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Some of the following quotes may be familiar to some readers, but others probably retain their power to startle. Yes, believe it or not, Steiner's followers believe preposterous propositions such as the following:

1) [Moon; Saturn]

“[T]he moon today is like a fortress in the universe, in which there lives a population that fulfilled its human destiny over 15,000 years ago, after which it withdrew to the moon together with the spiritual guides of humanity ... This is only one of the ‘cities’ in the universe, one colony, one settlement among many ... As far as what concerns ourselves, as humanity on earth, the other pole, the opposite extreme to the moon is the population of Saturn.” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 93. 

2) [Occultism; Brotherhood]

“There is no other means of bringing about a universal human brotherhood than the spreading of occult knowledge through the world.” — Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1953), p. 143.

3) [Education: Irrational; Life Before Birth]

“You will injure children if you educate them rationally because you will then utilize their will in something they have already completed — namely, life before birth.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 61. 

4) [Sun; Moon; Plant Man; Animal Man; Evolution]

“If, as he had developed on the Sun, man was called plant man, the man of the Moon can be called animal man ... [T]he Sun man could only elevate himself into a plant by thrusting a portion of his companions down into a coarser mineral realm ... The animal man of the Moon does not yet have firm bones. His skeleton is still cartilaginous. His whole nature is soft, compared to that of today ... His locomotion is not a walking, but rather a leaping, even a floating ... [T]he Moon of that time did not have a thin, airy atmosphere like that of present-day earth, but its envelope was considerably thicker, even denser than the water of today.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (SteinerBooks, 1987), pp. 193-194.

5) [Astrology; Horoscopes]

“People who are knowledgeable about these things can ‘read’ the forces that determine a person’s path in his or her physical life; on this basis horoscopes are cast. Each of us is assigned a particular horoscope, in which the forces are revealed that have led us into this life. For example, if in a particular horoscope Mars is above Aries, this means that certain Aries forces cannot pass through Mars but are weakened instead.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND HUMANITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1991), p. 61.

6) [Temperaments; Reincarnation]  

“Melancholic children are often dependent on atmospheric conditions ... If I were to go into this question in detail from the standpoint of spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy], I would have to show you how the childish temperament is actually connected to karma, how in the child’s temperament something really appears that could be described as the consequence of experiences in previous lives on Earth ... Temperament is connected, to a remarkable degree, with the whole life and soul of a person’s previous incarnations.” — Rudolf Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS, Foundations of Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 60-61.

7) [Moon Beings; Ghosts]  

“When human beings cling too strongly to earthly things it may be difficult for them to find their bearings in the sphere of the Moon Beings ... The moon-influences are not really active below the roots of plants ... The moon-influences, rising like mist from this shallow layer, may cause human beings who have to pass after death into the Moon sphere — the soul-world — but are unable to understand the Moon Beings, to be trapped by this shallow stratum of moon-influences and they can actually be seen...wandering about as ghosts, as spectral shades.” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), pp. 150-151.

Steiner is often hard to read. I’ll translate: The Moon sphere — the soul-world* — is the portion of the cosmos under the astrological/spiritual influence of the Moon; it is occupied by Moon Beings; the influence of the Moon extends only a short distance below the surface of the Earth; people who can’t understand the Moon Beings may, upon death, get trapped in the shallow parts of the Earth that are under the influence of the Moon; thereafter, these poor dead people will become what are commonly called ghosts.

* For definitions and explanations of terms like this, see the Semi-Steiner Dictionary and the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.

8) [Discipline: Tardiness]  

How to handle tardy students: Steiner said the following to Waldorf teachers: “We lose all control the minute we look away ... it would make us somewhat laughable. Of course, it’s just laziness ... If a child comes late ten minutes, have him or her stand for half an hour ... Let them stand can be particularly effective if you allow [sic] them to stand in an uncomfortable place ... We could also buy a number of little sheds....” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 109-110. 

9) [Blonds; Intelligence]  

“If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense ... Blond hair actually bestows intelligence. In the case of fair people, less nourishment is driven into the eyes and hair; it remains instead in the brain and endows it with intelligence. Brown and dark-haired people drive the substances into their eyes and hair that the fair people retain in their brains.” — Rudolf Steiner, HEALTH AND ILLNESS, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1981), pp. 85-86.

