Rudolf Steiner's teachings strain credulity. To the rational mind, they are — not to put too fine a point on it — nonsense.

Even some of Steiner's admirers admit that the things Steiner said seem passing strange. Thus, for instance, Gary Lachman writes the following after summarizing Steiner's account of cosmic evolution:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the last few pages have taxed some readers’ capacity for giving Steiner the benefit of the doubt and left them wondering who could possibly believe this science fiction story. Yet this cosmic history is the backbone of Steiner’s work.” — Gary Lachman, RUDOLF STEINER (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2007), p. 147.

Pause over that last sentence, please. Steiner's bizarre, sci-fi-like fantasy "is the backbone of Steiner’s work.”

If the fantasy is false, then Steiner's work as a whole is false.

And it is false.

Steiner didn't intend to peddle science fiction, of course.
But, in reality, he certainly peddled it.

[R. R., 2014.]

"[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 ... This is only one of the ‘cities’ in the universe, one colony, one settlement among many.” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 93.

"The nature of the beings who may be called 'Mars men'... is altogether different from that of the men on earth ... Until the seventeenth century the character of the Mars beings had invariably been one of warlike aggressiveness. Belligerency, if one may use this word, was an inherent quality of the Mars 'culture.' The basis of it was formed by the rivalries and clashes between souls perpetually battling with each other." — Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), lecture 8, Ga 140.

“Buddha, the Prince of Peace, went to Mars — the planet of war and conflict — to execute his mission there. The souls on Mars were warlike, torn with strife. Thus Buddha performed a deed of sacrifice similar to the deed performed in the Mystery of Golgotha [i.e., Calvary — Christ on the cross] ... Buddha performed this deed on Mars in the service of Christian Rosenkreutz [the putative founder of Rosicrucianism]. Thus do the great Beings who guide the world work together, not only on the Earth but from one planet to another.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1950), lecture 7, “The Mission of Gautama Buddha on Mars”, GA 130.

"There was once a large expanse of land [Atlantis] where today there is the Atlantic Ocean ... In that earlier time there was not yet such a solid bony skeleton  [i.e., we did not have bony skeletons]. Human beings could have had only soft cartilage, like sharks. Also they could not have breathed through lungs as we do today. At that time they had to have a kind of swimming bladder and a kind of gills, so that the human being who lived then was in his external form half man and half fish. We cannot escape the fact that man then looked quite different — half man and half fish ... The more imperfect of these fish-men became [i.e., evolved to become] kangaroos, those a little more advanced became deer and cattle, and the most perfect became apes or men ... That is so, and we must be quite clear about it." — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS (Anthroposophic Press, 1987), pp. 54-55.

“[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.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS UPON MAN, lecture 1, GA 102.

“Mars used to radiate different forces. The Mars culture...went through a great crisis in the earth’s fifteenth and sixteenth centuries ... When these conditions came into force on Mars, the natural consequence would have been for Mars to continue sending down to earth human beings who brought Copernican ideas [like that the planets go around the Sun] with them, which are really only maya [i.e., illusion]What we are seeing, then, is the decline of the Mars culture. — Rudolf Steiner, ESOTERIC CHRISTIANITY AND THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 289.

 "When therefore we look out into the atmosphere which surrounds our Earth, and within which we ourselves are living, we have there around us a world of beings, who are composed merely of air and warmth. They are the same kind of beings whom I have called in my books and frequently spoken of in lectures as the Luciferic beings [i.e., minions of Lucifer]." — Rudolf Steiner, MAN’S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1952), p. 81.

"[W]e find these air-fire beings making sallies from their strongholds not only upon the Ahrimanic powers [i.e., minions of Ahriman], but upon the influences that should be continually reaching man from Mars, Jupiter and Saturn." — Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 88-89.

“Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are however resisted in their activities by the air-fire beings ... The air-fire beings sit fast, so to speak, in their airy strongholds and display their power and might in the fiery flashes of the lightning ... If we look out on the world of Nature, we can know that whatever manifests as forces in that world comes from the Mars beings, whatever manifests as natural law [comes] from from the Jupiter beings, and whatever manifests as colour [sic] and sound from the Saturn beings.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN'S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1952).

