Not all efforts to defend Waldorf schools are worthless; not all criticisms of Waldorf schools are well-founded.
The following account was written by an individual who claims to have taught in a Waldorf school for ten years.
For that reason alone, it is worth considering.
Here is the full text, including the author’s endnotes. Following the text, I will append my own commentary.
Is Steiner's "Anthroposophy" a Satanic Cult?
by "Alice Shapiro"
June 5, 2010
For ten years, I was employed by a Waldorf school as a subject teacher and later became a class guardian.
When I first arrived at the Waldorf school I saw it as being friendly and open to all people from any religious or cultural background. The curriculum enriched with arts and music reminded me of the Jesuit style of classical education. My desire was to work in a small community type school near my home with smaller classes.
My interest and understanding of Rudolf Steiner's' lectures and writings were limited. I found most of the ideas I read outdated and skewed. With respect towards people’s choices and beliefs, I accepted my employer's belief system.
In September 2005, the high school students, teachers and some staff members went to what was called a "communication retreat" on an island setup for summer camps.
The retreat was the creation of two staff members who claimed to be experienced in this kind of group work. It was later discovered that they had never tried this with a large group of students.
The main activity of students (ages 14 to 19) and staff members was to sit in a large circle, 67 people in total, in the cafeteria for six hours divided by three sittings.
All were asked to keep silent unless the individual felt moved to speak. The beginning of this activity was signaled by a chime used by a staff member. No one could speak until they said their name each time they wanted to speak, i.e. "My name is ...".
The stated goal of this five-day activity was to bring all members of the group to one consensus of one thought. By the end of the second day, many students were intimidated by this process and were not able to express themselves. Many students showed signs of restlessness, agitation and they were clearly uncomfortable. They were not allowed to call their parents privately. Some students called this cult indoctrination and refused to attend meetings.
I tried many times during the first days of the retreat to share my concerns with the other staff members. I tried to convey the damaging effects of this type of imprinting. This retreat was far too intimidating for most students to communicate anything but fear and anger. Some students wanted to leave; a teacher physically threatened a student if she did not comply.
Brainwashing and indoctrination are defined 'as unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulators often to the detriment of the person being manipulated'.
Isolated on an island, not allowed to call parents privately, sitting long hours in a circle, falls into this category.
Thought control begins by having individuals reveal things about themselves they would not normally reveal. Some students expressed feeling inadequate for not wanting to speak. Students who refused to attend were threatened with expulsion from the school. Students who followed directives were praised effusively.
Many parents were furious about this kind of indoctrination, some students left the school and damage control was in effect. Instead of taking responsibility for an ill-fated retreat, they made me their scapegoat. I was accused of doing and saying things I did not do or say. Be this said, the exit cost from this cult was very high causing irreparable damage to my family and my career.
In the following months, I began to research this cult.
I read many books, articles and lectures from Rudolf Steiner and critical thinking groups like PLANS (People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools) and Waldorf Critics and found many stories echoing the ways things happen in this school.
Most of all, I wanted to know what was behind their facade of kindness and acceptance. Here are some of Steiner's quotes that explain why and how this religious cult is secretive.
"We also need to speak about a prayer. I ask only one thing of you. You see, in such things everything depends upon external appearances. Never call a verse a prayer, call it an opening verse before school. Avoid allowing anyone to hear you, as a faculty member, using the word 'prayer'." 
"We should be quiet about how we handle things in our school, we should maintain a kind of confidentiality. We should not speak to people outside the school, except for the parents who come to us with questions, and in that case, only about their children, so that gossip has no opportunity to arise." 
"We have to remember that an institution like the Independent Waldorf School with its anthroposophical character, has goals that, of course, coincide with anthroposophical desires. At the moment, though, if that connection were made official, people would break the Waldorf School's neck." 
"Formally, the Waldorf School is not an anthroposophical institution; rather, it is an independent creation based upon the foundations of anthroposophical pedagogy. In a way it meets the public, as well as the way it meets legal institutions, it is not an anthroposophical institution, but a school based upon anthroposophical pedagogy.” 
"If the school suddenly became an [openly] anthroposophical school, that would upset both official authorities and the public." 
This false front of who they really are exists to this day in these schools.
The claim that these Steiner/Waldorf schools make is that they are not religious but are instead a philosophy.
