Celestial Wisdom

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Would you let him educate your child?

This page was originally created for a different website;
it overlaps other pages you will find here at Waldorf Watch.
Waldorf Watch mirrors Rudolf Steiner's own output —
a sprawling amalgam in which central themes recur many times.

Rudolf Steiner described the universe for us. His teachings constitute an atlas of the cosmos: He told us what the universe is and how we can penetrate its secrets. Unfortunately, virtually nothing he said is true. Still, his tour of the cosmos can be entertaining. Here are a few overhead revelations, attained by looking upward with one's eyes closed.


Rudolf Steiner spoke of Vulcan as both a planet and a stage of evolution. He seems to have believed that a planet called Vulcan actually exists in the solar system. [See "Vulcan".] More generally, however, when he spoke of "Vulcan" he meant a distant stage of evolution, a "planetary stage" or "condition of consciousness" when we will be far more evolved than we are now.

Similar confusions can arise in other of Steiner's astronomical/evolutionary teachings. He trafficked more in mystification than clarity. Usually, by paying close attention, you can figure out what he means, but it does require close attention. Consider the following, for instance. In SLEEP AND DREAMS, Steiner speaks of a god living on the Moon. [1] Steiner quickly catches himself and explains that he is only speaking “imagistically.” But then he affirms that the god really is physically there, on the Moon. As far as Steiner's truths go (which isn't far), this is probably the best Steiner could do. In his scheme, the Moon is the physical stand-in for a spiritual reality — as is everything physical, when you come down to it. The spiritual reality is more important, BUT the physical reality does exist, too, in its own relatively unimportant way. Same for the planets, same for everything in the sky: They are all there, in reality, while they also manifest other more significant stuff from otherwhere or otherwhen. [See "The Planets".]

The solar system, as described by Steiner, is an exceedingly weird place. There are only six real planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) — Steiner acknowledged the existence of Neptune and Uranus, but he generally considered these two bodies irrelevant outsiders, not really members of our solar family. The count of planets swells, however, if — as Steiner sometimes did — we count the Sun and Moon as planets. It swells even further if we count Vulcan. Complicating all this is Steiner's use of planetary names for periods in the distant past or future. He said that we evolved on or during Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon, and he said that we should not confuse these evolutionary periods with the present-day planets that bear their names (shorn of the adjective "old"). Yet he himself often referred to these periods as planets and he spoke of us living "on" them. Trying to straighten all this out is tough. Today's Saturn may be considered a remnant of Old Saturn, for instance, and there would be Steinerish "truth" in this. But Old Saturn was also the forebear of Earth and all the other planets (including the Sun and Moon) as they exist now. Bottom line: Steiner could have been much clearer, but he chose not to be. He saw advantages in being mystical and "deep," which often meant being all-but-(but-not-wholly)-inscrutable.

The planet Vulcan theoretically exists in our present solar system. It is the innermost planet, closer to the Sun than Mercury. Astronomers have never seen Vulcan and, indeed, modern astronomy tells us that Vulcan does not exist. But Steiner affirmed the existence of Vulcan. He taught, for instance, that human souls once left the Earth for other planets, including Vulcan, and then they returned to Earth from the other planets, including Vulcan. Our souls made the outward journey during the Lemurian period of prehistory
 (i.e., when there were communities on the lost continent of Lemuria)
, and they made the return journey during the Atlantean period (i.e., when there were communities on the lost continent of Atlantis). Focus on the return: 
“[I]n ancient Atlantean times these human beings descended to earth from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the other planets ... [T]he Vulcan men were the last to come down to earth." [2]

Of course, neither Lemuria nor Atlantis ever really existed. [See "Lemuria" and "Atlantis".] But, then, neither did/does Vulcan, so Steiner's account has a certain antic consistency. And to keep all this straight, we should note that the events we're talking about (travels to and from other planets) happened pretty recently, judged by evolutionary timescales. 
“The Atlantean period was no more than about nine thousand years ago.” [3] Thus, Steiner was talking about the Earth, Vulcan, and other planets more or less as they exist today (save for minor changes such as the sinking of first Lemuria and then Atlantis).

