Say What Too


More from You-Know-Who

(Including Some Old Favorites)

These statements by Rudolf Steiner 

were used as "Quotes of Note"

on the Waldorf Watch News page.

94. "My dear friends, the confusion that reigns within man to-day is no whit less than it was in olden times. That man is unaware of it makes no difference, the confusion is there, just the same. Man is perpetually being torn and tossed, this way and that, while the powers behind Nature and below himself fight to get possession of him. And when one crosses the Threshold [into the spirit realm] and, looking consciously into the spiritual world, observes this terrific battle that is going on, this complicated game that is being played with man as the prize, then one may look now in vain for the messengers of God who in an earlier age would come forward with the staff of Mercury, for example, and with other symbols of that nature, ready to give them into the hands of the Mystery doctors, who could then use them to bring healing to man. At the present time, when you cross the Threshold, you find yourself only in the midst of the terrific conflict of which we have spoken, between beings of the upper planets who have remained behind in their evolution — immature Mars, Jupiter and Saturn beings — and beings of the lower planets who have remained behind — immature Moon, Mercury and Venus beings. Like two armed encampments they stand facing one another; on one side, the air-fire beings — Saturn, Jupiter and Mars beings that have failed and fallen out of their true evolution; and on the other side, facing them, the earth-water beings — Moon, Mercury and Venus beings who have also failed and fallen behind. And there, beyond the Threshold, the fight goes on with such fury that the Sun becomes first of all fiery and aflame, and then grows darker and darker, until at last it shows like a terrible black disk. It was not so for the initiates of long ago. They saw right through the black disk; and from the direction of the black disk itself came towards them the messengers of God, of the Father God, who were also in those times the bearers of the knowledge of healing. But for us, when we cross the Threshold and see before us the terrific battle and behold how the Sun becomes fiery red and then black — for us, the Sun remains black, it remains a black disk. And we are rebuffed, we are turned back; for if we men of modern times are to find our way amid all this confusing and perplexing conflict, it is on the Earth that we must look for help.

"And then, my dear friends, then we are guided to turn our eyes to the Christ, Christ stands before us, the Spirit Being who, through the Mystery of Golgotha, united Himself with the Earth. And He says to us: Be not dismayed that the Sun has become black; it is black because I, the God of the Sun, am no longer in it; for I have come down and united myself with the Earth.

"And if, with inner devotion, and with quick and sensitive recognition of all that a knowledge of the Mystery of Golgotha can bring, we draw near to Christ, and then the Sun does not, it is true, become bright again, it remains the black disk that it was, but the Sun begins to make audible for us what Christ is saying to us. And this experience reveals to us the relationship of Christ with the Sun. Yes, the Sun, although still a black disk, becomes a being who enables us to listen to the Christ, if we are duly prepared and approach Him in the right mood and attitude of soul." — Rudolf Steiner, MAN'S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Health Research Books, 1960), lecture 5, GA 218.

95. "Whereas in the days of old Atlantis human beings came down to the earth from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and so on [1] ...since the end of the seventies of last century, other Beings — not of the human order — have been descending to the earth [2] ... From cosmic realms beyond the earth they come down to the earth and enter into a definite relationship with human beings. Since the eighties of the nineteenth century, super-earthly Beings have been seeking to enter the sphere of earth-existence. Just as the Vulcan-men were the last to come down to the earth [3] so now Vulcan Beings [4] 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 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 [5]." — Rudolf Steiner, “A Picture of Earth Evolution in the Future”, THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1960, GA 204.

Waldorf Watch Footnotes:

[1] Steiner taught that while humanity lived on the continent of Lemuria [see "Lemuria"], many humans left the Earth for other planets. Later, when the remaining human population of the Earth moved to Atlantis [see "Atlantis"], humans who had left the Earth began returning. [See "planetary migrations" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

[2] I.e., since the 1880's, super beings (more advanced than humans) have descended from the planets to the Earth. [See "Supermen".] Thus, there have been two influxes of beings coming down to the Earth from the planets. First, humans who left for other planets came back home. Then, super beings hailing from the various other planets began coming down to Earth.

