“With the students, 

we should at least try to...

make it clear that, 

for instance, 

an island like Great Britain 

swims in the sea 

and is held fast by 

the forces of the stars."

— Rudolf Steiner




Anthroposophy at Waldorf

The best way to understand the thinking behind Waldorf schools is to read the words of the schools’ guiding spirit, Rudolf Steiner. Here are some examples. Ask yourself whether you want your children to be “educated” by people who find wisdom in Steiner's pronouncements.

Note: Steiner rambled. The only way to hold many of his statements to a reasonable length is to chop out repetitions and irrelevancies, as I have done. But please check the texts from which I quote. You’ll see that I have carefully preserved the essential meaning of each statement. Why would I do otherwise? Steiner’s words amount to a powerful self-indictment. — R.R.

◊ [Health] “With pneumonia, the cause is always in the astral body; pneumonia can occur in no other way.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE TEMPLE LEGEND (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 60. The astral body is one of our invisible, nonphysical bodies, according to Steiner. Bear in mind that Steiner almost always meant his statements to be taken literally.

 [Populations of the Moon & Saturn“[T]he moon today is like a fortress in the universe, in which there lives a population that fulfilled its human destiny over 15,000 years ago, after which it withdrew to the moon together with the spiritual guides of humanity ... This is only one of the ‘cities’ in the universe, one colony, one settlement among many ... As far as what concerns ourselves, as humanity on earth, the other pole, the opposite extreme to the moon is the population of Saturn.” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 93.  

◊ [Reasonable Education"You will injure children if you educate them rationally.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 61. For more of Steiner's educational tenets, see, e.g., "Oh Humanity".

[Racism] “On one side we find the black race, which is earthly at most. If it moves to the West, it becomes extinct. We also have the yellow race, which is in the middle between earth and the cosmos. If it moves to the East, it becomes brown, attaches itself too much to the cosmos, and becomes extinct. The white race is the future, the spiritually productive race.” — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), GA 349, p. 62. For more of Steiner's racial views, see, e.g., "Races" and "Forbidden".

◊ [Solid Ground] “The predecessors of our Earth-gnomes, the Moon-gnomes, gathered together their Moon-experiences and from them fashioned this structure, this firm structure of the solid fabric of the Earth, so that our solid Earth-structure actually arose from the experiences of the gnomes of the old Moon.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 9, GA 230. See "Gnomes".

 [Waldorf and Polytheism] “Among the faculty, we must certainly carry within us the knowledge that we are not here for our own sakes, but to carry out the divine cosmic plan. We should always remember that when we do something, we are actually carrying out the intentions of the gods....” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 55. Anthroposophy is polytheistic, and Steiner said Waldorf teachers should serve the gods (plural). See "Polytheism".

[Non-Orbiting Planets] “[I]t is not that the planets move around the Sun, but these three, Mercury, Venus, and the Earth, follow the Sun, and these three, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, precede it.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 30-31. Steiner often said that the planets don't orbit the Sun, but occasionally he said that they do. The former statements seem to represent his real view. See "Deception".

[The Heart] “The heart is not a pump ... Basically the heart is a sense organ within the circulatory system, yet exactly the opposite is taught nowadays.” — Rudolf Steiner, POLARITIES IN THE EVOLUTION OF MANKIND (Steiner Books, 1987), p. 56. To see Steiner repeating and expanding his denial that the heart pumps blood, see "The Heart, II" and "The Heart, III", below.

◊ [Religion in Waldorf"It is possible to introduce a religious element into every subject, even into math lessons. Anyone who has some knowledge of Waldorf teaching will know that this statement is true. A Christian element pervades every subject, even mathematics. This fundamental religious current flows through all of education." — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHILD's CHANGING CONSCIOUSNESS AS THE BASIS OF PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 94. Whenever Steiner used the term "Christian" in such contexts, he meant Anthroposophy (which is hardly Christian in an orthodox sense; see "Was He Christian?").

[The Brain] “[T]he brain and nerve system have nothing at all to do with actual cognition.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 60.

◊ [Choosing Volcanoes and Earthquakes"[W]e see...groups of human souls in their descent from pre-earthly into earthly existence wander to regions situated, for example, in the vicinity of volcanoes, or to districts where earthquakes are liable to occur ... [S]uch places are deliberately chosen by the souls thus karmically connected, in order that they may experience this very destiny ... [They think] 'I choose a great disaster on earth in order to become more perfect....'" — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), pp. 226-227. Victims of disasters choose their fate. They are fulfilling their karma, Steiner taught.

◊ [Correcting the Gospels“[T]wo Jesus children were born. One was descended from the so-called Nathan line of the House of David, the other from the Solomon line. These two children grew up side by side. In the body of the Solomon child lived the soul of Zarathustra. In the twelfth year of the child's life this soul passed over into the other Jesus child [which had the soul of Buddha] and lived in that body until its thirtieth year ... And then, only from the thirtieth year onward, there lived in this body the Being Whom we call the Christ, Who remained on earth altogether for three years.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BHAGAVAD GITA (Anthroposophic Press, 1968), p. 59.

◊ [Bite Into This"It will seem strange that in discussing man as a spiritual being, I speak first of the teeth ... [A] truly spiritual understanding of the human being shows us [that] the child develops teeth not only for the sake of eating and speaking, but for quite a different purpose as well. Strange as it sounds to-day, the child develops teeth for the purpose of thinking. Modern science little knows that the teeth are the most important of all organs of thought. For the child, up to the time of the second dentition, these teeth constitute the organ of thought ... The forces that press the teeth out from the jaw are the same forces that [in the young child] bring thought to the surface from the dim, sleeping and dreaming life of childhood. With the same degree of intensity as it teethes, the child learns to think." — Rudolf Steiner, EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1943), lecture 4, GA 307.

[Waldorf: Anthroposophy’s Stalking Horse] “One of the most important facts about the background of the Waldorf school is that we were in a position to make the anthroposophical movement a relatively large one. The anthroposophical movement has become a large one.” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER IN THE WALDORF SCHOOL (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 156. Actually, Anthroposophy remains fairly small, but indeed the purpose of Waldorf education is to spread Anthroposophy.

