“Our highest endeavor must be to develop
free human beings who are able, of themselves,
to impart purpose and direction to their lives.”
— attributed to Rudolf Steiner
This website deals with
◊ Waldorf schools, also known as Steiner schools;
◊ Rudolf Steiner, the occultist who established the first of these schools; and
◊ Anthroposophy, the religion promoted by the schools.
There are nearly 1,000 Waldorf schools in the world today. Advocates of Waldorf education boast that theirs is the fastest growing independent-school movement in the world. Many thousands of children attend Waldorf schools — where they are often subjected to covert forms of religious indoctrination.
The underlying purpose of Waldorf schools is to spread the religion created by Rudolf Steiner: Anthroposophy.* Despite the religious nature of Waldorf education, efforts are increasing — in the United States and elsewhere — to secure taxpayer support for Waldorf schools.
Humanity faces bigger problems than the proliferation of Waldorf schools and the spread of Rudolf Steiner's doctrines. Nonetheless, the Waldorf movement should trouble anyone who prizes rationality and who abhors occultism.
* The word is pronounced "an-throw-POS-oh-fee." It means knowledge or wisdom of the human being. It derives from the name of the religious movement Rudolf Steiner came out of: Theosophy (meaning knowledge or wisdom of God).
My name is Roger Rawlings. I attended a Waldorf school from second grade through high school. My mother was secretary to the headmaster at that school. Because I was in the school for so long, and because I occasionally questioned the headmaster, I gained some insights into the Waldorf movement's secret, occult agenda. More to the point, as an adult I have studied approximately one zillion books, booklets, and essays about Waldorf education and Rudolf Steiner's doctrines. (It feels like a zillion, anyway.) Some of these materials were written by Waldorf educators, but the great majority were either written by Steiner himself or they contain transcripts of lectures, meetings, and private conversations conducted by Steiner.
I have created Waldorf Watch to share the results of my research with anyone interested in understanding the educational program that Rudolf Steiner laid out and that Waldorf schools embody today. There is nothing for sale at this website; there are no advertisements; I do not solicit anyone's financial support. I am not looking for money or applause. My purpose is simple: It is to tell you the truth about Waldorf schools.
Many Waldorf schools proudly display the quotation you see at the top of this page. It certainly sounds good. And perhaps it accurately reflects Rudolf Steiner's meaning. Undoubtedly many Waldorf teachers and administrators take such statements seriously.
But what does the statement really mean, in the context of Waldorf education? Explaining fully will take some time — in a sense, the rest of this website is devoted to providing a highly detailed explanation.
But for now, for starters, here is a glimpse:
The worldview underlying Waldorf schools is an occult religion that involves doctrines of evolution and reincarnation. Human beings move upward as they gain “knowledge of higher worlds.” To gain this knowledge firsthand, people must develop clairvoyance. Preparation for clairvoyance involves such things as heightened imagination and dream consciousness.
Waldorf schools aim to assist children on the path toward knowledge of higher worlds. To this end, Waldorf teachers serve as missionaries or priests. However, they generally do so secretively, believing that they possess "mystery wisdom" that other people cannot appreciate. According to Steiner, outsiders who should be told as little as possible include the parents of Waldorf students.
Returning to the quotation, above: There is only one correct “purpose and direction” in life: It is the spiritual evolutionary path laid out by Steiner. Children are encouraged to move upward on this path as “free human beings.” According to Steiner, freedom is the birthright of all real human beings (things are different for people who are not really human). According to Steiner, true freedom means willingly submitting to the intentions of the many good gods who stand over mankind. Of course, we also need to resist the evil gods. In practice, becoming truly "free" means giving up your liberty and accepting Steiner’s religious teachings.
That’s it, in brief. I know it sounds bizarre, but that’s what Waldorf schools are all about: promoting the religion of Anthroposophy.
As for the bit about people who aren't really human, you should know that for every Steiner quotation that sounds attractive, there are others that are the reverse. Here's one: Telling Waldorf teachers to conceal his doctrines from outsiders, Steiner said, "Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings." A world of sorrow can be found in such statements.
Don’t take my word for any of this. Focus on the quotations I provide throughout this website — the words spoken by Rudolf Steiner and his followers. Read as much of this material as you wish; buy and read some of Steiner's books; visit other websites; and then draw your own conclusions.
By the way, there is another problem with the quotation at the top of this page. Many Waldorf educators attribute the quotation to Rudolf Steiner, and some Waldorf schools display it prominently in their promotional materials. But in fact the statement was made by someone else: The words were written by Steiner's second wife, Marie Steiner. You will find the statement on p. 27 of THE NEW ART OF EDUCATION (Philosophical-Anthroposophical Publishing, 1928) — introduction by Marie Steiner. I mention this only because it reflects a problem confronting anyone who tries to investigate Waldorf education. Much of the "information" provided by Waldorf schools is incomplete, misleading, or false. Sometimes the misstatements made by Waldorf representatives avert us only slightly from the truth, but in other cases they conceal essential aspects of Waldorf belief and practice. I explore this matter extensively here at Waldorf Watch.
I wrote most of the essays presented at this site, but you will also find plenty of commentary written by others. Waldorf-critical authors represented on the site include Geoffrey Ahern, Dan Dugan, Pete Karaiskos, Grégoire Perra, Ian Robinson, Margaret Sachs, Debra Snell, Peter Staudenmaier, and Diana Winters.
