"If these ideas are not true,
they should be true.
What we believe
shapes the reality.
If we become conscious
of these ideas
and hold them,
they will become true."
— Dr. Ronald E. Koetzsch
Error in the Air
1) [Moon; Saturn]
Late in June, 2009, I began a thread at the Waldorf Critics discussion list [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/]. I called it Steiner Static. It consisted of astonishing remarks made by Rudolf Steiner, which I posted with some commentary of my own that I hope is illuminating.
My purpose was to alert parents: Here are the kinds of things Rudolf Steiner asked his followers to believe. Any Waldorf teachers who have studied Steiner and who believe his teachings believe some or all of the following. Is this what you want? Do you feel comfortable receiving guidance from people who believe such things? Do you want those people to "educate" your child?
Here are updated versions of my postings, amplified and corrected. You can follow the thread of my original messages, and the responses, at waldorf-critics. Go to to message 11175 [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/11175] and then trace the subsequent messages marked "Re: Steiner Static".
STEINER STATIC is quite long.
This is Part I.
To reach Part II, use this link:
Here are the sections you will find in Parts I and II.
(You can scroll down the pages of Parts I and II
or use these links to jump to sub-pages.)
Part II:OLD MOON, ETC.
You will find a Topic Index at the end of Part II.
— Roger Rawlings
Some of the following quotes may be familiar to some readers, but others probably retain their power to startle. Yes, believe it or not, Steiner's followers believe preposterous propositions such as the following:
2) [Occultism; Brotherhood]
3) [Education: Irrational; Life Before Birth]
4) [Sun; Moon; Plant Man; Animal Man; Evolution]
5) [Astrology; Horoscopes]
6) [Temperaments; Reincarnation]
7) [Moon Beings; Ghosts]
Steiner is often hard to read. I’ll translate: The Moon sphere — the soul-world* — is the portion of the cosmos under the astrological/spiritual influence of the Moon; it is occupied by Moon Beings; the influence of the Moon extends only a short distance below the surface of the Earth; people who can’t understand the Moon Beings may, upon death, get trapped in the shallow parts of the Earth that are under the influence of the Moon; thereafter, these poor dead people will become what are commonly called ghosts.
8) [Discipline: Tardiness]
9) [Blonds; Intelligence]
10) [Phantoms] There are wraiths of nastiness that emerge from the physical bodies of wrongdoers.
There are a great many meanies of various sorts flitting and whirring around. Keep reading.
11) [Specters or Ghosts; Etheric Body] Ghosts (aka specters) come to Earth in association with the lowest of our nonphysical bodies (we have three of such bodies, Steiner said). Our accumulated naughtiness causes bits of spiritual beings to chip off, in a manner of speaking, and come to Earth as ghosts:
Steiner does not put words like 'ghosts' in quote marks to deny that such beings exist — he says that they do exist. But adding quote marks, he is simply adding that the common understanding of such stuff is wrong; the correct understanding can be had only by listening to You Know Who.
But Steinerian correctness can be muddling. The explanation for the existence of ghosts Steiner gives here (#11) differs a smidge from what we've seen previously (see #7). That's one reason I politely call these teachings static. More properly, they are bunk.
12) [Demons; Astral Body] Demons come to Earth through the gumming up of our second nonphysical body, the astral body:
Elemental beings are "nature spirits" — nonphysical beings that lurk in nature; they are nonphysical but they are not spiritual: They lack true spirit. [See "Neutered Nature".] Evil people may sink to their level. I'll get to this in a future installment.
Our highest nonphysical body is the "I" or spiritual ego; it defines our humanity. Plants and animals have etheric bodies, like us; animals have astral bodies, like us; but only we have "I"s. (Nonhuman people — there are a lot of them walking around, so look out — don't have "I"s. I'll get to this, too. For info on nonphysical bodies, see "Incarnation".)
13) [Prayers; "Verses"; Deception]
Steiner often coached Waldorf teachers in deceiving outsiders about the true purposes of Waldorf schooling. [See, e.g., "Secrets".]
Here are the "verses before school" Steiner wrote for Waldorf school students. These prayers, seemingly innocuous, are required in most Waldorf schools. They address and thank God, doing so in distinctly Anthroposophical terms. Teaching students such prayers is teaching them — or at least sensitizing them to — Anthroposophy. Anthroposophical concepts in the prayers include a loving spiritual presence on the Sun; the difference between soul and spirit; the special powers of humanity; light within the soul (stemming from higher worlds); the distinction between God (who, Steiner taught, does not fully exist in our polytheistic universe) and the spirit of God; and the like. [For a detailed analysis, see "Prayers".]
“The Sun with loving light
Makes bright for me each day;
The soul with spirit power
Gives strength unto my limbs;
In sunlight shining clear
I reverence, O God,
The strength of humankind,
That thou so graciously
Hast planted in my soul,
That I with all my might
May love to work and learn.
From Thee come light and strength,
To Thee rise love and thanks.”
"I look into the world
In which the Sun shines,
In which the stars sparkle,
In which the stones lie,
The living plants are growing,
The animals are feeling,
In which the soul of man
Gives dwelling for the spirit;
I look into the soul
Which lives within myself.
God’s spirit weaves in light
Of Sun and human soul,
In world of space, without,
In depths of soul, within.
God’s spirit, ‘tis to Thee
I turn myself in prayer,
That strength and blessing grow
In me, to learn and work.”
Waldorf schools are religious institutions, although they usually deny this. The religion involved is Anthroposophy. If you want your child to recite Anthroposophical prayers written by Rudolf Steiner — and if you want your child to be lured toward acceptance of Anthroposophy as Truth — then a Waldorf school may be what you are looking for. But if not, not. In either case, please make your decision with your eyes open. Please, for example, consider the Anthroposophical teachings we are looking at here.
16) [Giants; Druids; Moon-Science] Steiner taught that “elemental beings” or “nature spirits” lurk behind the surface of nature. These nonphysical beings lack true spiritual identities (i.e., they are not truly spiritual), but nonetheless they can grow quite large. Some elemental beings emerge from the roots of plants and some emerge from the leaves of plants:
A note on style: Some English translations preserve the tangled and confused quality of Steiner’s prose. Reading this stuff is challenging, even after a kindly guide such as myself has cut out some of the excess verbiage. But the effort of plowing through Steiner's prose is worthwhile if you want to understand the thinking that lies behind Waldorf schools — it is tangled and confused thinking, disconnected from clarity, reason, and reality. For some people, it exerts a mystical appeal. For others, it sounds a loud alarm: Stay away!
17) [Animals; Evolution] Steiner said that animals evolved from people, not vice versa. In the following version of his view (Steiner was not always consistent), animals left humanity before we became full-fledged flesh-and-blood humans. If the animals had stuck with us longer in pre-Earthly existence, they could have accompanied us to the Earth and become human too:
18) [Sexes; Evolution] Early on, we weren’t divided into genders, Steiner said. This had its drawbacks but it also had some advantages.
To understand what Waldorf teachers believe, we have to understand the big picture as Rudolf Steiner presented it. So I’d like to begin a series of postings that will, sketchily, explain where we come from, according to Steiner. I’ll begin all the way back at the beginning (as in “In the beginning...”) and then, in future postings — interspersed with other postings that deal with other topics — I’ll proceed through our main stages of evolution.
If you doubt that Steiner’s theology finds it way into Waldorf classrooms — think again. It does, in many ways. [See, e.g., "Sneaking It In".]
So. To begin with. How was the universe created: Did God create it? Somewhat surprisingly, Steiner was vague on this point.
Anthroposophists often criticize the scientific theory of the Big Bang because, as they correctly point out, science cannot (yet) explain why the Big Bang occurred. Thus, science cannot give an ultimate explanation of our ultimate beginnings. Interestingly, however, Steiner’s theory (sorry, his undeniable clairvoyant truth) suffers from the same shortcoming. (It also suffers from the drawback that there is absolutely no evidence for Steiner’s view, whereas there are reams of evidence supporting the Big Bang theory — we don’t know why the Bang happened, but we’re pretty dang sure that it did happen. Likewise, we can be pretty dang sure that Steiner's theory is bunk.)
19) [Godhead; Angels; Solar Systems] Let’s start by trying to pin Steiner down on the existence of God. Steiner said that the Christian God, the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holly Ghost) exists, in a way. But he also said that many other gods also exist — the Christian God is real, in a way, but He exists along with a plethora of other gods who are nearer to us and more busy in our affairs. The highest gods under the Trinity have experienced the presence of the Trinity, but perhaps only they have done so.
Steiner indicated that the capital-T Trinity may be located in the “Crystal Heaven,” which is outside our immediate macrocosm. The Trinity or, perhaps, the Godhead, infuses our macrocosm: It sends creative forces down to us. But in others senses, the Trinity or Godhead is far, far away.
A complication: Note quotation #19 speaks of "the highest godhead." If we take this literally (which perhaps we should not), it confuses things. If there are multiple godheads, some higher than others, then perhaps there is no one and only capital-G Godhead; there may be only a bunch of small-g godheads, perhaps quite a few of them. In any event, Steiner said that there is no one and only God; there are multiple gods, quite a lot of them.
