“Lovers of unconscious humour are recommended

to make a study of pages 53-55 of the text.”

— Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Max von Laue,

ridiculing Rudolf Steiner’s OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE



With Apologies to  

D. Letterman

Compiled by Roger Rawlings

Afterword by Diana Winters

Addendum by Margaret Sachs

"Are We Having Fun Yet?" by Yrs. Trly.

Jokes Unintentionally Provided by Rudolf Steiner

Anagram by Diana Winters

Steiner’s statements were often unintentionally hilarious.

He was serious about each of the following remarks.


I kid you not.

10) “[A]n island like Great Britain swims in the sea

and is held fast by the forces of the stars.” [1] 

  9) It is bias that causes people to imagine that their heads 

are the most perfect part of themselves. 

It is certainly structured in a most complicated way, 

but it is really just a metamorphosed cuttlefish. [2]

  8) "I am an I only to myself; to every other being I am a you.” [3] 

  7)  “The group soul of a beehive is a very high level being ...

It has attained a level of evolutionary development

that human beings will later reach....” [4]

  6)  “The animal man of the Moon [did] not yet have firm bones ...

[T]he Moon of that time did not have

a thin, airy atmosphere ... [I]ts envelope was considerably thicker,

even denser than the water of today.” [5]

  5) “[These were] human beings who had their origins in the interbreeding

of Earth offspring with humans who...moved to Jupiter.” [6]

  4)  “Gnomes are...unable to grasp how there can be anything but

an ineffectual relationship with [us].” [7] *

  3)  [Why bulls charge at red fabric]

“When the eye confronts red ...

the blood in the eye is slightly destroyed ...

When the bull confronts red he simply says, ‘Dash it all,

all the blood in my head is being destroyed!

I must defend myself!’ So he goes wild....” [8] **

  2) “[Science] sees the heart as a pump that pumps blood through the body.

Now there is nothing more absurd than believing this,

for the heart has nothing to do with pumping the blood.” [9]

  1) “It would be a mistake to view the lung

as less spiritual than the nose.” [10]

It's hard to know where to stop.

Steiner gets more preposterous the more you read him.

Consider the following a series of curtain calls:

0) What we have invisible within the soul, our hidden qualities

 — flirtatiousness, for example — 

become visible in plants. We don’t see this in a person who is awake, 

but it can be observed clairvoyantly in people who are sleeping. 

Flirtation, for example, looks like a carnation. 

A flirt continually produces carnations from the nose! 

A tedious, boring person produces gigantic leaves from the whole body, 

if you could see them.”  [11]

Oh, if only we could see them!

Unconscious humor was never better than this!

Except, maybe:

-1) "It is actually due to the fact that potatoes have come to be 

widely eaten in recent times 

that materialism has developed." [12]


-2) “[R]ealize that looking at the human head you are looking at

the transformed body of your previous earth life, and that the head you had then

was the transformed body of your preceding life

— you must imagine it without the head, of course.” [13]


-3) "[T]hrough very dubious means, they put her [Steiner's mentor, Helena Blavatsky]
in what is called occult imprisonment
which one achieves through certain ceremonial magic
in which the soul which you are imprisoning can have ideas which go to a certain sphere
and then are reflected back.
Everything that develops in the person can be seen by themselves but
it is not possible to share it with the external world.
It only works within itself; it is an occult imprisonment. 
This particular ceremonial magic leading to occult imprisonment 
was done in order to try to make H. P. Blavatsky harmless. 
In the year 1879 there was an association of occultists of various lands 
and it was decided that an occult imprisonment 
was to be placed over Madam Blavatsky
and she then lived for a number of years in real occult imprisonment. 
It then came about that certain Indian occultists freed her from this occult imprisonment." [14]

(What is it called again?

Actually, this is a nifty example of the hypnotic

and intellectually vapid quality of Steinerspeak:

Mentioning "certain" things that he does not define

["certain ceremonial magic", "a certain sphere",

"certain Indian occultists"]

Steiner repeats a certain phrase (in this certain instance, "occult imprisonment")

over and over, repeatedly,

saying it again and again, repetitiously, redundantly, repetitively,

over and over, several times,

multiple times, reiterating and restating the same thing,

unvaryingly, duplicatingly —

rehashing and rerunning

the very same identical words he already used before,

previously, at the start,


It isn't extremely informative.

