Here is a collection of sketches that may shine light on Anthroposophy
and Waldorf schooling. Some of these images are renderings of sketches
Steiner himself made to accompany his lectures.
The captions summarize, very briefly, salient points
about Anthroposophy and Steiner's doctrines.

The philosophy underlying Waldorf education, Anthroposophy
(the word means human wisdom), glorifies humanity.
We are wondrous, upward-evolving spiritual beings,
central to all of creation, beloved of the gods. 
This is a grand and attractive vision.
We can all feel its tug on our hearts and souls.
But can humanity actually fulfill its potential by following Steiner's lead?
He concocted a blend of occultism, myth, gnostic religion, and fantasy.
The path to wisdom cannot run through such a welter of fallacies.
If we are to realize our better nature, fulfilling
our best potential, surely we must face reality squarely
and build on truth, not illusion.

The world headquarters for Anthroposophy is the Goetheanum
in Dornach, Switzerland. It is, in essence,
a cathedral: Among other telling features, it has stained glass windows,
a large pipe organ, and an imposing statue of Christ,
Lucifer, and Ahriman (the Zoroastrian devil).

This is the statue. The standing figure is Christ.

The other figures are Lucifer, Ahriman,
and an elemental being or nature spirit.
Anthroposophy is a form of occultism that derives 
in part from various major religions
(Christianity, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism...),
and also from mysticism, magic,
astrology, mythology, and the like.

Anthroposophy is a polytheistic creed.
The universe teems with gods who occupy higher worlds. 
Steiner claimed to know these worlds thanks to clairvoyance.
(Indeed, all of Anthroposophy hinges on clairvoyance — which science tells us does not exist.
At Waldorf schools, students are nudged toward clairvoyance through emphasis on imagination.)
This image represents, in vague fashion, ranks of gods as described by Steiner.

Human beings have four bodies, three of which are invisible.
Or so the Waldorf belief system says.
At night, our astral bodies (red) and our spiritual egos (purple)
leave Earth and journey to the spirit worlds.
In the morning, they rejoin our etheric bodies (yellow)
and our physical bodies.
Or so the Waldorf belief system says.
Not all Waldorf teachers are true-believing Anthroposophists,
but many are. Steiner said that Waldorf teachers need to follow
Anthroposophy, and he said "Anthroposophy will be in the school."

Our current Earthly lives are just the most recent
of our many, many incarnations. We are evolving
from a lowly condition to divinity. We will ultimately
become God the Father. Our evolution
occurs through the processes of reincarnation and karma.
Or so the Waldorf belief system says.

So far during the course of our evolution, we have lived
on or during Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon.
We now live on Earth.
We will next proceed to Jupiter, then Venus, and finally Vulcan.
(I promise you, I'm not making up any of this.)

The power of the stars (astrology) has great importance
in the Waldorf belief system.
At Waldorf schools, many activities seek
to attune students to cosmic forces. Here you see
four basic eurythmy positions and their associated
astrological signs. Eurythmy (a sort of dance)
is often a required activity for all students at a Waldorf school.

Here you see the influence of the zodiac
on various parts of the human body,
according to the Waldorf belief system.
Astrology is just below the surface
at a typical Waldorf school.

Steiner's clairvoyance allowed him to perceive many wonderful truths,
such as this: The Earth was once a giant animal that, sadly, died.
Or so the Waldorf belief system says.
Waldorf students may or may not be told about such things —
Waldorf teachers face the problem of deciding how much
Anthroposophical "truth" to reveal to students and their parents.
If Anthroposophical doctrines are not laid out for students in so many words,
efforts will probably be made nonetheless to foster occult attitudes,
concepts, and receptivity among the students.

The animals evolved from us, not vice versa.
We contain within ourselves all of the best potential qualities —
we sloughed off various inferior qualities in the form of the animals.
We are, in fact, microcosms of the entire universe:
Within ourselves, we contain all that is best.
So, to seek knowledge and wisdom, we need not use our brains, much —
we should gaze within, finding the truths implanted in us
before our current incarnation on Earth.
Or so the Waldorf belief system says.