[Buddha on Mars]Buddha...became for Mars what Christ has become for the earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (SteinerBooks, 1985), p. 72. Steiner taught that Buddha migrated to Mars, where he was — in a sense — crucified. See, e.g., "Buddha o Mars, II", below. Steiner also said that Buddha went to Mars at the behest of Christian Rosenkreutz, the putative founder of Rosicrucianism. See "Mars" and "Rosy Cross".

◊ [On the Other Hand...] "[C]hildren will become idiotic through lefthandedness [sic]." — Rudolf Steiner, quoted by Gerda Hueck in THE PROBLEM OF LEFTHANDEDNESS (St. George Publications, 1978), p. 15.

 [Lunacy] “[T]he Luciferic beings [i.e., minions of Lucifer] or, generally speaking, the backward Angelic Beings on the old Moon could still incarnate on the Earth and mingle with the human race, in contrast with those who had finished their evolution on the Moon." — Rudolf Steiner, WONDERS OF THE WORLD (Kessinger, 1996), p. 62. "Old Moon," in Steiner's cosmology, was the third major phase of our solar system's evolution. See, e.g., "Planets".

 [Waldorf Teachers] “As Waldorf teachers, we must be true anthroposophists.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 118. 

◊ [Where He Gets It"Vulcan Beings are actually coming into the realm of earthly existence. Super-earthly Beings are already here, and the fact that we are able to have a connected body of Spiritual Science [i.e., Anthroposophy] at all today is due to the circumstance that Beings from beyond the earth are bringing the messages from the spiritual world down into earth-existence." — Rudolf Steiner, “A Picture of Earth Evolution in the Future”, THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1960, GA 204. Steiner evidently believed in the existence of the planet Vulcan; see "Vulcan". He taught that supermen from Vulcan and other planets involve themselves in Earthly affairs; see "Supermen".

◊ [Roaring on the Moon] “When we observe the astral plane we come upon certain beings there ... [T]hey are related to, belong to, the same sort of beings as inhabit our present moon ... One who is able to approach these things clairvoyantly knows that on their scene of action, the moon, these are beings in a certain respect similar to man, but they are dwarfs in comparison, scarcely reaching the height of a six or seven year old child. Upon the moon, however, a particular opportunity is offered them for their activity. The physical conditions are quite different there, the atmosphere for example is quite different and in consequence when these beings withdraw, so to speak, to their habitat they acquire the faculty of a tremendous roaring, of uttering immensely powerful, frightening sounds.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS ON MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1982), lecture 1, GA 102.

[Reincarnation] “[R]ealize that looking at the human head you are looking at the transformed body of your previous earth life, and that the head you had then was the transformed body of your preceding life — you must imagine it without the head, of course. The head you see now is the transformed organism of the last life lived on earth. The rest of the organism as you see it now will be the head in the next life. Then the arms will have metamorphosed and become ears, and the legs will have become eyes.” — Rudolf Steiner, POLARITIES IN THE EVOLUTION OF MANKIND (SteinerBooks, 1987), p. 59.

 [The Brain, II"Try not to tell the stories in a way that causes the children to reflect and understand them in the head." — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 2000), p. 15.

[Out-of-Body Experiences, Astrology] “It is above all the moon forces that connect man’s astral and ego organization [i.e., his higher nonphysical bodies] with his physical and etheric organisms [i.e., his lower bodies] ... Every night, when out of the spiritual world the soul desires to re-enter its physical and etheric bodies, it must place itself within the stream of the moon forces. It is of no concern here — that will be obvious to you — whether it be a new or full moon. For even when, as new moon, the moon is not visible to the senses, those forces are nevertheless active throughout the cosmos that bring the soul back into the etheric and physical bodies from the spiritual worlds.” — Rudolf Steiner, PHILOSOPHY, COSMOLOGY, AND RELIGION (Anthroposophic Press, 1984), p. 83. Steiner taught that real human beings have three invisible bodies in addition to the physical body. (People who are not really human are a different story.) Our invisible bodies are the etheric, astral, and ego bodies. (See "Incarnation".) At night, the two higher bodies leave the physical world and travel to the spirit realm, returning in the morning, or so Steiner said.

 [Nicht war?"Man is merely a condensed elf." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p .176.

[Blond and Blue] “If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense ... Blond hair actually bestows intelligence. In the case of fair people, less nourishment is driven into the eyes and hair; it remains instead in the brain and endows it with intelligence. Brown- and dark-haired people drive the substances into their eyes and hair that the fair people retain in their brains.” — Rudolf Steiner, HEALTH AND ILLNESS, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1981), pp. 85-86.

◊ [Buddha on Mars, II] “The Buddha wandered away from earthly affairs to the realm of Mars ... [T]he Buddha accomplished a Buddha crucifixion there.” — Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (SteinerBooks, 1985), p. 207.

 [Little Buddies"The gnomes laugh us to scorn...." — Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), p. 113. Steiner taught that gnomes (aka goblins) really exist; see "Gnomes". Waldorf classrooms, especially those for the youngest students, often display gnome effigies.

◊ [Naughty Little Buddies (and Clairvoyance)] "There are beings that can be seen with clairvoyant vision at many spots in the depths of the earth ... Many names have been given to them, such as goblins, gnomes and so forth ... Their nature prompts them to play all sorts of tricks on man.... ” — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 62.

 [Better than the Brain“As soon as we begin to think with our fingers — and one can think with one's fingers and toes much more brightly, once one makes the effort, than with the nerves of the head — as soon as we begin to think with that part of us which has not entirely become matter, when we think with the lower part of our being, then our thoughts are the thoughts of our karma." — Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 126.

◊ [Heavy Hands] “When we see someone with small hands and arms, we will immediately say to ourselves: well, there’s no great urge in that person to hit someone. But when arms and hands are too long and heavy, the impulse to hit out must be charged to that person’s karma, their destiny, and not judged from an emotional point of view.” — Rudolf Steiner, BALANCE IN TEACHING (Anthroposophic Press, 2007), p. 54.

◊ [Evolution, Zeus, Race"Zeus is no longer possible, but in his place we have the steam engine. Another race will succeed us, which will find the way back again." — Rudolf Steiner, INVESTIGATIONS INTO OCCULTISM SHOWING ITS PRACTICAL VALUE IN DAILY LIFE (H. Collison, 1920), p. 166.

