HE WENT TO WALDORF



The following is a translation of Grégoire Perra's

"L’endoctrinement des élèves à l’ Anthroposophie dans les écoles Steiner-Waldorf", or 

"The Anthroposophical Indoctrination of Students in Steiner-Waldorf Schools".







I do not know Perra and thus cannot independently corroborate his statements about his personal experiences. 

He says he was a Waldorf student, he became an Anthroposophist, and he worked as a Waldorf teacher.

He provides a detailed inside view of the Anthroposophical world he claims to have inhabited for so long.

He seems to be reasonably candid, pointing to faults in others but also in himself. And whatever his personal history, 

his descriptions of Waldorf education are largely consistent with many other reports made by former Waldorf teachers and students. 

His essay is also generally supported by the research into Waldorf education and Anthroposophy that has become publicly available in recent years. 

Clearly, the things he has to say are potentially of great significance. Whatever his private reasons 

for turning against Waldorf and Anthroposophy, he offers us a compelling, well-documented account. 

He deserves a serious hearing.


[For the experiences of other Waldorf teachers, see "Ex-Teacher" and the reports that follow it. Also see "Teacher Training".

For the experiences of Waldorf students and their parents, see "I Went to Waldorf", "Slaps", "Our Experience",

"Coming Undone", "Moms", and "Pops".]


— Roger Rawlings










For this translation, I have relied heavily on the assistance of a Francophone friend

who has put in several hours of selfless labor but who wishes to remain anonymous.

Guided by her and by M. Perra, I have in some places inserted explanatory phrases

that seem necessary to ease comprehension for English speakers.

Any errors in the translation are entirely my responsibility. — RR










THE ANTHROPOSOPHICAL INDOCTRINATION 

OF STUDENTS IN STEINER-WALDORF SCHOOLS

                               

By Grégoire Perra   


June, 2011


      


Anthroposophy is the doctrine of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), philosopher, Theosophist, mystic, and teacher of the early twentieth century, from Austria-Hungary. The Anthroposophical Society, an association which has the mission spreading Steiner’s esoteric doctrine, is the result of a split that occurred in 1913 within the Theosophical Society. Rudolf Steiner's doctrine has a large component of Gnostic teachings, with elements as diverse as reincarnation and karma, the solar nature of Christ, the various nonphysical bodies of man, etc. But Steiner’s teachings are not merely theoretical. Rudolf Steiner proposed them as the foundation for new activities, some of which have attained global success: among them are the cosmetics firm Weleda, biodynamic agriculture, and Waldorf education.


On the website of the Federation of Waldorf Schools, or on visitors days at these schools, no one will speak openly about the links between Waldorf education and Anthroposophical beliefs. You will hear about a form of schooling that places the development of the individual at the center of its concerns, taking into account the uniqueness of each human being. Rudolf Steiner is presented as a teacher and philosopher of the last century, while the Steiner-Waldorf schools are described as innovative institutions, comparable to Montessori schools. You will not hear about Anthroposophy as an esoteric doctrine constituting the theoretical foundation of Waldorf teaching, and certainly you will not hear about the human or institutional ties [1] that directly connect Waldorf schools and the Anthroposophical Society. [2]


And yet, these links between Steiner-Waldorf schools and the work of Rudolf Steiner, and the ties to the institutions that promote Steiner's work, are quite real. I can testify to this in several ways: as a former student who received most of his schooling from Waldorf schools; as a former teacher at these schools who received "teacher training" at the Rudolf Steiner Institute of Chatou (as it were, the IUFM of Steiner-Waldorf schools in France); and as a former member of the Anthroposophical Society who, for years, worked closely with the directing committee. From 1979 to 1989, I was a student of Steiner-Waldorf schools of Verrières-le-Buisson and Chatou, near Paris. I was nine years old when my parents, disappointed by the schools run by the Ministry of Education, put me in a Waldorf school. At the end of that period, during my years of high school, I attended some lectures on Anthroposophical topics. [3] This is why, from 1990 to 1995, as a young student, I wanted to regularly attend public lectures at the Anthroposophical Society in Paris, where I became a member from 1995 to 2009. From 1992 to 2004, I was also, with some interruptions, a teacher in both Steiner-Waldorf schools in the Paris region. During that same period, and until my resignation in 2009, I worked closely with the President of the Anthroposophical Society in France, especially on the issue of young people, for whom I had been asked to design "Anthroposophic training." An important part of this work was to contact Waldorf alumni who "have the karma to join Anthroposophy," in the words of Bodo von Plato, a member of the directing committee of the General Anthroposophical Society, with whom I collaborated to this project. So I was an important member of the Anthroposophical Society, giving lectures, leading working groups, illustrating and writing articles in various journals, and co-authoring a book published by one of their in-house presses. [4] I occasionally had the "privilege" to meet with a member of the directing committee of the central Anthroposophical Society, which is headquartered near Basel, in Switzerland. Within the Anthroposophical Society, I was a member of the School of Spiritual Science — that is to say, I was included in the special category of Anthroposophists having access to higher occult truths that are withheld from regular members of the Anthroposophical Society. I participated in esoteric lessons, which is to say I participated in the secret cult of the School of Spiritual Science. [5] This cult also held meetings even within the school premises of Steiner Verrières-le-Buisson.


Today, with hindsight, it is clear to me that what led me to become an active and prominent member of this sectarian organization began with my enrollment in a Waldorf school at the age of nine years. The rest of my course in life was only the logical result of the indoctrination I had been subjected to.




I.


An Insidious Indoctrination


1. Hiding Anthroposophy in the Subjects Taught



Based on my experience as a former student, a teacher at my old school, and an Anthroposophist, I would like to describe the subtlety of indoctrination that students in Waldorf schools are subjected to. In fact, its chief characteristic is its disguised form. I should state that the various ideas of Rudolf Steiner are taught to Waldorf students, but this is done without reference to their origin or their special nature. The teachers associate these ideas with their subjects as if they were objective facts and not part of a prescribed vision of reality. This is why Waldorf students can have the feeling that they are left completely free to form their own ideas. At the most, they may notice certain specific practices (that may seem very odd to some of them), which they may choose to ignore. Nevertheless, Anthroposophical ideas and practices form their psychic, cultural, and intellectual universe for many years, immersing them unconsciously in a worldview that will accompany them throughout life and that they are likely to return to on many occasions.


The invisibility of the indoctrination process depends primarily on the public's ignorance about Anthroposophy. Anthroposophy is indeed very complex. Contrary to what one might expect, only a small part of it is what might be called its esoteric doctrines (teachings about the cosmic nature of Christ, reincarnation, the cosmic evolution of the Earth in several successive incarnations, the spiritual hierarchies, etc.). This esotericism is cultivated by Anthroposophists, often members of the Anthroposophical Society (but not always). However, the largest part of the Anthroposophical worldview does not consist of these ideas; instead, it consists of interpretations concerning all fields of knowledge and the arts.


Thus, there are multiple Anthroposophical interpretations of zoology, botany, pedagogy, physics, history, geography, literature, philosophy, diet, mathematics, etc. In art, there are specific Anthroposophical practices in painting, architecture, music, dance, theater, etc. Rudolf Steiner indeed expressed his views in all of these areas. When a teacher works in a Waldorf school, s/he has no need to make allusions to the subject of the "esoteric teachings" of Rudolf Steiner — and often s/he does not. S/he just teaches traditional subjects, coloring them lightly as interpreted by Rudolf Steiner or his followers. Because inspectors from the ministry of education do not know these interpretations — they are not the specialists in Anthroposophy — they have difficulty identifying them. To make my point clearer, I will give some examples:

In the fourth grade (CM1), Waldorf students study zoology and tackle the physiology of various animals, like the lion, the cow, and the eagle. At first glance, their class work appears to be an objective study of the behavior of these animals. At least that's what an inspector will see in the students' notebooks. But the teacher will also orally tell the students that the eagle must be understood in relation to the human head, the cow in relation to the human metabolic system and limbs, and the lion in relation to the human rhythmic system (the heart and lungs). Thus, the teacher conveys basic elements of Rudolf Steiner's doctrine, namely that man is a tripartite being having within himself, in a latent state, the various animal kingdoms. [6]

Another example: In the early grades, Waldorf teachers tell the children a great number of legends or myths. At first glance, this is part of a traditional study of literature and mythology. But the teachers slip in Anthroposophical interpretations — they make subtle allusions to the contents of Anthroposophical books such as MYTHS AND LEGENDS AND THEIR OCCULT TRUTHS [7] or HIDDEN WISDOM IN GRIMM FAIRY TALES [8]. Most of these works were only recently translated into French (Waldorf teachers having access to them through German connections). National Education inspectors therefore cannot detect the Anthroposophical doctrines slipped in by Waldorf teachers when they tell these legends and myths to the children.

One last example. In the 11th and 12th grades (high school), Waldorf School students study two works of world literature: the romance of PARZIVAL and Goethe's FAUST. An inspector opening the students' notebooks would find at first glance a study, scene by scene or chapter by chapter, of the two works in question, with various interpretations being considered. But if, knowing Anthroposophy, you look carefully at these interpretations, you will find that they encompass many elements of Rudolf Steiner's doctrines. For example, the study of the character of Mephistopheles in FAUST always leads to the conclusion that he is a bipolar character. He thus becomes the representative of the "forces of evil" which, according to Steiner, are divided into the forces of Lucifer and the forces of Ahriman. [9] The study of a seemingly innocent work thus becomes an opportunity for indoctrination that is difficult [for outsiders] to detect. Indeed, no mention of Rudolf Steiner will usually be made by the teacher. It suffices for the teacher to take (artificially) these interpretations of the work being studied, and then present them as universal and timeless truths (since they are found in other works at other times, as the teacher will then show). The same thing happens with the interpretation of the chapters of the romance PARZIVAL. Each time, the ideas of Rudolf Steiner are presented without mentioning their origin. [10] But this subtle process is at work in all subjects from kindergarten on! To realize this, it suffices to read Steiner's TEACHING PLAN [11] or COUNCILS [12], and then connect what is said by Waldorf teachers with the esoteric teachings of Rudolf Steiner.

The hidden nature of these Anthroposophic ideas — in the form of interpretations presented in all subjects — makes it particularly difficult for students to become aware of what is happening. How indeed can they be aware of ideas that, in their original form, are mixed with traditional teaching, like spice added in a dish, and do not at first sight contradict but extend traditional teaching? I believe that those who undergo indoctrination in creationism are somewhat more fortunate. Probably, at one time or another, the ideas they are taught will clearly clash with the objective data of current science. This is rarely possible with Anthroposophic tenets when they are more or less blended with modern scientific data. Indeed, precepts about science are constantly updated by the Anthroposophical authorities, which then communicate them to teachers in Waldorf schools. [13]


One can imagine the impact of the Waldorf method when it is routinely used on the intellectual formation of children.