Let's approach these deep mysteries in measured steps. The nature of the highest divinity, as conceived in Anthroposophical doctrine, is rather unorthodox. It is somewhat like the Triune God of Christianity, and it is somewhat like other conceptions:
This suggests that the Christian vision and the Hindu vision are essentially alike, a proposition that many priests in both religions would be likely to challenge. If we say, for instance, that God the Father is the same as Brahma, a majority of Christian leaders would likely object. And if we equate Vishnu, for instance, with the Holy Ghost, a majority of Hindu leaders would likely balk. But beyond that, there is a central issue: Is there a single highest divinity, perhaps a God (in three persons)? Or is the highest divinity perhaps a sort of committee, a collective consisting of three separate gods (e.g., Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu)? Steiner indicated that the Trinity actually consists of three separate gods:
The gods "appear" to us as aspects of a single God, but appearances can deceive.
We need to bore in on the meaning of "the highest divinity." There is a difference between the idea of the Godhead and the idea of God. The former, "Godhead," is a hazy conception, built on the idea that the divine is a mystery beyond mysteries; if there is a God, He/She is infinitely beyond our comprehension; we can know nothing about Him/Her (including whether S/he exists). The Godhead is conceived in the most nebulous terms; it is the fountainhead of divinity, the ultimate Source; it is the essence of God, but it is it is not, in any clear sense, God; it is an eternal mystery. The latter idea, "God," is a more specific and clear conception. Most people who pray to God think they have at least some notion of whom they are praying to. Anthroposophy leans in the former direction, toward mystery and uncertainty. If there is a God, S/he is extremely far away and extremely unknowable. So unknowable, indeed, that we can't really be sure S/he exists. And, in a sense, S/he doesn't exist, Steiner indicated. Anthroposophy is a polytheistic faith. Monotheism (belief that there is just one God) is wrong, according to Steiner. We may be evolving toward a condition in which there will be just one God, but we aren't there yet:
[For more on these matters, see, e.g., "God" and "Polytheism". Also see the entry for "Godhead" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]
Central in all this is the Anthroposophical belief in evolution. When Steiner indicated that the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones come from earlier solar systems, he meant that they (and, indeed, all the other gods) began their evolution before our own solar system was created. Steiner taught that we humans first came into existence during a period he called Old Saturn. Despite being named for a single planet, Old Saturn was the first stage of existence for our entire solar system. And our entire solar system — as it was at the beginning and as it has been ever since— exists for our sake, Steiner said. We are the center of this creation, the focus of the gods' attention. [See, e.g., "The Center".] We have evolved from the Old Saturn period to our current period, called Present Earth. We will continue evolving, to a period called Future Vulcan, and then we will evolve beyond that. [See, e.g., "Matters of Form", "Future Stages", and "Planets".] Steiner taught that the gods, too, are evolving, but they began their evolution earlier than we began ours — this is why they are higher than us. So, they began evolving before our solar system came into being.
20) [Origins; Questioning] Our solar system undeniably exists, but where and when and how everything (the whole cosmos, the entire universe) began, was more than Steiner could explain: He focused on events in our own celestial neighborhood, and he discouraged investigation into ultimate origins.
Steiner’s point is that if we say our reality results from a previous reality (i.e., our solar system exists because of the actions of beings from earlier solar systems), this merely pushes back the ultimate origin. We still want to know how each previous reality came about. And if the answer is that each previous reality was created by a still earlier reality, then we will want to know how that earlier reality came about. And so on. You get the idea. Unless we can identify an actual beginning of everything, we will simply be caught in an infinite regress of explanations that don’t really explain anything. The Bible has an explanation: God is eternal, He always existed, and at a particular point he created the universe. Steiner doesn’t offer any such clear-cut explanation.
And here's a key point: If we can't know the ultimate origin of things, this means we can't know the Godhead (the ultimate origin of things). The ultimate origin, the Godhead, is an eternal, unsolvable Mystery.
Not to belabor the point, but the ultimate Cause is beyond us, and we should not try to figure it out:
21) [Unknown Cause; Logos]
Steiner called himself a scientist, but this statement his utterly unscientific. If a scientist hasn't found an answer, s/he keeps looking. (Scientisits are still looking for the cause of the Big Bang; Steiner tells his followers to stop looking for the "Cause of the Creation of the Universe.”) Importantly, in addition to being unscientific, Steiner's statement also departs from Biblical teachings. The Bible doesn't explain God's reasons, but it give a clear, certain account: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). For the Father, Steiner substitutes "Logos" — the living Word of God — and he reframes the act of divine command as an inexplicable act of "freedom." Steiner raises doubts and leaves them unexamined. He is untrue to both science and the Bible.
22) [Jehovah; Elohim] According to Steiner, the Biblical God, Jehovah, did not create the universe. Jehovah (or Jahve) is not the One True God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. He is just one of a band of gods called the Elohim. (To grasp the following, you also need to know that the Moon was once unified with the Sun, according to Steiner.)
Jahve is not the Lord God Almighty — he’s just one of the many gods. He's the one who went with the Moon while his colleagues remained with the Sun. (What do you make of this account?)
23) [Crystal Heaven; Zodiac] As we have seen, according to Steiner, our own evolution comes as a result of prior evolutions, involving other beings, elsewhere. The point deserves elaboration.
So, beyond our solar system and beyond even the zodiac there are, or were, other "Beings." The Beings (ancient gods) in those places enabled the "new Beings" (younger gods) to get busy in our neck of the universe, prodding us to evolve. Where did the "Beings of a former evolution" come from? Don't ask. Infinite regress. But note that the gods from other solar systems live "beyond the Zodiac." In Anthroposophical belief, the gods that most often involve themselves with us live in or under the zodiac. They send their influences down to earth from the stars. Astrology is central to the Anthroposophical belief system. [See, e.g., "Astrology", "Star Power", and "Waldorf Astrology".]
24) [Bible; Creation] Steiner delivered a number of lectures explaining the “real” meaning of the Book of Genesis (it’s not what you were told in synagogue, church, or mosque). One essential difference between Steiner’s version and the Bible’s version: Steiner said that the Creation story in Genesis does not refer to the beginning of everything, but merely to the beginning of the Earth. He taught that humans evolved through periods he associated with Saturn, the Sun, and the Moon: Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon. Only after passing through those three periods did humans began life on the present-day Earth — and, crucially, the Earth came into existence only when we were ready for it. Thus, Steiner claimed that the story of Creation told in Genesis merely picks up on a story that began much further back in time and space. All that happens in Genesis is a continuation of previous universal evolution, reworking it in a new form.
This is just another way of saying that our reality developed out of previous realities in which other beings (the gods) evolved.
In Anthroposophy, the existence of God or the Godhead is essentially an article of faith. The practice of Anthroposophy entails, among many other religious observances, prayers addressed to God or God's Spirit (Gottesgeist) — in essence, the Godhead. Although Anthroposophists, following Steiner's lead, refer to Anthroposophy as "spiritual science," it is not scientific; it is a faith; it is, in all its elaborations, a religion — one that is dark, filled with mystery, and hedged with uncertainty. Accepting Steiner's teachings means accepting the religion he conceived and expounded.
P.S. About godheads, plural. Can there be more than one? Steiner indicated the possibility, although perhaps only tangentially. The ancient Persians recognized two godheads, Steiner taught.
In Anthroposophy, Ormuzd is Christ, the Sun God, and Ahriman a dreadful demon, one of Christ's opponents, as it were. That Ahriman might be a godhead is, from an Anthroposophical perspective, a horrifying thought, unless a way can be found to justify or defang Ahriman — and Steiner sought, in a sense, to do this. Steiner said that if Christ holds Ahriman at bay, balanced against that other demon, Lucifer, then the temptations of these demons can become useful gifts for humanity. [See "Was He Christian?", "Ahriman", and "Lucifer".]
In a future episode of Steiner Static, I will pick up the story of creation by describing the first stage of our evolution: which happened during Old Saturn.
But first, let's have a few more helpings of miscellany. If you send children to a Waldorf school, you are quite possibly handing them into the care of people who believe Rudolf Steiner’s phantasmagoric visions. Not all Waldorf teachers believe all of Steiner's delusions, but a great many do. Here are more examples of Steiner's amazing pronouncements, in Steiner’s characteristically tortured phrasings:
25) [Gnomes, or Goblins (which are real); and Their Heads]
Note: “all these symbols” — that is, all profound spiritual symbols, such a images of gnomes — are basically true, according to Steiner. They are true clairvoyant visions of the spirit realm, having a firm basis in reality. They are true just as all myths, and all fairy tales, are true.
Gnomes, for one, really exist, not just as symbols, but as real creatures lurking in the Earth. Their more revealing name is "goblins":
26) [One Reason Gnomes (Goblins) Crop Up in Waldorf Classrooms]
If you have visited a Waldorf school, you may have seen a gnome figure or tow, here or there. Gnomes are cute. And, according to Steiner, they set a good example by being so attentive. But bearing in mind that gnomes are goblins, their presence in Waldorf classrooms, staring unblinkingly at the children, may give us pause. Are goblins our friends? Hardly. They have no sense of morality, as we understand it. They "play all sorts of trick on us." Trust a goblin at your peril.
27) [Dragons] Steiner said that we humans used to live on the Moon, aka the Old Moon. Describing how humans on the Old Moon inhaled and exhaled heat, Steiner said:
Again: Steiner said all this stuff is real, although he often interpreted symbols, myths, etc., in his own special way. He spoke of goblins and dragons, etc., as symbols, but he also described them as actual beings who actually exist(ed). Thus, for instance, Steiner identified real dragons as fire-breathing dinosaurs:
28) [Certainly Magicians and Suchlike] Among the real beings we must worry about are black or grey magicians:
Steiner saw many conspiracies, including some that threatened himself and his followers. [See, e.g., "Enemies" and "Double Trouble".] Waldorf schools may seem to be bright, inviting refuges, but they may often also harbor a sense of impending perils, a fearful anxiety about being hemmed in by baleful opponents — Ahriman and his hordes, goblins (in a sense), black and grey magicians... Dangers, dangers.