[For more of this sort of thing by Steiner, see "Double Trouble."])


-4) [Why knitting is good for the teeth.] “Go into our needlework classes

and handicraft classes at the Waldorf School,

and you will find the boys knit and crochet as well as the girls ...

This is not the result of any fad or whim ...

[T]o drive the soul into the fingers means to promote all the forces that go to build up sound teeth.” [15]*** 


-5) "The souls of those who have recently died are surrounded by strange demonic forms ...

demonic figures with enormous webbed feet...huge webbed feet that are perpetually changing shape.

These beings have a form somewhat similar to that of the kangaroo ... 

If, as you are standing among the autumn crocuses, you try to evoke the state of consciousness that is able to follow the dead,

you will see, wherever an autumn crocus is growing, a being of the kind I have just described,

with webbed feet and strange kangaroo-like body." [16]


-6) “[A]ccording to the agreement reached in the heavenly conference at the beginning of the thirteenth century, 
the Aristotelians and the Platonists were to appear [i.e., reincarnate] together, 
working for the ever-growing prosperity of the Anthroposophical Movement in the twentieth century.” [17]


-7) “It is actually more difficult to transmit a telegram in a region where there are not

ant colonies than it is in a region where they exist....” [18]****


-8) "[T]he butterfly does not entrust its egg to the earth, but only to the sun.

Then out creeps the caterpillar, which is under the influence of Mars-activity ...

Then the chrysalis is formed, and this is under the influence of Jupiter-activity. [19]*****


-9) "Once I knew a man who had quite an unusual forehead ...

 This man actually had a pronounced bulge, and his forebrain was actually pushed out.

I am convinced that this man, whose brain was pushed forward so much,

possessed a particularly well-formed abdomen and never suffered from diarrhea or constipation ... 

[H]is powerful, protruding forehead never permitted disorders of the abdomen. 

You can see from this that a man's forehead is related in a remarkable way to his abdomen."  [20]


-10) “When death approaches — this is the peculiar thing with pachyderms — 
these animals feel this particularly strongly ... Their instinct then makes them go into caves. 
People tend not to look for them in those earth caves. 
If they were to look for them there they would find more dead elephants in the regions where elephants are. 
They are not found in the open.” [21]******


-11) "The predecessors of our Earth-gnomes, the Moon gnomes,
gathered together their Moon-experiences and from them fashioned this structure, 
this firm structure of the solid fabric of the Earth, 
so that our solid Earth-structure actually arose from the experiences of the gnomes of the old Moon.” [22]


-12) "The Sun moves; it would outrun the Earth if the Earth simply revolved around the Sun. 

The Earth cannot revolve around the Sun because meanwhile the Sun would move away from it. 

In reality, the Sun moves on, and the Earth and the other planets follow it." [23]


- 13) “Remember what I have said in former lectures, that man is, in a sense, an inverted plant.” [24]


* A joke is a failure if you have to explain it. But I can’t resist commenting on a couple of these. About gnomes: Steiner believed in them. Seriously: “There are beings that can be seen with clairvoyant vision at many spots in the depths of the earth ... If you dig into the metallic or stony ground you find beings which manifest at first in remarkable fashion — it is as if something were to scatter us. They seem able to crouch close together in vast numbers, and when the earth is laid open they appear to burst asunder ... Many names have been given to them, such as goblins, gnomes and so forth ... Their nature prompts them to play all sorts of tricks on man....” [25]