Students thus live with Anthroposophic ideas mixed with objective data in the subjects they are studying. And since the Anthroposophic ideas keep coming back in different forms, they eventually are regarded as objective truths, without their source ever being revealed. Only if you decide to become an Anthroposophist do you encounter these ideas openly expressed, with their origin made clear. But by then, this will not be an issue for you, it will be something you have joined and wish to propagate, since you will have become a disciple of the Master.



2. Subtle Indoctrination of Students in All Subjects



Anthroposophical teachers in these schools thus always transmit their ideas to students in ways that are not easily identifiable. The ideas are almost never presented as those of Rudolf Steiner, but as interpretations of works belonging to the cultural heritage. So there is at first no study of botany that is specific to Steiner-Waldorf schools, but underneath are Steiner's writings about Goethe's botanical theories, which can be injected into a traditional teaching SVT. [16] There is not, at first sight, a view of world history specific to Steiner-Waldorf schools, but there are Rudolf Steiner's comments about various civilizations. [17] It is the same for all subjects and disciplines, including artistic education. But only a person who has the vast literature of Anthroposophy at his fingertips will be able to detect this practice. Making this even more difficult is the fact that most works of Steiner were not fully translated into French until recently; previously, they were passed by oral education from Germany. This is why the doctrinaire character of Waldorf schooling had been able to escape notice, thus far, by inspectors of National Education. In some ways, you could say Waldorf schooling has a subliminal character.


When I received Waldorf teacher training, especially that given at the Institute of Chatou, I could ascertain that this practice is highly organized. Indeed, already at that time I was struck by the gap between the rhetoric of our trainers — constantly stating that the teacher should be creative and never apply prescribed formulas — and the training that taught us decades-old methods that had not changed since the founding of the first Waldorf school in 1919. In fact, having taken this training for two years, I can testify that it is essentially doctrinal training, it is not aimed at developing teaching skills. We were taught how to instill, at each stage of child development, certain ideas and Anthroposophical concepts by surreptitiously combining them with traditional teaching (of course it was not described this way), and to see how in each of the disciplines taught, the ideas of Rudolf Steiner can be indicated. [18]


For example, the trainer specializing in the teaching of history taught us to identify, in the course of historical events, the polarity between Ahrimanic and Luciferic forces, and to teach history to students from this angle. Thus, the French Revolution was to be taught in terms of the polarity between Danton and Robespierre, one being the representative of Luciferic forces (Danton), the other representing Ahrimanic forces (Robespierre). Or the trainer specializing in chemistry taught us how to describe each of the elements of Mendeleyev's periodic table as singular expressions of cosmic principles. Thus nitrogen and oxygen became, in our eyes, cosmological entities endowed with a kind of "temperament." We were taught what chemistry experiments could be arranged in the laboratory to demonstrate to students the evidence of such temperaments in the periodic elements. I could give many more examples of how we were taught to teach students specific elements of Rudolf Steiner's belief system — or rather to present reality in the light of this belief system — without telling the students that we were presenting a biased view. In fact, the training of Waldorf teachers consists of learning how to lead the students, without their knowledge, to see the world through the eyes of Rudolf Steiner!


At the time I was very surprised that nobody had written textbooks for Waldorf trainees, since Waldorf methods looked so old and firmly established. On reflection, I now understand that it is not possible for Waldorf practices to be written down, because this would run the risk of exposing the systematic nature of such indoctrination. The claim that Waldorf methods should be kept alive, not freezing them in writing, is in reality only an alibi used to assist concealment. However, in reality there are many Waldorf texts that are neither published nor distributed publicly. I remember that sometimes the trainers made ​​mention of one or another of these works to the most reliable trainees, making copies for their personal use. But the key information was given orally. One of these secret books was given to me when I was a teacher. On the first few pages one finds: "This document is the property of the Educational Section of the Free University of Science of the Spirit, entrusted to this college...[and] given until the end of teaching activity..." [19] The secret nature of the transmission of such material makes clear the shameful link between the esotericism of Rudolf Steiner and the education provided in Steiner-Waldorf schools. Such documents should obviously never be made public and should be returned to the Goetheanum [20] by their owners if they stop teaching.


The methods of instilling Anthroposophic references in the traditional teaching of students were introduced by Rudolf Steiner himself at the founding of the first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, in the 1920s, and have recently been published. Little known among Waldorf teachers, this large volume — dense, difficult to read — is a kind of dogmatic set of references touching on almost all areas of practical life in a Steiner school: repetition, internal rules, decisions to be made concerning left- and right-handedness, methods of teaching geography at different grade levels, ties displayed between Anthroposophy and Steiner pedagogy, etc. [In English, such books as FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS, and DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS present such material. They have been published by the Anthroposophic Press. — RR]

One finds there significant questions and answers, for example:

• A teacher asks, "How can we, in the teaching of geology, link geology and the Akasha Chronicle?" [This is a celestial storehouse of wisdom accessible through clairvoyance. — RR] Concerning what Anthroposophy says about glacial periods, Rudolf Steiner answers: "...We must not be afraid to talk to the children about Atlantis. We should not omit that. We can even present it in a historical context. But then you have to disavow standard geology ... The ice age is the Atlantean catastrophe. The ancient glacial period, and recent average conditions in Europe, are nothing other than what has happened since Atlantis sank. " (p. 99-100)

• To a teacher who asks the question, "How can we draw parallels between what science says and the point of view of spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy] concerning the glacial period?" Rudolf Steiner replies: "You may well draw a parallel. You can of course identify the Quaternary period with Atlantis and the Tertiary with what I describe as Lemuria [a lost continent that preceded Atlantis], if you do not fix things too precisely." (p. 101)

• A teacher asks, "How should we treat the natural history of man? How should I begin this study in fourth grade?" Rudolf Steiner replies: "For man, you will find almost everything scattered throughout my lecture cycles in one way or another ... Just fit [my teachings] to the school ... So rely on what you know through Anthroposophy." (p. 125)

(ADVICE; MEETINGS WITH TEACHERS AT THE WALDORF SCHOOL IN STUTTGART (The Federation of Steiner Schools-Waldorf, October 2005. [The English-language edition is titled FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER. — RR])


This form of teaching has been meant, from the beginning, to convey Anthroposophy to students, mingling it with traditional teaching and presenting Steiner's assertions as facts, by no means as hypotheses. The fact that this book is published today by the Federation without any critical distance, either in the notes or in the foreword, shows that the teachers in Waldorf schools are not meant to ponder these things! For them, Anthroposophy represents the truth, and being necessary to the human soul, it must be communicated to children from an early age. Speaking to students about Atlantis or Lemuria is a "moral necessity" for a Steiner teacher. It is just a matter of not getting caught in the act of openly teaching Anthroposophy.



3. Making Cultural Works Sacred



I would now like to describe another aspect of the insidious indoctrination of students. It is to produce in the mind a sacralization of certain cultural works, as if they were printed in vibrant red. It is always the same, regardless of the ages of these works or the countries where they originated: FAUST, the TREATMENT OF COLORS, and the METAMORPHOSIS OF PLANTS, by Goethe [21], PARZIVAL, by Wolfram von Eschenbach [22], THE ENIGMA OF KASPER HAUSER [23], LETTERS FOR THE ESTHETIC EDUCATION OF HUMANITY, by Schiller, and the Isenheim Altarpiece. Also included are a few minor markers such as the story of Gilgamesh, Manichaeism (the doctrine of Manes), the myth of Atlantis, etc. It is thus that during their university years, so many Waldorf graduates choose to address one or the other of these works as subjects for dissertations. Such works represent for them a kind of unsurpassable cultural horizon of leitmotifs to which they keep coming back unendingly.


But what is the purpose for making such works sacred? By making Anthroposophical references "sacred" to the students, it is easy to attract them to the Anthroposophical Society. Simply offer them a chance, after graduation, to attend a conference on Goethe, or Kaspar Hauser, for example. When you know the Anthroposophical Society from the inside, you see that it is organized around a few charismatic figures who appear as specialists on various cultural works. Within the Society, there is always a specialist on FAUST, another on PARZIVAL, one on the Isenheim Altarpiece, etc. And these positions are held dear. These specialists are in a way intermediaries between the normal cultural world and that of Anthroposophy. This clever strategy was instituted by Rudolf Steiner himself. Indeed, Anthroposophic ideas are often presented under the guise of a study of certain works. The name "Goetheanum" for the seat of the General Anthroposophical Society is an illustration. Those interested in Goethe will be conducted through Steiner's commentaries on scientific or poetic works of this great German writer, and thereby they will be introduced to Anthroposophy. The process is even more effective with alumni of Steiner-Waldorf schools, for whom these references were presented during Waldorf schooling as if they were absolute standards of excellence. Waldorf students are indeed introduced to these works at specific ages, as if their study were a sort of initiation ritual. Not having studied the "period of Faust" can thus feel tragic to certain other students of Anthroposophy, so they spend a holiday in a German Waldorf school to fill this abominable gap. These works are a kind of common cultural heritage that is holy to Waldorf students everywhere. Obviously, this contributes to actually closing the intellect, since the same works are returned to over and over, with the same comments (those of Steiner) being repeated from a bygone century. During my studies, I chose as the subject of my thesis the design of nature in Goethe's FAUST, and I remember it was not easy for my thesis director to persuade me to study another author. I saw the same thing happen with other classmates from our Waldorf school. One did his thesis on the philosophy of Goethe's METAMORPHOSIS OF PLANTS, another did his literature DEA on Wolfram von Eschenbach's PARZIVAL, and so forth. Getting beyond this circle of restricted and sanctified references is not easy for a Waldorf student! It is not that he will have no interest in anything other than FAUST or PARZIVAL, but in his eyes no other works will convey the same literary or scientific benefits; these special works are not simply references, for him, but objects of devotion. Throughout the world, Steiner-Waldorf schools shape the mind of their students around a small number of cultural works that will pave the way for them to Anthroposophy.



4. Disguised Anthroposophic Rituals



Another element of the pedagogical practice of Steiner-Waldorf schools contributing to this insidious indoctrination is pervasive worship and religious practice. At first glance, this resembles traditional Christian ritual observance. Almost all Christian holidays are celebrated at these schools: The festival of Saint Michel, the festival of Saint Antoine, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Pentecost, the festival of St. John, etc. The schools' leaders know and, if necessary, make use of Christian terminology — but behind ceremonies that superficially seem akin to traditional forms, in fact we find disguised Anthroposophic rituals "adapted" for children. [24] Indeed, Anthroposophy contains, in addition to many Oriental references, what might be called "Christian esotericism." The Archangel Michael is deemed to be a cosmic entity, the god Christ is said to have been connected to the Sun and later he became the Spirit of the Earth, etc. Anthroposophists celebrate Christian holidays, but within these rituals are hidden Anthroposophic beliefs. In Waldorf schools, Anthroposophic rituals and esoteric teachings in the form of traditional rituals are carefully modified to reflect in the end the Anthroposophic interpretation of their content.


