“In the Middle Ages, Astronomia - one of the Seven Liberal Arts - was as much about astrology as astronomy. In fact the two disciplines only parted company in the seventeenth century, as the materialistic world-view gained greater prominence. Where once human destiny was connected to stars and planets, and spiritual or soul qualities were associated with the natural world, now the cosmos was seen as consisting of gases, fire and dead rock.
Astrology is present in much Waldorf thinking.
Steiner’s followers often deny this or, at a minimum, they argue that Steiner accepted only
a modified form of astrology, one in which the stars do not control human destiny.
“Rudolf Steiner struggled with the question of astrology. On the one hand he makes clear that there is a connection between stars and human beings, but on the other he appears uncomfortable with what is generally thought of as astrology, and certainly he rejects the notion of stars and planets determining our lives and behavior.” — Margaret Jonas, introduction to ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), a collection of works by Rudolf Steiner, pp. 2-3.
In this view, Steiner changed astrology:
He led to a new, more perfected astrology that recognizes the importance of karma and reincarnation — that is, the human power to affect one’s own destiny. Thus, the stars affect us, but we affect the stars in turn.
“It can be argued that astrology has come a long way since Steiner’s lifetime, less and less is the view a deterministic one. Many astrologers today embrace a spiritual world-view [sic] that often includes reincarnation and karma.” — Ibid.
The “spiritual world-view" in question is epitomized by Anthroposophy.
Here are some of Steiner’s own statements about astrology. On at least some occasions, he accepted it as wholly genuine.
“[T]he old, real, and genuine Astrology expresses itself in the destinies of men.” — Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIANISM AND MODERN INITIATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1965), lecture 3, GA 233a.
“For as what man is today stands written in the heavenly spaces in the writing of the constellations of the stars, so stands written there too what is yet to happen with him. This is the ground of true astrology. You will see at once, from what we have been considering, that you really only need to know occultism and you have at the same time the root principle of astrology.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN IN THE LIGHT OF OCCULTISM, THEOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 9, GA 137.
“No one can acquire Astrology through thought or empirical research, as it is called today. If those who were initiated into the ancient Mysteries had been asked whether by means of investigation and thought one can learn Astrology, they would have answered: You can no more learn Astrology through thinking or empirical research than you can learn the secrets of a man by those means if he does not reveal them to you. Just imagine for a moment that there was something which one man knew and which no one but he knew; and that someone thought he would like as an experiment to try and find it out, or would think about it in order to discover it. As you see, that would be absurd; and to experience astrological things through thinking, or experiments, or by observation would have seemed to one of those ancient men just as absurd as it would seem today that a man should seek to investigate by means of experiment the secret of another human being. For these ancients knew that the Gods alone knew the secrets of the stellar world: the Gods, or as they were called later, the Cosmic Intelligences. The Cosmic Intelligences know the secret of the stellar world, and they alone can tell it. Therefore the student had to follow the path of cognition which leads to an understanding intercourse with the Cosmic Intelligences.
“The real true Astrology depended upon a man's attaining this possibility of understanding the Cosmic Intelligences.” — Rudolf Steiner, MYSTERY CENTRES (Garber Communications, 1985), lecture 13, GA 232.
Steiner discussed both astrology and “astrosophy,” the clairvoyant knowledge of the stars. Both are superior to conventional astronomy and related sciences, he said.
“What is offered by a well-developed astronomy that has deepened into astrology and astrosophy (for one can think of it in that way) is all destroyed for immediate use by meteorology ... Modern astronomy itself lives only in names; it is really nothing more than a system for giving names to stars ... [T]he knowledge of the astrosophers of olden times, and astrologers of still older times, came directly out of humanity's intercourse with the gods ... If one advances from ordinary calculation to the calculating of rhythms as it was in astrology for the harmony of the spheres, one goes on from the calculating of rhythms to a view of the organization of the world in numbers, as we find them in astrosophy.” — Rudolf Steiner, BROKEN VESSELS (Anthroposophic Press, 2003), lecture 10, GA 318.
Books about astrology and/or astrosophy are readily available from Anthroposophic publishers. (“Astrosophy” is knowledge of the stars and their occult influences.) Here’s the publisher’s description of a book I referred to earlier:
“Rudolf Steiner brings a new spiritual perspective to our study of the heavens. Humanity, he says, is intimately connected to cosmic beings, who in turn are related to planets and stars. There is meaning in the cosmos. Although Steiner rejects the simplistic notion of the planets determining our lives and behaviour, he makes a clear connection between the heavenly bodies and human beings. Whilst criticizing the superficial nature of much astrology, Steiner shows that as individuals, and with the guidance of spiritual beings, we choose an appropriate time of birth to match the destiny we are to live.