 [The Evolved and the Unevolved] “During the Venus stage [of evolution], a distinct cosmic body [i.e., a planet or moon] will break away, containing all the beings who have resisted evolution and constituting an ‘unredeemable moon,’ so to speak.... The part of humanity that has continued to evolve, however, will move on to the Vulcan phase of evolution in a fully spiritualized form of existence.” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 394.

◊ [Higher Races"In ancient times, souls who were unable to go over into the Asiatic races, were transposed into European ones, and were obliged to incarnate again and again in them. But as they became better and better, this led to their gradually passing on into the higher races; and souls which were previously embodied in quite subordinate races developed to a higher stage, and were able later to reincarnate in the bodily successors of the leading population of Europe." — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION OF MORALITY (Steiner Book Centre, 1970), lecture 2, GA 155.

[Karma and Kindness] “[I]n educating handicapped children we are intervening in a process which in the normal course of development — were there no intervention, or were there misguided intervention — would find its fulfillment only when the child had passed through the gate of death and come to birth again in the next life. We are making, that is to say, a deep intervention in karma. Whenever we give treatment to a handicapped child, we are intervening in karma [sic]. And it goes without saying, we must intervene in karma this way.” — Rudolf Steiner, EDUCATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 47.

◊ [Demonic Descent"The criminal demons attached as parasites to unborn children cause deterioration in the succession of the generations; this eats into human beings, making them less good than they would be if these demons did not exist. There are various reasons for the decline of families, tribes, people and nations, but one of them is the existence of these criminal demon parasites during the period mentioned.” — Rudolf Steiner, ANGELS, (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 168.

 [Lunacy and Sunstroke]  “If, as he had developed on the Sun, man was called plant man, the man of the Moon can be called animal man ... [T]he Sun man could only elevate himself into a plant by thrusting a portion of his companions down into a coarser mineral realm ... The animal man of the Moon does not yet [i.e., did not yet] have firm bones. His skeleton is [i.e., was] still cartilaginous. His whole nature is soft, compared to that of today ... His locomotion is not a walking, but rather a leaping, even a floating ... [T]he Moon of that time did not have a thin, airy atmosphere like that of present-day earth, but its envelope was considerably thicker, even denser than the water of today.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY: Prehistory of Earth and Man, from the chapter “Life on the Moon” (SteinerBooks, 1987), pp. 193-194.


 [Imagine] "Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 649-650.

[Clairvoyance (cont.)] “[J]ust as natural forces build out of living matter the eyes and ears of the physical body, so will organs of clairvoyance build themselves....” — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 28.

[Jupiter HumansSome people had their origins in the interbreeding of Earth offspring with humans who first appeared on Earth during the period of the air element and then moved to Jupiter." — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 238.

◊ [History Lesson] "[T]he most advanced among men, those who had survived the moon crisis, were able gradually to prepare themselves to envision not only the spiritual beings of Mars, Jupiter, or Venus, but those of the sun itself, the exalted sun beings. Having come down from the various planets the initiates were again able to behold the spirituality of these planets. From this it is clear why in ancient Atlantis there were institutions, schools, where those who had descended, for example, from Mars were accepted, when sufficiently mature, for the purpose of studying the mysteries of Mars; and that there were other sanctuaries where those who had come from other planets could learn their mysteries. Applying the later term “oracle” to these institutions, we have in Atlantis a Mars Oracle, where the mysteries of Mars were studied, a Saturn Oracle, a Jupiter Oracle, a Venus Oracle, and so on. The highest was the Sun Oracle; and the loftiest of all the initiates was the ranking initiate of the Sun Oracle." — Rudolf Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1948), lecture 6, GA 112.

[Waldorf’s Agenda] “We can accomplish our work only if we do not see it as simply a matter of intellect or feeling, but, in the highest sense, as a moral spiritual task. Therefore, you will understand why, as we begin this work today, we first reflect on the connection we wish to create from the very beginning between our activity and the spiritual worlds ... Thus, we wish to begin our preparation by first reflecting upon how we connect with the spiritual powers in whose service and in whose name each one of us must work.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), pp. 33-34.]

[Anti-Semitism] “Judaism as such has long outlived itself and no longer has a legitimate place in the modern life of peoples; the fact that it has nevertheless succeeded in maintaining itself is an aberration in world history the consequences of which had to follow.” — Rudolf Steiner, “Vom Wesen des Judentums”, DIE GESCHICHTE DER MENSCHHEIT UND DIE WELTANSCHAUUNGEN DER KULTURVOLKER, GA 353; English translation from "Anthroposophy and the Question of Race" (English summary for the media). Council of the Anthroposophical Society in The Netherlands, Zeist/Driebergen, April 1, 2000.]

[Reincarnation] “For the seventh, eighth, and ninth grade independent religious instruction we could move into a freer form and give a theoretical explanation about such things as life before birth and after death. We could give them examples. We could show them how to look at the major cultural connections and about the mission of the human being on Earth. You need only look at Goethe and Jean Paul [i.e., Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, a German author] to see it. You can show everywhere that their capacities come from a life before birth.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 184.

[Planetary Humans, Lucifer, and Lower Types] These were 'Mars humans,' who also came into existence through interbreeding ... We can also distinguish 'Saturn humans' ... In human beings of this type, both the life body and the physical body had portions that remained untouched by the Luciferic influence. [But] in the case of the lower types of human beings, the life body was too unprotected to be able to withstand the Luciferic influence.” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 238-239.]

[Punishment] "We may never place ourselves in a situation where we may have to relent in a disciplinary decision ... With punishment, we cannot relent." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 109.

◊ [Chugging to Perdition] “When we build steam-engines, we provide the opportunity for the incarnation of demons ... In the steam-engine, Ahrimanic demons are actually brought to the point of physical embodiment.” — Rudolf Steiner,  “The Relation of Man to the Hierarchies” (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, Vol. V, Nos. 14-15, 1928).

◊ [Because We Say So] "It is of fundamental significance for all education that we do not force developing human beings to judge at too early an age ... [T]here are things in the world that cannot be seen but must be presented. There are things that cannot be seen, for instance, religious things ... We need to teach children how to properly accept something because an authority presents it or to believe something because an authority believes it." — Rudolf Steiner, THE RENEWAL OF EDUCATION - Foundations of Waldorf Education IX (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 92.