“[D]uring the Lemurian epoch of earth-evolution...the majority of souls withdrew from the earth to other planets, continuing their life on Mars, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, and so forth." — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT HISTORY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), p. 36.

“Evolution continued, and little by little the human soul/spirits who had fled to other planets began to return to the earth again ... Evolution happened in such a way that what had crystallized out as man during the latter part of Lemuria and during Atlantis was gradually endowed with soul/spirits who had different characteristics according to whether they came down from Mars, Mercury, or Jupiter.” — Rudolf Steiner, GENESIS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), p. 126.

 “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.

“Everything that refers to ‘giants’ in legends is absolutely based on knowledge of the truth ... [W]e feel it to be absolutely correct, from the spiritual scientific point of view, that the giants are stupid and the dwarfs very clever.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), p. 117.

“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. In actuality, such islands do not sit directly upon a foundation; they swim and are held fast from outside.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophical Press, 1998), p. 607.

“There are beings that can be seen with clairvoyant vision at many spots in the depths of the earth ... They seem able to crouch close together in vast numbers, and when the earth is laid open they appear to burst asunder ... 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), pp. 62-3.

“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, THE RIDDLE OF HUMANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), lecture 9, GA 170.

"Zeus, Apollo, Mars, Wotan, Odin, Thor, who are all real beings, became visible. It was characteristic of these spiritual beings not to descend so far as the physical plane, but at the most to manifest temporarily in some kind of physical embodiment, a fact which is cleverly indicated in the myths when mention is made of momentary appearances of Zeus or other gods in human or some other form, when they descended to the world of men in order to carry out some purpose." — Rudolf Steiner , THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (Kessinger, facsimile of 1942 edition), pp. 108-109.

“Whereas in ancient Atlantean times these human beings descended to earth from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the other a time is beginning when beings who are not human are coming down to earth from cosmic regions beyond. These beings are not human but depend for the further development of their existence on coming to earth and on entering here into relationships with men ... 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 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), lecture 14, GA 204.

This is only a small sampling
If it whets your appetite,
you can find plenty more at

and other pages.

If you have nothing better to do,
you might like to take a look.

"[Steiner’s] so-called ‘thinking,’ his supposed power of supersensible perception, led to a vision of the world, the universe, and cosmic history which is entirely unsupported by any evidence, which is at odds with practically everything which modern physics and astronomy have revealed, and which is more like science fiction than anything else.” — Anthony Storr, FEET OF CLAY (Free Press, 1996), p. 81. 

Rudolf Steiner's followers naturally argue — as Steiner himself did — that Anthroposophical teachings that seem bizarre actually make perfect sense when understood properly. I delve into this question elsewhere at Waldorf Watch. Perhaps the only question you need to ask yourself at the moment is whether there are any conceivable circumstances under which you would accept the sorts of Steiner statements we have seen here. — R.R.

Imagine sending your child to a sweet school where everything seems to be sunshine and rainbows. Only gradually do you realize that many — or perhaps most, or even all — of the teachers there believe Rudolf Steiner's utterly outlandish doctrines. They buy into bizarre tall tales, such as this, mistaking them for solid truth: 

"During [the Lemurian] epoch a great cosmic event took place, namely, the exit of the moon from the substance of the earth ... The whole earth was in a seething-fluidic state and it solidified only be degrees. But it must not be thought that this means hard and dense in the modern physical sense; it relates only to strength and quality ... During the first half of the Lemurian epoch, man himself did not live actually on the earth but in the sphere above the earth ... The substance of man's physical body...was still flexible, gelatinous....

"...Everything really descended out of higher spheres, including the continents as they densified ... Instead of hovering and floating above the earth, man became a being who now trod the earth itself.

"At this time an important influence asserted itself upon man. If there had been no such influence...he would have remained a being without initiative, without inner independence, an automaton ... [D]uring the Lemurian epoch the luciferic beings [i.e., minions of Lucifer] worked directly upon man's astral body from every side and consequently the astral body was exposed to all the influences that should have been worked out on Old Moon. As a result there were implanted into man urges, desires and passions that would not have been his lot if the higher beings alone had worked upon him. The gods would not have allowed these influences to have access to him ... [I]t is [the luciferic beings] who on the one side make man free and on the other entice him to evil.