The other "Vulcan" Steiner discussed in his books and lectures is quite different from the (nonexistent) planet orbiting the Sun today (not). "Future Vulcan" will be the seventh mega-stage of human evolution. In other words, "Future Vulcan" will be a period of cosmic time, not a place in today's cosmic space. Steiner described humanity and indeed the entire solar system evolving through a sequence of "planetary conditions," stages of evolution dominated by the spiritual forces associated with various planets. A clearer tag is "conditions of consciousness," since the main thing that happens during evolution-as-per-Steiner is that humanity rises to higher and higher levels of consciousness. The stages are Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, Present Earth, Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan. (Steiner also indicated that there will be further stages beyond Future Vulcan. But he said that Future Vulcan is extremely hard to describe, and the more distant stages are just about impossible to describe.)

In a sense, each condition of consciousness is a transformation of the Earth and all the other planets combined. That is, the entire solar system existed during Old Saturn, in a very different form from what we know today, and then it all transmuted into the conditions found during Old Sun, which in turn transmuted into... You get the picture. This process will continue up to, and beyond, Future Vulcan. “The last planet [i.e., "planetary condition" or evolutionary stage] which can still be counted among the series of earthly transformations, and hence follows Venus [i.e., Future Venus], is called ‘Vulcan’  [i.e., Future Vulcan] by mystery science [i.e., Anthroposophy] ... Not much can be publicly communicated about life on this planet [i.e., during this stage] ... [O]nly mystery students of the higher order [i.e., occult initiates], who may leave their physical body [sic] and acquire supersensible knowledge outside it, can learn something about Vulcan.” [4] 

As you can see, Steiner had trouble expressing his deep wisdom clearly. Calling Future Vulcan a planet, and talking about life "on" Future Vulcan, is not really what he meant, but keeping everything straight was a challenge for him. Likewise, saying that "Vulcan" will be the "last" planet is also not what he really meant. At least, it wasn't what he sometimes meant, when he could remember what he meant. Sometimes he remembered. “After the Vulcan stage, man will develop yet further, and will ascend to still higher levels of consciousness. As the external eye looks into misty gray distances, so the inner eye of the seer looks upon five more forms of consciousness, as far off as distant spirits, of which a description, however, is quite impossible. In all, one can speak of twelve [sic] stages of consciousness." [5]

One reason that "planets" such as Vulcan get mixed, sometimes, with planetary conditions such as Vulcan, is that for the gods, the distant past and the distant future are present realities now. They apprehend the past and future as living realities, whereas we humans generally have only dim visions of what happened long ago and what will happen long in the future. “[W]hat I described in OCCULT SCIENCE — the periods of Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, Earth and the future periods of Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan — is only present to the Gods in Time.” [6] The gods take countenance of evolutionary periods only when operating within time; when the gods are comfortably settled outside time, in eternity, things look different to them. All past and future are part of the present, from the perspective of eternity. Steiner presented himself as a great clairvoyant initiate who shared the gods' perspective, and thus he often spoke of past and future in the present tense, and he mystically mingled places with periods since it was all one to him.

Waldorf schools are largely built on Steiner's mystic visions. Thus, for Waldorf teachers, talking about Vulcan makes sense. Here's a quick aside: A teacher at the first Waldorf school asked Steiner about the possibility of vacationing in Transylvania. Steiner replied: “That may be possible, but I find it difficult to imagine how ... I went to a coffee house in [Transylvania] where you had to scrape the dirt away with a knife. A number of players [sic: footballers?] came in ... There was something Vulcan-like and stormy in their astral bodies; they were somehow all tangled together ... The room was next to a pigsty and there was a horrible smell ... Everyone gets bitten by all kinds of insects as well.” [7] 

Ok, ok. I said it was only an aside. (Astral bodies are incorporeal parts of the human constitution, as described by Steiner. See "Incarnation".)