** Probably you’ve heard the canard about bulls and the color red. Red drives bulls crazy, no? No. Bulls have little or no ability to see red. [26] They can, however, tell when pieces of cloth are flapped in their faces, and they don’t like it. But the color of the cloth is irrelevant. The interesting point, here, is that Steiner falls for the canard. He did this over and over. He cited myths, legends, fables — and, as in this case, folklore — finding “truth” in all of it. But in truth, much of the source material Steiner relied on is silly, and wide swaths of it are flat-out wrong. In fact, Steiner’s “spiritual science” — Anthroposophy — is an amalgam of such fallacies, many of them ancient, gathered from around the world. A big pile of fallacies is not a treasury of truth. It is a big pile of fallacies. Consider Mars. Steiner knew that the ancient Greeks associated Mars with war (“Mars”: the Greek god of war), and what was good enough for them was good enough for him: He bought it: Mars is a warlike place. Just one little problem. The ancients who imagined stuff about Mars had almost no actual knowledge of that planet. Granted, Mars is red (which is why bulls don’t see it — sorry), but this doesn’t mean it is a bloody place. There are no warriors on Mars. No wars have been fought on Mars. It is a lifeless place, with the possible exception of microscopic organisms. (Actually, I would be delighted if we find life forms on Mars, and I would be thrilled if we discover the ruins of ancient civilizations there — even warlike civilizations. But so far we have not, and we have no reason to think we ever will.) If you want to know about Mars, consult NASA, not ancient myths — and certainly not Rudolf Steiner. “The Buddha wandered away from earthly affairs to the realm of Mars ... The Buddha Mystery on Mars did not take the same course as the Christ Mystery on earth, but Buddha, the Prince of Peace...was transferred to the belligerent realm of Mars ....” [27] Great stuff. I probably should have put this quote on the top ten list instead of burying it here in a footnote. Oh, well. Steiner had a million of ‘em. [28]

*** This explains the rather enigmatic indication Steiner gave during a Waldorf faculty meeting: “Handwork. Knitting develops good teeth.” [29] The American Dental Association is strangely uninformed on this point.

**** Steiner's comments about science and technology are almost invariably nutty. He professed to know virtually everything about everything, but in fact... I'd spell it out for you, but we don't have enough anthills here. See "Steiner's 'Science'".

***** Steiner knew as little about animals and insects as he did about planets and stars — which was almost as little as he knew about children. Bear in mind that all this craziness counts for deep insight in Waldorf circles. In truth, what Steiner peddled was often little more than astrology and other forms of superstition trussed up in the elaborate lingo of pseudoscience.

****** There's actually a very good reason why people don't look for elephant skeletons in caves. Can you guess what it is?

OK. Enough bull.

But about those gnomes ...


by Diana Winters

The presence of stuffed-fabric gnomes in Waldorf kindergartens strikes some parents as charming or even humorous. The gnomes are not only physically present: they often appear in stories the teachers tell, and the children are encouraged to draw gnomes. But the gnomes' role is more complicated than this. I urge prospective Waldorf parents to see past the charm-facade provided by the gnomes. The gnomes sell the school incredibly well, and that is one of their main functions. They literally sell like hot cakes at school fairs or craft shows, and they "sell" the school by dulling parental reasoning abilities. Parents fall "in love" with the gnomes, along with the knitted bunnies and ponies and flowing silks and homey "just like grandma's" atmosphere of the kindergartens.

I urge prospective or current Waldorf kindergarten parents to visit a classroom and observe just how (or whether) the children actually relate to or interact with the gnomes in the classroom. The gnomes aren't cuddly. They aren't friendly. They're actually just a little bit threatening. Gnomes in Waldorf lore are not quite sympathetic to humans — they're tricky and conniving, not exactly smart but crafty, resentful, frankly a little on the mean and stupid side. Gnomes aren't friends or playmates for children — they're often just odd, grimacing presences on the shelf. Watch in the classroom and see — do the children play with them? Do they talk to them? Do they appear to view the gnomes affectionately? Do the gnomes have names, personalities, do the children tell stories about the gnomes? Watch and see.

Gnomes are something that Waldorf schools can hook onto in popular culture, from suburban lawn ornaments to familiar fairy tales, and insinuate a message about "nature spirits" that is meant to prepare children to be receptive to a wide variety of related beliefs about the "spiritual hierarchies" as outlined by Rudolf Steiner. Nature spirits are at or near the bottom of a very complex hierarchy, going up through various rankings of angels and archangels to the Christian seraphim, cherubim etc. (in other terminology "thrones" and "dominions" etc. God, however, is curiously rarely spoken of). Of course, angels are also often spoken of and painted or drawn in Waldorf. I think gnomes get more systematic emphasis because talk of angels is too blatantly religious, parents will wonder if their child comes home always talking about angels, whereas gnomes can be treated as simply creatures from children's stories or fairy tales, and of course most Waldorf schools deny to parents that the curriculum is religious.

Gnomes at work underground.

Drawing by a Waldorf student.

