"Each of us is assigned a particular horoscope,
in which the forces are revealed that have led us into this life."
— Rudolf Steiner, ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 46.
Steiner contradicted himself on many subjects.
Whether this was intentional or not makes little difference.
But we should note the contradictions, and also strive to understand Steiner’s meaning.
Steiner often found it expedient to deny, in some forums,
doctrines that he espoused in others.
An additional complication is that Steiner’s use of language was sloppy;
he often spoke imprecisely, making declarations that he may not have entirely meant.
Here are some of his statements about horoscopes.
The first clearly contradicts the others. But determining Steiner’s true opinion
(if we can speak of truth in his case) may not prove too difficult.
“Of course, it is nonsense to say that the moon, sun or Jupiter have an influence on an organ, or to cast a horoscope thinking that the planet Jupiter, for instance, is dominant.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 36.
This denial is categorical. Heavenly bodies do not influence any organ in the body, and it is silly to create a horoscope that shows the dominance of any planet. To put this in context: Steiner was speaking about the formation of the head, and he said “The head is formed from the whole universe.” [Ibid.] Perhaps all he meant to say is that the head is not ruled by any single astrological force — it is attuned to the entire cosmos. So, his apparently categorical denial may have been a slip of the tongue.
To see what Steiner meant to tell his followers about horoscopes in general, we must examine other quotations. They leave little room for doubt. Astrology as it is generally practiced is false, Steiner said. But astrology as he practiced it is true, he said.
“Investigations are often made — unfortunately not always with the necessary respect and dignity — into the starry constellation prevailing at birth. Much less selfish and much more beautiful would be a horoscope, a planetary horoscope made for the moment of death. This is most revealing for the whole soul of the human being, for the entry into death at a particular moment is most revealing in connection with karma.” — Rudolf Steiner, ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 186.
“It is in our will that our karmic intentions are stored, intentions which have been prepared during the long period between lifetimes in the company of the spiritual beings of planetary spheres and beyond. But can these intentions be read in a horoscope? Whilst criticizing the superficial nature of much astrology, Steiner shows that we do indeed attempt to choose the appropriate birth time to match the destiny that we are to live out ... Steiner regarded the necessary ‘qualifications’ for this interpreting [of horoscopes], how ideally the level of Intuition...must be reached. On occasions he himself made use of horoscopes as we can see in the case of the ‘special needs’ children.” — Margaret Jonas, introduction to ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY, pp. 2-3.
“Not only is a birth horoscope significant but here Rudolf Steiner introduces the conventionally unfamiliar idea that we can equally study the horoscope for the moment of a person’s death, that this will reveal much about the significance of their life and what they are offering back to the spiritual world. Willi Sucher, a pioneer in the field of anthroposophical astrology, which he called astrosophy, made many such studies.” — Ibid., Margaret Jonas, p. 185.
“The truth underlying the casting of a horoscope is that those who know these things can read the forces which determine a person's physical existence. A certain horoscope is allotted to a person because, within it, those forces find expression which have led him into being. If for example in the horoscope Mars stands over Aries (the Ram), this signifies that certain of the Aries forces are not allowed to pass through Mars, and are weakened. Thus is a man put into his place within physical existence, and it is in accordance with his horoscope that he guides himself before entering upon earthly existence. This subject, which in our times seems so much a thing of chance, should not be touched upon without our attention being called to the fact that nearly everything practised in this connection today is simply dilettantism. It is pure superstition, and for the external world the true science of these matters has been for the most part completely lost. Consequently, the principles expressed here are not to be judged according to that which nowadays frequently leads a questionable existence under the name Astrology.” — Rudolf Steiner, SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE OF MAN AND HUMANITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1970), lecture 3, GA 15.
“Thus in Palestine during the time that Jesus of Nazareth walked on earth as Christ-Jesus — during the three last years of his life, from his thirtieth to his thirty-third year, the entire Being of the cosmic Christ was acting uninterruptedly upon Him, and was working into Him. The Christ stood always under the influence of the entire cosmos — He made no step without this working of the cosmic forces into and in Him. That which here took place in Jesus of Nazareth was a continual realization of the horoscope, for at every moment there occurred that which otherwise happens only at a person's birth.” [Ibid.]
“Even a confirmed sceptic must surely feel surprise when he hears the following ... Wallenstein wished to have his horoscope drawn up by Kepler ... [T]he matter had been arranged with caution. Wallenstein did not write to Kepler...but an intermediary was chosen. Kepler therefore did not know for whom the horoscope was intended. The only indication given was the date of the birth ... Kepler completed the horoscope as requested ... Wallenstein found very much that tallied with his experiences. He began (it was often so in those days) to have great confidence in Kepler and on many occasions was able to adjust his life according to the prognostications. But it must be said too, that although many things tallied, many did not ... [Wallenstein] begged Kepler to correct the hour of birth; the correction was only very slight but after it had been made, the prognostications were more accurate ... [T]he year 1634 would be extremely unfavourable for Wallenstein. Kepler added — as well he might, for the date lay so far ahead — that even if this were a cause of alarm, the alarm would have passed away by the time of these unfavourable conditions. He did not therefore consider them dangerous for Wallenstein’s plans. The prediction was for March 1634. And now think of it: within a few weeks of the period indicated, the causes occurred which led to the murder of Wallenstein. These things are at least striking!” — Rudolf Steiner, “Prophecy, Its Nature and Meaning” (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1950), a lecture, GA 61.