“This enlightening anthology, expertly collated by Margaret Jonas, features excerpts of Steiner's work on the spiritual individualities of the planets, the determination of human characteristics by the constellation at birth, the cultural epochs and the passage of the equinox, cosmic influences on the individual and humanity, life in the planetary spheres between death and rebirth, solar and lunar eclipses, comets, and much more.” — ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009).“A gift was given you at your first breath — have you opened it? It came from the stars and impressed itself into you at your most vulnerable moment. In this introduction to astrosophy, or star wisdom, a science with ancient roots and modern relevance, David Tresemer shows how the patterns written in the heavens influence a person's life. Taking as an example the remarkable life of Rudolf Steiner, Tresemer demonstrates the Oracle of the Solar Cross, whose four points interact throughout each of our lives to shape opportunities and challenges that our souls must face.
“Steiner spoke often of the ‘starry script’ and hinted that, whereas its patterns impress themselves upon the human psyche, we can also influence this heavenly text, altering it in service of the continued development of humanity. Through stories from the life and examples from the work of Steiner as well as the Star Brothers and Sisters who share aspects of his Solar Cross, Tresemer illuminates this truth.” — David Tresemer with Robert Schiappacasse, STAR WISDOM AND RUDOLF STEINER (SteinerBooks, 2007).
Astrology is also studied and practiced in Anthroposophical education centers. Here’s a description of one course. Note that individual "birthcharts" or horoscopes are prepared.
Brian Gray's Introduction to Star Wisdom Classes
Star Wisdom and Biography
Week One: May 2-6, 2005
Week Two: May 6-13, 2005
with Brian Gray and Cynthia Hoven
Rudolf Steiner College,
Fair Oaks, California
"I feel my destiny, my destiny finds me.
I feel my star, my star finds me.
I feel my goals in life, my goals in life are finding me.
My soul and the great world are one." - Rudolf Steiner
• Mapping your life path, journaling, and sharing biographical events.
— Star Wisdom - Astrosophy, http://www.starwisdom.org/star-wisdom-classes.htm.
For more on Waldorf astrology,
and "Waldorf Astrology".
An Anthroposophical astrological symbol: Leo,
designed by Rudolf Steiner and drawn by Imma von Eckhardstein
[Rudolf Steiner, CALENDAR 1912-1913, Facsimile Edition (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 60ff.
R. R. copy, 2009.]
From the Waldorf Watch "news" page,
October 25, 2010:
[Bennett & Hastings Publishing, 2009]
"An informative and practical, concise guide to astrology viewed through the spiritual principles set forth by Rudolf Steiner. The author, a former Waldorf School teacher, presents information that can be applied to understanding the temperaments, soul development and karmic responsibilities of children as well as adults. This book includes a unique and practical methodology for reading charts and illustrates this with a reading of the author's natal chart." [10-25-2010 http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Astrology-Anthroposophy-Ron-Odama-NEW-/270652874640]
Outsiders often have a hard time comprehending just how completely irrational and occult the thinking behind Waldorf schools is. Astrology, for instance, stands high in that thinking. A "natal chart" is a horoscope, and Steiner encouraged Waldorf teachers to consult horoscopes. He said that many horoscopes are fraudulent, but he also said that true horoscopes can be cast. "The truth underlying the casting of a horoscope is that those who know these things can read the forces which determine a person's physical existence.” [Rudolf Steiner, SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE OF MAN AND HUMANITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1970), lecture 3.] If you live in the real world, Waldorf schools are not right for you or your child.
Also of interest:
“This collection of the astronomical writings by Dr. Elizabeth Vreede is a fascinating compendium of scientific and spiritual knowledge. Between September 1927 and August 1930, Dr. Vreede wrote a monthly “letter,” available by subscription, about both modern astronomy and classical astrology in the light of spiritual science. These letters include clear explanations of the fundamentals of astronomy and discussions of the role of astrology in the modern world. They also include inspiring presentations of a worldview that sees the stars, planets, and in fact all physical phenomena as manifestations of spiritual beings and spiritual activities.
“Among the many topics Dr. Vreede considers are the role of nutation, precession, and other movements of the Earth in human evolution and life; the comets; the relations of the heavenly bodies to spiritual beings; horoscopes; solar and lunar eclipses; and the deeper meaning of the Christian holidays such as Easter and Whitsun.
“About the Author
“Elizabeth Vreede, Ph.D., a native of the Netherlands, was a close and trusted student and associate of Rudolf Steiner. She was appointed by him to be head of the Mathematical-Astronomical Section of the School of Spiritual Science. Steiner is reputed to have said that Dr. Vreede understood his work more deeply than anyone else." [10-25-2010 http://www.amazon.com/Anthroposophy-Astrology-Astronomical-Letters-Elizabeth/dp/0880104902/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288019145&sr=8-1]
Here is another item from the Waldorf Watch "news" page:
[Lindisfarne Books, 2010]
"Drawing on specific biographical examples, THE ASTROLOGICAL REVOLUTION reveals new understandings of how the starry heavens work into human destiny [i.e., karma]. For instance, the book demonstrates the newly discovered rules of astrological reincarnation through the previous incarnations of composer Franz Schubert and his patron Joseph von Spaun — respectively, the Sultan of Morocco, Abu Yusuf Ya’qub, and his erstwhile enemy, Alfonso X, the Castilian King known as 'El Sabio' (the Learned), along with their sidereal horoscopes. Rudolf Steiner’s biography is also considered in relation to the sidereal zodiac and the rules of astrological reincarnation." [12-12-2010 http://ashok-discoverindia.blogspot.com/2010/12/astrological-revolution.html and http://www.steinerbooks.org/detail.html?id=9781584200833]
Sometimes it is hard to believe that Waldorf teachers believe what they do indeed believe. Astrology looms large in Anthroposophy and in the occult doctrines that inform Waldorf education.
