Doctrines of Paranoia and Self-Loathing

by Roger Rawlings

Appendix by Peter Staudenmaier





Rudolf Steiner was a conspiracy theorist.

I know, I know. I’ve criticized Steiner for promoting so many other forms of delusion, am I really going to pin the label “conspiracy theorist” on him, too? Yes, I'm afraid so. Facts are facts. Consider SECRET BROTHERHOODS, for instance, a book consisting of seven lectures Steiner delivered in 1917. [1] Here is part of the promotional copy that appears on the book’s back cover: 

“In the age of the internet [sic] and the proliferation of ‘conspiracy theories’, [sic] the idea that secret groups are seeking to gain control over humanity is no longer uncommon. This was not the case in 1917, however, when Rudolf Steiner spoke of this theme in these extraordinary lectures ... Steiner takes us behind the scenes of external events, revealing the dark world of secret, elitist brotherhoods working to control the masses through the forces of economics, technology and political assassinations.” 


I’ll do my best to explain what Steiner said about these subjects — to the extent that Steiner’s assertions can be explained. You’ll detect a certain incoherence in SECRET BROTHERHOODS, but that’s par for Steiner’s course. Steiner trafficked in mystification, not clarity — nonsense, not knowledge.

According to Steiner, the S.O.B.s who are plotting against us come to Earth from the great beyond. They get here by hitching a ride inside our physical bodies. Anything physical is always suspect, in Steiner’s teachings. We are born with bodies made of physical material, but at first we don’t fully inhabit these “garments” — our spiritual selves don’t easily enter our physical bodies, and this disconnect creates an opening “for another spiritual being, apart from our soul, to take possession of our body, namely, the subconscious part of our body [sic].” [2] The beings that sneak into our bodies, our “doubles,” “lead their lives by making use of human beings to enable them to inhabit the sphere in which they wish to dwell.” [3] The sphere where they want to live is the corrupting physical realm, specifically the Earth. 

Our doubles are “Ahrimanic beings,” that is, they are associates of the arch-demon Ahriman. [4] 

“Shortly before we are born another being indwells us [sic]; in the terminology we use today we would call this an ahrimanic being.” [5] 

Steiner says that Ahriman is Mephistopheles, the demon to whom Faust sold his soul. Our doubles are smart, but in a demonic, Mephistophelian way: 

“These beings of high intelligence, of a purely mephistophelian intelligence...have decided out of their own will that they do not want to live in the world to which they were assigned by the wise gods of the upper hierarchies. They want to conquer the earth....”[6] 

Background and translation: The wise gods — note the plural: polytheism — occupy spiritual hierarchies, with some gods ranking higher than others. But the spiritual realm also contains unwise, abnormal, and vicious beings who try to achieve malevolent ends. The wise gods assigned our doubles to a spiritual “world” suitable for them. But by illicitly burrowing into us (“indwelling us”), our evil doubles travel to their preferred destination, the physical Earth, where they plan to take charge. Many of the doubles work in cahoots with Ahriman, aka Mephistopheles.

Not all parts of the Earth are equally receptive to the invaders. Forces within the Earth prepare different parts of the Earth differently: 

“[D]ifferent emanations come up out of the earth in different regions.” [7] 

Some places on Earth are thus more open to evil invasions than others. As it happens, America is an especially Ahrimanic sort of place, so humanity’s evil Ahrimanic doubles especially like to come to America. 

“America was discovered under the influence of the greed for gold, under the influence of a purely materialistic culture....” [8] 

The perverted culture of the greedy American forefathers found fertile soil for its perversions in New World. Ahriman's influence pervades the American continent. 

“This is the region where, through the prevailing external conditions, above all a relationship is developed with the mephistophelian-ahrimanic nature.” [9] 

The perverse nature of America predates the arrival of white materialists from beyond the sea. Native Americans have been, themselves, spiritually deficient. They have proven themselves "abnormal" and thus incapable of evolving properly.

“[I]t was the normal human beings that were...the most capable of evolving. [Abnormal] peoples whose ego impulse was developed too strongly gradually wandered to the West [from Atlantis] and became...the Red Indians of America.” [10] 

But things got much worse in America after the greedy white materialists took charge. Emigrants from Europe, the new Americans will destroy the great cultural heritage of Europe: 

“[I]t is America’s endeavor to mechanize everything, to push everything into the realm of pure naturalism, thus gradually extinguishing Europe’s culture altogether.” [11]

Steiner, you see, associates America with technology, which is evil. In its lust for wealth, America has used technology to inflict on the world such devilish appliances as the telephone and the light bulb. Europe, which is where the descendants of “normal” humans went after Atlantis sank, has a high culture and great spiritual capacities. But the small subclass of wicked Europeans who came to America planted the seeds of a demonic society that threatens to send it evil effects back across the Atlantic, undoing Europe itself.

We should note that Steiner delivered these lectures while World War I was raging, and after the fortunes of Germany’s army had begun to fade. The war began in 1914. On April 12, 1917, the USA declared war on Germany. On June 24 of that year, American troops began arriving in France. This was the turning point of the war. The US Army reinforced the Allied forces arrayed against Germany, providing fresh troops and equipment. Steiner was a German nationalist. The unfolding military events were deeply troubling to him. He delivered the anti-American comments we’ve just read during November, 1917, when Luciferic Russia was tottering — potentially good news for Germany. The Germans had been fighting a two-front war, facing British and French forces in the west, and Russian forces in the east. If Russia withdrew from the war, Germany would be able to devote all its resources to the battle in the west. But just when Germany's fortunes started to brighten, bulging shiploads of Ahrimanic Americans began arriving in Europe, threatening to undo everything. America's intervention was very bad news for Germany. [12] Consequently, Steiner was distressed, indignant, blue. [13] Lucifer was receding in the east, but Ahriman was raging ever more fearsomely in the west.


As he often did in his lectures, in SECRET BROTHERHOODS Steiner affirms love, although he qualifies the endorsement: 

“Love is lowly when it works in a lowly sphere, and it is noble and high and spiritual when it works in a higher, spiritual sphere.” [14] 

The lowly sphere is physical reality. Steiner’s message about love is discouraging, then, because it implies that loving one’s spouse or kids or neighbors in real life, in the real world, is low. Still, we can give Steiner partial credit for endorsing love. Christians may want to give him additional credit for stressing the importance Christ, although once again Steiner puts matters strangely: 

“[I]f Christ had not passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, these beings [i.e., the doubles] would long since have gained the ability on earth to remain in the human body after a karmically predetermined death.” [15] 

Translation: Our doubles would stay inside our bodies after death (karma predetermines our death), except that Christ (who died at Calvary or Golgotha) denies them this power. Christians usually do not associate the resurrection of Christ with evil twins and karma, but this is just one of the myriad ways that Steiner's teaching are unorthodox (or, from an orthodox Christian perspective, heretical). Steiner claimed to possess special occult insights far deeper than orthodox Christian teachings. Taking his word for it requires great, unorthodox faith.