29) [What Us Is Up To] Working pretty much in league with the black magicians are Americans, who plan to ruin everything for everyone, especially good (white) Europeans:
Ahriman and his hordes, goblins (in a sense), black and grey magicians, Americans...
Bear in mind that, for European Anthroposophists, the epitome of all that's right in Europe is, of course, Anthroposophy itself. American Anthroposophists face the challenge of finding virtue in their own situation, stranded amid the materialistic soullessness of wicked America. Various efforts have been made to make Anthroposophy seem compatible with American life and values, such as the strained argument that Emerson and Thoreau would find nothing wrong in Steiner's preachments. But Steiner's negative view of America hangs over all this, complicating things more than a little. [See "America".]
30) [What the USA Is Up To] Americans (aka, citizens of the USA) are going about their dastardly purposes in dastardly technological ways:
I still haven't figure out how us 'Mericuns are gonna do these things, but I'm workin' on it.
More generally, Steiner taught his followers to fear modern, "materialistic" science and technology. These things exist under the sway of Ahriman, he taught. They bring demons into our world. Literally. Consider steam engines, for instance.
Ahriman and his demonic hordes, goblins (in a sense), black and grey magicians, the Antichrist, Americans, scientists, engineers, steam engines...
Perhaps you fear the Antichrist, and perhaps you should. But goblins? Magicians? Steam engines? Anthroposophy is a cult bedeviled by irrational, all-but-paranoid fears. Think carefully before placing your children in proximity to any such cult.
Today’s installment will be dominated by a single quote. It's a stunner — and more than a bit wearisome. So grab a cup of joe and hunker down.
Are Waldorf schools religious institutions? Well, they are bathed in religious feelings, and Waldorf teachers hold the “office” of priests.
To follow what follows, you need to know that, according to Steiner, young children live in a naturally religious, prayerful soul-state because they arrived on Earth so recently from the divine realm. Until age seven, children are essentially asleep within their elemental religious condition. Then, around age seven or so (about when the baby teeth fall out), each growing child manifests a second element of itself, its etheric body. (This is a set of forces associated with the soul: formative life forces. The incarnation of the etheric body is the child's second birth.) The process of incarnation is tricky. Fortunately, priestly Waldorf teachers can help.
The quotation, below, is tough going. But give it a shot. I will quote Steiner without interruption, then I will offer a paraphrase, trying to express Steiner's meaning more clearly. I will also add a few comments of my own.
Here is a paraphrase:
Children descending from the spirit worlds surrender themselves to earthly life, where they live in natural piety. The life of the child is essentially religious. Children bring spiritual forces into this life from the spirit worlds, forces that enable them to incarnate their etheric bodies — in effect, the children will be born a second time. But children also receive hereditary traits from their parents, and these clash with the children's divine, inner forces. Witnessing this struggle between divine influences and hereditary influences inspires religious awe in Waldorf teachers, who undertake the priestly task of helping children to incarnate properly. The "task" of a Waldorf teacher is to shepherd into earthly life the spiritual essence that children bring from the higher worlds.
Thinking about such things inspires the priestly work of Waldorf teachers. Until all of education is suffused with priestly feeling, it will be incomplete; it will not come alive. If we only use our intellects to create a "rational" kind of education based on what we can see of students on the outside, schooling will be only 25% of what it should be. We need to consider all elements of our students' natures; we need to look within our students, seeing the parts that respond to the secrets of the universe.
The most important thing to notice, here, is that Steiner describes Waldorf education in religious terms. Waldorf schools are religious institutions in which the faculty consider themselves to be priests. And the task that they set themselves has very little to do with teaching the students any ordinary subjects; the task is to assist spiritual beings, children, to incarnate in the earthly realm. This is a spiritual undertaking based on beliefs that you, as a parent, may or may not share. Do you, for instance, believe in etheric bodies?
Steiner's statement inspires many questions. Here's one more: Why does Steiner say that rationally designed education would be only 25% complete ("a quarter education")? The answer is that such education deals only with the physical human being, the physical body. In Anthroposophical belief, children incarnate four bodies: the physical, etheric, astral, and ego bodies. [See "Incarnation".] Only by focusing on all four bodies can education be 100%. A "rational" education would be incomplete; indeed, it would hurt children, because it would send them back to their lives before birth instead of helping to incarnate fully here on Earth:
Another question: How can Waldorf teachers see inside their students? And how do they comprehend the "secrets of the universe"? The answer is clairvoyance. Steiner said that Waldorf teachers really should develop clairvoyance or, at a minimum, they should take the guidance of people who have clairvoyant powers — people such as himself:
Each Waldorf teacher does this, note. Note just a few. Each one. "[E]ach Waldorf teacher applies this knowledge with heart and soul."
Waldorf education depends absolutely on the existence of clairvoyance. If clairvoyance doesn't exist (and it doesn't), then there is no basis for Waldorf education. [See "Clairvoyance", "Fooling (Ourselves)", and "Why? Oh Why?".]
To look into a few of the other questions implicit in Steiner's statement, let's move along to some other quotations:
32) [Teeth] Note that, in the long quotation we have just seen (#31), Steiner refers to an event he calls "the change of teeth." This event — also sometimes called "second dentition" — is afforded great importance in Waldorf schools. The reason? The replacement of baby teeth by adult teeth is taken as a signal that the etheric body has incarnated. This is, in Waldorf belief, the child's second birth.
33) [Taking Charge] We also should notice the relative roles of parents and teachers in Steiner's discussion of childhood. Teachers become the children's priests, and one of their objectives is to help children overcome the genetic influences they receive from their parents. Teachers thus rise in importance, in their students' lives, while the importance of parents wanes. Ideally, Waldorf teachers should become all-important, while parents should be shunted to the side.
Steiner made similar points many times. The more Waldorf teacher can wean children from their parents, the better. Indeed, Steiner said to Waldorf teachers,
Parents can foul up children in many ways, Steiner taught. In addition to giving bequeathing hereditary influences that must be overcome, parents are like to mislead children, filling their heads with falsehoods. As Steiner said to Waldorf teachers:
So it really would be better for Waldorf teachers to "take over" as soon as possible.
[For more on the Waldorf view of children's parents, see, e.g., "Faculty Meetings".]
I promised to discuss Old Saturn, and I will. But first, let's take another wide-ranging tour of miscellaneous Waldorf beliefs.
34) [Centaurs; Homer; Clairvoyance]
The crucial point to absorb from this statement is that Steiner believed in clairvoyance, and so do his followers. Indeed, clairvoyance is the key to everything in the Waldorf universe. If clairvoyance doesn't exist (and it doesn't), there is no basis for the Waldorf system. [See "Clairvoyance", "Exactly", and "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".]
Secondary matters to be gleaned from quotation 34: According to Steiner, blind, clairvoyant Homer could consult the Akashic Record, which is a celestial storehouse of almost unlimited knowledge, accessible only through clairvoyance. [See "Akasha".] As for the centaurs Homer described, they really existed in the period before the Moon separated from the Earth. Human centaurs prowled the Earth in those ancient days, when the Moon’s forces were still incorporated within the Earth and we still had shining pineal glands beaming from our foreheads. Those were the days, my friend.
As for Old Sun, we will get to it soon. [See quotation #36, and then "Old Saturn" and "Old Sun" further down the page.]
35) [Atoms; Demons]
Note Steiner's sarcasm, O ye "learned scholars." (You're the same people Steiner sometimes described as "scientific simpletons" and "so-called educated people in the universities." Dumbbells, in other words. [See "Steiner's 'Science'".)
Steiner acknowledged that atoms exist, except when he didn’t. [See "Atoms".] He disputed the “atomic theory” both because atoms aren’t really real (they are empty bubbles) and because he didn’t like the idea that things consist of smaller things that consist of still smaller things. He didn’t understand how large things can be built up out of small things — or if he understood, he just plain didn’t like it. The atomic theory is deadly, materialistic thinking, he said.
As for demons: They are multitudinous, dreadful, and very real, Steiner taught. [See, e.g., "Evil Ones".] So watch your step.
36) [Evolution & Vulcan] Here's another hard one. (If you weary, jump ahead to the handy Thumbnail, below.)
Thumbnail: We first came into existence during an evolutionary period that Steiner called Old Saturn. We evolved next to a period he called Old Sun, and then to a period he called Old Moon. We now live during Present Earth. In the future, we will evolve through periods Steiner called Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan. These periods should not be confused with the planets whose names they bear, although Steiner's statements often seem to blur the difference. [See, e.g., "Planets".] Quite often, when he spoke of things happening "on" Saturn, for instance, he meant things that happened during Old Saturn. To figure out what he meant, you generally need to consider the context of each statement.
The statement we have here (#36) is a concise summary of evolution as Steiner saw/foresaw it. This is how things happen in all solar systems, according to Steiner. If Steiner' summary is unclear to you, perhaps the discussions we will have, coming up, will help to clarify things. The most important takeaway, however, is that we are seeing, here, what Steiner's followers — including many Waldorf teachers — believe. [See, e.g., "Here's the Answer" and "Stages".] If these beliefs seem weird, inscrutable, or obviously wrong to you — you may have just learned something important about Waldorf schools and the thinking behind them.
37) [Earth, Sun, Moon] Contrary to the findings of modern science, Steiner taught that the Earth, Sun, and Moon — and, indeed, all the other members of the solar system — were once a single body. Gradually the various parts separated from one another.
