"There was once a large expanse of land [Atlantis] 
where today there is the Atlantic Ocean ... 
[T]he human being who lived then was in his external form half man and half fish ... 
[M]an then looked quite different — half man and half fish ... 
The more imperfect of these fish-men [evolved to become] kangaroos, 
those a little more advanced became deer and cattle, 
and the most perfect became apes or men." 
(Anthroposophic Press, 1987), pp. 54-55.


Lingering Legends

by Roger Rawlings

Afterword by Peter Staudenmaier


Many occultists, including Rudolf Steiner, have expressed a belief in Atlantis. Moreover, some have said that the Aryan race originated there or among the "Atlanteans" who fled the destruction of their home place. Steiner took things a step further. He said that before Atlantis, humanity resided on a still earlier lost continent, Lemuria. As they evolved on Lemuria, humans divided into higher and lower strains, Steiner said. The lower strains degenerated and became stunted, but — after Lemuria was destroyed — the higher strain migrated to Atlantis. [For more, see "Lemuria".]

On Atlantis, a similar history unfolded, Steiner said. Some of the Atlanteans became degenerate, while others evolved to higher levels. When Atlantis, in its turn, was destroyed, the most advanced survivors became the Aryan race. “The ancestors of the Atlanteans lived in a region [Lemuria] which has disappeared ... After they had passed through various stages of development the greatest part of them declined. These became stunted men, whose descendants still inhabit certain parts of the earth today as so-called savage tribes. Only a small part of Lemurian humanity was capable of further development. From this part the Atlanteans were formed. Later, something similar took place. The greatest part of the Atlantean population declined, and from a small portion are descended the so-called Aryans who comprise present-day civilized humanity ... [T]he Lemurians, Atlanteans, and Aryans are root races of mankind.” [1]


True to form, Steiner spoke cryptically, distancing himself somewhat from his own words. Thus, he refers to “so-called Aryans,” as if he himself would hesitate to use such a term. But his belief in, and exaltation of, the Aryans is nonetheless clear. Note that Steiner omits the phrase “so-called” in his second reference to Aryans, and he explicitly identifies Aryans as the sole representatives of “present-day civilized humanity.” [2]

After the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis in the name of the Aryan “master race,” it is difficult to discuss to the concept of Aryanism calmly. But let’s not dismiss the subject out of hand. Instead, we should examine relevant scholarship. Peter Staudenmaier reports the following: “[T]he notion of an Aryan race was invented by European thinkers who began by tracing linguistic connections among different Indo-European languages, an entirely legitimate enterprise, and then conflated these linguistic theories with emerging anthropological, biological, and spiritual theories about race and ethnicity, an obviously illegitimate move. The essential confusion at the heart of the Aryan myth is that peoples whose languages share linguistic similarities must be racially similar as well ... Already in the mid-19th century...anthropologists pointed out the fallacy of collapsing language into race and vice versa. And later in the 1800s even Friedrich Max Mueller, whose work was one of the major sources for the ideologists of Aryanism, emphatically criticized the conflation of linguistics and race that is the core of the Aryan myth (the same is true for T.H. Huxley and many others).” [3]

The most important point, for our present discussion, concerns the mutually reinforcing errors that can derive from failing to grasp distinctions between linguistics, racial theory, and history. As Staudenmaier argues, historical fallacies readily arise from linguistic and other confusions. Scholars today generally discount the existence of an Aryan race in Europe or anywhere else. [4] Aryanism is, in fact, a racist invention. “During the 19th century there arose a notion...of an 'Aryan race.' Members of the so-called race spoke Indo-European languages, were credited with all of the progress that benefited humanity, and were purported to be superior to 'Semites,' 'yellows,' and 'blacks.' Believers in Aryanism came to regard the Nordic and Germanic peoples as the purest members of the 'race.' This notion, which had been repudiated by anthropologists by the second quarter of the 20th century, was seized upon by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis and was made the basis of the German government policy of exterminating Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and other 'non-Aryans.'” [5]

The “Aryans” championed by Steiner, Hitler, and others, are a myth. But what about their place of origin? Steiner traces the Aryans back to Atlantis. Let’s turn our attention, then, to the fabulous continent, which presumably played a key role in the ascent of civilized humanity. Dr. C. Scott Littleton, chairperson of the Department of Anthropology at Occidental College, provides the following summary of recent scholarship on Atlantis. “Atlantis was a legendary continent that many people believe sank into the Atlantic Ocean thousands of years ago. The first mention of Atlantis appeared during the 300's B.C. in CRITIAS and TIMAEUS, two works by the Greek philosopher Plato. According to Plato, a brilliant civilization once existed on Atlantis. But its people became corrupt and greedy, and so the gods punished them. During one day and night, great explosions shook Atlantis, and the continent sank into the sea.” [6]

Dr. Littleton goes on to say that, over the centuries, there have been various theories about the location, importance, and even future of Atlantis. “Some people have claimed that Atlantis was the basis of all later civilizations. A few have even predicted that the continent will someday rise [again] from the sea.” [7] Numerous expeditions searched for the ruins of Atlantis, but always without success. The most likely inspiration for Plato’s legend, according to Dr. Littleton, was the volcanic destruction of the small island Thira, which was situated in the Aegean, north of Crete. Volcanic eruptions demolished Thira in about 1470 B.C., and the effects were felt on Crete. Minoan civilization, which had held sway on both islands, was essentially wiped out in this catastrophe. [8]

Note the discrepancies between the occult belief in Atlantis and Dr. Littlelon’s analysis. Myth: a continent. Probable truth: a small island (smaller than Crete). Myth: sunk in the Atlantic. Probable truth: sunk in the Aegean. Most critically, note that despite the repeated efforts to find Atlantis, no expedition has done so — even though the location of this lost continent should have made discovery fairly easy. Usually, Atlantis is described as existing just beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, in the Atlantis Ocean east of Europe and northern Africa. For his part, Steiner indicated that Atlantis was immense (and, hence, presumably easy to find): "[T]he Atlantic Ocean was once a continent." [9] So Atlantis was a huge place, filling virtually the entire area now occupied by the Atlantic. In other words, Atlantis now lies under the waters of the most-traveled and most-explored ocean on Earth. Yet no trace of this enormous landmass has ever been found.

The BRITANNICA says that, according to legend, the people of Atlantis established an empire in and around the Mediterranean, but thereafter they became corrupt and — presumably as a punishment by the gods — their home sank into the sea. [10] The BRITANNICA agrees with Dr. Littleton that the most likely origin of the Atlantis legend was the destruction of Thira (or Thera, as the The BRITANNICA spells it), an Aegean island. Once again, consider the discrepancies between legend and scholarship. Myth: a huge continent. Probable truth: small island. Myth: sunk in the Atlantic. Probable truth: sunk in the Aegean. The destruction of the small island occurred around 3,500 years ago, much more recently than the fictional destruction of Atlantis as described by Steiner and others. (Plato himself dated the destruction at about 11,000 years ago.)