Steiner taught that the antithesis of love is manifest in, among other things, assassination — that is, planned, dispassionate murder. And here, again, Steiner offers us surprising revelations. Some assassins have been members of secret, spiritual societies acting under the guidance of their leaders.

“Right up into the nineteenth century there existed in the East a remarkable order, the Thugs ... The members of this order were obliged to murder certain individuals indicated to them by [their] superiors....” [16] 

The motive behind such murders was to gain access to occult secrets. You see, 

“[S]ouls who have been violently propelled through the gate of death know something in the spiritual world after death which the other souls do not [i.e., should not] want to learn about from them at the wrong time.” [17] 

The secret knowledge possessed by victims of violence could unhinge human evolution, if such knowledge were spread around too soon. 

Murdered people “know certain things sooner than is actually beneficial in the overall process of human evolution.”[18] 

The rest of us should not learn these “certain things” prematurely. But, naturally, our evil doubles want to gain this forbidden knowledge as soon as possible. The system they developed to get it is to assassinate selected individuals, and then to use mediums to tap into the assassinated souls’ insights: 

“Certain suitable individuals are schooled to be mediums. They are then put into a trance and the streams [i.e., knowledge or influences] coming from the spiritual world are guided to the medium by certain methods in such a way that the medium makes known certain secrets ... The only way [these secrets] can be made known is when a person who has been violently killed uses over in the other world certain forces [i.e., when the murdered person performs certain actions in the spirit realm] ... Those here on earth who have an interest in finding out about such things can then find out....” [19]

The evil forces of the universe conspire to prevent humanity from evolving properly. Our evil doubles are part of this conspiracy, which began long ago but has continued — and even accelerated — in the modern world. 

• “Such things have been going on behind the scenes of external events during the current decades.” [20] 

• “[T]hose whose intentions toward humanity are not good, in other words those who are black of grey magicians [are busily at work] to present certain groups of people with the secret of how to dominate great masses ... [S]uch domination can be put into the hands of some few individuals ... Certain circles in this materialistic age are striving to paralyse [sic] and make impossible all of humanity’s spiritual development....” [21] 

One of the modern magicians’ most evil tricks is to create medicines that deaden people to all things spiritual: 

“Endeavors to achieve this will be made by bringing out remedies to be administered by inoculation ... [T]hese inoculations will influence the human body in a way that will make it refuse to give a home to the spiritual inclinations of the soul.” [22] 

We should pause, briefly, to take stock. The tentacles of the evil conspiracies wrap all around us. Power is being sought, and achieved, by evil beings operating in the shadows. Much of this occurs along the foul avenues of science and technology, including medical science. (Placing yourself in the hands of an ordinary doctor can be a horrible mistake. Instead, you should seek treatment from Anthroposophical doctors, who follow Steiner’s guidance. [25] Be especially skeptical of inoculations.) Modern doctors, scientists, “so-called educated people in the universities,” [23] and “historians, sociologists, economists, and politicians” [24] have no true knowledge of what is happening in the world, and some of them are active members of the conspiracies directed against us. (Note that Steiner’s list of ignoramuses is comprehensive: Basically, it’s everybody but himself.) The evil ones kill our spiritual aspirations and knowledge, contributing to a mass delusion that can be described as “a general opinion: Whatever is spiritual, whatever is of the spirit, is nonsense, madness!” [26] Steiner, however, is in a position to lead us to the Truth. Following him will enable us to avoid spiritual death. 

What Steiner fails to mention is that people can be quite alive spiritually — they may be devout, pious, and enlightened — while rejecting his cartoonish visions. Indeed, true faith requires us to reject them. Rationality makes the same requirement.

Bear in mind that Steiner’s followers sat attentively in lecture halls absorbing statements of the sort I’ve been quoting. And today, other followers read these lectures and take them seriously. Apparently the spiritual paranoia fostered by Steiner (we have hidden enemies all around — some are actually inside us!) is acceptable to them. I’m not alarmed by the nonexistent threat posed by our nonexistent “doubles.” But I am alarmed that any group of adults ever accepted nonsense such as Steiner’s. That truly is spooky.


There is more in Steiner’s seven conspiracy lectures than I am presenting in this brief overview. I’m just hitting certain highlights. If you have spare time on your hands, you might get a copy of SECRET BROTHERHOODS and fill in the blanks.

Having established Steiner’s central thesis — that behind the scenes bad characters are conspiring against us — let’s skim through a few tangential points.

◊ [Nasty Secret Brotherhoods] 

“[T]here are the closed secret brotherhoods of a nasty kind whose very aim is not to let wisdom enter into humanity [i.e., to prevent us from gaining esoteric wisdom], so that people will remain stupid and foolish as far as the spiritual world is concerned while those within the closely guarded brotherhoods carry on their machinations from there.” [27] 

I am tempted to suggest that Anthroposophy is precisely the sort of system that is designed to keep people “stupid and foolish as far as the spiritual world is concerned,” but perhaps I shouldn’t. It might just be my evil twin talking, which would be embarrassing.

◊ [Good vs. Bad Secret Brotherhoods

“Knowledge about real spirits who are outside the scope of human consciousness...was always regarded as the secret possession of certain brotherhoods who...were always honestly of the opinion that the majority of human beings were insufficiently mature to possess this knowledge. And this was to a large extent indeed the case. But many other brotherhoods, those we call brotherhoods of the left-hand path, endeavoured to keep this knowledge to themselves also because when such knowledge is possessed by a small group it gives that group power over others....” [28] 

Steiner advocated meritorious secret brotherhoods, but he stood steadfast in his opposition to nasty secret brotherhoods. Whether there are more southpaws in those bad brotherhoods ("brotherhoods of the left-hand path") is unclear.

