Sir George Trevelyan: memories and observations

Shorter anecdotes and accounts

by a variety of contributors

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Sir George on Skirrid
Kevin Redpath

Sir George on SkirridIn 1982, in the early days of the Gatekeeper Trust, an exploratory pilgrimage was planned to Skirrid near Abergavenny in South Wales. To the astonishment of the entire group Sir George led the way up with a vigour and energy that put most of us to shame. Once we reached the summit, we realised that there were two ways back. We could either re-trace our steps back along the gentle spine of Skirrid, or scramble down the (very) steep west facing escarpment. Great concern was expressed about how we could help George get back down again. He was having none of it. "Come on!" he shouted, "There is only one way to do this!" And he promptly sat down and launched himself straight off the steep slope, bobbing up and down and laughing like a young child as he raced to the bottom of the hill. We could but follow his example...

Sir George, the explorer
Charlotte Yonge

At Le PlanOne of my fondest memories of George was when he led a workshop with Peter Dawkins at Le Plan, in the South of France. We spent a good deal of time listening to him and to Peter talk about archetypes in nature, life and the universe. We teased out all the subtleties of human nature, and then ate and drank in good French style, swam in the Mediterranean, visited Mary Magdalene's cave and Thoronet Abbey, and soaked up the countryside.

The early summer weather was fresh, the heat only building on the last two or three days, when on the morning of departure the land really started humming. Both George and I were suddenly fired with the urge to explore the dry prickly paths round the main house. It was a couple of hours before we had to depart for the airport, so we just dived into the dusty paths and headed for a dark, bushy, wood. In his most endearingly childlike way, George's eyes simply lit up with glee and we took off without knowing where it would take us. We were together with all else forgotten, getting stabbed by thorns, feeling lost and totally thrilled as, imbued with a sense of mischief and liberation, we crunched single file down the dusty track. For a blissful hour or so we abandoned all cares.

George had that art of making his companions feel like his rare and intimate friends, his sense of immediacy, boundless enjoyment and fun were entirely infectious, and his instinct for something new and undiscovered bubbled like a pure, free rivulet of joy. That's how he became so widely known and loved, and how he came to encourage so many pioneers of the 'new age' arts and sciences such as Findhorn and the Gatekeeper Trust. His beady eyes will follow me still, as his voice still echoes and his warm hugs linger among the most precious in my memories.

Meeting up again
Marianne Rieke

During one of his last travels to Germany I met Sir George again after some years when we had not seen each other. He looked at me joyfully and for a moment I could see his brain searching for something - without success! After a second or two, he exclaimed enthusiastically: "I forgot your name, but I know for sure that you are somebody who needs to be kissed" - which he then did with obvious pleasure.

Two anecdotes
Geseke Clark

Sir George and Geseke at Bad Pyrmont, GermanyDuring the years 1987 - 1993 I arranged several lectures for George in Germany. One such lecture was in Munich in the Deutsche Museum with about 400 people in the audience. I was on the platform next to George in order to translate his lecture paragraph by paragraph. At that time I hadn't done much translating for him as yet - and having lived in England for some 30 years I was a bit out of practice with my German. At one point George got very enthusiastic, waved his arm and explained something about Archangel Michael and the angelic host. The translation for angelic in German is very much like 'English' and the word for host can also mean 'army' - so what came out of my mouth in German for 'the angelic host' was 'Das engelische Heer' which sounded to Germans like Archangel Michael and the English Army!

In February 1991 George came to open my house as a Centre for Spiritual Education. In my vision I saw the house as a kind of Educational Bridge: a bridge between people, between the old and the new and also between people from England and Germany. Twice or three times in the summer I had what we called 'Spiritual Exploration Weeks' which were designed for German groups. George liked to come to these weeks and brought to the groups his inspiration and his special sense of fun.

During one of those weeks I was preparing dinner for my German guests. George was there, too. It was July, but for dessert, I thought, it would be fun to let them taste an English Christmas pudding. I had closed the curtains and everybody was watching me light the brandy on the pudding. Yes, it tasted very good and people were enjoying it. Meanwhile I wrote a little note for the slightly deaf George who sat next to me, saying "Between you and me, this pudding is 2½ years old". The meal continued with people talking about the recipe of a Christmas pudding and such things, when all at once the young German girl opposite me asked: "Geseke, what does it mean 'between you and me'?". I looked across the table and there, by her plate, was this little note that I had written for George and which he had secretly pushed on. So now, everybody knew, and you can imagine the teasing I got and the laughter that accompanied the rest of the meal!

George Trevelyan's 80th Birthday
Rhoda Cowen

Blowing out eighty candles?! Sir George with Pir Vilayat Khan.Throughout his life George inspired many people and through his work at Attingham he became a focus for New Age thinkers. His friends arranged a remarkable tribute to him for his eightieth birthday. Everyone who knew him and had been inspired by him was encouraged to go to Imperial College and over 2000 people came to the celebration. Most people would be giving up by the time they reach eighty but George was on sparkling form and began the convention by giving a very funny résumé of his life. He was followed by several eminent New Age speakers, all of whom added their own personal tribute to George. The day was packed with interesting talks and the response was staggering. Outside it was a cold and wet November day but inside the atmosphere was electric.

Still watching humanity
Baroness Edmée di Pauli

Sir George Trevelyan was my dearest friend in England for many years, but very especially in the last ten years of his still busy life. When coming to London to give one of his fascinating and truly spiritual lectures, he used to stay with me, after not being able to make the stairs in his sister's house. He also regarded Centre Link as a spiritual home. Although he was deeply attached to his very artistic wife, an interesting painter, and they looked after each other, it is well known that she took no interest in his educational spiritual life. Deep personal discussions about real values, goals of evolvement, took place here at Centre link over regular breakfasts and suppers.

He often visits here now, making comments on developments. I know that this is a very controversial thing to say, but our perceptions are changing and we shall have to get used to it. I am glad to say that he has kept his sense of humour in his remarks, as well as his integrity of values to be defended and emphasised in our world here, which is in danger of falling apart, if it were not for the efforts of the few. In comparison with the number of the educated population, we think we are so many, but we are still a drop in the ocean in comparison with the population of the planet. We are being watched anxiously from the civilised universe and he is amongst the watchers.

In Memory of a Gallant Knight
Robert Armstrong

Bob and Loni ArmstrongRide on, oh gallant white knight of old,
Upon fine steed, your knowledge is told,
You are a divine droplet that touched the earth,
And through your word, gave holistic birth,

You are a man of such joy and radiant light,
Who always lived an inner peace so bright,
You touched all that chanced to come your way,
And we remember you with every passing day,

Your books a living inspiration forever more,
A treasure house of words, that open door,
Through which in every moment is light supreme,
A pulsing energy and ever living radiant beam,

And there into many a packed hall you came to speak,
And the audience stilled, for your wisdom to seek,
You are a teacher, visionary and what is best a friend,
For you, in all this life, are a joy to comprehend,

And now the days of your mortal form have passed away,
But never a moment passes do we not hear you say,
'There is a greater land yet for us to explore,
A wondrous place, a place that no one can ignore',

A place where pain and suffering are left behind,
Where rainbows shine, where harmony you will find,
And there you sit, as you have done so many a time,
Talking with friends and angels, there we find,

Our knight, his living energy not for a moment subdued,
His mind alert, his voice the source of eternal food,
His eyes a twinkle. 'There I told you so,' he said,
'Now the truth is known, fear not where you are led.'

Robert Armstrong
Eastbourne October 1996

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