The failure to find Atlantis does not prove that the fabulous lost continent never existed. [The the "Sidebar", below.] But the absence of evidence that Atlantis did exist raises the question why anyone would believe. There’s no basis for the belief. In DISCARDED SCIENCE, John Grant explores the fallacious history of Atlantis and other mythical lost worlds: “Is there any truth in such tales, or are they total fantasies? Atlantis could have been Crete, Thule could have been the Orkney Islands, or Iceland, or ... [sic: ellipses by Grant] Yes, just possibly, some of the lost lands could really have existed. But somewhere amongst all the legends there ought to be just one about a land which was not heavenly, and whose inhabitants were not in some way supermen. Where, in short, are the sewers of Atlantis?” [11] Sarcasm is not scientifically or logically compelling, and Steiner did, in a sense, speak of sewers on Atlantis — he said that some of the Atlanteans degenerated. But Grant’s point is still useful. Anything is possible, he reminds us — just possibly some lost lands did exist, perhaps, possibly... But where is the evidence? Absent evidence, we have no real reason to believe. If we are feeling charitable, we might imply suspend judgment. But if we want to be strictly rational, we must demand proof — and if none is forthcoming, then we must lean toward disbelief.

In THE SKEPTIC’S DICTIONARY, Robert Todd Carroll returns to the principal author of the Atlantis myth, Plato. “Plato was not describing a real place ... The purpose of Atlantis [for Plato] is to express a moral message ... The fact that nobody in Greece for 9,000 years had mentioned a battle between Athens and Atlantis should serve as a clue ... [Greeks] would have understood that he was not giving them a historical account of a real city [sic] ... Finally, if the Atlanteans were such technological geniuses who shared their wisdom with the world, why did Plato depict them as arrogant warmongers?” [12] Carroll’s argument is not entirely consistent with Grant’s. In any event, citing authorities is not, in itself, conclusive. Experts can be wrong. Still, Atlantis-doubters do raise interesting issues.

The onus is on those who want to find truth in the Aryan and/or Atlantis myths. Give us proof. Compel us to agree. Until you do, we have no reason to think that there ever was an Atlantis, or that Aryans arose there, or that there ever have been people whom we should label Aryans. Until you compel us to think otherwise, we are justified in concluding that the cradle of the legendary Aryan race was itself almost certainly nothing but a legend, and Aryans have never walked the Earth.


Let’s approach the subject of Atlantis and its inhabitants from a different angle. By his standards, Steiner was rather specific in his descriptions of Atlantis and the people of Atlantis. Here are two examples. 

“The ancient Atlantean did not possess a developed intellect and mind, but he was equipped with fine somnambulistic-clairvoyant forces. Logical power...did not exist in ancient Atlantis, for man's faculties of thought and feeling were quite different. At that time, he could not have combined thoughts, nor could he have reckoned, counted, or read, as men do now; yet certain somnambulistic-clairvoyant spiritual forces lived in him. He could understand the language of Nature and could hear God speak to him in the murmuring waves; he could understand the rolling thunder, the rustling forest, the delicate aromas of the flowers; he could understand this language of Nature ... [T]he Atlantean just went out and listened to the sounds of the trees and of the wind and these told him what he had to do.” [13] 

“An Atlantean settlement...had a character which in no way resembled that of a modern city ... [I]n the first Atlantean periods...a settlement resembled a garden in which the houses were built of trees with artfully intertwined branches. What the work of human hands created at that time grew out of nature ... What the Atlantean built up on the basis of nature he considered to be common property just as a man of today thinks it only natural to consider as his private property what his ingenuity, his intelligence have created for him.” [14] 

Science offers no confirmation for such statements, but can we find support for Steiner elsewhere? Yes. Other clairvoyants and psychics have given accounts that jibe with Steiner’s. Edgar Cayce was an American psychic whose powers of occult perception may have rivaled or even exceeded Steiner’s own, at least according to Cayce's followers. Here's how Cayce's clairvoyant powers have been described: “His batting average on predictions was incredibly high, close to one hundred percent. He may have missed once or twice...but so much of what he said has come so miraculously true....” [15] Today an organization of spiritual seekers, the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.), perpetuates Cayce’s insights and seeks to further them through new research. [16] It is not unlike the Anthroposophical Society, which has a similar mission concerning the work of Rudolf Steiner. [17]

Not only did Cayce gaze into the future, but he provided startling information about the distant past — and, a point that may galvanize Anthroposophists, his visions of Atlantis were often remarkably similar to Steiner’s. Here is a brief rundown of major points on which Cayce generally confirms Steiner about Atlantis. (The agreement between these savants is not total, and some of the following misrepresents Steiner to some degree, but overall the accounts are in accord.)

• Atlantis was was a huge continent that occupied the area now filled by the Atlantic Ocean. 

• The ancestors of mankind dwelling there underwent a process of evolution.

• Mankind divided into races during or soon after that period.

• Some humans there were giants; some were midgets.

• The Atlanteans were technologically advanced, at least in some areas.

• The destruction of Atlantis was caused by human activity.

• Much knowledge about these matters is derived from the Akashic Record

[a celestial storehouse of knowledge accessible through clairvoyance].

Let’s sample some of the confirming quotations.

Steiner: “Several chapters from the Akashic Record will follow ... First, those events will be described which took place when the so-called Atlantean continent still existed between America and Europe. This part of the earth’s surface was once land. Today it forms the floor of the Atlantic ocean.” [18] 

Cayce: “The position...the continent of Atlantis occupied is between the Gulf of Mexico on the one hand and the Mediterranean on the other.” [19] 

(Concerning Cayce’s use of the Akashic Record, we have this affirmation: “One of the greatest sources for information on Atlantis is Edgar Cayce. The amount of information that came through him has filled books and may be comparable to Plato's writing on this ancient sea continent. Cayce's psychic ability to read Mother Earth's memories of Atlantis — what the Hindus call the Akashic Record — is amazing.” [20])

Steiner: “Human racial forms which had hardened...could continue to propagate themselves for a good while to come, but...these races too had to die out. Many of the forms were nevertheless able to maintain themselves right into the post-Atlantean times.” [21] Humanity was divided into races, some of which survived after Atlantis although they should have died out.

