"Practical" Guidance from the Top

When deciding whether to send your children

to a Waldorf school, you may want to consider

the "practical advice" that Waldorf teachers try to follow.

All of the following quotations come from


containing guidance given by Rudolf Steiner.

[Anthroposophic Press, 2000.]

Think about what it may mean for children to be “educated” by people who accept the concepts in these quotations. What, for example, do Waldorf teachers mean by such concepts as common sense? What is their view of the world? What is their conception of reality? Do their views coincide with your own?

Here’s one indication: Waldorf teachers* think Atlantis really existed and we lived there during our past lives. (Reincarnation is a central Waldorf belief.) They think we are now living in the fifth historical period since the destruction of Atlantis. Moreover, this is — to them — a crucially important matter, reflecting the gods' divine plan for human evolution.

Can you accept this?

[For help with the Waldorf vocabulary found in these statements, see the Waldorf Watch Dictionary and Encyclopedia.]

* I am generalizing, of course. Not all Waldorf teachers accept everything that Steiner said. But many do. And Steiner said that they all should. You may want to carefully question the teachers at any Waldorf school you consider for your children. What do the teachers there believe about Steiner and his preachments? (Be prepared for disingenuous answers. [See "Secrets" and "Clues".]) — R.R.

OK: Practical advice. (Some of it won't seem very practical; some of it won't even to be advice, exactly. But this is how Rudolf Steiner talked to Waldorf teachers, and they accepted it as good, sensible conversation.)

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"[W]e are still working out what is necessary for the fifth post-Atlantean age, especially in terms of education." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, Foundations of Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2000). p. 24.

Translation: Waldorf teachers are figuring out how to educate children in our current age, the fifth since Atlantis sank. This is an important goal for them. (Much of Steiner's "advice" boils down to doing things the Anthroposophical way; that is, bearing Steiner's occult doctrines in mind.) Does this seem like a good, practical goal to you?*

* As I hope is obvious, my purpose here is not to focus on specific, pragmatic tips Steiner may have given to Waldorf teachers. Rather, I am focusing on bizarre, occult propositions that pop up, startlingly, in what is ostensibly a practical guide for Waldorf teachers. The point is: Waldorf teachers presumably accept these propositions, or at least they don't vociferously rebel against them. What do you make of this? Do you want such people to "educate" your child?

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Think about what it may mean for children to be “educated” by people who accept the concepts in these quotations. What, for example, do Waldorf teachers mean by such concepts as True-blue, Steiner-believing Waldorf teachers find significance in the zodiac and astrology, and they think human beings evolved on or during Saturn, Sun, and Moon phases, and we will proceed to a Vulcan stage:

"You know that the spot of the sunrise in spring appears to advance slightly every year. After 25,920 years, the sun has moved around the whole ecliptic ... How is our life ingrained in the universe? Our average life span is seventy-two years. Multiply this by 360, and you arrive again at 25,920. You can imagine that in a Platonic year — the cosmic revolution of the sun — our human life span is but a day. Thus we can regard what is depicted as a year in the universe as one breath in our human life span and see our human life span as a day in the great cosmic year.* Accordingly, we can revere even the smallest process as an image of the greater cosmic process. If we look at the whole process more closely, we find in the Platonic year — that is, in what happens during a Platonic year — an image of the process of evolution from the old Saturn through the Sun, Moon, and Earth stages and right up to the Vulcan stage." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, pp. 25-26.

For information about the stages of human evolution, according to the Waldorf belief system, see "Old Saturn", "Old Sun", "Old Moon, Etc.", "Present Earth", and "Future Stages". For more on the wondrous number 25,920, see "Mystic Math".

* Among other things, this passage reflects the bizarre numerology woven throughout the Waldorf belief system, Anthroposophy. To consider the actual significance (or lack thereof) of the magic number 25,920, see "Mystic Math". To delve into the underlying numerology, see "Magic Numbers".

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According to Steiner, we are intimately connected to our ancient, present, and future planetary stages of evolution, and we are connected to a community of beings beyond the Earth. The cosmos teems with intelligent beings, Steiner said, including the populations of the Moon, Mars, etc.*

"All that occurs in our life between waking and sleeping expresses the ancient Moon period of evolution, the present Earth evolution, and the future Jupiter evolution. This expresses all that makes us members of what exists beyond our earth." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, p. 26.

