"As Waldorf teachers, 

we must be true anthroposophists

 in the deepest sense of the word

 in our innermost feeling.”

— Rudolf Steiner,  


(Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 118.



Getting Waldorf Teachers

Up to Speed

Some teachers at Waldorf schools are not deeply committed Anthroposophists, but a great many are. Waldorf teacher training is founded on Rudolf Steiner's occultism, the vision he called Anthroposophy. Waldorf education embodies and enacts Anthroposophy.

Let's back into this subject.

Here is one bit of revealing evidence: The following passages, copied verbatim, describe the training offered by the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training. I transcribed this material several years after the start of the twenty-first century. [1] This is how Waldorf teachers are still trained today, in the modern world.

Note the references to Anthroposophy, the evolution of consciousness, karma, and so on. Note, too, the extensive assignment of Rudolf Steiner's books and lectures for the trainees to read.Graduates of such a program should be deeply versed in Anthroposophy and they may indeed be what Steiner said they should be: "true anthroposophists in the deepest sense."

— Roger Rawlings

◊◊ • ◊◊


In the First Year, students meet basic concepts of anthroposophy, such as the evolution of consciousness; the human being as an evolving being of body, soul and spirit; thinking as a spiritual activity; the relationship of good and evil; the meaning of materialism in our time; and the ways and means for achieving self-discipline and self-knowledge.

In seminar classes, attention is paid to classroom review of weekly reading assignments. Students learn to recognize the deep philosophical underpinnings of the Waldorf curriculum and the unique calibration of the curriculum to the development of the child.

The focus on the “why” of Waldorf education provides the important context for the “how” (methods) which comes increasingly into focus during the second and third years.

Toward the end of the first year, the student spends three days observing in the class of an experienced Waldorf teacher. The student carefully observes one child and writes a study of that child, describing both the child and how the class teacher addressed the learning style of that particular child. 


The Second Year leads to a more refined and practical understanding of the self and its relationship to the world. Careful observation of phenomena in the natural world and in human nature support an active understanding of, and appreciation for, the interplay of teacher as artist and teacher as scientist. Rudolf Steiner’s research into the laws of karma, the laws of nature, and the laws of human development provide opportunity for continuing practice of objectivity and self-knowledge.

During the second year seminar classes, students are expected to assume a greater role in the academic and artistic rendering of the reading materials which expand on first year topics, especially human development and the developmental phases of the growing child. Students explore further the way in which the Waldorf curriculum uniquely supports the changing consciousness of the child.

Independent projects continue with two major presentations.

During the spring of the second year, each student participates in a three-week practicum in the classroom of an experienced Waldorf teacher. Students can choose a kindergarten, grades or high school practicum. A mentor supports students with practicum preparation during the weekends before and during the practicum. During this second year practicum, students are expected to take on classroom responsibilities as requested by the supervising teacher and teach a minimum of three full main lessons.


The Objective of the Third Year is to consolidate and expand on what the students have learned in the previous two years.

An intensive, year-long engagement with Rudolf Steiner’s key pedagogical lecture cycle, The Study of Man, provides the basis for deeper penetration of anthroposophical anthropology.

Third-year students implement the philosophical foundation of the curriculum in the classroom as they take responsibility for building conscious, artistic lessons. They learn to integrate various aspects (movement, music, story, poetry, reading, math, drawing and painting) with the subjects they are teaching, and to structure the flow from one part of a lesson to another, from one lesson to another, from one subject to another. Students also work with the theory and practice of classroom management and group dynamics and, with their own growing capacity for objective self-knowledge, gain insight into working with parents and colleagues.

During the fall of the third year, each student again participates in a practicum. Support for practicum preparation is again part of the weekend classes. During this third year practicum, students are expected to take on classroom responsibilities as requested by the supervising teacher and teach as many full main lessons as possible. Supervising teachers provide formal, written evaluations of the students whose practicums they supervise.

The Third Year Project, integral to the year’s course, is a mentored, independent research project on some aspect of the curriculum, presented at the end of the year to the teacher training community and reviewed by the class and their teachers.

Third Year topics include but are not limited to:

Pedagogical stories, verse-writing, math and science (grades track), puppetry (kindergarten track), the principles of Waldorf education applied to high school subjects (high school track), the four temperaments, storytelling, block rotations, design and review of lessons, the main lesson book, class plays, birthdays and festivals, narrative reports (Waldorf report cards), parent evenings, healthy habits for the teacher inside and outside the classroom, and inner work of the teacher.

Rudolf Steiner lectures used: Study of ManPractical Advice to TeachersDiscussions with TeachersWaldorf Education for Adolescents or Essentials of Education

◊◊ • ◊◊

Here are descriptions of some courses 

teacher trainees take

in the same program:

The Human Being and the Cosmos

Includes an introductory overview of anthroposophy. Rudolf Steiner texts studied: Becoming the Archangel Michael’s Companions (formerly The Younger Generation); Self-Consciousness, the Spiritual Human Being; and Spiritual Guidance of Humanity. By means of these three texts, as well as lectures and presentations, the student is introduced to a broad range of anthroposophical concerns.

Introduction to Waldorf Education

Local Waldorf teachers present Waldorf education in the kindergarten, grades and high school. Rudolf Steiner’s lecture cycle, The Kingdom of Childhood, is the basis for a thorough introduction to the principles of Waldorf pedagogy and the developmental stages of childhood upon which they are based. We also discuss topics such as the four temperaments, the twelve senses, writing before reading, from the whole to the part, mood as the basis of discipline, the teacher as authority, the teacher as artist.

Karma Studies

We consider such topics as individual, historical and world karma; reincarnation and karma; free will and destiny; laws of karma. Rudolf Steiner lectures used: Manifestations of Karma and A Western Approach to Reincarnation and Karma. The course requires an independent biography project.

Anthroposophical Medicine

Students in the first, second or third year receive an introductory overview of the holistic principles of anthroposophically extended medicine. Taught by a practicing physician trained in both conventional and anthroposophical medicine, the course includes topics such as the four organs, the four constitutional polarities, sclerotic versus inflammatory illnesses, childhood illnesses, the karma of illness.

Therapeutic Eurythmy

In addition to practicing eurythmy, students also learn about therapeutic eurythmy, which, when given under the supervision of a physician, can be a great help for medical patients, children in need of special care, and children with learning difficulties.

To put matters in context:

"You will have to take over children for their education and instruction — children who will have received already (as you must remember) the education, or mis-education given them by their parents. Indeed our intentions will only be fully accomplished when we, as humanity, will have reached the stage where parents, too, will understand that special tasks are set for mankind to-day, even for the first years of the child's education. But when we receive the children into the school we shall still be able to make up for many things which have been done wrongly, or left undone, in the first years of the child's life. For this we must fill ourselves with the consciousness through which alone we can truly teach and educate."

— Rudolf Steiner, addressing Waldorf teachers
[STUDY OF MAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 16]

◊◊ • ◊◊

STUDY OF MAN is a basic Waldorf education text; its subtitle is "General Education Course". The book is mentioned in the description of Waldorf teacher training, above.

Here are some of the contents of STUDY OF MAN, taken from the lecture synopses at the beginning of the book:

Life before birth and after death.

Pre-natal education.

Union of Spirit and Soul elements before birth.

Union of these with Life-Body after birth.

Mental picture stems from life before birth, Will from life after death.

Cosmic relations of threefold organism of man.

Concepts produce carbonic acid, imaginative pictures [produce] oxygen.

Intellect grasps only the dying.

Man thinks with bones as well as nerves.

The three Spiritual Principles: Spirit-Self (Manas — Manes), Life Spirit [and] Spirit Man.

The three Soul Principles: Consciousness, Intellectual and Sentient Souls.

The three Bodily Principles: Astral, Etheric and Physical.

Teacher must understand hidden being of man.

Soul reveals itself in sympathy and antipathy.

Waking — knowing in images: Dreaming — inspired feeling: Sleeping — intuitive willing.

The Twelve Senses: Touch, Life, Movement, Balance [are] related to Will: Smell, Taste, Sight, Warmth [are related] to feeling: Ego-sense, Thought, Hearing, Speech [are related] to knowing.

In first seven-year period[, the] child develops through imitation: in second [seven-year period,] through authority; in third [seven-year period,] through individual judgment.

Prayer metamorphosed to Blessing.

Jaws are stunted limbs in [the] head.

Sense of cosmic relations in ancient sculpture.

Head man reveals Body: Breast man [reveals] Body and Soul: Limb man [reveals] Body, Soul and Spirit.

Teacher must understand man as microcosm.

Relation of head to Body, Soul and Spirit.

Head [is] fully formed at change of teeth [i.e., when the baby teeth fall out].

Relation of Breast and Limbs to Body, Soul and Spirit.

Elementary school [is] concerned with breast man.

Plants would arise in man if he retained carbon.

Illnesses caused through plant nature asserting itself.

Plants are pictures of illnesses.

In digestion[,] only [the] middle process of combustion occurs.

Nature and effect of fat in [a] child.

Living elements absorb Soul and Spirit, decaying [elements] let them through.

Blood [is] opaque to Spirit, nerve [is] transparent [to Spirit].

Spirit active in bodily work, Body in mental [work].

Actual limbs are jaws of a spiritual head which continually devour man from without [i.e., from the outside].

Upper part of chest man develops to head nature in larynx — the “head of the throat.”

When second teeth appear[,] grammar [is] needed as [the] corresponding skeleton of speech.

[STUDY OF MAN, pp. 9-13.]

You may want to ask yourself 

whether you want your child to be educated

by people who have studied these subjects

and adopted this way of thinking about the world.

For more on STUDY OF MAN,

see "Oh Humanity".

For more on Waldorf teacher training,

see "Sneaking It In"


the section "Waldorf Teacher Training"

in "My Life Among the Anthroposophists, Part 2".

Here is a more recent update suggesting that the training provided 

at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training 

is fundamentally still the same as previously.

