Eva Pierrakos was the founder of the Pathwork®, and the instrument through whom a large body of spiritual wisdom, known as the Pathwork lectures, was communicated. She was born in Vienna in 1915, the daughter of the well-known novelist Jacob Wassermann. She grew up among Vienna’s intellectual elite. Thomas Mann, the Nobel-prize-winning author, was a frequent dinner guest at her family’s home.
In 1939, shortly before the Nazis entered Vienna, Eva managed to leave Austria. For a while she lived in Switzerland, where she attended sessions at the Jungian Institute and discovered that she had a gift for automatic writing. She later emigrated to the U.S., settling in New York City. She continued to pursue the development of her spiritual faculties with great devotion and perseverance, learning to listen to and follow her own inner guidance. By making a commitment to use her gift only for helping people, she eventually succeeded in becoming a channel for a highly developed spiritual consciousness that offered, through her, remarkably penetrating insights into the human condition and the spiritual path, and specific guidance on how to achieve greater spiritual awareness.
From 1957 to 1979, Eva produced a series of 258 lectures and offered hundreds of question and answer sessions and private consultations. Most of these sessions were spoken, not written. The lectures came to be known as the Pathwork Guide Lectures. Eva did not claim to be the author of this material, saying instead that she was an instrument for a spiritual entity or energy that came to be called “the Guide.” The Guide stressed, however, that emphasis should be put on the material itself, not on its source.
Eva was able to access deep levels of her own psyche and to channel material that, if followed, has the capacity to radically change and improve one’s life. Not only can working with this material give one profound insight into oneself, others, and the nature of life itself, but it can also help in finding true peace and happiness.
The Pathwork Guide warned that the path is not an easy one. It requires intense self-awareness, profound self-honesty, consistent daily practice and a willingness to expose the darkest regions of the human soul to the light of day. The Guide said that the task of our normal waking consciousness is to build a bridge between the highest and lowest parts of ourselves. We are required to dig deep into our souls to discover what is hidden, and then to call upon our higher nature to help us heal and transform these childish, self-centered, wayward aspects of ourselves.
The Pathwork’s focus on confronting and transforming the darkness within distinguishes it from many of today’s spiritual teachings. Unlike a number of spiritual paths and philosophies, which tend to focus only on the divine nature of the human soul, the Pathwork Guide focused on both the light and the darkness, insisting that the darkness within us cannot be glossed over, ignored, or suppressed. It has to be confronted directly, and then, with the help of the higher forces within us, it can be reeducated and transformed.
In 1967 Eva met Dr. John Pierrakos, a psychiatrist and co-creator (with Alexander Lowen) of a form of body-centered psychotherapy known as bio-energetics. John and Eva were married in 1971. Not only did their marriage bring personal happiness, but it also initiated a series of important changes in their lives and work. By incorporating Pathwork teachings into his energetic work, John transformed his practice of bio-energetics into a more spiritually-based therapy that he named Core Energetics. In turn, the introduction of John’s energy work into the Pathwork, emphasizing the need to deal with the body and emotions as well as the mind and will, contributed to the effectiveness of the Pathwork process.