◊ [Male/Female, Bull/Lion“The physical body of the woman has proceeded from the lion nature, whereas the physical bull-body is the ancestor of the male body ... The woman can develop inner courage; e.g. in war, in the care of the sick, in order to work in the service of humanity. The male physical body has that which in the true sense we can call the bull nature. That is connected with the fact that the man, as he is usually organized, has more of the activity based on physical creation. Occultly regarded, these things reveal themselves precisely thus, even if it sounds extraordinary ... Physical science will be utterly fruitless and only describe external facts as long as it does not penetrate into the spirit of these facts. Now it will no longer appear so strange to you that once a race of people existed who had a lion-like body. These took up the ego nature, and through this the lion nature was changed more and more into the female body. Those who received nothing of this spiritual element changed in quite another way; i.e., into the modern lion.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Four Human Group Souls (Lion, Bull, Eagle, Man)”, a lecture, GA 107.

[Clairvoyance (cont.)] “If the person devoting himself to the color which covers these physically dense walls were one who had made certain occult progress...the walls would disappear from his clairvoyant vision ... [T]he walls become like glass, but in the sphere which opens up there is a world of purely spiritual phenomena; spiritual facts and spiritual figures become visible...many different kinds of elementary beings are around us ... But they cannot all be seen in the same way; according to the capacity of clairvoyant vision, there may be visible and invisible beings in the same space. What spiritual beings become visible in any particular instance depends on the colour to which we devote ourselves. In a red room, other beings become visible than in a blue room.... ” — Rudolf Steiner quoted by John Fletcher, ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 95.

[Waldorf Teachers] “As far as our school is concerned, the actual spiritual life can be present because its staff consists of anthroposophists.” — Rudolf Steiner, EDUCATION FOR ADOLESCENTS (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 60. 

[Physiology] “We may ask, ignoring the chest for now, why do we have this polarity between the head and the limbs-abdomen? We have it because at a particular point in time the head was ‘exhaled’ by the cosmos. The human head was formed by cosmic antipathy. When the cosmos is so ‘repulsed’ by what human beings have in them that the cosmos expels it, then this form is created.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 61.

[Initiation, Evolution, Blood] “When the ancient Indians received the teaching of the holy Rishis [i.e., Hindu saints], there was a different way of thinking, a different kind of feeling and willing ... [H]umankind is constantly evolving. People today have an entirely different, finer brain structure, even an entirely different blood formation ... For this reason, today all truths must be formulated differently, and methods of initiation must be designed so that they are appropriate for today's European [i.e., whites].” — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 146. There were fewer nonwhites in Europe during Steiner’s life than today. For Steiner’s opinion about immigration by nonwhites, see the next quotation.

[Race, Blood, the French, Africans] “The use of the French language quite certainly corrupts the soul ... The French are also ruining what maintains their dead language, namely, their blood. The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe, but it works, in an even worse way, back on France. It .has an enormous effect on the blood and the race and contributes considerably toward French decadence. The French as a race are reverting.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998) , pp. 558-559.

◊ [The Sleep of Criminals“A bad man...whose moral sensibility is very little developed, will carry with him into sleep no...pangs of conscience ... [H]e will have, spiritually speaking, an open ear for the whisperings of [the demon] Ahriman who makes evil appear good. Hence the quiet and contented sleep of the criminal! ... The enticement to evil to which man is exposed during sleep is, in truth, exceedingly great, and it can easily happen that in the morning he brings over with him from sleep terrible demonic forces of temptation ... There is thus abundant possibility for man to fall a victim to Ahriman during the time of sleep ... [I]t has gradually come about that men are so gravely exposed during sleep to the seductions of demonic powers, which make evil appear good ... The fact is, we are living today in a time that is bringing us to a certain crisis in evolution. It behooves men to arm themselves against the powers of evil that approach them when they fall asleep.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN'S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Health Research, 1960), lecture 4, GA 218.

◊ [Food for Thought"Farm wives are much more aware than city women that yeast has a certain meaning in baking bread, even though only a small amount is added. They know that bread could not rise if they did not add yeast to the dough. In the same way, earthly development would have long ago reached its final stage were the Earth not continuously fed with the forces of human corpses, the forces released by the human spirit-soul at death. The forces that earthly development continuously receives through the acceptance of human corpses, that is, the forces contained in those corpses supports the evolution of the Earth." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), pp. 70-71.

[Christ & the Sun] “It is...important that the deeds of Christ Jesus are always seen in relation to the physical sun, which is the external expression of the spiritual world that is received at the point where Christ’s physical body is walking around. When Christ Jesus heals, for instance, it is the sun force that heals. However, the sun must be in the right place in the heavens: ‘That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.’ It is important to indicate that this healing power can flow down only when the external sun has set but still works spiritually.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), pp. 65-6.

[The Heart, II] “[T]he heart is indeed a sense organ for perceiving the blood’s movement, not a pump as physicists claim; the coursing of our blood is brought about by our spirituality and vitality.” — Rudolf Steiner, AT HOME IN THE UNIVERSE (Steiner Books, 2000), p. 84.

[Moving Around] “[D]uring the Lemurian epoch...the majority of souls withdrew from the earth to other planets, continuing their life on Mars, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, and so forth ... [D]uring the Atlantean epoch, these souls gradually came [back] down to earth in order to incarnate in earthly bodies under the changed earthly conditions. ” — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT HISTORY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), p. 36. In case you doubt your eyes, that is really what Steiner taught. He repeated it often, for instance “As we know, around the Atlantean time, human souls gradually came down from the planets to which they had ascended.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), p. 75.

 [His Point Being...] “Anti-Christian influence is directly visible in Moorish architecture with its arches that run up into a point instead of being rounded. This is the mark of  [the demon] Ahriman. In architecture Ahriman worked as the Antichrist when he replaced rounded Romanesque arches with horseshoe and pointed arches.” — Rudolf Steiner, ARCHITECTURE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 153.