From the Waldorf Watch News:

DECEMBER 8, 2019


To understand Waldorf education, we need to consider how Waldorf teachers are trained — and, specifically, how they are trained to think.

Here is the announcement of an upcoming event at a Waldorf teacher training center in California, USA:

Coming into Being: Supporting 
the Incarnation Process Through Art... 

BACWTT [1] Healing Through Art II...

The second installment of the Healing Though Art [2] course will focus upon the incarnation process [3]: how this can be seen in art [4], and how art can be helpful in being healthily present in the body on Earth [5]. We will concentrate on developing a sense for the expression of the human spirit as it finds its place in the sheathes of the body [6], and practice artistic exercises that address specific incarnation qualities [7]. Working with this theme during the winter season and the Holy Nights [8], we will be able to connect to the archetypal incarnation gesture of birth and the influence of the Archangel Gabriel [9].

December 30, 2019 – January 3, 2020, 9am-4pm; Cost: $400
Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm....

Waldorf Watch Footnotes:

[1] BACWTT is the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training, in Santa Rosa, California.

[2] Waldorf schools place great emphasis upon the arts. The reasons are occult. Waldorf founder Rudolf Steiner taught that the arts have healthful spiritual effects. [See "Magical Arts".] Various types of art "therapies" are emphasized in Anthroposophical medicine, which is often practiced in and around Waldorf schools. [See, e.g., "Waldorf Rx", December 1, 2019.]

[3] In Waldorf belief, childhood is a period during which individuals descending from the spirit realm to Earth gradually incarnate four distinct bodies — the physical body, the etheric body, the astral body, and the ego body or "I". [See "Incarnation".] Waldorf education is designed to assist children to incarnate well and fully. So, for instance, we find statements such as this, made by a Waldorf teacher:

"Waldorf education is based upon the recognition that the four bodies of the human being [the physical, etheric, astral, and ego bodies] develop and mature at different times.” — Roberto Trostli, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING: What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents and Teachers (SteinerBooks, 2017), p. 4.

Note that Waldorf education is "based" on this concept.

[4] I.e., how it is reflected (consciously or not) in art.

[5] I.e., the physical human body or the entire four-part human form.

To live "healthily" on Earth, according to Waldorf belief, means finding a proper relationship with the Earth and with the spirits who work upon or through the Earth.

Steiner taught that the Earth is a living entity that has consciousness and emotions. He told Waldorf teachers to say things like the following to their students:

“Just think, children, our Earth feels and experiences everything that happens within it ... [I]t has feelings like you have, and can be angry or happy like you.” — Rudolf Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 132.

Steiner's conception of the Earth is not unlike the Gaia hypothesis, which conceives the Earth to be a self-regulating organism. But Steiner's vision is more occult and anthropomorphic. So, for instance, Steiner taught that the various levels of the Earth's interior have moral, spiritual, and emotional characteristics. Thus, he said the following about the sixth layer of the Earth:

“The Fire Earth is intimately connected with the human will. The Fire Earth produced the tremendous eruptions that brought the Lemurian epoch to an end [Lemuria was a continent that sank before Atlantis, Steiner taught; humans caused both disasters; the Fire Earth acted in accordance with our will]. At that time the forces which feed the human will went through a trial which unleashed the fire catastrophe that brought the Lemurian epoch to an end ... The Fire Earth is made essentially of feeling and will. It is sensitive to pain and would cry out if stepped on. It consists entirely of passions.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE INTERIOR OF THE EARTH: An Esoteric Study of the Subterranean Spheres (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2006), pp. 27-31.

Steiner's account of Lemuria, like his description of the Earth's inner layers, has no basis in science.

[6] According to Waldorf belief, a "sheath" is a protective covering that is sloughed off when the corresponding body (physical, etheric, astral, or ego) is incarnated. Each sheath is, in effect, an incorporeal womb within which a body gestates. We are born four times as our four sheaths produce our four bodies, Steiner taught.

[7] Incarnation "qualities" are essences or impulses associated with various stages of incarnation. In Waldorf belief, artistic exercises can augment these qualities and thus aid in the process of incarnation. 

[8] These are the twelve nights following Christmas. 

"In Anthroposophy...the nights between the nativity and the epiphany, roughly December 25th (some say the 24th) to January 6th, are thought to be the time when the veils are the most thin between the spirit realm and the human realm. These nights are the best time of year to set intentions, to plant seeds, and to go inward in prayer and meditation. Each of the Holy Nights represents a month of the following year. When close attention is paid during these days, sometimes people get a brief glimpse into their upcoming year." — "The Holy Nights", http://www.globalpeaceprayer.com/the-holy-nights.html.

[9] Waldorf schools generally hold elaborate, and reverent, Christmas ceremonies. But the religion underlying Waldorf education is not Christianity; it is Anthroposophy, which — in sharp contrast to Christianity — is polytheistic. [See "Polytheism".] Steiner taught that there are nine ranks of gods. Archangels (or Spirits of Fire, Agnishvattas, Solar Pitris) are gods two spiritual levels higher than humanity. In Waldorf belief, Gabriel is the Archangel of the Moon. As one of the four Archangels who oversee the seasons of the year, Gabriel exerts particular influence in winter, Steiner taught; this influence is balanced by Gabriel's effects in midsummer.

"We have learnt to know Gabriel as the Christmas Archangel. He is then the cosmic Spirit; we have to look up above to find him. During the summer Gabriel carries into man all that is effected by the plastic, formative forces of nourishment. At midsummer they are carried into man by the Gabriel forces, after Gabriel has descended from his cosmic activity during the winter to his human activity in summer, when his forces stream through the Earth and it is winter on the other side." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUR SEASONS AND THE ARCHANGELS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1968), lecture 5, GA 229.

The BACWTT training course described here, held during the Holy Nights, will enable the attendees to "connect to...the influence of the Archangel Gabriel." Making connections with the gods is important for Waldorf teachers, since the teachers' role, Steiner said, is to represent the gods here on Earth:

“Among the faculty, we...should always remember that when we do something, we are actually carrying out the intentions of the gods, that we are, in a certain sense, the means by which that streaming down from above will go out into the world.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 55.

Waldorf schools are, fundamentally, Anthroposophical religious institutions. [See "Schools as Churches".] Parent who are not Anthroposophists should consider this carefully before sending their children to Waldorf schools.

So: a snapshot of Waldorf teacher training.
— R.R.

A Waldorf school in the USA.

[See Clouder & Rawson,

WALDORF EDUCATION (Floris Books, 1998), p. 126;

color added.]


Here are excerpts from the prospectus 

for a two-year course at a Camphill community.

Camphills are Anthroposophical sites 

where education and assistance for people 

with special needs are often offered.

Year #1



This will be an introduction to the four temperaments. The participants will be 

encouraged to discover their own temperament and how this can be of help in 

working together with others.



Rudolf Steiner indicated that there are 12 senses, instead of the usual 5 that most 

people know of. These senses are divided into 3 groups of 4: the lower senses 

(balance, touch, life and movement), the middle senses (smell, taste, sight and 

warmth) and the higher senses (hearing, word, thought and ego sense). These 12 

senses are related to the 12 signs of the Zodiac and give us a colourful picture of 

how a human being can relate to himself and the world around him.


We will consider the care and development of these senses and what happens 

when problems arise and how we can help.



We will turn to some lectures by Dr. Karl König, who describes the path of every 

human being as coming from two different directions: the hereditary stream and 

our individual karma. (The path that we have chosen) 

The concept that every human being comes to earth with a plan, their own 

destiny ; and that we will need to be born again and again to fulfill our mission on 

earth, is fundamental to understanding the human being out of Anthroposophy. 

We will bring this to the group for discussion. 

Year #2



The child only comes physically naked into the world. Spiritually it brings gifts 

and qualities. We will look at the different qualities of each planet that our pre- 

birth journey takes us through. 



The soul’s immortality and its repeated earthly births are not new ideas, in 

western thought. Rudolf Steiner viewed the revealing of reincarnation and karma 

as one of his most important life tasks.


In the first session we will give an introduction to this theme and in the second 

session we will look at the shaping of our own personal destiny.




While western humanity has conquered the outer world with the aid of 

technology and natural science, the mysterious question of death is still largely 

shrouded in fear and remains an insoluble riddle. From his own highly developed 

clairvoyance, Rudolf Steiner was able to spiritually research the question of what 

happens to human beings after their physical bodies pass away.


We will give an introduction to this subject and open up a conversation.


Here is an item from the Waldorf Watch "news" page.

I quote from an online posting, then I offer a response:

"The Mountain School is a non-profit Waldorf inspired, permaculture/biodynamic farm, wilderness and Steiner methods school nestled in the northern Rocky Mountains of southern central Idaho [USA] ... The school currently enrolls thirty-six students ... The Mountain School currently operates as a unique hybrid of a traditional Waldorf school model combined with a one room school house model ... Requirements [for teaching applicants]: Demonstrated experience as a Waldorf certified grades teacher ... Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.”

• ◊ •

Waldorf Watch Response:

Some Waldorf schools attempt to seem more or less conventional, so as to deflect opposition. Others are dramatically different from ordinary schools. A "permaculture/biodynamic farm, wilderness and Steiner methods school" surely falls into the latter category.

Many Waldorf schools are extremely small. This can mean that students receive a lot of individual attention. It can also mean that the students are isolated from the wide world and thus are primed for Anthroposophical indoctrination.

Teachers at Waldorf schools are not necessarily qualified educators. “Waldorf certification” is very different from the official certification needed to teach in public schools — it often means attending unaccredited Waldorf teacher training programs while skipping college. Note that The Mountain School is not looking for applicants with master's degrees (MA's or MEd's). The school will consider applicants who have undergraduate college degrees “or equivalent.” This sets the bar very low. Teachers accepted on the basis of such standards may know almost nothing about the real world aside from whatever they picked up in high school. And if they attended Waldorf high schools... 