Perhaps you are scratching your head by now. What are these occult teachings doing in a book of "practical advice" for teachers? These are articles of Anthroposophical belief, and Steiner said Waldorf teachers need to be true Anthroposophists. Keeping Anthroposophical beliefs firmly in mind is thus necessary for them if they hope to teach well. [See, e.g., "Here's the Answer".]

* E.g.,

"[W]e call the inhabitants of the Moon the Fathers or Pitris of Earth-Men." — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 23, GA 93a.

"Mars men are wedded to the soil, there are very few cosmopolitans among them. And there is, or rather was, on Mars constant war and strife." — Rudolf Steiner, MAN IN THE LIGHT OF OCCULTISM, THEOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 10, GA 137.

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True-blue Waldorf teachers believe humans have four bodies: a physical body and three invisible, incorporeal bodies:

"We must be aware that, in a growing child, the I [or ego body] and the astral body develop gradually and that, owing to heredity, the etheric and the physical bodies are there to begin with.

"It would be good to consider this: the physical and etheric bodies, in particular, are always cultivated from the head down ... The I-being and astral body, on the other hand, are formed from below upward when the child’s whole being is encompassed by education. A strong feeling of the I arises, for example, when we offer children elementary eurythmy between their third and fourth years." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, pp. 13-14.

These are among the core beliefs Waldorf teachers must bear in mind, according to Steiner. [For more about the invisible bodies, see "Incarnation".] A child's invisible bodies incarnate gradually, one at a time. In an important sense, helping with this process of incarnation is the most "practical" thing a Waldorf teacher can do.

"Waldorf education is based upon the recognition that the four bodies of the human being develop and mature at different times.” — Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING: What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents, and Teachers (SteinerBooks, 2017), p. 4.

Waldorf education is based on this concept.

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Art classes at Waldorf schools are meant to unleash mystic powers within the students. This is connected to karma: A central tenet in Steiner’s doctrines is that human beings reincarnate, over and over, and during each life we work out our destiny or karma.

Here's something Steiner said about teaching kids to play musical instruments:

"We have to say that the educational influence we exert through the musical element must consist in creating a harmony of the Apollonian element with the Dionysian element* welling up out of the human being’s nature ... [S]omething that is intensely alive in the musical element has to be damped down so that it does not affect the human being too strongly. This is the feeling with which we ought to teach music to the children.

"We must recognize that, through the workings of karma, a person’s nature develops with a bias toward one side or another [i.e., Apollonian or Dionysian]." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, p. 39.

As we have seen, Waldorf education is "based" on the idea that children wind up with four bodies. Seen from a somewhat different angle, however, we may say that the purpose of Waldorf education is intimately wrapped up in the concept of karma.

“[T]he purpose of [Waldorf] education is to help the individual fulfill his karma.” — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 52.

Notice that we are hearing from Steiner followers (including Waldorf teachers) in these sub-quotations. Not all Waldorf teachers accept everything that Steiner said. But many do. They actually do. [For more on the arts at Waldorf, see "Magical Arts".]

* Apollonian and Dionysian spiritual streams are associated with the gods Apollo and Dionysus, whom Steiner said really exist.

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Waldorf teachers see cosmic significance in their relationship with their students.

"The fact that you are present to teach these children...and the fact that you will do what is necessary in this regard, indicates that this group of teachers and this group of children belong together in terms of karma." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, p. 29.

Students have karmas, Steiner taught, and so do teachers. And so do entire classes. Steiner taught that the karmas of the students and the karma of their teacher combine to bring these people together as a class.

“A school class is a destiny community ... A class is not a group of children who have been thrown together arbitrarily.” — Anthroposophist Peter Selg, THE ESSENCE OF WALDORF EDUCATION (SteinerBooks, 2010)‚ p. 45.

Because destiny or karma rules in a Waldorf school, the teachers function under a sort of divine mandate. Destiny or karma is part of the divine design of the universe. The practical attitude for Waldorf teachers to take, then, is to prepare a place for the gods in the school.

“Waldorf education strives to create a place in which the highest beings [i.e., gods]...can find their home....” — Waldorf teacher Joan Almon, WHAT IS A WALDORF KINDERGARTEN? (SteinerBooks, 2007), p. 53.