As we evolve from planetary condition to planetary condition, our consciousness rises. “On the planet which will replace our Earth, the whole of humanity will have [the] psychic-consciousness or Imagination, the ‘Jupiter’ consciousness ... The seventh state of consciousness is the ‘spiritual consciousness’ or Intuition, the very highest, when man has a universal consciousness; when he will not only see what proceeds on his own planet, but in the whole of the cosmos around him. It is the consciousness man had on Saturn, a kind of universal consciousness, although [it was] then quite dull, which he will have in addition to all the other states of consciousness when he will have reached ‘Vulcan’ ... Each planetary stage is bound up with the development of the seven states of human consciousness, and through what takes place on [sic] each planet the physical organs for such a state of consciousness are perfected.” [8] 

According to Steiner, there are seven "planets" (i.e., planetary conditions) corresponding to seven stages of consciousness. Fine. He liked things to work out neatly, according to his numerological preferences. [See "Magic Numbers".] This leads us rather far from reality, however. Not that it matters, but we might note (a) the real solar system consists of eight major planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus) and several minor planets (such as Pluto); (b) Steiner counted the Sun, the Moon, and Vulcan as planets, which stretches the definition of the word past the breaking point; and (c) Steiner acknowledged the existence of Mercury, Mars, Neptune, and Uranus, but he only admitted the former two into the physical solar system, and he only did this is some contexts, variable at his whim. These four real planets are omitted from the list of planetary conditions.

All of this bears on the validity (or otherwise) of Waldorf education. Not only do Anthroposophists see the solar system and human evolution as described by Steiner, but they value the types of consciousness that Steiner advocated. Hence, when Waldorf schools place emphasis on such mental powers as imagination and intuition, they are working to promote forms of consciousness that Steiner said we will perfect on future "planets": imagination on Jupiter and intuition on Vulcan. It's a point worth mulling over. Can a sound education possibly arise from such delusional doctrines?


Steiner subscribed to astrology. According to him, all stars, planets, comets, etc., exert astrological influences on humans. [See "Astrology" and "Star Power".] He said the influences of the zodiac’s twelve signs call for especially close scrutiny, because they wax and wane due to the movements of the moon: “The [sign of the] Lion continually influences human beings except when it is covered by the moon ... The moon, passing through the constellations at four-week intervals, brings it about that there is always a time in a four-week period when some constellation of the zodiac does not have an influence. With other constellations the influence is always the same ... And so you see why the zodiac is more important when we study the starry heavens than other stars are.” [9] 

As I have argued, Steiner’s version of Christianity was weirdly mixed with paganism. [See "Was He Christian?"] In the following passage, we see Christianity explicitly tied to astrology: “In this next sphere [a Theosophical term transplanted by Steiner into Anthroposophy, indicating a stage of development] man feels in his astral body [one of a true human’s nonphysical bodies] the forces that come from the constellations of the zodiac; forces come in one form direct from the zodiac and in another form through the Earth, for it makes a great difference whether a particular constellation is above or below the earth ... Christ becomes our guide through the zodiac during sleep.” [10] Steiner taught that Christ came to Earth from the Sun: He is the Sun God. [See "Sun God".] A star spirit, Christ has intimate knowledge of the stars and their powers. Many of Steiner's teachings about Christ would come as a shock to orthodox Christians. Indeed, conflating Christianity and astrology is what people of orthodox faith would call heresy. 

Heavenly orbs influence not only man, Steiner taught, but all things on Earth — including animals, vegetables, and insects. Farmers should certainly take astrological conditions into account when planning their plantings, Steiner stated. In the next quotation, Steiner corrects the faulty ideas of those who do not understand astrology as deeply as he does. (He was never shy about admitting that he knew best about everything.) “[T]he sun, as it moves through the zodiac, has the greatest influence upon bees. The changes the sun undergoes as it goes through each sign are transmitted to the bee ...[T]his is where there is a connection between the farmers' sowing of the seed under a certain sign of the zodiac and the bees' finding of substances the plants have prepared for them. Such things aren’t simply pulled out of nowhere; however, the way they are normally presented is very amateurish and misleading.” [11] 