Another news item:

"Stockholm University has decided to wind up its Steiner-Waldorf teacher training. Steiner science literature is 'too much myth and too little fact', the university's teacher education committee has ruled.


"'The courses did not encompass sufficient subject theory and a large part of the subject theory that is included is not founded on any scientific base,' Stockholm University wrote in a statement on Monday.

"The decision has been criticized by a group of professors in a debate article in Svenska Dagbladet. 

"'The decision is a direct threat to Sweden's 105 Steiner-Waldorf schools and pre-schools. 7,000 pupils will be taught by teachers without qualifications in Steiner pedagogy.'

"...Stefan Nordlund, the dean of Stockholm University's faculty of natural sciences, has defended the decision.

"'The syllabus contains literature which conveys scientific inaccuracies that are worse than woolly; they are downright dangerous.' 

"...The courses and literature have been discussed and reviewed by the faculty 'in the customary manner' in the spring and the faculty's findings were forwarded to the education committees of the faculty and the university. 

"...The Rudolf Steiner College is now faced with a choice: to approach another seat of learning with whom to cooperate or to apply to the National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket) for its own examination license." 

— Peter Vinthagen Simpson, "Stockholm University Ends Steiner Teacher Training, THE LOCAL, Sweden's News in English, August 26, 2008  [http://www.thelocal.se/13944/20080826/.]

Here is an account of Waldorf teacher training
by one who went through it.
I have excerpted several pages beginning at

My Waldorf teacher training began in 1999 and ended two years later.

...The program was part-time and consisted of a foundation year and a teacher training year. I had no idea what to expect. I tried to read Rudolf Steiner’s EDUCATION AS A FORCE FOR SOCIAL CHANGE and his other lectures on education but the material was completely over my head. It might as well not have been translated from German.

So I was surprised to learn that my fellow classmates were all vegetarians ... And they were New Age types, hippies, granolas, crunchies, earth muffins, tree huggers, and free spirits in dread locks, potato sack dresses with open backs, scarves, Birkenstocks, and patchouli but we did have our share of housewives who had become interested in Waldorf through their children. [2]

Our classes were to echo the experience the children have in a Waldorf classroom. We were immersed in all manner of art from sculpting to painting to drama, even woodworking. We sang, played the recorder, engaged in speech exercises and participated in something called Spacial Dynamics (think Nia meets gymnastics).

...Eurythmy was my favorite class. Eurythmy is movement, like something between dance and sign language with a piano accompaniment. I found it beautiful to watch like hula even if I did not understand the meaning behind the gestures. It had both a soothing and thrilling effect on me.

...There was a breathing exercise that we did in at the beginning of almost every class. We’d slip on our slippers like those black shoes you get at Chinatown but they were white, then form a circle on the hardwood floor. The piano music would start and together we moved backwards, like a flower blossoming. Then we moved in back together, like the flower closing or contracting. We repeated this making the circle larger and larger before contracting again smaller and smaller.

It sounds strange if you are not accustomed to theatre or dance. But to me it was like learning a new language, the language of body movement as it related to the cosmos, working together with the music and the people around you. There was a beauty to it, a gentleness that became my daily hug.

This was largely due to our teacher. She was an elderly lady from Germany or Switzerland. I can’t remember and she would probably strangle me for forgetting her mother country; such an amazing woman full of vitality and good humor. I remember the day I was feeling particularly melancholic and for some reason and I looked over at her and said, “Hold me!” She pulled me into a fierce hug, the class laughed but we all started to laugh even harder when she burst out into some silly song with gusto.

Art was taught by a middle aged man who had a fondness for sweater vests. George read poems and passages from books like CENTERING by Mary Caroline Richards and from Dr. Steiner’s lectures before we started every class.

...Music was taught by Laura who was completely different than me and I think that is why I looked up to her so reverently. She was motherly, humble and soft-spoken. I held her apart from the other instructors, high on a pedestal. She seemed unreal in her goodness.

I have heard that singing is better than prayer in the sense that it brings you closer to God. It’s God-like or angel-like. Perhaps music is the language of the angels. I don’t know. There is a lot of singing in Waldorf schools. [3]

Here is another inside account of Waldorf teacher training,

this time by a less devoted participant.

Perhaps taking a lead from Kafka,

the author — Andreas Lichte — refers to himself as L.

I have excerpted passages from


Waldorf Pedagogy Introductory Course, 14th May — 11th July, 2001

A warm welcome to the participants, an easy way to solve daily conflicts and a relaxed atmosphere are considered to be of importance. Lack of stress somehow turns into boredom for L. He does not know what to make of the lecturer's monologue on Rudolf Steiner but no one expects him to.

Soon he is to leave the seminary temporarily for the Berlin Rudolf Steiner school. Before he is getting ready to teach he is to witness a play by 6th grade pupils (in Germany usually roughly aged 11-12, WS maybe a year older), the history of Rome. L. is concerned about the depiction of so much bloodshed but suppresses his feeling of discontent wondering if the harmonious mood at the seminary made him overly sensitive.

...Back at the seminary L. talks about being surprised to see 6th graders wade knee-high in blood. He also is surprised not to get any answers, just looks telling him 'One day you'll understand, at the moment you lack the necessary requirements.'

...Waldorf Pedagogy Course, 3rd September, 2001 — 5th July, 2002

A friendly hello which seems less hearty than during the introductory course ... On to Rudolf Steiner; Steiner, Steiner above all else ... Where did all the art go? Down to half a day.

They are being asked if Atlantis is a geographical space or a state of consciousness. [4] L. feels worn out by this esoteric excursion. Participants are expected to forget everything they had envisioned as true and accept the existence of higher worlds which will subsequently lead to the 'look of the seer'.

Favourite subject of the KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS: Mankind being portrayed as one whole: animal kingdom, plant kingdom, mineral kingdom, its genius being expressed in its upright walk. The animals being the last stop, something of a devolution, mankind being the beginning and the end.

L. starts to get an impression of what is taught, Darwin is a thing of the past, Steiner is up-to-date. Having developed out of humans animals somehow are waste. It is important to distance oneself from 'evil' animals who lack morality.

A break. Moaning and groaning it is decided to leave the seminary and drink coffee. Heated discussions as to what precisely was taught ... L. wonders if he had been dreaming in the morning. Unfortunately the subject matter of the next lesson does not live up to his expectations, instead of a few valuable hints helping to improve teaching methods they are being offered the meaning of the four temperaments (sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic, choleric), if that isn't sufficient one could still consider the 'star children'.

Twentieth century psychology is absent, Freud's name obviously unknown. Being asked about what was being taught the lecturer refers to the four divisions within the class.

...L. loses his sense of time. His goal to become a teacher seems to have vanished into the distant future, all they are dished out is Steiner, Steiner, Steiner. He wonders how his fellow participants are doing. Those who think everything's great had already been anthroposophists — that's how they refer to themselves.

...Differences become more and more evident, conflicts are worsening on both sides, each citing Steiner. Some adore him in a rather cultic fashion, others want to be left alone, some ask whether they'll ever be able to understand all this. Open dispute erupts during the STUDY OF MAN (GA 293). The difference of...higher- and lower-standing peoples ... L. insists such thoughts are dangerous, after all Germany did see where all that can lead. A female participant finishes off the 'discussion' claiming it is clear she ranks higher than someone who's in prison. The lesson over, L. is left speechless.

L. gets the impression the others ... already came to understand [that] anthroposophy puts a lot of emphasis on hierarchies, human hierarchies, angel hierachies, leaders ... None of the lecturers consider to offer a summary of a subject: lessons have more the feel of a church service interpreting Steiner's word. Lecturer Klein puts it this way: "I am a missionary on behalf of Steiner."

How to teach geography is the subject offered by lecturer Vormann ... Asian architecture — the pagoda — makes the lecturer conclude the Asian is turning towards the sky — tien. The typical architecture of Northern America being the step pyramid. L. dares to ask: "What about Indians of Northern American — the pueblo architecture? Or the tent of the nomading peoples of the prairies?" "They are irrelevant to the greater oversight, the Indians already were a perishing race," the lecturer responds.

This image shows a class at the Rudolf Steiner College in California, USA. Rudolf Steiner College is a leading Waldorf teacher-training institution. The photos on the wall depict Rudolf Steiner and the Anthroposophical headquarters, the Goetheanum. The image on the blackboard includes the 12 signs of the zodiac (astrology is basic to the Waldorf belief system). The book on the student's desk (center, bottom) is Steiner's OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (original title: OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE) — Steiner's main exposition of his esoteric or occult teachings. [Downloaded Sept. 25, 2011; Rudolf Steiner College, http://www.steinercollege.edu/]

In addition to preparing future Waldorf teachers, some Steiner educational programs claim to provide training or preparation for other careers. Sometimes the students reel away astonished and aggrieved.The following comments refer to the Florida College of Natural Health, a Steiner Education Group member [http://www.naturalhealers.com/schools/fcnho]. I do not know to what extent the writer's complaints may be justified. Other Steiner education institutions may be better — or worse.