◊ [One Machination: Downplaying Materialism] 

“The zenith of materialism in human evolution has to coincide with its opposite, namely, an inwardness in human evolution that leads to Christ being indeed seen in the etheric realm [this is a reference to the "Second Coming," which Steiner said occurs in the etheric realm only]  ... There are some secret brotherhoods...who put it about that materialism will soon fizzle out [sic] ... Materialism is on the increase, and it will continue being on the increase for another four or five hundred years.” [29] 

Believing that materialism is fizzling is a trap. Falling into it would prevent us from evolving properly, in which case we would fail to attain true spiritual wisdom. The etheric realm is a level of the spiritual realm closely tied to the physical realm and associated with the universal ether postulated by physicists in the nineteenth century. The "Christ being" is not Jesus Christ, as usually understood, but the Sun God.

◊ [Power of the Evil Ones

“These brotherhoods prepare certain human souls in a way that makes them remain in the physical realm after death. If these brotherhoods then also bring it about that these souls come within their sphere of influence after death — which may well lie within their villainous power — then that brotherhood gains a huge amount of power ... They create a clientele of dead souls that remain within the sphere of the earth. These dead souls possess forces that can be guided in various ways which make it possible to gain quite specific powers over those who are not party to such things.” [30] 

The clandestine groups and their dead clients employ occult powers against us. This would be worrisome if there were such things as occult powers.

◊ [The Double Seeks Power Over Death

“[I]n every instance another being [i.e., the double] takes possession of this subconscious that we carry within us ... This subconscious being accompanies us for the whole length of the journey between birth and death ... [I]t is a very intelligent being ... [I]ts endeavour is to arrange human life in such a way that it [i.e., the double] becomes able to win power over death. For human evolution, it would be terrible if this being that takes possession of the human being...were able to die with the human being and in this way enter into worlds which we enter after death.” [31] 

Doubles cannot die and enter the spiritual realm: They are tied to the physical realm. If they gain “power over death,” they will be able to enter the spiritual realm with us when we die. This would have profound consequences for the cosmos — or something. (Bear in mind that the doubles came to the physical realm because they didn’t want to be in their proper place in the spiritual realm. Now they are eager to return to the spiritual realm, but only for nasty purposes.)

 [The Double, Freedom, and War] 

“It is this freedom of heart and soul which is so strongly objected to by that opponent [i.e., the double] about whom I have told you that [sic] he accompanies the human being from birth until death ... Under the influence of this double a great deal can emerge ... [The double blocks our] goal of enabling the evil to be transformed into good to some extent ... Where the double is strongly at work, that is where the true tendency of the fifth post-Atlantean period is being counteracted.” [32] 

We are currently in the fifth age since the sinking of Atlantis. This period has a good spiritual tendency, but dark forces are working against this tendency — which would be very bad news if Atlantis had actually existed. But it didn’t, which means we are not now (and never have been and never will be) in the fifth anything since the sinking of Atlantis. So the entire quotation is void.

◊ [Occult Egoism of Some Brotherhoods] 

“[C]ertain groups of people working in egoistically occult ways are making efforts in certain directions. Initially it was necessary for a specific kind of knowledge to retire into the background...knowledge [that is] nowadays given incomprehensible names such as alchemy or astrology and so on ... Certain brotherhoods in the West, however, have preserved the connection with the old traditions and are trying to apply it [i.e., occult knowledge] in ways that will place it at the service of a kind of group egoism.” [33] 

For our proper evolution, certain knowledge had to disappear, Steiner says. But certain brotherhoods have sought to maintain such knowledge and use it in dastardly ways: alchemy, astrology, etc. (which are now generally known only by “incomprehensible” names). But be of good cheer. Alchemy, astrology, etc. are bunk, under whatever names. So this quotation, too, is void. (Hint: They all are.)

◊ [The Antichrist and America] 

“From the quarter which will put forward the Antichrist as the Christ will come endeavours to make use of something that can work through the most material of forces, something that can work spiritually through the most material of forces ... I have shown you how the forces of the earth rise up in what I have termed the human double. People will discover this secret. It will be an American secret to use the earth’s magnetism in its duality, the northern and southern magnetism, in order to send controlling forces across the whole earth, forces that work spiritually.” [34] 

We have already seen how Steiner viewed America and its projection of power. It is interesting to speculate how the immutable truths of Anthroposophy would have mutated if America had come into the war on Germany’s side. But, given that Anthroposophy is so wholly false, this wouldn’t have made much difference in the long run. (I’ll return to the secret forces America will employ.) As for the Antichrist, Anthroposophists sometimes identify him as Ahriman, but more properly he is Sorat, the demon of the Sun, according to Steiner. [See "Evil Ones".]

◊ [Wrong Way and Right Way] 

“Then there are the brotherhoods who want to bypass the Mystery of Golgotha. They will make use of the human being’s dual nature ... The human being truly is a centaur in a certain way, for he contains the lower animal nature astrally, and in a way the human part is simply grafted on to [sic] this animal nature ... What lies in store for humanity is that the cosmic forces will be won for humanity in a dual way that is wrong and in a single way that is right. This will bring a genuine renewal of astrology....” [35] 

Astrology again. Evil brotherhoods will disregard the true meaning of the Crucifixion and use cosmic forces for ill. If Steiner knew the true meaning of the Crucifixion, his advice on these important matters would matter. But Steiner promoted gnostic teachings that to Christians are heresy and to secularists are simply absurd. In a nutshell: Either all orthodox Christians and all secular rationalists are wrong, or Steiner is wrong. Easy call. (The "dual way" of misusing cosmic forces is the combined spiritual error promoted by Ahriman and Lucifer. The "single way that is right" is the one true path: Steiner's.)

◊ [Artificial Use of the Dead

“For the remainder of earthly existence the dead will collaborate with us to a high degree. But how they collaborate will be what matters ... It will be important that people on the earth behave in such a way that collaboration with the dead in a good way can be allowed to be guided by them ... There will also, on the other hand, be many attempts to introduce the dead into human life by artificial means. The dead will be brought into human life via a detour through Gemini which in quite a specific way will cause human vibrations to continue resonating in the machines.” [36] 

Astrology, astrology. Anything coming to us through astrological signs such as Gemini is, in truth, not coming to us. So the heat’s off. The dead will stay where they belong. As for “the machines” — by which Steiner meant any and all demonic appliances — they may continue resonating, but not due to Gemini or the dead. Please, Rudolf.

The most salient characteristic of Steiner’s work is that there is almost nothing in it that stands up to scrutiny. It constitutes a dead zone. (But, then, I'm an American, so don't listen to me. Remember that I intend to "use the earth’s magnetism in its duality, the northern and southern magnetism, in order to send controlling forces across the whole earth." You have been warned.)