The Sun and then the Moon left the Earth (almost as if a hen were laying eggs) during our present stage of evolution, Present Earth. Or so Steiner has assured us.
Accepting Anthroposophy almost always means rejecting modern science, modern scholarship, and indeed most modern knowledge of most sorts.
38) [Moon, Old Moon]
The Moon is not the same as Old Moon, any more than Saturn is the same as Old Saturn. The Moon is a physical object in the sky; Old Moon was a period in evolution. One is a place, the other was a time. This difference is easy enough, in the abstract. Nonetheless, keeping such things straight when reading Steiner is difficult. Steiner himself seemed to lose track of his teachings, sometimes. This creates a problem. In trying to make sense of Steiner, there is a temptation to work things out in your own mind so that they make more sense than Steiner's teachings actually reflect. Resist this temptation. Try to see Steiner's meaning objectively. Take Steiner's teachings for what they are worth, no more, no less. Thus, for instance, when Steiner contradicts himself, don't ignore the contradiction — notice it, then move on. (He contradicted himself a lot. See, e.g., "Deception".)
Did the Moon separate from the Earth or from the Sun, according to Steiner? Not too put to fine a point on it, it doesn't make much difference. Once everything was all mushed together, and then things started separating out. Or so Steiner assured us.
39) [Materialistic Thinking and the Jews] Steiner pinned everything on clairvoyance, and he deplored the atheistic thinking of modern times. Dreadfully, he ascribed evil, atheistic thinking to one source in particular: Jews. The ancient Jews, he said, resisted any knowledge higher than an infant or embryo possesses. The infantile thinking found in the Old Testament, he said, led straight to the evils of the modern world:
There are deplorable strains of racism and anti-Semitism in Steiner's teachings. His followers today are usually more liberal-minded than he was on such issues, yet they have very rarely actually repudiated his anti-Semitic and racist views. Anyone interested in Waldorf education should certainly look into this question. [See, e.g., "Steiner's Racism" and "RS on Jews".]
True-believing Waldorf school teachers think that they and their students used to live "on Saturn" — or, more exactly, they and their students lived through the Old Saturn stage of evolution. That’s what their mentor, Rudolf Steiner, taught.
Here’s the story. The Creation occurred, in some fashion, as we have seen. [See the section titled "Origins", above.] It produced a vague, ethereal solar system in which everything was intermingled — everything that would eventually separate out as individual entities and objects was, at that stage, united as a single insubstantial, semi-spiritual mass. This first phase of our evolution (which was also the first stage of the evolution of our entire solar system) is called Old Saturn. The solar system was then, for the first time, physically manifest, but only in a very preliminary way. It was suffused, in a sense, by the forces of Saturn, as the gods poured out their benevolence to prod us into existence.
Steiner taught that the solar system blinks in and out of existence, manifesting and then re-manifesting in successive states, beginning in a delicate, virtually impalpable state and then becoming progressively denser, more physical, and more individualized in later manifestations. The first state, the first blink, was Old Saturn, which would be followed by a second blink called Old Moon, then a third called Old Sun, and then our current blink — the phase of evolution in which we currently exist — called Present Earth. Following Present Earth, we will proceed to additional states (blinks), but the movement toward physicality will be reversed; we will become more spiritualized again, in stages. We are currently about as densely physical as we can be — meaning we are about as far removed from the spirit realm as we would ever want to be. In our future evolution — the states will be Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Venus — we will rise again toward spirituality, but in far higher, more perfect forms than in our distant past. [See, e.g., "Matters of Form".]
Here are the stages of our evolution, as generally described by Steiner. Starting with OId Saturn, we gradually descend to Present Earth, then we gradually will ascend to Future Vulcan:
◊ 1. Old Saturn ◊ ◊ 7. Future Vulcan ◊
◊ 2. Old Sun ◊ ◊ 6. Future Venus ◊
◊ 3. Old Moon ◊ ◊ 5. Future Jupiter ◊
◊ 4. Present Earth ◊....
The planets that we see in the sky now (Saturn and the rest) should not be confused with the phases of evolution that bear the same or similar names (Old Saturn and the rest). Still, the planets and the phases are related. The Saturn that we see overhead is a physical planet; it exists here and now, in the present solar system (i.e., it exists during Present Earth). It is a sort of remnant or miniature reincarnation of Old Saturn, which was an evolutionary state long, long ago. (Steiner's use of language is often a problem. He wrote and spoke as a mystic, using mystical — and, one might suspect, intentionally mystifying — terminology. Thus, he often referred to Old Saturn, Old Moon, etc., as "planets," and he sometimes called them Saturn, Moon, etc., and he even sometimes spoke of life "on" those "planets" when he meant life during those periods... Keeping your bearings as you read Steiner can be a challenge. But buck up. It can be done.)
OK. Back to Old Saturn, our first stage of evolution. Old Saturn was a phase where everything was initially quite undifferentiated, being essentially just warmth. Steiner considered warmth to be a sort of physical substance, but he stressed that "warmth" during Old Saturn was different from "warmth" as we know it now. The "warmth" of Old Saturn was the essence of our being, it was what we were made of. Put it this way: During Old Saturn, we were brought into semi-separate, semi-physical, lukewarm existence in the form of “eggs of warmth.” We got that way under the benign authority of gods of various ranks (Dominions, Mights, and so on). These gods were evolving, like us, only they were much farther along than us, and they elevated themselves further by helping us.
The gods called Spirits of Personality (or Archai or Zeitgeists) were especially important in getting us going during or "on" Old Saturn:
40) [Us, as Eggs]
The Spirits of Personality advanced their own evolution by ministering to us during Old Saturn — selflessness and kindness always produce spiritual rewards. "On" Saturn, we were not yet human, by a long stretch of the imagination. In fact, the term “human” can be quite confusing. According to Steiner, being human is not a matter of lineage or species; it is a matter of spiritual evolution — beings at a certain stage of their development are “human.” Generally, beings become human when they reach the fourth stage of their evolution. [See the entry for "human stage of evolution" in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.] Thus, for instance, the gods called Spirits of Personality began their own evolution three incarnations prior to Old Saturn. That incarnation, of course, occurred outside our solar system, which first came into existence during Old Saturn. So, the Spirits of Personality began evolving in a different solar system from ours, in a time before any time we have known. By the time we first came into existence, the Spirits of Personality were in the fourth phase of their own evolution — so they were "human" during Old Saturn. (Besides being "human," they were also gods, which is a little confusing. But so goes Anthroposophical doctrine.) We ourselves, being mere eggs of warmth during Old Saturn, would not become "human" until our own fourth phase of evolution — Present Earth. The whole point of evolution, according to Steiner, is to evolve to higher and higher states, attaining higher and higher forms of consciousness.
Our consciousness "on" Saturn was extremely dull, whereas the various gods above us possessed higher forms of consciousness (the higher a god's rank, the higher that god's consciousness). On or during Old Saturn, we were essentially comatose:
41) [Us, Awfully Dim] (The following is difficult. I will try to help via footnotes.)
 By “the human being,” Steiner means us (although we were not yet human). We had a sort of potential spiritual/mental light within ourselves, but we couldn’t make use of it “on Saturn.” We were too unevolved. (Don't be thrown by Steiner's use of the present tense. He often did this, perhaps for narrative effect. He was speaking of things long, long ago.)
 We had seeds ("germs") of illumination within us, which eventually would enable us to perceive and affect phenomena outside ourselves. But "on" Saturn, we couldn't use these seeds. However, our seeds enabled higher beings (gods) to reveal themselves — and to act — within the developing life of Old Saturn.
 The gods ("exalted beings") helping us did it by their own free choice, a voluntary act of benevolence that elevated them further in their own spiritual evolution. They imparted some of their divine essence to Old Saturn.
 Among our helpers were “Sons of Twilight” — gods one rank above us. They “developed” a “kind of understanding” within us, i.e., they helped us, the eggs of warmth, to have an early sort of comprehension. (Steiner here refers to us as the ancestors of men — he means us as we were during Old Saturn, when we were still far from becoming human. The eggs of warmth (us), having been enchanted, would reincarnate as higher beings during Old Sun, and higher yet during Old Moon, and even higher yet during Present Earth — when they would become us as we know ourselves now, as human beings.) The understanding the Sons of Twilight gave us was important — it was our first stage of consciousness — but it was so low and dull that we could make no use of it during Old Saturn.
 Despite being so dim, we could start, unconsciously, developing our physical bodies. ("Physical" is another relative term, however. We would not develop physical bodies as we now know them until Present Earth.)
 Dimly, dimly, we started to evolve toward our own true spiritual identity, although attaining that identity was still far, far off. All we could work up, on Saturn, was a germ of a predisposition toward attaining our eventual ‘spirit.’ (“Spirit man” has a specific meaning in Theosophy and, by extension, Anthroposophy: It is atma, which can be considered the god within.)
So, we started our journey. Things went along, and time as we know it (more or less) began: The solar clock started to tick, as it were. Also, Saturn rotated — which caused separations, which would ultimately create openings for Lucifer and Ahriman to get at us. So, there was trouble ahead.
When things during Old Saturn went as far toward materialization as possible under the prevailing conditions of dimness, everything reversed course, disintegrated, and became wholly nonphysical again. Then, after everything had disappeared, there was a period of rest called a pralaya. (Like much of the terminology used by Theosophists and Steiner, "pralaya" is a Hindu term — it means, approximately, melting away):
42) [Time Out]
So, we lapsed into sleep and absence, along with all of the solar system. The Thrones (aka Spirits of Will) kindly made this possible. The Spirits of Personality, having been very kind to us in their own special way, graduated to the next stage of their own evolution.