For example, students celebrate — every year, in late September — the victory of Michael over the Dragon. They enact the legend of St. George rescuing a princess. Little by little, through connections only students immersed in Waldorf education are likely to make, they come to understand that the Dragon is an allegory of the materialism of the modern era, and Michael is the spiritual force that can confront it, delivering the human soul (the princess) who was about to be devoured by the monster. This is in fact an implicit reference to a key element of the doctrine of Rudolf Steiner, which is that a spiritual battle took place in 1879 between the forces of darkness and the forces of light embodied by the Archangel Michael. Thus, this small pageant condenses doctrinal elements that Steiner describes at length in his books. [25] It is the same for all so-called Christian festivals celebrated in these schools: in fact, esoteric Anthroposophic teachings are presented in allegorical and symbolic form during ritual ceremonies integrated into school life.


In these schools, the number of rituals corresponds to the many Christian festivals and the observance of the seasons of the year. But we must also count prayers and meditations used in Waldorf schools, as well as "rites of passage." In form and in content, these are even more specifically related to Anthroposophy. Indeed, at different times of the day, students recite words (according to their different ages) that are actually meditation texts written by Rudolf Steiner himself or by his disciples. [26] There are prayers for morning classes, for the afternoon before meals (a kind of grace), for the beginning of the week, for the beginning of the year, for the first grade upon entering the school, for leaving school upon graduation, etc. On each of these occasions, these readings or chorused recitations give rise to small ceremonies that are an integral part of Waldorf education. It even happens that teachers often advise parents of the words they should read to their children at different times of the day. Again, the teachers never say explicitly that these words are from Rudolf Steiner — these are just words to be recited because of tradition. We should note in passing how cunningly teachers avoid using the words "prayers" or "mantras" around the students. Indeed, by designating these activities as merely cultural practices, awareness of their real nature is avoided. This trick comes from Rudolf Steiner himself, who in an interview with the first teachers of the school in Stuttgart said:


"In choosing your words, never say 'prayers,' say 'words for opening the school day.' We should not hear the word 'prayer' in the mouth of a teacher. Thus you will neutralize to a large extent the prejudice against Anthroposophic matters." [27]


Students are thus led to repeat texts containing Anthroposophic ideas in simplified form, but without being able to identify their origin and without open acknowledgment of the Master who wrote them. These texts soak deeply into the mind by force of being recited continually. Take for example the morning verse that students from all Steiner schools recite in unison with their teacher from the 9th to the 12th grade (high school years):


I look into the world

In which the Sun shines,

In which the stars sparkle,

In which the stones lie,

Where living plants are growing, 

Where animals are feeling,

And where the soul of man 

Gives dwelling for the spirit.


I look into the soul 

Which lives within myself. 

God’s spirit weaves in light 

Of Sun and human soul,

In world of space, without, 

In depths of soul, within.

 

God’s spirit, ‘tis to Thee

I turn myself in prayer,

That strength and blessing may grow

In me, to learn and to work.

 

 

I recited these words almost every morning for four years. It was only by reading the work of Rudolf Steiner called THEOSOPHY [28] that I came to understand that this is a digest of Anthroposophical precepts about the relationship between humans and the universe. Indeed, the first stanza shows the relationship between the four kingdoms of nature (mineral, vegetable, animal, and human) that Steiner connects with the four cosmic substances (the physical, the etheric, astral, and spiritual). The second stanza establishes an implicit parallel between God and the Sun, which Rudolf Steiner describes in OCCULT SCIENCE [29] asserting that Christ is the Sun God who descended to the earth at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. The last stanza is an allusion to the strength of the Holy Spirit, the immeasurable cosmic entity that Steiner evokes by example in THE MEANING OF LIFE [30] and other books. I could also give the example of words we had to recite at the beginning of meals:

On the night of the earth,
Plants germinate;
By the power of the air,
Their leaves unfold;
And the strength of the Sun
Ripens their fruit.
So the the soul quickens
In the shrine of the heart,
And the power of the spirit
Unfolds in the light of the world;
Thus ripens the strength of man,
In the glory of God.


Again, far from being a simple poetic text on nature, this prayer condenses key elements of Anthroposophical doctrine concerning the relationship of the human soul with the different elements. For example, there is the belief about human temperaments [phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, melancholic], each associated with an element [earth, air, fire, water]. [31] Or, likewise, the relationship between the components of the human soul and the elements. [32]


A final example: At the beginning of each afternoon, our class teacher made ​​us recite the following words:

 

Pure source from which everything flows,

Pure source, where everything returns,

Pure source, who lives in me,

To you I will advance.

 

Years later, I discovered that this poem was actually an adaptation of a mantra that Rudolf Steiner gave to his disciples in one of his esoteric lessons:


Original self, from which we come,

The origin that lives in all things,

To thee, thou Higher Self, we return. [33]


This shows how skillfully, under innocent appearances, Rudolf Steiner condensed and concealed his esoteric teachings in the words that students should recite in Steiner-Waldorf schools.


5. Some Effects Caused by the Artistic-Mythical-Religious 
Atmosphere in Waldorf Schools


The pervasive ritual practices in Waldorf schools are meant, I believe, to immerse students in a kind of permanent religious atmosphere that will fit in their psyches as an addiction. I remember having felt, as a teenager, that I was living in a kind of monastery, punctuated by daily rituals and recitations. But this religious atmosphere was consistently associated with pervasive artistic practices as well as the frequent recounting of legends, folk tales, and myths — it was an artistic environment generating a mythical-religious feeling, which in my opinion is not without consequences and perverse effects:


• At an age when they should be awakening, learning to reason and think critically, the children are mothballed instead — they develop a pronounced tendency to rely on emotion and imagination, which later may encourage credulity and impulsive behavior;

• Some alumni develop psychological blockages against facing psychological reality. I have often observed among them a propensity to hide and forget what could be disturbing, as if it had never existed. In particular, when they became aware of certain realities relating to the sectarianism of the Anthroposophical community, everything was as if their brains suddenly refused to integrate such disturbing information. I found this ability to play "ostrich" to be even greater among Anthroposophists and Waldorf teachers. I remember well the dysfunctional administrative operation of these schools, which were run collectively [34]: Often essential information did not circulate, urgent decisions did not get made, and essential tasks simply passed into oblivion — for example, steps that needed to be taken to assist students to enroll for baccalaureate programs! But teachers and leaders simply let things slip as the drama had not yet ended;

• Waldorf graduates feel a need to reproduce the ceremonies in which they were immersed throughout their schooling. They want to celebrate holidays as Rudolf Steiner led Anthroposophists to do, and to practice many Anthroposophical meditative exercises [35] as well as to meditate using numerous mantras [36]. Upon becoming a parent, one of my former classmates said about ten prayers to his children every evening, one after the other;

• There is a kind of inhibition and misuse of sexuality in adolescents. As a teacher of these schools, I often heard my colleagues say it was important to provide adolescents with a "strong spiritual content" and make them work hard to divert the powerful forces of sexuality into which they might "fall." I believe this inhibition and this diversion promoted adhesion to the religiosity of the school, and later to that of Anthroposophists;

• There is an overemphasis on the ego and exaggerated exaltation of the mystic realm. Indeed, Steiner-Waldorf teachers place the highest possible value on dreamy and mystical attitudes. As a student, I indeed could see how our teachers showed the highest esteem for those who retained longest the attitudes of gullible children transported by imaginative stories. The student who seemed to be in a dreaming state was placed on a virtual pedestal in comparison to his peers. Later, as a teacher, I often heard teachers in faculty meetings praising the receptive qualities of students who were dreamy, naive, and enthusiastic. It was said of such students that they knew how to keep the soul intact and pure. We often even said that in principle a good Waldorf education should slow the maturation of students' intellectual faculties as far as possible. In addition, teachers flattered and lavished praise on students for abilities they didn't really possess, trying to keep them as long as possible in a sort of "floating" disconnection from reality. This is why the egos of students leaving Waldorf schools are so developed. At first sight, these students seem to have a self-confidence that could be considered a good quality. But looking more closely, we very often see that this colossal self-assurance is based on nothing but empty air. Quite often these students have done virtually no academic work for years: Rituals, religious chants, and preparing for holidays take up so much time in Waldorf schooling that the time devoted to actual school work is literally reduced to a trickle.

Kept in a thorough artistic-mythical-religious atmosphere and expanding their egos, these students are accustomed to a state of laziness that will make them social misfits, unable to escape except through bluster and seduction. Because don't people often replicate what they themselves have experienced? Having been in some way seduced by their teachers, these students may try to proceed through seduction. That is why their results for the baccalaureate exams in writing are so pathetic, although the same students can be tremendously good at oral presentations. Thus, in the school where I worked and tried to prepare students for the baccalaureate, hardly 40% of students were successful, and even they succeeded mostly due to the oral portion of the process. Of course, extension of the dream state greatly facilitates the ability to later become a Anthroposophist, as this mystical doctrine overwhelms those who plunge, as I did, into abstruse metaphysical speculations. Anthroposophical mysticism is a kind of natural extension of the dream state that is overdeveloped in Steiner-Waldorf institutions. Overdevelopment of the ego aids individuals who tend to rise in life by lecturing or even becoming gurus. Later they may find, in the context of the Anthroposophical Society, the roles of spiritual guides, the roles they are in fact familiar with from their childhood. It is therefore common to find students in Steiner-Waldorf schools who systematically and blindly trust their own feelings, or hunches, sometimes up to the level of considering themselves apprentice mediums.




II. 

A System Closed on Itself

1. Forcing Students to Adhere to Different Benchmarks, 
Practices, and Terminology


Students at Waldorf schools are also led to participate in a unique way of thinking because the schools embody many special characteristics, deliberately different from those found elsewhere in the society at large.

For example:

• The grades in Waldorf schools are not identified by the traditional nomenclature in France, from the CP to the Terminal, but are labeled 1 to 12. Even today, I have trouble getting my bearings when I want to compare the two nomenclatures,

• It is customary in Waldorf schools to have a one-year gap — that is to say, students of Steiner-Waldorf schools are enrolled in classes one year later than students in other schools, because Waldorf teachers believe that students will benefit if their intellectual development is postponed,

• Waldorf students draw in a different style, using special crayons ("pencils of wax"),

• Waldorf students practice an art that exists nowhere else (eurythmy, a kind of yoga dance invented by Rudolf Steiner), 

• Waldorf schools practice special rituals,
 
• The same group of students remain together throughout their school years,

• The chief teacher for any group of students is called the "class teacher" and will be responsible for that group from first to sixth grade, sometimes even from first to eighth grade,

• At the end of their schooling, students create what they call a "masterpiece," that is to say a personal work they must carry out autonomously, etc. 