[3] I.e., humans who left for Vulcan later returned to the Earth. These were the people Steiner calls "Vulcan-men" (men who lived on Vulcan). They were the last human planetary migrants to return to Earth ("Vulcan-men were the last to come [back] down to the earth"). 

Note that, among the other fascinations of this subject, we learn here that Steiner believed in the existence of the legendary planet Vulcan. [See "Vulcan".]

[4] I.e., Vulcan super beings. (In the next sentence, Steiner calls them "Super-earthly Beings.")

[5] I.e., we have Anthroposophy ("a connected body of Spiritual Science") only because super beings from Vulcan and other planets have brought cosmic wisdom down to the Earth. (Theosophists and Anthroposophists both refer to their spiritual systems as "spiritual science." Steiner was a Theosophist before breaking away to establish his own version of Theosophy — which he called Anthroposophy — as a separate spiritual movement.)

We better listen up.

“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 ... The beings I have spoken about will descend gradually to the earth. Vulcan beings, Vulcan supermen, Venus supermen, Mercury supermen, sun supermen, and so on will unite themselves with earth existence. Yet, if human beings persist in their opposition to them, this earth existence will pass over into chaos in the course of the next few thousand years.” — Rudolf Steiner, MATERIALISM AND THE TASK OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (SteinerBooks, 1987), p. 261.

96. “[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 (Anthroposophic Press, 1982), lecture 1, GA 102.

97. "The truth underlying the casting of a horoscope is that those who know these things can read the forces which determine a person's physical existence. A certain horoscope is allotted to a person because, within it, those forces find expression which have led him into being. If for example in the horoscope Mars stands over Aries (the Ram), this signifies that certain of the Aries forces are not allowed to pass through Mars, and are weakened. Thus is a man put into his place within physical existence, and it is in accordance with his horoscope that he guides himself before entering upon earthly existence ... That which here took place in Jesus of Nazareth was a continual realization of the horoscope, for at every moment there occurred that which otherwise happens only at a person's birth." — Rudolf Steiner  THE SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE OF MANKIND, lecture 3, GA 15.

98. "[W]hat takes place on other planets cannot be discovered merely by thinking. Unless one is able to transfer one's consciousness into the life and functioning of a colony of bees one cannot experience what is taking place on the Sun or Venus, for example. The bee has not gone through the whole course of evolution as we have. From the outset it has not been connected with the same evolutionary sequence as other animals and the human being. The consciousness of the beehive, not of the single bee, is immensely lofty. The wisdom of this consciousness will only be attained by man in the Venus existence." — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2019), pp. 24-25.

99. "After Atlantis sank, great initiates led two main streams of people from west to east, one through Africa, the other through Europe ... [I]n the northern stream initiates raised a strong, powerful stock of people who not only knew how to spite their enemies but were also physically a match for demonic influences. At various locations in Europe there were mystery centers, the existence of which is reported in many old sagas. For example, behind the legend of King Arthur and his Round Table is hidden a report of such a secret school. King Arthur was a high initiate who made known the wisdom of the mysteries to his pupils." — Rudolf Steiner, ESOTERIC LESSONS 1904-1909 (Steiner Books, 2007) p. 427.

100. “Already in Atlantis we meet beings who were among men as our fellows are today [1] ... [M]an learned to know Thor, Zeus, Wotan, Baldur [2] as actual companions ... When man still lived in the water-fog atmosphere [3]...incarnations were possible for them [4]. Such a figure was the later Wotan [5], for example. He said to himself, ‘If man incarnates in this fluid matter, then I can also.’ Such a being assumed a human form and moved about in the physical world. But as the earth condensed and man took on ever denser forms, Wotan said, ‘No, I shall not go into this dense matter.’ Then he remained in invisible worlds, in worlds removed from the earth [6].” — Rudolf Steiner  EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MYSTERIES (Anthroposophic Press, 1971), p. 140. 

