"[T]he soul incapable of faith
dried-up as the desert."
— Rudolf Steiner
(And No Compromises!)
Waldorf schools are the chief outreach arm of Anthroposophy — they are intended to spread Rudolf Steiner’s new-age religion. If the schools did not exist, Anthroposophy would be what it should have been, a minor cult stranded on the fringes of Western consciousness, of little interest or concern. But the schools do exist, and because their effect on students can be deeply damaging, we need to be both informed and concerned about them and about the occultism that lies behind them.
When speaking in public about Waldorf education, Rudolf Steiner — the founder of both Anthroposophy and the Waldorf movement — usually denied that his educational policies contain a religious agenda. Yet if we look just a little below the surface, we can find the truth. Consider the following remark made by Steiner:
This is quite interesting. Steiner proposes instilling a religious concept in young children — a task that would normally be reserved for a church, a religious school, or a family in the privacy of their own faith. Steiner considers this task proper for a Waldorf school. Moreover, he identifies Waldorf teachers as “anthroposophically oriented spiritual researcher[s]” and gives us a glimpse inside their mental processes: They think in terms of the “‘eternal beings and powers...’” In sum, what we have here is a picture of a Waldorf school as a religious institution, staffed by devotees of the religion.
Bear in mind, Steiner denied that Anthroposophy is a religion — it is a science, he claimed, and for this reason he called Anthroposophists spiritual researchers. This is a denial similar to, and even more fundamental than, the denial that Waldorf schools push Anthroposophy. And it is false. Note that the Anthroposophical researchers “believe” the picture given them by the gods. This is religion, not science.  And the key point is that Steiner identifies Waldorf teachers as Anthroposophists: they are spiritual scientists, spiritual researchers.
Steiner underscored the necessary devotion of Waldorf teachers to Anthroposophy when he addressed the faculty at the first Waldorf school:
In practice, not all Waldorf teachers are uncompromising Anthroposophists, but here we see Steiner telling what sorts of teachers he wanted. Waldorf teachers should not simply be Anthroposophists, they should be "true" Anthroposophists, experiencing their faith in their innermost being and rejecting all compromise. They should be wholly committed believers, in other words: devotees, supporters, adherents. This description overturns the notion that Waldorf teachers are in any realistic sense researchers or scientists engaged in an objective search for truth. Real researchers will always “compromise” in the sense of changing their minds when presented with new information. Only religious zealots refuses all compromise. But this is Steiner’s requirement: “[P]utting all compromises aside...we must be true anthroposophists in the deepest sense of the word in our innermost feeling.” This is the language of religion, not science. A scientist never has to adjure another scientist, “We must be true physicists in the deepest sense of the word in our innermost feeling.”
Despite his denials, Steiner clearly wanted Waldorf teachers to usher their students toward Anthroposophy. He wanted the teachers to move students from one state of being to another, in conformity with the goals of Anthroposophy:
In other words, Steiner told Waldorf teachers that non-Anthroposophists are fleshly robots (i.e., beings who think with their brains rather than employing clairvoyance ). The students, we may infer, are such “automatons.” But Waldorf teachers are supposed to fix the kids by moving them toward “spiritual activity.” The teachers are not to think of this as a theoretical matter, but a practical requirement. “We should work out of that spirit.”
Steiner’s intentions may have been kindly, just as most Waldorf teachers today undoubtedly have kind intentions. But even when he was speaking most sympathetically and caringly, Steiner often revealed the occult roots of his educational aims. He said, for instance, that Waldorf schooling promotes a child’s health. The physical body receives benefits from the spiritualistic content of Waldorf instruction, which places minimal demands on a child’s memory or brain:
This is an admirable goal, but it is bound up in quack medicine — the occult doctrines of Anthroposophy. And here we see the pervasive, systemic fault that runs throughout Waldorf education: This form of schooling is inseparable from the occult fallacies and falsehoods of Anthroposophy.
Consider the educational implications of making minimal demands on a student’s mind.