I will now take a pralaya myself. The next episode or two of Steiner Static will go elsewhere. But before long I’ll swing back to Steiner’s cosmic history, and I’ll tell you about life "on" Old Sun.
In leaving, I’d just ask you to meditate on this: Waldorf students are taught by people who think they see good, solid sense in Rudolf Steiner’s teachings. They think that the history we are reviewing is the true story of our existence. What do you think?
THE MORAL VIEW
Steiner taught that human evolution can occur only if some people are separated out and left behind — perhaps to be saved later, or perhaps not. If not, then the people who are left behind will be permanently lost.
"For a time" suggests some hope — maybe the ones left behind can be rescued later. In general, Steiner said this is what happens. But he also taught that some people sink so low that they cease to be human. Their plight is dreadful. They get left behind permanently.
The process of separation began as far back as Old Saturn. But for now, let's consider more recent times and the stories we have told ourselves about ourselves.
As we have noted previously, reading Steiner can be a trial. Here is a clarifying paraphrase:
The wonderful legend of Atlantis helps us to understand that the soul and the body evolve differently: souls may rise to higher racial forms while bodies stay behind at their original racial levels. When we all lived on Atlantis, we reincarnated several times on that continent. Good souls evolved higher, leaving behind their previous bodies. The remaining, lowly bodies were then inhabited only by races that were decadent and declining. The good souls rose to inhabit newer, better bodies as members of higher races. Lowly, fundamentally evil bodies do not long house souls that work to evolve upward.
This is no mere legend to Steiner. It's what he taught. Good souls rise out of the bodies they possessed when they were members of lower races; they reincarnate as members of higher races, inhabiting new, better bodies. Bad souls, inhabiting lower bodies, either get stuck at one stage of evolution or they move downward. Fundamental evil is incurable, generally. Humans who sink too low become demonic beings or subordinate nature spirits (who have no real spiritual essence). These humans cease to be human; they become literally subhuman.*
And yes, Steiner taught, Atlantis really existed. (We'll look into this in a coming installment.)
Steiner said, many times, that good souls reincarnate in higher racial forms. The existence of, and difference between, high races and low races is one of his basic teachings.
Souls that had previously incarnated as members of quite low races raised themselves to such high levels that they incarnated as the bodily descendants of Europe's spiritual leaders. This is why lower races shrank while the higher races grew (souls evolved upward from low levels to high levels, depopulating the lower races).
Note the title of the book in which this quotation appears. We are glimpsing Steiner's concept of morality and its foundation — its "spiritual" foundation. Can you spot any morally questionable concepts in it?
Even Europe — home of the highest racial form, the white — has sometimes been overrun by evil, Steiner said.
46) [Demons of Decay and Asiatic Hordes]
When the worst humans died out, they were replaced by demons; the entire region became filled with demons produced through the decay of those who died out. All of Europe and Asia Minor became filled with these demons, produced through the decay of the worst parts of the population. These demons of decay lasted a long time. Their influence is shown by what happened during the "Great Migrations" when Attila the Hun and others invaded Europe from Asia, spreading terror. The terror caused Europeans in the Middle Ages to be susceptible to the demons. Due to the terror spread by the invaders, an epidemic of leprosy spread across Europe.
In this passage, Steiner combines racism, quack medicine, and demonology. The demonic beings are ex-humans, products of decay, essentially subhuman byproducts of human evolution. They were the Asiatic hordes, the yellow menace — and their malign effects manifested as leprosy in Europe. [For more of Steiner's racial views, see, e.g., "Races". For his medical teachings, see "Steiner's Quackery".]
Belief in the existence of subhumans is appalling, yet it is part and parcel of Steiner's worst doctrines:
47) [Subhumans; Supernumerary]
"Supernumerary people" — Steiner is speaking here of people whom he considers unneeded, excess, inhuman, subhuman. They are people who are "not human beings in the full sense of the word." They are essentially worthless. One is reminded of a line from Dickens: "'If they would rather die,' said Scrooge, 'they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.'" But Dickens was giving us a sweet Christmas tale. Steiner was offering us something very different.
Such thinking, appallingly, has shown up in Waldorf schools. Steiner injected such thinking into the very first Walsorf school.
48) [Subhumans; Demons in Human Form]
If you are considering a Waldorf school for your children, you can at least take comfort from this: In the same passage, Steiner explains that Waldorf schools are designed for children who are real humans, not demonic subhumans: "We cannot...create a school for demons."
While Steiner's doctrines offer the hope that most humans will evolve upward, they also contain the appalling idea that some people move downward, toward subhuman degradation. Moreover, some people walking the Earth today are already subhuman, Steiner said. There are good humans and demons in disguise, just as there are high races and low races. There are real human beings and there are "people who are not human beings.”
All of man's inhumanity to man is implicit in such thinking. And such thinking forms part of the ideology underlying Waldorf education.
* 44a) [The Subhuman Population of the Earth] People who descend in this way no longer reincarnate, so they no longer evolve from life to life — they enter an unending, subhuman state. Ahriman and his cohorts hope to drag all humans down to such a hellish condition:
This passage cries out for a paraphrase, but I will refrain. If you want to penetrate to the occult doctrines behind Waldorf education, you'll need to thrash your way through such material on your own. So give it a shot.
For another practice passage, and to learn more about subordinate nature spirits, see quotation #64, below.
If you send your children to a Waldorf school, some of their teachers may be quite wonderful individuals. But among the faculty, including those you admire most, there are likely be deeply committed followers of the occult creed known as Anthroposophy. For this reason, your children may be drawn toward a dark universe of confused, wishful irrationality — which Anthroposophists think is a place of light and love.
Trying to have a meeting of the minds with Anthroposophists is often difficult, and sometimes it is impossible. Unless you happen to share some of their doctrines, you will likely find that true-believing Waldorf teachers occupy a very different mental space from your own. Their conception of clear thinking, truth, and even morality may have few points in common with yours.
In trying to understand the Waldorf ideology, it is always best to consult Rudolf Steiner — not because he said things clearly, but because he is the source Waldorf teachers themselves consult. Here is the complete version of a passage I excerpted in "The Moral View", above. The passage is not easy to grasp, and it deals with a nastier subject than Steiner often addressed. But in various ways it is a good example of the kind of thinking and language you may confront if you try to discuss something with an Anthroposophist.
Concerning the gradual withering away of "lower races" and the enlargement of "higher races," Steiner said the following:
To most rational adults, a passage like that is reprehensible both for its racist content and for its foolishness. What planet is Steiner describing? What universe did he inhabit? It isn’t our Earth, situated in the real galaxy we call the Milky Way. It is an imaginary, alternate reality — it is fantasy, and in this instance, a fantasy of a distinctly nasty sort.
If you can, put aside your revulsion at Steiner’s racism and focus simply on the quality of his “reasoning” and rhetoric. To susceptible individuals — gullible spiritualists, mainly — such thinking and language are mesmerizing. But notice how slippery and vague they are. Notice how the sentences often stretch out and wander. Notice the hypnotic repetitions ("products of decay," "products of decay," "demons of decay," "demonic beings," "demonic beings," "demonic forces," "hordes," "hordes," "terror," "terror," "terror," "fear and terror"). Notice the weasel words ("as it were", "as it were"). Notice how the words occasionally refer to something knowable in the real world, anchoring the spiel, but then the words launch out into extraordinary fantasies. Notice the lack of evidence and careful argument — Steiner’s words are wholly unsupported; no evidence is offered to support anything. Yet notice the underlying assurance that cosmic secrets are being revealed — the assurance that Steiner and his devotees, the wise spiritual seekers, are privy to cosmic insights denied to other, less enlightened, less evolved sorts like you and me.
Huge whoppers can be more persuasive than small, simple lies that we can immediately see through. Big lies stun — their very audacity can be compelling. We're tempted to respond "Wow! I never knew that! Amazing!" And when the lies are worked out in great detail, apparently piecing together many disparate parts, we may think that a coherent structure has been created. For some people, in other words, Steiner’s thoughts and language can be beguiling. How do they strike you?
Here's how they strike me: Steiner was a fraud. He pretended to be such a deeply insightful, clairvoyant sage that ordinary language could hardly contain his meaning. So he offered us a version of the mystic doublethink and double-talk that self-appointed spiritual guides usually serve up. He was considerably less obscure than his mentor, the Theosophist Helena Blavatsky, but this is like saying that the midnight sky is brighter than the depths of a coal mine. It’s true, perhaps, but it doesn’t make much difference. Steiner didn’t want to convince anyone, rationally; he wanted to overwhelm everyone with a verbal avalanche of strange conceptions clothed in bamboozling circumlocutions: far-out, spacey cant.
Logic, rationality, sweet reason — these were not Steiner’s strong suit. His lectures ramble disjointedly (the later ones more so than the earlier ones — he moved in the wrong direction as he aged). Maybe we should excuse the confusions in his lectures — after all, Steiner often spoke more or less extemporaneously. But Steiner’s books, which he presumably worked on carefully, also meander and hop (again, the later ones are worse than the earlier ones). Steiner typically failed to begin with the premises needed to support his statements — he left those for later, or he skipped them altogether. He wandered around, raising topics briefly and dropping them, making strange linkages without much explanation, doubling back on himself, and then launching out in new directions. If you want to learn about any given topic he raised, you will probably need to consult several different Steiner texts, trying to piece together what Anthroposophists refer to as “indications” — Steiner rarely gave fully explanations in any one place. (Two partial exceptions: Steiner's earlier work tends to be more organized and coherent than his later; and Steiner occasionally lectured working men, whom he patronized by using what was — for him — simple language. In these cases, he is easier to follow — but he is also presenting something less than his most "mature" thinking.)