"Owing to the fact that man's astral body was permeated by the luciferic beings, he was led prematurely down to the earth from the atmosphere above it. For this the luciferic beings are essentially to blame....

"...You should therefore picture the earth in its seething fluid condition and man being led by the luciferic beings too soon down to the earth on which continents were forming. At that time man's astral body still had a far greater influence upon his environment, greater magical powers than were his later on ... Evil lusts in the soul of man had a visible, magical effect in nature; they attracted the forces of fire above and on the earth. Through his evil lusts and magic will, man set the forces of nature ablaze. Today this is no longer possible, but at that time fire flashed through the air when men were evil.

"Through the wickedness of masses of human beings and the fact that man succumbed too completely to the influence of the luciferic beings and lent himself to evil, the forces of fire in Lemuria were kindled. Thus, Lemuria perished as the result of the raging fires and the wickedness of a large section of its population. The human beings who were saved went to the West, to a continent lying between the present Africa, Europe and America, namely, Atlantis. There the evolution of humanity continued for long, long ages. The number of human beings gradually increased and the souls who had gone to Jupiter, Mars, and so on, during the period of desolation, came down to this continent. The process lasted for a long time. It was thus that the concept of race developed in ancient Atlantis. In occultism it is said that there were human beings in Atlantis whose bodies were inhabited by souls who had previously been on Mars, Jupiter, Venus, and so on. They were called Mars men, Jupiter men, for example. The external forms of the bodies differed for this reason. During the whole first half of Atlantis the texture of the human body was much softer, much more flexible, and yielded to the forces of the soul. These soul forces were essentially more powerful than they are today, and they both shaped and overpowered the physical body. A man of ancient Atlantis would have been able to break a railroad track, let us say, with ease, not because his physical forces were strong, for his bony system had still not developed, but through his magical, psychic forces. A cannon ball, for example, could have been repulsed by this psychic force. The density of flesh developed only later. A similar phenomenon is still to be found today in certain lunatics who on account of the liberation of strong psychic forces — in that condition the physical body is not properly connected with the higher bodies — can lift and throw heavy objects.

"Because in Atlantis man's physical body was still pliable, he could more easily adjust himself to processes in the life of soul; [his] physical stature could be made to decrease or increase in size. If, for example, a man in Atlantis was, let us say, stupid or sensual, he fell into matter, as it were, and became a giant in stature. The more intelligent human beings developed a delicate constitution and were smaller in stature; those who were dull-witted were giants. Man's external form was far, far more strongly influenced by the forces of soul than is the case today when substance has become rigid. The bodies of men developed in accordance with the qualities of soul, and this accounted for the great differences in the races.

"When myths and legends have described the dwarfs as being clever and the giants as dull-witted, we recognize once again the reflection of a profound, occult trend. When a soul came down again to the earth from Mars, the qualities with which it had been connected there continued for a long time to influence it and the body it inhabited. This fact explains the differences in races and racial characteristics.

"If the evolution of humanity until the middle of the Atlantean epoch had proceeded without the influence of Lucifer, man would by then have developed a picture consciousness imbued with a high degree of clairvoyance. There would have been in his soul something that through its power would have revealed the external world to him in inner pictures; he would not have perceived objects outside through his eyes ... Because the luciferic beings drew man down to the earth too soon, the external world had the effect of hiding the world of spirit from him; physical matter became opaque for him. Otherwise, he would have seen through it to the primordial spiritual ground of the world. Because man had come down too soon into matter, it proved to be too dense for him and he could not penetrate it. But from the middle of the Atlantean epoch onward, other retarded spiritual beings were able to impregnate this matter, in consequence of which it was as if clouded, made turbid, and man was again no longer able to behold the spiritual. These were the ahrimanic or Mephistophelian beings [i.e., minions of Ahriman] ... These two spirits [Lucifer and Ahriman] hold man back in his development to spirituality. It was especially the ahrimanic influence that asserted itself in man and caused the Atlantean part of the earth to perish.

