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.  Here is part of the promotional copy that appears on the book’s back cover:
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].”  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.”  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. 
Steiner says that Ahriman is Mephistopheles, the demon to whom Faust sold his soul. Our doubles are smart, but in a demonic, Mephistophelian way:
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.
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.
The perverted culture of the greedy American forefathers found fertile soil for its perversions in New World. Ahriman's influence pervades the American continent.
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.
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:
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.  Consequently, Steiner was distressed, indignant, blue.  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:
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:
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.
The motive behind such murders was to gain access to occult secrets. You see,
The secret knowledge possessed by victims of violence could unhinge human evolution, if such knowledge were spread around too soon.
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:
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.
One of the modern magicians’ most evil tricks is to create medicines that deaden people to all things spiritual:
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.  Be especially skeptical of inoculations.) Modern doctors, scientists, “so-called educated people in the universities,”  and “historians, sociologists, economists, and politicians”  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!”  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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.
In reality, Anthroposophy is utterly unscientific. It is vague, confused, and unsubstantiated. I deal with this matter at some length elsewhere , 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?
Which "certain groups of people"? What secret? What masses? Steiner offers the following explanation:
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?
◊ • ◊
Suitable how? We get the general idea, but what specifically do these words mean?
What "certain forces" are we talking about? What do these words specifically mean?
◊ • ◊
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.
◊ • ◊
We aren’t getting very far. Certain people in certain circles will have certain secrets that will yield certain powers. Very illuminating.
◊ • ◊
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?
◊ • ◊
Nasty how? Nasty who? Steiner explains:
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.
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. 
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. 
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.  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,  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.  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.  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:
For more about secret brotherhoods and secret societies,
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
[Non-Anthroposophical images from
Here is an Anthroposophical symbol for Scorpio:
[See, e.g., "Rudolf Steiner Astrology Symbols",
R.R. copy, 2009.]
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.
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.
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
AN ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TRADITIONAL SYMBOLS,
(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, FROM CRYSTALS TO CROCODILES
(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:
FROM CRYSTALS TO CROCODILES, p. 80.]
[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.
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:
For information on how Steiner
viewed his "enemies"
For more information on
our materialistic age,
see "Materialism U."
For more on Ahriman,
[R. R., 2010.]
AN ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TRADITIONAL SYMBOLS
(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
AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CLAIMS, FRAUDS,
AND HOAXES OF THE OCCULT AND SUPERNATURAL
(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,
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CLAIMS, FRAUDS,
AND HOAXES OF THE OCCULT AND SUPERNATURAL
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 1995), p. 95
Steiner found great significance in
Goethe's version of the Faust legend.
Rudolf Steiner was involved in Freemasonry. Here is a quick summary, drawn largely from Helmut Zander's history of German Anthroposophy.  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. 
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.
◊◊◊ 11. THE WALDORF WORLDVIEW ◊◊◊
 Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS and the Mystery of the Human Double (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004).
 Ibid., p. 56.
 Ibid., p. 56.
 SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 56.
 Ibid., p. 57.
 Ibid., p. 61.
 Ibid., p. 67.
 Ibid., p. 69.
 Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), p. 118.
 SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 70.
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.
 The war was a downer:
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:
 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.
 Ibid., p. 58.
 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.
 SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 84.
 Ibid., p. 85.
 Ibid., p. 89.
 Ibid., p. 90.
 Ibid., p. 90.
 Ibid., pp. 90-91.
 Ibid., p. 97.
 Ibid., p. 92.
 For more about Anthroposophical “medicine,” see “Steiner’s Quackery”.
 Ibid., p. 90.
 SECRET BROTHERHOODS, p. 108.
 Ibid., p. 130.
 Ibid., p. 130.
 Ibid., pp. 135-136.
 Ibid., p. 148-149.
 Ibid., p. 171.
 Ibid., p. 181-183.
 Ibid., p. 188.
 Ibid., pp. 190-191.
 Ibid., p. 192.
 Ibid., p. 192. Note that the one who “gives us” Anthroposophy is Steiner himself.
 See “Thinking Cap”.
 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.
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.
 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.
 Richard C. Hoagland and Mike Bara, DARK MISSION: The Secret History of NASA (Feral House, 2007).
 Sylvie Browne with Lindsay Harrison, PHENOMENON: Everything You Need to Know About the Paranormal (Penguin, 2005).
 Blavatsky's teachings are laid out most comprehensively in THE SECRET DOCTRINE (Theosophical University Press, reprint edition, 1999).
 Helmut Zander, ANTHROPOSOPHIE IN DEUTSCHLAND (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GM, 2008). See, especially, the chapter "Freimaurerei," pp. 961-1015.
 See Rudolf Steiner, THE TEMPLE LEGEND: Freemasonry and Related Occult Movements (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985).