[Courtesy of People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools.]


by Margaret Sachs

The felt gnome in my son's Waldorf classroom sat on a shelf near the top of the chalkboard. I remember the class teacher telling a group of parents that the gnome's role was to watch the children while he, the teacher, was out of the classroom. He said it with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, so my reaction was that it was funny and cute. I assumed it was intended as a big joke and that all the other parents shared that assumption. It never occurred to me that the gnome might have a different significance for the children. But I don't remember my children ever including gnomes in their conversation or play.

The teacher spoke of the gnome affectionately. I think he said the gnome's name was George. It's really weird to look back now, picturing all those adults sitting at their children's desks, listening attentively to a man who, unknown to us, believed his guru could see real gnomes. It's like something out of a Monty Python skit.

To learn a little about gnomes and other nonesuchs

that Steiner said are real, please use this link: "Beings"

An army of parodied Waldorf-ish gnomes,

created as part of an installation titled

"We Are Rudolf Steiner"

by former Waldorf student Ally Sachs.

[Copyright Ally Sachs]


by Roger Rawlings


Maybe I should add the following. I’ll use a Q & A format:

1) In the list of “jokes,” above, do I quote R. Steiner out of context? For sure. But, consider: All quotations are always out of context. To keep a sentence in context, you really ought to quote the entire paragraph in which it appears. But that paragraph would be out of the context of the whole chapter. I can’t very well reprint a whole chapter, but let’s say I did. That chapter would be out of the context of the whole book. So let’s say I reprinted the whole book (and got sued by the publisher for my trouble). The book would be out of the context of all the author’s other books. So let’s say I reprint several related books... You get the idea. The only solution to this difficulty is to make sure that any quotation is faithful to the meaning of the statement as it appears within its original context. I have done so. If you doubt this, please check up on me. I’ve documented each quotations. Read the books in question and draw your own conclusions.

2) Do I mangle Steiner’s meaning by chopping out various words and phrases? I do excise Steiner’s repetitions, asides, and other idiosyncratic confusions, but this is to his benefit. I work to present Steiner’s points as clearly as may be. If you have doubts, I again suggest that you check up on me. I have no reason to alter Steiner’s meaning, since his meaning is the best case against him. Further, please bear in mind that I am generally looking at English-language editions of Steiner’s works. Often enough, these works have been bowdlerized: The Anthropo-friendly editors have sometimes left out the worst phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and lectures. So, if I still find amazingly cockeyed statements in the remaining texts, imagine what I might find if I turned to the German-language texts. (Funny you should ask. I’ve gone to the German texts occasionally, and found real dillies. See, e.g., "Forbidden" and "Also Forbidden" — they aren't funny, but they are revealing.)

3) Should Steiner’s statements be taken as metaphoric, or parabolic, or anything else aside from literal? Steiner did sometimes mean his words to be taken in a non-literal way. He salted his remarks with phrases such as “as it were.” He frequently hedged. More important, he claimed that you can’t understand him unless you agree with him, i.e., unless you become an Anthroposophical initiate. This is a clever defense, since it cuts out all possible critics. But it reminds me of a book I bought as a teenager, when my religious faith was wavering. Written by a Catholic theologian, it was titled TEN PROOFS OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD, or something like that. I never got past the foreword, because in it the author explained that the proofs will seem conclusive only to people who start with the premise that God exists. Huh? I was young at the time, but even back then I could spot a cop-out tautology when I saw one. Returning to Steiner: My approach is to take Steiner seriously, which means taking his statements seriously (and laughing at them if that is the response that serious consideration of silly remarks leads us to). If Steiner hedges on the meaning of his words, I usually include the hedge. If the point he is making is preposterous, I usually point this out. But in all cases, I try to relay accurately what Steiner said and meant. (To repeat, repetitiously: I don't want to misquote Steiner, ever. His actual words and thoughts are the strongest arguments against his actual words and thoughts.)

4) Isn’t laughing at Steiner wrong? Yes, in a sense. The damage Steiner and his followers can inflict on children (and adults) is no laughing matter. But, on the other hand, much of what Steiner said and wrote cries out for derision. And mockery can serve a practical purpose. You’re less likely to be lured into something harmful if you see through it. Consider: If members of Steiner’s first audience had started to giggle, then burst into derisive cackles, and then — holding their bellies, shaking their heads — walked out, history might have been different, in a sense. As it were.


by Diana Winters

Anthroposophy : Pooh, phony star

Drawing by a Waldorf student.