Although denouncing these facts, I do not advocate uniform education [for all students]. But I find it profoundly abnormal that Waldorf students are presented with these unusual practices as if these were the only legitimate approaches, to the extent that mentioning other practices or benchmarks immediately arouses the disapproval of teachers and even some students. For example, I always remember the teasing from other classmates when, coming from a public school, I dared to speak of "crepe paper" when the approved Waldorf term is "papier maché." Or the dry disapproval of my handicrafts teacher when, urged by my mates, I offered to tell a story that was not a "true story," since it was derived from standard youth literature of the 1970s and not from the Brothers Grimm, the only source approved by Anthroposophists. When we add up all these small, specific examples of special Waldorf terms and approaches — which in themselves may seem insignificant, or even pleasing — we realize that they constitute a veritable reference system that is closed on itself, to the extent that ultimately communication becomes difficult between students from a Waldorf school and those from traditional institutions. A former student recently told me how hard it was for him to make himself understood by others who have not had the same educational experience. Obviously, this prepares Waldorf alumni to send their own children to these schools, or it makes them more willing than others to embrace the sectarian logic of Anthroposophy. Having been trained in the peculiarities of Waldorf education, they find contending with different standards in the outer world a source of mental suffering.


2. Concealment Vis-à-Vis Institutions
 

I turn now to a subject other than the indoctrination of students. It is the recruitment of students into deceptive practices and concealment from authorities. Indeed, in these schools, misleading state officials is commonplace. For example, I witnessed that, when a teacher is scheduled to be inspected in class, s/he will commonly be replaced by another teacher who has the [necessary] skills or qualifications. [37] Then the students are asked to "play the game" in the presence of the inspector, and to act as if the teacher who conducts their class [this day] is their regular teacher. [38] Similarly, it may happen that there are health and hygiene inspections. I remember one time when the inspectors had to check how the children ate in the canteen. However, in this school, the children did not eat in a canteen, but in classrooms with their teachers who watched them and made them recite their prayers before meals. For this inspection, the teachers were notified 24 hours in advance, so we organized three successive meal services in a canteen for the students, so that everything appeared normal. In the evening, during a faculty meeting, teachers congratulated themselves that their students had "played the game."

These various circumventions of the law make students participate in acts of defiance against outsiders perceived as hostile. They subtly teach the students that the rules and laws of the society at large are deficient — this is likely to strengthen their students' feeling of living in a world apart. Anthroposophists view anything that does not belong in the "milieu of Anthroposophy" as "the outside world," so to the students the general society in which they live becomes, for them, an alien place!


3. Questionable Closeness Between Students and Teachers


One aspect of the insidious indoctrination in Waldorf schools is based on the establishment of a very close relationship between the teacher and his or her ​​students. Firstly, this proximity is enhanced by the fact that the same class teacher remains with the same group of students for six to eight years. This obviously contributes to the creation of relationships that are more familial than professional. In addition, measures are deliberately taken to create the conditions for increased closeness. For example, it is common that some students become babysitters or housekeepers for their teachers to make some pocket money. And I worked in a school where the students knew absolutely everything about the private lives of their teachers. Teachers' private lives had become a common topic of discussion in the playground, due to the feeling of living in a kind of extended family. This is reinforced by the fact that in these schools, many teachers are also parents of their own students. In addition, the teachers in these schools are encouraged to tell students about their lives in order to "create more human contact," as I was prompted to do as soon as I started to teach. This practice encourages communication that can be very intimate — the teacher is no longer only a provider of education, but a sort of guide for the souls of his students. He is not only an educator, but also a psychologist, family counselor, or a guru in many cases. I remember my class teacher recommending to my parents that I no longer watch TV, stop playing with Lego, switch to wooden toys, etc. Other students could report how their class teachers had long telephone conversations with their parents until late at night, giving advice on the psychic and spiritual development of their offspring. I remember thus my history teacher talking to me at the age of fifteen, when he thought that I had "atheist" ideas, explaining that I should not entertain such ideas too long. Familiar relationships, even of an emotional nature, are established quickly between Waldorf teachers and students. This enforced closeness causes the subjugation of the student to the teacher. It is also common to find a teacher gathering around his "personality" small, private groups of his former students, introducing them to the Anthroposophic doctrine.

This continuing proximity of students with their teachers is such that it does not seem abnormal, unless significant missteps sometimes lead school officials to take some limited measures. Having been both witness and victim, I can say that unusual closeness is part of the rationale of these schools. This is why there is rarely any strong resistance against the excesses that may arise, but as much as possible they are tolerated. Some examples of these abuses that I have witnessed: It was not uncommon that some teachers went to a cafe with students for conversation and a glass of wine after school, or teachers invited students to come shopping with them. I also remember a high school teacher unashamedly distributing a postcard from her latest theatrical performance, where she was seen in a bathing suit. Yet this act amounted to distributing pictures of herself in underwear without realizing the trouble it could cause, encouraging developing adolescents to visualize the naked body of their young teacher. Another teacher went every week with her section to gay and lesbian bars in the capital, and invited some to sleep at her home if returning home was difficult. Some teachers did not hesitate to keep pace with the students using familiar or even obscene language. I even knew a case of harassment of a student by a teacher for nearly two years, despite repeated complaints from the student. It had been in vain to complain to the school manager that, during gym class, the teacher was continually sending the student "sms" magnifying his legs or other parts of the body.

Here I must be very clear and also mention legally reprehensible behavior. Indeed, some ethical rules seem to be disregarded in the Steiner-Waldorf schools, and there are cases of sexual and romantic relationships sometimes occurring between students and teachers. For example, when I was teaching, I witnessed in one of these schools an illicit relationship that had begun between a teacher and a student of the upper classes. They started dating when the student was in 10th grade (Third) and the situation continued until the 12th grade (First or Terminal). All class teachers of the high school knew about it, including some who were members of the board of the school. How could they ignore it, since this teacher and this student had come to live together in the same apartment? When this teacher left the school after completing certification to teach elsewhere, all teachers of the upper classes — except one who probably wanted to be cautious, but who like the others knew what had happened — attended a party in the apartment. Among themselves, teachers and students pretended to ignore or hide what was an open secret.


I in no way seek to draw attention to the misconduct of a colleague or to throw stones at him; and if I mention this story, it is because it is indicative of the common pitfalls that occur in Waldorf educational institutions. I could moreover provide other examples. Basically, they are an integral part of the system of indoctrination. Because it is only at the cost of psychological closeness — with significant risk of misbehavior — that students can be captivated and subjugated by their teachers, encouraging their indoctrination. To my mind, this colleague should be considered a victim who, like any young beginning teacher, merely applied the standards prevailing in the school where he had been hired, and he did not receive the benefit of the normal guard rails that would have enabled him to resist temptation. I also remember that when I entered this school and I discussed this story with a colleague, she replied: "Here, that was never considered a problem!" Myself, coming from such a Waldorf school where the rule of law was not really respected — as I explained above — I admit to not having seen a problem, either. The Federation of Waldorf Schools — to whom I mentioned this in a open letter that I sent them when I left this school — does not seem to have found any reason to be indignant or to react.



4. A Confusion of Roles



When I worked in one of these schools, I myself was quickly caught up in the whirlwind in which all lines of separation are erased. Very soon, our colleagues become a kind of family, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. Students become for us both our children and our friends and associates.  There reigns a sort of permanent "incestuous" atmosphere that can go haywire very quickly for everyone. A mantra recited by the teaching community at some faculty meetings reflects this total confusion of identities:

 

Me in the community,

And the community in me. 


Far from being a saying designed to encourage healthy collegial solidarity, these words rather reflect the total confusion of identities prevailing in the Waldorf school system. Nobody there knows who he is or what exactly his role is. This confusion between an educational institution and a family structure is reflected in the language used in schools, where students must call the teachers who oversee their individual work at the end of schooling (the masterpiece) their "godfathers" and "godmothers." Hierarchy officially is absent from the schools (since the teaching community is supposed to be self-organizing), but this produces power games and other profoundly unhealthy influences. Also, it is not surprising that this nebulous dissolution of personalities and responsibilities gives rise to accounts of illicit relations between teachers and students. It is what often happens. When the leaders of a Waldorf school gain knowledge of misconduct, they often respond by using it as leverage to control colleagues. I twice heard the stories of colleagues who were directed to one of the members of the College of Teachers (steering committee) of the school, to whom they confessed grave professional misconduct in their dealings with students (the teacher dating a student since she was in Third). No reprimand resulted, but they knew that the leaders of the school now possessed their secret and could use it against them if necessary. Criminal behavior by teachers was accepted within the pupil-teacher organization of the school, and it became leverage for the leaders. For what could be more intimidating than a fault that the leaders know about but choose to "keep under the table"?




III. 

The "Anthroposophical Movement" and Its Institutions

1. Anthroposophic institutions


The indoctrination of Waldorf students prepares them to move naturally toward the "Anthroposophical movement," that is to say, all the institutions, companies, and associations rooted in Anthroposophy. Like Steiner-Waldorf schools, these institutions are only partially independent of the Anthroposophical Society as their ruling members are often Anthroposophists. As long as I was a member of the Anthroposophical Society in France (SAF), I often saw in the newsletter that meetings were held between the various institutions, at the request of leaders of the SAF. Moreover, these organizations can support each other financially. Weleda products, for example, are regularly advertised in Anthroposophic magazines. These institutions stemming from Anthroposophy are very numerous and affect all areas of everyday life. There is thus:

• A specific kind of cosmetics (Wala and Weleda products),

• A form of agriculture (biodynamics, Demeter products),

• Some nursery schools and kindergartens linked to Waldorf education,

• Vocational training centers,

• Financial services (NEF bank in France),

• Anthroposophical pharmacology and medicine, with clinics and hospitals,

• A specific medical association (APMA, Anthrosana),

• The Institutes of Curative Pedagogy (Camphills and other institutions for the disabled and caregivers using the methods of Rudolf Steiner, the Allagoutes),

• Specific arts (eurythmy, Werbeck singing, Haushka painting, the art of the word, dramatic expression, architecture, etc.),

• Specific welfare methods,

• A specific form of gymnastics (Bothmer gymnastics),

• A specific form of Christian worship (the Christian Community),

• A special youth literature (Iona Editions),

• Camps (Colonies Iona),

• Specific retirement homes (notably in Ribeauvillé),

• Centers of specific vocational guidance (the Michael Foyer, located at St. Menoux in Allier), etc.,

• Some libraries (Solear-Triads, Pentagramm'),

• Some publishers (Triads, EAR, Pico della Mirandola, Iona)


It should also be mentioned, in addition to these institutions, there are specific leisure activities:

• A specific astrology,

• Specific tours (Idriart),

• Specific methods of meditation,
  
• A specific dietary regime [39],

• Specific psychological therapies (many Anthroposophists tend to become psychotherapists),

• A specific youth movement (Neologos).