◊ [Planetary Pals and Others] “[T]here exists an unbroken connection between the planets. The moon is connected with the earth in the same way that, for instance, Berlin and Hamburg are connected by the telephone. Beings who live on the moon can carry out their operations on the earth using this celestial connection. Malevolent moon beings have their counterparts in other beings who also exist in the celestial world — beneficent beings who are much, much sweeter than the sweetest Earthly beings ... These good beings are spiritually connected to us here on Earth, but they have their actual existence on another planet ... [T]hese sweet beings inhabit Mars and are in fact the main population of that planet ... If we look still higher in the heavenly spheres, we find other beneficent beings who have a mild, peaceable nature; and these beings are extraordinarily clever. These beings of the celestial spheres have their actual home on the planet Venus ... But on Venus we also find a second kind of beings who (unlike the gentle, amiable Venusians) embody a wild and furious vitality. Their chief activities are mutual fighting and plunder.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS UPON MAN, lecture 1, GA 102, revised translation 2011 by Roger Rawlings. For a longer version as published by the Anthroposophic Press, see "Quotes of the Day 2011 (d)".

[Eggs] “Women discharge...human eggs every four weeks. At first they are given up to the moon’s influence for a short time and are protected. But when the female organism dispatches the human egg during the course of the monthly period, it comes under the influence of the earth and is destroyed.” — Rudolf Steiner, HEALTH AND  ILLNESS, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1981),  p. 127.

[We Must Understand What the Demon Ahriman Is Doing to Secretly Control the World Economy] “For Ahriman will have tasks, he will have to do this and that, and men must value rightly and make a right use of that which through Ahriman comes into the world. Men will only be able to do this if they are able to adjust themselves now in the right way to that which Ahriman is already sending to the Earth from the Worlds beyond in order that he may control the Economic life upon Earth without being noticed.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE COSMIC NEW YEAR (Kessinger Publishing, 2006), p. 49. For more on this terrible demon, see "Ahriman".

[Waldorf Faculty Q&A]Dr. Steiner: ‘You can create a parallel between the Quaternary Period and Atlantis, and easily bring the Tertiary period into parallel...as the Lemurian Period [Lemuria was an earlier lost land] ... The human being was at that time only jelly-like in external form. Humans had an amphibian-like form.’

A teacher: ‘But there were still the fire breathers.’

Dr. Steiner: ‘Yes, those beasts, they did breathe fire, the Archaeopteryx [a dinosaur], for example.


A teacher: 'You mean that the animals whose bones we see today in museums still breathed fire?'

Dr. Steiner: ‘Yes.'” — FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 26.

[Out-of-Body Experiences] “During sleep our astral bodies [i.e., the second of our three invisible bodies] return to the harmony of the universe again. When we awaken, we bring enough strength with us out of the cosmic harmony into our [physical] bodies so that we can go without being in that state for a while. The astral body returns home [after] sleep and brings renewed forces back into our life when we awaken ... [O]ur astral bodies are part of a world that embraces additional heavenly bodies. During sleep, therefore, we enter a world that encompasses other worlds in addition to our Earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 68.

[The Spiritual World] “When we climb out of the physical world into the spiritual world...we shall gain the impression of powers in the spiritual world that take pity, as it were, on our weakness and say, ‘Well! so you were weak in the physical sense world! If only you climb into the spiritual world through the prime [“window”] I must dissolve you, suck you up and break you to pieces. But if you enter through the second [“window”] I will offer you something from the spiritual world and remind you of something that is there as well.’” — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SEEN IN THE LIGHT OF MYSTERY WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, second revised edition, 1996), p. 105.

[Antiscientific Evolution] If the evolution of the Earth did not include human beings, then most animals would not exist. A major portion of the animals, particularly the higher animals, rose within earthly evolution only because human beings needed to use their elbows (of course, I speak here only pictorially). At a particular stage in their earthly development, human beings, to develop further, needed to rid their nature, which then was much different than it is now, of the higher animals." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), pp. 69-71. According to Steiner, man did not evolve from animals; they evolved from man.

 [Vulcan Visitors “Whereas in the ancient Atlantean times these human beings [sic] descended to earth from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the other planets...now a time is beginning when beings who are not human are coming down to earth from cosmic regions beyond ... Just as the Vulcan men were the last to come down to earth [during Atlantean times], so Vulcan beings are now actually entering this earth existence ... And it is thanks to the fact that these beings from beyond the earth are bringing messages down into this earthly existence that it is possible at all to have a comprehensive spiritual science today.” — Rudolf Steiner, MATERIALISM AND THE TASK OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (SteinerBooks, 1987), p. 261. Note that in passages like this, Steiner treats Vulcan as a real planet. See "Vulcan".

[Artificial Use of the Dead] “For the remainder of earthly existence the dead will collaborate with us to a high degree. But how they collaborate will be what matters ... It will be important that people on the earth behave in such a way that collaboration with the dead in a good way can be allowed to be guided by them ... There will also, on the other hand, be many attempts to introduce the dead into human life by artificial means. The dead will be brought into human life via a detour through Gemini which in quite a specific way will cause human vibrations to continue resonating in the machines [i.e., in technological products].” — Rudolf Steiner SECRET BROTHERHOODS and the Mystery of the Human Double (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 192.

[Gravity] “It would be wonderful if you could stop speaking about gravity. You can certainly achieve speaking of it only as a phenomenon. The best would be if you considered gravity only as a word.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 29.

[Lemuria, Atlantis, Savages, Civilized Humans, Aryans] “The ancestors of the Atlanteans lived in a region [i.e., Lemuria] which has disappeared ... After they had passed through various stages of development the greatest part of them declined. These became stunted men, whose descendants still inhabit certain parts of the earth today as so-called savage tribes. Only a small part of Lemurian humanity was capable of further development. From this part the Atlanteans were formed. Later, something similar took place. The greatest part of the Atlantean population declined, and from a small portion are descended the so-called Aryans who comprise present-day civilized humanity ... [T]he Lemurians, Atlanteans, and Aryans are root races of mankind.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (SteinerBooks, 1987), pp. 45-46.

[Students' “Temperaments” and Signs] “The choleric temperament becomes immediately annoyed by and angry about anything that interrupts its activity. When it is in a rhythmic experience, it becomes vexed and angry, but it will also become angry if it is involved in another experience and is interrupted ... In cholerics, you will generally find an abnormally developed sense of balance (Libra) ... In sanguines (Virgo), in connection with the sense of balance and sense of movement, the sense of movement predominates. In the same way, in melancholics (Leo) the sense of life predominates and in phlegmatics (Cancer) the sense of touch predominates physiologically because the touch bodies are embedded in small fat pads.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998) , pp. 90-91. See, e.g., "Humouresque" and "Waldorf Astrology".

