It was statements like that one that convinced me that Gurdjieff had a similar understanding of spiritual symbolism as that of scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg.
Of course humans don’t grow actual tails. However, tails can symbolically represent the outermost manifestation of the quality of one’s affections and inclinations (first principles of action). The reason for this is that nerves from the brain travel down the spinal cord and reach their outermost influence. Therefore a tail is a wonderful symbolic expression for one’s outermost mode of being.
Humans instinctively make use of this symbolic language when they remark that someone looks “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” or, when in a state of being perplexed, will state that they can’t make “heads or tails” out of something or other.
Even the Holy Bible makes use of this potent symbolism to depict the holy or unholy character traits of some human disposition and its spiritual qualities. For instance, in Revelation 9:10, locusts are described as having tails like scorpions. Such an insect does not exist in nature. Yet such a creature can symbolize a deeper ontological reality—an infested state of the human mind in which even the smallest inclinations have deadly and stinging effects upon the souls of others.
On a larger scale, the tail of the great dragon (Revelation 12:4) represents a corporeal/sensual worldview or belief system held by a large population of people that seeks to destroy God’s higher message (casting the stars of heaven to earth) and favoring its own enlarged and magnified conviction of self-importance.
No matter how cleverly we hide our true intentions from the world, God’s angels of heaven can see what kind of tails are growing out of our souls!
What kind of “tail” are you growing?