[1] I.e., while humanity lived on Atlantis, there were non-human beings walking among us. These were gods who incarnated on the Earth. Meeting such gods was as common during Atlantean times as meeting ordinary people is for us today.

[2] Thor, Wotan, and Baldur are Norse gods. Zeus is a Greek god (equivalent to Wotan, who is also called Odin).

[3] Steiner taught that the atmosphere during Atlantean times was far denser and far, far more humid than our atmosphere today.

[4] I.e., it was possible for some gods to incarnate on Earth. When they incarnated on Earth, they became avatars. [See "Avatars".]

[5] I.e., Wotan as he was at that time. Steiner taught that gods, like men, evolve.

[6] This is Steiner's explanation for the relative absence of avatars in our own times.

101. “[T]o educate a child you must know quite precisely how the child walks. For children who tread on their heels show in this small physical characteristic that they were very firmly planted in life in their former incarnation and were interested in everything in their former earth life. In such a case, you [the Waldorf teacher] must draw as much as possible out of the child, for there are many things hidden away in children who walk strongly on their heels. On the other hand, the children who trip along, who scarcely use their heels in walking, have gone through their former earth life in a superficial way. You will not be able to get much out of these children, but when you are with them you must make a point of doing a great many things yourself that they can copy.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD — Foundations of Waldorf Education XXI (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), p. 21.

Rudolf Steiner occasionally gave free lectures to the workers who were erecting the Anthroposophical headquarters building in Dornach, Switzerland. On April 21, 1923, Steiner included the following statement for the enlightenment of the workers: 

102. "All land actually floats in the sea ... It is not that it [i.e., the land] goes down to the bottom; the land, all lands, float in the sea. The sea is also beneath the land. Now you'll say, 'But why does it not move around in that case, like a ship?' Let me tell you something else. The land masses do indeed float in the sea, but imagine this is Great Britain [Steiner draws a picture]. It is an island. It does indeed float in the sea, but close to Europe, and the distance does not change ... [I]t is not held in place by the earth. If only the earth were involved, you simply cannot imagine how things would be shaken up and thrown into confusion. England would hit the Norwegian coast one day and then be moved across to America, and so on ... But it is not just a matter for the earth, for it is the relative positions of the stars which send out the forces that keep a land mass in a particular place. It thus is not the earth which does it. It is the relative positions of the stars ... [T]he land masses on earth...are held in place by the relative position of the stars." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM LIMESTONE TO LUCIFER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), pp. 178-179.

We might be tempted to think Steiner was kidding the workers. Surely Steiner did not seriously expect his audience to believe his zany statement about islands and stars. Surely.

Except, actually, Steiner did. He was serious. Thus, on April 25, 1923, he made essentially the same statement to the assembled faculty members of a Waldorf school. Significantly, he did this in the context of deciding what the teachers should, or should not, tell their students about islands and stars:

103. "With the students [1], we should at least try to achieve what I have striven for with the workers in Dornach [2], pictures [3] 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 [4]. In actuality, such islands do not sit directly upon a foundation [5]; they swim and are held fast from outside. In general, the cosmos creates islands and continents, their forms and locations [6]. That is certainly the case with firm land [7]. Such things are the result of the cosmos, of the stars. The Earth is a reflection of the cosmos, not something caused from within [8]. However, we need to avoid such things [9]. 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 [10]. Nevertheless, that is actually what we should achieve in geography [11]." — Rudolf Steiner. FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 607-608.

Steiner was not joking. There was no explosion of laughter from the assembled Waldorf teachers. They heard him out respectfully — and they continued in their employment at the Waldorf School. They continued to take guidance from their spiritual mentor, the founder of Waldorf education. They did not run for the exits.

[1] Steiner was addressing the teachers at the first Waldorf school, in Stuttgart, Germany. The "students" he mentions were, then, children receiving a Waldorf education.