"When I first went to the school I thought it was great and Steiner is known world wide. Until I found out the Associate of Science degree was bullshit. Your credits do not transfer to any other college. That's just how they base their financial aid." [http://www.ripoffreport.com/bbb-better-business-bureau/florida-college-of-n/florida-college-of-natural-hea-fd825.htm]

"If you go to this campus, you will find a new staff member every week! It's as if they come in, work one week, and hate it, and are replaced in a matter of days. Worst school ever, worst professors, unprofessional, and a waste of time and money. I left Florida and I am currently working towards entering a new school. Oh BTW, this school is not even recognized in some school databases so if you wish to transfer credits, GOOD LUCK. " [http://www.ripoffreport.com/health-care-education/florida-college-of-n/florida-college-of-natural-hea-dd4b5.htm]

"The teachers tend to push pseudo-science and some pressure students to follow their thinking on subjects with no data to substantiate. Staff turnover is high, and the student body is disregarded when demanding higher standards, called 'negative' by the administration. All in all, the school's/Steiner's corporate culture is one of wishful thinking, obfuscation and confusion. Slap dash presentation of educational materials and minimal clinic curriculum are the norm." [http://www.ripoffreport.com/colleges-and-universities/florida-college-of-n/florida-college-of-natural-hea-e4ccn.htm]

"Dear future and fellow students this is a consumer beware website. I have created this website so anyone who has been wronged, deceived, lied to, cheated, and ripped off may post their complaints and thoughts about FCNH. Also to inform all present, past, and future students about the unethical practices occurring at FCNH. Please visit www.studentsagainststeiner.com, this website is under construction but will be completed soon. We are a large group of students based out of Orlando, FL. We have formed a coalition against Steiner and are looking for additional members. Please contact me if you are interested in joining our efforts in taking action against FCNH & revealing the truth about Steiner Education Group & Florida College of Natural Health." [http://www.ripoffreport.com/colleges-and-universities/florida-college-of-n/florida-college-of-natural-hea-effd4.htm]

"I can not warn any one anuff about the poor if any education you will receive, if you listen to these people. They are ripping off kids left and right !and can not and do not intend to deliver what they charge you for! The schools data system is from the stone age , and it is some how always loosing the students data that the school then makes the students make up and pay for ! this is what the tried on me they tried to say that i had missed 6 mounths of school but the problem with their story was i would have lost finac/ aid if this was true! when i called the corp they gave me the run around for 2 weeks then sent me a letter throwing me out of school! " [http://www.ripoffreport.com/federal-government/the-florida-college/the-florida-college-of-natural-d5a7m.htm]

The following course descriptions are taken from the Rudolf Steiner College 2011-2012 Catalogue. In a few places, I interject some comments of my own (RR).

Cosmic and Human Evolution (1.5 credits). This course explores the stages of cosmic and human evolution from Ancient Saturn through Ancient Sun, Ancient Moon and Earth evolutionary cycles, and lays seeds to understand further stages of evolution in Future Jupiter, Future Venus and Future Vulcan stages. Texts include Esoteric Science: An Outline and Spiritual Hierarchies and Their Reflection in the Physical World. 


Karma and Reincarnation (1.5 credits). This course is an in-depth exploration of Rudolf Steiner’s original insights into the nature of reincarnation and karma. Texts include Manifestations of Karma, Theosophy, Reincarnation and Karma, World History in the Light of Anthroposophy, and selected lectures from the 8 volumes titled Karmic Relationships.

The Philosophical Foundations of Waldorf Education (7.5 credits). Waldorf education is based on Anthroposophy, a transpersonal and phenomenological world-view [sic]. It is necessary for the Waldorf educator to grasp this view of the human being because Waldorf pedagogy arises directly from this understanding. The curriculum and methods arise from an understanding of this ontology.

Astronomy — Macrocosm, Microcosm (2.0 credits). This course combines viewing the night sky, studying the constellations and rhythmic movements of the planets, and their correlations with the human form, rhythms of life, stages of consciousness and how the human individuality is related to the starry worlds and the Earth. We will discover the relationship between astronomy and the human body, astrology and the human soul, and astrosophy with the human spirit.

RR response: Astrology underlies many Waldorf beliefs and practices. Astrosophy (meaning "star wisdom") is a variant form of astrology, also important in the Waldorf belief system. [See "Astrology", "Waldorf Astrology", "Star Power", and "Astrosophy".] Thus far in our short review of courses offered by the Rudolf Steiner College, we have seen that aspiring Waldorf teachers — who will offer to "educate" your children — are taught about planetary stages of evolution (Old Saturn to Future Vulcan), karma, reincarnation, macrocosm/microcosm (the belief that the universe is an enlarged version of the human being), astrology, and astrosophy. And they are instructed that these beliefs, as wrapped up in Anthroposophy, are fundamental to Waldorf education. "The curriculum and methods arise from an understanding of this ontology." — The Philosophical Foundations of Waldorf Education (7.5 credits). When they offer to "educate" your children, will you say yes?


Human Development and Pedagogical Implications, Level I (3.0 credits). This course offers a background theoretical foundation to the practical classes in the first year. The causes of learning and behavior difficulties, human development from an anthroposophical perspective, the incarnation process in the first seven years, the twelve senses and movement development are important themes....

RR: Thus far in our short review of courses offered by Rudolf Steiner College, we have seen that aspiring Waldorf teachers are taught about planetary stages of evolution, karma, reincarnation, macrocosm/microcosm, astrology, astrosophy, seven-year-long phases of incarnation, and the twelve (yes, 12) human senses. They are, in other words, steeped in mystic Anthroposophical doctrines — "human development from an anthroposophical perspective." This training, in and of itself, raises serious doubts about the qualifications of such teachers.

◊  The Four Temperaments (0.5 credits). A study of how to recognize in the child the four temperaments....  

◊ Cosmic and Human Evolution  (1.0 credits) [sic]. Through this course, students will understand the evolution of the cosmos, the kingdoms of nature, and of the human being from the standpoint of Anthroposophy.  

◊ Seven Planetary Soul Types (0.5 credits) ... [H]ow they relate to the seven visible planets and the constitution of the human being.  

◊ The Evolution of Consciousness through Art History. A spiritual overview of the visual arts ... [T]he changing evolution of consciousness of the human being from the ancient mystery centers to the modern age ... [W]orld art within the Post-Atlantean cultural epochs....  

◊ Human Development and Pedagogical Implications, Level II (3.0 credits) ... [S]tudents explore the spiritual archetypes of the human being, as given by Rudolf Steiner, as well as an introduction to Astrosophy ... [S]oul and constitutional types in children ... [M]editative work of the teacher....

RR: Consider. There are people who, when they read this catalogue, do not roll their eyes. Instead they sign up, take the classes, and then go out into the world as Waldorf teachers. There is no bright line separating Rudolf Steiner’s occultism from the views found among Waldorf faculty. The doctrines of Anthroposophy and the beliefs of Waldorf teachers are often one and the same.

◊ Spiritual Streams and Sun Initiates*  (1.0 credits) [sic]. This course is an exploration of the spiritual streams identified by Rudolf Steiner in The Search for the New Isis, selected lectures from Karmic Relationship, and World History in the Light of Anthroposophy.  

◊ The Master Thesis Project Course will be introduced as a modern path of initiation,** wherein proficiency to conduct research in a number of different venues allows the individual to gain access to a greater breadth and depth of knowledge....

RR: An “initiate” is an aspirant who has been accepted into an inner circle. A spiritual initiate possesses hidden or occult spiritual knowledge (or thinks s/he does). Aspiring Waldorf teachers are taught about spiritual initiation, and they are led toward such initiation. Waldorf teachers who believe themselves to be initiates bring the fruits of initiation into their work in Waldorf schools.

* In Anthroposophical belief ◊ a “Sun Initiate” was a spiritualist on Atlantis who had special knowledge of the spiritual forces emanating from the Sun; ◊ spiritual streams are lines of spiritual wisdom developed by various schools of initiates; ◊ Isis — the Egyptian goddess of fertility — is the divine female principle; ◊ everything (even divinity) is evolving into new, generally higher forms.

** One of Steiner's key texts, HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS, bears the subtitle "A Modern Path of Initiation".


The Philosophy of Freedom (1.5 credits). The student will develop understanding for the epistemology underlying Anthroposophy. Answering the question, "Can I gain certainty in knowing the world?" affirmatively leads to "Can I become truly free?"

RR: The Steiner belief system, Anthroposophy (a word meaning “human wisdom”), is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of knowledge and truth. Rudolf Steiner’s followers think they can "gain certainty" by developing powers of clairvoyance. They work to develop heightened powers of imagination, inspiration, and intuition — which Steiner identified as three stages of clairvoyance. When they think they have attained these, they believe that the views they form through these types of consciousness are true. They imagine something, or get an inspiration, of have an intuition... Such “human wisdom” becomes, in their view, essentially unarguable.* They are then freed from any need to dispute their views with outsiders; they feel no need to consider the opinions of outside scholars and scientists.** All external knowledge (i.e., knowledge developed through use of the senses, the brain, and the rules of logic) becomes suspect, in their view; to know the Truth, they look inward, not outward. They are “free” of external rules, limitations, and doubts; they are “free” to think what they want.

This freedom is not absolute, however. Steiner often spoke of the need for gurus or spiritual guides, such as himself. He also spoke of the crucial difference between the white path of truth (his own) and the black path of falsehood. He said that he apprehended the truths of the white path through his use of “exact clairvoyance” — his occult “discoveries” are virtually unquestionable because they are exactly true. Thus, his followers have the choice between the path of truth and the path of fallacy. Their “freedom” is little more than the power to make a single decision: They can freely decide to believe in Steiner and his system, or they can freely choose to suffer the dreadful consequences of failing to believe in Steiner and his system.***

Let's end our review of Rudolf Steiner College teacher training with one more tabulation of the Anthroposophical doctrines in the courses we have considered. In these courses alone, aspiring Waldorf teachers are taught about planetary stages of evolution/cosmic evolution, the evolution of consciousness, karma, reincarnation, macrocosm/microcosm, astrology, astrosophy, seven-year-long phases of incarnation, the twelve human senses, the four temperaments, the Anthroposophical take on the kingdoms of nature, the Anthroposophical take on human nature, planetary soul types/soul types in children, spirituality in art, mystery or occult centers, occult wisdom, Atlantis, cultural epochs (i.e., historical periods of spiritual evolution), meditative work to be done by teachers, spiritual streams, initiation, Sun initiates, and Isis. Among other things. All of this is taught, of course, "from the standpoint of Anthroposophy." 