Casey: “As [the Atlanteans] took form by the gratifying of their own desire...they became hardened or set — much in the form of the existent human body of the day ... Hence [some came] into that form as the red or the mixture peoples...followed more closely by that of the yellow, the black, or the white races....” [22]

Steiner:  “Just at the time when Atlantis began to sink there was a great contrast between men who were good as to their qualities of soul, and were a race of little men, and the giant forms who were wicked and in whom everything turned to flesh.” [23]

Cayce: “These took on many sizes of stature, from that as may be called the midget to the giants — for there were giants...men as tall as (what would be termed today) ten or twelve feet in stature....” [24]

Steiner: “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.” [25]

Cayce: “With the continued disregard of those who were keeping the pure race and the pure peoples, man brought in destructive forces ... These destructive forces combined with those natural resources of gases, of the electrical forces made in nature, caused volcanic eruptions....” [26]

Naturally, Steiner and Casey did not agree on all particulars, or one may have omitted some details that the other one spelled out. For example, Steiner spoke of the flying vehicles used by the Atlanteans: 

Steiner: “The vehicles of the Atlanteans, which floated a short distance above the ground traveled at a height lower than that of the mountain ranges of the Atlantean period, and they had steering mechanisms by the aid of which they could rise above these mountain ranges.” [27]

Casey went further, describing devices about which Steiner was mum: “In Atlantis...[vehicles] sailed both through the air and under the water ... [Atlanteans] excelled in the use of the elevator in building in the earth ... [There were devices] associated with communications, lighter-than-air machines, and radioactive forces.” [28] 

If, as his editors believe, Cayce suggested that the Atlanteans had atomic power at their disposal, Steiner probably should have included this minor detail. Other points Steiner apparently overlooked include the horrific invasions of Atlantis by animal-beings and the humans' responses, described dramatically by Casey: “Then began that period when there were invasions of this continent by those of the animal kingdoms. This brought about that meeting of the nations of the globe to prepare a way and manner of disposing of them ... This animal invasion resulted in the development of destructive forces [i.e., weaponry] ... Hence the development of explosives ... Then...human sacrifices began. With this also came the first egress of peoples to the Pyrenees. Later we find there was the entering into the black or mixed peoples, in what later became the Egyptian dynasty.” [29]

As we can see, there were some significant differences in the accounts given by Steiner and Cayce, but there’s no denying that the two seers agreed on many, many points. The question becomes, then, what to make of this agreement. Does Cayce prove Steiner right, and vice versa?

Of course not. By the time Steiner and Cayce began talking about Atlantis, there was already an extensive literature — all of it fantastical, none of it confirmed by science, then or afterwards — about Atlantis. Our two psychics followed in train with their fabulist predecessors. Here are some of the books available to them: [30]

• VRIL, THE POWER OF THE COMING RACE, a novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1871.

• William R. Sandbach, THE OERA LINDA BOOK, published 1876; an account centering on the North Sea.

• ATLANTIS, THE ANTEDILUVIAN WORLD, by Ignatius Donnelly, 1882, a pseudoscientific account that launched a veritable Atlantis mania.

• THE STORY OF ATLANTIS — a Theosophical version of the Atlantis myth, written by William Scott-Elliot, 1896.

• THE LOST CONTINENT, by Cutcliffe Hyne, 1900. A rip-roaring yarn.

• HOW I FOUND THE LOST ATLANTIS, by Paul Schliemann, 1912 — a hoax.

Significantly, Steiner admits that his work expands upon the work done by William Scott-Elliot, a Theosophist: “In the little book, THE STORY OF ATLANTIS by W. Scott-Elliot, the reader will learn that the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean was once the continent [of Atlantis] ... Details completing those given in that book and bearing on this hoary civilization [i.e., the Atlantean civilization] will be given here [i.e., in my own work].” [31]

There is one other source Cayce may have used, one that Steiner himself could not have used: It is the book from which I have just quoted, Steiner’s own ATLANTIS AND LEMURIA, which was published in 1911. Cayce was 16 years younger than Steiner, and he outlived Steiner by nearly 20 years. Cayce had plenty of time to acquaint himself with Steiner’s work, and Scott-Elliot’s work, and all the other Atlantis yarns, hoaxes, and fantasies. The main point for us to absorb, here, is that there is nothing surprising about various frauds making similar claims when they develop those claims from the same body of myth. Once Plato gave the world the myth of Atlantis, subsequent embellishers created a more or less coherent set of fantasies about that legendary land, but the coherence of these fantasies proves nothing. We are still waiting for the first shred of tangible evidence that Atlantis ever existed. Until we have such a shred, we will have no reason whatever to think that Atlantis ever existed.

One of the best recent studies of the Atlantis myth is IMAGINING ATLANTIS by Richard Ellis. [32] Ellis summarizes things nicely: “...Plato’s Atlantis has acquired a mythology of its own. [paragraph break] From the time he wrote the dialogues that contain the story of the origins of the downfall of Atlantis, the story has perdured, and indeed, it has been amended, interpreted, embellished, and modified to the point where it has become a standard. Not that everyone knows its origins; many believe that it was originally a Greek myth, or that Edgar Cayce heard of it while in a trance ... It has everything in it: wealth, war, floods, earthquakes, destruction, mystery, cataclysms, and the downfall of an entire civilization. We can accept Atlantis as a fiction largely because there is no reliable evidence that any of the events that are described really occurred ... The tenacity of the Atlantis story suggests that we need our fantasies ... It is Plato’s story, and his alone, and no amount of mysticism...will ever change that.” [33]

That's Richard Ellis's summary. I'll begin my own summary by asking a few questions. Why believe Steiner instead of Casey? Or, come to that, why not believe Casey instead of Steiner? How to choose? Why to choose? [See "Choosing".]

Or, come to think of it, why not choose reality? Why not accept the findings of science and the urgings of rationality? Instead of winging off into the wild blue, why not find our footing in the real world?

Ultimately, the myths of Atlantis and the Aryans are just two indicators of the gullibility that is such a predominant characteristic among zealots, including Rudolf Steiner's followers. Or if "gullibility" is too offensive a term, let us call it the will to believe. Anthroposophists want the world to be a magical place where myths are true and the supernal is real. They want to believe such things, so they do believe such things — regardless of facts and reason.

We can all sympathize. We all want such things, at some level. But wanting wonders should not overwhelm our capacity for knowing the truth. Yes, we would all like to live forever in a glorious realm of out-of-this-world marvels. But we actually live on the Earth, for a short while, and then we die. This is hard to accept. Yet it is true. Below our feet is solid ground. We should stand upon it. We should find our footing in reality and truth. Dreams are, in the end, only dreams.

What happens after we die? I don't know. And neither, I submit, do you. If you have faith in an afterlife, fine. I respect everyone's right to believe. But we should remember the difference between believing and knowing. The fundamental error Steiner's followers make — taking their lead from Steiner himself — is to mistake their beliefs for knowledge. They call their belief system "spiritual science." But Anthroposophy is not a science. It is a body of beliefs, such as belief in Atlantis. Anthroposophists have every right to believe whatever they choose, but they would do well to remind themselves, occasionally, that their beliefs are just beliefs. The teachings of Anthroposophy are not firmly grounded knowledge. They are dreams — enticing dreams, perhaps; glorious dreams, perhaps — but in the end, they are only dreams.

Did Steiner himself believe the dreams he held out? This is impossible to know. I suspect he did not. I suspect that he knew full well that he was telling lies. But it makes little difference. The question for us is how to react to the things that he, and Casey, and all the other fabulists have told us. I know how I react (and I think you know how I react). But how I react makes little difference. The real question is, how do you react?

— Roger Rawlings


The Atlantic has been crisscrossed and plumbed by ships and submarines, blimps and bathyspheres. We have sent down cameras and robots and divers. We have compiled extremely good, highly detailed maps of the ocean floor. And we have found nary a scintilla of evidence that an ancient continent lurks beneath the Atlantic's waves. No Atlantean ruins. No foundations of Atlantean buildings. No broken Atlantean columns. No sculptures. No mosaic murals. No paintings. No pencil sketches. No Atlantis-era snapshots. No Atlantean DVDs. No Atlantean flash drives. Nothing.