"The truth underlying the casting of a horoscope is that those who know these things can read the forces which determine a person's physical existence.” — Rudolf Steiner, SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE OF MAN AND HUMANITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1970), lecture 3.
Steiner lectured on the use of horoscopes in determining the proper treatment for children:
“By looking at what the horoscope shows we can see what is really the matter [with a child].
“Take first this horoscope (of the elder sister). It will probably have struck you that you find here in this region, Uranus together with Venus and Mars ... For this child, who was born in 1909, Mars stands in complete opposition to the Moon. Mars, which has Venus and Uranus in its vicinity, stands — itself — in strong opposition to the Moon....
“And now I would ask you to pay careful attention also to the fact that the Moon is at the same time standing before Libra. This means, the Moon has comparatively little support from the Zodiac, it wavers and hesitates...and its influence is still further reduced through the fact that Mars (which pulls along with it the Luciferic influence [i.e., the influence of Lucifer]) stands in opposition to it.
“Now let us turn to the horoscope of the young child [i.e., the younger sibling] ... On this second horoscope, Mars, Venus and Uranus are in close proximity, exactly as before; but when we examine more nearly the position of Mars, we find it is not, as before, in complete opposition to the Moon. It is however very nearly so. Although the younger child does not come in for a complete opposition, there is an approximation to opposition.” — Rudolf Steiner, CURATIVE EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 11, July 6, 1924. [See "Holistic Education".]
Steiner and his followers treat astrology as fundamental to their spiritual efforts:
"The fixed stars work in the human being, the moving planets work in the human being, and all the elements of nature work there as well." — Rudolf Steiner, THE ROOTS OF EDUCATION, The Foundations of Waldorf Education XIX (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 84.
"The stars and planets work in the human being": This is the essence of astrology, and here we find it in the "roots of education," among the "foundations of Waldorf education."
"The Twelve Moods were once tested in connection with astrology. They are cosmically connected. That is something you can use both in the teach of style and eurythmy." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 362.
The "twelve moods" are meditations Steiner wrote on the signs of the zodiac. "Each mood expresses an aspect of the 'twelvefold quality that exists in the universe as the Zodiac....'" — Christopher Bamford quoting Rudolf Steiner in START NOW!: Meditation Instructions, Meditations, Prayers, Verses for the Dead, Karma and Other Spiritual Practices for Beginners and Advanced Students (SteinerBooks, 2004), p. 138
Steiner differentiated between his own teachings and the beliefs of modern astrologers. The essential difference, he said, is that his teachings about the zodiac, the powers of the stars, and the influences of the planets are true. Call them true astrology, if you like. They are still astrology.
Parents, think carefully before send your child to a school where the teachers may use horoscopes, dreams, and clairvoyance to decide what is best for your child.
“[H]igh beings gave us the ego and memory. The ego that grasps itself in memory is like a letter that an esoteric must learn and that the Gods have written into world space ... We got our physical body from forces that work down through the incarnations, and these forces work on us from the circle that's described by the moon's orbit ... If the moon would be moved to another place by some force, what would result for the earth thereby? The reproductive forces working through the generations would dry up. Men would no longer reproduce and would die out ... We can draw the sun forces as another circle ... [Other] forces are at work above the moon forces — the Mercury forces ... Then there are sublime forces above the Venus sphere [that] work through Venus forces and fertilize them. These are Mars forces. To prevent them from working in a warlike way in their interaction with Venus a sublime, divine light force streams in from Jupiter, a spiritual light that's imperceptible to ordinary men and is darkness for them.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM THE CONTENTS OF ESOTERIC CLASSES (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 266. [R. R. sketch, 2013, based on the one in the transcript.]
Rudolf Steiner specified seven planetary seals
— representing the seven sacred planets of astrology —
for use in Anthroposophical gatherings, observances, and structures.
As part of their training, aspiring Waldorf teachers
are sometimes taught to draw these seals.
[See "Teacher Training".]
Here they are:
[Approximate copies, 2014, plates 27-33,
ROSICRUCIANISM RENEWED (SteinerBooks, 2007);
— Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings
To visit other pages in the sections of Waldorf Watch
that include "Astrology", use the underlined links, below.