There is no separation between the mysticism of Anthroposophy and the Waldorf worldview. Waldorf trainees study these subjects in order to become Waldorf teachers. Gentle reader, please bear this in mind. The people being taught to separate themselves from reality in this manner, the people receiving this instruction in the practice of self-deception, are aspiring Waldorf teachers. Soon after completing their training, they will offer themselves as educators for your children. If they have taken to heart the lessons given at Rudolf Steiner College and other Waldorf teacher-training schools, they may well rank among the very last people you should consider for such important work.

* Some Anthroposophists are more sophisticated than others in sorting through their "clairvoyant" findings; some are more scrupulous in "controlling" their clairvoyant powers. But all of them harbor the same fundamental delusion, accepting the most unreliable states of consciousness as the most reliable. [As to the reliability of clairvoyance, see "Clairvoyance".]
** Anthroposophical books sometimes include this prefatory note: “No person is held qualified to form a judgment on the contents of this work, who has not acquired — through the School of Spiritual Science itself or in an equivalent manner recognized by the School of Spiritual Science — the requisite preliminary knowledge. Other opinions will be disregarded....”  The School of Spiritual Science is a central Anthroposophical institution preserving and extending the results Steiner's claimed clairvoyance. In essence, the prefatory note rejects all views except those stemming from Steiner and his clairvoyant system.

*** Anthroposophists do have a bit of wiggle room. They can disagree with one another about the meaning of Steiner’s various teachings — doctrinal disagreements are as common in Anthroposophy as in any other faith system. Thus, each Anthroposophist can be “certain” that his or her “clairvoyant knowledge” is true, even if others have different “clairvoyant knowledge” and even if Steiner, by some accounts, taught something different from what the individual has “certainly” learned through inward vision.

Here are additional Waldorf teacher training courses offered in various training programs. Again, I also present some comments of my own.

"Karma Studies -  We consider such topics as individual, historical and world karma; reincarnation and karma; free will and destiny; laws of karma. Rudolf Steiner lectures used: Manifestations of Karma and A Western Approach to Reincarnation and Karma. The course requires an independent biography project." — Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training  [11-12-2011  http://www.bacwtt.org/curriculum-classes/teacher-training/second-year]

"Knowledge of Higher Worlds - In this course we will examine the path developed by Rudolf Steiner in his book How to Know Higher Worlds. In this work Steiner gives exercises and meditation techniques that are designed to deepen, strengthen and ultimately open the human soul to an objective reality beyond the physical senses...." — Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Education Program   [11-12-2011 http://www.arcturus.info/foundation.htm]

Esoteric Science - This course examines the esoteric history of the human being ... Students should leave the course with a basic understanding of the spiritual scientific approach to the evolution of human consciousness. In addition, we will examine tools to spiritual self-development as outlined by Rudolf Steiner ... The evolution of the earth and solar system in relationship to spiritual beings (Old Saturn, Sun, Moon, and Earth; stages of Earth evolution through Atlantis)....” — Center for Anthroposophy [http://www.centerforanthroposophy.org/programs/high-school-teacher-education/courses/second-year/foundation-courses/esoteric-science-hs-216/]

“Arts/Art History - ... Art becomes the mediator between the physical, etheric, astral bodies, and incoming ego ... Art classes have the subtle task of touching the high school student’s sacred dreams. They can help set in motion impulses that stir the unfolding of individual destiny....” — Center for Anthroposophy [http://www.centerforanthroposophy.org/programs/high-school-teacher-education/courses/third-year/subject-seminars/artsart-history-hs-328/]

“Music in the Light of Anthroposophy - ...This course addresses all those who want to deepen their understanding of music as an empowering soul-spiritual source ... [W]e will explore the different elements of music, discovering how melody, harmony, and rhythm are musical expressions of our threefold nature ... We will explore the intervals — in nature, in movement, and through artistic activity — and learn how they are connected to our own evolutionary path: specifically, how this process of incarnation corresponds to the developmental stages of the child....” — Center for Anthroposophy [http://www.centerforanthroposophy.org/programs/renewal-courses/week-one-june-26-july-1/music-in-the-light-of-anthroposophy/]

RR response: The Waldorf belief system is built on the "esoteric" or "occult" wisdom produced through clairvoyance, chiefly by Rudolf Steiner. ◊ The "
esoteric history of the human being" is central to this wisdom — the universe centers on us and exists for us, according to Steiner's teachings. ◊ "Spiritual science" is Anthroposophy; Steiner also called it occult science. Today his followers often try to avoid the word "occult," using "esoteric" instead. ◊ The "evolution of human consciousness" is the central narrative of Anthroposophy. We are evolving from a very dim spiritual awareness to an ultimate, divine awareness. ◊ "Spiritual self-development" is the application of Anthroposophy to develop clairvoyance and rise to a higher level of evolution. ◊ The "spiritual beings" referred to here are gods. Anthroposophy is polytheistic. ◊ "Old Saturn," etc., are planetary stages of our evolution. We began in a stage called Old Saturn and we will evolve to a stage called Future Vulcan — and beyond. ◊ In Waldorf belief, we lived on Atlantis before our present stage of Earthly existence. ◊ The etheric, astral, and ego bodies are invisible bodies that incarnate during childhood (the ego body marking the transition to adulthood). ◊ In Waldorf belief, each child has an individual destiny or karma. In addition to helping children incarnate their invisible bodies, Waldorf teachers try to help children with their karmas. ◊ Art classes (like everything else at Waldorf schools) have spiritual purposes, such as touching on children's "sacred dreams." ◊ The "spirit-soul" is the human spiritual identity consisting of who separate but united essences, the spirit and the soul. (We take one with us through all our incarnations while the other exists only in one incarnation.) ◊ Our "threefold nature" is body, soul, and spirit. (Steiner also described us as fourfold beings, sevenfold beings, and ninefold beings.) ◊ The "developmental stages of the child" are three stages at the end of which our three invisible bodies incarnate, one by one.

Evolving Consciousness II - [W]orld evolution and occult history will be considered from the standpoint of the evolving consciousness of humanity as characterized by Rudolf Steiner.” — Antioch University of New England [http://www.antiochne.edu/registrar/courses/course_detail.cfm?CourseNum=EDT%20586&Section=A&Semester=Summer&CourseYear=2011]

A Research for Personal and Social Change -This course will work with research methods based upon the essential view of the human being and the basic exercises outlined in ESOTERIC SCIENCE by Rudolf Steiner ... Discussions will include aspects of evolving consciousness and how personal change can influence social change ... Required reading before the first session: chapters 1, 2, 3 & 5 of ESOTERIC SCIENCE....” — Antioch University of New England [http://www.antiochne.edu/registrar/courses/course_detail.cfm?CourseNum=EDP%20604A&Section=A&Semester=Summer&CourseYear=2011]

Waldorf School Administration - This course will provide an overview of Waldorf school administration ... Class sessions will balance practical aspects with philosophical considerations including karma ... Required texts:...first two chapters of KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS by Rudolf Steiner....”  — Antioch University of New England [http://www.antiochne.edu/registrar/courses/course_detail.cfm?Synonym=74365&CourseNum=EDNC%20016&Section=A&print=1]

RR: ◊ Occult history, as studied by aspiring Waldorf teachers, is the hidden spiritual history of human evolution "as characterized by Rudolf Steiner.” Steiner characterized it in such books as OCCULT HISTORY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982). ◊ World evolution, in Anthroposophical lore, is a spiritual process that began when the world (or solar system or universe) first emerged as a condition called Old Saturn. That phase gave way to Old Sun followed by Old Moon and, bringing the story up to date, Present Earth. Steiner described this history in such works as OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (recent edition: Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005). ◊ According to Steiner's teachings, humanity is gradually developing higher and higher forms of consciousness, leading to our eventual apotheosis. During Future Jupiter (our next evolutionary stage after Earth) we will all possess perfected imagination; during Future Venus (the stage after Jupiter), we will all have inspiration; during Future Vulcan (after Venus), intuition. ◊ ESOTERIC SCIENCE is an edition of OCCULT SCIENCE that substitutes a somewhat less alarming term for "occult": "esoteric." The translation is, throughout, toned down. But essentially the new translation is the same book as OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, which is the key Steiner text studied by essentially all of Steiner's devoted followers, including Waldorf teachers. [See "Everything".] ◊ The exercises outlined in ESOTERIC SCIENCE are meant to enable us to attain high forms of clairvoyance (imagination, inspiration, intuition) now, without waiting to evolve to Future Jupiter, etc. Steiner described such exercises in even more detail in his book KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (e.g., CreateSpace, 2011). ◊ Karma is one of many mystical doctrines imbedded in Waldorf education. Steiner's followers believe that every person has a karma, as does every institution, movement, stream of thought, etc. Steiner's doctrines on karma can be found in such works as THE KARMA OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009). Waldorf teachers are taught that karma brings them together with their students: their karmas and their students' karmas. Thus, they have enormous authority: The divine forces of the universe want them to shepherd these particular groups of children. Waldorf staff in other parts of the schools, such as the business offices, may also believe that they are fulfilling the will of the gods and enacting their karmas by promoting the welfare of the schools.

Note added in 2018

Waldorf teacher-training programs are becoming increasingly loath to reveal the specifics of their programs. More and more, the sorts of detailed expositions I quote here are absent from the programs' websites. (Perhaps the sort of exposure you've seen here accounts, at least in part, for the furtiveness of the sites nowadays.)

You may take the course descriptions quoted here as generally indicative of what goes on inside typical Waldorf training programs today, even as the specific quotations here become dated.

If you become interested in a specific Waldorf program that is holding its cards close to the vest, you certainly should press the representatives of that program for specific, honest answers to your questions. You should demand a detailed account of what the program offers and how the program is structured. You should demand the same sort of detailed course syllabus that any legitimate educational institution provides to its applicants and students. If a Waldorf program refuses to provide such a syllabus — or if ti provides one that proves to be false — you should almost certainly steer clear of that program.