(No tablets bearing strange, ancient scripts. No scrolls in watertight cylinders. No diaries. No memos. No invoices. No laundry lists. But you get the idea...)

(No flying cars. No wheeled cars. No carts. No sleighs. No sledges. No handcarts. No scooters. But you get the idea...)

Now, Steiner's followers — taking their lead from indications Steiner provided — may argue thusly: Of course we have found nothing. The Earth in Atlantean times was made of much softer substances than exist now, in our harshly physical times. Everything the Atlanteans left behind has long since disintegrated and vanished.

Anthroposophists have, in fact, used precisely this sort of argument, just as they have accepted such arguments from Steiner. But arguments of this kind are empty. We cannot twist lack of evidence into support for a pet theory. Lack of evidence leaves open every conceivable possibility, not just the possibility we happen to prefer. Possibilities: 1) We may have found no evidence for the existence of Atlantis because all such evidence — once so very plentiful — has disintegrated. 2) Or maybe there is still a very great amount of surviving evidence deep down in the ocean, but we haven't yet looked in just the right places, and anyway it is equivocal, unpersuasive evidence, hardly worth the effort. 3) Or maybe there is just a little remaining evidence down there, but it is very, very convincing — but pixies hide it from us. 4) Or maybe we haven't found any evidence for the existence of Atlantis because Atlantis never existed. All of these possibilities — and an infinite number of other possibilities — remain open, in the absence of evidence.

Try an analogy. Let's say you are on trial for your life, charged with first-degree murder, and the prosecutor makes this argument in court: The defendant is obviously guilty, because we have found no evidence that s/he is guilty. Now, the murderer (i.e., the defendant) would obviously have removed every bit of evidence from the crime scene, so the absence of evidence shows that the defendant worked hard to remove all the evidence. Therefore, the defendant must be guilty. If the prosecutor argued in this way, I imagine your attorney would raise an objection. (If s/he didn't, you should hire a new attorney forthwith.)

Anyone who believes in Atlantis should work to prove the case. But so far, all such efforts have flopped.

Here is a map of the floor of the Atlantic Ocean,

showing the region where Atlantis should exist

(the Straits of Gibraltar are at the right).

There is no trace of a sunken continent.

A long, transected ridge runs up the center of the ocean floor,

with submerged mountains scattered here and there.

Compare this image to the hypothetical map of Atlantis

reproduced farther down on this page.

Here is a skeptical — and unsympathetic — summary of Theosophical/Anthroposophical teachings about Lemuria, Atlantis, and Aryans. (Steiner began his occult career as a Theosophist, and he drew many of his teachings from the leaders of Theosophy.)

“Theosophists have always taken Atlantis for granted, and to the myth have added a second one — the myth of Lemuria. This name was originally proposed by a nineteenth-century zoologist for a land mass he thought must have existed in the Indian Ocean, and which would account for the geographical distribution of the lemur. Madame Blavatsky, the high priestess of theosophy, adopted the name and wrote in some detail about the ‘Third Root Race’ that she believed flourished on the island.

“According to Blavatsky, five root races have so far appeared on the planet, with two more yet to come. Each root race has seven 'sub-races,' and each sub-race has seven 'branch races.' (Seven is a mystic number for theosophists.) The first root race, which lived somewhere around the North Pole, was a race of 'fire mist' people — ethereal and invisible. The Second Root Race inhabited northern Asia. They had astral bodies on the borderline of visibility. At first, they propagated by a kind of fission, but eventually this evolved into sexual reproduction after passing through a stage in which both sexes were united in each individual. The Third Root Race lived on Lemuria. They were ape-like giants with corporeal bodies that slowly developed into forms much like modern man. Lemuria was submerged in a great convulsion, but not before a sub-race had migrated to Atlantis to begin the Fourth Root Race.

“The Fifth Root Race, the Aryan, sprang from the fifth sub-race of the Atlanteans. At the present time, according to theosophists, the Sixth Root Race is slowly emerging from the sixth sub-race of Aryans. This is happening in Southern California where, in [Theosophist] Annie Besant's words, the 'climate approaches most nearly to our ideal of Paradise.' Eventually, the American Continent will sink, and Lemuria will rise from the Pacific to be the home of the Sixth Root Race. After the Seventh Root Race (which will develop from the seventh sub-race of the sixth root race) has risen and fallen, the earth cycle will have ended and a new one will start on the planet Mercury.

“Later occultists have accepted the leads of Blavatsky, Besant, and other early theosophical leaders and expanded them in fascinating detail. A theosophical work by W. Scott-Elliott, The Story of Atlantis, 1914, is the richest source of information about the seven sub-races which succeeded each other on the Atlantean isle. The first sub-race, coming originally from Lemuria, was the Rmoahal. Members were ten to twelve feet high with mahogany black skin. The second sub-race, the Tlavatli, were copper-colored and worshipped their ancestors. Then came the Toltec, the highest culture of Atlantis, which lasted some 10,000 years. They were even more copper-colored, tall, and with Grecian features. Their science was very advanced. There were Toltec airships which operated by a cosmic force unknown today. Sometimes the Toltecs drank the hot blood of animals. (Annie Besant had written earlier that the Toltecs were twenty-seven feet high, with bodies so hard that 'one of our knives would not cut their flesh, any more than it would cut a piece of present-day rock.')

“After the Toltecs came the Turanians — irresponsible individualists but great colonizers. Then the Semites appeared, with a highly developed ability to reason and an inner conscience. They were a turbulent, discontented race, always warring with their neighbors. The sixth sub-race, the Akkadian, were the first legislators. Finally, the Mongolians. They immigrated to Asia and were the first Atlanteans to develop their culture off the island.

“The late Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Anthroposophical Society, the fastest growing cult in post-war Germany, accepted all of Scott-Elliott, then added new details of his own from a source he said he was not permitted to place on record. In his Atlantis and Lemuria, 1913, he reveals that the Lemurians were unable to reason or calculate, living chiefly by instinct. They had no speech, but communicated with each other by telepathy. They lived in caves, and possessed a highly developed will power which enabled them to lift enormous weights. The atmosphere was denser then than it is now, the water was more fluid, and the earth was in a plastic, unconsolidated state.” — Martin Gardner, FADS & FALLACIES In the Name of Science (Dover, 1957), pp. 168-169.

In case you are skeptical...

A map of Atlantis.


Compare this to the map shown previously,

the actual map of the actual floor of the actual Atlantic Ocean.

(Note that images taken from non-Anthroposophical sources,

as in this case, may not specifically reflect Steiner's teachings.

Steiner did, however, locate Atlantis about where it is shown in this map.)

For more on Lemuria and Atlantis

(as described by Steiner) see


and "Atlantis"

“If we were to journey back through time to the age that links Lemuria with Atlantis, 

we would meet with a remarkable sight: gigantic flying lizards with a lantern on their heads...” 

— Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 

(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), pp. 130-131.

[My sketch of Steiner's sketch, 2009; 

Steiner arranged the two figures horizontally; I have put them vertically. 

Plausibility is unaffected.]

"In that primeval time, the portion of the surface of the earth's globe today covered by the Atlantic Ocean was a mighty continent; while where Europe, Asia and Africa are now situated scarcely any continents [had yet] formed." — Rudolf Steiner, ATLANTIS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), pp. 6-7.



by Peter Staudenmaier

The widespread notion that the Aryan myth first became racist under the Nazis is false. That this notion persists among a wide range of contemporary Anthroposophists suggests a lack of basic knowledge about the history of racist thought.

The very idea of an "Aryan race" was nonsensical from the beginning. It is based on a conflation of linguistics and biology, and does not refer to anything in the real world. Moreover, the concept of an "Aryan race," in the form which it typically took within European culture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was patently racist. It posited a superior Aryan stock who colonized the ancient world and founded the great civilizations of antiquity. This is how Rudolf Steiner used the term. While the confusion between philology and ethnology was common in the pre-Darwinian era, it had been thoroughly criticized and dismantled by a variety of scholars by Steiner's day.

That Aryan supremacism was not a Nazi innovation has been a mainstay of research on the topic for decades, including those works whose analysis of racial ideology is closely circumscribed. Hannah Arendt's seminal essay on "Race-Thinking Before Racism" (chapter 6 in THE ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM, 1951) begins with the following remarks: "If race-thinking were a German invention, as it has been sometimes asserted,  then ‘German thinking’ (whatever that may be) was victorious in many parts of the spiritual world long before the Nazis started their ill-fated attempt at world conquest." The prominent archeologist J.P. Mallory begins his epilogue on the Aryan myth as follows: "We cannot examine the legacy of the Indo-Europeans without first dispelling the spectre of the 'Aryan Myth'. The world is all too familiar with how the concept of racial supremacy was implemented by the National Socialists in Germany, and we would be quite mistaken to imagine that this grotesque obsession with the Indo-Europeans or, as they were then more popularly known, the Aryans, was merely the creation of a handful of Nazi fanatics." (Mallory, IN SEARCH OF THE INDO-EUROPEANS, 1989.) Indeed the notion of an "Aryan race" was hardly specific to German thought; the British made extensive use of the concept during their colonial administration of India, and a number of the most influential theorists of Aryan supremacy were French.

The best comprehensive account of this phenomenon remains Leon Poliakov's 1971 book THE ARYAN MYTH. Poliakov writes in his Introduction: "In its various forms, the Aryan theory nearly always involved a value-judgement in favor of the Aryans, and the ideologists of the Third Reich did no more than stress this bias out of all proportion." While it was at least hypothetically possible for non-racists to use the term "Aryan race" without supremacist meaning (Moses Hess comes to mind as a potential example), within continental European thought the racist interpretation of the term had become predominant, indeed virtually exclusive, many years before the rise of Nazism.

Poliakov's pioneering work can now be supplemented by a range of other valuable scholarly treatments, including the following:


Thomas Trautmann, ed., THE ARYAN DEBATE (Oxford 2005)


Thomas Trautmann, THE ARYANS AND BRITISH INDIA (Berkeley 1997)


Stefan Arvidsson, “Aryan Mythology As Science and Ideology”, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, vol. 67 no. 2 (1999), 327-354

Joan Leopold, “British Applications of the Aryan Theory of Race to India, 1850-1870”, English Historical Review 89 (1974), 578-603

Peter van der Veer, “Aryan Origins” in van der Veer, IMPERIAL ENCOUNTERS: RELIGION AND MODERNITY IN INDIA AND BRITAIN (Princeton 2001), 134-157

Colin Kidd, “The Aryan Moment: Racialising Religion in the Nineteenth Century” in Kidd, THE FORGING OF RACES: RACE AND SCRIPTURE IN THE PROTESTANT ATLANTIC WORLD, 1600-2000 (Cambridge 2006), 168-202


[Note: The Afterword, above, is adapted from an essay Staudenmaier posted at http://lists.topica.com/lists/waldorf-critics/read/message.html?mid=1715726619. I have reprinted it here by permission of the author.  — RR]

Here is an item from the Waldorf Watch "news" page:

"Steiner schools 'repudiate' their founder’s racist beliefs to get state funding — but will it be enough? 

"Steiner schools, covert proponents of the nutty mystical philosophy 'Anthroposophy' are pressing hard for state funding. As I’ve already reported on this site, Steiner schools are private 'alternative' schools who were founded by an Austrian mystic, Rudolph Steiner, at the turn of the twentieth century. They present themselves today as trendy, progressive schools who welcome parents with alternative views. However, what they keep well hidden is their loony mystical beliefs. Steiner founded a philosophy called 'Anthroposophy', a sort of mystical mish-mash of ideas which includes the concept that the human race are 'evolving' through the different races, with black people being 'of childhood', Asians 'degenerate' and white people, of course, being the apogee of the evolutionary tree. Many Anthroposophists teach at Steiner schools today — and certainly form the bulk of their teacher trainers — and greatly admire Steiner.

"In its bid to boost the number of 'free schools', the government [UK] is pretty keen to give state funding to these schools but has clearly indicated to that the Steiner movement must categorically repudiate their founder’s racist beliefs. The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education has now attempted to do this here." [Francis Gilbert, 7-6-2011 http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/07/steiner-schools-repudiate-their-founders-racist-beliefs-to-get-state-funding-but-will-it-be-enough/]

It would be a great step forward if Steiner's followers were to repudiate the racism that lurks in their belief system. [See "Steiner's Racism", "Races", "Differences", etc.] The difficulty for them is that the concept of a racial hierarchy is near the core of Anthroposophy. Steiner taught that humans evolve, through reincarnation, moving through incarnation in low races to incarnation in higher races. Removing this concept is almost impossible without gutting Steiner's teachings. Still, any move away from such racist dogmas would be cause for celebration.

The "repudiation" cited, above, is indeed equivocal: "[Q] Is it true that some of Rudolf Steiners writings and lectures contained statements that could be interpreted as racist? [A] Yes. Even though Steiner's ideas are based on a profound respect for the equality, individuality and shared humanity of all people, regardless of race or ethnic origin, his works do contain a small number of quotations that are discriminatory. The SWSF [Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship] rejects these statements and all racism. However, it should be noted that other great thinkers of his time including Darwin, Schweitzer, Gandhi and Carl Jung also spoke of race in a way that offends modern sensibilities. This does not render them or their work 'racist'." The SWSF admits that Steiner made remarks that could be "interpreted as racist," which is not the same as saying clearly that they are racist, and then the SWSF tries to throw a mantle of respectability over Steiner by associating him with eminent thinkers of his time (some of whose work Steiner explicitly rejected). Acknowledging that a few of Steiner's statements are "discriminatory" is a step in the right direction, but it falls far short of what is needed. Discrimination, after all, can be considered morally neutral or even praiseworthy — it may simply mean making subtle but true differentiations.

