers of the twentieth century and forward into the twenty-first. The volume differs in format from the other volumes in that it does not reproduce seminar content but consists of the Centre’s weekend workshop programmes. These are described in full with all the explanatory talks and experiential exercises.

Many authors have written about the transpersonal, but this book is unique in giving a template for how to run the Centre’s series of transpersonal workshops in practice, including instructions on how to use spot imaging and guided fantasy. However, although it has been designed primarily as a handbook for psychotherapists, it can still be read by a layperson. Each new topic is introduced simply with definitions, and the text is peppered with illustrative diagrams

Volume content with italicised emphasis on particular involvement of Ian
Introductory workshops
Approaching the self (Workshop I): Maps of the psyche -- The traveler on life’s journey -- Sub-personalities -- Symbols -- The four functions -- Experiencing the Transpersonal -- The inner sanctuary
The masculine and feminine within (Workshop II): The cup and the sword -- The feminine and masculine principles -- Marriage as a psychological relationship -- Developing intuition -- Symptom as symbol -- ‘Who am I?’ The grounding exercise
Cycles and stages (Workshop III): The pattern of your life -- The seven-year cycle -- Self-image exploration -- Projection - Control patterns -- Polarities -- Change -- Core archetypal energies -- The sanctuary
Initiation and the myth of the journey (Workshop IV): The story of Buddha -- Stages in the life of Christ -- The door and the cave -- Rites of passage -- The water of emotions -- Initiation and therapy -- The return -- The desert and the mountain -- The initiates
The other self (Workshop V): Singing Stone -- Directions, elements and functions -- The inferior function -- The door and the mirror -- Alchemy and the elements -- Journey to the other self
Intermezzo -- emphasising the practical
Imaging and the transpersonal: Transpersonal psychology -- Active imagination -- Mental imagery techniques in analysis and psychotherapy -- Using guided imagery -- Spot imaging and the full guided daydream - Running transpersonal workshops -- Designing and giving imaging explorations
Advanced workshops
Archetypes: Of what stuff am I made? -- Archetypal images -- Mapping the archetypes -- Archetypes of the self -- Archetypes and psychotherapy -- Spirit of place -- Communities and locations - Life-cycles of groups and organisations
The chakra system: Energy in the human body -- A short exercise in consciousness -- Working with the chakras - The chakras and their symbols -- Chakras and health -- A first aid exploration for panic, fear and anxiety -- Chakras, places and organisations
Intuition, inspiration and the will: Energy-threads -- In search of your Intuition, the consciousness thread -- In search of your Inspiration, the creative thread -- In search of your Will, the life thread
The raincloud of knowablw things: The personal and the planetary -- Four explorations for groups: My personal place of creation -- The group and the ashram -- The temple in the sun -- Orienting the Self -- Some ways to the centre of life -- The universal blessing of Buddhism

The Fires of Alchemy

by Barbara Somers (primarily), with Ian Gordon-Brown,

and edited by Hazel Marshall

(Archive Publishing, 2004).

This volume is in two parts, dealing with the alchemy of the west and of the east, and draws much from Carl Jung in its themes and interpretations. Accompanied by beautiful reproductions of old alchemical drawings, Part 1 guides us gently through the stages of the Work: calcinatio, solutio, coagulatio and sublimatio. Part 2 deals with Taoist alchemy and includes the inspiring ox-herding series of pictures.

Symptom as Symbol: A Transpersonal Language

by Barbara Somers and Ian Gordon-Brown,

and edited by Hazel Marshall

(Archive Publishing, 2010)

This features a new series of paintings created by artist and Transpersonal Psychotherapist Pamela Allsop. This is described in the following terms.

Barbara Somers reminds us that from the beginning of time people have been symbol creating creatures. It’s in our art, our poetry, painting, dance, literature, and in our dreams. She believes this wonderful symbolic language is also in our symptoms of illness. They may be early warning signals of an imbalance between who the person really is -- or who they need to become -- and their chosen lifestyle, or the environment in which they find themselves. Although Ian contributed less, he played a considerable part in the sections on: The Depressive Personality, The Phobic Personality, Adult Sexuality and Sexual Variation

Transpersonal Perspectives: This was established by Barbara with Ian’s help in 1994. Transnational Perspectives consisted of a programme of mostly new workshops. An unpublished article by Ian is described as having been given to students there (Guided Imaging and Fantasy Techniques, 1975). This was also given to students on the two-year course, and is now incorporated into Chapter Six of The Raincloud of Knowable Things (2008).