Steiner said that children don’t develop intellectual abilities until after age fourteen; before then, all students are effectively in “elementary school,” he indicated. This is breathtaking. It means that high school freshmen and even some sophomores cannot use their intellects — they are still elementary school children. But this sells these teenagers short. It sells all children, of all ages, short. In reality, children develop the ability to use their thinking brains, their intellects, quite early. Children's brains are still developing; their mental capacities are unformed and incomplete. But they exist. Kids can think, and good schools should help them to think rationally and well. But Waldorf schools take a different tack, especially in the earliest — and most formative — grades.
Waldorf schools embody an “educational” system that tries to keep kids (especially young kids, but effectively all kids) from thinking. Is there really any medical, psychological, or educational justification for this? No. None. The Waldorf approach is based on Anthroposophical voodoo. The Waldorf approach retards the children’s mental growth while steering them into an occult system where belief, refusal to compromise, and commitment in one’s “innermost feeling” are required.
This is religious indoctrination, not education.
[For more on such matters, see, e.g., "The Anthroposophical Indoctrination of Students in Steiner-Waldorf Schools".]
Steiner taught that faith is essential. He didn't mean that we need to believe specific ideas, precisely. He meant that the power of faith should fill our souls. But in practice, this does mean believing specific ideas — specifically, Steiner's ideas.
Anthroposophy is supposedly a science: It discovers "truths" about the spirit realm. In theory, we don't need to believe these truths, he know them. But actually, since these truths are not supported by any objective evidence, in the end we do need to believe. We must believe these "truths" despite the lack of evidence. In other words, we need faith, as Steiner essentially admitted:
We can see what Steiner meant by "faith" by observing the reverence and uncritical acceptance that he expected from his followers:
The loss of faith would wreck our evolution:
You might think that loss of faith would damage all sorts of religious attitudes and ideas, but Steiner focuses on a central concept of his own teachings, evolution. His concern is quite specifically tied to the doctrines he propounded and the movement he led.
Steiner said that we have within us spiritual intuitions that are utterly reliable, as long as we understand them in the same way he understood them:
The "wisdom, truth and knowledge" Steiner meant are the result of what he called "exact" clairvoyance. All other spiritual teachings are, to one degree or another, false; all other faiths are, to one degree or another, "blind belief." His own teachings, on the other hand, are essentially unquestionable because the "research" he conducted was "exact." And yet, what does Steiner require of us here? Belief — "belief permeated by wisdom, truth and knowledge," "what we believe to be inevitable," "belief [that] is the real fruit of the cross.”
The "cross" Steiner mentioned is, of course, Christ's cross. But Steiner taught that Christ is not the being described in the Bible. Christ, according to Steiner, is the Sun God.  And how can we know this? What is required of us to "know" this? We can develop "exact" clairvoyance like Steiner's, and then we will know.  Steiner gave elaborate instructions on how to cultivate clairvoyant powers. [See, e.g., "Knowing the Worlds", "Serving the Gods", and "Exactly".] Unfortunately, they don't work. Clairvoyance of the sort Steiner described — and on which his teachings totally depend — is a sham. In reality, no clairvoyance of any sort has ever been proven to exist. [See "Clairvoyance".]
In reality, if you want to follow Steiner and affirm his teachings, you have only one option: You must believe him. You must have faith. Otherwise, you will not evolve properly (according to Steiner). So have a care. Believe.
— Roger Rawlings
A triptych designed by Steiner for the Goetheanum,
the worldwide Anthroposophical headquarters.
The iconography of the windows at the Goetheanum is peculiar,
derived from the belief system Steiner created: Anthroposophy.
For a guide, see Georg Hartmann's THE GOETHEANUM GLASS-WINDOWS
(Philosophisch-Anthroposophischer Verlag, 1972).
[R. R. sketch, 2010.]
Waldorf student artwork,
courtesy of People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools.
The following is from the Waldorf Watch "news" page:
A new offering from SteinerBooks (Sept., 2011).
The cover shows a typical blackboard drawing by Steiner.
"Although the fruits of Anthroposophy — Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, Camphill, anthroposophic medicine, and so on — are relatively well known and moderately successful, their relationship to Anthroposophy and its vehicle for transmission, the General Anthroposophical Society, and the School for Spiritual Science, remains mysterious and unclear; sadly, the same is true of the meaning and purpose of those institutions.