To fully and honestly repudiate Steiner's racism, Steiner's proponents need to deal explicitly with such statements as the following, all made by Rudolf Steiner:

◊ “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."


◊ “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.”

◊ “The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe ... It has an enormous effect on the blood and the race [of the French] and contributes considerably toward French decadence. The French as a race are reverting.”

◊ “We must distinguish between soul-evolution and race-evolution. A soul may be incarnated in a race that is declining; but if that soul does not make itself evil, it will not be reincarnated in a race that is falling back, but in one that is on the up-grade [sic]."

◊ “We now stand in the Fifth Root Race.* The Sixth Race will see quite another race, noble and beautiful, in contrast to the thrown off [people who are declining, who will reincarnate as] a race of men, horribly ugly, animal-like, sensual, vicious, far more horror-provoking than our present humanity, because these will go on developing downwards.”

◊ “A race or nation stands so much the higher, the more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal human type.”

◊ “Older racial forms only persist because there are people who cannot move forward to a higher racial form.”

◊ “By striving forward...[a person] is drawn up from race to race to ever higher stages.”

Steiner did not make "a small number" of such statements. He made many such statements, and he made them repeatedly. (What I have shown here is only a sample. See "Steiner's Bile".) When pushed, Anthroposophists will sometimes acknowledge that, according to Steiner, some races are lower or less evolved than others. But Anthroposophists usually argue that such teachings are not racist because all people ascend through the same racial ranks. Steiner's followers truly do not seem to understand that any ideology that considers some races inferior to others is, by definition, racist. We also need to note that Steiner did not say that everyone rises to the same highly evolved condition. As the statements above indicate, he said that some people sink to lower and lower racial statuses, and he said that some entire races move downward.

The SWSF statement is clearly inadequate. Indeed, it creates the suspicion that Steiner's followers still do not fully recognize the racist errors in Steiner's teachings. The reflexive Anthroposophical response, even in this area, is to defend Steiner. Anthroposophists say that like others of his time, Steiner made statements that "offend modern sensibilities," but they insist this does not render Steiner or his work "racist." But this is precisely where they are mistaken. Steiner's statements do not merely offend our sensibilities, they express ideas and attitudes that are indefensible, because they are deeply and inexcusably racist. Anthroposophists will not be able to remove the racism from their belief system until they comprehend precisely how it is indeed racist.

* Steiner taught that the gods intended only one form of human being to exist in each evolutionary epoch — this is the "root race" of that epoch. Humanity evolves toward spiritual perfection by attaining higher and higher forms. The "fifth root race" is the proper form of humanity in the fifth epoch, and it is higher — more perfect — than the root race of the fourth epoch. If the divine plan played out as originally intended, humanity would climb through higher and higher forms in succeeding epochs. However, two demons interfered, causing older forms — races that belonged to prior epochs — to continue existing. This is why, Steiner said, "higher" and "lower" races exist simultaneously on the Earth.  “While there should have been basically only one form of human being...Lucifer and Ahriman preserved [earlier human types] ... Thus, forms that should have disappeared remained. Instead of racial diversities developing consecutively, older racial forms remained unchanged and newer ones began to evolve at the same time. Instead of the intended consecutive development of races, there was a coexistence of races. That is how it came about that physically different races inhabited the earth and are still there in our time although evolution should really have proceeded....” [Rudolf Steiner, THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), p. 75.]

Also from the "news" page:

This seems to be a quiet news day. Not much to report. So, instead, I'll hand the microphone to Rudolf Steiner, asking him to tell us a bit more about his racial teachings.

"If we state that the Negro race was born of the cooperation between the normal Spirits of Form* and the abnormal Spirits of Form centred in Mercury, then from an occult standpoint we are perfectly correct in describing the Negro race as the 'Mercury race'.

"Let us now continue along the line joining the centres or focal points [i.e., regions on the Earth] from which the individual races spread outward. We then come to Asia, which is the seat of the 'Venus race' or the Malayan race. We then move northward across the wide expanse of Asia and we find the Mongolian race, which is formed by the Mars forces. Then we cross over into Europe and find the Europeans who in their original racial character are 'Jupiter men'. If we cross the ocean to America which is the centre where civilizations or races die, we find there dark 'Saturn's race', the original Red Indian race. The American Indian race is the 'Saturn race'. Thus if you look into the matter more closely from an occult standpoint you will become aware of the five centres where the planetary forces are concentrated and are manifested in the external world."  — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE INDIVIDUAL FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 6, GA 121.

As we can see, race is a central concept in Steiner's teachings. It is bound up in Steiner's occultism, which he makes no effort to hide. The races are created by spiritual powers — gods — seated in the planets. In other words, races arise from occult, astrological powers. This is no small thing, for Steiner and his followers, it is terribly important. Removing these racial teachings without tearing a gaping void in the fabric of Anthroposophy. According to Steiner and his followers, racial differences are divinely ordained — the races are created by the direct action of the gods. The gods created a hierarchy of races, extending from low to high, so that we could evolve upward through the ranks of the races. [See "Steiner's Racism", "Embedded Racism", and "Races". For context, see "Astrology", "Occultism", "Higher Worlds", and "Polytheism".]

* Steiner is speaking of various sorts of gods. Normal gods evolve upward at the proper rate; abnormal gods lag behind.

The use made of the Aryan myth by the Nazis is, of course, notorious, and it was closely bound up in the psychosis that led to the Holocaust. Nazi theorists looked back to what they deemed the racially pure Germanic warriors of old, who spread a pale-skinned super-race far and wide — or so the Nazis said. Himmler and other leading Nazis made a concerted effort to find archeological proof of their theories — and they failed. [Image from Heather Pringle's THE MASTER PLAN: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust (Hyperion, 2006).] 

Steiner was not a Nazi. He must be acquitted on that score. However, there are troubling parallels between some Anthroposophical doctrines and Nazi ideology. Moreover, some Anthroposophists did become involved in fascism. [See "Sympathizers?"]

"[T]he Aryan myth is a strong one. According to an influential nineteenth-century essay on the 'Inequality of Human Races' by Arthur Gobineau...the Arya were an ancient, gifted people who migrated from their homeland to settle Europe: according to the myth, 'everything great, fruitful and noble in the work of man on this earth springs from the great Aryan family', and that included the ancient cultures of Egypt, Rome, China and Peru. Social Darwinism helped to turn the notion that races were unequal into the biological fiction that some were more fitted to survive than others. The German embryologist Haeckel and his Monist League told the world, and in particular Germany, that 'the whole history of nations is explicable by means of natural selection'. Hitler and his twisted theories turned this pseudo-science into politics, attempting to destroy while races in the name of racial purity and survival of the fittest." — Ben Macintyre, FORGOTTEN FATHERLAND (HarperCollins, 1992), p. 28.

Origin of the Specious:

Race, Lies and Stereotypes in Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy


Creationism is not the only enemy of science in today’s classroom. Within the self proclaimed “fastest growing school movement in the world”, Steiner Waldorf schools foster their belief system with a deception which is quite chilling.