European Transpersonal Association (EUROTAS)

In 1995 Ian was elected president of EUROTAS (European Transpersonal Association) with its 12-nation membership, having initiated and run, on behalf of EUROTAS, an International Transpersonal Conference in London in 1994.

The description of the history of EUROTAS, founded 1984, notes that transpersonal psychology was developed in the UK by Ian Gordon-Brown (1925 -1996) and Barbara Somers at the Centre for Transpersonal Psychology, London.

In the word “transpersonal’’, the prefix ”trans” means “beyond”. As well as embracing a sense of something beyond the individual person it also includes the personal. This sense of other is found at the heart of both spiritual and artistic visions as a source of healing and inspiration.

Transpersonal Psychology is an umbrella term covering a number of related approaches, both Eastern and Western, which combine modern knowledge with ancient wisdom. 

Writings by Ian in EUROTAS News:

3rd European Transpersonal Conference
organized by Ian Gordon-Brown (London, 1994)

The First Ian Gordon-Brown Commemorative Lecture by Professor David Fontana was organized by EUROTAS in association witjh the Centre for Transpersonal Psychology on the occasion of the conference on Citizenship In An Interrelated World: a transpersonal approach (London, 2004). The lecture was published in Ways through the Wall: approaches to citizenship in an interconnecting world, (2005)”

We never forget the great teaching and involvement of Ian Gordon-Brown in preparing the 4th European Transpersonal Conference in Warsaw in 1997)

European tributes

Karl Haberstig (German Transpersonal Association): Ian had become a very dear fatherly friend to me. The first time I met him and Beata [Bishop] in Strasbourg over coffee and croissants, I greatly enjoyed his sense of humour. In London, Brussels and Budapest our bonding grew deeper. In Sydney we attended lectures and seminars together -- there was fun, laughter and clarity about Ian and I gladly remember his talk on one of his favourite subjects, Initiation and the steps of individuation according to the stages in the life of Jesus Christ.

Soon after lspra, in mid September, Ian came to Todtmoos where he presented at the Kundalini Research Network's Fifth International Symposium his topic, The Crown Chakra: Temple of the Soul. After spending much time together during those three days, saying farewell I experienced Ian relaxed, radiant, full of life and delight: a truly accomplished man. In this timeless moment I strongly felt the essence of the transpersonal -- Love -- containing and uniting us naturally holding the prospect of many more encounters ... It feels like a part of me went with Ian and a part of him will be with me forever connected with a deep sense of love, gratitude and blessing.

Tanna Jakubowicz-Mount (Polish Transpersonal Association): We miss in Ian not only our great presenter, who was preparing an interesting lecture entitled, Future brought into the present, but also our spiritual Guide, wonderful Friend and very generous Protector. We vow to organise the conference acrording to his standards, so he could be proud of us. We would like to offer a sample of Ian's free mind. When we asked him in an interview; during his last visit in Warsaw in June 1996, Ian, could you tell us who you are, who you really are?, he replied: I don't know. I will not know who I really am until I die. His great Spirit will always be with us.

The Board of the Hungarian Transpersonal Association: Among the first steps of the transpersonal movement in Hungary were the Transpersonal Workshops organised by the Source of Health Foundation. The Foundation was established by a few Hungarian citizens with the aim to help cancer patients through consultations and psychotherapy. A major part of the activities on which the therapy is based are those workshops brought in, translated and 'Hungarized' by Beata Bishop, a close friend and colleague of Ian Gordon-Brown.

Since the beginning of 1990, more than 500 people finished the first workshop -- 'TPWs', we call them here =- and around 50 have completed all five, based on the methods and material elaborated by Ian. Ian stood behind Beata and encouraged her, having seen the success of the TPWs, to go on and catalyse the transpersonal movement in Hungary. So the Hungarian Transpersonal Association {MTE) was bom in 1994.

Though the association has only 60 members, many a hundred people, 'outsiders' and professionals - therapists, physicians, social workers, etc. - have participated in the several workshops, meetings, a Summer school and other events organised by MTE. At a conference, a year ago in Budapest, the First Transpersonal Conference in Hungary, with more than a hundred participants and among four invited guests, we met Ian, who held the opening presentation and facilitated a workshop on visualisation. We had a few days together, sharing ideas and planning how to carry on, and were lucky to enjoy his wisdom and good humour.

A few of us met him before at the Eurotas conference in London and another few at the assembly meetings in Belgium and Italy. But irrespectively how long we have known him, with his personality integrating the transpersonal he has been and will stay a model for all of us. His sudden leave was painful and we will keep a loved and respected memory of him.