— R.R.

Jan. 18, 2018

For a vivid first-person account 
of Waldorf teacher training, see 

More items from the Waldorf Watch "news" page:

Eurythmy at the Alkion Center.
Eurythmy is a form of spiritual dance 
created by Rudolf Steiner.
Waldorf teacher trainees learn it, 
and Waldorf students are usually 
required to perform it.

From the Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center, 
Hawthorne, New York (USA): 

"Alkion Center Now Accepting Applications for 2012-13 

"Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center is now accepting applications for its 2012-13 programs [in Anthroposophy, Waldorf teacher training, etc.] ... 

"Hawthorne Valley Alkion Center is now accepting applications for its 2012-13 programs [in Anthroposophy, Waldorf teacher training, etc.] ... 

"Waldorf Teacher Training

"The Waldorf Teacher Training Program at the Alkion Center is a three-year, part-time program. The first two years, Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy,* focus on the study of the written work of Rudolf Steiner... [http://alkioncenter.org/waldorf-teacher-training

"Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy

"Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy focuses on the study of the written work of Rudolf Steiner and is complemented by intensive artistic work and an introduction to contemplative inquiry. Grounded in the path of inner development, the goal of these courses is to awaken each participant to an awareness of the spiritual basis of our own humanity and its relationship to the being of nature that surrounds us... 

"The First Year ... The course includes:

"  • Meditative study of Rudolf Steiner's THE CALENDAR OF THE SOUL 
"  • Learning to Breathe with the Senses 
"  • THEOSOPHY by Rudolf Steiner - A Look into the Nature of Being Human: Biography, Destiny and Evolution
"  • Eurythmy, Painting and Sculpture 
"  • The Development of Consciousness through Music and Art 
"  • Biography Seminars 
"  • [Study of] The Cultural Epochs 

"The Second Year ... The course includes:
"  • The Six Basic Exercises - Meditation, Self Development and Inner Practice 
"  • ESOTERIC SCIENCE by Rudolf Steiner 
"  • PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM by Rudolf Steiner 
"  • Eurythmy, Painting, Sculpture, Music 
"  • History of Consciousness through the Visual Arts 
"  • The Practical Application of Spiritual Science* - Guest Speakers in Biodynamic Agriculture, Waldorf Education, Economics, Medicine, Phenomenological Science and the Therapeutic Arts" 

• ◊ •

Waldorf Watch Response:

Despite what Waldorf schools often claim, Waldorf teacher training generally centers on the occult doctrines of Rudolf Steiner, and these are what new Waldorf teachers bring with them into their work ("the practical application of Spiritual Science...[in] Waldorf Education"). Learning to be a Waldorf teacher is not much different from learning to be an Anthroposophist. After all, as Steiner said, "Anthroposophy will be in the school". [For more, see "Teacher Training" and "Here's the Answer".]

* Rudolf Steiner's doctrines — in essence, the tenets of the new religion he created — are called Anthroposophy. An alternative term often used by his followers is Spiritual Science.

"The Cincinnati Waldorf School is seeking a Lead Class Teacher for Grade One for the 2011-12 school year. We value excellent skills in teaching, classroom management, communication, and collegial and parent relationships, as well as depth in spiritual work ... We seek educators who understand and work with the Anthroposophical foundations of the curriculum ... The ideal teacher candidate will have Waldorf training, successful experience working in a Waldorf school, and a commitment to an eight year journey with their class." 

• ◊ •

Waldorf Watch Response:

Waldorf teacher-training programs are like no other. There is often extensive reading and discussion of such books as FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, in which aspiring Waldorf teachers are told that the planets do not orbit the sun and islands such as Great Britain float in the sea (they are held in place by the power of the stars). There is also instruction in such matters as life before birth (i.e., before reincarnation), karma, the powers of the zodiac, the general uselessness of the intellect, children's temperaments (melancholic, phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric), the twelve human senses, and other occult doctrines. The essence of these programs is "free" acceptance of Steiner's teachings; this is what the program leaders aim to inculcate. As one instructor in a Waldorf teacher-training program has said, "I am a missionary on behalf of Steiner."

Anyone who doubts that Waldorf education is mystical and/or religious should look into the spiritual training that new Waldorf teachers receive, as well as the continuing spiritual education that veteran Waldorf teachers undertake throughout their careers. Alicia Hamberg, at The Ethereal Kiosk, has helpfully summarized lectures given recently at the New Impulse Conference 2012 at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training [California, USA]. Here are some of the matters discussed in those lectures by Claus-Peter Röh. (I quote from the summaries posted by the conference organizers, then I offer a response in the form of footnotes.)


“Nowadays, children are waking up and are being called upon to use their head forces too early [i] ... Our astral body is much better at sensing and exploring an impression, of having a correct feel for it... [ii]

“The curriculum is a vessel that gently carries a child through his development from being one with the world to...looking outward [at] the world [iii] ... The teacher must ask herself of each student, ‘Are the ego and the physical body together in the right way?’ The teacher must then use the curriculum to bring about the balance between the ego and the body. [iv]

Within each lesson there must be a constant breathing from outer (the will) to inner (the ego) ... Forces of soul cultivated early on transform into forces of cognition in later years ... [v] The Waldorf curriculum is filled with wisdom and possibilities to assist each child in his path of development [vi]... 

“Rudolf Steiner indicated that it was our task as teachers to develop the limb man and part of the chest man and then let them awaken the other part of the chest and the head [vii] ... When engaging in sculpture, painting and form drawing, we are working out of the limbs through the will. In music, singing and speech we are working in part from the chest through feeling. If we only worked one-sidedly with these forces, there would be an imbalance ... Through creative and musical activity one can develop the forces needed to bring real meaning to their thinking life, and it this task that brings real purpose to the teacher [viii]... 

“The teacher who radiates this care for the child is not judgmental but interested in seeing the child as a spirit force that comes to the teacher for higher reasons [ix] ... This ability to see the spirit force in a child comes to all of us in ordinary moments of working with children [x] ... [A Waldorf teacher] was struck by the age and wisdom that flashed through the eyes [of a young child]. This is like the flash of intuition that the higher self has in times of trouble. We need this flash to be able to respond to the spirit force in the children [xi] ... So often we do not seek the counsels of the higher self until we have exhausted everything else ... [Claus-Peter] put the three phases of childhood into his own language. The first stage he characterized as ‘Movement into consciousness.’ For the next stage, from 7-14, he gave the phrase ‘We heard the Child.’ Finally he called the last stage of childhood ‘I know you.’ [xii] ... These three ages require three methods. First we communicate to the child in living pictures, then we give the child room to feel heard, then we recognize that the child wishes to be known. [xiii] 

“Claus-Peter spoke about how daily meditation can help us reach deeper levels in our teaching, allowing us really to see the children. We strive to reach beyond our conscious mind, into the realm of living pictures, and even beyond that to the realm of will, so that we will be able to follow through and actually carry out our ideas and plans for teaching [xiv] ... Steiner called meditation the only truly free deed since we don’t need to do it for any outer reason, we must simply want to do it for our own self-development. Claus-Peter discussed the teachers’ meditation given by Steiner and said that every teacher needs to find his or her own way to connect with the meditation; it’s not the same for any two individuals [xv] ... As in meditation when we put effort in and finally get something back from beyond ourselves, in teaching something similar happens when we get something back from the children [xvi].”

• ◊ •

Waldorf Watch Response:

[i] In Waldorf belief, children should not use their heads or brains much until they have developed other "forces," and even then use of the intellect is generally downplayed unless intellect is conditioned by emotion and clairvoyant imagination. Waldorf education generally works to delay the children's "waking up" — young students are meant to be held in a dream-like consciousness as long as possible. [See "Thinking Cap".]

[ii] Steiner taught that in addition to the physical body, fully incarnated humans have etheric, astral, and ego bodies — constellations of developmental, soul, and spirit forces. [See "Incarnation".]

[iii] In Waldorf belief, children arrive on Earth attuned to the spirit realm and the spiritual level of earthly existence. Only slowly does the child settle within her/himself and start to see the world as separate from the self.

[iv] The Waldorf curriculum is not primarily meant to provide a good education, as usually conceived, but to help integrate the various components of the human organism as occultly conceived. The "ego" mentioned here is the ego body or "I"; the "body" mentioned here is the physical body.

[v] By preparing the spirit properly — immersing a child in myths and occult beliefs — Waldorf schools try to ensure that the brain, when it finally wakes up, will understand the universe properly (i.e., in accordance with Anthroposophical belief). [See "Indoctrination".]

[vi] The path of childhood development is the process of incarnating our invisible bodies: the etheric body becomes fully incarnate around age 7, the astral body around age 14, and the ego body around age 21. Waldorf teachers try to help children incarnate properly so that the various parts of each child's being — such as the physical body and the ego body — will be properly balanced. Likewise, various spiritual functions — such as the will and the inner ego force — should be balanced. The primary focus is on the soul with its soul forces, and the spirit with its spirit forces. Steiner differentiated between soul and spirit. The former is the portion of one's spiritual self that exists only during a single incarnation; the latter is the portion of one's spiritual self that is carried from incarnation to incarnation.

[vii] Steiner taught that the human organism has three systems: the head system, the limb/metabolic system, and the chest or trunk system. [See "What We Are".] Each of these, perceived occultly, is a separate "man": the head-man, the limb-man, and the chest- or trunk-man. These "men" embody the "forces" of thinking, willing, and feeling, and each has both lower and higher parts.

[viii] This is the process, mentioned earlier, of developing other forces before emphasizing the capacity for thought.  All parts of the Waldorf curriculum are meant to have mystical impact; the arts in particular are thought to be pathways into the spirit realm. Form drawing is the repetitive sketching of geometric forms, meant to awaken clairvoyant capacities.

[ix] Waldorf teachers believe that their students chose them before birth; a class comes together because of their karmas and in accordance with the will of the gods. A Waldorf teacher thus has immense authority: S/he has this group of children "for higher reasons."