Steiner begins the seventh lecture in SECRET BROTHERHOODS by deriding “a very learned gentleman” who wrote of spiritual matters in a “wishy-washy way.” Steiner’s point is that his own descriptions of spiritual matters are precise, scientific, and clear, whereas other self-proclaimed spiritual leaders are frauds. Steiner always made claims of this sort. Anthroposophy, he said, is a science. It is firm and true; it is proven and exact. 

“Much depends on seeing things for what they are! [sic] But we can only see them for what they are if we are able to apply to reality the concepts and ideas given to us by the spiritual science of anthroposophy.” [37] 

In reality, Anthroposophy is utterly unscientific. It is vague, confused, and unsubstantiated. I deal with this matter at some length elsewhere [38], but for now, briefly, let’s review some of the non-wishy-washy, scientifically firm language Steiner used. To do this, we’ll loop back to some of the quotations we’ve already examined — but to avoid too much repetition, I will serve up excerpts. Notice how Steiner’s language completely contravenes his stated purpose. The words are vague, often having no definite referent; they emit a misty pall, obscuring rather than illuminating. Of course, Steiner claimed that he was withholding matters that are secret and/or harmful to us; hence he had to be a little vague. But ask yourself whether this rings true or whether it is a convenient cover, a dodge employed by a charlatan. More particularly, ask yourself whether Steiner is actually telling us anything. Is there any substance — any substantiation or even specificity — in what he says? And if there is not, then why in the world should we believe him?

1) “ present certain groups of people with the secret of how dominate great masses....” [p. 90] 

Which "certain groups of people"? What secret? What masses? Steiner offers the following explanation: 

1a) “The secret involves knowing how those masses who have little interest in external affairs, but who have budding spiritual capacities that can serve in preparing for the sixth post-Atlantean epoch [i.e., the sixth epoch since Atlantis sank], can be thoroughly dominated....” [p. 90] 

Do you know more now than you did before? What are the budding capacities? Which people have these budding capacities — almost everybody? How, exactly, can the members of these great masses, who possess these unspecified capacities, be dominated? How do these unspecified capacities help prepare for the fictitious sixth post-Atlantean epoch? (Note that once again Steiner pins his doctrines on Atlantis, thereby unintentionally invalidating his own remarks.) And, by the way, what does Steiner mean by “external affairs”? We can guess, but why should he leave us guessing?


2) “Certain suitable individuals are schooled to be mediums.” [p. 89] 

Suitable how? We get the general idea, but what specifically do these words mean? 

2a) “...a person who has been violently killed uses certain forces ...” [p. 89] 

What "certain forces" are we talking about? What do these words specifically mean? 

2b) “...guided to the medium by certain methods [such as?] in such a way [such as?] that the medium makes known certain secrets [such as?]....” [p. 89] 


3) “souls who have been violently propelled through the gate of death know something in the spiritual world....” [p. 89] 

What do they know? OK, it’s a secret that should be withheld from us. But how do we know that it is a secret that should be withheld from us? If Steiner’s intention was to keep us from knowing, he did a fine job. Unfortunately, this means that he used a lot of words to tell us next to nothing.


4) “some few individuals ... Certain circles....” [p. 90]

We aren’t getting very far. Certain people in certain circles will have certain secrets that will yield certain powers. Very illuminating.


5) “know certain things sooner than is actually beneficial....” [p. 85] 

How does Steiner know that we shouldn’t know? Does Steiner himself know what we shouldn’t know, or does he just know that we shouldn’t know these “certain things”? How do we know that he knows what we shouldn’t know or that he knows that we shouldn’t know? In any case, what “certain” “things” is he talking about?


6) “closed secret brotherhoods of a nasty kind....” [p. 108] 

Nasty how? Nasty who? Steiner explains: 

6a) “There are certain secret brotherhoods...[who] want to have the wisdom only within their closest circle so that they can use it in the service of their own lust for power ... [T]hose within the closely guarded brotherhoods carry on their machinations from there.” [p. 108] 

We still don’t know who they are, how many they are, which of them are in the inner circles... Steiner hasn’t told us much at all, except BOO! Be afraid, be very afraid

◊◊ • ◊◊

Let’s pause again for another quick review. Steiner is telling us about certain individuals, certain circles, certain secret brotherhoods, certain forces, certain methods, knowing “something,” in “such a way,” “sooner” than is “beneficial.” 

The Anthroposophical defense for this extraordinary vagueness is that Steiner was talking about secret stuff: He revealed as much as he could, but he could not go further. 

There are several problems with this defense. Even if Steiner was withholding secrets for our own good, he could have been much clearer about the scraps of information that he felt free to divulge. He could have given us some basis of fact on which to stand, some slim reason to believe him. If Steiner knew stuff that we should not know yet, he might at least have told us why it was okay for him to know. Otherwise, how can we know that he had a right to know? And how do we know that he wasn’t one of the “certain individuals” in “certain circles” who misuse certain ill-gotten secrets? 

Setting that aside, we may still wonder whether Steiner knew who belonged to the secret brotherhoods, and how many brotherhoods there are, and how large their inner circles are, and how large their outer circles are... Or did he not know? 

Setting that aside, how can his followers know to believe him? Unless they develop Steiner-like clairvoyant powers (and good luck to them if they try), they have nothing to go on but his unsupported words. But his unsupported words are astonishingly empty, as we are discovering here and now, in great and tedious detail.

◊◊ • ◊◊

Okay. Let’s pick up the pace. Here are more examples, still drawn exclusively from quotations we’ve already seen (the book contains many, many more examples). When you’ve had your fill, feel free to skip ahead.

◊ “the secret possession of certain brotherhoods who....” [p. 130] More of the same. Who?

◊ “There are some secret brotherhoods....” [p. 130] More of the same: imprecise, unproven.

◊ These brotherhoods prepare certain human souls in a way that....” [p. 135] Ditto, ditto.

◊ “which may well lie within their villainous power....” [p. 135] Sounds serious. But does it lie in their power or not? Tell us more, Rudolf.

◊ “in various ways which make it possible to gain quite specific powers over those who are not party to such things.” [p. 136] What ways? Are they possible or not? Specify the specific powers. Specify the “things” (the vaguest word in the dictionary).

◊ “a great deal can emerge....” [p. 171] (Yawn.) What can emerge? How great, how many, how much? Much “can” emerge, but will it, does it?

◊ “transformed into good to some extent....” [p. 171] To what extent, more or less? (“Some” nearly rivals “things” in vagueness.)

◊ “to a large extent” [p. 130] Better, but no cigar. Einstein would have gotten nowhere if, instead of saying “e=mc2,” he had said “certain forms of energy are, to a large extent, pretty much equivalent to...”