Physical phenomena, according to Steiner, have no meaning except as they manifest spirit. Nothing on the physical plane is really real (a precept that, as I have argued elsewhere, can be extremely injurious to children, teaching them that what is real is unreal, while only the unreal is real — a kid could go nuts (or sink into irretrievable mysticism — which amounts to the same thing)). Scientists can come up with ingenious pseudo-explanations for stuff, but only Steiner and his devotees can — thanks to “spiritual science” — lay out the true truth (Steiner frequently and insistently set himself up in explicit opposition to science). In our next selection, Steiner lays out a third theory of the nature of light (#1: light consists of waves; #2: light consists of particles; #3: light consists of the emanations from the actions of faraway spiritual beings of intelligence and will — I've taken this quotation from a Steiner farming text, a section titled “Stars and the significance of the zodiac”): “If we look up to the stars, we can say that something streams from them [i.e., light] that can be perceived by the human being's sense organs here on earth ... [I]t proceeds from beings of intelligence and will whose life is bound up with those stars. The effects appear to be physical because the stars are at a distance. They are not really physical at all. What you see are the activities of beings of will and intelligence in the stars. I have spoken to you of the ingenious description of the sun given by astrophysicists. But if it were possible to journey to the sun it would be found with amazement that nothing of what is to be expected from these physical descriptions exists ... What we see is in reality the working of will and intelligence which at a distance appears as light.” [12] Actually, of course, we do not "see" light, we see objects illuminated by — but Steiner rarely got such matters right. 

In Anthroposophical belief, the stars in general and the zodiac in particular have spiritual powers because they are essentially spiritual — not physical — domains. They are inhabited by gods who direct their attention to us, the center of creation. [See "The Center".] The zodiac is virtually immortal, being the manifestation of gods. “Even when the earth was embodied as old Saturn [i.e., during the first stage of our evolution], the forces issuing from these twelve directions were at work upon that ancient planet; so they were later on the old Sun [the second stage], and on the old Moon [the third stage], and are now and will continue to be in the future. Therefore they have as it were the nature of permanence, they are far more sublime than that which arises and passes away within our earth existence. That which is symbolised by the twelve signs of the Zodiac is infinitely higher than that which is transformed in the evolutionary course of our planet from old Saturn to old Sun and from that to old Moon and so on. Planetary existence arises and passes away, but the Zodiac is ever there. What is symbolised by the points of the Zodiac is more sublime than what upon our earth plays its part as the opposition between good and evil.” [13]

The zodiac looms large in the religion created by Steiner, Anthroposophy — the religion pushed by Waldorf schools. [For more on these matters, see, e.g., "Zodiac" and "Waldorf Astrology".]


“You know from the book Occult Science [written by one R. Steiner] that during the Lemurian epoch of earth-evolution [i.e., during the epoch associated with Lemuria, a pre-Atlantis lost continent] only very few human beings...remained on the earth ... [T]he majority of souls withdrew from the earth to other planets, continuing their life on Mars, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, and so forth.” [14] I’m very nearly speechless, but unfortunately not quite. Here we see Steiner talking about planets as planets, physical spheres in the sky. Or perhaps we do. Anyway, he was talking about the colonization of "the other planets" by "human beings." This is science fiction, although not very scientific, and although Steiner claimed it wasn't fiction but verifiable fact. 

“Now since the universe is filled with the gaseous substance we perceive in the zodiacal light, this universe would be found to emit all kinds of different smells if organs of smell existed which were even more delicate than that of the dog ... [S]uch a creature might sniff towards the evening star, and its smell would be different from that of the sun. Then it might smell towards Mercury, towards Venus, towards Saturn ... [I]t would get the sun smell, the moon smell, the Saturn smell, the Mars smell, the Venus smell.” [15] In the 19th century, physicists thought that the universe was filled with a gaseous ether. Wising up, they later tossed out this theory. Despite his clairvoyance, Steiner didn’t see the change coming. He was an ether-believer. As for the smell of the stars and planets...

Moving on: “Mars consists primarily of a more or less fluid mass ... Now a great deal is said about the ‘canals’ existing on Mars. But why ‘canals’? There is nothing to be seen except straight lines ... Everything for which intervals of years are needed on the earth — as in the case of grubs and cockchafers — is dependent upon Mars. So there you see a significant effect of Mars.” [16] The fluidity of Mars would come as a surprise to NASA, which has operated various rovers on the solid, dry surface of that planet, trying hard to find even slight traces of any liquid on or under the surface. Steiner was right that there are no canals on Mars, but he was wrong about the existence of long, straight, canal-like lines on Mars. People in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries thought such lines existed, just as they believed in the universal ether. Steiner, despite his claims to transcendent knowledge, was very much a man of his times — trapped in the knowledge and ignorance of his times — as we can see in his acceptance of these erroneous ideas. 

As for grubs and cockchafers... 