[x] “Seeing” the spirit force within a child — i.e., perceiving the child’s spiritual essence — is a major goal for Waldorf teachers. This requires spiritual or psychic insight, i.e., clairvoyance. Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz has described how Waldorf teachers use “everyday clairvoyance” for this purpose. [See, e.g., Schwartz’s WALDORF EDUCATION (Xlbiris, 2000).]

[xi] This is an anecdotal example of the Waldorf approach — a Waldorf teacher perceives a student's spirit reflected in the eyes. Such perception occurs when the "intuition" of the "higher self" (i.e., the clairvoyant power of the spiritually enlightened self) is employed.

[xii] These are the stages of incarnation mentioned earlier.

[xiii] The Waldorf approach is meant to subtly shift as the children grow older and incarnate new capacities. As we saw previously, the teachers attempt to "develop [each child's] limb man and part of the chest man and then let them awaken the other part of the chest and the head." [To examine the Waldorf approach, described in more accessible terms, see “Curriculum” and “Methods”.] "Living pictures" are visualized or clairvoyantly imagined realities — embodiments of the gods' living thoughts. [See "Thinking".] Claus-Peter describes the child gradually emerging to conscious assertion of the ego, awake in the world (as occultly conceived).

[xiv] Like other Anthroposophists, Waldorf teachers use the prayers, meditations, spiritual exercises, etc., prescribed by Rudolf Steiner. [See, e.g., VERSES AND MEDITATIONS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004).] Waldorf teaching cannot be performed properly without these spiritual preparations.

[xv] Steiner prescribed two meditations for teachers. "He...suggested specific exercises and meditations for teachers to help them work more consciously on the Earth on behalf of the spiritual powers [i.e., gods]." — Roberto Trostli, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING (SteinerBooks, 1998), p. 54. “The first meditation describes what our task is: to overcome the abyss between subject and object, inner and outer. The first meditation has to do with Imagination. This meditation is to be done in the evening before preparations and before one’s personal meditations. We are seeking the powers of enlightenment with this meditation ...The second meditation has to do with Inspiration ... In America we should strive to speak the verses in German ... Dawning light...wisdom as seen within. I am the mediator between the above and the below. Steiner gave this meditation to Maria Roeschl Lehrs in the Autumn of 1923, four years after the first was given.” — “Ponderings of the College of Teachers”, http://www.awsna.org/PonderingsCollegeTeachers.pdf]. Steiner summarized the Waldorf teacher's role in these words: "I [the teacher] am the mediator between the divine spiritual world and the child. The child believes me and accepts what I say, but does not yet understand it ... When [in later life] something arises in the soul that was once accepted on trust and is only now understood, we can see that to teach properly we must not consider only the immediate moment but the whole of life. In all that we teach children, this must be kept in view." — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL GROUND OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 2004), p. 34. 

[xvi] Waldorf education, as described here, is a spiritual communion between teacher and student. As we have seen, however, the teacher's authority and influence are meant to be great; the child is molded in accordance with Anthroposophical precepts. 

◊ ••• ◊

Here are Steiner's meditations for teachers, in the original German and in English translation:

Im Schein des Sinnewesens,
Da lebt des Geistes Wille,
Als Weisheitslicht sich gebend,
Und innre Kraft verbergend;

Im Ich des eignen Wesens,
Da scheinet Menschenwille,
Als Denkens Offenbarung,
Auf eigne Kraft sich stützend;

Und eigne Kraft dem Lichte
Der Weltenweisheit machtvoll
Geeinet zu dem Selbste:

Gestaltet mich, der ich mich
Zum Göttlich-Hohen wende
Erleuchtungskräfte suchend.

Within the glow of sensory existence,
There lives the spirit's will,
Embodying the light of wisdom
And concealing inner strength;

In the I of one's own being,
There the human will shines,
As the revelation of thought,
Relying on one's own strength;

And the power of the self
Is joined mightily
To the light of world-wisdom,

Shaping my selfhood,
I turn to high divinity
Seeking powers of enlightenment.

◊ • ◊

Geistiges Blicken,
Wende dich schauend nach Innen;
Herzliches Tasten
Rühre am zarten Seelen-Sein;
Im ahnenden Geistes-Blicken,
Im herzhaften Seelen-Tasten,
Da webt sich Bewußt-Sein.
Bewußt-Sein, das aus dem Oben
Und dem Unten des Menschen-Wesens
Bindet Welten-Helle
An das Erden-Dunkel.

Geistiges Blicken
Herzliches Tasten
Erblicke, Ertaste
Im Menschen-Innern
Webende Welten-Helle
In waltendem Erdendunkel:
Mein eigenes
Menschen-Bilde- Kraft

Spiritual vision,
Turn to look within;
Heartfelt touching
Stir the tender soul;
In the foresight of the spirit,
In the heartfelt touch of the soul,
The self-aware individual weaves itself.
Consciousness coming from the upper
and lower portions of the human being
Binds the brightness of the heavens
To the darkness of the Earth.

Spiritual vision,
Heartfelt touching,
Looking, feeling
Within the human being
Weave the brightness of the worlds
Into the prevailing darkness of the Earth:
My own
human power of imagination

[Translations by Roger Rawlings, relying heavily on DeepL Translator.]

Classes for Waldorf teachers and others 
offered during the summer of 2012 
at the Center for Anthroposophy 
[New Hampshire, USA]: 

“Renewal Courses are designed for a wide range of interests related to Waldorf education and anthroposophy. We offer courses for Waldorf teachers — both new and experienced — along with parents, administrators, trustees, and friends of Waldorf education, as well as for artists and thinkers seeking to deepen their lives through anthroposophy."  

Among the courses to be offered:

◊ “The Mystical Heart of Abraham 

“This course will explore through discussion, image, story, and meditation what happens if one takes the three Abraham revelations — Jewish, Christian, and Muslim — not as negating one another but as complementary aspects of a single mystery.... 

“Following this path...a new vision of the evolution of consciousness and our present human task begins to emerge: one that allows us to see Anthroposophy in a new light.... 

◊ “Cancer: Living Forces and the Soul – Experiences near the Threshold 

“In our course we will look at the phenomena connected with different stages of cancer and how the increasing ‘blindness’ of the organism against the illness undermines the body’s inherent ability to develop self-healing powers.... 

“Through an anthroposophical approach the patient can be seen as a spiritual being who existed before birth. From this perspective the disposition for cancer was acquired before conception in the spiritual realm. 

“...Eurythmy with Cezary Ciaglo." [http://www.centerforanthroposophy.org/programs/renewal-courses/week-one/cancer-living-forces-and-the-soul/]

◊ “A Bridge across the Threshold: Creating a Living Connection 

“Building a bridge between the world of the living and the world of the dead is a central task of anthroposophy. Rudolf Steiner spoke frequently of the importance of the relationship between the living and those who have passed through the gateway of death. Our thoughts are the ‘fields of grain’ from which the dead gather the harvest that is their sustenance. Our memories of those who have died are like works of art that enrich their world, just as paintings or sculpture enhance our experience of the natural world and our surroundings. By connecting consciously with the dead, they can be present to and for us and contribute to our human striving. 


◊ “A Bridge across the Threshold: Creating a Living Connection 

“Building a bridge between the world of the living and the world of the dead is a central task of anthroposophy. Rudolf Steiner spoke frequently of the importance of the relationship between the living and those who have passed through the gateway of death. Our thoughts are the ‘fields of grain’ from which the dead gather the harvest that is their sustenance. Our memories of those who have died are like works of art that enrich their world, just as paintings or sculpture enhance our experience of the natural world and our surroundings. By connecting consciously with the dead, they can be present to and for us and contribute to our human striving. 


Training to become a Waldorf teacher is largely indistinguishable from studying to become an Anthroposophist.

Some of the courses now offered at Rudolf Steiner College [California, USA] as part of their Waldorf teacher training program:

• Cosmic Evolution and Inner Realities of Evolution

• Drawing the Seven Planetary Seals

• Karma and Reincarnation and Biography

• Spiritual Streams and Leading Sun Initiates

• Art History and Sacred Architecture

• Evolution of Religions and Esoteric Christianity

• Astronomy, Astrology, Astrosophy

These courses represent one curricular option. A second option delves less deeply into Anthroposophical doctrines; still, the courses in that option are also informed by Anthroposophical beliefs and practices (e.g., "Learning to See the Spirit in the Child" and "Evolution of Consciousness").  

◊◊ • ◊◊

Two of the seven Anthroposophical planetary seals
— representing the sacred planets of astrology — 
that teacher trainees at Rudolf Steiner College
are taught to draw.
Above: Jupiter. Below: Venus.

 [Rough copies, 2014, plates 32 & 33,
colors added.]

◊◊ • ◊◊

Courses offered at the Sunbridge Institute 

[New York, USA] as part of their 

Waldorf teacher training program:


Inner Development of the Teacher [Year 1]: 

  • Anthroposophical View of the Human Being 

  • Inner Development: “Practical Training in Thought” 

Inner Development of the Teacher [Year 2]: 

  • The Meditative Path of the Teacher 

Inner Development of the Teacher [Year 3]: 

  • Capstone, culminating reflective paper 

  • Relationship of Waldorf Education to Anthroposophy: Foundation Stone Meditation 

The trainees' inner work (i.e., work on their spiritual development) occurs in parallel with other work more focused on the classroom, such as a two-semester course describing child development from an Anthroposophical perspective. 

◊◊ • ◊◊

[Temple Lodge Publishing, 2006.
Temple Lodge is an Anthroposophical press; 
Rudolf Steiner Press is a distributor for Temple Lodge.]