[Punishment, II] “Under certain circumstances it may be necessary [for a teacher] to spank a child ... I have to admit that there are rowdies.... ” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 22.

 [Subhumans“[C]ases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings...[they] are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon....” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 649-650.

[Physiology, II“Your head is not just a lazybones sitting on your shoulders. It is actually the thing that would like to keep you an animal. It gives you the forms of the whole animal kingdom and continually wants to create the animal kingdom. However, due to your torso and limbs, you do not allow yourself to become the whole animal kingdom while you are alive.... ” — Rudolf Steiner, HEALTH AND ILLNESS, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1981), p. 185.

◊ [Math Magic] "Basic geometric concepts awaken clairvoyant abilities.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOURTH DIMENSION: Sacred Geometry, Alchemy, and Mathematics (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 92.

◊ [Our 12 Senses] “First, we have the four senses of touch, life, movement and balance ... The next group of senses, namely smell, taste, sight and temperature are primarily senses of feeling ... I need to add that the sense of I and the senses of thought, hearing and speech are more cognitive senses.... ” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), pp. 142-145.

[Waldorf v. Robots] “The task of Anthroposophy is not simply to replace a false view of the world with a correct one ... The task is to raise the spirit-soul into the realm of the spiritual, so that the human being is no longer a thinking and feeling automaton ... We should work out of that spirit.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998) p. 115.


[Punishment, III] “If you give them [i.e., students] a slap, you should do it the way Dr. Schubert [one of the Waldorf teachers] does ... There are physical slaps and astral slaps. It doesn’t matter which one you give, but you cannot slap a child sentimentally.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 323.

 [Sun Power“These sexless insects have in themselves the cleverness to construct a whole wasps' nest. Who, in fact, builds this nest? The sun builds it through the sexless wasps! ... In truth, the wasps' nests, as well as all the beavers' constructions, are built by the cleverness that flows to earth from the sun.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000, p. 212.

[Loony Tubers, I] "People who eat too many potatoes and have to make a terrible effort in their heads to cope with potato fermentation therefore tend to be weak in the head. It is mainly the middle parts of the brain that grow weak, leaving only the front parts which make little effort to prevent potato fermentation. It is actually due to the fact that potatoes have come to be widely eaten in recent times that materialism has developed...." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM ELEPHANTS TO EINSTEIN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 44. 

[Loony Tubers, II] "Let us take a very ordinary, practical matter: the eating of potatoes ...  If in spiritual science (anthroposophy is, after all, only a name) genuine investigation is made into how the potato nourishes the human being, the potato is found to be something that is not completely digested by the digestive organs, but it passes into the head through the lymph glands, through the blood, in such a way that the head itself must also serve as a digestive organ for the potato. When potatoes are eaten in large quantities, the head becomes a kind of stomach and also digests ... This kind of knowledge can never be derived from natural science. When things are genuinely investigated with respect to their spiritual quality, it becomes apparent that in this modern age humanity has been seriously injured by the excessive consumption of potatoes." — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS (Anthroposophic Press, 1987), lecture 8, GA 354.

◊ [The Heart, III] “[Science] sees the heart as a pump that pumps blood through the body. Now there is nothing more absurd than believing this.” — Rudolf Steiner, PSYCHOANALYSIS AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY, (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), p. 126.

◊ [Substandard] "By bringing about the ‘opiumising’ of Chinese bodies and causing generations to come into being under the influence of opium's forces, it was possible to condemn the Chinese to take in, to a certain extent, some very immature, sub-standard souls [i.e., such souls incarnated in Chinese bodies] ... But those souls who had themselves decided to incarnate in Chinese bodies were thereby prevented from approaching these ‘opiumised’ bodies [i.e., souls that should have incarnated in Chinese bodies were prevented from doing so, because all the Chinese bodies had been taken]. They were diverted to Europe where they brought about among the European population those traits which have, meanwhile, been noted.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1988), lecture 13, GA 173.

[Animal Astrology] “[T]he Sun-influence goes as far as the heart and stops short just before the heart. For the head and the blood-forming process, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are at work. Then, from the heart backward, the Moon influence is supported by the Mercury and Venus forces.” — Rudolf Steiner, AGRICULTURE COURSE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 41.

[Jews & the Moon] “[T]he primeval Teachers [i.e., spiritual guides] themselves had then to make their way to the Moon, where they are to this day, and to found a colony there ... From the Moon, Jahveh [i.e., Jehovah] reigned over the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and those of the primeval Teachers who were still associated with the cult [i.e., Judaism] and the teaching of Jahveh united with him in the Moon, in order to look out into the cosmos through his eyes....” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 203. In line with other anti-Semites, Steiner associated Jews with the Moon, a “parasitical” body that only reflects light without creating it; by extension, anti-Semites allege that Jews are human parasites. 

◊ [Jews & the Moon, II] “As you know, we distinguish the Jews from the rest of the earth's population. The difference has arisen because the Jews have been brought up in the moon religion for centuries ... The Jews have a great gift for materialism, but little for recognition of the spiritual world.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 59.

[Waldorf’s Agenda, II] “Eurythmy [a form of dance initiated by Steiner] shapes and moves the human organism in a way that furnishes direct external proof of our participation in the supersensible world. In having people do eurythmy, we link them directly to the supersensible world.” — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 247.

 [Messianic Anthroposophists] “If such authentic souls, such honest anthroposophists can be found, who wish...to bear spirituality into earthly life, then an upward movement and dynamic will arise. If such souls do not appear, then decadence will take its inexorable downward course. The world war [i.e., World War I], with all the evil attendant on it, will be just the beginning of still greater evil. Today humanity stands before a great crisis; either it will see all civilization collapsing into the abyss, or else spirituality will raise up by the power of the Michael impetus [i.e., the spiritual force provided by the Archangel Michael], through which the Christ impetus works [i.e., the spiritual force provided by the Sun God], thus continuing, enriching and sustaining it.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KARMA OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 172. [See "Michael" and "Sun God".]