[2] Dornach is the town in Switzerland where Steiner and his followers erected the Anthroposophical headquarters building, the Goetheanum. [See the section "The Goetheanum" in "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?".] Steiner delivered many toned-down, semi-Anthroposophical lectures to the workers hired to construct the Goetheanum. [See the FROM...TO... books (FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE, etc.), published by the Rudolf Steiner Press.]

[3] I.e., mental images. Steiner often called such images "imaginations" when they conveyed occult "truths." Here, he says he conveyed such mental images to the workers in Dornach, and Waldorf teachers should convey such images to their students.

[4] Steiner's defenders have offered various rationalizations, seeking to make this statement seem plausible. Often, such rationalizations entail twisting Steiner's words, for instance by arguing that Steiner meant islands and other land masses swim on a layer of molten rock deep within the Earth. But the two parts of Steiner's proposition are plain, and they are plainly false: 1) "an island like Great Britain swims in the sea  [emphasis added]," and 2) such an island "is held fast by the forces of the stars." (Steiner's claims about stars were many and marvelous. Taken altogether, these claims constitute Steiner's version of astrology — which is bunk. [See "Astrology", "Astrosophy", and "Star Power".]) 

[5] This is clearly and factually false. Islands are the upper portions of geological formations that arise from, and are attached to, the floors of oceans, seas, and other bodies of water.

[6] There is a trace of truth in Steiner's general assertion. At least, it is true that the forces responsible for creating the cosmos are the forces responsible for creating the component parts of the cosmos, including islands and continents. But Steiner claimed that the stars in the sky create the Earth's land masses ("islands and continents, their forms and locations"), and the stars then hold these land masses in place (the land masses are "held fast by the forces of the stars"). Steiner's specific proposition is false in total and in its parts (stars do not create or shape islands and continents, and they do not hold these land masses in place).

[7] As we have seen, Steiner extended his claims about islands to include continents. He later made this even more explicit:

“The continents swim and do not sit upon anything. They are held in position upon the earth by the constellations [i.e., stars] ... The continents are held from the periphery [i.e., from outside]; the higher realms [i.e., the celestial and spiritual realms] hold the parts of the Earth." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 618.

Thus, all the land on Earth (islands and continents) is covered by Steiner's claims. But none of this land is precisely "firm," since all of it swims and would float away if not held fast by the stars.

[8] Steiner taught that physical reality (the reality we know here below in the physical realm) is a reflection or product of the spiritual/celestial realm above. Nothing physical truly arises from mere physical causes, Steiner taught; all of it is the product of the forces coming from up above. You may or may not agree with Steiner about these ideas generally. But none of this rescues Steiner's false claims that islands float in the sea and are held fast by the stars.

[9] Here Steiner suddenly sounds a note of caution. He has told Waldorf teachers that they should help their students to see "that, for instance, an island like Great Britain swims in the sea and is held fast by the forces of the stars." But now he gets cold feet. Wait, he says. Probably we should not tell students these things. "[W]e need to avoid such things."

[10] Why should Waldorf teachers withhold their occult understanding about islands and stars? Because telling the students such things would ruin the Waldorf School's reputation. When taking examinations (or when attending college), Waldorf students would repeat what they had learned from their Waldorf teachers — and their non-Waldorf professors would be aghast. "[W]e would acquire a terrible name." (Steiner was often acutely concerned about appearance and reputation. [See, e.g., "Secrets".])

[11] So, to summarize, the guidance Steiner gave to Waldorf teachers in this instance was the following: 1) Help the kids to understand that "an island like Great Britain swims in the sea and is held fast by the forces of the stars"; but, 2) don't tell them this, because "we would acquire a terrible name"; but, 3) nonetheless, ideally we should get this across, somehow, because this "is actually what we should achieve in geography." 

Waldorf teachers may perhaps be excused if they are confused by Steiner's guidance in this instance. What they perhaps cannot be excused for is their failure to tell Steiner that he was talking pure drivel. Indeed, it is what they should have told him on innumerable occasions. [See "Steiner's Blunders".] Their best option, in many cases, would have been to jump up, shout "This is insane! Let me out of here!" — and bolt from the room.

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