The Souls’ Awakening: A Mystery Drama
A Series of Soul and Spiritual Events in Dramatic Scenes
Rudolf Steiner said of his mystery dramas―written between 1910 and 1913―that they contain the whole essence of Anthroposophy and that if, through some unlikely chance, only these dramas were to survive, the essential content of Anthroposophy would nevertheless be preserved. Steiner’s dramas powerfully portray the complex processes of reincarnation and karma. In them, we are led to inhabit the living landscape of the human soul and spirit, where suprasensory beings weave destinies.
Here we find a connection with the spiritual reality of human life itself by following the dramatic interplay of the joy and sorrow, struggle and striving of a group of individuals attempting to apply spiritual knowledge to their practical lives and relationships. To read, watch, or act in these plays is an initiation experience.
In The Souls’ Awakening―Steiner’s fourth mystery drama―an enlightened entrepreneur appoints a scientist, a historian, and an artist to use their spiritual perceptions to transform his business into one that serves spiritual as well as practical needs. A long-standing colleague objects, and a series of conflicts and crises develops. As the plot unfolds, we follow the characters on a journey that moves from business meetings through various states of consciousness, into worlds known before birth and previous lives in Egypt.
This classic translation by Ruth and Hans Pusch was revised for this volume by Ruth Pusch. Included is Hans Pusch’s “Thoughts on the Seal,” in which he discusses the Rosicrucian meaning of the seal represented on the cover.
This book is a translation of “Der Seelen Erwachen,” published as part four of Vier Mysteriendramen The Four Mystery Dramas), which includes “The Portal of Initiation”; “The Soul’s Probation”; “The Guardian of the Threshold”; and “The Souls’ Awakening.”
About the Author
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Hans Pusch, a skilled actor and director and a leading member of the Goetheanum stage group, later becoming an early beacon of Anthroposophy in North America. Hans began acting at the age of sixteen in Lucerne, Switzerland, where he performed in amateur productions of German classics with other young people during World War I. His performances caught the attention of the great film director Murnau, who offered to take Hans to Hollywood and train him for an acting career. Later, in Santa Barbara, Hans opened a speech studio, where he conducted courses in speech, eurythmy, gymnastics, play-reading groups, and introductory courses on Rudolf Steiner and his writings. Hans developed a repertory theater that performed Shakespeare, Thornton Wilder, Anouilh, Fry, and Eugene O’Neill. For the rest of his life, Hans Pusch worked tirelessly in the New York City area to translate, perform, and promote Rudolf Steiner’s mystery dramas, as well as Goethe’s Faust, as expressions of the essence of Anthroposophy.
Ruth Pusch, born Ruth Barnett, was raised in New Haven, Connecticut. After a period of time spent in Dornach, Switzerland, as a student of spiritual science, she married the actor Hans Pusch in 1932 while in the U.S. Together, they returned to Dornach, where Ruth studied eurythmy with some of the pioneers of that new art form. She later taught eurythmy in New York City and was an early teacher at the Waldorf School New York City. She and her husband were also active in bringing the anthroposophic impulse to the dramatic arts in North America. Along with Hans, Ruth Pusch also helped translate Rudolf Steiner’s four mystery plays.