◊ [Unplug“People will have to know all the forces that the soul must summon up in order to overcome the powers of evil ... [D]uring our own epoch, the 5th post-Atlantean epoch, people will have to struggle with evil ... [T]he impulses that lead to evil will send their influences into the world in an immense, gigantic form ... This will take place above all during the 5th epoch, when the exploitation of electric forces...will enable man to spread evil over the earth, and evil will invade the earth by coming in an immediate way out of the forces of electricity.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Overcoming of Evil,” ANTHROPOSOPHIC NEWS SHEET, Vol. 16, No. 7/8, GA 273.

◊ [Making It Clear] “With the students, we should at least try to achieve what I have striven for with the workers in Dornach, pictures that make it clear that, for instance, an island like Great Britain swims in the sea and is held fast by the forces of the stars.1 In actuality, such islands do not sit directly upon a foundation; they swim and are held fast from outside. In general, the cosmos creates islands and continents, their forms and locations. That is certainly the case with firm land. Such things are the result of the cosmos, of the stars. The Earth is a reflection of the cosmos, not something caused from within. However, we need to avoid such things. We cannot tell them to the students because they would then need to tell them to their professors in the examinations, and we would acquire a terrible name. Nevertheless, that is actually what we should achieve in geography.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 607-608. We Waldorf teachers should make this clear to our students, as I have done when lecturing workmen in Dornach. But of course we cannot tell the students these things, because we would become laughingstocks. Still, this is what we should convey in geography lessons. Clear?

[Anthroposophy at Waldorf] “You need to make the children aware that they are receiving the objective truth, and if this occasionally appears anthroposophical, it is not anthroposophy that is at fault. Things are that way because anthroposophy has something to say about objective truth ... Anthroposophy will be in the school when it is objectively justified, that is, when it is called for by the material itself.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 495. Since Steiner promoted Anthroposophy as the key to human wisdom, he is here effectively acknowledging that Anthroposophy will pervade every subject in the Waldorf curriculum. When will Anthroposophy be “called for by the material”? Almost always.



The final quotation, above, invites a further response:


Steiner often claimed that Waldorf schools are not meant to teach Anthroposophy to the students. He said, for instance, “We are not interested in imposing our ‘dogmas,’ our principles, or the content of our world-view on young people ... We are striving to include in our instructional methods a way of dealing with individual souls that can originate in a living spiritual science.” [1] In one sense, this is true enough. The intellectual content or “dogmas” of Anthroposophy may not usually be taught, in explicit declarations, to students at Waldorf schools. But in another sense, Steiner’s claim hinges on a distinction without a difference. If Waldorf pedagogy arises from “a living spiritual science” (i.e., vibrant, active Anthroposophy), then the “individual souls” of the students are continually being worked upon by Anthroposophy. The students may not learn the terminology of Anthroposophy, but they will likely absorb Anthroposophy’s day-after-day, class-after-class effects. [2] Indeed, this is the purpose implicit in Steiner's statement. "Anthroposophy will be in the school when it is objectively justified.”

Steiner came close to saying as much again, on a different occasion, when he explained, “[W]e believe that spiritual science differs from any other science in filling the entire person.... ” [3] A little set of logical deductions: a) If children are to be worked upon by living spiritual science (Anthroposophy), and if spiritual science fills the whole person, then the children will be filled by spiritual science. b) If students will be filled with spiritual science (Anthroposophy), then a clear function of Waldorf education is to spread Anthroposophy. The spreading can occur by pouring spiritual science into the students (with or without explicating the dogmas), or by arousing parents’ interest in the schools (perhaps explicating a few dogmas, probably a little at a time), or both. As Steiner said: “One of the most important facts about the background of the Waldorf School is that we were in a position to make the anthroposophical movement a relatively large one [i.e., one of the most important functions of the school is to spread Anthroposophy]. The anthroposophical movement has become a large one.” [4]

Steiner was reasonably candid about the importance of Anthroposophy in Waldorf schools. “The anthroposophical movement is the basis of the Waldorf School movement.” [5] Still, he continued to maintain that Waldorf schools don’t teach Anthroposophy. But: “[W]e had to create our curricula and educational goals on the basis of a true understanding of the human being, which can only grow out of the fertile ground of anthroposophy. Then we would have a universally human school, not a school based on a particular philosophy or denomination.... ” [6] It is impossible to know whether Steiner believed his own statements, but we can usually understand his meaning. In this case, his position was that Anthroposophy is not a philosophy or denomination. It is spiritual science. It is objective truth. It represents “true understanding.” Thus, Steiner could argue that a Waldorf is “not a school based on a particular philosophy or denomination,” because he defined Anthroposophy as being neither of these things. But whatever label we put on it, Anthroposophy is the basis of Waldorf education.

Steiner himself sometimes undercut his claim that Anthroposophical dogma is not taught at Waldorf schools. For example, he once admonished a Waldorf teacher in these words: "The problem you have is that you have not always followed the directive to bring what you know anthroposophically into a form you can present to little children. You have lectured the children about anthroposophy when you told them about your subject. You did not transform anthroposophy into a child's level." [7] Note that Steiner did not say that the teacher had erred in presenting Anthroposophy in class; he only said that the teacher had not presented Anthroposophy in a form the students could grasp. "You did not transform anthroposophy into a child's level."

The reality is that Anthroposophy is presented in Waldorf classes, usually in disguised form, but sometimes openly. And Waldorf students should learn not to complain about this. Let's circle back to hear Steiner on this point once again: “You [Waldorf teachers] need to make the children aware that they are receiving the objective truth, and if this occasionally appears anthroposophical, it is not anthroposophy that is at fault. Things are that way because anthroposophy has something to say about objective truth ... Anthroposophy will be in the school when it is objectively justified, that is, when it is called for by the material itself.” Since Steiner promoted Anthroposophy as the key to human wisdom, he was here effectively acknowledging that Anthroposophy will pervade every subject in the Waldorf curriculum. When will Anthroposophy be “called for by the material”? Almost always.

 —  Roger Rawlings


Rudolf Steiner

[Rudolf Steiner, THE STORY OF MY LIFE 

Kessinger Publishing, facsimile of 1928 edition,

Anthroposophical Publishing Co.), facing p. 320, close-up.]