◊ “[C]ertain groups of people working in egoistically occult ways are making efforts in certain directions.” [p. 181] Gadzooks. Certain unnamed people working in certain unspecified ways are moving in certain unspecified directions. Stop the presses! This is big!

◊ “Initially it was necessary for a specific kind of knowledge to retire into the background....” [p. 181] It’s still in the background, for all the information Steiner is providing.

◊ “Certain brotherhoods in the West, however, have preserved the connection with the old traditions and are trying to apply it in ways that will place it at the service of a kind of group egoism.” [p. 183] Okay. These brotherhoods are in the West. Now we’re getting somewhere. These certain unspecified brotherhoods in the West have stayed in touch with certain traditions that they are attempting, with an unspecified degree of success, to use in unspecified ways in order to serve their more or less shared ego. Got it. (At least some of the unspecified ways have to do with technology — we know that much. Some involve medical technology in particular. Check. Technology and its mentor, science, are bad, according to Steiner — always setting “spiritual science” aside as a special case. But since Steiner’s point is to entirely overthrow the knowledge and methodologies that allow us to understand and function in the real world, he has a heavy responsibility to give convincing arguments. Boo! doesn’t cut it.) 

◊ “make use of something that can work through the most material of forces, something that can....” [p. 188] More of the same. "Something," forsooth. "Can," forsooth.

◊ “It will be an American secret to use the earth’s magnetism in its duality, the northern and southern magnetism, in order to send controlling forces across the whole earth, forces that work spiritually.”[p. 188] Sadly, although I am an American, I'm a little unclear on how we Yanks are going to do this. But let’s try to work it out. Americans will use an unspecified secret to somehow use "the northern and southern magnetism" (which is what, exactly, and how will we manipulate it?) to send spiritually controlling forces across the whole earth. Oh, well, sure. Now that you spell this out, it all comes clear. That’s how we'll do it! Be afraid, be very afraid. 

◊ “The human being truly is a centaur in a certain way, for he contains the lower animal nature astrally, and in a way the human part is simply grafted on to [sic] this animal nature....” [p. 191] In a certain way, this certainly could not be clearer, astrally speaking.

◊ “It will be important that people on the earth behave in such a way that collaboration with the dead in a good way can be allowed to be guided by them ... There will also, on the other hand, be many attempts to introduce the dead into human life by artificial means. The dead will be brought into human life via a detour through Gemini which in quite a specific way will cause human vibrations to continue resonating in the machines.” [p. 192] So we now know, in quite a specific way, how to cooperate with the dead, in a good way — after the dead take a detour through Gemini, of course, which will cause the machines to continue vibrating in quite a specific humanish sort of way. Clear as crystal.

So there you have it. Those are Steiner’s statements. And they have told us precisely — what? Of course, by reading and rereading Steiner’s lectures, you might winkle out more meaning than we found initially. But if the passages I haven’t quoted are similar to the ones I have (and they are), you won’t learn much. Some of Steiner’s words have meaning, but a great many do not. And the vast majority have no bearing on reality. The only way to affirm them is to shut off our brains and willfully, credulously accept vapor as a substitute for fact. Steiner often urged us to do so. Don’t think with your brains, he advised us. Intuit. Imagine. Grow organs of clairvoyance. Float away. [39]

No thanks.


Steiner’s boogeymen would be scary if he gave us the slightest reason to believe in them. He didn’t.

Nevertheless, we cannot simply laugh Steiner off, even though it is tempting. Anyone who embraces the doctrines we’ve just examined runs the risk of slipping into both paranoia (we are surrounded by evil conspirators!) and self-loathing (demonic enemies lurk inside our very bodies!). When these forms of emotional and mental suffering are fairly mild, they qualify as neurosis. If they become severe, the correct term is psychosis. 

Luring people toward mental imbalance is dreadful enough when the people are adults. But inflicting such damage on children is far more dreadful. If Steiner’s nightmarish visions were brought into a Waldorf school by the faculty, tragedy could ensue. Children absolutely should not be exposed to insane, occult nightmares that would traumatize them. I certainly would encourage Waldorf faculty members to understand this and to keep their darkest imaginings to themselves. But even if Anthroposophical Waldorf teachers try to be careful — even if they never openly voice their belief in malevolent conspiracies or demonic “doubles” — they may still convey a sense of foreboding through their facial expressions, tones of voice, and so forth. (Waldorf teachers I have known have done so.) Children are sensitive to such cues. Indeed, kids are easily damaged when immersed in an atmosphere of unspoken, mysterious apprehension. The point is that anyone who accepts Steiner’s doctrines on the matters we’ve been discussing probably should be kept away from impressionable youngsters. They should not be hired to teach impressionable youngsters. [40]

There’s also a second level of concern. Consider some of the secondary subjects Steiner mentions in THE SECRET BROTHERHOODS: black and grey magicians, astrology, alchemy, the “dangers” of modern medicine, the wiles of “Ahriman,” and so forth. Children should certainly be shielded from these sorts of mystically unhinged beliefs. But the baseless, antiscientific, false belief system that underlies doctrinaire Waldorf schools (i.e., schools that follow Steiner’s stated intentions) causes many forms of esoteric nonsense to surface in Waldorf classrooms. Belief in astrology, for instance, inevitably informs much of the class work that reflects Steiner’s doctrines. [41] Maneuvering children toward whacked-out, heretical spiritualism can cause permanent damage.

The teachings of Rudolf Steiner are laughable, but they can produce consequences that are anything but funny. The only sensible response to such occult rubbish is to steer clear of it — and, especially, to shield children from it.




Conspiracy theories hold enormous attractions for some individuals. Some people will always believe, for instance, that JFK was assassinated in a nefarious plot involving the FBI, the CIA, and other evil conspirators. No amount of evidence or argument to the contrary will sway them, because they do not want to be swayed. They “think” in much the same way as mystics “think” — and, indeed, in many cases, conspiracy theorists are mystics. They choose, they wish, they evidently need to believe that mundane reality is an illusion. They assert that behind the scenes of mundane reality large, mysterious forces swirl — and they congratulate themselves for having gained secret knowledge of these forces. This lifts them above the common herd, in their own estimation, and enriches their spirits with extraordinary insights.