Lectures, interviews and notable citations

Address by Sir Peter Barclay
before 500 people from Ireland, Scotland, America and many European countries,
on the occasion of Ian's funeral at St James's Church, Piccadilly, London
2 December 1996

I first met him when I was a new boy at Bryanston. It was 57 years ago within a few days of the outbreak of the Second World War. He was a year older than me, which meant a lot at 13, particularly as he was large and broad and tall, and I was small and weedy. I felt about him in our early years as Brutus did about Caesar, "That he did bestride the world like a colossus", but as I grew and we became friends this imbalance more or less evaporated.

I came to see and value the human being behind and within this larger than life full-blooded exterior. And full-blooded it was. He never ceased to gallop around, which is why he was called 'The Horse'. He didn't actually neigh, but you could hear gales of his laughter right down at the end of those long corridors.

He had a lovely singing voice. He played the flute and he was a gifted sportsman.

He enjoyed all those leadership qualities which were greatly valued in public school education at that time and almost inevitably he became Head Boy and an officer in the Army afterwards.

Behind that most attractive and indeed compelling outward personality lay shafts of a deeper nature which were to become so important in his later life. They were characterised by his humanity and, in spite of his self-doubt, by his strength. He was totally unorthodox and had some very unusual ideas and, at that stage in his life, they changed by the minute because he was totally open to new horizons and new ideals. He took a lot of keeping up with. We spent hours together as the bombs metaphorically exploded around us, devising a constitution for a new world order in which the youth of the day would be organised to ensure that, after the war, peace on earth would be secured once and for all.

We both learnt from a great and inspirational headmaster that as human beings we were endowed with the attributes of the amphibian, to live on two levels, that of the world and that of the transpersonal (TFC didn't use that word but he would have approved of it). If we were to achieve our potential as human beings, he said that we should cultivate the ability to move easily between the two.

I was reminded of that years later; I was digging with Ian in his garden in Tunbridge Wells when, much to my surprise (because I was not into that kind of thing at the time), he said, Excuse me, it's noon and I'm going to meditate. He returned half an hour later and went on digging. It was clear to me then that he had indeed become an amphibian. So here, seen in the context of 50 years ago, is just a glimpse of the much loved person whose life we have come together to celebrate today. Ian in all his kindness and gentleness and in all his robust and earthy humour. I thankfully salute a great heart.

Ian Gordon-Brown 1925-1996

Eulogy by Barbara Somers, Transpersonal Perpectives

Ian’s generous life ended on 6th October. He was at the zenith of his achievement, a joyful man. Born, appropriately, on St. Valentine’s Day, he dearly loved his life and work, friends and family, and spoke often in recent years of how fulfilled he felt. In brief outline: Ian was an Industrial Psychologist, educated at Bryanston and Cambridge. He married and had three children. For 12 years he was Secretary of the Lucis Trust (Alice Bailey’s Work). In 1973, he and Barbara Somers founded the Centre for Transpersonal Psychology. In 1977, he helped Barbara establish the Centre’s training, and continued to carry the broad workshop programme. In 1994 he established the Centre for Transpersonal Perspectives and its programme of new workshops. In 1995 Ian was elected President of EUROTAS (European Transpersonal Association) with 12-nation membership. This greatly pleased his eclectic viewpoint. That was his outer life…

His release from life was exemplary. Having led a workshop on his major theme of Initiation, he sang (in a fine bass-baritone voice) joyously to Mozart and then went to sleep. In the small hours of 6th October, his heart stopped beating and he flew free. We love him and rejoice that he has gone so gently to his next adventure. Such a big man leaves a big space, which is now being filled by hundreds of tributes, all speaking of his warmth, humour, wisdom, clarity and incisiveness. He did not suffer fools gladly, and said so. He loved deeply, and said so. Life and death held no fears for him. He was totally himself. We salute and celebrate him, and hope to learn from his example.

Remembering Ian Gordon-Brown, 1925--1996
With additional tributes from: John Rowan, Babs Kirby, Rob Waygood
Self and Society: an international journal for humanistic psychology
(25, 1997, 2, pp. 40-43)

Dramatis Personae

With any life to be significantly framed as a drama, according to William Shakespeare:

It is then appropriate to attempt identify the dramatis personae in Ian's life. Any such list is necessarily controversial and subject to criticism of every kind regarding its inherent bias and questionable selectivity -- especially given the 500 people who reportedly attended his funeral. There is indeed a case for its omission altogether.

In a final edit, the choice was indeed made to omit such a list -- a choice which has its own significance with respect to any attempt to offer insight into the life of a person. Unfortunately it also represents a significant failure in indicating those who had kindly contributed in some way to the elaboration of the above profile -- unless they are mentioned therein.

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