10) [Phantoms]  There are wraiths of nastiness that emerge from the physical bodies of wrongdoers. 

They are “beings which have been created in the physical body through the effect of lying and slander ... Such flit and whirr about in our world and belong to a class that we call ‘phantoms.’” — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), pp. 83-84.

There are a great many meanies of various sorts flitting and whirring around. Keep reading. 

11) [Specters or Ghosts; Etheric Body]  Ghosts (aka specters) come to Earth in association with the lowest of our nonphysical bodies (we have three of such bodies, Steiner said). Our accumulated naughtiness causes bits of spiritual beings to chip off, in a manner of speaking, and come to Earth as ghosts:  

“The accumulation in the etheric body caused through these [wicked] experiences of the soul...brings about detachments from the beings working in the spiritual worlds and these likewise are now to be found in our environment — they are the ‘specters’ or ‘ghosts.’” — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 84. 

Steiner does not put words like 'ghosts' in quote marks to deny that such beings exist — he says that they do exist. But adding quote marks, he is simply adding that the common understanding of such stuff is wrong; the correct understanding can be had only by listening to You Know Who.

But Steinerian correctness can be muddling. The explanation for the existence of ghosts Steiner gives here (#11) differs a smidge from what we've seen previously (see #7). That's one reason I politely call these teachings static. More properly, they are bunk. 

12) [Demons; Astral Body]  Demons come to Earth through the gumming up of our second nonphysical body, the astral body: 

“In all that works [evilly] from soul to soul in our world, from the giving of bad advice to all those methods which people employ in order to overwhelm others...[all of this] is expressed in the night in the astral body. The astral body gets these ‘enclosures’ and thereby beings are detached from other worlds and whirr through our world again as elemental beings. They belong to the class of demons.”  — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), pp. 85-86.

Elemental beings are "nature spirits" — nonphysical beings that lurk in nature; they are nonphysical but they are not spiritual: They lack true spirit. [See "Neutered Nature".] Evil people may sink to their level. I'll get to this in a future installment.

Our highest nonphysical body is the "I" or spiritual ego; it defines our humanity. Plants and animals have etheric bodies, like us; animals have astral bodies, like us; but only we have "I"s. (Nonhuman people — there are a lot of them walking around, so look out — don't have "I"s. I'll get to this, too. For info on nonphysical bodies, see "Incarnation".) 

13) [Prayers; "Verses"; Deception

 “We also need to speak about a prayer. I ask only one thing of you. You see, in such things everything depends upon the external appearances. Never call a verse a prayer, call it an opening verse before school. Avoid allowing anyone to hear you, as a faculty member, using the word ‘prayer.’” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 20.

Steiner often coached Waldorf teachers in deceiving outsiders about the true purposes of Waldorf schooling. [See, e.g., "Secrets".]

Here are the "verses before school" Steiner wrote for Waldorf school students. These prayers, seemingly innocuous, are required in most Waldorf schools. They address and thank God, doing so in distinctly Anthroposophical terms. Teaching students such prayers is teaching them — or at least sensitizing them to — Anthroposophy. Anthroposophical concepts in the prayers include a loving spiritual presence on the Sun; the difference between soul and spirit; the special powers of humanity; light within the soul (stemming from higher worlds); the distinction between God (who, Steiner taught, does not fully exist in our polytheistic universe) and the spirit of God; and the like. [For a detailed analysis, see "Prayers".]

14) [Prayers

“The Sun with loving light

Makes bright for me each day; 

The soul with spirit power

Gives strength unto my limbs; 

In sunlight shining clear 

I reverence, O God,

The strength of humankind,

That thou so graciously 

Hast planted in my soul, 

That I with all my might 

May love to work and learn.

From Thee come light and strength, 

To Thee rise love and thanks.” 

15) [Prayers

"I look into the world

In which the Sun shines,

In which the stars sparkle,

In which the stones lie,

The living plants are growing, 

The animals are feeling,

In which the soul of man 

Gives dwelling for the spirit; 

I look into the soul 

Which lives within myself. 