The Sun and Moon were once inside the Earth,
back in the days before so many humans migrated to other planets,
according to the Waldorf belief system.
The Moon gave the Earth its motherly qualities.
Today animals carry these Moon forces within themselves.
(If you don't see how some of these illustrations
clarify Steiner's doctrines, that's just part of the experience
of studying Steiner: His words and his drawings
were often far from crystal-clear.)

In Anthroposophy, there are good gods and evil gods.
Lucifer, whom you see here, is a problematic spirit.
He has given humanity gifts, but he has also fought
against our proper evolution. For instance, he
and the demon Ahriman caused mankind to divide
into multiple races, some of which are lower than others.
(The white race, according to Steiner, is tops.)

If you are attracted to a Waldorf school,
make sure you understand what lies behind the pleasing veneer.
Perhaps you will find great wisdom and spiritual solace
in Anthroposophy. If so, a Waldorf school may be just
what you're looking for. But otherwise...

This is a sufficient preview, I imagine.

Please bear in mind that I do not believe

any of the Steiner doctrines I have outlined —

I'm just a messenger.

We will look into all these matters

(and, as the saying goes, much, much more)

on other pages here at Waldorf Watch.

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


A short, direct answer to the question, "What are Waldorf schools all about?"

Best foot forward

The bright side


Waldorf's goals

Waldorf's reality

Teachers as priests

How they teach it

Words of warning

The key to Waldorf

The use of "clairvoyance" by Waldorf teachers

Developing our invisible bodies

Steiner, trying to make Waldorf education seem sensible

The memoir of a former Waldorf student and teacher

A garden in Atlantis? In Lemuria? On Vulcan?
No, none of these — although Steiner said
all these realms existed or will exist.
Stay tuned.

[R.R., 2010.]

[Most of these sketches, 2009 & 2010, are by myself (R.R.), based on photographs,

descriptions, or artwork by Steiner and his followers .

I apologize for my limitations as draftsman and artist;

I would have used the originals here if I'd been given permission.

The sources for the sketches (reading from top to bottom) are the following:

GOETHEANUM (Philosophical-Anthroposophical Press, 1961), p. 26,
Rudolf Steiner, ARCHITECTURE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 184,
John Fletcher, ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 54, 

Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 235,

Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 102,

Rudolf Steiner, REINCARNATION AND KARMA (Steiner Books, 1992) - sketch based on descriptions,

Rudolf Steiner, FROM SUNSPOTS TO STRAWBERRIES (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), p. 20,

Rudolf Steiner, EURYTHMY AS VISIBLE SPEECH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1984), p. 159,

Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 47,

Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 69,

Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 51,

Rudolf Steiner, FROM CRYSTALS TO CROCODILES (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), p. 130,

John Fletcher, ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 54.
Ibid., p. 112 — from a Waldorf mural painted by Walther Roggenkamp.
Dream flower: wholly my own. You will find Steiner's teachings about Atlantis, Lemuria, and Vulcan on this website.]

I have struggled a little trying to decide how much effort to put into the illustrations I create for Waldorf Watch. I do not claim to be a talented artist, and I have no intention of parading my artistic abilities, such as they are. I have merely tried to represent Steiner's teachings and Waldorf art as well as I can without committing unwarranted time and effort to the process. I call each of my drawings and paintings a sketch for reasons that should be plain. The illustrations in Steiner's books are often flat and dull. On the other hand, art displayed in Waldorf schools is often far better than anything I could produce.

This leaves the question, are my illustrations accurate — that is, do they give a fair representation of Anthroposophical beliefs and art? You should check me on this as on all other matters. My aim, throughout, has been to be fair and truthful while also clarifying teachings that can often seem opaque if not impenetrable. Whether I have succeeded is, of course, for you to decide.

As one indication, here is an Anthroposophical illustration that I used as the basis for one of the sketches I presented earlier on this page. You can reach your own conclusions about the accuracy, fairness, and informativeness of my copy.

Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 51.

— Roger Rawlings