This meditation was written by Rudolf Steiner
 and delivered upon the placement of the 
foundation stone for the worldwide 
Anthroposophical headquarters, the Goetheanum. 
From the publisher: 

“THE FOUNDATION STONE MEDIATION  ::  Meditative reflection — strengthening thinking and feeling through the will — is one of the main methods of experiencing Anthroposophy. 'The best path to this goal,' says [author Sergei O.] Prokofieff, 'is inner work with the Foundation Stone Meditation, because this meditation is the quintessence of the whole of Anthroposophy....’ [Subjects include] the relationship of the 'Foundation Stone Meditation' to the being Anthroposophia, the spiritual hierarchies, human karma, the Rosicrucian, Michaelic and Grail streams, the Mystery of Golgotha, the two Jesus children, the three spiritual sources of Anthroposophy, and even the Constitution of the General Anthroposophical Society.” 

From the Ethereal Kiosk:

"While browsing my documents I found a helpful little guide for teachers. It’s written by Robin Bacchus (PhD!). He is (or was) a program director at a Steiner teacher training program. The document is called ‘Karma and Reincarnation for Teachers’...." 

[3-19-2012   http://zooey.wordpress.com/ (The document is a little hard to read, so I have transcribed the contents and adjusted the formatting. — RR)]

Karmic Consequences

What can we as teachers and parents do when we become aware of the karmic consequences of certain conditions and attitudes?
Rudolf Steiner has indicated:

Attitude in a Prior Life  ::  Consequences in Next Life


Attentiveness and interest in the world  ::  Well-formed organs, strong physical body, thick bushy hair, choleric temperament            


Lack of interest in the wider world, (e.g. being secluded in a nunnery)  ::  Poorly formed organs, rickets, bow legs, baldness, melancholic temperament
Ability to learn languages (mobile etheric life body)  ::  Ability to make unprejudiced judgements

Excessive acquisitiveness  ::  Tendency to infectious illnesses


Illusionary self image, delusions  ::  Measles, scarlet fever


Uncharitableness  ::  Small pox

Lack of interest in music  ::  Asthma


“Therefore it is a blessing for children to point things to them so that they can look more carefully. 
Arouse their interest.”

Hatred    > life sorrows    > dulled consciousness, mental illness, clumsiness

“Therefore give children an opportunity to do deeds out of love.”

No sense for facts    > tendency to lies    > defective organs    > frivolousness

“Therefore develop a sense in the children for facts and the truth.”

Difficult Karma can be healed by human love; it does not have to be left for the afflicted one to suffer alone. Indeed, we should not be able to rest in peace when we know another is suffering. It is the task of teacher in continuing and carrying out the work of the third Hierarchy [i.e., gods] to help remove the obstacles that lie in the children’s paths, by recognizing the karmic implications of what they observe in the children standing before them and doing what they can to help.

[With thanks to Alicia Hamberg.
"Karma and Reincarnation for Teachers" by Robin Bacchus

Karma and reincarnation are basic Anthroposophical doctrines. And as a Waldorf educator has written, “[T]he purpose of [Waldorf] education is to help the individual fulfill his karma.” — Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 52. [See "Spiritual Agenda", "Karma", and "Reincarnation".]


P.S. Steiner said teachers should "develop a sense in the children for facts and the truth.” He often made such statements, advocating things that any reasonable person would applaud. But, in practice, Steiner generally undercut such reasonable affirmations. Thus, for instance, Waldorf education notably steers children away from facts and truth. [See, e.g., "Thinking Cap".] Steiner's followers accept his anti-rational guidance on such matters, as when they disparage "fact-based education." [See, e.g., "Oh Man".]

Head of a Waldorf teacher-training program, Alan Whitehead has published a series of "teacher-parent manuals" called the Spiritual Syllabus Series (Golden Beetle Books), outlining his version of the correct Waldorf curriculum. Here's a taste, from volume 15, GAZE BOTH WAYS, Social Studies Class 7 & 8:

"...With a mineral body completely estranged from its divine origins, we of the Aryan epoch, really got into our straps on the good-and-evil path of character development. [paragraph break] Every subsequent culture tells of this timeless struggle, from Ancients [sic] India (Krishna-Kali); Persia (Ahura Mazdao-Ahriman); Egypt (Osiris-Set); Greece/Rome (Apollo/Apollyon), and finally the Judao[sic]-Christian world (Christ-Satan). All of these Beings, both light and dark, are, in part at least, ourselves; locked as we are in mortal combat on the battlefield of the War of Good and Evil. This war will climax, in the far future, with the decisive conflict of the War of All Against All...." (p. 106).

Note: Whitehead is a controversial figure who advocates incorporating Anthroposophy overtly in Waldorf classes. Some of his colleagues in the Waldorf movement think he goes too far. Others are delighted by his approach.

For more on Whitehead and his approach, see "Spiritual Syllabusand "Out in the Open".

- Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings

[Rudolf Steiner College]

[Great Lakes Waldorf Institute]

[Center for Anthroposophy]

Waldorf Publications has released a book, originating at the Goetheanum, that is meant to steer new Waldorf teachers into a deep embrace of Anthroposophy. The book's title is TOWARD THE DEEPENING OF WALDORF EDUCATION. [See Waldorf Watch news accounts for January 3 and 4, 2019.] 

The book contains the texts of the two meditations Steiner prepared for Waldorf teachers. The texts are given in the original German and in multiple English translations. 

Like most meditations — texts intended to be contemplated and mulled over — these two are somewhat puzzling. (Hence the need for multiple translations.) To true-believing followers of Steiner, they may seem profound. To newcomers hoping to attain initiation in the mysteries of Anthroposophy, they may be inspiring and thought-provoking. To disinterested outsiders, they may seem to be very nearly gibberish.

Here are my own translations. To see the original German texts and English translations prepared by Anthroposophists, you should consult pp. 101-111, TOWARD THE DEEPENING OF WALDORF EDUCATION (Waldorf Publications, 2012, reprinted 2017).

Waldorf Teachers' Meditation #1

Within the glow of sensory existence,

There lives the spirit's will,

Embodying the light of wisdom

And concealing inner strength;

In the I of one's own being,

There the human will shines,

As the revelation of thought,

Relying on one's own strength;

And the power of the self

Is joined mightily

To the light of world-wisdom,

Shaping my selfhood,

I turn to high divinity

Seeking powers of enlightenment.

Waldorf Teachers' Meditation #2

Spiritual vision,

Turn to look within;

Heartfelt touching

Stir the tender soul;

In the foresight of the spirit,

In the wholeheartedness of the soul,

The self-aware being weaves itself.

Consciousness coming from the upper

and lower portions of the human being

Binds the brightness of the heavens

To the darkness of the Earth:

My own

Human force of imagination





— Translations by Roger Rawlings, 2019;

aided by translation services provided by

DeepL, Google, and Microsoft

In 2017, Rudolf Steiner College 

undertook a major revision of its offerings; 

see "September, 2017".

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


A survey of the standard Waldorf curriculum

How they try to do it

Seven of them

The irrational modes of “thought” fostered at Waldorf schools

English classes and history classes in a typical Waldorf school

The central mythology in many Waldorf schools: Norse myths

At Waldorf schools, ignorance is often taken as wisdom

The Waldorf curriculum: the arts, and festivals

How they paint and draw

The Waldorf curriculum: math

The antiscientific nature of Waldorf education

Class journals as created by students at many Waldorf schools

The Anthroposophical take on technology

No [external link]

The Waldorf curriculum: astronomy

Steiner on our solar system or "our universe"

A behind-the-scenes look at Waldorf education

Exploring the fundamentals of Waldorf schooling

Further explorations

Still further explorations

Talks between Steiner and Waldorf teachers

"Practical" tips Steiner gave to Waldorf faculty


[1] Anthroposophical pages that I link to here at Waldorf Watch have a strange way of disappearing. Today, September 18, 2010, I find that the page at Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training has been removed [http://www.bacwtt.org/curriculum-classes/teacher-training/first-year]. Other pages I cite here may also have been removed or altered. Perhaps this is an innocent coincidence or the natural evolution of a website. In any case, by poking around the Net, you should be able to find plenty of information about Waldorf teacher training. Thus, to the best of my knowledge, as of today here are the Waldorf teacher training programs in North America:*


Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training


Waldorf Institute of Southern California


Rudolf Steiner College


Kula Makua-Adult Waldorf Education


Arcturus Rudolf Steiner Education Program


Waldorf Institute of the Great Lakes


Center for Anthroposophy


Center for Anthroposophy (Antioch/New England Campus)


Sunbridge College


Waldorf Teacher Training, Eugene


Sound Circle Center


Great Lakes Teacher Training Program



West Coast Institute for Studies in Anthroposophy


Rudolf Steiner Centre - Toronto


Institut Rudolf Steiner au Quebec


* I have subsequently updated some of these addresses.

[2] Not all Anthroposophists are vegetarians; Steiner didn't require it. But Anthroposophy does seem to exert a special attraction for people in the green, countercultural, and New Age communities.

[3] Waldorf schools place great emphasis on the arts, but not for the normal reasons. Steiner taught that involvement with the arts puts you in touch with the spirit worlds. [See "Magical Arts".]

[4] Steiner taught that Atlantis was a real place, a continent that sank. [See "Atlantis and Aryans".]

The formatting at Waldorf Watch aims for visual variety, 
seeking to ease the process of reading lengthy texts on a computer screen. 

(The Waldorf movement is large, and the occult teachings on which it is 
based are embodied in a sprawling array of books, pamphlets, 
lecture transcripts, and related documents. 
An adequate critique must be, itself, fairly sprawling.)

I often generalize about Waldorf schools. 
There are fundamental similarities among Waldorf schools; 
I describe the schools based on the evidence concerning 
their structure and operations 
in the past and — more importantly — in the present. 
But not all Waldorf schools, Waldorf charter schools, 
and Waldorf-inspired schools are wholly alike. 
To evaluate an individual school, you should carefully examine its stated purposes, 
its practices (which may or may not be consistent with its stated purposes), 
and the composition of its faculty. 

— R. R.