A recent conspiracy theory is illustrative. In DARK MISSION: The Secret History of NASA, [42] the authors argue that NASA is controlled by a secret brotherhood bent on gaining and concealing occult secrets. That’s why Americans went to the Moon. The authors document their case by reprinting many photos of the Moon and other celestial objects. Unfortunately, the photos clearly do not show what the authors claim they show. But this apparently doesn’t stop many people from squinting and convincing themselves that yes! they can see huge artificial domes and alien geometrical excavations on the lunar surface!

Anthroposophists might well read DARK MISSION and find in it a partial confirmation of Steiner’s assertions about clandestine brotherhoods.* Indeed, they might find plenty of such “confirmation” in many places. Consider the work of Sylvia Browne, for instance. A self-described psychic, Browne has written several books with themes akin to Steiner’s: VISITS FROM THE AFTERLIFE, LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE, and PAST LIVES, FUTURE HEALING, among others. Her PHENOMENON is a brief encyclopedia of esoteric and occult phenomena. [43] Some of the entries in the book correspond with Steiner’s teachings; some do not. Latching onto the ones that do, Anthroposophists might argue that here, again, Steiner is shown to be right.

But the truth is more straightforward. Steiner drew on the work of many mystics before him, especially Helena Blavatsky, who herself drew from many previous mystics. [44] Subsequent mystics have drawn on the work of Blavatsky and Steiner. The result is that a sort of consensus has evolved among many contemporary fantasists (but by no means all): Lemuria existed, Atlantis existed, clairvoyance and other psychic powers are for real, specters and ghosts and phantoms are genuine, Bigfoot is out there, UFOs come from the great beyond, etc., etc. Because many mystics agree on such matters, they seem to confirm one another, and thus credulous innocents may be tempted to accept their teachings. But agreements among mystics do not actually provide any real evidence for any mystical claims. It makes no difference how many crackpots crib from one another or endorse one another. Crackpottery is crackpottery. Nonsense is nonsense. Lies are lies.

— Roger Rawlings

* Anthroposophists do indeed like such books, even if this particular volume is not on their list of favorites. The Anthroposophic Press has distributed a somewhat different Moon hoax book: ONE SMALL STEP - The Great Moon Hoax and the Race to Dominate Earth from Space, by Gerhard Wisnewski. [See "Today 3".] The conspiracy alleged in this instance involved the faking of the Moon landings. Malefactors faked the whole thing, in order to gain domination over the Earth.

The world would presumably be a better place 
without evil secret societies lurking in the shadows.
But good secret societies are something else:

"You have heard of Hatha-Yoga, Rajah-Yoga, and other exercises of different kinds, by means of which societies and brotherhoods connected with occult science have initiated their members. Somebody may say: All this, surely, could be attained without these secret societies. But I can tell you — and in the course of the lecture you will realise it — that the world cannot do without such societies." — Rudolf Steiner, "The Work of Secret Societies in the World" (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 93.

For more about secret brotherhoods and secret societies,
see "Magicians".

Life is complex, with duality everywhere,
dangers within and without.

How can we depict our duality, 
the presence of two beings in one body,
the self and the double?
Images of two heads atop 
a single body might do the trick.
Janus heads and 
images of androgynes 
do not necessarily indicate 
belief in supernatural doubles,
but they are suggestive and 
widespread motifs.

[Non-Anthroposophical images from 

Here is an Anthroposophical symbol for Scorpio:

[See, e.g., "Rudolf Steiner Astrology Symbols",
R.R. copy, 2009.]

A magician invoking the dead.
[Non-Anthroposophical image: 

The human psyche is complex, with many layers "speaking" in different voices. It is common to feel conflicted, torn, pulled in opposite directions. It is common to have arguments with oneself. But does this mean that we have a "double" inside? Of course not.

Even in Anthroposophy, our Janus nature is not always tied to the nightmare of demonic doubles.

An Anthroposophical Janus
(with a soaring 'do).
Sketch of a detail from a window
at the Goetheanum, the worldwide
headquarters of Anthroposophy.

"Then comes time for the new birth [i.e., reincarnation]. Before the incarnation, the human being presents itself as if possessing a Janus-head ... The spiritual soul of man looks down onto the earth. It brings parents together and their unification will create the physical conditions for the new earth-life. But it also looks back to the experiences of its earlier lives on earth and to their accomplishments, which now become the seed of destiny [karma] for the coming life. Thus, each human being carries with it into birth the earth-plan with its very individual pre-fabricated conditions of destiny." — Georg Hartmann, THE GOETHEANUM GLASS-WINDOWS (Philosophisch-Anthroposophischer Verlag, 1972), p. 55. [R.R. copy, 2009.]

A more ominous image of duality, 

also from a Goetheanum window:

The true human soul is shown 

accompanied by a "world form" 

with the head of Ahriman.

"This form carries in its snake-body the planets in sequence ... Ahriman...would like to transform all the universe with all its spiritual content and soul stirring sensations into one single machine ... [W]hen he goes beyond the borders of his effectiveness, [Ahriman] becomes an enemy of the good spiritual gods...." — George Hartman, THE GOETHEANUM WINDOWS (Philosophisch-Anthroposophischer Verlag, 1972), p. 27. [Engraving by Assia Turgenieff.]

Anthroposophists are often drawn to 
conspiracy theories beyond Steiner's own.
Here is a message by Dr. Peter Staudenmaier 
at the Waldorf Critics discussion list

It is anthroposophists themselves who draw the connection [between Anthroposophy and conspiracy theories]. Steve [Hale] is by no means unusual in that regard, for better or worse. Lots of other anthroposophists promote various conspiracy theories about 9/11 and all sorts of other things. The more prolific ones include Thomas Meyer, Terry Boardman, and Sevak Gulbekian, among others; you can find their writings online. A sense of Steiner's own conspiracist claims can be gained from a number of volumes of his work available in English, including Rudolf Steiner, Secret Brotherhoods and the Mystery of the Human Double (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004) and Steiner, The Karma of Untruthfulness: Secret Societies, the Media, and Preparations for the Great War (London: Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005). Or you can take a look at more recent anthroposophist publications, such as Thomas Meyer's book Reality, Truth and Evil: Facts, Questions and Perspectives on September 11, 2001 (Forest Row: Temple Lodge, 2005).

Another good approach is to read some of the posts on current anthroposophical email lists and public forums; particularly relevant ones include the 'Anthroposophy' list and the 'Anthroposophy Now' list, which can be found here:

Messages from anthroposophists like Carol Canning, Bradford Riley, Robert Mason, and like-minded companions can be especially useful for a sense of anthroposophical conspiracy theory today. Waldorf teacher trainers and other anthroposophists are often notably accommodating toward such claims; here, for example, is the announcement of a current series of talks (addressing 9/11, among other things) by Thomas Meyer at the Rudolf Steiner College website:

Yin and yang, the interplay of opposites,

the uniformity in polarity — 

a pervasive symbol in Eastern religions.