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Waldorf teachers are supposed to follow a divine cosmic plan that they understand but that almost no one else does. They work in the service of the divine cosmic powers — that is, the gods. True-blue Waldorf teachers believe in Christ, angels, and other beings that many parents also believe in; but these Waldorf teachers also embrace many ideas that parents may find heretical or just plain bizarre, such as the existence of a vast panoply of gods, demons, and nature spirits. Anthroposophy is polytheistic. Steiner expected Waldorf teachers to embrace such doctrines fully, and to fully believe the pictorial language they use to convey spiritualistic lessons to their students. In this sense, Waldorf teachers are passionate true believers. Parents may wonder whether school teachers should be giving spiritual instruction at all — isn’t this the role of the parents and/or clergy? But true-blue Waldorf schools are religious institutions, and the religion they advance is Anthroposophy.

"As a simple example, let’s say that I wish to teach a child about the continuation of the soul’s life after death. I would only deceive myself and never make it clear to the child if I taught only theories about it. There is no concept that can teach a child under fourteen about immortality. I could say, however, 'See this chrysalis; it is empty. Once there was a butterfly inside, but it crept away.' I could also demonstrate the process of how metamorphosis happens. It is good to show such things to children. Then I make a comparison: 'Imagine that it is you who are the chrysalis. Your soul is inside you, and later it will emerge just as a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis.' This, of course, is rather naively stated.

"You can talk about this for a long time. However, if you yourself do not believe that the butterfly is an image of the human soul, you cannot accomplish much with children by using this analogy. You should not allow yourself the false notion that this whole idea is merely a contrived comparison, which it is not; it is a fact presented to us by the divine, cosmic order ... Our relationship to reality must be such that, out of our own comprehension, we bring to children’s souls more than an arbitrary picture of the butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, for example, and instead present something we ourselves understand and believe in as given by divine cosmic powers." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, p. 16.

[For more on the religious nature of Anthroposophy, see "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?". Concerning the polytheistic nature of Anthroposophy, see "Polytheism".]

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In a typical Waldorf school, young children are exposed over and over to myths, legends, and fairy tales. This may seem harmless. But Steiner taught that all such mystical tales contain clairvoyant truth. Clairvoyance is the power that supposedly enabled Steiner to learn about the divine cosmic plan, the higher spirit realms, the activities of gods and demons, etc. Waldorf students are theoretically led toward clairvoyance by having their imaginations stimulated — according to Steiner, imagination is a low form of clairvoyance. Even in first grade, even in lessons concerned with language skills, Waldorf students are nudged toward imagination and the cosmic beings it supposedly reveals.

"Above all, we must try to cultivate as much simple speaking and conversation with the children as possible during the first year. We read aloud as little as possible, but instead prepare ourselves so well that we can bring to them in a narrative way whatever we want to tell them. Then we seek to reach the point where the children are able to retell what they have heard from us. We avoid using passages that do not stimulate the imagination and make as much use as possible of texts that activate the imagination strongly, namely, fairy tales — as many fairy tales as possible." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, pp. 168-169.

To reiterate: Steiner taught that fairy tales contain spiritual truth. In reciting fairy tales vividly enough for students will to remember them and (presumably) internalize their spiritual messages — "the children are able to retell what they have heard from us" — Waldorf teachers effectively teach the kids Anthroposophical beliefs. [For more on the importance of fairy tales in Waldorf education, see "Fairy Tales". For more on the covert indoctrination of Waldorf students, see "Sneaking It In" and "Indoctrination".]

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The cosmic beings many Waldorf teachers believe inand may tell their students aboutinclude good gods and evil gods, giants, dwarfs, ghosts, phantoms, demons, gnomes, sylphs, and others. Ahriman and Lucifer are the two main demons who peer out to us from Anthroposphical narratives.

Here is Steiner arguing in favor of independent schools; I’ll include the footnote included in the text. Steiner says state control of education can cause humans to fail in the mission assigned to us in the divine cosmic plan. (Humanity's mission is to evolve so high that ultimately we become God.)

"It is truly awful to consider the possibility that in the future, elected parliaments will meet and decide questions of education based on the recommendations of those whose only reason for involvement is their sense of democracy. If things develop in this way, as they are now doing in Russia [i.e., under Communism], the earth would lose its task and have its mission withdrawn; it would be expelled from the cosmos and fall to Ahriman."* — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, p. 27.