2. The School of Spiritual Science 
and Its Sprawling Network of Professional Sections


Questioning the current operations of Waldorf schools and exposing the insidious indoctrination process that is practiced in them is sure to provoke the wrath of the Pedagogical Section [of the General Anthroposophical Society] and, by extension, all the Anthroposophical movement. Because it is a network with significant lobbying power.

To understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to detail the structure of the entire Anthroposophic milieu:

• Firstly, there is the Anthroposophical movement, which I detailed above.

• Then there is the Anthroposophical Society, consisting of branches (ordinary Anthroposophical groups meeting once or twice a month to study the works of Steiner).

• Above, there is the School of Spiritual Science, confined to those Anthroposophists who are allowed to hear the lessons of the First Class (the secret worship in which special lectures by Steiner are read, accompanied by mantras that are considered especially sacred — members have the duty to meditate on these regularly and not divulge them to anyone else).

• Finally, in the School of Spiritual Science, there are various Professional Sections (devoted to education, agriculture, arts, literature, eurythmy, social sciences, medicine, drama, etc.) — the members meet according to their professional activities.

We can say that the Anthroposophical movement is controlled by these various Sections. Indeed Waldorf schools are related to the Pedagogical Section, just as the social and banking institutions in the Anthroposophical movement are related to the Section of Social Sciences, and biodynamic agriculture agencies are with the Agriculture Section, etc. Behind a facade of independence, the various institutions of the Anthroposophical movement are actually woven in a kind of secret network via the Anthroposophical Society, which secretly coordinates all the Anthroposophic institutions and associations around the world. By "coordinate," I intend to convey the secret solidarity of these groups. The cohesion produced by belonging to a secret cult (the lessons of the First Class) creates what may be called, in my view, the "occult international fraternity of Anthroposophy." Through the School of Spiritual Science, the Anthroposophical Society constitutes a sprawling network that is directly connected to the Goetheanum in Dornach, becoming a sort of secret government of the Anthroposophical movement. I remember one day Antoine Dodrimont [41] told me as an aside that the power of the Medical Section was such that the doctor at its head directed in fact a veritable ministry. So we can say that the independence of Steiner-Waldorf schools with respect to the Anthroposophical Society is only an illusion: Most of its key members actually belong to the Pedagogical Section. [42]

A concrete example will show how such a network functions. In a private conversation, I happened one day to discuss conditions at the École Saint Michel de Strasbourg, about which I had heard negative reports. During a visit to the school, the mother to whom I entrusted these remarks carelessly mentioned what I had shared. Heavy mechanisms immediately went into action: School officials at Saint Michel de Strasbourg immediately contacted the Federation of Waldorf Schools, which in turn contacted the President of the Anthroposophical Society in France. He made ​​contact with me during a conference which I attended and enjoined me not to repeat such remarks. This shows how a private conversation can immediately be reprimanded in high places. I could mention other similar cases. This network is so narrow that in Anthroposophical circles everyone knows all of the private information about everyone else. This allows it to react swiftly to the smallest remark, to prohibit the dissemination of information of numerous scandals shaking the Anthroposophical movement internally (particularly the Steiner-Waldorf schools) so that this knowledge never reaches the ears of civil society.

It is wrong to describe the Anthroposophical Society as seeking to win the greatest possible membership for itself. Instead, restricting the organization to a small staff does not at all upset its projects. This enables it to remain discreet and not draw too much attention to itself. For what it really aspires to is not its own growth, but the growth of the general Anthroposophical movement, for which it is the central nervous system operating through the auspices of the professional sections of the School of Spiritual Science. The growth of the Anthroposophical movement depends on how the network connects seemingly unrelated entities that promote each other. Thus, parents of Waldorf schools are regularly encouraged, during various school festivals, to buy Weleda products. Weleda products in turn place advertisements in Anthroposophic magazines. These journals in turn develop some ideas that will be used by teachers of the schools: They seek to update the way we can extract Steiner's old ideas from new scientific data. The NEF bank provides financially advantageous rates to the various other institutions related to the Anthroposophical movement: nurseries, clinics, biodynamic farms, etc. The biodynamic farms provide products to the canteens at Steiner-Waldorf schools. Waldorf schools send their students to do internships at the various associations and institutions funded by the NEF. And thus within the entire network, Anthroposophy will spread like a common doctrine that will awaken the curiosity of some people who may be drawn into Anthroposophy. Among the Anthroposophists, some become members of the School of Spiritual Science and eventually enter one or another of the Professional Sections. The Professional Sections then serve as links between the various disguised institutions of the Anthroposophical movement and the Goetheanum in Dornach. To repeat the concept of Gilles Deleuze in the THOUSAND PLATEAUS, one could say that this is not a branching tree (a development from a central trunk), but a spreading rootstock.




IV. 

Waldorf Schools and Anthroposophy: 
A System that Perpetuates

1. Paradox of a Pedagogy of 
Enlightenment and Indoctrination


These schools are frequently inspected by the Ministry of Education, so how would it be possible for indoctrination in the theories of Rudolf Steiner to occur there? It should be so conspicuous that long ago the schools would have been revealed as sectarian institutions and the French state would have stopped subsidizing them.


And yet there is such indoctrination, but practiced so subtly that it escapes the vigilance of many: parents, students, and even sometimes those who practice it, not to mention the institutions of the Republic. Only a person who was, like me, both an Anthroposophical student and teacher is unquestionably in a position to identify the inner workings of this phenomenon. But I am not alone in this. How is it possible to explain that relatively few alumni later call Steiner-Waldorf schools into question?

I believe there are several reasons for this. Firstly, you should know that a large proportion of the complaints do not rise higher than the Federation of Waldorf Schools. I knew, for instance, a student at Verrières-le-Buisson who complained officially to the Federation that in the 11th grade (Second), a teacher led a "period" (one month of continuous education) concerning the people of Atlantis. He had directly taught the contents of a book by Rudolf Steiner [43] about the history of the different races that would develop from the Atlantean continent before it was submerged by the flood. Of course, the leaders of the Federation immediately made ​​sure to cover it up. This incident is far from being an isolated case: it is common that, abandoning all caution, a teacher starts to teach more openly than he should these concepts he believes in, which constitute his sole cultural universe. Many teachers do not realize that they thus indoctrinate. I remember one of my teachers telling me how sorry he was that one member of my class was not receptive to "progressive ideas" (as he called them) that he had wanted to assign him to work on, when the 12th grade (First or Terminal) was studying Goethe's FAUST. Acting in good faith, this teacher wanted to indoctrinate the students in ideas he sincerely believed would promote their spiritual best interest. Only high-ranking leaders of these schools, the Federation of Waldorf Schools, and the Anthroposophical Society have a sufficient overview to realize the systematization of these practices and the recurring problems they cause. But their action is to obscure the possible impact from the public and not to treat the problem at its root, as should be dictated by a healthy moral sense.


Another reason for the paucity of complaints from alumni of Steiner-Waldorf schools: This pedagogy could not function nor attract unless it incorporated genuinely innovative ideas and practices. Thus the method of teaching writing stresses the personal development of the student over artistic practices or initiative, etc. Such elements lead many students to enjoy being enrolled in these schools. And many teachers flourish there — despite everything — in their teaching practices. We would be lying if we did not recognize this, but still we have to wonder about some very problematic aspects of this flourishing. In addition, denying it could reinforce among parents who support this system the sense of being victimized if they are denied their free choice. They often opted for this pedagogy because they perceived its positive aspects and the "blessings" for their children.


Some pedagogical innovations effectively promote the free thinking of students. I think this is particularly notable in the methods of learning to read and calculate, how to approach science through experiments and not pure theory, etc. In his first philosophical works, Rudolf Steiner was able to intuit practices that promote the development of free thought — he sought to describe precisely the essence of this thinking activity. As a professor of philosophy who taught for a few years in one of these schools, I must admit that I've met students with whom his effects were positive, because they had a real taste for reflection, and they dared express their ideas and opinions. They could often show original and profound thinking in their remarks.


But these factors that promote the students' thinking combine, in this pedagogy, with the insidious indoctrination described above. This puts students in a frighteningly paradoxical situation: They feel that they owe the development of their judgment and the awakening of their reason to a pedagogical method and a teaching team that also indoctrinate them. For many students, this contradiction will be a source of suffering throughout their lives, if they are able to become aware of it at all. Think of the logical alienation and psychological damage, for the mind to owe part of its blooming to a sectarian context! How can one later challenge the very thing that seemingly gave us our well-being? For my part, I know that much of my ability for analysis comes from educational elements which I enjoyed in the Waldorf school where I received my education. But I also know that the cost of my inner freedom was this hidden indoctrination that I suffered since the age of nine. And I also know that it led me slowly but surely into a deep and deadly environment (Anthroposophic) that was mentally confining.




2. Anthroposophy, a System Protected by 

Respect for Tradition, Isolation, and Intellectual Jargon



But how is it that the teachers themselves for the most part do not seem to be aware of their practices of indoctrination? In fact, I think that in their minds, there is no deliberate indoctrination. By injecting elements of Anthroposophical doctrine into their normal teaching, making the students recite prayers and mantras of Rudolf Steiner for all occasions, celebrating Christian-Anthroposophic rituals, establishing very early a distrust of authorities — in doing these things, teachers at these schools do not necessarily realize that they contribute to a sectarian system. Personally, it took me a lot of thought and many adventures before realizing what it was. This is explained by the existence of a kind of cordon drawn around these schools to conceal their true nature from their own members. This is based on several factors:


Intellectual saturation inherent in Anthroposophy

When you become an Anthroposophist, you must ingest the enormous work of Rudolf Steiner (thousands of lectures and dozens of books, not to mention the work of successors). There is thus simply no room for curiosity about something else, all the more so as long as this doctrine, covering every area of life, is so complex and difficult to assimilate. "We read nothing but Steiner!" I proudly declared one day to the leaders of an Anthroposophic journal to which I contributed. For Waldorf teachers, this attitude translates into a total lack of reference to other systems of thought and other pedagogies, all of which are discredited in advance.

