WALDORF / STEINER
This is an alphabetized guide to significant topics in Anthroposophy,
especially those that bear on Waldorf or Steiner education.
Some important individuals are also identified.
The Encyclopedia attempts to concisely explain Anthroposophical/Waldorf subjects.
The Dictionary defines terms but does not provide explanations or examples.
The Index indicates pages at Waldorf Watch that touch on various topics.
Encyclopedia entries consist of a term, such as Anthroposophy, in bold letters, generally followed by a listing of related terms, then a definition and commentary. In many cases, links are provided to pages at Waldorf Watch where the term is used and developed.
Please note that the lengths of the entries do not always conform to the relative significance of the topics. The number of words needed to explain a topic — whether that topic is highly important or relatively unimportant — will often determine the length of an entry.
In compiling this Encyclopedia, I have drawn on such sources at ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z by Henk van Oort, THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT by Geoffrey Ahern, THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER by Robert McDermott, MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY by Stewart C. Easton, RUDOLF STEINER by Roy Wilkinson, and other texts. I believe that the result is the most thorough review of Anthroposophy and Waldorf education currently available. (All of the sources I consulted have been helpful, but some are surprisingly cursory. ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z, for instance, is a mere 140 pages long and omits many important topics.)
Perhaps you will be pleased by what you learn here about Anthroposophy and its application in Waldorf schools; perhaps you will be horrified. In either case, you should realize that Anthroposophy gives Waldorf education its form and rationale. If you cannot embrace Anthroposophy (with its belief in clairvoyance, reincarnation, karma, ranks of gods, pagan initiation, racial hierarchies, demons, subhumans, and the rest), you cannot fully affirm Waldorf schooling.
The Encyclopedia includes numerous links you can use if you want to explore topics further. The Index may also prove helpful if you want to pursue the discussion of various topics as they appear on the pages of Waldorf Watch. The Dictionary does not provide links.
— Roger Rawlings
[R. R., 2011.]
A general word of caution is in order. Any effort such as this Encyclopedia to systematically summarize the doctrines of Anthroposophy may make those doctrines seem more coherent than in fact they are. Do not be misled. Rudolf Steiner frequently contradicted himself, and such contradictions run throughout the beliefs espoused by his followers today. In truth, Anthroposophy may be so fundamentally incoherent as to defy rational comprehension. Former Anthroposophical insider Grégoire Perra has argued that quite possibly no one has ever truly comprehended Anthroposophy, not even the founder of the faith. • "Who really [has understood Anthroposophy]? Maybe not even Steiner himself! Anthroposophy is so huge, complex, and confused." [See "Mistreating Kids Lovingly."] • "[Anthroposophists] usually do not seek to impose a complete set of beliefs on those they capture in their web. Indeed, it is very rare that they themselves know Anthroposophical doctrine in its entirety. I do not think even Steiner himself truly cared about achieving deep coherence in his esoteric teachings. Jose Dupré, in his book ANTHROPOSOPHY AND LIBERTY, showed the complete intellectual corruption in the founder of Anthroposophy, extending back to 1900." [See "My Life Among the Anthroposophists, Part IV".]
THE BRIEF WALDORF / STEINER ENCYCLOPEDIA lays out Anthroposophical beliefs and practices, so far as they may be known. But if at any point while reading the Encyclopedia you think that you now "get" Anthroposophy — Steiner's teachings are now clear to you — pause and step back. Anthroposophy does not make sense. Hence, no one thinking rationally can "get" it. Anthroposophy can be explored, described, and analyzed. But, in the end, it is without substance.