The Soho CabbaLists
From 'the Group' in the 1950s cafes of Soho, to a tree of teachings and creative practices flourishing in the new millennium
The Soho Tree is a website dedicated to unfolding the story of how a group which met in Soho in the 1950s eventually spread out into a number of Cabbalistic-based schools, and has generated work which is very much in the public eye today.
Glyn Davies, Alan Bain and Tony Potter ran a Cabbala study group together, gathering members in Soho cafes, and meeting privately to learn about the Tree of Life. Later, they began to form their own separate lines of work. Alan’s was chiefly centred on Christian Cabbala, Glyn’s on the reformulation of traditional teachings, and Tony’s on a continuation of the original group, with new psychological and scientific input. (See the ‘Lines of Work’ page.)
Many meetings were run under the name of ‘The Society of the Common Life’, a name derived from the historical movement known as ‘The Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life’. It is often referred to simply as ‘SCL’.
The website reveals how, from a small acorn, a Tree of Life has grown branches leading to the Toledano School, the Saros Foundation, and different versions of both Christian and Jewish Cabbala currently taught and practised in countries around the world.
Please take a look at our BLOG page! Here, we frequently add features about different aspects of this work, including stories from the Soho cafe scene, with its colourful characters such as Ironfoot Jack and Ernest Page. There are also investigations of topics like meditation and the Stop Exercise, and of our cross-connections to 'the Dutch astrologers', the Brotherhood of the Common Life, and the elusive 'Mr Smith', the Cabalist of East Yorkshire. You can read too about carefree days of visiting Glastonbury, or the rigours of trying to decorate and furnish the new Saros centre at Buxton.
Elsewhere, under Lines of Work and Publications, we feature creative work, from authors and artists connected with these lines. Their output includes books, articles, films and paintings.
No tree grows in a completely logical or predictable way. Over the course of seventy years, collaborations with different teachers and sources have helped its evolution. Key influences have been the School of Economic Science, the Gurdjieff work, the Study Society, and Samatha Meditation. Seeking knowledge has always been the aim, but what began as Tree of Life Cabbala has been transformed into new ways of looking at the world.