Respect for tradition


Elements of the Anthroposophical doctrine are considered by Waldorf teachers to be THE truth. I know from experience that it is absolutely impossible, in such schools, to consider aloud the possibility that Rudolf Steiner may have been mistaken. At most, one may concede that his successors may not have understood or applied his message properly. Teachers do not therefore use a critical eye to examine why they teach these "truths," which form their whole cultural universe. The Anthroposophical community effectively bans any internal questioning, as I have often had occasion to realize, not only as a teacher but also as an editor in their various journals. [44]

Respect for tradition is a vital constant in these schools: Rudolf Steiner is indeed regarded as a kind of prophet who conveyed numerous truths and methods. Waldorf teachers perpetuate the system that was developed by Steiner himself in 1919, at the first school in Stuttgart. They often operate by simple fidelity to a tradition they sanctify, without asking any questions about the inner freedom of their students. [45] How many times have I heard phrases such as, "Rudolf Steiner gave" this or that indication instead of "Steiner said" this thing or that. The founder is not considered an ordinary human being, or merely a thinker, but he is seen as a giver of eternal truths, an intermediary between the worlds of gods and mortals. He gave Anthroposophical Waldorf education to the world in 1919 as a gift from Heaven! This has even been propounded by Serge Prokofiev, current leader of the Anthroposophical Society, who has said that the founder of Anthroposophy would be — when seen in the universal cosmic scale — a being belonging to the ranks of Bodhisattvas [i.e., enlightened beings, Buddhas]; that is, unlike ordinary mortals, Steiner holds such a high rank that he will soon no longer need to reincarnate on Earth. As to Anthroposophy itself, it is not considered a mere worldview, but the emanation of the Supreme Deity: Anthroposophia is an emanation of the Divine Sophia. [47]


A Pedagogy Intermingled with a Universe of Beliefs


When teachers at Steiner-Waldorf schools state that their teaching is based on "a comprehensive conception of the human being," you would think they work from a philosophical and anthropological understanding independent of any link to Anthroposophy as an esoteric doctrine and religious practice. But there is absolutely nothing of the kind! Reading the reference books used by Waldorf teachers [48] leads you to realize that the concepts of reincarnation, karma, and even Anthroposophical Christology are inextricably mixed with Rudolf Steiner's directives about the education of children. The educational precepts of Rudolf Steiner are inseparable from his Anthroposophical teachings about human beings and the cosmos. Additionally, this problem is fully known to the Federation of Steiner schools in France, which tried a few years ago to grant itself academic legitimacy by forming a study group in collaboration with René Barbier, researcher in the sciences of education, the University of Paris VIII. In June 2007, an update on the value of "action research" conducted with academics, Anthroposophists who participated concluded:

"We are led as a provisional conclusion to reopen the question — which arose in the context of action research, but also elsewhere — of a possible transformation in Waldorf pedagogy.

"It seems to us that we can encourage the dissemination of the spirit of our school in society and in the culture of our time, through a process of 'benevolent transfer.' Drawing from heterogeneous learning environments and transforming them expansively, we should disavow inflexible teaching methods that violate this underlying spirit — that is to say, methods that contravene the objective that we all share." [49]

Using a Wooden Language


To understand how Waldorf teachers very often do not realize that they practice an insidious indoctrination, you must take into account the widespread use of formulaic, empty assertions. Indeed, Anthroposophists and Waldorf educators have long asserted that Anthroposophy is not taught to students in their schools. An example is this statement of Antoine Dodrimont, affirming in a recent article on the blog Growing Differently: "We must insist on the fact that Anthroposophy is not a worldview to be taught to children. If this were the case, we would not respect their freedom nor that of their parents. Pedagogy is open to all children of the earth in accordance with the philosophical and religious choice of the families. Freedom is a sacred value recognized by Anthroposophy and the pedagogy based on it." Contrary to the claims of Mr. Dodrimont, Anthroposophy is actually taught to students of Steiner-Waldorf schools, but in a form which cannot be easily identified. I heard such statements again and again from the mouths of my teachers when I was a student, and after I became Waldorf teacher, I in turn repeated such denials countless times — a skillful process of autosuggestion preventing one from seeing reality. It would be absolutely impossible for a teacher in a Waldorf school to denounce internally the things I have mentioned, because it would stir up hostility from a vast network reaching far beyond his school. Indeed, various Anthroposophical institutions are independent of the Anthroposophical Society in appearance only. During their careers, most active members of the Anthroposophical Society work as Waldorf school teachers. Knowledge of the internal functioning of these schools disproves the words of Antoine Dodrimont, who declared: "With regard to the Anthroposophical Society, it is not involved in the operation of schools that are independent entities based on their own strengths." In fact, the Steiner-Waldorf schools are run by a narrow and strict network and are woven into the Anthroposophical Society.


3. The Indoctrination of Parents



To complete the overview of indoctrination of which Steiner-Waldorf schools are one of the pivots, it is now necessary to say a word about the parents. The
indoctrination of parents is so ingenious. Many parents who send their children to these schools do so without knowing about Anthroposophy and without themselves being Anthroposophists. This was the case with my own parents. Firstly, the schools do not openly reveal the various elements of their underlying Anthroposophical doctrine. Only on rare occasions will the teachers speak, a little cautiously, of such matters as the "reappearance of Christ in the etheric world" or reincarnation. But initially, we talked to parents only about our teaching methods. Later the parents are invited to attend, at least once per quarter, educational meetings. At these, while speaking to them about different materials and about activities performed by their children at school, the teachers may gradually refer more and more openly to the "foundations" of Waldorf pedagogy. Still later, parents will be offered conferences where the themes are less about the pedagogy and more about the esoteric teachings of Rudolf Steiner.


The indoctrination of parents is especially directed at those who invite it by entering more and more deeply into the life of the school. We start by asking them to participate in an annual fair, just manning a booth or making cakes, then to do the same at other fairs, then to collaborate at the trimester fairs by assisting a teacher. Then they are invited to become members of various school committees and to take roles in pageants such as the "Play of the Shepherds", the "Play of the Three Kings", and "The Paradise Play", which are staged around Christmas, etc. They are also asked to become involved with the school gardens, and to serve as guides during various trips their children's classes take or those taken by classes in which they do not have children, etc. Some parents end up spending their lives at school!


4. The Indoctrination of Teachers



The indoctrination of teachers is itself even more perverse. Contrary to what one might think, the teachers in these schools do not all start as Anthroposophists, but many are just teachers seeking an alternative structure, or student-teachers looking for a job. Currently, these schools are indeed unable to recruit enough Anthroposophists to meet their staffing requirements, as the Anthroposophical Society is reduced to a 

small group of the retired or the perfectly enlightened who are unqualified to teach. Therefore the schools must recruit applicants from outside. Most of the time this is done the same way students or parents are recruited, that is to say, without revealing the school's true coloration. I was able to see how we recruited people who were only told, to begin with, that they would become part of a "an innovative, alternative pedagogy." Only gradually are the recruits eventually invited to accept Anthroposophical ideas.

The indoctrination begins with the obligation to participate in many educational meetings per week (unpaid) where the talk is supposed to serve the students' welfare, but in which many portions are designed to evoke the Anthroposophical foundations of Waldorf pedagogy. Of course, these meetings begin with the reading or recitation of prayers or words of Rudolf Steiner intended for the teaching profession.

Teachers must also attend conferences that open educational meetings, where esoteric themes are discussed. At first, the uninitiated do not understand much of what is happening nor the esoteric verbiage. I remember a disorienting first meeting during which a colleague of the executive committee of the school gave a speech, three quarters of an hour long, about iron "meteorites" (from meteors crashing into the Earth) which he said bring the forces of the archangel Michael down to humanity — this was meant to give courage to the teachers. In Anthroposophy, discussions are commonly meant to provide what they call "spiritual communion," [51] Such a conference is not just a simple means for communicating ideas — it is an act of sacramental communion.




Each teacher is also encouraged to take an interest in some aspect of the doctrine of Rudolf Steiner: The Botany teacher will be invited to read relevant writings of Steiner or THE METAMORPHOSIS OF PLANTS by Goethe, the SVT teacher will be prompted to read Steiner on the zoological works of Goethe, etc. The teacher of economics and sociology will be directed to examine Rudolf Steiner's teachings concerning the threefold division of society [52], the teacher of mathematics is invited to read THE FOURTH DIMENSION, MATHEMATICS AND REALITY [53]. The teacher of physics and chemistry is directed to read LIGHT AND MATTER [54], etc. The class teacher will, in turn, be urged to attend the Teacher Training Institute [55] (often at his own expense). However, during this "training," the talk gradually shifts to the esoteric ideas of Rudolf Steiner; the group begins to practice mediation or prayer; they read books such as THEOSOPHY, which contains the Master's teachings on reincarnation and karma, etc.

Teachers are also encouraged to participate in study groups from the Anthroposophical Society to cultivate the foundations of their discipline or their teaching skills.


5. Progressive Involvement Outside Teaching


Meanwhile, teachers are asked to participate in various tasks of school life: monitoring the canteen, preparing various gatherings, helping with educational exhibitions, helping with open houses, gardening the school's green spaces, cleaning classrooms, doing small maintenance, undertaking administrative tasks, etc.

Steiner indeed specified that Waldorf schools should always be run collegially, that is to say all decisions should be taken jointly by the inner faculty and the school should be managed by the teachers. He even specified that individuals who no longer teach (former teachers) should not run the administrative affairs of a school. A Steiner school should have neither a secretary nor an accountant but a teacher who takes a little time from his educational work to manage the accounting and administrative activities of the institution.

"The management of teaching and education, which truly bear all spiritual life, must be entrusted only to those who educate and teach. No agency of the State or in the economy should interfere in the management or direction of education. Each teacher should devote sufficient teaching time to be able to become a director in his field. He will take care of the administrative side, as he takes care of education and teaching themselves. (...) No parliament, no personality — those who have perhaps taught but no longer teach — can be recognized." — Rudolf Steiner, THE SOCIAL PROBLEM (Ed., E.A.R.), p. 12.

Household and kitchen work are no exception. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the first Steiner school functioned in this way, but most of these schools have subsequently agreed to develop a few posts for secretaries, accountants, or custodians, whose numbers are however still held to a minimum, leaving a substantial load of work in the arms of the teaching community. An important point is that most of these schools do not recognize the principle of leadership: they have no principal or director of studies. At most, they have sometimes conceded authority to a management board ("College of Teachers") consisting of a limited number of members. But school management is therefore undertaken by unqualified personnel who are not paid for this work, which comes in addition to their teaching. This creates a slow, awkward decision-making process. We can describe this as a sort of autistic approach: Rather than deal with a problem, the steering committee of the school rather pretends it does not exist, hoping it resolves itself. In some schools, the entire teaching community debates for months to determine the color that a classroom will be painted! Steiner imposed the rule of unanimity rather than majority rule, saying the operation of a school should be republican and not democratic [i.e., not based on majority voting], so discussions are sometimes endless. This dogmatic precept wreaks havoc in the small world of a Waldorf faculty where belonging to the College of Teachers inflates the ego. On decisions as simple as a change in schedule or relocation of a workshop, I sometimes witnessed endless turf wars and trench warfare. I saw a physical education teacher burst into tears at the absurdity of a decision: After battling for weeks to obtain slots in a municipal gym, she was denied by the teaching community the necessary change of schedule, on the pretext that Steiner had written somewhere that in no case may a gym class take precedence over an academic course.