"Related to this is the fact that, though these offshoots of Anthroposophy are well known, eighty-five years after his death and eighty-seven years after the re-formation of the Anthroposophical Society, what Rudolf Steiner brought into the world, what entered the world through him and what he sought to accomplish — that is, what spiritual science and spiritual-scientific research are and how one practices them — remain virtually unknown."
• ◊ •
Rudolf Steiner was a polymath, dabbling in many fields. His central effort was the creation of Anthroposophy, his "spiritual science" (also called "occult science" or "esoteric science") describing the spirit realm and laying out the proper path for human evolution. He developed his doctrines in such books as AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE and KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (republished as HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS). The General Anthroposophical Society is the central institution of the Steiner movement, headquartered in the cathedral known as the Goetheanum. The School of Spiritual Science, the chief organ for preserving and extending Anthroposophical belief, is located there. [See, e.g.,"Is Anthroposophy a Religion?", "Everything", "Higher Worlds", and "Guru".]
Most of Steiner's teachings are unknown in the wide world today, and for good reason — most of them make no sense and are riddled with obvious errors. [See, e.g., "Steiner's Blunders", "Steiner's Illogic", "Steiner's Quackery", "Steiner's 'Science'", etc.] Anthroposophy remains a tiny spiritual movement, a religion that denies it is a religion, a messianic camp with few members.
But a funny thing happened to Steiner on the way to oblivion. A few offshoots of his teachings caught on, at least to some extent. Foremost among these is Waldorf education. Although the total number of students in Waldorf schools in arguably unimpressive, there are now Waldorf schools on all continents (except, of course, Antarctica), the schools continue to proliferate, and some governments give them financial support. Waldorf education is Steiner's shining success — not because it is a sensible form of education but because it has attained a degree of popularity.
What most people don't realize is that Waldorf schools are intended to spread Anthroposophy, and to the extent that they have succeeded (fortunately, they often fail), Anthroposophy has survived. [See, e.g., "Failure" and "Who Gets Hurt".] Any serious discussion of Waldorf education must hone in on this reality: The connection between the schools and Anthroposophy is fundamental, and the schools can be rationally supported only by those who want to see Anthroposophy spread. Most people who are attracted to Waldorf schools do not understand this basic reality, thus raising a crucial issue that needs exposure and airing.
Here are a few of Steiner's statements about his intentions for Waldorf schools:
[For these and other, similar statements, see "Here's the Answer".]
The General Anthroposophical Society has fallen on hard times and is experiencing financial distress. But that need not concern us. Our attention should be focused on Waldorf schools, their intentions and methods, and the effects they can have on children — sometimes deeply damaging effects. [See, e.g., "Our Experience", "Coming Undone", "Spiritual Agenda", "Our Brush with Rudolf Steiner", "Slaps", "Help!", "Methods", "Advice for Parents", "Ex-Teacher 7", the personal accounts at PLANS, etc.]
Here is a message I posted at a discussion site
Steiner himself stressed the need for faith.
Moreover, he stressed the need for gurus.
Here's how it works. You find a guru — oh, let's say, Rudolf Steiner. Strictly relying on him, you learn what you are supposed to believe. Then, using faith, you convince yourself to believe it. Then, using your "clairvoyance" (i.e., self-deception), you "perceive" the things that you believe in (thanks to your faith and your strict reliance on your guru).
The Anthroposophical approach is somewhat different from the scientific method. Anthroposophy is a religion (or, if you prefer, a faith). It is not a science.
One of the most popular images ever created of the Creation —
by William Blake. It was often displayed, in various manners,
in the "nondenominational" Waldorf school I attended.
Steiner wrote mystery plays — a medieval art form
conveying religious teachings in pageants.
Steiner's plays, of course, convey his own teachings.
This is the "seal" for the first play,
THE PORTAL OF INITIATION.
This is the "seal" for
THE GUARDIAN OF THE THRESHOLD.
[Both sketches R.R., 2009.]