* "Ahriman is the name given a spiritual being who wants to hold humanity in a hardened, material state and no longer evolving. Lucifer is Ahriman's counterpart, who tempts humankind to disembody spiritually, thus "evolving" too quickly and becoming overly emotional. Rudolf Steiner posited Christ as mediator and balance to these two retarding forces." [Footnote in the text, p. 27.]

Warding off Ahriman and Lucifer, and leading children to Christ, is one of the most "practical" things Waldorf teachers can do. It can save the children and also save humanity as a whole, preventing us from being "expelled from the cosmos" and thus falling prey "to Ahriman". [For more on Ahriman and Lucifer, see "Ahriman" and "Lucifer". For more on Christ, whom Steiner identified as the Sun God, see "Sun God". For an overview of mankind's cosmic evolution assisted by Christ, see "Was He Christian?" For Steiner's views on democracy, see "Democracy".]

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Some Waldorf doctrines can seem pleasing. Teachers should treat each student with respect, since each human is a cosmic spirit, a cosmic “mystery.” Humans are not mere mechanisms.

Respecting each child is surely good. But must such respect be based on occultism? In Waldorf schools, it is. Waldorf schools do not pursue education in any ordinary sense. Waldorf teachers consider themselves to be on a cosmic mission, serving the gods. This concept should “permeate” a school, Steiner said.

"If you cannot manage to see every human being as a cosmic mystery, you will not get beyond the sense that people are no more than mechanisms, and if such a feeling were cultivated, it would lead to the downfall of earthly culture. On the other hand, earthly culture is raised only when we permeate education with the feeling that the whole human being has cosmic significance. And this cosmic feeling arises only when we regard the content of human feeling as belonging to the period between birth and death. Human thinking indicates the period before birth, and what exists in the human will points to what comes after death as a seed for the future. As the threefold human being stands before us, first we see what belongs to the time before birth, then we see what lies between birth and death, and, third, we see what awaits us after death. Our life before birth enters our existence as images, and the seed of what lies beyond death exists within us even before death." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, p. 28.

[To dig into some of these occult precepts and beliefs, see The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia. To understand why "human thinking indicates the period before birth," see "Thinking". Basically, Steiner said that true thoughts — "living thoughts" — were implanted in us by the gods before we were born on Earth. This is why Waldorf teachers should avoid instructing their students rationally.

"You will injure children if you educate them rationally because you will then utilize their will in something they have already completed — namely, life before birth." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE, (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 62.

This is guidance for Waldorf teachers to hold in their minds.]

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Some Waldorf doctrines can seem pleasing. And some can seem nutty. They are all part of the same package, a collection of occult, “clairvoyant” beliefs.

"There is a distinction between the service rendered by feet and legs when they carry the body and that rendered by the hands and arms that do not work for the body but for the world. This difference between the egoistic service of the feet and the selfless service of the hands that work for the human being’s environment should be made clear to the children at an early stage ... [W]e teach the children as much as possible about the natural history of the human being. And only then do we continue with the rest of natural history, first to the animal kingdom ... You should describe the cuttlefish in a way that gives the children a feeling for its sensitivity ... It is bias that causes people to imagine that their heads are the most perfect part of themselves. It [the head] is certainly structured in a most complicated way, but it is really just a metamorphosed cuttlefish ... The human being is most perfect in the limbs." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, pp. 95-98.

Steiner generally downplayed the head and brain. Real knowledge, he said, does not come from the brain — it comes from clairvoyance, which we perfect by developing our "organs of clairvoyance," not our brains. The implications for the education of the young are severe. Don't develop the brain; develop other organs that (in reality) do not exist. [To look into some of these matters, see "Steiner's Specific", "Clairvoyance", "Knowing the Worlds", and "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".]

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Whether you find Waldorf beliefs and attitudes attractive or not, remember that Rudolf Steiner’s doctrines are still very much alive in Waldorf schools. PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS consists of lectures that Steiner delivered in 1919, long ago. However, the book (with new translations of the lectures) was published in 2000, as part of the “Foundations of Waldorf Education” series. Like the other books in the series, it is used to guide the educational programs in today’s Waldorf schools.

Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings

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The allure and nuttiness of Anthroposophy

are inseparable threads in the same design.


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Here are items from the Waldorf Watch "news" page.

In each case, I quote from a text of interest,

then I offer a response.


"Steiner education, also known as Waldorf education ...