This constant inefficiency could make one smile if it were not caused by the over-investment by teachers in the management of their schools. After some particularly busy weeks, I ended up not going home, but sleeping for several days in the infirmary. But moral and physical exhaustion is part of the logic of imprisonment I alluded to previously: resigned, discouraged, washed-out, Waldorf teachers only become more submissive to an institution to which they eventually sacrifice their lives and energy. [57]
  
Ultimately, the teacher is so much involved in the famous "school life" that he soon surrenders his personal life. [58] If his/her spouse does not adhere to the concepts and practices of the school, colleagues make the teacher understand that s/he probably is not living with the right person. [59] The teacher finds compensation, a kind of new family, in the school itself.


Of course, this life of isolation within the school is not without major problems developing in social behavior. In these schools, I have observed concerted harassment of teachers by one or another of their colleagues. During my four years of teaching, no less than seven teachers were victims of severe depression following the Waldorf practice of persecution. Designating scapegoats is, in my opinion, part of the sectarian logic at Waldorf — the purpose is to break the individuals, who do not understand what is happening to them, to transform them gradually into docile creatures. In all these schools, there are sordid stories of teachers who have suddenly been harassed for longer or shorter periods, for very different reasons, and often with no good effect. These deplorable practices are made possible by the fact that there is no trade union structure in Steiner-Waldorf schools, Rudolf Steiner having been opposed to unions for ideological reasons. Also contributing is the distrust of the laws of the "outside world" — an attitude that, quite often, the victims themselves do not think to challenge. Teachers of Steiner-Waldorf schools — who are both the indoctrinators and the indoctrinated, the persecutors and the persecuted — do not find fault in the system to which they are committed. They only follow a transcendent logic by which the same individual can be, in turn, a victim and then a perpetrator of the victimization of others. [60]


It is to such teachers — who have no personal or social life, and no interest in anything other than the Steiner-Waldorf pedagogy and its foundations — to whom the education of students is entrusted. How then pretend to be surprised by the frequent, improper romances that develop between teachers and students, in a context where additional heat is built into all emotional relationships? Only hypocrisy and a strategy of concealment explain the official blindness on this issue.




In Conclusion



It is essential to note that the practices I have described do not always lead to the complete indoctrination of all students immersed in this teaching. Few of the students will become, as I did, members of the Anthroposophical Society. Most will only be impregnated with ideas that they will adhere to more or less consciously. For some, this will result in unconditional sympathy for Waldorf Schools. Others will work in the "Anthroposophical movement." Only a few become members of the Anthroposophical Society.

But teachers can use a Waldorf school to identify those students who are most receptive to the ideas of Anthroposophy. Those students are approached at the time of adolescence, often by a teacher with whom the contact is already quite close. For me, this was my history and geography teacher who took me aside after class to pursue certain subjects that could not be developed for the whole class. I remember that we talked directly about issues such as reincarnation, the incarnation of Christ, the Ahrimanic principle, etc. Students who do not have this potential affinity with Anthroposophy are not solicited. There is not, in fact, a recruitment effort so extensive as to be highly dangerous. Teachers unhesitatingly show less interest — even a certain contempt — towards those young people who "lack openness" to their message. My professor of history and geography told me one day that a classmate, although serious and brilliant, received no more than an average grade of 12 in the study of FAUST because of his stubborn resistance to certain "progressive ideas" (as the teacher put it). Even if it is not said openly nor always consciously, students are sometimes rated more according to their degree of adherence to Anthroposophy than according to their school work, and they may feel this pressure accordingly. Those who rebel will be branded as bad students. Often, they will voluntarily leave Waldorf before the end of their schooling. They will flee because of the silent pressure from teachers, but also sometimes they want to escape the hostility of classmates who, feeling the animosity of their masters, become relays of their disapproval. Thus, at the school Verrières-le-Buisson, humiliations such as teasing, for example, were directed at those students who dared to use a different vocabulary than the school approved — they were quarantined, truly harassed. It was not uncommon for playgrounds to become theaters for systematic "manhunts" and "beatings" of students who did not fit the Waldorf mold. My sister, who attended Waldorf up to the time of high school entrance, remembers well the nightmare that recess became, with the entire class ganging up to chase and hit. How could teachers ignore the beatings that occurred, if they had bothered to monitor recess? Was it basically because it suited their purposes? Verbal harassment of students could even take place in class, in the presence of a teacher who would not intervene. Once, when this became excessive, my sister stood up to say she would no longer accept such abuse. That's when the teacher, feeling that perhaps this time things had gone a little too far and might lead to problems, was inspired to tell her to return to her seat, saying she must undergo this trial stoically! For my part, I am now convinced that the teaching staff of these schools knowingly tolerate the harassment of those who resist the community, its lifestyle, and its ideology — this is part of the logic of exerting power over the consciences of children.

I especially want to denounce how in these schools there is a gap between the appearance of a modern pedagogy that initially seems innovative — respectful of the freedom and development of students — and the hidden reality of the schools' medieval character. One could compare these schools, when you know them, from inside, to genuine "teaching monasteries," where submission to an esoteric doctrine and enslavement of body and soul in service to the community is the implicit rule followed by the teachers.

I hope my testimony will allow all those who so eagerly promote these schools — journalists and public figures — to be more cautious in their assessment. 

Although progressive elements do exist in these schools, this doesn't change the fact that these schools are at the same time the pool where Anthroposophists select, from childhood, those who are most receptive to their worldview and their modes of operation. They then introduce those individuals into their various circles, which are closed otherwise: the Anthroposophical Society and its School of Spiritual Science. This selection usually follows from the emotional bonds that are formed, which may seem natural but which are often part of a recruitment policy. For my part, I took some time to realize this about my personal relationship with my former teachers.

I would like to speak to the idea that Anthroposophy is a "soft sect" because its indoctrination is subtle and may even be experienced as progressive. 

But what happens in these schools is a serious violation of freedom of conscience in children. This is not considered a significant phenomenon internally, for the Anthroposophical Society is so dogmatic and closed upon itself that the only method it has for renewing its workforce is to gather individuals who have been pre-formatted for it. Without students from Waldorf schools, the Society would probably be reduced to a handful of individuals.

I think that without the support of National Education, it is unlikely that the Steiner-Waldorf schools could survive, financially or socially. The widening gap between the schools' practices and ideas, on the one hand, and the reality of today's world, on the other hand, should lead to their natural extinction. [61]









To read this essay and others by Grégoire Perra
in the original French,









For the English translation of a memoir
in which Perra relates the events of his life in more detail,














Grégoire Perra as a young Waldorf student,

at about age 12






Grégoire Perra at about age 17,
in a Waldorf art class






Waldorf teacher Grégoire Perra at about age 32,
working in the school staff room






Grégoire Perra today
[photograph by Myrtille Dupont
www.myrtille-photographe.fr]





[Photos supplied by Grégoire Perra]










For another essay by Grégoire Perra,

see "Mistreating Kids Lovingly".













AFTERWORD




Grégoire Perra and I went down similar paths. As students in Waldorf schools, we took the mystical leanings of our teachers seriously — more seriously, perhaps, than many of our schoolmates did. We felt the allure of Anthroposophy and moved toward it. Teachers singled us out as potential recruits, and we responded affirmatively.


Ultimately, Perra went farther down the path than I did. He became an Anthroposophist; I did not. He went to work in a Waldorf school; I did not. I wasn't shrewder than Perra, just luckier. When I was a Waldorf student — in the distant days of the 1950's and 60s — there were few functioning Anthroposophical institutions in the United States; the Anthroposophical network on this side of the Atlantic was small and inchoate.


Things were different for Perra when, years later, he became a Waldorf student in France. The Anthroposophical network then, in Europe, was large and vigorous. Hence, the transition from Waldorf student to devout Anthroposophist and Waldorf teacher was fairly easy; the skids had been greased.


Having gone farther than I did, Perra became more enmeshed and compromised. In the blurred, mystical atmosphere of Anthroposophy, he made some censurable decisions. His biggest error was the one Anthroposophists will not blame him for: It was the decision to become an Anthroposophist. Eventually, he corrected that mistake.


Perra's personal history — like mine — is of interest, I suppose. But we are just two individuals, ordinary guys who have led slightly unordinary lives. Far more important than our life histories are the truths we have told about Waldorf education. Perra seems to have extensive knowledge both from his own experiences and from wide reading in Anthroposophical texts. What he says about Waldorf schools is borne out by his own scholarship and by the work of others who have also researched Waldorf pedagogy and the mysticism behind it. 


Thus, as I said at the start, Perra deserves a serious hearing. He opened his eyes and became a truth-teller.


— Roger Rawlings













ENDNOTES



[1] See Part III of this report.


[2] If these links were revealed, would the French government subsidize these schools?


[3] In second grade, pour teachers attended — during school — a conference led by Gerard Klockenbring, an Anthroposophist and Christian Community Pastor. The theme was "the supersensible nature of the human being." During my year at school Terminal Steiner- Waldorf Chatou, we were informed that Gerard Klockenbring would give a lecture to near the school. I went there and thus seduced by his teaching. I later followed this speaker when he gave lectures at the Anthroposophical Society.


[4] Christophe Dekindt and Grégoire Perra, THE SPIRITUAL CINEMA, Occult Backgrounds of the American Action Film (Ed., Mirandola).



Christophe Dekindt and Grégoire Perra


[5] See Rudolf Steiner, LEÇONS ÉSOTÉRIQUES DE LA PREMIÈRE CLASSE (Ed., E.A.R. [Éditions Anthroposophiques Romandes]).

[6] See Rudolf Steiner, L'HOMME DANS SES RAPPORTS AVEC LES ANIMAUX ET LES ESPRITS DES ÉLÉMENTS (Ed., Triades).

[7] Rudolf Steiner, MYTHES ET LÉGENDES ET LEURS VÉRITÉS OCCULTES (Ed., E.A.R.).  


[8] Rudolf Steiner, MYTHES ET LÉGENDES ET LEURS VÉRITÉS OCCULTES (Ed., E.A.R.) [sic; LA SAGESSE CACHÉE DE CONTES DE GRIMM is probably intended here].