Loki, the prankster god of Norse mythology

(beloved by my Waldorf classmates and me,

way back when).

[John Bauer.]

Examples of intentional wit or humor are rare in Steiner's work. We find a lot to laugh at, but usually Steiner wasn't trying to be funny. Nobel prize winner Max von Laue was onto something when he said lovers of unintended humor might get a kick out of Steiner. One example (out of a stock of zillions): “Moving about in the world of the plants we everywhere find the earth covered in noses; that is what the plants are." — Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 162. [R.R. sketch, 2013, based on image in the book.] When reading such statements, remember that Steiner used metaphors almost as rarely as he used wit. When he said something is a nose, he meant it is a nose — in a spiritual, cosmic sense, of course.*

Here is a rare example of Steiner apparently trying to be funny. Mocking Einstein, Steiner said “With the theory of relativity, people finally arrive at the idea that you can hear the sound before the cannon is actually fired! (Laughter)." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM ELEPHANTS TO EINSTEIN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 179-180.

And here is an statement that some Anthroposophists attempt to defend by insisting that it is a joke: “[I]f we give these Negro novels to pregnant [white] women to read, then it won’t even be necessary for Negroes to come to Europe in order for mulattos to appear. Simply through the spiritual effects of reading Negro novels, a multitude of children will be born in Europe that are completely gray, that have mulatto hair, that look like mulattos!” — Rudolf Steiner, ÜBER GESUNDHEIT UND KRANKHEIT (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1994), GA 348, p. 189. Distinctly not funny, IMO.

But Steiner did sometimes try to crack a joke. He had a sense of humor. We see this, for instance, in the caricatures he sometimes drew. Here is my sketch of Steiner's caricatures of (clockwise from upper left) the genius, the philosopher, the master, and the greater philosopher:

[Rudolf Steiner, ART (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 159. R. R. copy, 2010.]

Might such drawings actually reflect a touch of self-deprecation on Steiner's part? Was he, in whole or in part, the genius, the philosopher, the master, and/or the greater philosopher whom he had in mind? Possibly. But probably not. Steiner had very low tolerance for any challenge to his own doctrines or his own preeminence. Tellingly, the Anthroposophical authors of ART find great spiritual wisdom in these and similar scribbles (Steiner also caricatured the student, the statesman, the businessman, the lady of fashion, and so on):

"[T]hese witty grotesqueries confirm both the power of observation and intuitive understanding of inner values, even when distorted. What the soul comprehends, becomes a definite instinct in the fingers and easily passes over into form." [Ibid., pp. 157-158.]


Actually, that statement is a pretty good unintended joke, told not by Steiner this time but by some of his devoted followers.

— Roger Rawlings

"[P]lants smell the universe and adapt themselves accordingly ... The violet is really all nose, a very, very delicate nose ... [The] violet is really all nose — but a delicate nose, inhaling the cosmic scent of Mercury. It holds the scent, as I have indicated, between its solid parts and exhales it; then the scent is dense enough for us to be able to smell it. So when Mercury comes toward us through the violet, we smell Mercury. If with our coarse noses we were to sniff toward Saturn, we would smell nothing. But when the asafetida, which has a keen nose for Saturn, sniffs toward that planet, it smells what comes from it, adapts its gas content accordingly, and has a most foul odor. Suppose you are walking through an avenue of horse chestnuts — you know the scent of horse chestnut, or of linden blossoms? They both have such perfume because their flowers are sensitive noses for everything that streams into the universe from Venus." — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS (Anthroposophic Press, 1987), pp. 146-147.

"Well, well," you say to me. "You admit that Steiner had a sense of humor. So, surely, some of his 'unintentional' jokes were quite intentional. The webbed-feet thing, for instance. That was a perfectly intentional joke!"

"No," I reply. "(And don't call me Shirley.) Steiner told some jokes, but my list of unintentional jokes is solid. Here's the webbed-feet thing again, this time in context. It is still a remarkably daffy statement, but quite clearly Steiner meant it seriously:

“Let us assume that with Initiation-knowledge we enter into the world where the dead live in their life after death. When we accompany the dead in this way we first enter into a world totally different from our own. I have already described it to some extent and have pointed out that it gives an impression of far greater reality than the world in which we live between birth and death.