One result of all this is that conscientious parents who try to read Steiner’s work in order to understand the thinking behind Waldorf schools often stagger away none the wiser. Reading Steiner is a chore — generally an unrewarding one. He was clearly quite smart, and he could spin a heck of a yarn, but he was rarely clear and he was almost never reasonable. You see, Steiner didn’t place much value on logic or intellect. He said that real knowledge comes from clairvoyance, which is not centered in the physical brain but in invisible, disembodied “organs of clairvoyance." Logic and intellect, he said, are damaging; they kill the spirit. I deal with this subject in my essay “Steiner’s Illogic” and elsewhere, so I won’t rake it over here. The point to focus on, here, is that the thinking behind Waldorf schools is deeply irrational and occult. [See, e.g., "Occultism", "Thinking", and "Steiner's Specific".]
I took quote #46, above, from the book THE SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION OF MORALITY. Steiner began the first lecture in the book by mentioning his motive for discussing morality: "a certain impulse of mine, about which we may be able to speak further." [p. 3.] But as a footnote by the editors says, "During these lectures Steiner does not, in fact, explicitly speak further about his impulse for discussing the topic of morality." [p. 73.] This is par for Steiner’s course. He promised a lot, but he rarely if ever delivered. In this small instance, not much is lost. But overall, in Steiner's teachings as a whole, a great deal can be lost: reality, and our grasp of it, and the ability to see and think clearly. Waldorf teachers rarely relate Steiner's specific doctrines to their students, but they often steer students toward Steiner's way of thinking. Any educational program that leads children in such a direction has the potential to inflict terrible harm.
A final point: Consider what quote #46 tells us about the Anthroposophical conception of morality. Steiner’s statement, with its references to higher and lower races and Asian hordes, is itself immoral — deeply so. No spiritual truths can emerge from a system that contains such concepts. Steiner made his statement in 1912. SteinerBooks unapologetically republished the lecture containing it in 1995. Thoughts of the kind we see in this statement remain current in Anthroposophical circles today.
One of Steiner's early books is THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM, first published in 1894. In most of his teachings, Steiner stresses the value and significance of human freedom, yet the concept sits uneasily in the context of occultism. People are constrained in multiple ways, according to Steiner, not least by the consequences of their own actions, producing karma. If our original actions, establishing our early karma, were free, then the subsequent constraints put on us by karma would have been freely chosen, as it were. But Steiner said that we attained the possibility of freedom not at the beginning of our evolution but rather late, as a result of Lucifer's actions. (49) “Freedom is the result of the Luciferian influence.” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Kessinger Publishing, 1998: reproduction of 1922 edition), pp. 229-230.
We became potentially free, Steiner said, because Lucifer worked to lure us from the proper course of our evolution. Thus, Lucifer gave us the option of choosing how to proceed — as we should, or as we shouldn't. That is, we can freely choose to make a grievous error that will possibly ruin us for all eternity, or we can freely decline to make this grievous error. If we decline, then we freely choose to stay on the right path (which we were on, anyway, thanks to the gods' supervision).
Philosophers have long debated the concept of free will. If we are biologically or otherwise determined by forces or conditions in the physical realm, we do not have free will. Likewise, if we live under the control of spiritual beings (such as an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God), we are not free. Yet we prize freedom, and our concept of justice, to give one example, depends on it. We are responsible for our own actions, and thus logically we should be liable to punishment, only if we freely choose to act as we do. If forces beyond or control compel our actions, they and not we are responsible.
So is human freedom possible or not? It's a conundrum. Steiner's doctrines are caught in this difficulty, perhaps no more than many other philosophies, but certainly no less. And his solution is not quite convincing. For instance, he said (50) ”The spirit...must not stand as a slave-driver over the soul, dominating it with laws and commandments; the soul must rather learn to follow these laws and duties out of its own free inclination. The student must not feel duty to be an oppressive power to which he unwillingly submits, but rather something which he performs out of love.” — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 96. (By "spirit" he meant the human essence that represents the divine spiritual realm; by "soul" he meant the nonphysical human identity that alters during the process of reincarnation.)
The nub of Steiner's position is that we must learn to willingly, freely accept spiritual laws and commandments. He said that, spiritually, this makes all the difference. Perhaps it does. Yet if we were already on the right path, and if we live in a universe of spiritual laws and commandments, veering from the right path and/or violating spiritual laws and commandments would be, at a minimum, foolish. And, if the laws and commandments are truly what these words indicate — i.e., inescapable cosmic requirements — then we cannot veer unless the laws and commandments somehow provide for this, in which case we remain under the laws and commandments even when we seem to depart from them.
It's a conundrum. In quotation 50, for instance, Steiner does not say that we can escape the laws and commandments, only that we should accept them freely, out of love. Is this just a variation of the old notion that we must learn to love our servitude, perhaps singing in our chains? Steiner doesn't mean it in this way, yet accepting cosmic necessity is the inherent requirement in his occult conception of freedom. (His earlier, more humanistic ideas, in early editions of THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM, are less constricted — but Steiner turned to occultism, and the gods' divine cosmic plan became paramount. Later editions of THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM bend in the direction of such occult concepts.) Steiner's emphasis is on our subjective response to the laws and commandments, not on the laws and commandments themselves. We should follow the gods' plan of our own free will — but we should follow it (and our use of our free will was part of the gods' plan, so in acting "freely" as the gods want, we obey the gods).
Freedom is important in Steiner's doctrines; indeed, it is necessary for our ultimate evolution. he said. But the concept of necessary freedom, or a freely accepted necessity, is self-contradicting. Steiner was not unique in tripping over this difficulty, but he did trip, and as a result his evolutionary scheme is badly weakened. Certainly the concept of free inquiry stands at odds with his indication that (51) "every criticism, every adverse judgment passed, disperses the powers of the soul for the attainment of higher knowledge." — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 11. This is a prescription for obedience, not freedom: put aside your critical intelligence; don't think, don't dabble in criticisms and judgments. Venerate — and obey.
In Steiner's occult teachings, we really have only one choice, and it isn't much of a choice: We can walk the white path to divinity or slip down the black path to destruction. Now, let me think. Which path do I prefer? I know! I'll take the black path! And the result? (51a): "The purified world will develop above and beyond thee, and thou shalt be excluded from it. Thus thou wouldst tread the black path, while the others from whom thou didst sever thyself tread the white path." — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1994), p. 152. Some choice. Freely choose suicide or freely choose life. Now, which path do I prefer?
For more on freedom as conceived by Steiner and pursued in Waldorf schools, see "Freedom".
Let’s continue with the story of our evolution. If you’ll recall, Steiner said that we were created somewhat mysteriously, in a process that cannot really be explained. [See "Origins", above.] We emerged into a vague, very mildly physical (i.e., "warm") existence on/at/during Old Saturn. [See "Old Saturn", above.] Then we and the solar system went away for a pralaya — what we might call a siesta or breather.
That is how Steiner usually described our beginnings. The next chapter of our evolution occurred at/during/on Old Sun. We and the solar system entered a second incarnation.
◊ 1. Old Saturn ◊ ◊ 7. Future Vulcan ◊
◊ 2. Old Sun ◊ ◊ 6. Future Venus ◊
◊ 3. Old Moon ◊ ◊ 5. Future Jupiter ◊
◊ 4. Present Earth ◊....
In the Old Sun incarnation, suffused by solar forces, we became “air” instead of “warmth,” and our etheric bodies began to form. (We would eventually have four bodies. The physical body is the first, the "etheric body" is the second. [See "Incarnation".]) Our development was pushed along by the Dominions and other gods. [For a listing of various types of gods, see "Polytheism".] We didn’t develop all that much, however. The purpose of evolution, according to Steiner, is to rise to higher and higher states of consciousness, eventually attaining divine consciousness rivaling or even exceeding that of the gods. But our early evolutionary stages were extremely sluggish. During Old Saturn, we were effectively comatose. During Old Sun, we rose to the equivalent of deep, unconscious sleep.
52) [Sleep, Sleep]
The "Sun" that we lived "on," way back then, was not yet a star; it was a "planet" (technically, a "planetary condition"), although a very tenuous one. [See the entry for "planetary conditions" in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.] In other words, during its second incarnation, the solar system was a ball of primordial Sun-stuff. This ball extended all the way out to the present orbit of Jupiter. Everything that exists in the solar system we know today existed then as a single semi-physical mass or amalgam. We ourselves, in primordial form, dwelt within this mass. Gods of various sorts hovered over and around Old Sun, finding their blessedness in actions that assisted our development.
53) [Being Helped] Here’s how things went for us during the Old Sun. First, we recapitulated the existence we had experienced during Old Saturn. (According to both Theosophy and Anthroposophy, evolution entails an almost infinite number of recapitulations: Each time we take a step forward, we have to repeat — in new, higher form — all the steps we took before.) In the process, many spiritual beings — gods — worked on us, as they and other gods would continue to do at later stages of our evolution.