I have also excerpted a large number of articles about Anthroposophy and Waldorf schooling. Some of these pieces are impartial, some are affirmative, and more than a few are — to one degree or another — critical. Whenever possible, I have included links to the complete texts.
Anthroposophists and advocates of Anthroposophy quoted on the site include Clopper Almon, Christopher Bamford, Hermann von Baravalle, Henry Barnes, Stewart C. Easton, John Fentress Gardner, A. C. Harwood, Margaret Jonas, Ronald E. Koetzsch, Gary Lachman, Robert A. McDermott, Richard Ramsbotham, Eugene Schwartz, Richard Seddon, Andrew J. Welburn, Roy Wilkinson, Lawrence Williams, Franz E. Winkler — and, of course, Rudolf Steiner himself.
Pages here at Waldorf Watch are various and, I hope, stimulating. If you don't find value in any portion of a page, scroll down and you'll soon come to something else, often written by yours truly but fairly often written by someone else.
I feel that I should apologize for writing so much about Steiner and his works. But please remember that I am trying to cover the output of a man who published many books and delivered thousands of lectures on a vast array of subjects. My own work — reading Steiner, investigating Waldorf education, and creating Waldorf Watch — consumed the better part of a decade (2005-2014).
Because of the scale of the task, I have probably made some minor errors here or there, and I have undoubtedly committed typos. But I am confident that almost everything you will find on this site is demonstrably true and/or accurate. (I can't claim that many of Steiner's statements are true, but I have taken pains to quote him accurately. As for my own errors and typos, I will fix them all when I find them.)
Waldorf Watch also includes numerous links to other sites. Because, in my view, critics of Waldorf education offer far more truth than defenders do, I have included many more links to critical writings; still, you will find links to such pro-Waldorf sites as "Defending Steiner" and "Why Waldorf Works". Some of these links are assembled on the page "Links", while many others are scattered throughout the essays here.
A word of warning: The biggest problem in comprehending Waldorf schools is that the truth about them is almost incredible. But brace up. I will tell you the truth, I will offer proof after proof, and I will quote many other individuals who will confirm the truth. It is almost incredible, but it is the truth.
One of the more comprehensive essays on this site is "Unenlightened" —
but it is far too long for many people's taste.
So I have included two briefer versions.
"The Waldorf Scandal" is extremely brief, while
"I Went to Waldorf" is a reasonably quick read.
All three of these essays report the strange doings at the Waldorf school
I attended. Choose whichever version suits you.
Two additional wide-spectrum essays,
written by someone who attended a different Waldorf school
(indeed, one on a different continent),
are "He Went to Waldorf" and
"My Life Among the Anthroposophists".
Because I did not write these essays,
I can unhesitatingly recommend them to you.
The other essays on this site branch out in multiple directions,
examining all manner of issues related to Waldorf schools.
For a guide to them, see the Table of Contents.
The site also includes an alphabetized index,
a dictionary, and a brief encyclopedia.
For a quick overview of Anthroposophy and Waldorf schooling,
you might take a look at "Manifestations".
To delve into the central issue dealt with at this site,
the nature of Waldorf education, see "Here's the Answer".
To consider the religious underpinnings of the Waldorf movement,
see "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"
For a portrait of the man who created Waldorf education
and who is still the guiding light of the Waldorf movement, see "What a Guy".
Many of the pages on this site are complex, presenting multiple blocks of text, photographs, drawings, and paintings. Some Web browsers handle this complexity better than others. Firefox seems to have special difficulty accurately reading Google's formatting. If a page here seems to have odd fonts, mismatched type sizes, or other printing bloopers, you might try reloading the page. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Steiner taught his followers that they are on a holy, messianic mission to save humanity and, indeed, to save the entire created universe. Thus, many Anthroposophists today feel that they are justified in doing almost anything to promote their mission. On occasion, this leads them to shade the truth, hide the truth, and deny the truth. Occasionally they also twist the truth, making deceitful statements about anyone they see as standing in their path.
Quite understandably, my criticisms of Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy, and Waldorf education are upsetting to Steiner's followers. Various attacks have been aimed at me as a result. They are unimportant. The occasional true statements made about me in such attacks are unimportant; the many false statements made about me are equally unimportant. I am unimportant. (Some time ago, I decided not to respond to even the harshest attacks. Ad hominems are inherently pointless. I suggest that we turn our attention instead to what actually matters.)
What matters is the truth about Waldorf education and the esoteric fantasies on which it is founded. I have striven to present the absolute truth on every page of this website. Check this claim. I have included extensive documentation throughout the site, making it easy for you to see what sources of information have been used. So check up on the work you find here, and then determine the truth for yourself.
(P.P.S. I am told that at least one defender of Anthroposophy occasionally impersonates me on the Internet, attaching my name to statements that I have never made. I don't know whether this report is true — there probably isn't much I can do about it, so I haven't worried about it. But perhaps I should say this, anyway: If you want to know my humble opinion on any subject, Waldorf Watch is the place to look, nowhere else.)
— Roger Rawlings
The following links will take you to the 16 sections of Waldorf Watch.
Click on a link to see the titles of all the pages in that section.
You can also navigate around the site by using the links located in the sidebar
that appears at the upper-left corner of each page at the site:
Those links take you to key pages in the site's various sections.