"Works for all children irrespective of academic ability, class, ethnicity or religion;

"Takes account of the needs of the whole child — academic, physical, emotional and spiritual;

"Is based on an understanding of the relevance of the different phases of child development... [etc.]"


Waldorf Watch Response:

This is typical of the disinformation that is often served up to promote Waldorf schooling. Unless a description of Waldorf schooling includes references to the occult, higher worlds, gods, and other Anthroposophical beliefs, you know that much is being concealed. (Sometimes this is inadvertent, because the writer doesn't know much about the bases of Waldorf education. But sometimes it is quite deliberate.)

Let's consider ethnicity, for instance. The Waldorf system is built on the idea that north/central Europe is the home of the highest, most evolved humans. The culture of these white people — much of which is reflected in their ancient myths (Norse myths) — is the highest on Earth. Other, darker peoples are less evolved, and their mythologies are less august.

“One can only understand history and all of social life, including today's social life, if one pays attention to people's racial characteristics. And one can only understand all that is spiritual in the correct sense if one first examines how this spiritual element operates within people precisely through the color of their skin." — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE {On the Life of Human Beings and of the Earth} (Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), p. 52.

“On one side we find the black race, which is earthly at most. If it moves to the West, it becomes extinct. We also have the yellow race, which is in the middle between earth and the cosmos. If it moves to the East, it becomes brown, attaches itself too much to the cosmos, and becomes extinct. The white race is the future, the race that is creating spirit.” [Ibid., p. 62.] (Among other things, Steiner is saying that each race should stay "where it belongs.")

"[T]he Europeans have ascended to a higher level of culture, while [others] have remained behind and become decadent. One must always pay attention to this evolutionary process. It can be described as follows. In the course of millennia our planet transforms itself, and this transformation also demands a development of humankind. Those side branches that no longer fit in to current conditions become decadent. Thus we have an upright evolutionary trunk as well as side branches which decay." — Rudolf Steiner, MENSCHHEITSENTWICKELUNG UND CHRISTUS-ERKENNTNIS, pp. 243-44.

Let's consider "the needs of the whole child" as conceived by Rudolf Steiner and his followers. The "whole child," in Waldorf belief, is a complex being. S/he has twelve senses, s/he will be born four times, s/he will develop three invisible bodies (the etheric body, the astral body, and the ego body), s/he has a karma, s/he embodies one of four temperaments (phlegmatic, choleric, sanguine, melancholic), s/he has an astrological sign and a resultant horoscope, s/he has a dark spiritual double (a doppelgänger), s/he will develop invisible organs of clairvoyance if she evolves properly, s/he has a heart that does not pump blood, s/he has a brain that is not the seat of cognition... And so on. Educating the "whole child" — head, heart, and hands — certainly sounds good. But as always when dealing with Waldorf, you should look below the surface of any fine-sounding phrases you are offered. [See "Holistic Education".]

The "phases of childhood development," according to the occult theories behind Waldorf schooling, run from a) birth to age seven, b) age seven to age 14, and c) age 14 to age 21. During the first phase, children exist in a dreamy memory of the spirit worlds from which they came to Earth. This condition lasts until the "etheric body" incarnates, an event signaled by the loss of baby teeth. (Plants and animals also have etheric bodies.)

“Waldorf education is based upon the recognition that the four bodies of the human being develop and mature at different times ... According to Steiner, one of the indicators of the birth or emancipation of the etheric body is the loss of the child's baby teeth, which takes place at the age of seven.” — Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING: What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents & Teachers (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 4-5. Note that Waldorf education is based on these weird concepts

The second phase of childhood, according to Waldorf belief, finds children still unable to think very much; instead, they are deeply emotional. They have imaginative powers (an early stage of clairvoyance) and will develop intuitive powers (a higher stage of clairvoyance). This phase ends when the "astral body" incarnates, an event signaled by puberty. (Animals also have astral bodies; plants do not.)

The third phase finds children slowly developing the ability to think, including intellectual thought — but such thinking is superficial and unreliable. [See "Steiner's Specific".] Clairvoyance is the reliable form of cognition, and children approaching adulthood can develop powers of inspiration, the third stage of evolving clairvoyance. The third phase of childhood ends at age 21, when the ego body bearing the "I" incarnates. (The "I" is divine human spiritual selfhood. No animal or plant has an "I", and no human can see your "I" except yourself.) [See "Incarnation".]