Moving on: “What goes on in the universe between the population of Mars and the population of Venus...relates to the human being ... [T]he hidden spiritual interaction between Mars and Venus [is] related to what appears in earthly life as human speech. Physical forces alone would not enable us to speak ... Long ago human beings were able to see these things with an instinctive atavistic clairvoyance....” [17] Populations of Mars and Venus, forsooth. In re. clairvoyance, I’ll say this: Steiner frequently said that humans used to possess natural clairvoyant powers. He said these were generally lost when humanity became more rational. But Steiner was no advocate of rationality. One purpose of Anthroposophy and Waldorf pedagogy is to help humanity develop new, better, higher powers of clairvoyance. Can you buy it? 

Moving on: “But where is the actual Buddha, the one who lived as Gautama [the Buddha's given name]? He became for Mars what Christ has become for the earth.” [18] “The Buddha wandered away from earthly affairs to the realm of Mars. Until then Mars had been the chosen center of forces designated by the Greeks as fearfully warlike. The mission of Mars came to an end in the seventeenth century. Another impulse became necessary and the Buddha accomplished a Buddha crucifixion there. The Buddha Mystery on Mars did not take the same course as the Christ Mystery on earth, but Buddha, the Prince of Peace...was transferred to the belligerent realm of Mars.” [19]* All this would startle Buddhists, no doubt. But Christians should be even more shocked. Steiner broke with Theosophy in part because he wanted to give greater emphasis to Christ Jesus. His religion, Anthroposophy, combines Theosophy with gnostic Christianity. [See "Gnosis".] But notice how Steiner diminishes Christ, presumably without meaning to do so. Rather than being the Son of God — and thus one aspect of the triune God — Christ is just one spiritual guide among others, including Buddha (and Steiner). Christ isn’t even the Prince of Peace — Buddha is. And Christ's ministry could be equaled by others: Buddha did for Mars what Christ did for Earth. Curiouser and curiouser. [For more on Mars, see "Mars".]

Setting aside the question of Steiner's heresies, we should note once more that Steiner took at face value various myths, folk tales, fallacious theories, etc. (Mars is the planet of war, there are “canali” of some sort on or above Mars, the universe is filled with a “gaseous substance,” etc.) Like the Theosophist Madame Blavatsky before him, Steiner erected an edifice of teachings that are, by and large, nonsense (myths, legends, paganized pseudo-Christianity, discarded scientific concepts ... ). Steiner reworked most of his sources, insisting that no one properly understood them but himself. But his revisions generally moved in the direction of increased occult mystification, not clarity. So what is the resulting edifice? By and large, nonsense. 


* We might be tempted to say that Steiner associated Mars with war for no better reason than that the ancient Greeks did so. We would probably be correct, although Steiner's defenders would deny it — they attribute Steiner's teachings to his powers of clairvoyance. This causes difficulties for them, however. Steiner's descriptions of the solar system — like his descriptions of most everything else — are terribly inadequate, as we've seen. Here's an additional, minor instance. Steiner gave little indication that he had any inkling of the minor or “dwarf” planets in our solar system: Ceres, Quaoar, Sedna, Eris, and others. Steiner certainly should have been clairvoyantly aware of these bodies — they are substantial spheres that, by Steiner's dark lights, should play astrological and perhaps evolutionary roles for us here on Earth. Pluto, the first minor planet to be discovered, is no mere speck — it is more than 1400 miles in diameter, and it has a spooky name (in Greek mythology, Pluto is the god of the underworld, Hades), just the sort of name Steiner liked. Other minors also have evocative names (Ceres, god of grain; etc.), and one of them, Eris, is larger than Pluto. Still larger minor planets (call them major minor planets) may yet be discovered. And here's a further wrinkle: The ancient Greeks linked Mars with bloody war because it is red. But Pluto is also red. And so is Sedna. So which of these red planets is the real Planet of War? Trick question. If we go by the number of wars that have actually been waged on any of the planets, the obvious answer is that the Planet of War is Earth. [For more about Pluto, Eris, and the other minor planets, see astronomy Web sites such as http://web.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/dwarfplanets/. Astronomers have also discovered a large number of planets orbiting stars other than the Sun, but we'll give Steiner a pass on that issue. Fair is fair. After all, he wasn't really clairvoyant. No one is.]