[9] See Rudolf Steiner, LUCIFER ET AHRIMAN, or UNE THÉORIE DE LA CONNAISSANCE CHEZ GOETHE (Ed., E.A.R.) According to Steiner, the forces of evil are divided between the Luciferic and Ahrimanic . Lucifer represents the principle of expansion, dissolution, and pride, and Ahriman represents the principle of contraction, hardening, and earthiness. [In Anthroposophical belief, Lucifer and Ahriman are mighty demons. - R.R.]

[10] A reference book for the teachers in these schools is by Werner Greub, LA QUÊTE DU GRAAL, WOLFRAM VON ESCHENBACH ET LA RÉALITÉ HISTORIQUE (Ed., E.A.R.)

[11] Rudolf Steiner, PLAN PÉDAGOGIQUE, Éditions Anthroposophiques Romandes.

[12] Rudolf Steiner, CONSEILS, réunions avec les professeurs de l'école Steiner de Stuttgart, édité par la Fédération des Écoles Steiner-Waldorf, Octobre 2005.

[13] In France, the magazine L'ESPRIT DU TEMPS — for which I was a writer over a period of two years — is the publication that primarily updates scientific and literary concepts for Steiner-Waldorf teachers.

[14] Jean-Marie Pelt, PLANTES, AMOURS ET CIVILISATIONS VÉGÉTALES (Editions Fayard).

[15] That is to say, he refers to  an earlier incarnation of the Earth (the Old Moon), when everything was liquid; solid substances did not exist yet.

[16] See Ernst-Michael Kranich, LE RÈGNE VÉGÉTAL ET LA PLANTE PRIMORDIALE DE GOETHE (Ed., Triads).

[17] See various chapters of Steiner’s SCIENCE DE L'OCCULTE, (Ed., E.A.R.) or Steiner’s SYMPTÔMES DANS L'HISTOIRE (Ed., Triads).

[18] I can provide all of the notes I took during this training.


[19] POUR APPROFONDIR LA PÉDAGOGIE DE RUDOLF STEINER. Document published by the Educational Section of the Free University of Science of the Spirit. [The Free University of Spiritual Science is an Anthroposophical institution centered at the worldwide Anthroposophical headquarters, which is called the Goetheanum. — RR.]


[20] The headquarters of the Anthroposophical Society, located in Dornach, Switzerland. It is the nerve center of international Anthroposophy.


[21] Goethe, the TRAITÉ DES COULEURS and MÉTAMORPHOSE DES PLANTES (Ed., Triads. prefaces by Rudolf Steiner).

[22] Wolfram von Eschenbach, PARZIVAL (Ed., E.A.R).

[23] Peter Tradowsky (Anthroposophy), KASPAR HAUSER OU LE COMBAT POUR L'ESPRIT (Ed., Triads). 

[24] See Rudolf Steiner, LES FÊTES DE L'ANNÉE ET LEUR INTÉRIORISATION (Ed., E.A.R.), as well as Stephen Blanchon, LES FÊTES DU COURS DE L'ANNÉE (Ed., E.A.R.).

[25] See Rudolf Steiner, LA CHUTE DES ESPRITS DES TÉNÈBRES, or LA MISSION DE MICHAËL (Ed., Triads), or LETTRES AUX MEMBRES (Ed., E.A.R.).

[26] See LA VIE RELIGIEUSE DE L'ENFANT, Ed. Iona. This collection contains many words written by Rudolf Steiner for children. It may also refer to the book DE L'ÉDUCATION RELIGIEUSE, PAROLES DE RUDOLF STEINER, UN MATÉRIAU DE TRAVAIL POUR LES PÉDAGOGUES WALDORF published for internal use only, courtesy of Pädagogische Forschungsstelle beim Bund der Freien Waldorfschulen Stuttgart, 1991.

[27] DE L'ÉDUCATION RELIGIEUSE, PAROLES DE RUDOLF STEINER, UN MATÉRIAU DE TRAVAIL POUR LES PÉDAGOGUES WALDORF, published for internal use only, courtesy of Pädagogische Forschungsstelle beim Bund der Freien Waldorfschulen Stuttgart, 1991, page 67.

[28] Rudolf Steiner, THÉOSOPHIE (Ed., Novalis).

[29] Rudolf Steiner, LA SCIENCE DE L'OCCULTE (Ed., E.A.R.).

[30] Rudolf Steiner, LE SENS DE LA VIE (Ed., Triades).

[31] Steiner, Laloux, Berthold, L'ÉNIGME DES TEMPÉRAMENTS (Ed., Triads).

[32] Rudolf Steiner, LEÇONS ÉSOTÉRIQUES DE LA PREMIÈRE CLASSE (Ed., E.A.R.). See the ninth lesson, p.190ff.


[33] Rudolf Steiner, LEÇONS ÉSOTÉRIQUES, Volume 1 (Ed., E.A.R.). See the ninth lesson, p.116ff.


[34] See Part IV / 4 for this testimony.


[35] Notably those of his book L'INITIATION (Ed., Triads).


[36] Rudolf Steiner, MÉDITATIONS POUR LA VIE QUOTIDIENNE (Ed., Triads).


[37] When I worked at the Waldorf School of Chatou, a teacher told me that she was often asked by the College of Teachers (steering committee) to serve as a stand-in for colleagues who did not have the required qualifications. At the time, she said she was increasingly difficult resisting these pressures.


[38] A few years ago, in a Steiner school in the Paris region, a teacher had to replace one of his colleagues for an inspection on short notice, so he did not know the class. This caused such havoc among the students that the inspector — not knowing of the trickery — concluded that the teacher was so incompetent that he endangered his students. Loyal to the school, the substitute teacher accepted the blame for which he was not responsible, even though that year ended his teaching career.


[39] See Steiner, ALIMENTATION ET LA SANTÉ, also ALIMENTATION ET DÉVELOPPEMENT SPIRITUEL (Ed., E.A.R.), as well as the book by Joël Acremant SE NOURRIR AUJOURD'HUI (Ed., Novalis).

[40] This term islet culture is deliberately used, for example, in the editorial FAS News March / April 2009.

[41] President of the Anthroposophical Society in France and a former teacher in the Waldorf School of Colmar.

[42] A few years ago, the president of the Federation of Waldorf Schools was simultaneously Director of the Pedagogical Section in France.

[43] Rudolf Steiner, CHRONIQUES DE L'AKASHA (Ed., E.A.R.).

[44] TOUMANT, L'ESPRIT DU TEMPS, and LES NOUVELLES DE LA S.A.F.


Contents:

• Rudolf Steiner, Les trois portes du chemin de connaissance imaginatif 
• Georg Kühlewind, Le développement de l'attention 
• Jörgen Smit, Le chemin d'apprentissage de l'enseignant 
• Maxime Piolot, L'homme de la nuit (entretien) 
Grégoire PerraShakespeare et le Mystère de la parole 
["Shakespeare and the Mystery of the Word"]
• Pierre Bercut, Les impasses fondamentales de la science moderne 
• Gerd Weidenhausen, L'Empire à venir 
Grégoire PerraLa Guerre des étoiles  ["War in the Stars"]
• Friedwart Husemann, Le sommeil et son effet sur la santé


[45] Even though they embrace to a book by Steiner titled PHILOSOPHIE DE LA LIBERTÉ (Ed., E.A.R.).

[46] Serge Prokofiev, RUDOLF STEINER ET LES MYSTÈRES ANGULAIRES DE NOTRE TEMPS (Ed., Branch Paul of Tarsus).

[47] Serge Prokofiev, LA SOPHIA CÉLESTE ET L'ÊTRE ANTHROPOSOPHIE (Ed., Branch Paul of Tarsus).  [Sophia is divine wisdom. Anthropo-Sophia, Anthroposophy, is divine human wisdom. — RR]
 
[48] Rudolf Steiner, NATURE HUMANE (Ed., Triads).

[49] La Lettre de la Fédération, No. 19, June 2007.

[50] There are evening art courses related to Anthroposophy, public lectures on Anthroposophy, etc. Participants meet "branches" of the Anthroposophical Society, including those that have held secret rituals of the School of Spiritual Science. I know, having participated for years.

[51] In a series of lectures, Steiner describes how the sacramental communion of the future will no longer involve substances such as bread and wine, but spiritual representations instead.

[52] This provides the ideological foundations for the NEF Bank, a subsidiary of the Credit Cooperative.
 
[53] Rudolf Steiner, LA QUATRIÈME DIMENSION, MATHÉMATIQUES ET RÉALITÉ (Ed., Triads).

[54] Rudolf Steiner,  LUMIÈRE ET MATIÈRE (Ed., E.A.R.)

[55] Chatou, Yvelines, or Didascalia in the South of France.
 
[56] There is even a secret esoteric meditation book for teachers, which is not meant for the public, but only is only passed hand to hand: In religious education, it consists of Rudolf Steiner's words, material published for internal Waldorf use, courtesy of Pädagogische Forschungsstelle beim Bund der Freien Waldorfschulen stuttgart, 1991.

[57] Illness sometimes opens brief windows of awareness. For me, important health problems forced me to take a step back, helping me to move away from the Anthroposophic path that had defined my life.


[58] This phenomenon is well known in Steiner schools in Germany, where women teachers are called "widows" because they never see their husbands.


[59] One teacher was constantly told that her husband— who openly described the school as a sect — did not really understand and it would be better if he went away.


[60] This does not, however, remove the individual moral responsibility of those who have participated in such actions, as I know from personal experience.


[61] For example, the Waldorf School of Colmar, which does not offer teacher contracts, provides such a pittance to it teachers that the only ones who stay are the most fanatical or those who have no other option.








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


◊◊◊ 6. FORMER WALDORF TEACHERS, ET AL ◊◊◊



HE WENT TO WALDORF


Another firsthand account


A third firsthand account


A long, astrological tale — told briefly


Leaving Waldorf, finding something better


The real skinny


The child vs. the cause


Teachers as priests


A wayward Anthroposophist


Reeling away from Christchurch


His reply


Focus on Steiner schools


A big year coming

A square peg

    

Parent and teacher


Founding member

After 10 years...

Run!


You will be lied to...

A chat between friends













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

[A - D]   [E - I]   [J - O]   [P - R]   [S]   [T - Z]




THE BRIEF WALDORF / STEINER ENCYCLOPEDIA


[A - B]   [C - D]   [E - F]   [G - I]   [J - M]   [N - Q]   [R - S]   [T - Z]




WALDORF WATCH INDEX


[A - E]     [G - M]     [N - S]     [T - Z]



WALDORF WATCH TABLE OF CONTENTS
















The Goetheanum, worldwide headquarters of Anthroposophy.

[R.R., 2013.]















Rudolf Steiner, founder of Anthroposophy

and Waldorf education.

[Public domain.]