Steiner goes on to list other spiritual beings who contributed to our Old Sun progress, including Archai (gods three levels above us) and Archangels (gods two levels above us). Bear in mind that during Old Sun, we were not yet really human. We were more like plants, actually (I’ll develop this further, below). Just as the Archai (Spirits of Personality) passed through their human stage during Old Saturn, the Archangels (Fire-Spirits) were human during Old Sun. One remarkable fact about this: The behavior of the "human" Archangels on Old Sun, like the behavior of the "human" Archai on Old Saturn, is not at all what we Earth humans, today, are capable of. They were "human" but they were also gods. Steiner’s conception of what it means to be human was quite elastic. At root, he meant that an entity becomes "human" when it first develops its "I" — its spark of divinity, its spiritual individuality. [See the entries for "human stage of evolution" and "I" in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]
The solar system existing during Old Sun spun or rotated (much as it had during Old Saturn, only more so). This spinning created separations of the basic spirit/matter of the Old Sun solar system into higher and lower spirit/matter stuff. Among the condensing stuff was the stuff that would eventually become our physical selves today. The overall scheme is that during our evolution, we have grown more and more densely physical until the present day. We are now about as dense as we will ever be (unless we are evil, get denser yet, and fall into the terrible Eighth Sphere). In the near future, we will start becoming less and less physical (or more and more spiritual) again. (This is Steiner’s solution to a conundrum: Why does the universe that we see around us today bear no relationship whatsoever to the universe he described? And why are we, and all other living things, and all other inanimate things, and all observable processes and patterns, so completely different from what Steiner described? Well, children, it just so happens that we live in a period when the truth of Steiner’s doctrines is hidden, because ours is such a very densely physical period. But in your past incarnations, you would have seen that Steiner was right; and you’ll see this again in future incarnations. So hang on — all will be revealed, in time. This will, sadly, take a long, long time, however: Steiner taught that, in general, we reincarnate once every 2,166 years, give or take a few. So, if you have doubts about Steiner's doctrines now, in twenty or so centuries proofs of Steiner's correctness will begin to blossom all around you.)
Steiner taught that during Old Saturn, we were equivalent to minerals, and during Old Sun, we were essentially plants, so to speak. (During the third incarnation of the solar system, Old Moon, we were animals, sort of. And then, during our fourth planetary condition, "on" Earth, we finally became human.)
54) [Mineral Level]
Nothing back then was like anything now, generally speaking, even if we use the same words for the things then and now. The warmth of Old Saturn wasn't like today's warmth, and the air of Old Sun wasn't like today's air. Nor were the elements, minerals, plants, etc., of those olden times like the elements, etc., that we find around us today. To even slightly grasp the "truths" Steiner tells us about ancient times, we must disconnect from what is usually called reality today.
55) [Competition] Steiner proceeded to explain that, "on" the Sun, we shed from our essence the substances that would later become present-day minerals. Our evolution entails many such sheddings; we climb upward by tossing overboard bits of ourselves. These bits become members of lowly kingdoms of various sorts, such as minerals, plants, and animals. Thus, there is something rather invidious about our story, although Steiner doesn’t present it that way; rather, this is just how things work in the wide cosmos, he says. We advance by pushing others lower:
Our "companions" (whether they originate inside us or not) cease to be our companions when we toss them overboard. We thrust them lower so that we can rise higher. This runs contrary to the basic proposition that evolution, as divinely guided, is a beneficent process. It may even be considered contrary to basic morality. But it is how the process works, Steiner assures us.
56) [Overview] Here is a summary of our Sun/plant period; it appears at the end of the chapter "The Life of the Sun" in the book COSMIC MEMORY. I give it verbatim, with no added commentary. [You can find explanations of various terms in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]
Our life "on" Old Sun was followed by another pralaya — we and the solar system once again dropped out of existence for a while in order to recuperate. In a future episode, we’ll move along to our next major evolutionary period, Old Moon.
* 57) [More Competition] The process of evolution entails a continual separation of the higher from the lower, the better from the worse, Steiner taught. This is most dramatically true in the separation of the good from the evil.
This is the process we saw reflected in the separation of high races from low races, as described by Steiner. [See "The Moral View", above.] Some people (most people, we might hope) evolve upward to higher and higher conditions. But some people (unfortunately, quite a few people) stall at lowly levels or they sink from higher levels to lower levels. The high races become more populous as good souls ascend, and the low races tend to get depopulated. But errant souls stay in, or fall into, the low races, and eventually they drop out of humanity altogether. They lose their souls and sink to subhuman condition. This may seem sad, but remember that "though evil separating from good, the good will be immeasurably strengthened."
The connection between planetary conditions such as Old Sun and the present-day members of our solar system may seem less than crystal-clear. Steiner liked to keep things vague; he liked to speak and write mystically, as he presumably thought an occult master should.
In some instances, according to Steiner, the orbs in our present solar system (the "planets" we see overhead, including the Sun and Moon) are evolutionary descendants of their ancient namesakes (Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon). In other cases, today's planets are predecessors of their future namesakes (Future Jupiter, Future Venus, Future Vulcan). But some planets existing now — Mars, Mercury — have no such namesakes, past or future. They trace their lineages elsewhere/elsewhen. As for Uranus and Neptune, Steiner denied that they are really members of our solar system. Thus, he had little to say about them as orbs existing today, and there are no Uranian or Neptunian planetary conditions in our evolution.
Even if we set all that aside and just consider the planets in our sky as they exist now, there is nothing simple about them, as Steiner defined these things. Here are a few indications. [For more, see "Planets", "Planetary Humans", and "Planetary Spirits".]
58) [Luciferland] Venus, for instance, is a husk tossed off by Lucifer.
59) [Marsworld, Moonville] Mars is an inhabited planet. Steiner said that Mars is a warlike place, yet he said that some Martians are...
60) [Vulcan In the Sky, By and By] Steiner generally affirmed the occultist belief that our solar system includes a hidden planet: Vulcan. Some astrologers contend that Vulcan is actually Mercury, but others say that Vulcan is a separate planet, orbiting the Sun more closely than Mercury itself does. Astronomers have never seen Vulcan, and they point out that there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of Vulcan, but occultists counter than of course Vulcan hasn't been seen: It hides behind Mercury, or behind the Sun, or it is lost in the glare of the Sun. In any case, Vulcan is quite real. Moreover, according to Steiner, Vulcan's namesake — Future Vulcan — will become our final evolutionary stage (unless other, hidden stages follow it).
By any measure, Vulcan is a fascinating place. According to Steiner, humans dispersed to the various planets at one stage in our history, and some went to Vulcan. Later the people who went to planet Vulcan returned to planet Earth. And native Vulcan beings (nonhuman occupants of Vulcan) have come to planet Earth as well.
There is much to absorb, here. But perhaps the most important, from an Anthroposophical perspective, is recognition of the danger that human and Earthly evolution may come to an end — the divine cosmic plan of the gods may be subverted — if we don't end our opposition to the "Vulcan Beings, ‘Supermen’ of Vulcan, ‘Supermen’ of Venus, of Mercury, of the Sun." In that case, the winnowing process Steiner described as central to evolution [see, e.g., quote #57, above], could cause all of humanity to be winnowed out. We would all fail to evolve properly, and our story would "pass over into chaos in the course of the next few thousand years." In a sense, we would all fall into the Eighth Sphere. [See "Eighth Sphere".]
60a) [Planets, As It Were] Steiner tried to clarify the relationship between planetary conditions and planets, thus:
[For more on the planets as planets, see "Planets". For more on the planetary conditions of our evolution, see, e.g., "Everything" and "Matters of Form".]
* As usual, Steiner was being mystical and potentially confusing, here. If we take his interjected explanation ("that is to say...") to mean that human souls went to the soul regions controlled by planetary forces (the "spheres" of the various planets) before resuming life in the spiritual "realm of earth existence," then we may think he did not mean that humans went from Earth to other planets. But actually, he did. Each physical planet, in his teachings, is also a spiritual realm — because everything physical is essentially spiritual, more or less, in general. But the planets do exist as physical locations, in the solar system here and now, and they existed in all of the earlier phases of the Present Earth stage of evolution (albeit they existed then in different form than they embody today). Indeed, the physical existence of the planets is necessary for the existence of the "spheres" of the planets as described by Steiner. In Steiner's teachings, a planet's "sphere" is the region of the solar system inside that planet's orbit: this is the region of the solar system under the spiritual/astrological influence of that planet. [See "Higher Worlds".] So, traveling in any sense from Earth to a planet or to the sphere of that planet means, in a basic sense, going to the part of the solar system occupied or controlled by that planet — as a spiritual entity but also as a physical entity. (All of this is complicated by Steiner's self-contradictions about planetary orbits. Sometimes he said that planets orbit the Sun, sometimes he said they don't. [See "Deception".] But either way, he meant planets that have physical existence in the solar system.) In short, going to soul regions controlled by planetary forces (planetary “spheres”) means going to the planets as spiritual, astrological, but also physical presences in our solar system. Going "to the planets" means much the same. "[W]hen the human souls ascended to the planets,” they were going to locations in our solar system — spiritual/astrological/physical locations, in the solar system.
Let's return, briefly, to the original, miscellaneous format for Steiner Static. And let's start with a replay. It is hard to believe that Steiner said many of the things that he said. It is especially hard to believe that he considered some people subhuman, and made no bones about it. Yet he did:
47, redux) [Subhumans]
Note that Steiner made this very charitable remark when discussing his concept of religion.
In the same discussion, he added:
61) [Subhumans, cont.]
Elsewhere, he said the following about benighted modern people (specifically those who, he said, are not really "human people"):
61a) [Subhumans, cont.]
61b) [Subhumans, cont.] Walking the streets, Steiner did not see "human people." But he taught that subhumans should be treated kindly, since they may not all be irremediably evil.
"Supernumerary people ... Human locusts ... Moles ... Retarded souls." Bear in mind that Steiner brought these ideas into Waldorf faculty meetings. (Return to quote #48:
I feel an obligation to inform parents: If you send a child to a Steiner school, you should understand what Rudolf Steiner taught. Some of his teachings are quite awful.