— Roger Rawlings 

For more on Anthroposophical teachings about the stars.

see "Astrosophy".

Theosophy and Anthroposophy describe humanity evolving from one "planetary condition" to another, in a lengthy, upward movement toward spiritual perfection. Although Steiner said it is misleading, he discussed these stages using the names of planets such as Saturn and Jupiter, and he described our life "on" such planets. Yet he did not mean that planetary conditions are the same as planets. It can be confusing. In general, when you find Steiner discussing a "planet" that is actually a period of time — a phase of evolution — then he means a "planetary condition," in other words a stage of spiritual development. But when you find Steiner discussing a "planet" that is a physical location in the sky, then he means one of the large bodies that constitute the solar system — in other words, a planet. 

See "The Planets" and "Matters of Form".

[R.R., 2010.]

When considering Anthroposophy, we should remember that it is just one of many occult/esoteric systems. [See, e.g., "Choosing".] Such systems all occupy the same dark, yearning corner of the human psyche. Whether they cast light on one another, or on anything else, is perhaps questionable. Sometimes the various systems agree on some points, sometimes they diverge widely.

"From Stanley's THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY.  In the Pythagorean concept of the music of the spheres, the interval between the earth and the sphere of the fixed stars was considered to be a diapason ... From the sphere of the earth to the sphere of the moon, one tone; from the sphere of the moon to that of Mercury, one half-tone; from Mercury to Venus, one-half; from Venus to the sun, one and one-half tones...[etc.]." — Manly P. Hall, THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES (H. S. Crocker Co., 1928), "The Pythagorean Theory of Music and Color".

"Whenever anyone falls asleep, his astral body [the second of our three nonphysical bodies] goes out from his physical body; his soul then lives in the devachanic world [i.e., the spirit world]. Its harmonies make an impression on his soul; they vibrate through it in waves of living sound, so that every morning he wakes from the music of the spheres, and out of this realm of harmony he passes into the everyday world. Just as the human soul has a sojourn in Devachan between incarnations, so we can say that during the night the soul rejoices in flowing tones of music: they are the very element out of which it is itself woven and they are its true home." — Rudolf Steiner, "The Occult Basis of Music" (THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1956), GA 283.

While they may not cast light, occult teachings may beguile us with imagined harmonies, celestial melodies that no human ear has ever heard. The question becomes whether being beguiled is sufficient or even satisfactory. We may wish for marvels — we DO wish for them — but wishing may easily lead us astray, taking us into wholly imaginary realms from which truth is conspicuously absent.



Astronomical images: NASA.

Aside from Star Trek movies, we have no images of Vulcan.

But we do have images of the god Vulcan, the Greek god of fire:

[Keightley's Mythology, 1852.]

A core doctrine in Steiner’s teachings is that we are evolving toward life on or during Vulcan. There’s not much point in debating this prediction. But anyone thinking about Waldorf schools should realize that occultism lies at their foundation. 

“On the planetary body following Jupiter, the astral body will have developed as far as the physical body of today; it will have behind it the Moon, Earth and Jupiter evolutions and will have reached the Venus evolution. The final planetary incarnation will be that of Vulcan, when the ‘I’, the Ego, will have attained the highest stage of its development. The future incarnations of the Earth will thus be: Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan.” — Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 7, GA 99.

“[T]he Vulcan human being limps. His legs are in retrogression; they cease to have significance. At the end of evolution, in the Vulcan metamorphosis of the Earth, man will be the three-membered being that the saga indicates as the ideal.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 3, GA 93a. 

“[H]umanity participates in that wonderful stream of being that develops as it flows through Saturn, Sun, Moon and Earth and on towards Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan. There are lesser streams that overlap and unite in man, creating the separate forces he needs in the course of his development. These are granted to humanity from out of the deep impulses that rule the cosmos.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE RIDDLE OF HUMANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), lecture 5, GA 170.

Here are two images of the human embryo as depicted by Rudolf Steiner.

On the left you can see the signs of the zodiac arranged to show

the influence of the stars on various portions of the human anatomy.

[Rudolf Steiner, ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 89.]

On the right you can see the influence of the zodiac (red)

and spirit-soul forces (yellow) within an overall constellation of forces.

[Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000, p. 23.]