Steiner's weird doctrines flatter the human ego. For this reason, many people are drawn to his teachings. A respect for reason, reality, and truth may lead us in a different direction. People of faith, who may agree with Steiner on some points, may find that on other points he strains credulity. Secularists will certainly consider Steiner's teachings bizarre (to say the least). If we want to affirm the dignity and significance of humankind, we must do so through rationality and truth, not mystical fantasies such as Steiner's.
Steiner's attempt to revive a medieval art form
is just one indication of the importance medieval thinking
has for Anthroposophists.
Steiner's plays dramatize
the need for steadfastness among his followers:
They are beset by demons.
— Rudolf Steiner, FOUR MYSTERY PLAYS
(Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1925),
“The Soul's Awakening”, Scene 15, GA 14.
[Cover and title page from edition
released by Kessinger Publications,
based on 1920 Putnam edition.
Tint added to cover page.
For more on Steiner's plays,
Questions About Steiner's Classroom
by Milanda Rout
July 28, 2007
Ray Pereira could not believe what he was hearing. His son's teacher had just said his child had to repeat prep because the boy's soul had not fully incarnated.
"She said his soul was hovering above the earth," Mr Pereira said. "And she then produced a couple of my son's drawings as evidence that his depiction of the world was from a perspective looking down on the earth from above. "I just looked at my wife and we both thought, 'We are out of here'."
And so ended the Pereira family's flirtation with the alternative schooling method known as Steiner education. After this extraordinary parent-teacher interview, the Pereiras withdrew their son and his brother from the inner-city Melbourne government school that ran the Steiner stream.
They are one of a number of families who have relayed strange Steiner experiences to The Weekend Australian, including claims that AFL football was banned because the "unpredictability of the bounce" would cause frustration among children; immunisations were discouraged; and students recited verses to save their souls in class.
The allegations come as more and more children attend Steiner schools, with the education movement celebrating 50 years since the first school was set up in Australia. There are now more than 44 private Steiner schools across the country, 10 programs in government-run schools and it is one of the fastest-growing education movements in the world.
But as Steiner moves into the state education system in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, questions are being raised about the alternative approach.
Critics say that its philosophical basis is too religious — even comparing it to Scientology — to be in the secular public system.
But supporters deny Steiner education is religious and argue it is a holistic approach to learning.
The alternative curriculum is based on the teachings of 19th century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who believed a spiritual world existed alongside our physical one.
Steiner founded anthroposophy, which believed that by deepening the power of thinking, people could become capable of experiencing "spiritual truths".
Supporters of Steiner are adamant anthroposophy is not taught to children, and that Steiner himself said the spiritual science was only for adults who chose to do it.
But parents and religious experts are concerned that Steiner teachers learn about anthroposophy in their training and these beliefs seep into the classroom. "What a lot of people don't get is that Steiner is based on a spiritual system not an educational one," says cult expert Raphael Aron.
"The majority of people who enrol their kids don't have a clue who Rudolf Steiner really is."
Dr Aron, who is the director of Cult Counselling Australia, said schools varied greatly in their adherence to Steiner's anthroposophy beliefs because of the decentralised nature of the system in Australia.
He said there was a lack of transparency in the schools and often parents were not told about what Steiner believed, making it not dissimilar to Scientology.
"We have been contacted by a few people who have come out of the Steiner system and say they are damaged and are seeking help," Dr Aron said.
Mr Pereira said he believed parents at Footscray City Primary School were deliberately misled about the role that Steiner's beliefs played in the classroom. "It is implicit in everything they do," he said.
Mr Pereira, who is from Sri Lanka, said his concerns about Steiner's racist beliefs were realised when his children were not allowed to use black or brown crayons because they were "not pure". He said Steiner teachers at the state-run school recommended they not immunise their children because it would lead to the "bestialisation of humans".
But Rudolf Steiner Schools of Australia executive officer Rosemary Gentle said anthroposophy was not taught to children, although teachers were introduced to the subject during their training.
"It has nothing to do with what is taught. It is just the approach to teaching," she said.
"The teachers are given an anthroposophy background...and it allows them to look into a child more deeply. You look at children as you would in a family. You strive to understand the child and recognise their emerging personality."