Anthroposophy is closely linked to Theosophy and the teachings of Madame Blavatsky. Steiner was the Head of the German Theosophical movement before he left to set up his own cult.
Waldorf schools are a religious messianic-type cult built on the dogmas of theosophical principles and beliefs put in place by a charismatic cult leader, Rudolf Steiner, who is a self-proclaimed clairvoyant wielding his own style of New World Order.
This is a polytheistic religion using the word "verses" [for the prayers] used every morning in all classes. Teachers are expected to use these prayers, meditations akin to the Buddhist method, and Steiner-prescribed spiritual exercises to gain knowledge of the gods, their hierarchies, and their higher worlds.
According to a well-known present-day anthroposophist, Roy Wilkinson, teachers are expected to develop clairvoyant faculties. Wilkinson outlines this path in the book "THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION, The Waldorf Approach," noting specifically in the chapter "Esoteric Development and the Teacher"; "This is the same path that should be followed by every teacher who takes his vocation seriously."
In his lecture given in Zurich, October 27, 1919, Steiner attributes man's evolution to Lucifer.
"Luciferian wisdom was at the utmost benefit to man in that epoch of evolution, brilliant in a certain way, graduated according to the different peoples and races among which it was spread."
Here he is referring to Greece, Babylonian, Egyptian and Asian ancient cultures.
"The whole of gnostic thought existing at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, an impressive wisdom shedding light deep into cosmic realities, this whole Gnostic knowledge was inspired by the impulse coming from Luciferian forces. One must not say that Gnostic thought is therefore false; one is merely characterizing it by saying that it is permeated by Luciferian forces."
And he further explains; "Man must oscillate to the one side according to the Luciferian principle and to the other according to the principles of Ahriman, but he must maintain his equilibrium through the cultivation of Paul's declaration, ‘Not I, but the Christ in me.’ In short, we can detect a Luciferian remnant in the East, which, I would say, is a wise guiding force left behind for the evolution of mankind in general."
He also explains in his writings, "THE INFLUENCE OF LUCIFER AND AHRIMAN”, how to train oneself in an esoteric way towards evolution "By permeating what takes ahrimanic form within us with a strongly Luciferian element." 
"In the absolute sense, nothing is good in itself, but always good or bad according to the use to which it is put." 
One could say that these practices lead to mastering the creation of deceptions, chaos and confusion and to act towards others with false compassion. Racism and discrimination are prevalent in Steiner's dogma that the " blonds and blue eyed people" are endowed with [higher] intelligence.
“On one side we find the black race, which is earthly at most. If it moves to the West, it becomes extinct. We also have the yellow race, which is in the middle between earth and the cosmos. If it moves to the East, it becomes brown, attaches itself too much to the cosmos, and becomes extinct. The white race is the future, the race that is spiritually creative.” 
“The French as a race are reverting."  "The use of French language quite certainly corrupts the soul."  To this way of thinking, Steiner also sees some children as sub humans; "Cases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings ... [they] are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of a natural demon ... Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings."  .
There are more than 800 Waldorf /Steiner schools world wide. These schools are often positioned as charter schools in the US. In Northern Ireland, they are now part of the public education system.
Other than education, Anthroposophy has many branches. They now have their own Anthroposophic Pharmaceutical Codex and International Association of Anthroposophic Pharmacists and Doctors.
They are involved in the business of caring and providing homes in their own communities for Special Needs individuals through the Camphill Communities and other such communities.
In Zurich, the Goetheanum gives conferences and train practitioners in education, medicine and mental health. There are developing schools for their brand of spiritual psychology.
 Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 20
 Ibid., p.10
 Ibid., p.705
 Ibid., p. 698
 Ibid., p. 703
 THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION, p.115
 THE INFLUENCES OF LUCIFER AND AHRIMAN (Rudolf Steiner Press), p.34
 Ibid., p.52
 VOM LEBEN DER MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE, p. 62
 FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 559
 Ibid., p.558
 Ibid., pp. 649-650
[R. R., 2010.]
This article also appears on on the Web site henrymakow.com.
I want to make clear that I in no way endorse Makow's conspiracy theories or other odd pronouncements.*
Here are some of my specific responses to the article. I will quote various parts of the article,
and I will append a comment concerning each passage I quote.