These are some of the beliefs that lie behind fine-sounding Waldorf PR. Unless they make clear sense to you, you will probably find Waldorf unsatisfactory.



"Anthroposophy seeks to help individuals to find their spirit dimension and a new relationship with nature and technology, and most of all, with their fellow human beings, in a conscious way. Anthroposophy does not claim to be a religion or a thought system which one claim all phenomena [sic]. Nor does it provide the answers to all personal problems."


Waldorf Watch Response:

Anthroposophists almost always claim that their ideology (which undergirds Waldorf education) is not a religion. Instead, they say, Anthroposophy is a spiritual science — it is a method that provides direct, scientifically accurate knowledge of the spirit worlds. This method involves the use of clairvoyance to consult the Akashic Record (an invisible celestial storehouse of knowledge written on akasha, i.e. starlight or a universal ether).

There are a few problems with these claims.

1) Anthroposophy is totally unscientific.

2) Indeed, it is a religion, one that requires irrational and unscientific mental states. [See, e.g., "Steiner's 'Science'" and "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]

3) Moreover, the power that Anthroposophy depends upon, clairvoyance, does not exist; it is a delusion, a technique of self-deception. [See, e.g., "Clairvoyance", "Why? Oh Why? Oh Why?", and "Fooling Ourselves".]

4) And, of course, there is no such thing as the Akashic Record. [See "Akasha".]*

Let's focus on the central issue. Is Anthroposophy a religion? Centering on a panoply of good and evil gods, Anthroposophy aims far beyond the acquisition of "spiritual knowledge." Anthroposophy is a synthesis of various religions, combining teachings from Theosophy, Gnostic Christianity, and Hinduism, with admixtures of other religions including Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. The practice of Anthroposophy entails faith, reverence, prayers, meditations, spiritual guides, observances, and other religious identifiers. It lays out the path to spiritual improvement for its adherents, and it threatens spiritual loss and perdition for everyone else. Anthroposophists believe that they are on the side of the gods, and they believe that their critics are on the side of the demonic powers. Anthroposophy is a religion. [If you haven't done so already, see "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]

Well, but does the religion of Anthroposophy crop up inside Waldorf schools? Certainly. To give one quick example: Students in Waldorf schools typically begin each day by reciting aloud, in unison, prayers written by Rudolf Steiner. [See "Prayers".] This would be inexplicable if the schools were, as they usually claim, nondenominational and nonsectarian. Waldorf schools exist to spread a religion, and that religion is Anthroposophy.

“One of the most important facts about the background of the Waldorf School is that we were in a position to make the anthroposophical movement a relatively large one. The anthroposophical movement has become a large one.” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER IN THE WALDORF SCHOOL (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p.156.

What does the Anthroposophical movement do?

"[T]he Anthroposophical Society...provides religious instruction just as other religious groups do." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 706.

* Anthroposophists sometimes argue that since we cannot absolutely prove that such things as the Akashic Record do not exist, therefore they do exist. Moreover, they argue, belief in the Akashic Record is just as valid as belief in physics or chemistry — beliefs are beliefs, and everyone is free to choose his/her own beliefs. The lack of logic revealed in such arguments is stunning. Consider just one fallacy we find here. Strictly speaking, there are no beliefs in science. Physics proves its truths through observation and experimentation. The findings of physics are not beliefs, they are established facts. (They may be replaced someday by more firmly established facts, but this is not a process of belief — it is the application of logic and the scientific method.) Belief is a very different kettle of fish. You can choose to believe in the Akashic Record, if you like, but you should remember that this is merely a belief, a supposition, not a firm, scientific finding. Indeed, Anthroposophists should know the difference between knowledge and belief since they claim to practice "spiritual science." When they turn around, however, and start speaking of belief, they give the game away. They are followers of a religion, not practitioners of a science.

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Having been fairly exhaustive on other pages here at Waldorf Watch,

I am keeping this page brief.