“When we enter this world we are astonished at the remarkable beings to be found there, apart from the souls of the dead. The souls of those who have recently died are surrounded by strange demonic forms. At the entrance to this intermediate world which the dead must enter and in which we can accompany them with a certain clairvoyant vision, we meet with demonic figures with enormous webbed feet — enormous by earthly standards — like the duck or the wild duck species and other aquatic animals, huge webbed feet that are perpetually changing shape. These beings have a form somewhat similar to that of the kangaroo, but half bird, half mammal. And when we accompany the dead we pass through vast areas where such beings dwell.

“If we ask ourselves where these beings are to be found, we must first have a clear idea of the location of such beings, of where we imagine them to exist. They are always around us, for we inhabit the same world as the dead, but you must not look for them in this hall. It is at this point that the path to real and exact investigation begins.

“Suppose you are walking through a meadow where many plants of the species colchicum autumnale, the autumn crocus, are to be found. If, as you are standing amongst the autumn crocuses, you try to evoke the state of consciousness that is able to follow the dead, you will see, wherever an autumn crocus is growing, a being of the kind I have just described, with webbed feet and strange kangaroo-like body. Such a being emerges from every autumn crocus.

“If you were to move on to another area where the belladonna, the black deadly nightshade, grows by the roadside and if you transpose yourself into the state of consciousness of which I have spoken, you will meet with totally different beings, horrible, demonic beings who also belong to this world. Colchicum autumnale and belladonna therefore are mediums which permit beings of the next world to enter into them and which in their other aspect really belong to the world of the dead.” — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), pp. 153-154.

If there was any laughter involved, I suspect it was Steiner laughing silently to himself, amazed at the gullibility of his followers.

— Roger Rawlings

Steiner urged Waldorf teachers to include some humor in their classes, and he placed a bemused, smiling "elemental being" atop his sculpture, "The Representative of Humanity." [See "Compassion and Its Absence".] The being depicted there gazes with detachment upon the travails of humanity. Humor, Steiner said, is necessary — and, in its own way, serious. "Genuine ascent to the spiritual must be endeavored with purity of soul (which is never devoid of humor)." — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 232-233. Perhaps, then, Anthroposophists will appreciate my sense of humor?

Steiner's teaching are often unintentionally funny — but the effect of Waldorf schooling may be anything but funny. Children can be damaged, psychologically and even spiritually, by being immersed in a welter of occultism. Sometimes Waldorf teachers express their occult beliefs openly; more often, they allow their unspoken beliefs to infuse the classes and activities in the schools. You can find innumerable examples of Waldorf occultism in Steiner's books and lectures. Here's one example, taken more or less at random. Steiner's followers consider such doctrines to be clairvoyant revelations — not just true but virtually gospel-true. “[O]n the Moon, man is [i.e., was] a being composed of physical body, ether body, and astral body. Through the ether body he is enabled to feel joy and pain; through the astral body he is a being with emotions, rage, hate, love and so forth ... On the Moon the ether body received the capacity for joy and pain through the Spirits of Twilight; the emotions were implanted in the astral body by the Fire Spirits ... [A]fter the seventh small cycle, all of Moon existence enters a kind of sleeping state (Pralaya) ... When everything again emerges from the sleeping state there must first be repeated in their essentials the Saturn condition during a first small cycle, the Sun condition during a second, and the Moon cycle during a third. During this third cycle the beings on the Moon, which has again been split off from the Sun, resume approximately the same forms of existence which they already had on the Moon. There the lower man is a being intermediate between man of today and an animal; the plants stand midway between the animal and plant natures of today, and the minerals only half bear their lifeless character of today, while for the rest they are still half plants.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), "The Life of Earth", GA 11. [R.R. sketch, 2010. A word of caution: It isn't easy for me to remember life on the Moon. My sketch may be slightly inaccurate as a result.]

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


Selected, revealing quotations; includes "Anthroposophy in Waldorf"

Other than Rudolf

Nonsense in the air


Perhaps the worst statements Steiner made

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



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

Waldorf schools in the 21st Century

What they're saying


If you'd like more information about any of the topics discussed here, 

you might begin by consulting the following resources:


[A - D]   [E - I]   [J - O]   [P - R]   [S]   [T - Z]


[A - B]   [C - D]   [E - F]   [G - I]   [J - M]   [N - Q]   [R - S]   [T - Z]


[A - E]     [G - M]     [N - S]     [T - Z]


Some illustrations on each page here at Waldorf Watch 
are closely connected to the essay on that page; 
others are not — they provide general context. 