[Detail from the drawing, above, by a Waldorf student,

courtesy of People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools.]

Kali, the goddess worshipped by the Thugs.
She kills in order to create.
[Traditional image from J. C. Cooper's 

(Thames and Hudson, 1978), p. 175.]

"[E]very person is actually two human beings in one — 

one who looks out through the eyes 

and one who looks inside through the liver."  


 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), p. 80. 

[R. R. sketch very loosely based on 

the very sketchy sketch in the book.

The book's very sketchy sketch:


[Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004.]

By all means, buy and study several 
books of Steiner's teachings
before deciding whether to send 
your children to a Waldorf school.

“Imagine the surface of the Earth with an eastern region here and a western one there ... [T]hrough that other being which takes possession of the human being before birth and has to depart before death, via a detour through that other being the various forces work especially strongly through racial types and geographical variations. So the geographical and other differences work especially on the double which every human being carries.” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 151. [R.R. sketch, 2010, based on the one on p. 150.]

Steiner's mentor was Helena Blavatsky, a founder of Theosophy. Steiner was bowled over by Blavatsky's book, THE SECRET DOCTRINE. Most of Steiner's teachings stem from Blavastky's, although he increasingly distanced himself from her as he worked to create his own occult movement, Anthroposophy.

Here is an intriguing Q & A:

[Q] “What is occult ‘imprisonment’, and why was it inflicted on Madame Blavatsky?”

[A] “There is a certain operation of ceremonial magic by means of which a wall of psychic influences may be built up around an individual who has become dangerous, which has the effect of paralysing the higher activities, and producing what is called the ‘repercussion of effort’, and the result is a kind of spiritual sleep characterised by fantastic visions. It is an operation seldom resorted to even by Brothers of the Left, and in the case of Madame Blavatsky was disapproved of by almost all European occultists. On the American brotherhoods alone rests the responsibility for what has since happened.” — Answer by Rudolf Steiner, quoted by C. J. Harrison in THE TRANSCENDENTAL UNIVERSE; see note on p. 102 of Steiner's THE OCCULT MOVEMENT IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973).

For information on how Steiner 

viewed his "enemies"

see "Enemies".

For more information on 

our materialistic age,

see "Materialism U."


For more on Ahriman,

see "Ahriman".

[R. R., 2010.]

[From Cooper's 


(Thames and Hudson, 1978), p. 13.]

A reasonably good or "white" magician

is depicted here resisting the Devil 

by staying within a charmed circle.

[Traditional image from James Randi's 



(St. Martin’s Griffin, 1995), p. 146.]

The magician Faust is shown here 
resisting the Devil
[Illustration from an edition of the 1636 
play by Marlowe,
reproduced in 

James Randi's 



(St. Martin’s Griffin, 1995), p. 95

Steiner found great significance in 
Goethe's version of the Faust legend.
[See "Goethe".]


One Brotherhood

Rudolf Steiner was involved in Freemasonry. Here is a quick summary, drawn largely from Helmut Zander's history of German Anthroposophy. [45]  Zander’s account is cautious and judicious; he notes that the connections between Steiner and Freemasonry, real and imagined, have played a distorting role in perceptions of Anthroposophy over the years (among other things, through supposed involvement in Masonic ‘sex magic’ activities; the ostensible Freemasonic background of Anthroposophy also played an important part in the charges leveled against Steiner’s followers by the anti-esoteric faction of the Nazis).

But the basic affiliation between early Anthroposophy and Freemasonry was quite real, although it shifted a lot over time. Many Anthroposophists, to the extent that they know about this background at all, are somewhat embarrassed about it, and it doesn’t show up much in Anthroposophical accounts of the movement’s history. I think this is partly because Steiner’s Masonic period included his temporary credulousness toward a Theosophical-Masonic huckster named Theodor Reuss, and partly because during his initial socialization into the theosophical milieu Steiner tried out a variety of angles that he later dropped or assimilated in different form.

Steiner first addressed Freemasonry in 1904 (the same year he met Reuss, and just two years after Steiner’s colleague Annie Besant, a leading Theosophist, was accepted into a Freemasonic order). In 1905, Steiner and Marie, his future wife, became members of one of Reuss’s Masonic orders, and in 1906 Steiner was named head of his own Masonic ‘temple’ named Mystica Aeterna. His openly Masonic period seems to have lasted less than a decade; by the time of the establishment of the Anthroposophical Society in 1912/13, Steiner appears to have largely left Masonic trappings behind (Zander dates the end of Steiner’s active involvement in Freemasonry to 1914). But at the end of his life, Steiner attempted to incorporate some elements of Freemasonry into the planned reestablishment of a successor institution to the earlier Esoteric School, a Theosophical institution he had founded. The successor became the High School of Spiritual Science, located in the Goetheanum, the Anthroposophical headquarters in Switzerland.

Steiner’s Esoteric School had all along been modeled on Masonic lines, from 1904 onward; Besant named him “Arch-Warden” of his section of the Esoteric School in that year. Steiner’s basic claim was that some Freemasonic rites preserved secret wisdom from ancient mystery cults. Sometimes he connected this to ‘secret societies,’ sometimes to ancient Egypt, sometimes to the Druids, and so forth. Masonic motifs play a substantial role in his claims about the "temple legend," for instance. [46] 

The idea here was that primordial esoteric knowledge had been carried over into the modern era via Freemasonry (a historically false notion, but an appealing one for a figure like Steiner). From an external perspective, this is another example of a constructed tradition that for a time seems to have had real meaning for Steiner, even if it was assembled out of a collection of disparate parts.

Aside from the Esoteric School activities between 1904 and 1914, there are various traces of the Masonic influence within Anthroposophy. One example is the long-standing practice of calling local chapters of the Anthroposophical society ‘lodges.’ There is some information about the Masonic period in Steiner’s autobiography, though it isn’t always accurate. In several respects, Steiner mixed together Masonic, Rosicrucian, and occult traditions into his Theosophical- Anthroposophical syncretism, emphasizing one or another as the occasion demanded. For his conception of ‘initiation,’ they all seemed applicable at some point.

— Peter Staudenmaier


For more on Freemasonry 

and occult lodges,

both good and evil,

see "Occult Lodges".

To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, 
use the underlined links, below.