This leaves plenty for you to discover on your own in


Here are a few suggestions of matters you may want to look into,

topics drawn from the book's index (pp. 199-205):

Ahriman: 27, 33

anthroposophists: 37

anthroposophy: 80, 169

Anthroposophy in Everyday Life (Steiner): 30n

archetypal forms, teaching: 10

Asians: 21

astral body: 15, 15, 25, 80, 107

Atlantean period: 24

authority: 9, 74

blackness and black objects: 20

Christ: 27n

cosmic feeling: 28

cultures, primitive: 68

death and dying: 31-33, 35-36, 42

earth, evolutionary period of: 26

electricity: 11, 115-116, 154

esoteric knowledge: 84

etheric body: 11, 14, 107

etheric will: 14

eurythmy: 12, 32, 37-38, 56-57, 60, 171, 172

fairy tales, telling: 15, 169

freedom: 71

God: 60, 61, 160

Goetheanum: 35, 38n

gravity: 116-117

harmony - of higher and lower beings: 1, 3

heart forces: 81, 84-85

I-being: 14, 25, 61

imagination: 66, 168-169, 179, 183, 186

initiation: 11

intellectualism: 166

karma: 11, 29, 39

legends, telling: 15

life after death, reading about: 16, 42

Lucifer: 27n, 33

mana: 80

"mood of soul": 83

morality of education: 178

mysteries of life: 84

obedience: 9

passive assimilation: 77

planets, evolutionary periods of: 26

reading - role of limbs in: 6

recapitulation: 77

relativity, theory of: 117

religion: 106, 159-163, 172

rhythm(s) - of life: 85, 86

scientific methods: 88, 90

sleeping, alternations between waking and: 26

soul activity: 78

soul development: 118

soul forces: 154

soul mood: 83

soul process, inner: 21

speech - as relationship between human and cosmos: 24

spirits: 2

spiritual science: 42, 71, 107

supraphysical: 3

teachers: 49, 54, 84, 187-188

temperaments: 30n

tribal people: 68

will - downward flow of physical and etheric: 14

will element, awakening the: 93

> > < <

We began this brief exploration by noting that

Waldorf teachers think Atlantis really existed and we lived there

during our past lives.

Here is the entry of "Atlantis" in that invaluable resource,

The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia:

Atlantis - also see Atlantean; Atlantean Epoch

A fabled lost continent. Plato spoke of Atlantis, evidently as a fictional device, nothing more. [1] Science has found no evidence that Atlantis ever existed.

According to Steiner, Atlantis was a real place, the home of mankind before the present ("Post-Atlantean") phase of evolution: We lived on Atlantis during the "Atlantean Age." During that period, we met various gods who walked the Earth. “[I]n learned to know Thor, Zeus, Wotan, Baldur [2] as actual companions ... When man still lived in the water-fog atmosphere [of Atlantis]...incarnations were possible for [these gods] ... [They] assumed a human form and moved about in the physical world.” — R. Steiner, EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MYSTERIES (Anthroposophic Press, 1971), p. 140.

The leaders of human life on Atlantis were occult initiates. [3] They acquired great powers, but in this lay the seeds of their destruction. “Powerful rulers [of Atlantis] themselves were initiated ... [T]he initiated kings and leaders of the Atlanteans came into being. Enormous power was in their hands, and they were greatly venerated. But in this fact also lay the reason for decline and decay ... [T]he misuse of these powers arose. When one considers the capabilities of the Atlanteans resulting from their mastery of the life force [4], one will understand that this misuse inevitably had enormous consequences.” — R. Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), pp. 51-52.

Atlantis sank because of human misdeeds. “Mighty and ominous powers of Nature were thus let loose by the deeds of men, leading eventually to the gradual destruction of the whole territory of Atlantis by catastrophes of air and water. [5] Atlantean humanity — the portion of it, that is, which did not perish in the storms — was compelled to migrate. As a result too of the great storms, the whole face of the Earth changed. Europe, Asia and Africa on the one hand, and America on the other, began gradually to assume their present shape....” — R. Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), pp. 198-200.

A recent collection of Steiner's teachings about Atlantis. [Rudolf Steiner, ATLANTIS - The Fate of a Lost Land and Its Secret Knowledge (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007).]


[1] "Atlantis...a legendary island in the Atlantic Ocean ... The principal sources for the legend are two of Plato’s dialogues, Timaeus and Critias." — ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA ONLINE, June 20, 2015. [2] Thor, Wotan, and Baldur are Norse gods.

[3] For some Anthroposophical beliefs about initiates and initiation, see "Inside Scoop".

[4] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "Atlantean" and "life force".

[5] Steiner equated the destruction of Atlantis with the Flood described in the Old Testament. Noah was the initiate who led some survivors to safety, Steiner said.


For the Waldorf conception

of common sense,

see "Common Sense".