"In Lemuria, with their magical forces, men had a strong effect upon nature. They could, for example, control fire. The Atlanteans were no longer capable of this. But with their will they could control the germinal forces in which deep secrets lie hidden — the forces of air and water ... The Atlantean...controlled the actual life force contained in seeds ... This life force was extracted from the seed by the Atlanteans and put to use. In their sheds where the Atlanteans kept their 'air ships' [i.e., flying machines] they laid up enormous stocks of seeds, just as we today store coal. With the force accumulated from the seeds they propelled their vehicles. When the clairvoyant looks back to that epoch, he sees these vehicles near the earth in the air that was still dense to a certain extent; equipped with a kind of steerage apparatus, they rose up and moved. The Atlanteans controlled these forces ... When the will of the Atlantean turned to evil and used these forces for egotistic purposes, he simultaneously evoked the forces of water and of air, released them, and ancient Atlantis perished as the result [i.e., Lemuria was destroyed by fire, Atlantis was destroyed by water and air]...."

"In the Atlantean epoch man was able to control and master the life force in the plant kingdom. In the Lemurian epoch it lay within his power to control the seminal forces of animals ... When such [power] becomes evil, the worst forces of black magic are generated and evoked. Today the most evil forces on the earth are still released when black magicians mishandle forces that are, generally speaking, withheld from mankind....

"...[A]t the end of Atlantis there were two kinds of human beings within the peoples and races. Firstly, at the height of Atlantean culture there were seers, clairvoyants and powerful magicians who worked by means of magical forces and were able to see into the spiritual world. Beside them were people who were preparing to be the founders of present humanity ... They possessed the elementary faculties of calculation, computation, analysis and so forth ... They were those 'others,' the despised people....

"Now in Atlantis there were also centers of culture and ritual — we will call them the Atlantean Oracles — where what is called the Atlantean wisdom was harbored and practiced. In accordance with the differences in human souls due to their having come down to the earth from different planets, there were necessarily different Oracles for men of different constitutions. There was a Mars Oracle, a Jupiter Oracle, a Venus Oracle, and so on. These Oracles were sanctuaries where the initiates, who were sages of a certain degree, guided and led the Mars race, the Jupiter race, and so on ... [A]ll Mars men were under [the leadership] of the center where the initiate of the Mars Oracle resided, together with his pupils; all Mercury souls were led from the Mercury Oracle, all Jupiter souls from the Jupiter Oracle, and so on. All these Oracle centers, however, were subject to the authority of the great initiate of the Sun Oracle.
"This great leader of the Sun Oracle, the greatest initiate of Atlantis, directed his attention above all to that section of human beings who differed from the ordinary population in ancient Atlantis. They were simple people who were looked down upon and who no longer possessed magical powers. But it was they who were gathered together by the great initiate because they had developed the new faculties, even if only in a primitive form ... At that time, in Atlantis, the representatives of culture, the old magicians...looked down with disparagement upon the small number of those who had developed [the ability to compute, analyze, etc.], which was useless in ancient Atlantis. The great initiate of the Sun Oracle did not, however, despise these people; today, too, the proud bearers of our culture look down upon a small number of human beings, upon the anthroposophists who gather in small, insignificant meeting places and are said to engage in all kinds of foolish activities* ... These are the people who are developing and preparing in themselves a faculty that to the others seems useless [i.e., renewed, heightened clairvoyance] ... [Today] a call goes forth from the great Masters of Wisdom who are allowing certain spiritual treasures of wisdom to flow into humanity. Those possessed of certain qualities respond to this call as did certain human beings long ages ago...."

— Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN ESOTERICISM (Anthroposophic Press, 1978), lecture 8, GA 109.

* Steiner is addressing his followers, who are looked down upon and deemed foolish by society at large, But Steiner assures his followers that they are in fact the forebears of humanity's future evolution.

— Compiled by Roger Rawlings

To visit other pages in the sections of Waldorf Watch
that include "Sci Fi", use the underlined links, below.


lunacy : that old devil Moon

Mars : astronomers and Buddhists beware!

Old Moon, etc. : loony

Old Saturn : starting out

Old Sun : dim light

planetary humans : on Saturn, etc.

planetary spirits : beneath our feet

Present Earth : here now

sci fi

Vulcan : as it were


alchemy : for real

astrology : for real

astrosophy : star "wisdom"

Goethe : Steiner and

magic numbers : numerology or thereabouts

pseudoscience : at Waldorf schools

sci fi

science : no good