[R.R. sketches, 2009, based on illustrations in the books.]

Painting by a Waldorf student

[courtesy of People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools].

Vulcan? No.
[R.R., 2013.]

Planetary symbols: Saturn (5), Jupiter (4), Mars (3),
Venus (2), Mercury (1), the Moon (6), the Sun (7).


Constellations of the southern sky.

[Wien, 1515.]


Undoubtedly the most important thing to know about the constellations and zodiac is that they don't exist. 

The patterns we "see" in the sky are illusory — they exist in our own minds, not in the sky. 

We "see" them by projecting them. [See "Why? Oh Why?"]

Illusory, the constellations have no powers. Astrology is bunk.

"That which happened in the beginnings of our evolution, before the Saturn development, we must place outside, beyond the Zodiac. Primeval wisdom called it the Crystal Heaven, and in that crystal heaven were deposed all the deeds of the Beings of a former evolution. They formed, so to speak, the foundation on which the new Beings began to create." — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1928)), lecture 10, GA 110. [R.R. sketch, 2010.]

The crystal heaven does not exist. The ancients (or some of them, anyway) thought that the stars are attached to a crystalline vault, the sky. They were wrong.

Steiner generally indicated that we will evolve through seven major stages. However, he also sometimes referred to an eighth stage, a place of perdition near or below the Present Earth stage: Evil or abnormal or wayward individuals may fall into it, leaving the human evolutionary line. Steiner also occasionally said that there will be five indescribable, august stages beyond the seven that he usually outlined. Here, then, is the overall pattern. The first sphere on the left represents Old Saturn. Proceeding from it, down and to the right, we come to Old SunOld Moon, and Present Earth. Below Present Earth dangles the terrible Eighth Sphere. All who avoid descending into the Eighth Sphere make an upward turn after Present Earth, ascending to Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan. And beyond those stages, in an inconceivable distant future, await five mysterious, supernal stages. [R.R. sketch, 2015.]

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



Steiner unconsciously making a fool of himself, over and over

No laughing matter: Steiner’s quack medicine

Human nature as conceived by Steiner and acted upon in Waldorf schools


Macrocosms, microcosms, and fallacies

The Waldorf view of the natural world


Quack agriculture: astrology and magic

What's what, clearly

The quality of Steiner’s thoughts



Waldorf escapism

Some illustrations on each page here at Waldorf Watch 
are closely connected to the essay on that page; 
others are not — they provide general context. 


[1] Rudolf Steiner, SLEEP AND DREAMS (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 43. 

[2] Rudolf Steiner, MATERIALISM AND THE TASK OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), lecture 14, GA 204.

[3] Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 50. 

[4] Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (SteinerBooks, 1987), p. 163. 

[5] Ibid., p. 166.

[6] Rudolf Steiner, THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL, translated by Marjorie Spock, contributor Christopher Bamford (SteinerBooks, 1994), p. 197. 

[7] FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 728.  

[8] Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING, contributor Richard Seddon (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), pp. 30-31. 

[9] Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 198. 


[11] Rudolf Steiner, BEES, translated by Thomas Braatz (SteinerBooks, 1998), pp. 81-82. 

[12] Rudolf Steiner, AGRICULTURE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 35. 

Rudolf Steiner, THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Company, 1940), chapter 9, GA 113.

[14] Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT HISTORY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), p. 36. 

[15] Rudolf Steiner, FROM SUNSPOTS TO STRAWBERRIES (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), pp. 138-139. 

[16] Ibid., pp. 147-150. 

[17] Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 98-99. 

[18] Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (SteinerBooks, 1985), p.72. 

[19] Ibid., p. 207.

[R. R., 2010.]

I sometimes use a computer to massage my paintings.

This is repellent to strict Anthroposophists, since computers are demonic 

(they think). Actually, a computer is just a tool, like a pencil, 

paint brush, or pen. The art supplies you buy in a store are almost without exception made by machines.

They are products of industrialization,

like computers.

Anthroposophists have a backward-looking, anti-intellectual system of belief.

They may be right, they may be wrong, but at a minimum

we should see their beliefs for what they are.

(P.S. They are wrong.)

(P.P.S. I generally create my drawings and paintings the old-fashioned way, 

on paper. I then use the computer for fiddling around, cropping, adjusting colors, etc.)