God’s spirit weaves in light 

Of Sun and human soul,

In world of space, without, 

In depths of soul, within. 

God’s spirit, ‘tis to Thee

I turn myself in prayer,

That strength and blessing grow 

In me, to learn and work.” 

Waldorf schools are religious institutions, although they usually deny this. The religion involved is Anthroposophy. If you want your child to recite Anthroposophical prayers written by Rudolf Steiner — and if you want your child to be lured toward acceptance of Anthroposophy as Truth — then a Waldorf school may be what you are looking for. But if not, not. In either case, please make your decision with your eyes open. Please, for example, consider the Anthroposophical teachings we are looking at here.

16) [Giants; Druids; Moon-Science]  Steiner taught that “elemental beings” or “nature spirits” lurk behind the surface of nature. These nonphysical beings lack true spiritual identities (i.e., they are not truly spiritual), but nonetheless they can grow quite large. Some elemental beings emerge from the roots of plants and some emerge from the leaves of plants: 

“The Sun-Initiation gave the Druid priest the spiritual impulse, and as a result he had his science of Nature ... His science of Nature being a Moon-science, the Druid priest perceived how the elemental beings can grow and expand into gigantic size. [paragraph break] From this resulted his knowledge of the Jötuns, the giant-beings ... When the kind of elemental beings who lived beneficially in the root-nature, expanded into giants, they became the giants of the frost ... And what worked in the growth of the leaves, this too could grow to giant size. Then it lived as a giant elemental being in the misty storms that swept over the Earth, with all that they contained in certain seasons — with the pollen of the plants, and so forth.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN IN THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE, lecture 4, GA 228. Sneeze.

A note on style: Some English translations preserve the tangled and confused quality of Steiner’s prose. Reading this stuff is challenging, even after a kindly guide such as myself has cut out some of the excess verbiage. But the effort of plowing through Steiner's prose is worthwhile if you want to understand the thinking that lies behind Waldorf schools — it is tangled and confused thinking, disconnected from clarity, reason, and reality. For some people, it exerts a mystical appeal. For others, it sounds a loud alarm: Stay away! 

17) [Animals; Evolution]  Steiner said that animals evolved from people, not vice versa. In the following version of his view (Steiner was not always consistent), animals left humanity before we became full-fledged flesh-and-blood humans. If the animals had stuck with us longer in pre-Earthly existence, they could have accompanied us to the Earth and become human too: 

“When we say that certain beings remained at the Bull stage, others at the Lion, others at the Eagle, and so on, what does this mean? It means that if these beings had been able to wait, if they could have developed their full love for the physical world only at a much later time, they would have become human beings. If the lion had not willed to enter into the earthly sphere too early, it would have become a man; the same is true of the other animals that had split off up till then.” — Rudolf Steiner, EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MYSTERIES (Anthroposophic Press, 1971), lecture 8, GA 106.

18) [Sexes; Evolution]  Early on, we weren’t divided into genders, Steiner said. This had its drawbacks but it also had some advantages. 

”We shall now describe the state of man before his division into male and female. At that time the body consisted of a soft malleable mass ... This division took place slowly and gradually. Long before its actual occurrence, human beings were already developing in such a way that one individual would be born with more male, another with more female characteristics. Each human being however also possessed the opposite sexual characteristics, so that self-impregnation was possible.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), p. 96.

Use this link to go to "Steiner Static".

To go other pages in the 

"Miscellany" section of this site, 

use the links below.


atoms : nah

bees : please

can't we all just get along? : demons and demonizing

if only : wishing, hoping...

ignorance : Steiner affirming

nuts : brains and demons

others : aside from Steiner

philosophy : magically, seven and twelve

recommended : not

Souls of Terror : the book

Steiner texts : not others

Sun at Midnight : a review

treasury 1

treasury 2 : ditto

treasury 3 : ditto

treasury 4 : ditto

treasury 5 : ditto

treasury 6 : ditto

treasury 7 : ditto

treasury 8 : ditto

white/black : Steiner on

will : and self-hypnosis