Ms Gentle said the spotlight was on Steiner education because of a "smear and fear" campaign being waged by a small group of people. "Steiner education has been a small, but respected part of the Australian educational landscape for 50 years," she said.
Under the system, students have the same "main lesson" teacher for the first six years and textbooks are not used in primary school. Computers are banned in the primary years and television is discouraged to allow children to develop their "senses in the physical world".
Reading and writing is delayed until children have developed adult teeth — at age seven — to focus on developing the child's healthy body.
Anthroposophy lecturer Robert Martin, who trains Steiner teachers, said being aware of the spiritual side of life enriched the education experience. He said people had many different names for the spiritual world — arch angels, angels, intelligent beings and presence — and they existed long before humans.
"I want to co-work with the angels," Mr Martin said. "These individuals are very advanced ... Our job is to co-work with the spiritual beings." [http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/questions-about-steiners-classroom/story-e6frg6nf-1111114056265]
Another item from the "news" page:
From a report about the Sierra Waldorf School, on March 17, 2013:
Waldorf education is an international program that is the fastest growing independent educational movement in the world, now with more than 900 Waldorf schools in 83 countries.
* Most Waldorfs govern themselves, and thus they may be deemed independent in the broadest sense — they run their own affairs. However, to the degree that individual Waldorf schools are bound to central institutions such as the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF) or the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), their autonomy is limited by their submission to these institutions.
From the Waldorf School of Garden City, on the same day, March 17, 2013:
Today, there are over 2,500 Waldorf Schools worldwide.
• ◊ •
Getting reliable information about Waldorf schools is difficult. Various Waldorf organizations make varying claims. Sometimes the total number of Waldorfs in the world is bruited to be 3,000 or more. But such numbers are wildly exaggerated — they include at-home Waldorf play groups and other gatherings that do not truly qualify as schools. Moreover, many Waldorfish operations that may have a legitimate claim to being considered schools are nonetheless tiny, having only a handful of students. Some of these "schools" are recognized by central Waldorf organizations, but some are not recognized. Some survive and grow, while others flash into existence and then quickly disappear.
Here is one reasonably reliable tabulation of Waldorf schools worldwide, offered by a pro-Waldorf source, Bund der Freien Waldorfschulen [www.waldorfschule.de]. According to this source, today — in early 2013 — there are 1,024 Waldorf schools in the world, spread among 60 countries. By far the largest concentration of the schools (712) is in Europe, and the country having the most Waldorfs is Germany (233). There are 22 Waldorf schools in Africa, the same total as two years ago; most of these schools are in the Republic of South Africa. Today there are 199 Waldorfs in the Americas, down from 211 two years ago; most are in the USA. There are 46 Waldorf schools in Asia, and 47 in Oceana (Australia and New Zealand).
Just as it if hard to know for sure how many Waldorf schools exist, it is hard to prove or disprove the oft-repeated claim that Waldorf schools constitute "the fastest growing independent educational movement in the world." Part of the problem lies in defining the concept of "independent schools." If by "independent" we mean largely free from control by government educational authorities, then Waldorf schools generally qualify.* However, various Waldorf schools in various countries receive state funding of one form or another, and to some degree these schools may be inspected and supervised by governmental authorities. Indeed, some advocates of public education worry that inclusion of Waldorf schools in state systems may corrupt public education, while some advocates of Waldorf education worry that state supervision may subvert Waldorf aims and practices.
Then there is the issue of comparing the Waldorf movement to other educational movements worldwide. Various Muslim and Hindu schools movements are widespread and fast-spreading. Finding reliable statistics about them — and comparing these numbers to Waldorf claims — would be daunting. Unless advocates of Waldorf schooling have undertaken this work, the assertion that theirs is the "fastest growing" movement would seem to be unsupported. The educational movement to which Waldorf is most often compared is Montessori, and there too difficulties arise. The term "Montessori school" is even more amorphous than the term "Waldorf school," so a tabulation of Montessori schools is well nigh impossible. See, e.g., the Global Montessori School Census. By at least some standards, there are considerably more Montessori schools than Waldorf schools, and Montessori has spread at least as fast as Waldorf. But all of this is foggy.**
Probably the most accurate summary is that there are about a thousand Waldorf schools in the world today, and the Waldorf movement continues to grow.