Of course, some of Steiner's preachments are less objectionable, at least on moral grounds. So let's push on:
62) [They’re Alive!] Our thoughts create spiritual beings who live, for real, in the spirit realm — or so Steiner said. Consider the plays of Shakespeare, for instance. Shakespeare's thoughts and writings created real beings who live on, up above. And we can create more such beings if we stage Shakespeare's plays properly. (Bear in mind, Steiner meant all of this quite literally.)
“When you make Shakespearean characters living [i.e., when you "bring them to life," as theater folk say]...you can raise them into the supersensible world where they remain living. Of course, they do not do in the higher worlds what they do on the physical plane, but they remain alive, nevertheless, and they act there.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 336.
Let’s hope Caliban behaves himself.
63) [Pachyderm Peculiarity]
Steiner accepted the myth that elephants have special graveyards, and he added the nice twist that the graveyards are inside caves. But there's a good reason why people don't generally look for elephant bones inside caves. Can you guess what it is?
As for the whole idea of elephant graveyards, the benighted ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA says "Evidence does not substantiate the existence of so-called 'elephant graveyards,' where elephants supposedly gather to die." — "elephant." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 27 Jan. 2009. But what does the BRITANNICA know? Very possibly staffed by human locusts, that institution wouldn't recognize a living occult truth if one fell out of the sky onto their heads (i.e., out of the "supersensible world" where Caliban is romping around, or possibly out of Vulcan).
Let's linger over Steiner’s supremely silly statement about elephant graveyards. Our natural inclination on reading such piffle is to shake our heads, laugh, and move on. But that would be a mistake. There’s a lot to be learned from Steiner’s silliness — the elephant quote gives us Steiner’s method in a nutshell.
Steiner almost never met a legend, superstition, old wives’ take, myth, fantasy, or fairy tale that he didn’t like. This was his material, the stuff he took seriously (as opposed to real information, of the sort that science and rational scholarship produce). Thus, he said that ghosts exist; Atlantis existed; bulls hate red; there is a universal ether; there are goblins in the ground; there are fairies in the air; black magicians are busily all around; we can communicate with the dead; astrology is for real; and so forth and so on. [See "Steiner's Blunders".]
Anthroposophy is Steiner’s Theory of Everything [see "Everything"], although he said it is not a theory, it is the Truth. If ever you are tempted to believe him, ask yourself whether you are prepared to join an expedition looking for elephant bones in caves.
Think about the caves Steiner mentioned, the ones where he said elephants go to die. Steiner accepted huge quantities of nonsense and misinformation, but he typically altered it, putting his own interpretation on it so that it fit into his overall design. Anthroposophists find this enormously persuasive. This is the “inner logic” of Anthroposophy: See? Everything fits! Elephants, ghosts, Atlantis, bulls, magic, the dead, the stars, elephant graveryards ... Steiner’s vision encompasses them all!
Well, yes and no. Yes, Steiner pieced everything together in a huge superstructure of unsubstantiated invention. But no, this doesn’t make any of it sensible. Elephants don’t have graveyards, in caves or anywhere else. Goblins don’t exist. Horoscopes don’t work. Etc. Piecing fantasies together doesn’t make the fantasies true.
And notice how Steiner did the piecing. In order to make each piece fit, he got out his scissors and Magic Marker — he cut and colored, changing each piece out of recognition. King Arthur was a high pre-Anthroposophical initiate. Jehovah is an demiurge who lives on the Moon. Jesus is the Sun God. Goblins are physical beings, but they happen to be invisible. Buddha went to Mars, at the behest of Christian Rosenkreutz. The canals on Mars are actually wind patterns. And so on. And so on. And so on.
This, ladies and gents, is Anthroposophy. Anyone who wants to believe it is free to do so. And anyone who wants to send their kids to a school that stands upon such thinking is free to do so. But if you must send children to a Waldorf school, please do it with your eyes open. At the Waldorf school I attended, our little school library had multiple books about UFOs, dragons, and other fantasies — presented as truth. I was taught that different races embody different stages of human development. I was taught that animals evolved from humans. I was taught that science is unreliable and technology is evil. I was told, and assigned, innumerable myths and legends (especially Steiner’s favorites: Norse myths). I was required to recite prayers written by Rudolf Steiner. I was required to do forms of dance, and create types of paintings, intended to connect me to the spirit realm. I was directed to use my imagination, not logic; intuition, not research. And so on. And so on. And so on.
My teachers, you see, believed Steiner. In retrospect, I am stunned to realize this, but so it was: I was “educated” by people who believed Steiner and his pieced-together, cut-and-colored fantasies.
Send your kids to a Waldorf school, by all means, if you absolutely must. But, please, do it with your eyes open.
By the way, Steiner did not originate all of the inventions we find in his teachings. He read and drew upon many, many books. Bad books, mainly; silly books. Books espousing occultism, esotericism, gnosticism, and the like. He was especially influenced by Helena Blavatsky's THE SECRET DOCTRINE, which he considered one of the great works of all time.
To see how Steiner reconfigured Christianity to suit his design, see "Was He Christian?" To glimpse the ties between Steiner's teachings and Gnosticism, Rosicrucianism, and Theosophy, see "Gnosis", "Rosy Cross", and "Basics".
Sometimes I step back, breathe deeply, and dismiss Steiner from my mind for a while. The result inevitably is that I'm shocked and amazed when I return — Anthroposophists believe what? Waldorf teachers do what? Renewing this sense of shock can be productive. Steiner made many, many bizarrely loony statements, and some people like what they hear from him. "Sounds good to me," they say. "Yes indeed, I'll buy that." Wow.
Here are some more examples.
64) [How People Become Lowly Nature Spirits] Imagine a human who becomes too fully involved in the things of the physical world. The Earth and its meritorious occupants will keep evolving toward spirituality and away from physical existence, but this delinquent won’t evolve upward with the good people and their planet. So, eventually, after everyone else has risen to a higher level, he will find himself stranded, unable to keep reincarnating because there will be no more lowly, physical bodies remaining for him to incarnate into. Thus, he will cease to be human at all but will become a subordinate nature spirit — that is, a subhuman wretch trapped inside the forces of the physical universe. He and other, similar wretches will later show up during humanity's next condition of consciousness, Future Jupiter, making selfish, destructive demands for love. (Didn't you know this?)
This is certainly a serious problem. Those retarded Jovians with their egoistic demands for love are gonna be a trial for the rest of us, no doubt about it.
Nature spirits have no true spiritual essence — they are nonphysical and invisible, like real spirits, but they are inferior beings. [See "Neutered Nature".] The main types of nature spirits are sylphs, undines, fire-beings, and gnomes. Some of these seem quite nice — sylphs, for instance, fly around through the air like little winged pixies. But other nature spirits are more clearly problematic. Gnomes, for instance, are also known as goblins. Steiner had a lot to say about goblins, much of it fairly surprising, Did you know, for instance, that the Moon will eventually meld with the Earth? (Science says not, but Steiner said so.) Goblins are eager for this to happen.
Goblins are eager for this to happen because it will give them access to lunar forces that will enable them to destroy the Earth as a physical globe:
65) [Goblins and the Moon]
The Moon goblins created the rocky, waterless structure of the Earth. But now the Earth goblins want to disperse the Earth. A word of reassurance: Don’t worry about it. According to astronomers, the Moon is actually drawing farther away from the Earth, and it has been doing so for millennia. Our point here is just to note how bizarre some of Steiner's teachings are. Gnomes pieced together the physical Earth (thanks, guys), and eventually they will disassemble it (thanks, guys — humans at that stage won't need it any more). Gnomes are good guys, in a sense. But not so very good. They are, at best, amoral:
66) [True Dreams] Moving right along...
How did Steiner "know" all the astonishing things that he "knew"? And how can we acquire such "knowledge"? Steiner said that his main tool was clairvoyance. He claimed to possess very high powers of clairvoyance — he called his abilities "exact clairvoyance" (meaning his clairvoyant "findings" are essentially unquestionable, since they are so precise). [See, e.g., "Clairvoyance" and "Exactly".] Steiner preached that others can develop similar powers, by following his instructions. [See "Knowing the Worlds".] He outlined some of the necessary exercises and methods in a book that has been published under such titles as KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT and HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS. In this text, he explains that other sources of supernal wisdom blossom once we make sufficient progress. Dreams, for instance, become coherent and accurate: We can then accept our dreams as true reports from the great beyond:
Many of Steiner's followers think they have made plenty of progress, and they consequently think their dreams are reliable sources of wisdom. They are mistaken, of course. Steiner's system is, in reality, a methodology of self-deception. People who believe in their dreams are dangers to themselves and to others; they no longer see the dividing line between reality and fantasy. Think of a Waldorf teacher who dreams about your child and then, starting the next day, uses this dream as a basis for assigning classwork and other activities for your children. Think about that awhile.
Other components of Steiner's system include astrology, numerology, and even phrenology. It would be nice, perhaps, if some of these things worked — if the universe were a magical place of wondrous powers that we can learn to control. But although we may want the universe to be that way, it isn't. The real universe is quite wonderful, but not in ways that boil down to fantasy and delusion. Yet all of us, in various ways, wish for magic and marvels. [To probe into this a bit, see, e.g., "Fooling (Ourselves)" and "Why? Oh Why?".]
Think about that awhile.
This is the end of Part I of STEINER STATIC.
To reach Part II, please use this link:
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◊◊◊ 7. IN THEIR OWN WORDS ◊◊◊