An examination of Steiner’s central text

Steiner’s extraordinary, sci-fi-like narrative of human evolution.
The tale of our ancient past and our distant future, as told by Steiner. It continues in:


Steiner promoted love, sort of

Surprising violence in Steiner's kindly vision


And badder, and baddest

America, Germany, and Waldorf

How to, he said



Back-room maneuvers


[1] Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS and the Mystery of the Human Double (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004).

[2] Ibid., p. 56.

[3] Ibid., p. 56.

[4] For more on Ahriman, see my essays “Evolution, Anyone?” and “Bad, Badder, Baddest".



[6] Ibid., p. 57.

[7] Ibid., p. 61.

[8] Ibid., p. 67.

[9] Ibid., p. 69.

[10] Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), p. 118.


[12] For more about Steiner’s embrace of Germany, see “The Good Wars”, “Rankings”, and “Steiner and the Warlord”.

For a summary account of World War I, see "World War I", ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online.

Taking him at his word, we know that Steiner was a clairvoyant who could foresee the future. Hence, he presumably knew that Germany’s last, desperate offensive in World War I — occurring in in March, 1918 — would fail, whereas the Allies’ counterattack would be devastatingly successful. World War I ended on November 11, 1918.

Odd as it may seem, Germany prevailed in the opening stages of World War II largely thanks to the extensive mechanization (Ahrimanic) of the Wehrmacht. Winston Churchill expressed sympathy for the “the lands overborne by the Nazi mechanized hordes.” As it had done in the previous war, America sat out the early hostilities, which was just as well considering that its armed forces were highly unmechanized (unahrimanic). 

For the Luciferic nature of Russia, see, e.g., T. H. Meyer, editor, LIGHT FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM: Rudolf Steiner’s association [sic] with Helmuth and Eliza von Moltke: Letters, Documents and After-Death Communications (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997, introduction by T. H. Meyer, commentaries by Johannes Tautz and Jens Heisterkamp), p. 230.

[13] The war was a downer: 

“Especially in these past three sad years [i.e., since the war began] humanity has not been at all inclined to assess the facts at all [sic] in any proper way.” — SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 171. 

Steiner believed that Germany should spread its beneficial influence throughout the world, but he said this should not be done primarily, if at all, through force of arms. [See “Steiner and the Warlord.”] The spread of American influence, unlike the superior German influence, was dreadful to Steiner. The influence of the English, or Anglo-Saxons generally, was somewhat more bearable to contemplate.

Steiner did his best to stand up to the inevitable victory — however temporary — of the Anglo-Saxons. The current age, according to Steiner, is marked by competition between Anglo-Saxon and Germanic influences, with the Anglo-Saxons bound to prevail for a while: 

"I told you some time ago that in the secret brotherhoods, especially those which grew so powerful from the times of James I onward, it was taught as an obvious truth that the Anglo-Saxon race — as they put it — will have to be given dominance over the world in the fifth post-Atlantean period.” — Rudolf Steiner, quoted by Christopher Bamford in SPIRITUALISM, MADAME BLAVATSKY, & THEOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), note 2, p. 295.

[14] Ibid., p. 53. The sort of love Steiner promotes “is noble if you can rise up to higher worlds and love what you gain through spiritual concepts.” If you think you truly love your family but have not risen to higher worlds and embraced Steiner’s spiritual concepts, you are sadly mistaken.

[15] Ibid., p. 58. 

[16] Ibid., p. 88. 

Steiner is correct that an order called the Thugs existed in India. The members worshipped the goddess Kali, and they committed ritual crimes for religious reasons. They were expunged by the British. See, e.g., "thug", ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online.


[18] Ibid., p. 85. 

[19] Ibid., p. 89.

[20] Ibid., p. 90.

[21] Ibid., p. 90.

[22] Ibid., pp. 90-91.

[23] Ibid., p. 97.

[24] Ibid., p. 92.

[25] For more about Anthroposophical “medicine,” see “Steiner’s Quackery”.

[26] Ibid., p. 90.


[28] Ibid., p. 130.

[29] Ibid., p. 130.

[30] Ibid., pp. 135-136.

[31] Ibid., p. 148-149.

[32] Ibid., p. 171.

[33] Ibid., p. 181-183.

[34] Ibid., p. 188.

[35] Ibid., pp. 190-191.

[36] Ibid., p. 192.

[37] Ibid., p. 192. Note that the one who “gives us” Anthroposophy is Steiner himself.

[38] See “Steiner’s ‘Science’”, “Unenlightened”, and “Steiner’s Illogic".

[39] See “Thinking Cap”.

[40] Many Waldorf schools have gnome figurines or dolls in the classrooms of the youngest students. (See the Afterword and Addendum to “Top Ten Jokes Told by R. Steiner”.) Steiner taught that gnomes, otherwise known as goblins, are naughty “nature spirits.” They can’t do us much harm, perhaps, but they are usually up to no good. 

• “There are beings that can be seen with clairvoyant vision at many spots in the depths of the earth ... Many names have been given to them, such as goblins, gnomes and so forth ... Their nature prompts them to play all sorts of tricks on man....” — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), pp. 62-3. 

• “Gnomes are...unable to grasp how there can be anything but an ineffectual relationship with our world.” — Rudolf Steiner, CHANCE, PROVIDENCE, AND NECESSITY (SteinerBooks, 1988), p. 95. 

A teacher who believes in gnomes or goblins, and who actually brings representations of them into the classroom, may also believe in other, worse spiritual antagonists. If this belief is picked up by youngsters, trauma may result.

[41] Many of my essays deal with the instructional program at genuine Waldorf schools, often with an eye to revealing the esoteric content and purpose of the program. See “Unenlightened,” “Weird Waldorf,” “Magical Arts,” “Foundations,” “Thinking Cap,” “Oh My Word,” “Oh My Stars,” “Underpinnings,” and others.

[42] Richard C. Hoagland and Mike Bara, DARK MISSION: The Secret History of NASA (Feral House, 2007).

[43] Sylvie Browne with Lindsay Harrison, PHENOMENON: Everything You Need to Know About the Paranormal (Penguin, 2005).

[44] Blavatsky's teachings are laid out most comprehensively in THE SECRET DOCTRINE (Theosophical University Press, reprint edition, 1999).

[45] Helmut Zander, ANTHROPOSOPHIE IN DEUTSCHLAND (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GM, 2008). See, especially, the chapter "Freimaurerei," pp. 961-1015.

[46] See Rudolf Steiner, THE TEMPLE LEGEND: Freemasonry and Related Occult Movements (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985).

[R.R., 2017.]