** Wikipedia says, for instance, "Montessori education spread to the United States in 1911 ... [It] languished after 1914. [But] Montessori education returned to the United States in 1960 and has since spread to thousands of schools there." In one country, then — the USA — the total number of Montessori schools would seem to be much greater than the total number of Waldorf schools, while the speed of the spread of Montessori schools in that country has waxed and waned and waxed again.
Theosophy teaches that we will evolve through seven planetary stages, but there is also an eighth stage or "sphere." Steiner accepted this doctrine, but as with so much else he reworked it (even while finding difficulty with it). In Theosophy, the Eighth Sphere is the Planet of Death — in effect, Hell. Steiner accepted this, but only to a degree. Here is a "clarifying" statement. I will offer no commentary — sometimes it is best to just hear Steiner out. (In the diagram, above, the green sphere is Earth; the blue sphere the Moon; the red sphere the Eighth Sphere. The Sinnet referred to, below, is an occultist who publicly revealed the existence of the Eighth Sphere.)
[R. R., 2010.]
Steiner sometimes took questions at the end of his lectures. Here's a sample:
Question: How are Christ's words of consolation received and experienced?
Answer: Men will feel these words of consolation as though arising in their own hearts. The experience may also seem like physical hearing.
Question: What is the relation of chemical forces and substances to the spiritual world?
Answer: There are in the world a number of substances which can combine with or separate from each other. What we call chemical action is projected into the physical world from the world of Devachan — the realm of the Harmony of the Spheres. In the combination of two substances according to their atomic weights, we have a reflection of two tones of the Harmony of the Spheres. The chemical affinity between two substances in the physical world is like a reflection from the realm of the Harmony of the Spheres. The numerical ratios in chemistry are an expression of the numerical ratios of the Harmony of the Spheres, which has become dumb and silent owing to the densification of matter. If one were able to etherealise material substance and to perceive the atomic numbers the inner formative principle thereof, he would be hearing the Harmony of the Spheres.
We have the physical world, the astral world, the Lower Devachan and the Higher Devachan. If the body is thrust down lower even than the physical world, it comes into the sub-physical world, the lower astral world, the lower or evil Lower Devachan, and the lower or evil Higher Devachan. The evil astral world is the province of Lucifer, the evil Lower Devachan the province of Ahriman, and the evil Higher Devachan the province of the Asuras. When chemical action is driven down beneath the physical plane — into the evil Devachanic world — magnetismarises. When light is thrust down into the sub-material — that is to say, a stage deeper than the material world — electricity arises. If what lives in the Harmony of the Spheres is thrust down farther still, into the province of the Asuras, an even more terrible force — which it will not be possible to keep hidden very much longer — is generated. It can only be hoped that when this force comes to be known — a force we must conceive as being far, far stronger than the most violent electrical discharge — it can only be hoped that before some discoverer gives this force into the hands of humankind, men will no longer have anything un-moral left in them.
Question: What is electricity?
Answer: Electricity is light in the sub-material state. Light is there compressed to the utmost degree. An inward quality too must be ascribed to light; light is itself at every point in space. Warmth will expand in the three dimensions of space. In light there is a fourth; it is of fourfold extension — it has the quality of inwardness as a fourth dimension.
Question: What happens to the Earth's corpse?
Answer: As the residue of the Moon-evolution we have our present moon which circles around the Earth. Similarly there will be a residue of the Earth which will circle around Jupiter. Then these residues will gradually dissolve into the universal ether. On Venus there will no longer be any residue. Venus will manifest, to begin with, as pure Warmth, then it will become Light and then pass over into the spiritual world. The residue left behind by the Earth will be like a corpse. This is a path along which man must not accompany the Earth, for he would thereby be exposed to dreadful torments. But there are Beings who accompany this corpse, since they themselves will by that means develop to a higher stage.
— Rudolf Steiner, THE ETHERISATION OF THE BLOOD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971), GA 130, Oct. 1, 1911.
