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34) [Centaurs; Homer; Clairvoyance]
The crucial point to absorb from this statement is that Steiner believed in clairvoyance, and so do his followers. Indeed, clairvoyance is the key to everything in the Waldorf universe. If clairvoyance doesn't exist (and it doesn't), there is no basis for the Waldorf system. [See "Clairvoyance", "Exactly", and "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".]
Secondary matters to be gleaned from quotation 34: According to Steiner, blind, clairvoyant Homer could consult the Akashic Record, which is a celestial storehouse of almost unlimited knowledge, accessible only through clairvoyance. [See "Akasha".] As for the centaurs Homer described, they really existed in the period before the Moon separated from the Earth. Human centaurs prowled the Earth in those ancient days, when the Moon’s forces were still incorporated within the Earth and we still had shining pineal glands beaming from our foreheads. Those were the days, my friend.
As for Old Sun, we will get to it soon. [See quotation #36, and then "Old Saturn" and "Old Sun" further down the page.]
35) [Atoms; Demons]
“[A]toms are really tiny little caricatures of demons, and our learned scholars would not speak about them as they do unless people had grown accustomed, in education, to putting everything together out of its parts.” — Rudolf Steiner, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 161.
Note Steiner's sarcasm, O ye "learned scholars." (You're the same people Steiner sometimes described as "scientific simpletons" and "so-called educated people in the universities." Dumbbells, in other words. [See "Steiner's 'Science'".)
Steiner acknowledged that atoms exist, except when he didn’t. [See "Atoms".] He disputed the “atomic theory” both because atoms aren’t really real (they are empty bubbles) and because he didn’t like the idea that things consist of smaller things that consist of still smaller things. He didn’t understand how large things can be built up out of small things — or if he understood, he just plain didn’t like it. The atomic theory is deadly, materialistic thinking, he said.
As for demons: They are multitudinous, dreadful, and very real, Steiner taught. [See, e.g., "Evil Ones".] So watch your step.
36) [Evolution & Vulcan] Here's another hard one. (If you weary, jump ahead to the handy Thumbnail, below.)
“These are the seven stages of evolution of our system: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan [these are the stages of evolution we will discuss: Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, and so on]. In the Vulcan development [i.e., the Future Vulcan stage], all those Beings who have evolved out of the small beginnings of the Saturn existence [Old Saturn], will be spiritualised in the highest degree, they will have grown not only as far as the Sun, but even higher than the Sun. Vulcan is more than Sun, and with this it has reached the maturity of sacrifice, the maturity necessary to self disintegration [sic]. [paragraph break] The course of evolution is this [Steiner here describes evolution in general, as it occurs in all solar systems, not just in ours]: a Sun, which from the beginning is included in such a [planetary or solar] system, has at first to throw off its planets, being too weak to develop further without excluding them. It grows strong, absorbs its planets again, and grows into a Vulcan. Then the whole is dissolved, and from the Vulcan globe is formed a hollow globe which is something like the circles of Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim, etc. [i.e., the spiritual regions occupied by these gods]. The Sun will thus dissolve in space, sacrifice itself, send forth its Being into the Universe, and through this will itself become a circle of Beings like the Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim, which will then advance towards new creation.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1928), lecture 5, GA 110.
Thumbnail: We first came into existence during an evolutionary period that Steiner called Old Saturn. We evolved next to a period he called Old Sun, and then to a period he called Old Moon. We now live during Present Earth. In the future, we will evolve through periods Steiner called Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan. These periods should not be confused with the planets whose names they bear, although Steiner's statements often seem to blur the difference. [See, e.g., "Planets".] Quite often, when he spoke of things happening "on" Saturn, for instance, he meant things that happened during Old Saturn. To figure out what he meant, you generally need to consider the context of each statement.
The statement we have here (#36) is a concise summary of evolution as Steiner saw/foresaw it. This is how things happen in all solar systems, according to Steiner. If Steiner' summary is unclear to you, perhaps the discussions we will have, coming up, will help to clarify things. The most important takeaway, however, is that we are seeing, here, what Steiner's followers — including many Waldorf teachers — believe. [See, e.g., "Here's the Answer" and "Stages".] If these beliefs seem weird, inscrutable, or obviously wrong to you — you may have just learned something important about Waldorf schools and the thinking behind them.
37) [Earth, Sun, Moon] Contrary to the findings of modern science, Steiner taught that the Earth, Sun, and Moon — and, indeed, all the other members of the solar system — were once a single body. Gradually the various parts separated from one another.
”The earth was still one with the sun ... [T]he sun and then the moon separated from the earth!” — Rudolf Steiner, THE BEING OF MAN AND HIS FUTURE EVOLUTION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1981), p. 111.
The Sun and then the Moon left the Earth (almost as if a hen were laying eggs) during our present stage of evolution, Present Earth. Or so Steiner has assured us.
Accepting Anthroposophy almost always means rejecting modern science, modern scholarship, and indeed most modern knowledge of most sorts.
38) [Moon, Old Moon]
“The moon separated from the sun ... If we imagine old Moon before the separation....” — Rudolf Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH, AND MAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), p. 70.
The Moon is not the same as Old Moon, any more than Saturn is the same as Old Saturn. The Moon is a physical object in the sky; Old Moon was a period in evolution. One is a place, the other was a time. This difference is easy enough, in the abstract. Nonetheless, keeping such things straight when reading Steiner is difficult. Steiner himself seemed to lose track of his teachings, sometimes. This creates a problem. In trying to make sense of Steiner, there is a temptation to work things out in your own mind so that they make more sense than Steiner's teachings actually reflect. Resist this temptation. Try to see Steiner's meaning objectively. Take Steiner's teachings for what they are worth, no more, no less. Thus, for instance, when Steiner contradicts himself, don't ignore the contradiction — notice it, then move on. (He contradicted himself a lot. See, e.g., "Deception".)
Did the Moon separate from the Earth or from the Sun, according to Steiner? Not too put to fine a point on it, it doesn't make much difference. Once everything was all mushed together, and then things started separating out. Or so Steiner assured us.
39) [Materialistic Thinking and the Jews] Steiner pinned everything on clairvoyance, and he deplored the atheistic thinking of modern times. Dreadfully, he ascribed evil, atheistic thinking to one source in particular: Jews. The ancient Jews, he said, resisted any knowledge higher than an infant or embryo possesses. The infantile thinking found in the Old Testament, he said, led straight to the evils of the modern world:
“[T]he ancient Jewish people...did not wish to learn anything in addition to what the human being brings with him as a capacity because of the fact that he was an embryo ... Old Testament thinking [led to] the atheistic science of the modern age.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHALLENGE OF THE TIMES (Anthroposophic Press, 1941), pp. 28-33.
There are deplorable strains of racism and anti-Semitism in Steiner's teachings. His followers today are usually more liberal-minded than he was on such issues, yet they have very rarely actually repudiated his anti-Semitic and racist views. Anyone interested in Waldorf education should certainly look into this question. [See, e.g., "Steiner's Racism" and "RS on Jews".]
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