Anthroposophy — the word is not even in the dictionary, and my spell-checker is foxed by it — the pseudo religion/science which lies at the heart of Steiner education (and also biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine, and cosmetics — Weleda and Dr. Hauschka) is the guiding force within these classrooms, and yet in the schools the word is barely heard, let alone explained. Schools are cagey and evasive at the mere mention of the word, and swiftly move on. It is deliberately buried. This is a religion which recruits by intentionally not setting out its beliefs. Surely this is the behaviour of a cult?

Most people think of Steiner schools as gentle places — a creative pedagogy, where every toy is wooden, and phrases like “free to learn” and “natural” are used with abandon. Only occasionally do their more ludicrous beliefs get a mention: the supernatural, the occult, belief in karma, demons, angels, Atlantis, medieval temperaments, spirit worlds, astral forces and… gnomes!

The schools routinely champion themselves as a radical alternative to the mainstream, their websites drawing people in with vague and general terminology and gushingly self-congratulatory advertisements for Steiner and the movement. But they invariably make one huge omission: that “anthroposophy” guides their every move, and that anthroposophy’s central tenet is “racial hierarchies”.

Racist? No wonder they need to hide it. But it’s not quite as simple as that. In fact, Steiner isn’t simple at all: it’s very, very complicated, as anyone questioning his work will be told, constantly and patronisingly. This isn’t the racism of bigotry or prejudice, but the paternalistic, “soft” racism which teaches that some races have “higher qualities than others”; that hair and skin colour have “spiritual significance”. That is partly why it is so alarming; it creeps in with “a spiritual smile”. And besides, the teachers had better be kind because – hey — they might come back as a “lower” race next time.

Here are a few extracts from the great man’s writings.

“The white race is the race of the future, the race that works creatively on the spirit.” (Steiner, Vom Leben des Menschen und der Erde, Dornach 1993, p. 67)

“The evolution of man through the incarnations in ever higher national and racial forms is thus a process of liberation. Man must finally appear in harmonious perfection.” (Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of Higher Worlds, p. 252)

[T]horough impregnation of the flesh by the spirit, this is the characteristic of the mission of white humanity, the whole mission of white humankind. People have white skin colour because the spirit works within the skin when it wants to descend to the physical plane…but where the spirit is held back, where it takes on a demonic character and does not fully penetrate the flesh, then white skin colour does not appear” (Rudolf Steiner, Die geistigen Hintergründe des Ersten Weltkrieges, 37)

“[O]ne 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 colour of their skin.” (Rudolf Steiner, “Farbe und Menschenrassen”, lecture in Dornach March 3, 1923)

Reincarnation and evolution are the recurring “truths” throughout his work: a divine cosmic plan, beginning on the planets, the moon and Atlantis, and culminating in a mighty war between white and coloured mankind before human evolution can run its course. Anthroposophic truth is culled entirely from Rudolf Steiner’s clairvoyant “reading” of the Akashic record — an astral history of the world past and present.

So closely guarded is this esoteric doctrine, that it is not only parents and journalists who are kept in the dark. Although teacher training consists almost entirely of Steiner’s work, it is carefully selected. Anthroposophical zealots are usually at the helm of schools, while less experienced teachers are on a path of knowledge of their own, attentively orchestrated by those above.

Those who get involved with anthroposophy are initially introduced to the “new age” material, and are gradually exposed to Steiner’s more extreme work, through “study groups” where particular texts, suggested by experienced anthroposophists, are focussed on. Only if parents are deemed “ready” will they too be encouraged to attend. Otherwise, the parents are told that Steiner is difficult and they are dropped a few cherry-picked phrases. The teachers have a divine spiritual task and have been karmically chosen; parents are superfluous.

The schools argue that anthroposophy isn’t taught to the children; but Steiner’s writing is the equivalent of the “original text”, constantly referred to by teachers. What Steiner said is often repeated as “true” simply because he said it.

Some ‘truths’ though, are less palatable than others:

If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense … In the case of fair people, less nourishment is driven into the eyes and hair; it remains instead in the brain and endows it with intelligence. Brown- and dark-haired people drive the substances into their eyes and hair that the fair people retain in their brains.” (Rudolf Steiner, Health and Illness, Vol. 1, Anthroposophic Press, 1981.)

"The black or Negro race is substantially determined by these childhood characteristics.” (Rudolf Steiner, The mission of the folk Souls, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005, p. 75.)

“Ever since the Atlantean race began slowly to disappear, the great Aryan Race has been the dominant one on earth.” (Rudolf Steiner, The Temple Legend, Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997, p. 201.)

Everything in the schools has spiritual significance,  from the curved buildings and typefaces, the colours of the walls, songs, rituals and festivals, lack of ball games, karmic reasons for leaving the bully to bully, changing left-handedness, to the choice of myths taught. Most work is copied from a teacher, including art; there are no text books from the outside world, the children are guided towards ‘pictorial’ thinking to encourage clairvoyance.

Steiner education is an initiation, created to feed anthroposophical notions for the children to use in their next incarnation, anthroposophical legends, songs, colours, rituals. The schools have a greater function, as Steiner made clear when talking about education:

“[T]he Spiritual Movement has a quite definite goal, namely, to mould future humanity in advance” (Rudolf Steiner, The Future of Man from Theosophy of the Rosicrucian)

The task of Anthroposophy is not simply to replace a false view of the world with a correct one……The task is to raise the spirit-soul into the realm of the spiritual,” (Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner, p. 115.)

And for Steiner, the spiritual was directly related to the colour of one’s skin.

So why are these things not in the public domain? Particularly since the first state funded Steiner academy in Hereford was opened in September, apparently the government and Ofsted have been hoodwinked. Many studies and reports turn out to be researched by anthroposophic sympathisers.

The anthroposophists don’t like Steiner’s belief system and work discussed in the public arena; they dislike this so much that they threaten websites with libel and lawsuits to ensure debate is gagged. This behaviour isn’t new: in 2000, following reports about racism and anti-Semitism in Steiner’s work, journalists from Spiegel and Report politics magazine received floods of threatening emails, lawsuits, and verbal abuse.

Anthroposophists also use obfuscation to deflect from discussing the facts, posting pages of links to their own glowing websites, or links comparing critics to Hamas and Osama Bin Laden, among others. Objective historical research is so feared that desperate attempts are made to distort Steiner’s beliefs with little or no regard for the academic process. By objectively deconstructing Steiner’s work, the magic is taken away.

Anthroposophy’s entire spiritual doctrine is founded on the root race theory, attaching qualities, good or bad, to different races and skin colours, and ranking them accordingly; this explains how the divine cosmic plan unfolds. It’s hardly surprising there is so much covert reticence surrounding it. And these are not ideas stuck in the past, of a man “speaking of his time”. These are themes in current debate, deliberated over by anthroposophists — teachers in Steiner Waldorf schools — who discuss the cosmic significance of the Aryan race and its task to lead into the spiritual future, or whether dividing humans into separate races, and arranging them in groups of “higher” or “lower racial forms”, is actually “racist”. It’s going on now.