Here are a couple of messages I posted in September, 2011,
on the intertwined subjects of faith and rational thought.
Anthroposophists usually deny that their views hinge on belief. In particular, they deny that their views essentially consist of believing every single thing that Rudolf Steiner ever said (even when these things contradict one another). And yet it is common to find Anthroposophists fighting tooth-and-nail to defend every single thing that Rudolf Steiner ever said. Steiner’s followers are desperate to assert that Steiner was infallible — or very, very nearly so.
The Anthroposophical view is, in fact, faith. Faith in Rudolf Steiner.
I've known many very smart Anthroposophists. I was, in effect, brought up by several (John Fentress Gardner, Franz Winkler, etc.). Some of these people wrote thoughtful, impressive books. But, at root, what they affirmed was their unswerving belief in Steiner. Consider, for instance, Winkler's booklet/lecture "Our Obligation to Rudolf Steiner in the Spirit of Easter" (Whittier Books, 1955). The title itself is worth contemplating. And so is this, the nub of Winkler's message: "[W]e have learned to believe Rudolf Steiner's teachings." Believe. Believe Steiner. Without reservation, believe "Rudolf Steiner's teachings." This, in the end, is the definition of Anthroposophy.
Take this a step further. What, specifically, do Steiner’s followers think they are accepting when they accept Anthroposophy? In John Gardner's words, it is “Rudolf Steiner’s extensive and immensely fruitful research.” — John Fentress Gardner, AMERICAN HERALDS OF THE SPIRIT (Lindisfarne Press, 1992), p. 298. This "research" is the use of clairvoyance to study the spirit realm, largely by consulting the Akashic Record. [See "Akasha".] But clairvoyance does not exist, so such "research" is null. [See "Clairvoyance".] Accepting this "research" requires belief — or, more precisely, blind belief. Steiner used a nonexistent faculty, clairvoyance, to consult a nonexistent source, the Akashic Record. Believing what Steiner said calls for an amazing suspension of rational thought. But this is what Anthroposophists do. And — to shine the light back onto the central issue here — Waldorf education arises from this suspension of rationality. Waldorf education is Anthroposophy put into practice, a recognition that should worry anyone who understands the nature of Anthroposophy.
"The truth shall make you free" is more than a hopeful slogan. Freedom is difficult, of course — both attaining it and exercising it. And we could argue that freedom is impossible — we are shaped by our genes and our formative experiences (nature and nurture), and thereafter we are what we are, and we cannot be other than what we are.
Yet a few times in my life I have had a wonderful experience — and so, I'm sure, have billions of other people. I look back over episodes in my life, contemplate them, study them, read texts that seem to throw some light on them — and eventually an epiphany occurs. Aha! That's what it was! That's why I feel or think or act as I do! Well, well. At last I understand, and in the understanding I find peace. I accept the thing about myself that has troubled me, I understand it at last.
And then, sometimes, amazingly, I am free of it.
Our intellects are wonderful. Comprehension is a wonderful thing. Sometimes learning the truth leaves us no better off than before. But, sometimes, it springs open the jail door and we can walk out into the light.
To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch,
use the underlined links, below.
◊◊◊ 9. WALDORF AND RELIGION ◊◊◊
Some illustrations on each page here at Waldorf Watch
are closely connected to the essay on that page;
others are not — they provide general context.
 Rudolf Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), vol. 1, pp. 49-50 - Feb. 27, 1921.
 Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 118 - July 24, 1920.
 Ibid., p. 115 - July 24, 1920.
 Steiner consistently downplayed the importance of the brain and rational thought.
 WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), p. 139 - Aug. 10, 1923.
 Ibid., pp. 37-38 - Nov. 20, 1922.
 Rudolf Steiner, ESOTERIC CHRISTIANITY AND THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 162.
 Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944). HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS (Anthroposophic Press, 1994), p. 10.
 Ibid., p. 10.
 ESOTERIC CHRISTIANITY AND THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ, p. 162.
 Rudolf Steiner, THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (Kessinger Publishing, 1999), pp. 2-3.
 See "Was He Christian?".
 See "Clairvoyance".
 See "Steiner's 'Science'".