"Is Steiner's 'Anthroposophy' A Satanic Cult?"
“Some students called this cult indoctrination and refused to attend meetings ... I tried to convey the damaging effects of this type of imprinting ... Many parents were furious about this kind of indoctrination....”
“[T]hey made me their scapegoat. I was accused of doing and saying things I did not do or say. Be this said, the exit cost from this cult was very high causing irreparable damage to my family and my career.”
“Waldorf schools are a religious messianic-type cult built on the dogmas of theosophical principles and beliefs put in place by a charismatic cult leader, Rudolf Steiner, who is a self-proclaimed clairvoyant wielding his own style of New World Order.”
The author also seems to confuse Lucifer with Satan. S/he shows that Steiner had interesting things to say about Lucifer, but this does not justify the question posed by the title: “Is Steiner's ‘Anthroposophy’ A Satanic Cult?” In Steiner’s teachings, Lucifer is not Satan; Ahriman is Satan. Lucifer (the point is obviously confusing) is the “Devil” but not Satan per se. [See “Evil Ones” and “Bad, Badder, Baddest”.]
The essay in question is "The Ahrimanic Deception". Here is the entire paragraph in which the quoted sentence appears. (The translation I will use is slightly different from the one the author used.)
"Luciferian wisdom was at the utmost benefit..."
“There was still an after-effect, even in Grecian times, of the widespread cultural impulse that was derived from this Asiatic, Luciferic human being. Luciferic wisdom was of the utmost benefit to man in that epoch of evolution — brilliant in a certain way, graduated according to the different peoples and races among which it was spread. It was plainly recognizable throughout the whole of Asia, then in the Egyptian civilization, the Babylonian civilization and even in the culture of Greece.”
The important point to note is that Steiner says that "Luciferic wisdom" was of great importance to humans during particular phases of human evolution. This is not the same as saying that all of human evolution can be attributed to Lucifer ("Steiner attributes man's evolution to Lucifer”). Steiner taught that Lucifer incarnated in the East long ago, whereas Steiner described the incarnation of Ahriman as occurring much later in the West. Each of these arch-demons has affected human evolution and will continue to do so, but neither controls human evolution overall.
"Man must oscillate to the one side according to the Luciferian principle and to the other according to the principles of Ahriman, but he must maintain his equilibrium through the cultivation of Paul's declaration, ‘Not I, but the Christ in me.’"
This is how Steiner described the relationship of Ahriman, Lucifer, and Christ. Ahriman and Lucifer are beings who offer mankind some benefits but who also place terrible snares in our path. Christ stands between Ahirman and Lucifer, balancing them, so that we may receive whatever good they offer while resisting the evils they embody.
In sum, the article includes some errors and it lacks some explanations and evidence needed to support various of its claims. These defects aside, it presents a view of Waldorf education by one who claims to have had years of experience as a Waldorf teacher, and it makes some points that seem to be quite true.
It is interesting to note that one can teach at a Waldorf school for ten years (or more) without becoming deeply informed about Steiner's doctrines. This is a point I have made several times here at Waldorf Watch. Steiner wanted all Waldorf teachers to be fully committed Anthroposophists, but in practice this "ideal" is rarely attained. Typically, a Waldorf school will have an inner circle of teachers (sometimes called the College of Teachers) who are, to one degree or another, knowledgeable Anthroposophists; to one degree or another, they consider themselves "initiates". Outside this group, there may be several circles of faculty and staff who have lesser degrees of knowledge about Anthroposophical doctrine — at the outmost edges, no knowledge at all, perhaps. The inside group typically holds the power at the school, and they generally exclude the outsiders from the most important deliberations and decisions.
— Roger Rawlings
*Here is how one of Makow's books is described at Amazon:
"Bizarre and incredible as it sounds, humanity has been colonized by a satanic cult called the Illuminati. This cult represents Masonic and Jewish bankers who finagled a monopoly over government credit which allows them to charge interest on funds they create out of nothing. Naturally they want to protect this prize by translating it into a political and cultural monopoly. This takes the form of a totalitarian world government dedicated to Lucifer, who represents their defiance of God. Thus, the people who hold our purse strings are conspiring against us. To distract and control us, they have used a vast occult network (Freemasonry) to infiltrate most organizations, especially government, intelligence agencies, education and the mass media. We are being re-engineered to serve the Illuminati. They undermine institutions like marriage and religion, and promote depravity, dysfunction, corruption and division. They have orchestrated two world wars and are planning a third. Henry Makow describes this conspiracy and shows how human history is unfolding according to Illuminati plan."