How can anyone know which of Steiner’s “truths” are seeping into the classroom? There are stories all over the web of just this happening. There are those, teachers and parents, who have unplugged themselves from the matrix, escaped from Plato’s cave, and have seen it for what it really is. [http://counterknowledge.com/2009/01/origin-of-the-specious-race-lies-and-stereotypes-in-steiner’s-anthroposophy/]

You will find additional material further down on this page.
To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, use the underlined links, below.

◊◊◊ 8. THE WORST SIDE ◊◊◊

The racial teachings deep in Anthroposophy that surface sometimes at Waldorfs

Problems in the doctrines

A lecture that exculpates?

One of Steiner's suppressed lectures




Ties to Nazism? Allegations and denials

From SkepticReport [external link]

Steiner’s strange version, tied to his racial teachings

Anthroposophical racism, recapped


[1] Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Garber Communications, 1990), pp. 45-46.

Root races — a concept Steiner adopted from Theosophy — are the central, prevailing races of various historical periods of mankind's development. Smaller races, sometimes called sub-races, split off from root races.

[2] Steiner taught that “lower” humans emigrating from Atlantis became today's "lower" races. These inferior humans have been highly susceptible to demonic influences, he said.

“[I]n the case of the lower types of human beings, the life body [i.e., etheric body] was too unprotected to be able to withstand the Luciferic influence [i.e., the influences of Lucifer].” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Kessinger Publishing,  1998: 1922 edition), AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE, pp. 238-239.

Demons interfered in human evolution, preserving inferior races alongside the higher, better races. Ideally, all humans should have evolved to the higher Aryan form after Atlantis sank. But the demons Lucifer and Ahriman prevented this “Instead of racial diversities developing consecutively, older racial forms remained unchanged and newer ones began to evolve at the same time ... Lucifer and Ahriman preserved older racial forms that had developed, so that there was a coexistence of races rather than a succession.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN: The Evolution of Individuality (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), p. 75.

[3] Peter Staudenmaier, “The Aryan Myth,” Mar 21, 2007 08:25 PST, http://lists.topica.com/lists/waldorf-critics/read/ .

Anthroposophy is Steiner’s new age religion; its adherents are Anthroposophists.

[4] "Aryan, former name given to a people who were said to speak an archaic Indo-European language and who were thought to have settled in prehistoric times in ancient Iran and the northern Indian subcontinent. The theory of an 'Aryan race' appeared in the mid-19th century and remained prevalent until the mid-20th century. According to the hypothesis, these probably light-skinned Aryans were the group who invaded and conquered ancient India from the north ... However, since the late 20th century, a growing number of scholars have rejected both the Aryan invasion hypothesis and the use of the term Aryan as a racial designation, suggesting that the Sanskrit term arya ('noble' or 'distinguished'), the linguistic root of the word, was actually a social rather than an ethnic epithet." — "Aryan." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 16 Sep. 2012.

The Germanic peoples, usually considered prime examples of the Aryan race, arose far from Iran and India: “The German-speaking peoples...are extremely heterogeneous in their ethnic origins ... The German people appear to have originated on the coastal region of the Baltic Sea and in the Baltic islands in the Bronze and early Iron ages. From about 500 BC they began to move southward, crushing and absorbing the existing Celtic kingdoms; from 58 BC they clashed with Rome along the line of the Rhine and Danube rivers.” — "Germany." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 15 May 2007. See also THE TIMES CONCISE ATLAS OF WORLD HISTORY (London: Times Books Ltd., 1982), pp. 6 & 52.

[5] "Aryan." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 15 May 2007.

[6] C. Scott Littleton, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Occidental College; author, THE NEW COMPARATIVE MYTHOLOGY AND FROM SCYTHIA TO CAMELOT — cited in the WORLD BOOK MULTIMEDIA ENCYCLOPEDIA, Mac OS X Edition, Version 6.0.2, 2001.

Steiner said that to find “Atlantis, we would have to seek between present-day Europe and America.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 177.

[7] Littleton, Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] "Atlantis." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 17 Apr. 2007.

[10] "Atlantis was a rich island [sic] whose powerful princes conquered many of the lands of the Mediterranean until they were finally defeated by the Athenians and the latter’s allies. The Atlantians eventually became wicked and impious, and their island [sic] was swallowed up by the sea as a result of earthquakes."  — "Atlantis." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 16 Sep. 2012.

[11] John Grant, DISCARDED SCIENCE: Ideas That Seemed Good at the Time ... (AAPPL Artists’ and Photographers’ Press Ltd., 2006), pp. 103-104.

[12] Robert Todd Carroll, THE SKEPTIC’S DICTIONARY (John Wiley & Sons, 2003), pp. 39-41.

[13] Rudolf Steiner, "The Adept-School of the Past" (ANTHROPOSOPHIC NEWS SHEET 31/32, 1941), GA 97.

[14] Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), GA 11, “Our Atlantean Ancestors". 

[15] Jess Stern, EDGAR CAYCE: The Sleeping Prophet (Bantam, 1989) http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/esp_cayce05.htm#Contents

[16] http://www.edgarcayce.org/

[17] http://www.goetheanum.org/336.html?L=1

Anthroposophists might pause to consider the implications: Other organizations exist to promote the teachings of clairvoyant savants whose teachings vary from Steiner’s. In this essay, I point out similarities between Steiner’s visions and Cayce’s. But when we step back, the differences are at least as impressive. Steiner’s entire Theosophically inspired schema of evolution is missing from Cayce’s wondrous pronouncements. Maybe Steiner was right and Cayce was wrong. Maybe. Or maybe Cayce was right and Steiner (dare we suggest it?) was... Or (and here we approach the truth) maybe they were both off base.

[18] ATLANTIS: The Fate of a Lost Land and Its Secret Knowledge (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), pp. 11-13 (p. 12 is a map).

[19] Edgar Evans Cayce, EDGAR CAYCE ON ATLANTIS (Grand Central Publishing, 1968), p. 52.

Edgar Evans Cayce is one of Edgar Cayce’s sons.

[20] Edgar Evans Cayce, Douglas G. Richards, Gail Cayce Shwartzer THE MYSTERIES OF ATLANTIS  (A.R.E. Press, 2007) , synopsis  http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Mysteries-of-Atlantis/Edgar-Evans-Cayce/e/9780876045749

[21] Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), pp. 198-199.

[22] EDGAR CAYCE ON ATLANTIS, pp. 56-57.

[23] Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), p. 117.


[25] OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, pp. 198-200.


[27] Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Anthroposophic Press, 1987), pp. 42-44.


[29] Ibid., pp. 60-61.

[30] I have adapted this list from the Internet Sacred Text Archive  http://www.sacred-texts.com/atl/index.htm

[31] Rudolf Steiner, ATLANTIS AND LEMURIA (Rajput Press, 1911), p. 8.

Lemuria was an earlier, equally fictitious continent. See, e.g., William Scott-Elliot, THE STORY OF ATLANTIS AND THE LOST LEMURIA (CreateSpace, 2009).

[32] Richard Ellis, IMAGINING ATLANTIS (Vintage Books, 1998).

[33] Ibid., pp. 261-262.