[1] Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998, Volumes 1 & 2), p. 607.

[2] Rudolf Steiner,  PRACTICAL ADVICE TO WALDORF TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 2000), p. 98.

[3] Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979), p. 49.

[4] Rudolf Steiner, BEES (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 176.

[5] Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY: PREHISTORY OF EARTH AND MAN, from the chapter “Life on the Moon” (SteinerBooks, 1987), pp. 194.

[6] Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 238.

[7] Rudolf Steiner, CHANCE, PROVIDENCE, AND NECESSITY (SteinerBooks, 1988), p. 95.

[8] Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992), p. 132.

[9] Rudolf Steiner, PSYCHOANALYSIS AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY, (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), p. 126. 

[10] Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Foundations of Waldorf Education, 1), p. 205.

[11] Rudolf Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 128.

[12] Rudolf Steiner, FROM ELEPHANTS TO EINSTEIN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 44.

[13] Rudolf Steiner, POLARITIES IN THE EVOLUTION OF MANKIND (Steiner Books, 1987), p. 59.

[14] Rudolf Steiner, THINGS IN THE PAST AND PRESENT IN THE SPIRIT OF MAN (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), lecture 3, GA 167.

[15] Rudolf Steiner, SPIRITUAL SCIENCE AND MEDICINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1948), lecture 17, GA 312.

[16] Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), pp. 153-154.

[17] Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 6 (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), p. 160. 

[18] BEES, p. 155.

[19] Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 5, GA 230.

[20] Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), pp. 150-151.

[21] Rudolf Steiner, FROM ELEPHANTS TO EINSTEIN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 4-5.

[22] Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 9, GA 230.

[23] Rudolf Steiner, THE FOURTH DIMENSION (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 128. 

[24]  Rudolf Steiner, THE BHAGAVAD GITA AND THE EPISTLES OF ST. PAUL (Anthroposophic Press, 1971), lecture 4, GA 142.

[25] NATURE SPIRITS, pp. 62-3.

[26] E.g., Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson, ANIMALS IN TRANSLATION (Scribner, 2005), p. 43.

[27] Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (SteinerBooks, 1985), p. 207.

Mars is reddish, but then so is Sedna, a minor planet of which Steiner was inexplicably unaware. (See web.gps.edu/~mbrown/sedna/  where we learn that Sedna orbits the Sun far beyond the orbit of Pluto.) Is red Sedna, then, also a warlike place, like Mars? Hard to say. Pluto, too, is red. What about Pluto? (See web.gps.edu/~mbrown/planetlila/  which deals with both Pluto and Eris, a planet bigger than Pluto and even farther away than Sedna. Somehow Steiner missed this planet, too.) Eris is white, so it doesn’t qualify for honors as the War Planet. But which planet truly deserves that title? If we go by which planet has actually hosted the most wars, then the War Planet is certainly the Earth.

[28] Jimmy Durante.

[29] Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998, Volumes 1 & 2), p. 112.

"A teacher asks about a possible summer camp in Transylvania. 

"Dr. Steiner: 'That may be possible, but I find it difficult to imagine how. The situation there is quite different. It is very much in the East. You can have some strange experiences there. I went to a lecture in Hermannstadt in the winter of 1888-89. When I arrived in Budapest, I was unable to make my connection. I had to travel via Szegedin and arrived at about two in the afternoon in Mediaš. I was told I would have to remain there for some time. I went into a coffee house in town where you had to scrape the dirt away with a knife. A number of players came in. There was something Vulcan-like and stormy in their astral bodies; they were somehow all tangled together. Everything went on with a great deal of activity and enthusiasm. The room was next to a pigsty and there was a horrible smell. You can get into such situations in that region, so we would have to protect the children from such experiences. Everyone gets bitten by all kinds of insects as well.'"  — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998, Volumes 1 & 2), p. 728.



Steiner's original caricatures, unmediated by yrs trly:

[ART (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 159.]

Was Steiner telling us something about the person he knew he really was,
behind his multiple poses as genius, philosopher, and master?
Or was he merely ridiculing all the geniuses, philosophers, and masters
who didn't have the great good fortune to be Rudolf Steiner?
It may never have occurred to him that the joke might be on himself.