This is, in my view, madness. But just as we should not dismiss "Is Steiner's 'Anthroposophy' A Satanic Cult?" because we have misgivings about the author's motivation, we should not dismiss it because it appears on Makow's Web site. The question, again, must be whether or not the article is true, not who wrote it or where it has appeared.
A heated exchange about "Is Steiner's 'Anthroposophy' A Satanic Cult?" appears at Makow's site: http://www.henrymakow.com/steiner_expose.html and http://www.henrymakow.com/steiner_comment.html. A debate between Makowites and Anthroposophists is an argument between two forms of occultism. Neither has any connection to reality.
Here are excerpts from some comments on Makow's site:
• "Your recent article by Alice Shapiro falls far below the standards of your website. If you choose to publish a diatribe against Rudolf Steiner, you should at least read some of his books first, so that you know something real about him ... Rudolf Steiner is one of the very first to speak about the secret societies and their danger to the world. Beginning in 1916, during WWI, in Switzerland, he gave many lectures in which he discussed the Freemasons, Jesuits, and other societies."
• "If one is to look at the evidence presented in this article with any degree of discernnement, then there can be no doubt that Waldorf schools are a Satanic cult hiding behind an alternative form of education."
• "Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy is not a satanic cult, and your article published today was unfortunate and misleading."
• "Great article! Just something very short of my experience with one of their so called schools. My dear child was a student in a Waldorf school for a while. So much indoctrination of political correctness."
• "Both of my kids go to Waldorf schools and though initially sceptic of the entire waldorf *scene* i can honestly say that sending my kids there, rather than to a state indoctrination center is the best decision i've made as regards their *education*."
• "Beware of the power of Devil, Henry - watch that you are not currently blindly serving Lucifer in the stance you are assuming...."
• "Your posting these hystrical diatribes against the work of Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy and Waldor Schools is quite an unfortunate demonstration one whom is allowing his own impotent emotional makeup to allow himself to become a slave to the promotion of an agenda of lies whose only benefit is to help keep mankind enslaved."
• "I was a student at Waldorf for many years and cannot overemphasize how utterly damaging that system is to a child ... [I]nstead of teaching history, Waldorf taught mythology; instead of sciences, I learned about the four elements; I learned about the fairies, elves and dwarfs living in trees and rocks ... The abuse children endured at that school...one child was misbehaving, so the teacher "creatively" improvised by making a smallish leash, and tied the child to a desk for the remainder of the class ... After leaving Waldorf, I was so behind on math and English that I had to spend a few lunch hours a week with some GREAT public school teachers who taught me basic grammar. As an adult, unraveling the lies and false belief systems taught by waldorf, anthroposophy, and naturopathy is a never-ending battle."
• "'Is Steiner's Anthroposophy a Satanic Cult?' You have got to be kidding."
• "I have the unfortunate experience of having attended one such waldorf school myself the experience was rather bad on the whole...that is to say you could physically assault other students in front of the teachers and it was a stretch to even get a verbal reprimand (non-discrimination "positiveness" policy) myself being on the recieving end of that. The peculier curriculum was also sub-par...."
• "I know a little about this group from past experience. My ex wife’s friends were heavily into Steiner schools and philosophy. I had thought alternative schools like Montessori and Steiner added a dimension that was certainly lacking in mainstream education but their fees were disproportionate and elitist and beyond my grasp at the time. I realised too late that my ex was a Satanist...."
To learn about Steiner's conspiracy theories,
see "Double Trouble".
To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, use the underlined links, below.
◊◊◊ 6. FORMER WALDORF TEACHERS, ET AL ◊◊◊
If you'd like more information about any of the topics discussed here,
you might begin by consulting the following resources:
THE SEMI-STEINER DICTIONARY
THE BRIEF WALDORF / STEINER ENCYCLOPEDIA
WALDORF WATCH INDEX
WALDORF WATCH TABLE OF CONTENTS