For the experience of reading a lecture
delivered by Rudolf Steiner, see "Lecture".
We'll walk through it together.

Anthroposophists will tell you that critics of Rudolf Steiner unconscionably take Steiner’s statements out of context and twist them to make seem foolish or evil. In truth, they claim, it is only by twisting Steiner’s words that anyone could possibly find fault with anything Steiner said.

Likewise, Anthroposophists argue that only a few of Steiner’s multitudinous statements lend themselves to misinterpretation. Here and there in Steiner’s works, you may find isolated passages that possibly seem, at first blush, censurable. But properly understood, everything Steiner wrote and said is irreproachable.

Anthroposophists believe such propositions wholeheartedly.

They are mistaken.

Steiner did not occasionally say or write things that might possibly call for criticism and repudiation. Virtually everything he said and wrote during his career as an occultist calls for criticism and repudiation. Virtually all of it is false, much of it is foolish, and at least some of it is evil.  

Here at Waldorf Watch, you will find not a few brief quotations from Steiner; you will find many hundreds of Steiner quotations  Some are short, but others are lengthy — in some instances, entire lectures are reproduced. The evidence, cumulatively, is overwhelming. It is not hard to find preposterous statements made by Steiner. In fact, it is extremely easy. Pick up any Steiner text, read it a while, and the examples of lunacy (and sometimes far worse than lunacy) will begin leaping off the page.

Try it. Buy some of Steiner’s books or collections of his lectures, and put yourself through the taxing effort to read them, cover to cover. Understanding Steiner is difficult, at least as first. But once you become accustomed to his tortured prose, you will see the truth. And the truth is that Steiner almost never wrote or said anything that is factual, rational, true, or wise.


Of course, some people who read Steiner think that they find pearls of great wisdom in his words. Steiner’s fantasies and fabrications please them. Fantasies are undeniably attractive to humankind. We have an enormous capacity for deceiving ourselves; you can find people who believe almost any conceivable falsehood.*

Then again, Steiner — as a self-promoted spiritual leader — often mouthed high-minded or at least high-sounding platitudes. He advocated love, for instance. Well, ok. Fine. Love is a good thing. Very few people get up on soapboxes and denounce love. So, yes — at one level, Steiner sometimes made statements to which we all must give assent. But such statements are pretty much pro forma, the sort of thing we should expect from any "spiritual leader."

If you read Steiner and find yourself agreeing with what he says — especially if you agree with Steiner's occult, fantastical, over-the-top statements — then perhaps you should send your children to a Waldorf school. Such a school might provide what you're looking for. I would fear for your children, but the decision is in your hands.

If, on the other hand, you do not concur with Steiner's teachings — especially his occult, fantastical, over-the-top teachings — then certainly you should not entrust your children's education to Steiner's followers.

*See, e.g., “Fooling (Ourselves)” and “Why? Oh Why? Oh Why?"

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. 

Sketch of a window at the Goetheanum
the worldwide Anthroposophical headquarters
[R.R., 2009].

For more on the Goetheanum, see

"People love the rose because — although they do not know this — roses take in our very first childhood memories while we sleep." 

— Rudolf Steiner, 


(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 128. 

[R.R. sketch, 2009, 

based on a detail in Steiner's.

I didn't know this about roses. Did you? Either way, this is a nice example of the "mystery knowledge" Steiner dispensed.

This image is a sort of visual joke.
The sign says, in Swedish, 
"Welcome to Rudolf Steiner."
But Waldorf schools do 
extend a welcome to Steiner,
and they maneuver students 
to extend the same welcome.
Anthroposophists are eager to 
welcome Steiner in another sense, as well —
they eagerly anticipate his next reincarnation.

[Photo by Alicia H., 
reprinted with the artist's permission.

"Rock Being" depicted on the monumental statue

at the Goetheanum

[R.R., 2009].

Steiner pretended he could see beyond the sky,

but in the process he missed something: reality.

[R.R., 1998.]

For a statement about the identity of individuals 
quoted and paraphrased at Waldorf Watch
(aside from Rudolf himself), 
see "Trolls?"

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



Other than Rudolf

Nonsense in the air


Perhaps the worst statements Steiner made

Additional revealing quotations; includes "Last Words" and "Reading Steiner"

Some of Steiner’s silliest statements (on topics such as gnomes)


To consider statements made by Anthroposophists
in recent years, see the following pages posted in
the third section of Waldorf Watch:

Waldorf schools in the 21st Century

What they're saying



[1] Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER IN THE WALDORF SCHOOL: Lectures and Addresses to Children, Parents, and Teachers (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 26.

[2] In an account of my own experiences as a Waldorf student, I put it like this: "Imagine being educated by a group of dedicated but secretive Catholics or Communists or Mormons or Fascists — or secretive members of any ideological group: For year after year, you are taught to think and speak and act in accordance with the group's ideology, but you are never told precisely what that ideology is, and you are never shown any of its central texts. That's what going to Waldorf was like." I describe the process as a form of subtle brainwashing. [See “I Went to Waldorf”.] Grégoire Perra, another former Waldorf student, uses the somewhat more restrained term: "indoctrination". [See "Indoctrination".]


[4] Ibid., p. 156.

[5] Ibid., p. 162.

[6] Ibid., p. 186.

[7] Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 402-403.


A note on sources: I have accessed Anthroposophical texts in various ways. 1) Chiefly, I have acquired books in the old-fashioned way, as physical objects. When I refer to a book I possess, I give the title, publisher, date of publication, and page number for each reference. 2) I have dipped into some books through Google Books [http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search]. I provide the same information for these volumes. 3) I have read various texts at the Rudolf Steiner Archive [http://www.rsarchive.org/Search.php]. Because the Archive does not provide page numbers, for these references I provide titles, names of publishers, dates of publication, and (where applicable) GA numbers. Be advised that Google Books sometimes gives inaccurate page numbers, and the Steiner Archive is full of typos. I have corrected these problems as well as I could, but I may have missed some instances. 

You may have difficulty finding a few of the sources I cite. Anthroposophists tend to conceal various sources, and sometimes — following criticism — they remove or alter sources that they had previously displayed online.

— R. R.