Steiner’s logic is impeccable, wouldn’t you agree? In any event, Steiner’s point is that prophecy — such as through the use of horoscopes — can be true and reliable.
“Seership is therefore by no means an incomprehensible faculty ... Mankind is standing at the threshold of transition; certain forces hitherto concealed in darkness are becoming more and more apparent ... The dawn of this new power of soul can already be perceived. When such glimpses of the Future astonish us, our attitude will not be that of the fanatic, neither will it be that of the pure realist, but we shall know why we do this or that for the sake of spiritual evolution. This, fundamentally, is the purpose of all true prophecy.” — Ibid.
The most troubling element in all this is that Steiner advocated using horoscopes to decide how to treat children. This may apply in Waldorf schools, and especially in the case of children with special needs:
“By looking at what the horoscope shows we can see what is really the matter [with a child].
“Take first this horoscope (of the elder sister). It will probably have struck you that you find here in this region, Uranus together with Venus and Mars. You will not really need to carry your considerations any further than this triangle. Here then are Mars, Venus and Uranus. Consider first Mars. For this child, who was born in 1909, Mars stands in complete opposition to the Moon. Mars, which has Venus and Uranus in its vicinity, stands — itself — in strong opposition to the Moon. Here is the Moon and here is Mars. And Mars pulls along with it Uranus and Venus.
“And now I would ask you to pay careful attention also to the fact that the Moon is at the same time standing before Libra. This means, the Moon has comparatively little support from the Zodiac, it wavers and hesitates, it is even something of a weakling in this hour; and its influence is still further reduced through the fact that Mars (which pulls along with it the Luciferic influence [i.e., the influence of Lucifer]) stands in opposition to it.
“Now let us turn to the horoscope of the young child. Again, here are Venus and Uranus and Mars near together, the three of them covering between them no more than this section of the heavens ... On this second horoscope, Mars, Venus and Uranus are in close proximity, exactly as before; but when we examine more nearly the position of Mars, we find it is not, as before, in complete opposition to the Moon. It is however very nearly so. Although the younger child does not come in for a complete opposition, there is an approximation to opposition.
“But what strikes us as still more remarkable is that when we come to make our observation of the Moon, we discover she is again in Libra — while being at the same time, as we have seen, almost in opposition to Mars, which latter drags Uranus and Venus along with it. We have therefore again a background of Libra ... [I]mportant for us is that we find here a constellation that is perfectly intelligible, a constellation that, when interpreted, shows us the following.
“Mars, who is the bearer of iron, makes himself independent of the principle of propagation — independent, that is, of the Moon. He brings away from its true mission that which comes to man through the Venus principle and is connected with love ... Consequently we find that in the growth process that takes place within the child iron will be lacking, whereas everything that tends to be in conflict with iron, notably sulphur, will be present to excess.
“... [O]ur first concern must be to see that we treat the nerves-and-senses organisation of these two children with the utmost care and delicacy. Their nerves-and-senses organisation is, as a whole, slippery and unstable ... [E]specially must we avoid straining the eyes in reading and such-like occupations. Try to impart your teaching without requiring the use of the eyes at all — I mean, without any reading. On the other hand, accustom the eyes to colour impressions where the colours shade off gently into one another ... There you have, you see, measures that will be quite easy to carry out.” — Rudolf Steiner, CURATIVE EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 11, GA 317.
Waldorf teachers may decide how to treat a child through using clairvoyance; they may intuit that a child exemplifies one of the four “humors”; and they may use horoscopes. These are all excellent reasons to keep children out of Waldorf schools.
It seems almost incredible that a Waldorf teacher might use
a horoscope or offer to create one for a student,
and yet here is a report from a mother who sent her child to a Waldorf school
[see "Coming Undone"]:
"Many alarm bells rang during our time there. I remember the intense gaze of the teachers that would continue far longer than was comfortable. There was little laughter, everything was carried out in a very slow and purposeful way with a sing-song voice, the lighting of candles, the wearing of strange hats, their infatuation with wool — I recall a felting session where the teacher spoke of the special energy of the wool, declaring it had come from a biodynamic sheep. I recall the time the teacher took both my hands in hers and explaining my son had 'chosen me as his mother,' on a further occasion she stated he had 'chosen the school' and that children 'get what they need' – ostensibly an innocent cliché until one understands it's particular meaning within Anthroposophy. I also recall politely refusing a teacher's offer, made during a parent and toddler group session, to lend me a copy of THE INDIGO CHILDREN and compile an astrological chart based on my son's birth date."
Horoscope for Erasmus
- Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings