The thinking behind Waldorf schools is astonishing — 
it is false in virtually every conceivable way.

Here is a series of messages that explore Waldorf "wisdom."
The messages were originally posted 
on the Waldorf Critics list
starting at
I have edited the messages slightly
for use here.

We will begin with a brief, almost jocular message, 
and then proceed to examine Waldorf thinking 
from a variety of revealing angles.

— Roger Rawlings


I. Potatoes and Karma 
II. The Dead 
III. Gnomes and Friends 
IV. Real Education
V. Hard to Believe
VI. Clairvoyance (Not)
VII. Supermen, Planets, & Islands
VIII. Connect the Dots
IX. You and Your Race
X. Lunacy
XI. Rudolf Riffing
XII. 21st Century


Potatoes and Karma

It might prove helpful to post, now and again, statements made by Rudolf Steiner and his followers. We might call them samples of Anthroposophical wisdom (that is, they are mystical insights, the fruits of clairvoyance, expositions of Anthroposophical belief and practice). Given that Anthroposophical “wisdom” underlies Waldorf education, even the most outlandish Anthro quotations may provide food for critical thought.

We might start, for instance, with this:

"People who eat too many potatoes...tend to be weak in the head ... It is actually due to the fact that potatoes have come to be widely eaten in recent times that materialism has developed...." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM ELEPHANTS TO EINSTEIN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 44.

— Till next time,
Roger Rawlings 

Ok, Ok.  

The potato posting, above, doesn’t seem to be immediately helpful in our efforts to evaluate Waldorf education. (But don’t be too hasty. Think it over.) From time to time, certainly, we should consider quotes that go more directly to the point. Like this, perhaps:

“[T]he purpose of [Waldorf] education is to help the individual fulfill his karma.” — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 52.

Till next time…


The Dead

Anthroposophists (that is, devout followers of Rudolf Steiner) think they can communicate with the dead. And Waldorf teachers who subscribe to Anthroposophy [1] think they should encourage their young students to serve the dead. [2]

Let's take this one step at a time. First, communicating with the dead: 

"Steiner explained that to communicate with the dead we need a common language, a spiritual language ... This must be a language of spiritual thoughts ... [T]he dead...want to continue to work on earth. But mostly they find only egotistic, materialistic thoughts and feelings [among the living]. The dead seek us, and find no one there. Thus, for the most part, we impede their progress and their karma...." — Christopher Bamford, Introduction to OUR DEAD (Steiner Books, 2011), pp. xxxviii-xxxix.

There are many breathtaking concepts in this quotation, but let's stay focused on our first main point: Anthroposophists think they can communicate with the dead.

Christopher Bamford is Editor-in-Chief of SteinerBooks. Here's a statement he made in an earlier Anthroposophical tome about communicating with the dead: 

"We can all communicate with the dead ... I must say that living and working with the concepts and exercises contained in these talks and meditations [by Rudolf Steiner] has changed my life. This is a most practical book. Do what it recommends and you will experience the presence of the dead in your lives." — Christopher Bamford, Introduction to STAYING CONNECTED - How to Continue Your Relationships with Those Who Have Died (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), pp. 21-23.

Steiner himself claimed to communicate with the dead. In particular, he claimed to receive messages from the military chief who commanded the German invasions of France during World War I. Arguably, this chief was a war criminal, but Steiner defended him — especially after the chief died, when Steiner received postmortem communiqués from him. [3]

Now let's move along to our second main point. Anthroposophists working in Waldorf schools think their young students should serve the dead. Don't believe me? Check out the book WORKING WITH THE DEAD, published by the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (2003). This concise book was issued for use by Waldorf teachers. On the second page, which is titled "Dear Teachers!", Helmut von Kügelgen asks, 

"Should we foster ways to serve the dead with small children?" [4] 

His answer? Yes. Young Waldorf students should be taught to celebrate people's birthdays and also their death days. 

"Yes, celebrate the death day like an earthly birthday, with joy and gratitude that this person was with us once, and now has returned to the [spiritual] world which is also our homeland ... Children who become accustomed to celebrating from a very early age the birthdays and death days of people who are part of their social life [5], learn to accept the spiritual world...as real. Thus they gain a basis for religious experience." — Von Kügelgen, p. 2.

This, then, is part of the religious purpose Waldorf teachers aim to achieve in their work. They try to help children to "accept the spiritual world as real;" they try to provide children with "a basis for religious experience." After all, Steiner said that Waldorf teachers should function as priests. [6] When Waldorf teachers do as Steiner directed, their students receive Anthroposophical religious training. Part of this training involves serving the dead. [7]


Gnomes and Friends

If you visit a Waldorf school, you may see images and/or figurines — dolls or little statues — of gnomes. They are cute. But don't let this cuteness mislead you. According to Waldorf belief, gnomes are not mere creatures of fantasy, fun little imaginary friends. Steiner taught that gnomes actually exist. And, sadly, they are not precisely our pals. Other names for "gnome" include "goblin" and "troll."

Here's a quick survey of Anthroposophical teachings about gnomes:

◊ “There are beings that can be seen with clairvoyant vision at many spots in the depths of the earth ... Many names have been given to them, such as goblins, gnomes and so forth ... What one calls moral responsibility in man is entirely lacking in them ... Their nature prompts them to play all sorts of tricks on man....” — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), pp. 62-63.

◊ “A gnome is only visible to someone who can see on the astral plane, but miners frequently possess such an astral vision [i.e., clairvoyance]; they know that gnomes are realities.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 27, GA 93a.

◊ “The names of the [nature] spirits are gnomes, undines, sylphs and salamanders respectively. [8] To be aware of them, the special faculty of spiritual vision [i.e., clairvoyance] is necessary.” — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 90.

◊ "Very far back in time all human beings were what we should today call ‘clairvoyant’, that is to say, it was possible for them actually to perceive spiritual beings who are invisible to most of us today. Until quite recently this faculty was common enough, and even now it has not entirely disappeared in some remote areas. It was possible, for example, to see various elemental beings which have been called gnomes, trolls, sylphs, naiads, elves, fairies, and the like. Such beings certainly exist even if the ordinary person can no longer see them." — Anthroposophical leader Stewart C. Easton, THE WAY OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985), p. 37.

◊ “Elemental beings ... Among these beings are creatures such as dwarves (earth) [i.e., gnomes, which exist within the soil], undines (water), sylphs (air) and salamanders (fire). Our visible physical world is a modification of these invisible elemental beings ... The elemental beings are invisible to the untrained eye [clairvoyance is required].” — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, Sophia Books, 2011), p. 36.

◊ “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.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 9, GA 230.

Anthroposophy is a farrago of loony beliefs. And bear in mind, Waldorf education is built on the foundation of Anthroposophy. [9] Many Waldorf teachers encourage their students to believe that we live in a haunted world, surrounded by invisible beings such as dead humans (see the previous installment of Waldorf Wisdom [10]) and subhuman apparitions including gnomes, or goblins, or trolls. Such beliefs lead children away from, not toward, reality. The effect can mess up a kid for years, or decades, or a lifetime. [11]


Real Education

"You will injure children if you educate them rationally.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 61. 

Steiner tended to be long-winded, circuitous, vague, and self-contradictory. We can do him a favor by trimming his statements to reach their pithy cores. But this raises the question of context. We might misrepresent Steiner if we leave out too many of his words. The quotation, above, is a pithy extract from a longer statement. Here is a fuller version:

"[T]here is a tremendous difference between the development of will and that of thinking. If you particularly emphasize the development of thinking, you actually direct the entire human being back to prenatal life. 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, p. 61.

Ask yourself, is this better? Is it more sensible? Is it truer? Or, by quoting Steiner at greater length, have we simply exposed his looniness at greater length?

Getting back to the pithy core: Do you think educating kids rationally is bad?

Let's go a step further. Do you think teaching kids factual information is bad?

Waldorf education is often deficient both in rationality and in facts — it often goes very light on what we would normally call knowledge. Thus, for instance, in his book UNDERSTANDING WALDORF EDUCATION, Waldorf teacher Jack Petrash argues against "fact-based education." 

When he was a child, Petrash was taught “about the benefits of asbestos.” After Petrash grew up, asbestos was identified as a carcinogen. On this basis, Petrash argues that schools should not place too much emphasis on teaching kids facts. 

“This [e.g., society’s changed understanding of asbestos] is the obvious flaw in fact-based education. Whether we were taught about the solar system, the Soviet Union, or computers, much of what we had to learn in school is now outdated.” — Jack Petrash, UNDERSTANDING WALDORF EDUCATION (Nova Institute, 2002), p. 26.

Petrash is right. Almost. Information changes, and memorizing "facts" is not the end-all and be-all of education. So Petrash is correct, up to a point. But only up to a point. Genuine education must be based on factual information. Kids need to be taught what is what. But Waldorf schools promote an occult perspective that is deeply at odds with factual reality. Steering children away from a rational perception of the real world does them a grave disservice. 

Sure, information changes. New discoveries are made, new insights replace old, errors are found and corrected. But the way to deal with this the ebb and flow of knowledge is not to downplay facts, it is to remain abreast of the latest discoveries, replacing outdated information with new information. Children need to be told the truth and equipped with the rational skills needed to perceive the truth. But Waldorf schools tend to nudge kids in a very different direction. Waldorf education is certainly not based on facts; it is based on fantasies.

A quick reprise of irrational, fact-free fantasies we saw in previous installments of "Waldorf Wisdom": Potatoes cause materialism. The purpose of education is to help kids with their karmas. We can communicate with the dead. Young children should be taught to serve the dead. The dead need help with their own karmas. Gnomes and other invisible "nature spirits" throng around us. Earth gnomes are the successors to Moon gnomes. To see gnomes (and sylphs and undines and fire-spirits, etc.), you need to become clairvoyant. Because, you see, clairvoyance is real.*

Do you want your child to attend a school that is built on fantasies, a school where rationality and factual knowledge are frowned upon?

Let's let another follower of Rudolf Steiner pitch in. 

“The success of Waldorf Education...can be measured in the life force attained. Not acquisition of knowledge and qualifications, but the life force is the ultimate goal of this school.” — Anthroposophist Peter Selg, THE ESSENCE OF WALDORF EDUCATION (SteinerBooks, 2010)‚ p. 30. [12]

Not knowledge. Not qualifications. Not rationality. Not facts. But "life force." The problem is that life force does not exist, it is a 19th century fallacy. [13] Life force is no more real than karma or clairvoyance; it is one of the fantasies at the core of Waldorf education. It is one of the falsehoods that make Waldorf education hollow, one of the errors that make Waldorf education empty. 

"Not knowledge." 

Not a real education.


Hard to Believe

The following is from a publication put out by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. (It is a little dense, but hang in there.)

“Early in the Lemurian age [i.e., while we lived on the lost continent of Lemuria], Lucifer and Ahriman [two great demons] continued their onslaught on the human being, and caused a disruption of the human senses [i.e., they inflicted damage on our eyes, ears, etc.]. This attack on the senses brought the human being under the influence of earth forces that threatened to pull the human being down and keep the human in the horizontal position of the animals … This was not, however, the end of this primordial Luciferic and Ahrimanic onslaught [i.e., the attack by Lucifer and Ahriman], and in the middle of the Atlantean age [i.e., while we lived on the lost continent of Atlantis] these adversaries strove to disrupt the proper functioning of the human vital organs. Their effort was to render the human vital organs incapable of relating correctly with the outside world, to make these organs, in Steiner’s vivid phrase, ‘selfish.’ The result was that, with the turning inward of the human organs, human speech was threatened with becoming purely subjective, capable of only subjective, animal-like emotional outbursts — cries of pain, joy, meaningless babbling.” — Waldorf teacher-trainer Douglas Sloan, “Toward Understanding the Christ and the Christ Impulse”, AND WHO SHALL TEACH THE TEACHERS? The Christ Impulse in Waldorf Education (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2007, reprint 2012), pp, 24-25.

At the risk of repeating myself, I want to stress that this bizarre text is from a publication put out by a Waldorf educational association. It was published for the edification of Waldorf teachers. And it was published quite recently, in the 21st century.

Let that sink in, please.

The text embodies the sort of thinking that has always provided, and continues to provide, the basis for Waldorf schooling. Such thinking is occult, esoteric, mystical. It is like thick, choking swamp gas; it seeps toward us like a dark miasma from mankind's dim, superstitious past. And here it is, today, in a recent Waldorf publication.

You may have difficulty believing that Steiner taught what he taught. But he did.

You may have difficulty believing that Steiner's followers — including many Waldorf teachers — think what they think. But they do.

The source of the occult beliefs underlying Waldorf education is, of course, Rudolf Steiner. For public consumption, Waldorf spokesfolks like to describe Steiner as a scientist or philosopher. But what is their real opinion? Why are they willing to accept Steiner's bizarre pronouncements? In brief, they look on Steiner as their guru, their spiritual guide, their esoteric master. Steiner is the leader of their religion, Anthroposophy. Consider the following quotations:

◊ "Rudolf Steiner was the high priest of the new mysteries." — Bernhard Lievegoed, TOWARD THE 21st CENTURY (Steiner Book Centre, 1972), lecture 2.

◊ “[P]rofound and comprehensive truths fortunately are available for our instruction and encouragement...the powerful, extensive wisdom communicated by a high master...Rudolf Steiner...." — John Fentress Gardener, YOUTH LONGS TO KNOW (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 216-217.

◊ “Rudolf Steiner...was one of the most important spiritual figures of the twentieth century ... Steiner's direct spiritual vision [i.e., clairvoyance] enabled him to describe the invisible forces both of the outer and inner human being, the world of nature, and the cosmos." — Editors, A MAN BEFORE OTHERS - Rudolf Steiner Remembered (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993).

◊ “[V]arious hierarchical entities [i.e., gods]...spoke through Rudolf Steiner … Rudolf Steiner in his own life [manifested] the highest ideal and goal of Earth evolution.” — Sergei O. Prokoffief, MAY HUMAN BEINGS HEAR IT (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2014), p. 42.

◊ “Steiner had exceptional powers, he saw the future, he knew the truth ... [Y]ou need to study and follow Steiner. Steiner is all anyone ever needs to know.” — A Waldorf teacher, expressing the consensus of a Waldorf teacher gathering. [14]

◊ "I am a missionary on behalf of Rudolf Steiner." — Instructor in a Waldorf teacher-training program. [15]

We should circle back, briefly, to unpack Douglas Sloan's amazing paragraph (a paragraph that is actually quite representative of Anthroposophical writing).

Anthroposophists believe that humans used to live on the lost continent of Lemuria, after which we moved to the lost continent of Atlantis. There is zero evidence that either of these continents ever really existed, but Steiner said they did, and his followers today still believe they did.

Steiner described a polytheistic universe occupied by vast numbers of good and evil gods. Among the foremost evil spirits are the arch-demons Lucifer and Ahriman. These dark spirits would destroy us if not for Christ, who holds them at bay. Christ, as described by Steiner, is not the Son of God as worshipped in mainstream Christian churches — according to Steiner, Christ is the Sun God, the same god previously known by such names as Hu and Apollo and Ahura Mazda. Note that Sloan's paragraph comes from a text titled “Toward Understanding the Christ and the Christ Impulse”. The Christ impulse, according to Anthroposophical belief, is the impetus given to human evolution by the Sun God when he came down from the Sun to the Earth, where he incarnated in the body of a man named Jesus.

Lucifer and Ahriman are our enemies (our "adversaries"). They have tried to corrupt us, dragging us down to the level of mere animals — purely physical beings that walk on all fours. (Lucifer and Ahriman "threatened to pull the human being down and keep the human in the horizontal position of the animals.”) The two demons have tried to corrupt our "vital organs." They have tried to corrupt our "senses" and even our "speech." (If they had achieved their foul ends, human language would be "capable of only subjective, animal-like emotional outbursts.”)

Fortunately, the Sun God intervened, and Steiner has told us the truth about all this, and Waldorf schools work to fulfill the Sun God's impulse as explained by Steiner. This is, in a sense, what Waldorf schools are for: They work to fulfill Steiner's esoteric vision. This is why Sloan's esoteric essay appears in a publication put out by a Waldorf educational association.

I humbly suggest that parents should think this through carefully before sending their children to Waldorf schools. And education officials should think this through carefully before approving Waldorf schools as "charter schools" or "free schools" that receive public financing. Steiner, and Sloan, and the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America have let us discern the real nature of Waldorf education. Do we really want Waldorf schooling for our children?

Note that Douglas Sloan trains Waldorf teachers.

You may have difficulty believing that Waldorf education really is what it is. But it is.


Clairvoyance (Not)

Here is the sixth installment of our periodic series — a sort of Waldorf primer or overview — titled “Waldorf Wisdom". As always, we will focus primarily on statements reaching us from within the Waldorf universe.

So, to start with, here are two such statements:

◊ “Must teachers be clairvoyant in order to be certain that they are teaching in the proper way? Clairvoyance is needed…." — Waldorf educator Eugene Schwartz, THE MILLENNIAL CHILD (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), p. 157.

◊ "Waldorf education is a form of practical anthroposophy.…” — Waldorf teacher Keith Francis, THE EDUCATION OF A WALDORF TEACHER (iUniverse, 2004), p. xii.

Waldorf education is built upon the foundation provided by the "spiritual science" — Anthroposophy — created by Rudolf Steiner. The "truths" embodied in Anthroposophy represent the clairvoyant observations made by Rudolf Steiner and his followers. Everything in Anthroposophy hinges on clairvoyance. If there is no such thing as clairvoyance, then Anthroposophy — produced by clairvoyance — collapses; it is null and void. And if that is so, then there is no valid basis for Waldorf education, which is "practical Anthroposophy."

So, where do things stand, in reality? In reality, there is no such thing as clairvoyance — clairvoyance is a delusion, a fraud, a fantasy. Hence, Anthroposophy is null and void. Thus, there is no valid basis for Waldorf education.

I suppose I shouldn’t just brush off clairvoyance. How can I say there is no such thing as clairvoyance? It’s an interesting question. [16] 

The topics of clairvoyance, ESP, telekinesis, teleportation, etc., may fascinate. But, sadly, they are essentially dead ends. There’s nothing there. To summarize as briefly as possible: 

"After thousands of experiments, a reproducible ESP phenomenon has never been discovered, nor has any individual convincingly demonstrated a psychic ability." — David G. Myers, PSYCHOLOGY (Worth Publishers, 2004), p. 260 [emphasis by Myers]. 

No one has ever convincingly demonstrated a psychic ability — including clairvoyance. No one. Ever.

Put it this way: Unless you believe in clairvoyance — and unless you specifically believe that Rudolf Steiner’s followers, including many Waldorf teachers, are clairvoyant — then you should steer clear of Waldorf schools.

Steiner claimed that his type of clairvoyance was new and improved, far better than the old rough-and-ready clairvoyance used by the ancients. He claimed to exercise disciplined, controlled, all-but-infallible "exact clairvoyance." [17] And he gave instructions for his followers to follow, so that they, too, could develop exact clairvoyance. [18]

Steiner taught that ancient peoples had a natural but inexact form of clairvoyance. You may doubt this, just as you may doubt that Steiner developed a better, more exact form of clairvoyance. (There cannot be either an inexact form or an exact form of something that does not exist, and clairvoyance does not exist.) Still, Waldorf teachers often take Steiner’s word for such things. Thus, the following appears in promotional material for a Waldorf teacher’s guide written by a Waldorf teacher:

"The History curriculum for fifth and sixth grades in a Waldorf school follows the thread of development of cultures through Ancient India, Persia, Egypt and Chaldea, Greece, and Rome. This provides a picture of the changing human consciousness from ancient clairvoyance to the loss of [this] spiritual vision….” — Publisher’s description of Roy Wilkinson’s TEACHING HISTORY, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2000).

Pity any students who are taught history in accordance with such mystical baloney.

This leads us to what Steiner called "the Waldorf teacher's consciousness" — that is, the consciousness that Waldorf teachers should cultivate and employ.

“[W]e must work to develop this consciousness, the Waldorf teacher’s consciousness, if I may so express it ... We must realize that we really need something quite specific, something that is hardly present anywhere else in the world, if we are to be capable of mastering the task of the Waldorf school ... [We need] what humanity has lost in this respect, has lost just in the last three or four centuries [i.e., clairvoyance]. It is this that we must find again.” — Rudolf Steiner, DEEPER INSIGHTS INTO EDUCATION (Anthroposophical Press, 1983), p. 21.

Steiner may seem to be saying that Waldorf teachers need to develop the old, inexact clairvoyance, but of course he meant that they need to buy his new-and-improved model. On other occasions, Steiner indicated clearly that he had exact clairvoyance in mind.

”[P]hilosophy does not suffice, only pedagogical principles and methods do: exact clairvoyance." — Rudolf Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), p. 208.

Steiner's followers today really do believe in this new-and-improved psychic power. 

"Modern exact clairvoyance, as developed by him [i.e., Rudolf Steiner], reveals spiritual facts to spiritual vision as clearly as men's ordinary senses reveal to the intellect the facts of the physical world.” — Floyd McKnight, RUDOLF STEINER AND ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophical Society in America, 1977), p. 4.

Steiner certainly promoted belief in this nonexistent power. He included it among the various fantastical requirements he laid down for his followers.

"Along with exact clairvoyance, you must also achieve something I refer to as ideal magic. This is a kind of magic that must be differentiated from the false magic practiced [by] charlatans ... [A]s spiritual researchers [i.e., Anthroposophists] we must carry out exercises of the will in a very systematic way to achieve ideal magic along with exact clairvoyance." — Rudolf Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), pp. 18-19.

Magic, forsooth. This takes us a little off the track. (By "ideal magic," Steiner essentially meant white magic, by which he essentially meant using Anthroposophy to enter the spirit realm. [19]) The main point for us here is that Steiner said that his followers need to work up their powers of clairvoyance. And in particular, he said that Waldorf teachers should develop and employ clairvoyance in their work. This is why Waldorf educator Eugene Schwartz could write, “Must teachers be clairvoyant in order to be certain that they are teaching in the proper way? Clairvoyance is needed.” [20]

You may think nothing could be more impractical than requiring teachers to develop and use a totally imaginary psychic power. Such a requirement would be unthinkable in most educational systems. But this requirement is considered entirely practical in the mystical, Anthroposophical Waldorf universe. Remember, "Waldorf education is a form of practical anthroposophy.”


Supermen, Planets, & Islands

"[N]ow [i.e., nowadays, today] Vulcan Beings [i.e., spirits from Vulcan] are actually coming into the realm of earthly existence [i.e., they are descending to Earth]. Super-earthly Beings are already here, and the fact that we are able to have a connected body of Spiritual Science at all today is due to the circumstance that Beings from beyond the earth are bringing the messages from the spiritual world down into earth-existence ... These Beings of whom I have spoken will gradually come down to the earth. Vulcan Beings, ‘Supermen’ of Vulcan, ‘Supermen’ of Venus, of Mercury, of the Sun, will unite with this earth-existence. But if human beings persist in...opposition to them, earth-existence will pass over into chaos in the course of the next few thousand years." — Rudolf Steiner, “A Picture of Earth Evolution in the Future”, THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1960, GA 204.


When Steiner speaks of "Spiritual Science," he essentially means his own teachings, Anthroposophy. So, here he tells us that Anthroposophy exists only because supermen from other worlds, including supermen from Vulcan, bring wondrous messages to us from the great beyond. [21]

This puts a whole new slant on things, wouldn't you agree? Remember that Waldorf education is Anthroposophy put into practice. So, Waldorf education exists thanks to the ministrations of supermen from other worlds, including supermen from Vulcan, who bring wondrous messages to us from the great beyond. 

This is eye-opening. Of course we need to welcome the supermen from other worlds, and we must embrace their messages. Otherwise, a terrible doom will overtake us. "[I]f human beings persist in...opposition to them, earth-existence [i.e., life on Earth] will pass over into chaos." 

Our options are plain. We can side with Steiner and the supermen, or we can watch everything go to pot.

You may be surprised to learn that Vulcan exists. Because, in fact, it does not. (Scientists once speculated that a planet orbits very close to the Sun, closer than Mercury. They called the planet Vulcan. But they tossed out this speculation long ago.)

Vulcan does not exist. Yet we find Steiner talking about Vulcan and the supermen who live there.

You see, the solar system described in Anthroposophy is not at all the real place described by astronomers today. Anthroposophists believe in a fantasy universe. Their solar system belongs more to mythology than reality. Here's a fairly recent overview:

"Steiner...pointed out that every planet has its own spirits of the form...and spirits of movement [i.e., gods four and five levels higher than humanity]. The individual planets were created because the different spiritual beings [i.e., gods] created places to live which corresponded with their developmental stage. Thus Venus and Mercury were formed because the spirits of the form...were looking for a dwelling place with a finer substance than the Earth and a coarser one than the Sun. Mars is a repetition of the Old Moon [the third incarnation of our solar system] ... The other planets are a dwelling place for higher ethereal life forms than those we know on Earth. Jupiter is a repetition of the Old Sun [the second incarnation of our solar system], and Saturn of Old Saturn [the first incarnation] ... Jehovah is the ruler of the Moon ... The solar system is an ethereal world, full of life, in which the Sun and the Earth are central poles for the development of man ... Saturn and Jupiter form the solar system's ethereal nervous and sensory system, Mars and the Sun form the ethereal respiratory and circulatory system, while Mercury, Venus and the Earth represent the digestive system and the limbs." — Kees Zoeteman, GAIASOPHY (Lindisfarne, Anthroposophic Press, 1991), pp. 137-138. [22]

Even when it comes to our home planet, the planet Earth, the Anthroposophical view is severely detached from reality. Here is a statement I have quoted once or twice before. Please bear with me as I quote it again:

“[A]n island like Great Britain swims in the sea and is held fast by the forces of the stars. In actuality, such islands do not sit directly upon a foundation; they swim and are held fast from outside ... However, we need to avoid [telling] such things. We cannot tell them to the students because...we would acquire a terrible name. Nevertheless, that is actually what we should achieve in geography." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 607-608.

Oh, dear. Islands like Great Britain swim in the sea. They do not sit on foundations. They swim in the sea and are held in place by the stars.

You might think I am quoting from a comedy routine, but in fact I am quoting from a faculty meeting conducted by Rudolf Steiner at the first Waldorf school. Steiner said such things to Waldorf teachers. And the teachers did not rebel. They did not resign in protest. They did not insist that Steiner resign. They sat quietly and absorbed the great man's occult wisdom.

“[A]n island like Great Britain swims in the sea and is held fast by the forces of the stars."

Now, granted, Steiner told the teachers not to divulge this wonderful information to their students. Telling the kids that Great Britain floats in the sea would give the school a dreadful black eye; it would damage the school's reputation. "[W]e would acquire a terrible name."

So, hush! Don't tell the kids.


Except, this is the Truth. This is how the Earth really functions, under the influence of the stars. Withholding the Truth from the kids would be wrong, surely. So, somehow, somehow, Waldorf teachers should slip the Truth across. Somehow. "We cannot tell [these things] to the students .... Nevertheless, that is actually what we should achieve."

Would any Waldorf geography teacher today tell students the Truth about Great Britain and all the other floating islands? Surely not.

And yet... [23]

It's a dilemma. Or it may seem like a dilemma to a Waldorf teacher. Teachers at other sorts of schools don't face this issue. They are not tempted to tell (or imply, or hint) that Great Britain swims in the sea. But Waldorf teachers — inclined to believe Steiner's wacko pronouncements — are challenged.

The teachers at the first Waldorf school did not rebel against Steiner's wacko pronouncements. 

How about you?


Connect the Dots

Let's continue our survey of the astonishments to be found in Anthroposophical discourse. Bear in mind, this is the thinking that forms the basis for Waldorf education. I'll leave it for you to connect the dots between the various statements I quote in this installment of "Waldorf Wisdom". See what you make of it all. 

Rudolf Steiner taught that children are born four times. Human beings have four bodies, you see, and these incarnate at different times. A person is "born," and then "born" again, and again, and again, as these bodies develop. The bodies are the physical body, the etheric body, the astral body, and the ego body (or "I"). The physical body incarnates at the moment of physical birth; the etheric body incarnates around age seven; the astral body arrives around age 14; and the ego body emerges at about age 21. [24]

Everything I've just explained is bunk, of course. Yet Waldorf authorities today continue to espouse Steiner's teachings on these — and related — matters. Thus, we get stuff such as the following. Our possession of four bodies means (and this may come as a surprise to you) that sex is a sort of illusion.

“[E]ven in our earliest physiological beginnings we are both female and male, and as one gender develops in the physical or material body, the other gender develops in what [Steiner] calls the life or etheric body. From the perspective of our sexual nature, then, we are — and remain — ‘whole’ human beings to the degree we think of ourselves as being endowed with both physical and etheric bodies. Only when we focus on one body at the expense of the other do we arrive at a one-sided picture of male or female. Indeed, once we get beyond physical and etheric bodies and speak of the human soul (or astral body) and self (or eternal ‘I’), according to Steiner, we are dealing with aspects of the human being that transcend gender altogether, even though they inhabit gender-specific physical and etheric bodies and hence are influenced by them.” — Waldorf teacher and teacher-trainer Douglas Gerwin, “Being Fully Human: An Introduction”, RESEARCH BULLETIN, Research Institute for Waldorf Education, Spring 2014, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 61-62.*

Ask yourself if you want your children (who "inhabit gender-specific physical and etheric bodies") to be taught by people who believe such things. (And ask yourself if you will find a sexism-free environment in a Waldorf school, given Steiner's explanation that each of us is both male and female, in a way, sort of. [25])

Waldorf schools are sometimes called progressive. But this is a severe misrepresentation. The thinking that informs Waldorf education — Anthroposophy — is in fact extremely backward. We might almost call it medieval.

With that in mind, we might mull over the following. Homemakers perform many important spiritual tasks. One of these tasks is releasing elemental beings from inside vegetables. (Steiner taught that there are just four real elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Each of these elements is inhabited by invisible "elemental beings" of a specific sort. Earth is inhabited by gnomes, air is inhabited by sylphs, fire is inhabited by fire spirits, and water is inhabited by undines. [26] How's that for progressive thinking?)

From THE SPIRITUAL TASKS OF THE HOMEMAKER, in which a man tells women a thing or two:

"[F]or centuries elemental beings have been receiving less and less [from humanity] … Human beings [today] neglect them [i.e., the elemental beings] with the consequence that they turn to another world, the realm of death ruled by [the demon] Ahriman ... Human beings [must] once again give them what they need. Then they will be able to help human beings again. This fact is of such importance that Rudolf Steiner spoke of it ... [Homemaking is] especially well suited to what the elemental beings seek ... Cleaning vegetables is not exactly a popular activity. Yet just this leads one directly into the elemental world. If a carrot is scraped and rubbed, a potato peeled or washed, elemental beings are freed.” — Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, THE SPIRITUAL TASKS OF THE HOMEMAKER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2008), pp. 37-39. 

Schmidt-Brabant, now deceased, was an estimable figure among Steiner's followers. According to SteinerBooks: "In 1975 he became a member of the Executive Council of the General Anthroposophical Society at the Goetheanum [the Anthroposophical headquarters] in Dornach, Switzerland, and served as Chair of the Council from 1984 until his death in 2001."

One of the less progressive features of Waldorf education is that children are generally not taught to read until at least age seven. There are several surprising (we might almost say medieval) reasons for this. One is that Waldorf schools try to prevent young children from maturing too soon — they try to keep the kids infantile. You see, kids arrive on Earth with memories of their past lives in the spirit realm. These memories should be preserved as long as possible. 

“Childhood is commonly regarded as a time of steadily expanding consciousness ... Yet in Steiner’s view, the very opposite is the case: childhood is a time of contracting consciousness ... [The child] loses his dream-like perception of the creative world of spiritual powers [i.e., the spirit realm] which is hidden behind the phenomena of the senses. This is...the world of creative archetypes and spiritual hierarchies [i.e., ranks of gods] ... This awareness [of the spirit realm and the gods] fades quickly in early childhood, but fragments of it live on in the child for a much longer time than most people imagine ... [I]n a Waldorf school, therefore, one of the tasks of the teachers is to keep the children young." — A. C. Harwood, PORTRAIT OF A WALDORF SCHOOL (The Myrin Institute Inc., 1956), pp. 15-16. [27]

Teaching young kids to read would damage their dreamy, spiritual memories. Waldorf teachers generally do not teach their students to read until the kids loose their baby teeth, which is a signal that the etheric body has incarnated. (I kid you not.)

"The timing of [the Waldorf] proscription against reading corresponds with the 'cutting of the teeth,' which Steiner indicated as a developmental milestone, with the incarnation of the etheric body in children. Steiner says early reading will hinder the later spiritual development of children." — Open Waldorf, a website that essentially defends Waldorf schooling.

The "cutting of the teeth" (i.e., the arrival of adult teeth) or the "change of teeth" (the replacement of baby teeth by adult teeth) is given great significance in Waldorfworld. Indeed, teeth in general are said to have amazing importance. 

”It will seem strange that in discussing man as a spiritual being, I speak first of the teeth ... [A] truly spiritual understanding of the human being shows us [that] the child develops teeth not only for the sake of eating and speaking, but for quite a different purpose as well. Strange as it sounds to-day, the child develops teeth for the purpose of thinking. Modern science little knows that the teeth are the most important of all organs of thought." — Rudolf Steiner, EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1943), lecture 4, GA 307.

Teeth are so important, Waldorf schools teach kids to practice various arts and crafts in order to promote the development of good teeth. Knitting and crocheting, for instance.

“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.” — Rudolf Steiner, SPIRITUAL SCIENCE AND MEDICINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1948), lecture 17, GA 312. 

So, don't teach kids to read too soon. But teach them to knit and crochet. Why? For the sake of their teeth.

How's that for progressive thinking?

Or would you call it magical thinking?

Or would you call it medieval — something from out of the Dark Ages?

* Disclosure statement: Douglas Gerwin and I attended the same Waldorf school. I was a few years ahead of him, however; as far as I can recall, we did not actually know each other.


You and Your Race

Some previous installments of “Waldorf Wisdom” have had a semi-humorous tone. Today’s installment will be quite different.

Here is a passage from a play written for Waldorf students to perform. Three Archangels address Noah’s three sons after the Flood has subsided: 

Shem, to the north and the West you must go, 
Where, out of cold and the blood-chilling snow, 
You and your race shall become those who know.

Japheth, no man could work harder than you! 
Go to the east, to your God remain true 
You and your race shall become those who do.

Ham, lion-brave yet as mild as a dove, 
Go to the South, where the Sun burns above; 
You and your race shall become those who love

— from the play “Noah and the Flood”, by Waldorf educator Eugene Schwartz

The play is for Waldorf third graders to perform. The scene quoted here comes at the climax of the action, after Noah and his family have survived the Flood. Archangels speak to Noah's sons, and they do so in terms of race. Humanity is being divided into races: Shem, Japheth, and Ham will each become the progenitor of a racial line. “You and your race… You and your race… You and your race…”

The Archangels specify where each race should dwell (in the North and West, in the East, and in the South), and they assign each race a distinct mission (knowing, doing, and loving). 

Using euphemisms, the play subtly introduces children to Steiner’s racial teachings. Steiner taught that white-skinned people, living in the North and West (i.e., Europe), lead “thinking lives.” He said that yellow-skinned people, living in the East (i.e., Asia), lead “emotional lives.” And he said that black-skinned people, living in the South (i.e., Africa), lead “impulsive lives.” 

Steiner taught that the differences between races are much more than merely skin-deep: They are profound. The different races belong in different parts of the Earth (the races should not mix), Steiner said, and the races have different talents or characters. Moreover, as we will see, Steiner taught that the races use different parts of their brains (or they actually have differently formed brains), and they have different kinds of blood. Perhaps most important, Steiner taught that the different races exist under the aegis of different gods, different Archangels. Racial divisions, in other words, reflect significant physical, mental, and even spiritual differences.

Ultimately, Steiner taught, all moral humans evolve upward through the various racial forms. All properly developing humans evolve from lowly, black incarnations to high, white incarnations. In this sense, we ultimately are all alike. Moreover, we will eventually evolve beyond race — someday racial differences will cease to exist. None of this, however, alters the implications for racial divisions as they exist here and now, according to Steiner. Black Africans are lower than Asians, who in turn are lower than white Europeans, Steiner taught. Blacks can barely control their impulses, while Asians are driven by their emotions. Only white Europeans are truly thoughtful or rational. Or so Steiner said. And, clearly, what Steiner said is racist. [28]

Schwartz’s play is not explicit about all of these racist concepts, but it reflects some of them while at least implying others. And, bear in mind, this is a play written for third graders to perform. Euphemisms notwithstanding, this is horrifying. If there was any justification for Steiner’s racist teachings in Steiner’s own time, there is absolutely none now.

Schwartz wrote "Noah and the Flood" many years ago. It appeared in The Waldorf Clearing House Newsletter in the autumn of 1984. [29] Does this excuse Schwartz?

Today, July 1, 2017, I purchased the play from Schwartz's website, MillennialChild.com. [30] The text still uses the language I have quoted: “You and your race… You and your race… You and your race…” In addition, as of today, the play is still available in its original form at the Online Waldorf Library. [31] The text there also still presents the original language.

Maybe Schwartz was not originally conscious that the words he used in "Noah and the Flood" must be deemed racist. But in all the long years since he wrote the play, why did he never make a slight editorial revision? Why, in all these years, did he not change the word "race" to a more neutral alternative such as "kin" or "band" or "clan"? ("You and your kin...") The reason is almost certainly that he quite literally meant — and continues to mean — "race." The Archangels literally divide humanity into three “races.” Steiner spoke of races, so Schwartz speaks of races. Schwartz dramatizes, for children, the racial teachings of Rudolf Steiner. And this is inexcusable.

Let’s turn to Steiner.


On occasion, Steiner explicitly divided mankind into three major races, as Schwartz does in his play. Above is an illustration that appears in VOM LEDBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - UBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1993), p. 51.

According to Steiner, these are the predominant human races today. Blacks (Schwarz) are the lowest, Steiner said; they lead impulsive lives (Triebleben), and they use the most backward part of the brain, the "hindbrain" (Hinterhirn). If blacks move from their proper place on Earth, they turn copper red (Kupferrot) and die out. 

Orientals are higher, according to Steiner. Yellow in color (Gelb), they live largely through their emotions (Gefühlsleben), and they use the intermediate portion of the brain, the “middlebrain" (Mittelhirn). If Orientals move from their proper place, they turn brown (Braun) and die out. 

Whites (Weiss) are the highest, Steiner said; they lead thinking lives (Denkleben), for which they make use of the forward portion of the brain, the “forebrain" (Vorderhirn). They are not confined to any one spot upon the Earth, although they are mainly to be found in Europe.

This is, generally speaking, what Schwartz represents in his sweet little play, which is still available on Schwartz's website and at the Online Waldorf Library.

Steiner taught that Archangels are gods two levels higher than humankind. Each Archangel oversees a large human grouping such as a nation or a race. Each Archangel thus serves as the shared spirit or soul of a particular group such as a nation or race.

Here is how Archangels are described today in an Anthroposophical reference book: 

Archangel — spiritual being … An archangel can serve as a national spirit, inspiring a whole nation with all its characteristics such as language, ethics and folk customs … Expressions such as ‘folk-soul’ and ‘folk spirit’ indicate the same spiritual being.” — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), pp. 8-9.

When an Archangel oversees a race rather than a nation, it is not a “national spirit” but a “race spirit” or “race soul.” 

“You know that what is called Folk-soul, Race-soul, has become a somewhat abstract idea today … To the occultist this is not so at all. What one calls the Folk-soul, as the German, French, Russian Folk-soul, is to him an absolutely independent entity [i.e., a real spirit] … It was the Folk-soul, the Race-soul, which guided the bloodstream down into the bodies [i.e., race souls gave the races their unique blood types] … [W]e are at the very height of this materialistic evolution which prefers to deny such beings as Folk-souls and Race-souls [i.e., in our benighted materialistic age, people deny the reality of folk souls and race souls].” — Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), chapter 11, GA 99.

In Anthroposophical belief, each race has its own race soul, its own spirit, its own god. So, to repeat: Racial differences are not merely a matter of skin pigmentation; they are a deep matter; they reflect significantly different developmental states, different spiritual conditions, overseen by different gods.

A few more points should be made about racial divisions as presented in "Noah and the Flood". 

Note that the two races not assigned to “know” are, implicitly, consigned not to know — they, the non-European races, must be seen as comparatively ignorant. 

By the same token, two of three human races are implicitly identified as being less able to “do.” They presumably lack skills, dexterity, competence. Not as individuals, mind you, but as races. 

Likewise, two of three human races are implicitly tarred as being less loving. Their hearts are comparatively cold, it would seem; they are less empathetic, less kind. Not as individuals, mind you, but as races. 

These are all horrid, grotesque, racist propositions. Encouraging young children to think in these ways is awful; it is wicked; it should never be done. Yet here we find such propositions surfacing at least implicitly, today, in Waldorf education. There can be no excuse for putting children on stage, today, in a play containing such concepts and such language. “You and your race… You and your race… You and your race…”

The problem was not created by Schwartz, of course. It derives from Steiner. And it will not easily be resolved; it is woven deeply into Anthroposophical beliefs, including beliefs about Archangels. As long as Anthroposophists accept Steiner’s teachings about Archangels (Folk Souls, Race Souls), racism will remain embedded in their belief system. [32] And for this reason, racism will threaten to surface from time to time in the educational system that is founded on Anthroposophy: Waldorf education.



The cosmology embraced by Rudolf Steiner's followers includes teachings about many worlds. Some of those worlds are spiritual realms, while others are — at least partially — physical spheres. As an introduction to this Anthroposophical vision of the heavens, we might start with the world that hovers just beyond the limits of our own: the Moon. And, as may be appropriate considering the many one-eighties found in Anthroposophy, let’s approach this subject through a back door. 

The following is from promotional material for a book distributed by SteinerBooks, the Anthroposophical publishing combine:

“Is it possible that the famous American moon landings were nothing but an illusion — all a fabrication? Could NASA have fooled the world by broadcasting simulations that had been filmed for training purposes? From the very first manned flight into orbit right up to the present day, there have been serious anomalies in the official narrative of the conquest of space. Bestselling author Gerhard Wisnewski dissects the history in minute detail ... The evidence he presents casts serious doubt on the possibility of humans ever having walked on the moon.” — Description of ONE SMALL STEP?, published by Clairview Books, an offshoot of Temple Lodge, an independent Anthroposophical publisher.

Many Anthroposophists doubt that humans have been to the Moon. Why? Because of Rudolf Steiner’s teachings, of course. Let’s hear from an Anthroposophist who has been busy in online discussions:

"[T]he moon is now a superhardened, vulcanized sphere that exists for the purpose of providing a necessary counterweight for earth evolution ... Thus, the moon is effectively sealed off and impenetrable since the mineral kingdom was passed over to the earth during the Lemurian Epoch, about fifty thousand years ago [33] ... Lucifer and Ahriman were instrumental in conducting the passing over of the mineral kingdom to earth [34] ... But the short of it is that the moon is an impenetrable sphere [i.e., we cannot go there]...." — Anthroposophist Steve Hale, writing at the Anthroposophy Tomorrow website, Oct. 4, 2005. [35]

Anthroposophists believe the darnest things. Drawing upon Rudolf Steiner's phantasmagoric fantasies — which they generally embrace as gospel truths — they wander off into clouds of delusion. This is OK. They are free to believe whatever they want. But when Anthroposophists work in Waldorf schools, and when they attempt to lure their students into those clouds of delusion, it is no longer OK. Deluded Anthroposophists teaching in Waldorf schools may inflict severe harm on the children in their charge. [36]

Let’s widen our focus. What else did Steiner teach about the Moon? The most important thing to know about the Moon, from an Anthroposophical perspective, is that Jehovah lives there.

“Yahweh [i.e., Jehovah] resides on the Moon.” — Rudolf Steiner, SLEEP AND DREAMS (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 43.

You may be accustomed to thinking of Jehovah as God — the one and only God Almighty, Lord of Heaven and Earth. But Steiner taught something quite different. He taught that Jehovah is just one of a vast throng of gods. Anthroposophy is polytheistic. [37] Jehovah is the god of the Jews, Steiner said, and because Jehovah lives on the Moon, Judaism is “the Moon religion.”

"As you know, we distinguish the Jews from the rest of the earth's population. The difference has arisen because the Jews have been brought up in the moon religion for centuries [i.e., they worship the Moon being, Jehovah]." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 59.

This brings us back to the explosive topic of racism in Anthroposophy. Steiner's teachings include racist and anti-Semitic strains. Having devoted the ninth installment of "Waldorf Wisdom" to a discussion of Anthroposophical racism, I won't renew that discussion now. But if you become interested in Anthroposophy, you certainly should investigate the beliefs numerous Anthroposophists have expressed concerning "lower" races and Jews. [38]

In the seventh installment of "Waldorf Wisdom", we learned a little about supermen who make their homes on various planets. The Moon has it supermen, too. They are spiritual leaders who left the Earth for the Moon fifteen centuries ago.

“These exalted guiding beings and the rest of the lunar population once lived on the earth. They withdrew to the moon more than 15,000 years ago.” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 92.

They were human, once, but they became superhuman by fulfilling their human destiny long before we fulfill ours.

"Reckoning by earthly years, we must say that the inhabitants of the Moon, when on Earth, accomplished quite 15,000 years ago what humans beings still have to do. More than 15,000 years have passed since these Moon inhabitants acquired the power of making judgments which bring together the naturalistic and the moral." — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 11, GA 227.

So, the Moon has inhabitants, and some of them are extremely advanced. They understand morality as deeply as they understand natural science; indeed, for them, morality is fused into natural science.

In the third installment of “Waldorf Watch”, we learned a thing or two about gnomes. There are Earth gnomes and there are Moon gnomes. Let’s hear again about the gnomes of the Moon, this time at slightly greater length.

“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. [paragraph break] These are the things which reveal themselves in regard to the gnome-world. Through them the gnomes acquire an interesting, an extraordinarily interesting relationship to the whole evolution of the universe. They always carry over the firm element of a preceding stage into the stage which follows.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 9, GA 230.

Now, to really understand this, you need to know that by “Moon” Steiner sometimes meant the Earth’s natural satellite, and sometimes he meant the stage of evolution (“Old Moon”) that preceded our current stage of evolution (“Present Earth”). In the passage we just saw, Steiner was discussing “the old Moon.” 

The Moon-gnomes helped create the physical structure of the Earth as we know it now (“our solid Earth-structure”). Gnomes and the Moon are a creative combination, then. But there’s more to the story. Before you know it, gnomes will use the essence of the Moon to destroy the physical Earth. 

“[T]hey will then use the moon substance gradually to disperse the earth, as far as its outer substance is concerned, into the universe. Its substance must pass away.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD, lecture 9. [39]

Digging into Anthroposophical beliefs about the Moon provides a sample of the sort of investigation you may want to undertake on your own. Dig into Anthroposophy. Especially if you are thinking of sending your children to a Waldorf school, you really should dig into Anthroposophy. Remember, Waldorf education is built on the foundation provided by Anthroposophy. If Anthroposophy is fundamentally flawed, then Waldorf education is fundamentally flawed. So, please, investigate Anthroposophy. Read as many Anthroposophical texts as you can bear, and the ask yourself this: Do you find good solid sense in the Anthroposophical texts you have studied? Or does what you’ve read strike you as, in a word, well — lunacy? [40]


“At full moon the gnomes are ill at ease. Physical moonlight does not suit them.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD, lecture 9.

Can you take a statement like this seriously? If not, you probably should not send your children to a Waldorf school. Waldorf education is Anthroposophy put into practice. 

"Waldorf education is a form of practical anthroposophy.…” — Waldorf teacher Keith Francis, THE EDUCATION OF A WALDORF TEACHER (iUniverse, 2004), p. xii.


Rudolf Riffing 

Our little series, "Waldorf Wisdom", could be extended almost indefinitely. The falsehoods of Anthroposophy — upon which Waldorf education has been erected — reach into almost every nook and cranny of human endeavor. Steiner meant Anthroposophy to encompass essentially everything, and he meant Waldorf education — as a cardinal embodiment of Anthroposophy — to cure just about everything.

So there's a lot more we could say.*

But perhaps we have already said enough to make the basic point. Anthroposophy is nonsense, and Waldorf education thus stands on the flimsiest of foundations. Some day, surely, Anthroposophy will collapse under the weight of its own absurdities. At that stage, Waldorf education will either vanish down the same sink hole, or it will survive in some fundamentally reformed version, freed of its occult genesis. If Waldorf education survives, in other words, it will no longer be real Waldorf education. Let us hope so, anyway.

Meantime, let's start wrapping things up by handing the microphone to R. Steiner and letting him riff. Here are a few of the things Steiner asks his followers to believe. (This is a more or less random sample; I apologize to old-timers for whom the following quotes are old news. To find fresh samples of Anthroposophical absurdity, paging through virtually any Anthroposophical publication should suffice.) Anthroposophists are free to believe whatever they want, of course. But can you convince yourself to believe the things Steiner's followers believe? Can you convince yourself to believe any of the following statements?

We'll start with a quotation that extends our recent discussion of the Moon. After that, we'll let Dr. Steiner wander wheresoever he will.

The Moon today:

◊ “[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.

The two Jesuses:

◊ “[T]wo Jesus children were born. One was descended from the so-called Nathan line of the House of David, the other from the Solomon line. These two children grew up side by side. In the body of the Solomon child lived the soul of Zarathustra. In the twelfth year of the child's life this soul passed over into the other Jesus child [which had the soul of Buddha] and lived in that body until its thirtieth year ... And then, only from the thirtieth year onward, there lived in this body the Being Whom we call the Christ [i.e., the Sun God], Who remained on earth altogether for three years.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BHAGAVAD GITA (Anthroposophic Press, 1968), p. 59.


◊ "The men of Mars tend to settle permanently on a certain spot. Men on the Earth are cosmopolitanly inclined [i.e., they like to move around]; Mars men are wedded to the soil, there are very few cosmopolitans among them. And there is, or rather was, on Mars constant war and strife, due to the [Martian] astral bodies that are very strong and not tempered and made gentle by an I [a spiritual ego]. If you will think it over you will understand that among men who develop in this way there must inevitably be a terrible amount of strife and conflict ... [T]he men of Mars have quite an exceptional lust for war." — Rudolf Steiner, MAN IN THE LIGHT OF OCCULTISM, THEOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 10, GA 137.

◊ “Buddha became a Redeemer and Saviour for Mars as Christ Jesus had become for the Earth. The Buddha had been prepared for this by his teaching of Nirvana ... If we can look into the soul of the Buddha...we shall realise how infinitely wise was the contract between Christian Rosenkreutz [the founder or Rosicrucianism] and the Buddha, as the result of which, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Buddha relinquished his activity on the Earth...in order henceforward to work in the Mars sphere....” — Rudolf Steiner, LIFE BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1975), lecture 5, GA 141.

◊ “Buddha, the Prince of Peace, went to Mars — the planet of war and conflict — to execute his mission there. The souls on Mars were warlike, torn with strife. Thus Buddha performed a deed of sacrifice similar to the deed performed in the Mystery of Golgotha [i.e., Calvary — Christ's crucifixion] ... Buddha performed this deed on Mars in the service of Christian Rosenkreutz." — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1950), lecture 7, “The Mission of Gautama Buddha on Mars”, GA 130.

The heart:

◊ “The heart is not a pump ... Basically the heart is a sense organ within the circulatory system, yet exactly the opposite is taught nowadays.” — Rudolf Steiner, POLARITIES IN THE EVOLUTION OF MANKIND (Steiner Books, 1987), p. 56.

◊ “[T]he heart is indeed a sense organ for perceiving the blood’s movement, not a pump as physicists [sic] claim; the coursing of our blood is brought about by our spirituality and vitality.” — Rudolf Steiner, AT HOME IN THE UNIVERSE (Steiner Books, 2000), p. 84.

◊ “[Science] sees the heart as a pump that pumps blood through the body. Now there is nothing more absurd than believing this.” — Rudolf Steiner, PSYCHOANALYSIS AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY, (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), p. 126.

Karma and catastrophes:

◊ "[W]e see...groups of human souls in their descent from pre-earthly into earthly existence wander to regions situated, for example, in the vicinity of volcanoes, or to districts where earthquakes are liable to occur ... [S]uch places are deliberately chosen by the souls thus karmically connected, in order that they may experience this very destiny [i.e., dying in a volcanic eruption or earthquake] ... [They think] 'I choose a great disaster on earth in order to become more perfect....'" — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), pp. 226-227.

China, Europe,
and substandard souls:

“[A] kind of ‘Chineseness’ is beginning to manifest in Europe, as though Europe were becoming ‘chinesified’ ... Consider the following: Souls exist who, as a result of their former lives, are inclined to incarnate in Chinese bodies ... Now since the Chinese population is nowhere near as great as it was in former times [sic], it is, in any case, not possible for all these Chinese souls to incarnate there. In Europe, on the other hand, the physical population has increased considerably in recent times, and [therefore] many souls can be accommodated here who were really destined for incarnation in Chinese bodies. This is one reason why keen observers are beginning to notice that Europe is becoming ‘chinesified’ ...  By bringing about the ‘opiumising’ of Chinese bodies and causing generations to come into being under the influence of opium's forces, it was possible to condemn the Chinese to take in, to a certain extent, some very immature, sub-standard souls ... But those souls who had themselves decided to incarnate in Chinese bodies were thereby prevented from approaching these ‘opiumised’ bodies. They were diverted to Europe.…” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1988), lecture 13, GA 173.


One reason families, 
tribes, peoples, and nations 

◊ "The criminal demons attached as parasites to unborn children cause deterioration in the succession of the generations; this eats into human beings, making them less good than they would be if these demons did not exist. There are various reasons for the decline of families, tribes, people and nations, but one of them is the existence of these criminal demon parasites....” — Rudolf Steiner, ANGELS, (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 168.

Education and authority:

◊ “[I]t will be very good if you can keep the children from losing their feeling for authority. That is what they need most.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER - Foundations of Waldorf Education VIII (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 14-15.

◊ “We need to teach children how to properly accept something because an authority presents it or to believe something because an authority believes it." — Rudolf Steiner, THE RENEWAL OF EDUCATION - Foundations of Waldorf Education IX (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 92.

◊ "[T]each the children respect. The children should not raise their hands so much." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 65.

Invisible beings  
all around, 
and also inside:

◊ "[O]ur brain connects us with certain elemental beings, namely those elemental beings that belong to the sphere of wisdom ... [T]hey are called elves, fairies, and so on." — Rudolf Steiner, THE RIDDLE OF HUMANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), lecture 5, GA 170.

◊ “A gnome is only visible to someone who can see on the astral plane, but miners frequently possess such an astral vision [i.e., clairvoyance]; they know that gnomes are realities.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 27, GA 93a.

◊ “The accumulation in the etheric body caused through [evil] experiences of the soul...brings about detachments from the beings working in the spiritual worlds [i.e., it breaks off parts of the spirits existing in higher worlds] and these [fragments] are now to be found in our environment — they are the ‘specters’ or ‘ghosts.’”— Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 84.

◊ "The beings who permeate the astral body and make it unfree are known as 'Demons.' Your astral body is always interpenetrated by demons and the beings you yourselves generate through your true or false thoughts are of such a nature that they gradually grow into demons. " — Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 6, GA 99.

The evils of technology:

◊ “When we build steam-engines, we provide the opportunity for the incarnation of demons ... In the steam-engine, Ahrimanic demons are actually brought to the point of physical embodiment.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Relation of Man to the Hierarchies” (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, Vol. V, Nos. 14-15, 1928). 

◊ "The calculator has been introduced. I do not wish to be a fanatic, and the calculator may have its usefulness ... But much of what might be gained from the use of invented calculating machines can be achieved equally well by using the ten fingers [i.e., counting on your fingers] ... [W]hen I see calculators in classrooms, from a spiritual point of view it strikes me as if I were in a medieval torture chamber." — Rudolf Steiner,  SOUL ECONOMY (Anthroposophic Press, 2003), p. 173. [The "calculators" that so horrified Steiner were abacuses. Doubtless he would have been far more horrified by electronic calculators and computers.]

◊ "[E]vil will invade the earth by coming in an immediate way out of the forces of electricity.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Overcoming of Evil”, ANTHROPOSOPHIC NEWS SHEET No. 7/8 (General Anthroposophic Society, 1948), GA 273.

◊ "[E]lectric atoms are little demons of Evil ... [W]hen we listen to a modern physicist blandly explaining that Nature consists of electrons, we merely listen to him explaining that Nature really consists of little demons of Evil! And if we acknowledge Nature in this form, we raise Evil to the rank of the ruling world-divinity ... If we contemplate electricity today, we contemplate the images of a past moral reality that have turned into something evil." — Rudolf Steiner, "Concerning Electricity" (General Anthroposophical Society, 1940), GA 220.

and its opposite:

◊ “With pneumonia, the cause is always in the astral body; pneumonia can occur in no other way.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE TEMPLE LEGEND (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 60.

◊ “We must ask ourselves: In what constellation [i.e., under what constellation] were we living when in the nineties [i.e., when, in the 1890s] the present influenza epidemic appeared in its benign form? In what cosmic constellation are we living at the present moment? By virtue of what cosmic [i.e., astrological] rhythm does the influenza epidemic of the nineties appear in a more acute form today?" — Rudolf Steiner, FROM SYMPTOM TO REALITY IN MODERN HISTORY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1976), p. 89.

◊ “Endeavors to [deaden the soul] will be made by bringing out remedies to be administered by inoculation ... [T]hese inoculations will influence the human body in a way that will make it refuse to give a home to the spiritual inclinations of the soul.” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), pp. 90-91.

◊ "Five is the number of evil ... When, one day, medicine will make use of this, it will be able to influence beneficially the course of illness. Part of the treatment would be to study the illness in its development on the first and fifth days after its onset, on the separate days at the fifth hour past midnight, and again during the fifth week. Thus it is always the number five that determines when the physician can best intervene." — Rudolf Steiner, OCCULT SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (Anthroposophic Press, 1974), p. 42.

◊ "We gain an idea of what actually escapes the man of today when we realize what...gnomes, undines, and so on [i.e., elemental beings] actually are ... [I]llness springs from the malevolence of these [elemental] beings who are necessary for the upbuilding of the whole structure of nature, but also for its fading and decay." — Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 8, GA 230.

Education and reason 
(a reminder):

◊ "You will injure children if you educate them rationally.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE - Foundations of Waldorf Education I (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 61.

There isn't much danger of a rational education (or, perhaps, a healthy one) occurring in schools where the teachers believe Steiner.

In the final installment of “Waldorf Wisdom”, we’ll consider what Waldorf teachers (or some of them, at least) do indeed believe nowadays.


21st Century 

Proponents of Waldorf education sometimes acknowledge that the Waldorf movement originally grew out of Rudolf Steiner's occult visions. But, these proponents say, that is ancient history. Today, the thinking that informs Waldorf education is wholly free of mysticism; it is modern, fresh, clear, and rational.

So these proponents say. [41]

They have the history right, but what they say about Waldorf education today is extremely misleading. 

Anthroposophists today continue to believe pretty much what Anthroposophists have always believed. And because Waldorf education remains — by and large — wedded to Anthroposophy, the occultism in Anthroposophy continues to infect Waldorf today, in the 21st century. Many Waldorf teachers, indeed, are devout Anthroposophists. Today, in the 21st century. 

In this installment of "Waldorf Wisdom", we will examine a moderately lengthy list of illustrative quotations. These are statements coming out of the Waldorf movement in recent years. They are statements of Anthroposophical belief today; they expose the thinking that remains fundamental to the Waldorf movement today. In the 21st century. 

Woe betide.

(The list of quotes is not meant to be all-encompassing; it offers a peek into Anthroposophy today, not a full rundown. For the most part, I will let the quotations speak for themselves; I will offer only a few explanations. All of the following statements were published in the 21st century or in the final years of the 20th. In some cases, the statements originated further back in time, but in all cases, they have been published or re-published recently, as expressions of Anthroposophical thinking.)

Let's begin with two tiny tip-offs, lone indicators of often-hidden truths about Waldorf education. 

Anthroposophy, religion:

◊ "Waldorf teachers study Anthroposophy and the works of Dr. Steiner as part of their training to become Waldorf teachers, and the Waldorf curriculum continues to be informed by Anthroposophy today." — 2011-2012 PARENT HANDBOOK, Anchorage Waldorf School, p. 5.

◊ “One question that is often asked is: ‘Is a Waldorf school a religious school?’ ... It is not a religious school in the way that we commonly think of religion ... And yet, in a broad and universal way, the Waldorf school is essentially religious.” — Waldorf teacher Jack Petrash, UNDERSTANDING WALDORF EDUCATION (Nova Institute, 2002), p. 134.

Many of the quotations to come will expand upon and substantiate our two tiny indicators. We can begin with the following.

The Waldorf religion,
centered on Christ the Sun God:

◊ “Christ, the Sun God, who was known by earlier peoples under such names as Ahura Mazda, Hu, or Balder, has now united himself with the earth." — Anthroposophist Margaret Jonas, writing in the Introduction to RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 4-5. This 20th-century book is still offered, and promoted, within the Waldorf movement in 2017. [42]

◊ "In the ages before Christ [i.e., before the Sun God incarnated on Earth] men were still given religious teachings that enabled them to meet Christ in the Sun sphere after death, for that is where the Christ was. However, since the Mystery of Golgotha [i.e., since the Crucifixion], Christ is in the earth sphere ... In our time we can find the Christ, who is the Sublime Sun Being, only if we have related to him in freedom during earthlife [i.e., life on Earth]." — Anthroposophist Beredene Jocelyn, CITIZENS OF THE COSMOS (SteinerBooks, 2009), p. 157.

◊ "In the heart, spirit becomes matter and matter becomes spirit; this is the sun-mystery ... What is the nature of this sun-power within man? ... God and the Lamb of God [Christ] are the sun and the light of it." — Waldorf teacher Charles Kovacs, THE APOCALYPSE IN RUDOLF STEINER'S LECTURE SERIES (Floris Book, 2013), pp. 99-100.

◊ "A growing question in Waldorf kindergartens and schools is to what extent is Waldorf education bound to the Christian religion and to what extent is it more universal. The answer points towards the modern mysteries, for Waldorf education is centered around the Christ as a Universal Being who has helped humans in their development from the beginning of time. Rudolf Steiner speaks of the Christ in the present time as dwelling in the etheric world surrounding the Earth through which each incarnating soul passes ... Waldorf education strives to create a place in which the highest beings [the gods], including the Christ, can find their home....” — Waldorf teacher Joan Almon, WHAT IS A WALDORF KINDERGARTEN (SteinerBooks, 2007), p. 53.

◊ "Solomon Jesus [one to two Jesuses; the other was the Nathan Jesus]...was a reincarnation of Zoroaster (sixth century BC). In turn, Zoroaster was a reincarnation of Zarathustra (6000 BC) ... He was a bodhisattva [an enlightened being], who...helped prepare humanity for the subsequent descent into incarnation of Ahura Mazda, the cosmic Sun Spirit...Christ." — Anthroposophist Robert Powell, JOURNAL FOR STAR WISDOM 2016 (SteinerBooks, 2015), p. 234.

◊ "[T]he material realm [may be] drawn into the power spheres of the adversarial powers of evil [i.e., the lowest portion of physical existence may come under the control of demons]. If human beings avoid this danger...we gain a connection with the Christ being. In this way, we can [proceed] into a future that is...imbued with the cosmic future impulse of the Christ being ... [quoting Steiner:] 'The Christ being...received into himself the great all-embracing secrets of the worlds [i.e., he absorbed divine occult wisdom] ... [F]rom that time forward the Word of the Worlds became in the Christ light [i.e., the key to our evolution was to be found in the light of the Christ being], and the planet of which Christ was ruler, the Sun, became the center of the whole planetary system.'" — Anthroposophist Friedrich Benesch, APOCALYPSE - The Transformation of the Earth (SteinerBooks, 2015), pp. 120 & 403-404.

"What is the difference between a Waldorf teacher and one who works in the pedagogical world at large? ... [T]he Waldorf teacher discovers his or her own profound need to embark on a meditative path ... Rudolf Steiner presents us with a middle path between Lucifer and Ahriman ... [P]reparatpry work is done by the six basic exercises [prescribed by Steiner] ... Details relating to these all-important preparatory exercises can be found in [Steiner's] KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND IT ATTAINMENT and in [Steiner's] OCCULT SCIENCE. The six basic exercises lead to the development of the twelve-petaled lotus flower. This has been called the Christ chakra [an inner spiritual organ] located in the region of the heart ... A little reflection shows how important these attitudes of soul can be for the life of the Waldorf teacher." — Waldorf teacher-trainer René M. Querido, THE ESOTERIC BACKGROUND OF WALDORF EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1995), pp. 2-4. This 20th-century book is still offered, and promoted, within the Waldorf movement in 2017. [43]

To keep things manageable, I will pause here. Be forewarned: Waldorf Wisdom XII will balloon ginormously from its tiny tip-off point. But I think you may find it illuminating. So tune in again next time.

(Meanwhile, you may want to meditate on what we have already seen. We are looking at the thinking behind Waldorf education. Today. In the 21st century.)


Let's continue with our survey of views held by Anthroposophists — including many Waldorf teachers — today. The central point of this exercise is easy to summarize: The thinking that informs Waldorf schools remains, today, much as it ever was. It is mystical, occult, phantasmagoric. It provides an extremely dubious rationale for an educational movement.

There is, of course, a related point we need to recognize. When true-believing Anthroposophists work as teachers in Waldorf schools, their students will be affected — often quite deeply. Even if these teachers try to stay mum about their beliefs, they almost inevitably communicate them in subtle, unspoken ways. And, of course, not all Anthroposophical Waldorf teachers try to stay mum. Some are quite open about their mystical, occult, and phantasmagoric beliefs.

For the present, we needn't describe all the possible effects on Waldorf students. [44] It is probably sufficient to recognize that occult beliefs lurk within Waldorf schools. The question for parents is whether they want to send their kids into an environment where such beliefs lurk. Do they want to run the risk that their children will be lured toward embracing such beliefs? It is, at a minimum, a question worth mulling over.

But back to our survey.

Here's another segment of Anthroposophical belief still affirmed within the Waldorf movement today.

The demons Lucifer and Ahriman,

the Antichrist (Sorat),

and the Archangel Michael:

◊ "[J]ust as Lucifer once incarnated in the East in the third millennium BC, so before only a part of the third millennium AD has elapsed [i.e., in the 21st century or so] Ahriman will incarnate as a human being in the West. His preparations are already far advanced." — Anthroposophist Richard Seddon, THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORESEEN BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge, 2002), p. 20. [45]

◊ "Lucifer ... If this adversary power had not existed, mankind would never have been able to distinguish between good and evil. At the present stage of the earth's evolution, Lucifer tries to dissolve all physical things. He tries to prematurely establish a spiritual realm of his own elsewhere ... The opposite force to Lucifer is Ahriman, who wishes to shackle us to all things physical as the sole reality. Christ [the Sun God] holds a balancing position between Lucifer and Ahriman..." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 71.

◊ "Just as all spiritual powers of the heavenly spheres have their opposite numbers in the form of adversarial powers in the Abyss, so the highest being of all, the Deus Absolutus [i.e., the Godhead], has a corresponding being at the core of the earth, named Lucifer ... From the core of the earth the Reversed God [Lucifer] works on humanity ... He becomes particularly active through the seventh layer of earth, where Ahriman works as 'earth mirror' or 'prism', sowing confusion in all trains of thought." — Anthroposophist Sigismund von Gleich, THE TRANSFORMATION OF EVIL (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), p. 53. [46]

◊ "Just as Lucifer thrives on eccentricity, on whims, on rebelliousness, and all else that arises from the individuality asserting itself too strongly, so Ahriman encourages conventionality, rigidity, and above all, uniformity of opinion. Lucifer would like to rule our classrooms, but Ahriman is most interested in controlling [a school's] Board room." — Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz, THE WALDORF TEACHER'S SURVIVAL GUIDE (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2000), p. 61.

◊ "Each of us [Waldorf teachers] is centrally involved in the Michaelic battle against the forces of darkness [i.e., the struggle between the Archangel Michael and the enemies of Christ] for the sake of the children and youngsters in our care.” — Waldorf teacher-trainer René M. Querido, THE ESOTERIC BACKGROUND OF WALDORF EDUCATION  (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1995), p. 13.

◊ "We have been introduced to Ahriman, god of darkness, the...opponent of the true Sun Being [sic]...Christ. Ahriman has been described by Steiner as the lord of materialism. Another, more powerful being has also been described, Sorat, the Sun Demon [the Antichrist, enemy of the Sun God]. Sorat's main intention is to oppose the effect of Christ in human evolution...." — Anthroposophist Sylvia Franke, THE TREE OF LIFE AND THE HOLY GRAIL (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2007), p. 181.

◊ "The New Testament gives several references to the coming of the Antichrist ... From the book of Revelation (16) we learn of the battle of Armageddon, where the kings of the earth, under demonic leadership, will wage war against the forces of God. According to Rudolf Steiner the prophecies will soon be fulfilled."  — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER - An Introduction to his Spiritual World-view, Anthroposophy (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), p. 137.

◊ "Michael [is] the archangel who from 1879 [CE] acts as the spirit of the age, until the year 2300 ... St. Michael and anthroposophy are connected in a special way. As the custodian of cosmic intelligence, and as spirit of the age, Michael inspires all human beings who wish to connect the human spirit with the spirit in the cosmos. Anthroposophy is also called the School of Michael ... Michael, with his 'sword of iron', has a special relationship with cosmic iron, with the iron in human blood, and [with] the meteor showers ... He stands sentinel over the human potential for freedom...." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z, p. 78.

◊ "In education parent and teacher are encouraged to make themselves sensitive to karmic differences and to karmic needs [i.e., they should recognize the karmas of the students]. Thereby, we open the way for the young child to become fully capable within the limits of her or his karma, and we endeavor to educate human beings who are capable of fulfilling the plan of creator beings [i.e., the gods], capable of answering the expectations of Michael.” — Waldorf teacher-trainer Margret Meyerkort, "Working with the Karma of the Young Child", WORKING WITH THE ANGELS (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2004), p. 35. [47]

The most salient point about these quotations is that they reflect current Waldorf thinking.

Let's develop this point a little more deeply. How can we know what Anthroposophists think now? I am posting these quotations in 2017, but all of them come from prior years. So, in a sense, all of them are dated. Partly, this is because books take a lot of time to be written, edited, revised, and published. If any Anthroposophists at this moment are writing books (as inevitably there must be) to tell us what they think at this moment, we probably will not receive their words for many months or even years yet. Publication dates are lagging indicators.

Despite this inherent time lag, I suggest we consider all these quotations to be effectively current. Only a few years ago, a new century dawned. The new century is still young. All of the quotations I have offered reach us from the 21st century or from the final years of the 20th. All have been published, during this period, as Anthroposophical truths. Bear in mind, books are usually meant to have long shelf lives, and this may be especially true of Anthroposophical books. The quotations I have listed represent statements of "truths" that Anthroposophists deem not simply timely but very nearly timeless. They will remain "true" or "current" for a very long time, or so their Anthroposophical originators clearly believe. 

Put the matter another way. None of these quotations have been published by their originators as intentional examples of outdated thinking; none have been published as mere historical curiosities; none carry the implicit message that We Anthroposophists used to think thus-and-so, but of course we know better now. No. The publishers, editors, and writers of these statements almost certainly do not know better now. As Anthroposophists, they almost certainly still think as these quotations indicate. When, for instance, an Anthroposophical statement about "Ahriman, god of darkness" appears in the 21st century, we really should take the statement seriously. The author was serious about it. The statement is an example of how some Anthroposophists think. And when we gather a large number of similar quotations from recent Anthroposophical texts, we can conclude that this is how many or indeed most Anthroposophists still think, today.

Rudolf Steiner laid down the doctrines of Anthroposophy, and his followers generally treat these as Revealed Truths. Anthroposophists today still believe pretty much what Anthroposophists have always believed, which means that the foundation upon which Waldorf schooling is built remains much as it always has been: It is mystical, vaporous, and false. Today. In the 21st century.


All of Anthroposophy hinges on clairvoyance [48]; all of Rudolf Steiner's occult "insights" come via his claimed use of clairvoyance.

"Clairvoyance is the necessary pre-requisite for the discovery of a spiritual truth." — Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966),  lecture 1, GA 99.

And Steiner told many, many spiritual truths. Or so his followers believe.

There is a problem, however. A small difficulty. It is this: Clairvoyance does not exist. [49]

"After thousands of experiments, a reproducible ESP phenomenon has never been discovered, nor has any individual convincingly demonstrated a psychic ability." — David G. Myers, PSYCHOLOGY (Worth Publishers, 2004), p. 260. [Emphasis by Myers.]

Despite this difficulty, many Waldorf teachers today still cling to belief in clairvoyance. Indeed, many of them think they are clairvoyant.

"We are all psychic here." — A Waldorf official addressing a visiting parent at a Waldorf festival. [50]

People who think they possess clairvoyance are deceiving themselves. We should not let them deceive us.

Here are some recent statements by Waldorf teachers and teacher-trainers:


◊ "Clairvoyance - the ability to perceive phenomena that are not noticeable to the usual senses. Clairvoyance can be developed and occurs in various degrees, either less or more consciously controlled. Rudolf Steiner was a very high initiate with a high level of clairvoyance, which he was able to govern and consciously employ in inaugurating his spiritual science or anthroposophy." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 25.

◊ “Those who see the colors of the human aura when no fevers and delirium are present, or who see beings in the air or elemental beings as forms of nature, are sometimes gifted with powers of seeing [i.e., clairvoyance] … They can see a great deal with higher sight, but they do not necessarily know what they are seeing. If such naturally gifted seers find their way into a developed esoteric tradition or get…training [such as Steiner offered], then their gifts can develop safely.” — Waldorf teacher-trainer Dennis Klocek, THE SEER’S HANDBOOK (SteinerBooks, 2004), pp. 13-14.

◊ “[Acquiring] spiritual perception, enhanced consciousness or knowledge of higher worlds [i.e., clairvoyance]...is the same path that should be followed by every teacher who takes his vocation seriously.” — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 115.

◊ “Must teachers be clairvoyant in order to be certain that they are teaching in the proper way? Clairvoyance is needed…." — Waldorf educator Eugene Schwartz, THE MILLENNIAL CHILD (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), p. 157.

◊ "[Even] without reaching the initial stage of clairvoyance, which Steiner calls Imagination...young people's imagination may nevertheless be strengthened.” — Waldorf teacher and headmaster John Fentress Gardner, YOUTH LONGS TO KNOW (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 37-38. [51]

◊ "The modern thinking person is capable of rationality, but generally incapable of the clairvoyance characteristic of past epochs. By disciplined effort, however, the modern person can learn clairvoyant imaginative, inspirational, and intuitive thinking ... The nature and function of such thinking constitute the essence — the spiritual methodology, or discipline — of Anthroposophy." — Waldorf teacher-trainer Robert McDermott, THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER (Lindisfarne Books, Anthroposophic Press, 2009), p. 36.

The clairvoyance that Anthroposophists think they possess enables them (they think) to have “clairvoyant” visions such as the following.

(If the writers of these statements think they have clairvoyantly seen what they describe, they are fooling themselves. But in most cases, they evidently base their statements on Rudolf Steiner's teachings. Steiner claimed to be a marvelous clairvoyant, and his followers believe him.)

Past and future:

continents, planets,

and races:

Anthroposophists believe that humans once lived on the continent of Lemuria. When we destroyed Lemuria, we moved to Atlantis, which we also destroyed.

◊ "...[The lost continent of] Lemuria was the 6th evolutionary stage [of humankind] ... The expulsion from the Garden of Eden signalled the end of Lemuria … [Thereafter] Adam…and Eve had to then wrest a living from the dust of the ground ... [Adam] was the last Lemurian, the first Atlantean [i.e., he was the last resident of Lemuria and the first resident of Atlantis]. The unruly power of this Lucifer-inspired youthful Ego [i.e., the errant human soul] created the great fire storms which destroyed the continent [of Lemuria]." — Waldorf teacher-trainer Alan Whitehead, ANCIENT SATURN TO ATLANTIS - A Teenagers' Travel Guide to the Evolution of the World and Man in the Light of Rudolf Steiner's Spiritual Science — A Creative Approach (Golden Beetle Books, 1991), pp. 62-72.

◊ "Atlantis — a submerged continent ... It was swallowed up by an enormous tsunami around 10,000 BC. Before this disaster, Manu [i.e., Noah] led a group of people away from Atlantis ... Rudolf Steiner describes the Atlantean culture in many texts and lectures." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 11.

During the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs, human souls incarnated on various planets, not just on the Earth.

◊ “[O]nly a few human souls could find the possibility of incarnating on earth. Most human souls had for the time being to continue their development in other planetary worlds. Little by little, even in the Lemurian epoch, but then especially in the Atlantean, more and more souls began to incarnate on earth [i.e., they left the other planets and returned to Earth]. Those who had begun their series of incarnations at the end of the Lemurian and beginning of Atlantean times are named ‘old souls’. The ‘young souls’ are those who remained in the cosmos for a long time and only entered their earthly journey in the later periods of Atlantis or, in a few cases, even later [than that].” — Waldorf teacher Hans Peter van Manen, TWIN ROADS TO THE NEW MILLENIUM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2014), pp. 15-16.

And here is a peek into the future:

◊ "We live now in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, which will be followed by the sixth ... [In the coming epoch] there will be — as was discussed earlier — a division of mankind into a good race and an evil race. The evil race will look evil. The outer appearance of these people will reveal their inner nature. This means nothing other than that they will look more animal-like ... And this will happen because [the Archangel] Michael is withdrawing from them ... In the sixth epoch...the human countenance will have to be earned [i.e., only people who deserve to look human will have a human countenance] ... In [Steiner's] lectures on the karma of the Anthroposophical Society we are told that the genuine anthroposophists in the next incarnation will look different ... [T]heir faces will have common [i.e., uniform] features and these will show the imprint of the spirit." — Waldorf teacher Charles Kovacs, THE APOCALYPSE IN RUDOLF STEINER'S LECTURE SERIES (Floris Book, 2013), p. 91.

The true humans, looking like humans rather than animals, will be the "good race" — they will be the reborn Anthroposophists.

Waldorf schools make strenuous efforts to present themselves in a positive light. They employ public relations (PR) techniques of various sorts. [52]

Be wary. Some Waldorf schools may have cleansed themselves, to some degree, of Anthroposophical occultism. But, as suggested by the quotations we are examining here, many have not.

In choosing a school for your child, be wary.


This episode of "Waldorf Wisdom" will be different — it will focus on a single document. We'll return to regular order in episode XII.e.

A HANDBOOK FOR WALDORF CLASS TEACHERS (Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, 2011) was compiled by Waldorf teacher Kevin Avison. The handbook’s purpose is to provide guidance for Waldorf teachers, to help them in their work.

The handbook — an official, internal Waldorf document — was not meant for the likes of you and me. So let's take a gander.

Here are some of the handbook’s contents:

◊ The handbook explicitly identifies Waldorf schools as esoteric Anthroposophical institutions. Thus, when recommending “anthroposophical exercises” for the faculty members, it speaks of “the esoteric community which is the true heart of the Waldorf school” (p. 19). Anthroposophical exercises are generally meditations. Steiner prescribed many such exercises, at least some of which are meant to foster clairvoyance. [53]

◊ The “spiritual content of the curriculum” is openly acknowledged (p. 18).

◊ Consistent with Rudolf Steiner’s instructions, the handbook indicates that the relationship between Waldorf teachers and their students is fundamentally spiritual. It speaks, for instance, of the “meditative relationship between teacher and class (a relationship of and to spiritual beings)” [p. 20]. The relationship "of" spiritual beings involves teachers and students; the relationship "to" spiritual beings involves human beings and gods (the humans reach upward to the gods).''

◊ The handbook says that each day at a Waldorf school should begin with an "incarnating exercise, register, [and] Morning Verse" [p. 38]. In Anthroposophical belief, childhood is a time when three nonphysical bodies — the etheric body, the astral body, and the ego body or "I" — gradually incarnate. "Incarnating exercises" are meant to aid this process. The "register" is the calling of the roll. "Morning Verses" are prayers, generally written by Steiner himself. So, Waldorf days begin with prayers. Steiner instructed Waldorf teachers to disguise such prayers by calling them “verses." Steiner encouraged his followers to disguise or hide their beliefs and practices in many instances. [54]

◊ Classes may end with "a closing verse or grace" (p. 39). Both the "verse" and the grace would normally be a prayer addressed, directly or indirectly, to one or more gods. Anthroposophy is polytheistic. [55]

◊ Faculty meetings should open and close with "verses," and the agenda often should include preparations for "festivals" [pp. 46-47]. Again, the "verses" would normally be prayers; the "festivals" would usually be disguised or reconceived religious observances, such as the "fall festival" (the Anthroposophical version of Michaelmas) and the "spring festival" (the Anthroposophical conception of Easter). [56]

◊ Classroom study of religion is indicated repeatedly in the handbook (e.g., pp. 26 and 28).

◊ Reverence (p. 25) and repentance (p. 22) are identified as goals of the various undertakings prescribed for students and faculty.

∆ The aim of literature studies in class two, for example, is described as “to encourage reverence for that in humanity which aspires toward the Divine” (p. 26).

∆ Similarly, the aim of literature studies in class three is "to prepare the child’s feeling life for a recognition of the Divine” (p. 28).

∆ Study of the lives of saints is promoted. The purpose is "to give a picture of the striving of the human being in respect to the ideal (saints)” (p. 26).

∆ The aim of writing lessons in class seven is "to provide some means with which to delineate the contours of the soul" (p. 35).

∆ The aim of anatomy lessons in class eight is "to encourage a sense of 'educated' wonder and reverence" (p. 36).

∆ Concerning repentance, the handbook says this: “Painful events, or ones that arouse strong emotion in other ways…[can] be placed into the lap of one’s angel before sleep, with a prayer towards the wisdom (and possibly repentance) of the following morning” (p. 22). Anthroposophists believe that each human being has a personal Angel — a god who oversees and protects one. (We will return to this point.) Here, the handbook discusses both a meditative activity and  — significantly — a “prayer.”

◊ The teachers are directed to bring "the spiritual world" into the classroom. Thus, for instance, "[W]ithout active recall the teacher cannot claim to be including the spiritual world, the activity of the night, in the lesson. Recall time is the moment in the lesson when what is beginning to individualise itself in the child through their unconscious communication with the hierarchies...during sleep can express itself" (p. 42). During "recall time," students review what they have learned previously. The "hierarchies," in Anthroposophical usage, are gods. Steiner taught that there are nine ranks of gods subdivided into three groupings called hierarchies. Steiner also taught that at night the astral body and the "I" rise into the spirit realm, where they interact with the gods, while the physical body and the etheric body lie asleep on Earth. The handbook indicates that students learn lessons in the spiritual world at night ("the activity of the night:), lessons that are then driven home during the school day ("their unconscious communication with the hierarchies...during sleep can express itself" during "recall time"). According to Anthroposophy, real thinking and learning occur in the spirit realm, not on Earth. [57]

◊ The teachers work in service to the gods, and thereby they help improve human society. "By enabling the spiritual world to think and work positively for the good, the teacher begins to be not simply one who enjoys community, but becomes a builder of community" (p. 45). The spiritual world can "work" here on the physical plane of existence because Anthroposophists, including Waldorf teachers, serve as conduits for the powers of the spiritual world. The ultimate aim for Anthroposophists, in their Earthly lives, is to revolutionize human society — to build a new community that conforms to Anthroposophical principles. [58]

◊ The teachers are urged to turn to Steiner and the gods for guidance and aid. "When nothing seems to be working...wrestling meditatively with a few paragraphs from ALLGEMEINE MENSCHENKUNDE [Steiner's STUDY OF MAN] will...help, especially when accompanied by the angels of the children...and your own work with those Beings that concern themselves most closely with education" (p. 86). Anthroposophists believe that Angels are gods one level higher than humanity. Each Angel oversees one human being; each Angel is thus a Guardian Angel. The other "Beings" mentioned are gods of higher rank than Angels — generally Spirits of Fire (Archangels) and Spirits of Personality (Archai). Waldorf teachers attempt to work in compliance with gods who take particular interest in human education. STUDY OF MAN is the foundational treatise in which Steiner lays out the rationale for Waldorf education. The rationale is spiritual and occult. [59]

There’s a great deal more we could say about A HANDBOOK FOR WALDORF CLASS TEACHERS, but this is probably sufficient as an introduction. (If you want to delve deeper, see “BBC & SWSF”. [60])

The handbook makes clear that Waldorf schools are Anthroposophical religious institutions. The schools' immediate aim is to minister to students as spiritual beings; their larger goals include revolutionizing human society and promoting human evolution in accordance with the will of the gods. Hence, the handbook is consistent with statements made by various Waldorf teachers and representatives elsewhere, such as the following. (You’ve seen some of these quotations before, but they cannot be repeated too often, IMO.)

◊ "Waldorf education is a form of practical anthroposophy." — Waldorf teacher Keith Francis, THE EDUCATION OF A WALDORF TEACHER (iUniverse, 2004), p. xii.

◊ "Waldorf teachers must be anthroposophists first and teachers second." — Waldorf teacher Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 166.

◊ "[I]n a broad and universal way, the Waldorf school is essentially religious.” — Waldorf teacher Jack Petrash, UNDERSTANDING WALDORF EDUCATION  (Nova Institute, 2002), p. 134.

◊ "I think we owe it to our [students'] parents to let them know that the child is going to go through one religious experience after another [at a Waldorf school] ... [W]hen we deny that Waldorf schools are giving children religious experiences, we are denying the whole basis of Waldorf education." — Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz, "Waldorf Education - For Our Times Or Against Them?" (transcript of a talk given at Sunbridge College, 1999).

◊ "The reason many [Waldorf] schools exist is because of Anthroposophy, period. It's not because of the children. It's because a group of Anthroposophists have it in their minds to promote Anthroposophy in the world ... Educating children is secondary in these schools." — Former Waldorf teacher “Baandje" (waldorfcritics list, December 7, 2006).

◊ “Among the faculty, we must certainly carry within us the knowledge that we are not here for our own sakes but to carry out the divine cosmic plan. We...are actually carrying out the intentions of the gods ... [W]e are, in a certain sense, the means by which that streaming down from above will go out into the world.” — Waldorf founder Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 55.


Waldorf schools function within a world that, Anthroposophists believe, teems with invisible presences — unseen beings who work upon us. Previous installments of "Waldorf Wisdom" told about many of these beings (the dead, gnomes, Ahriman, Lucifer, Michael, and so forth). Let's extend this discussion a bit.

Here are some of the invisible beings, good and evil, who throng around us (or don't):

Nature spirits

(aka elemental beings,

perceived by clairvoyants)

"There are people who perceive beings in nature, in the earth, in the water, in the flowers and the trees. These nature spirits or elementals are known by other names, such as gnomes, undines, sylphs and salamanders [or fire spirits] ... Of people with such a faculty [i.e., special power of perception] we say they are a little 'fey', i.e. they have some primitive form of spiritual vision [i.e., they have an atavistic form of clairvoyance]." — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER - An Introduction to his Spiritual World-view, Anthroposophy (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), p. 184.

Elemental beings

(aka nature spirits,

perceived by clairvoyants)

"Elemental beings [are] also called etheric elemental beings ...  [They dwell within] the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire. Among them are creatures such as dwarves (earth), undines (water), sylphs (air) and salamanders (fire). Our visible physical world is a modification of these invisible elemental beings ... [A]ll visible substances come into being by materialization of these elemental entities ... The elemental beings are invisible to the untrained eye [clairvoyance is needed]." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 36. [61]


(aka elemental beings,

aka nature spirits)

“That fairyland and its denizens should be as much a concern of scientists as they have long been of poets and painters and storytellers was one of Steiner’s deep convictions [i.e., Steiner was deeply convinced that scientists should study fairyland and its occupants]. For he was a close observer of their life and work [i.e., he observed the life and work of elemental beings, aka fairies], and it was clear to him that they were of profound importance to the earth.” — Waldorf teacher Marjorie Spock, FAIRY WORLDS AND WORKERS — A Natural History of Fairyland (SteinerBooks, 2013), p. 3. (The book’s dedication: “In memory of RUDOLF STEINER who understood so well the living forces behind Nature.”)

Elemental beings

(aka nature spirits,

perceived by clairvoyants),

and the Sun God,

and doppelgängers,


"The Druids underwent an initiation into the forces of the sun. They recognized the spiritual being of the Sun God [Christ] ... They learnt to read the constellations of the zodiac...and came to know the different forces of Aries or Taurus, etc. which were revealed to clairvoyant sight ... They could also perceive the work of elemental beings, the nature spirits ... Earth currents [i.e., earthly forces unleashed by nature spirits] play into health and illness ... An understanding of the harmful effects of [Earth] currents with which the human 'double' [i.e., the doppelgänger] becomes connected and how these are stronger in some regions than in others was described by Rudolf Steiner...." — Anthroposophist Margarent Jonas, THE NORTHERN ENCHANTMENT (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2013), pp. 15-16. [62]

Ahrimanic beings

(aka demons)

“Rudolf Steiner...speaks of Ahrimanic beings [i.e., Ahriman and his minions], now pointedly calling them ‘demons,’ and says that as humanity crosses the threshold [i.e., the portal between the physical realm and the spirit realm], and the etheric body loosens from the physical body, ‘their bodies will be empty to such an extent that a powerful ahrimanic spirit can live in them. One will be meeting ahrimanic demons.’” — Waldorf teacher Kevin Dann, "The Fall of the Spirits of Darkness - A Spectral Reflection", JOURNAL FOR STAR WISDOM 2016 (SteinerBooks, 2015), p. 124.

Spirits of materialism

(aka one type of demon)

"[T]here are immensely powerful beings [i.e., demons] who strive to blind us to the spirit ... These spirits of materialism belong to the dark power that ancient wisdom called Ahriman." — Waldorf teacher and headmaster Henry Barnes, A LIFE FOR THE SPIRIT - Rudolf Steiner in the Crosscurrents of Our Time (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 131.

The infernal powers are usually hidden, but they have had physical representatives on Earth, demonic human beings. Fortunately, the spiritual conflict between good and evil has also seen wise, godly humans stride onto the scene. The chief demonic human of recent times is widely known; the chief human opponent of the infernal powers in recent times is generally unknown, except among Anthroposophists.

“The infernal powers know their own, but there are also rare souls, known and unknown, who are the servants of the light, unfailingly devoted to advancing the greater purposes of existence no matter what the sacrifice and inevitable hardships. In the future, we may well look back on the first third of the twentieth century and recognize the two major antagonists who epitomized the spiritual conflict — namely, Adolf Hitler and Rudolf Steiner.” — Waldorf teacher William A. Bryant, A JOURNEY THOUGH TIME (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2006), p. 163.

Anthroposophists wildly overestimate the stature of their guru. [63] The "spiritual conflict" of any age would be, from an Anthroposophical perspective, the most important occurrence in that age, so the "two major antagonists" — representing the evil and good sides — would be the most important historical figures in that age. But don't hold your breath, waiting for historians to agree that the two most important figures of the early 20th century were Adolph Hitler and Rudolf Steiner. Hitler probably was the worst and most consequential malefactor of the early 20th century. But was Steiner the best and most consequential exponent of virtue (goodness, truth, the light) during that period? Was Steiner the hero of the age? Few historians would agree (even among the minority of historians who have even heard of Steiner).

Bryant's statement is dubious no matter how we interpret it. The issue might be summarized thus: Does Steiner truly stand at the opposite end of the moral spectrum from Hitler? Is Anthroposophy, in other words, truly the antithesis of Nazism? Or are there in fact troubling connections and parallels? The shocking answer is that there are troubling connections and parallels. [64] The Anthroposophical racism we have glimpsed represents a major area of overlap between Nazism and at least the more extreme wing of Anthroposophy. [65]

Wisdom XII.e. has been another peek into the worldview that underlies Waldorf education: Anthroposophy. The important point to bear in mind is that the statements we have seen here do not come out of the distant past. They are current, as we have previously defined this term; they tell us what Anthroposophists think now, in the 21st century. Thus, they tell us about the thinking that underlies Waldorf schools now, in the 21st century.


We should pause, briefly, to ask whether the occultism embraced by many Waldorf teachers gets transmitted to the students. Do Waldorf schools try to indoctrinate their students?

A recent posting at the website Stop Steiner in Stroud included the following: 

"[Many parents are not] familiar with the drawbacks of a school with a well-hidden religious basis that is disastrously harmful when it surfaces, as it invariably does." [66]

"Invariably" is perhaps too strong, but the point is well taken. The religious basis of Waldorf education almost invariably bursts into view. And what a religious basis it is! The Waldorf religion is not a conventional, mainstream faith of the sort that many parents would approve — it is not a faith found in typical, mainstream houses of worship. [67] It is gnostic, occult, and medieval; it is dark and superstitious; it is Anthroposophy.

A few clarifications are in order. Not all Waldorf schools are wholly alike. And not all Waldorf teachers are Anthroposophists. And not all Waldorf teachers who are Anthroposophists try to indoctrinate their students. 

But some Waldorf teachers do try to indoctrinate the kids in their charge. And the mysterious, mystical, occult atmosphere often present within Waldorf schools can affect students deeply, even when the reasons for this atmosphere are left unspecified. As a former Waldorf insider has written:

"Based on my experience as a former [Waldorf] student, a teacher at my old [Waldorf] school, and an Anthroposophist, I would like to describe the subtlety of indoctrination that students in Waldorf schools are subjected to. In fact, its chief characteristic is its disguised form. I should state that the various ideas of Rudolf Steiner are taught to Waldorf students, but this is done without reference to their origin or their special nature. The teachers associate these ideas with their subjects as if they were objective facts and not part of a prescribed vision of reality. This is why Waldorf students can have the feeling that they are left completely free to form their own ideas. At the most, they may notice certain specific practices (that may seem very odd to some of them), which they may choose to ignore. Nevertheless, Anthroposophical ideas and practices form their psychic, cultural, and intellectual universe for many years, immersing them unconsciously in a worldview that will accompany them throughout life and that they are likely to return to on many occasions." — Grégoire Perra. [68]

The reality is that, in all Waldorf schools that are run as Rudolf Steiner prescribed, Anthroposophy is central. This means the sort of thinking we are reviewing here in "Waldorf Wisdom" is central in these schools. Even when the teachers in these schools try to resist the urge to indoctrinate their students, subtle indoctrination often occurs. 

The only safe assumption to make about any Waldorf school, at least on first acquaintance, is that the school is a disguised Anthroposophical religious institution. If, eventually, you become convinced that a particular Waldorf school has fully cleansed itself of Anthroposophy (an unlikely but faintly possible event), then, fine. You can let your guard down (at least a little). But otherwise, you should assume that the school will tend to lead its students toward Anthroposophy. If you understand and approve of Anthroposophy, then Waldorf may be right for your and your child. But if not, then not.

If you have any doubts about the potential for indoctrination lying just below the surface in many Waldorf schools, I suggest you return to Wisdom XII.d., and acquaint yourself again with the revelations to be found in A HANDBOOK FOR WALDORF CLASS TEACHERS.

Or meditate upon the quotations we have been considering in all episodes of Wisdom XII, up to and including today's assortment.

Here, then, are a few more intriguing quotations, setting forth another set of key Waldorf/Anthroposophical beliefs. Bear in mind, again, that all of these statements come from texts published in the 21st century. 

Karma (destiny) 
and reincarnation: 

◊ “[T]he time is now here when it is becoming increasingly imperative…that the spiritual reality of karma and reincarnation begin to be embraced … Rudolf Steiner showed that there are two kinds of consequence from every sin we commit … Each kind results in a karmic consequence (cause and effect)….” — Edward Reaugh Smith, THE SOUL’S LONG JOURNEY (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 15.

◊ "When the law of compensation, or of cause and effect, is spread over several lives [i.e., multiple earthly lives lived in succession, through the process of reincarnation], it is known as karma. The results of [former] attitudes and deeds will manifest themselves [as karma] ... Karma stands between the past and the future." — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER - An Introduction to his Spiritual World-view, Anthroposophy (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), p. 54.

◊ “Rebirth [i.e., reincarnation] and karma are the proverbial chicken and egg of human destiny: with the assistance of the Lords of Karma [i.e., gods who oversee karma and reincarnation], the "I" [the individual human essence] chooses the personal and environmental conditions of its next life ... The most mysterious aspect of the transition to the next life is the way that karma uses the influence of higher beings [i.e., gods] and heavenly bodies [i.e., planets and their astrological powers]." —  Waldorf teacher-trainer Robert McDermott, THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER (Lindisfarne Books, Anthroposophic Press, 2009), p. 47.

◊ "Each [Waldorf] faculty is a gathering of teachers who have been brought together by karma ... Faculty members act as the Court of King Arthur, gathering around the imagination of the Being of the school [i.e., the clairvoyantly perceived spirit of the school] and the Being of Waldorf education [i.e., the spirit or presiding god of Waldorf education]." — Waldorf teacher Betty Staley. "The Three Castles and the Esoteric Life of the Teacher", Research Bulletin, Research Institute for Waldorf Education, Autumn/Winter 2012, Vol. 17, No. 2.

◊ "A school class is a destiny community [i.e., it is bound together by karma] ... A class is not a group of children who have been thrown together arbitrarily.” — Anthroposophist Peter Selg, THE ESSENCE OF WALDORF EDUCATION (SteinerBooks, 2010)‚ p. 45.

◊ “I was determined to go back to school [for graduate work] ... I chose to study psychology and astrology ... I went to work on a construction job ... I was there for one hour when a steel door slammed shut in an ‘accident,’ and I lost the tips of three fingers ... I recognized that I had a karmic relationship with the owner of the company ... In a previous life he had lived as a woman, and I had carelessly cut her fingers with my sword ...I began to study Anthroposophy ... I then found the Waldorf School teacher training program at Highland Hall [a Waldorf school] in Los Angeles ... After completing my course of study I went to work as a Waldorf teacher at the Denver Waldorf School.” — Waldorf teacher Ron Odama, ASTROLOGY AND ANTHROPOSOPHY (Bennett & Hastings, 2009), p. ix.

◊ "Immediately after death the human form of the previous life persists for a short time, but soon a change takes place ... [T]he head dissolves whilst at the same time a new 'physiogamy' appears in the lower parts of the spirit form. And this new countenance that is acquired after death shows with relentless truthfulness the moral, or immoral, nature of the soul. What was, during earth life, good or evil within us is turned outside and made manifest." — Waldorf teacher Charles Kovacs, THE APOCALYPSE IN RUDOLF STEINER'S LECTURE SERIES (Floris Book, 2013), p. 45. [69]

◊ "[A]s always, karma, as self-created destiny [sic], may be relied on to 'do its best in the circumstances' [sic]." — Waldorf teachers Gilbert and Sylvia Childs, YOUR REINCARNATING CHILD (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 11.

Several of these quotations indicate the great importance usually accorded to karma in a Waldorf school. The teachers and students were brought together by karma, or so the Anthroposophists on the faculty believe

Here's an extension of this belief:

"How [instruction] takes shape [in a Waldorf school]...depends both on the children whom destiny [karma] has brought together in one class and on the personality of the individual teacher." — Waldorf teacher Willi Aeppli, THE DEVELOPING CHILD (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 44.

The very purpose of Waldorf education may be expressed in terms of karma. 

“[T]he purpose of [Waldorf] education is to help the individual fulfill his karma.” — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 52. (This quotation comes from before the 21st century, but only by a whisker.)

If this is so, then karma is the key concept in the Waldorf movement.

But how can Waldorf teachers know enough about the karmas of their students to adjust classroom practices accordingly? They will attempt to do this by using the standard methods of Waldorf cognition: clairvoyance, dreams, and the like. [70] In other words — to describe this rationally — they will resort to sheer fantasizing.

And thus a great hole is punched in the center of Waldorf education. Relying on unreliable forms of cognition (clairvoyance, dreams, and the like), the teachers will wind up knowing nothing about the karmas of their students. And despite the great importance attached to karma in the Waldorf community, we need to recognize the possibility — some would call it a probability or even a certainty — that there is actually no such thing as karma. Thus all the fuss and bother about karma in Waldorf schools is wasted effort. it is an unending and unavailing excursion into fallacy.

There are at least two additional important issues raised by the quotations we have seen, above:

1) If karma is a divine law, and if the gods oversee the workings of karma, and if Waldorf teachers work in compliance with the gods — then Waldorf teachers have a divine mandate to guide the incarnation and reincarnation and karmic development of their students. The teachers' authority (so they think) is enormous.

Parents may want to mull this over.

2) If Waldorf schools are formed to a significant degree by karma — if karma brings together the faculty and also the students — then the purpose of these schools is essentially spiritual. The reincarnating souls who constitute a Waldorf school need one another in order to advance their spiritual-evolutionary development. Education, in any ordinary sense (acquisition of knowledge), is at most a secondary consideration in such schools. Indeed, we might wonder if the word "school" really applies. An institution devoted to karma, reincarnation, and spiritual evolution is essentially a mystical congress, not a real institution of real learning. Children sent into such a congress are, at least potentially, being led away from the perceptible world into a very different universe — a universe that may be, in whole or in part, pure illusion.

Parents should consider carefully whether this is what were looking for when they set about choosing a school for their kids.

We began, today, by quoting from the website Stop Steiner in Stroud. Let's close by quoting from the Quackometer. Andy Lewis once commented on the apparently high demand for places in a newly proposed Waldorf or Steiner school:

"The proposed Steiner School in Bristol was reported yesterday to have attracted ‘huge interest’ from prospective parents ... If you go to [the school's] web site, perhaps you can see why. Their video depicts a school full of music, crafts and caring teachers. What is not to like? [paragraph break] Such things are of course good. But the criticism of Steiner Schools is that they are not open and honest about the mystical and spiritual aims of Steiner education. Indeed, there appears to be a refusal to actually discuss the religious ideas, developed by Rudolf Steiner, upon which he based his schools and the pedagogy within them." [71]

Waldorf or Steiner schools are secretive. They prefer not to discuss their religious views with outsiders. Yet those views are almost always present, at some level — and operative, at some level — within the schools. And so at least some kids in the schools are gradually, subtly, indoctrinated.

"Anthroposophical ideas and practices form [Waldorf students'] psychic, cultural, and intellectual universe for many years, immersing them unconsciously in a worldview that will accompany them throughout life." — Grégoire Perra.


Waldorf schools are sometimes celebrated for their simple, back-to-nature ethos, spurning modern technology. No computers, No TVs. No flashing, buzzing, jarring gizmos.

But the reasons for the Waldorf aversion to technology are often overlooked. The reasons are, in brief, backward and bizarre.

Put it this way: There are good reasons to reduce the amount of time kids spend staring into electronic screens. And then there are the Waldorf reasons. The Waldorf reasons are, at their root, backward and bizarre.

In a previous installment of "Waldorf Wisdom", we heard Rudolf Steiner expressing his opinion about the modern technology of his time. E.g., 

When we build steam-engines, we provide the opportunity for the incarnation of demons.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Relation of Man to the Hierarchies” (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, Vol. V, Nos. 14-15, 1928).

But Steiner is dead and gone. Surely a more modern outlook prevails among Anthroposophists today. Surely Anthroposophists no longer believe that steam engines — or any other technological gadgets, for that matter — enable demons to incarnate. Surely.

Let’s see. Let's sample Anthroposophical publications and postings from more recent times. (We'll start with a somewhat moldy quote, for reasons that will be obvious. But note that even it, dating to way back in 1963, has been given an up-to-date Anthroposophical lease on life.)

and its dangers:

◊ “In constructing steam engines an opportunity is...provided for the incarnation of demons ... In steam engines, Ahrimanic demons are brought right down to the point of physical incorporation ... [W]hat has been said here about the steam engine applies in a much greater degree to the technology of our time ... [T]elevision, for example. The result is that the demon magic spoken of by Rudolf Steiner is spreading more and more intensively on all sides ... It is very necessary that anyone who aspires towards the spiritual should realise clearly how the most varied opportunities for a virtual incarnation of elemental beings and demons are constantly on the increase." — Physicist and former Waldorf student Georg Unger, “On ‘Mechanical Occultism’”, 1963; posted at the Rudolf Steiner Archive in November, 2014.

◊ "Whatever the merits of certain inventions, they show the face of Ahriman. Under such headings one could consider all sorts of mechanisms but in particular such appliances as television, radio, cinema and the thousand and one things dependent on electricity." — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER - An Introduction to his Spiritual World-view, Anthroposophy (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), p. 131.

◊ “The exploitation of electric forces — for example in information and computing technologies — spreads evil over the Earth in an immense spider's web. And fallen spirits of darkness [i.e., demons]...are active in this web.” — Anthroposophist Richard Seddon, THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1996), p. 24.

◊ “[T]he whole computer and Internet industry is today the most effective way to prepare for the imminent incarnation of Ahriman ... The net of ahrimanic spider beings developing out of the internet around the earth...will serve [Ahriman] particularly effectively and offer him extremely favorable potential to work.” — Anthroposophist Sergei O. Prokofieff, "The Being of the Internet"; see, e.g., PACIFICA JOURNAL, Anthroposophical Society of Hawai'i, No. 29, 2006. 

◊ "The elemental beings responsible for the processes of birth and death were in earlier times in the services of higher spiritual beings [i.e., good gods] ... This is no longer the case ... For us they have become evil ... Before the time of radar, television, and computers, Rudolf Steiner prophesied that these elemental beings would enter our time with an abundance of inventions ... These inventions, which increasingly fill our world, need to be balanced by the faculty of imagination [i.e., clairvoyant wisdom]. This is the secret to how we can deal with the forces of evil." — Waldorf teacher Helmut von Kügelgen, "Threshold Experiences of Children and Adults in the Present Time", Research Bulletin, Research Institute for Waldorf Education, Fall/Winter 1999, Issue #37.

◊ “The twentieth century saw massive scientific and technological breakthroughs into the ahrimanically-pervaded domains underlying the material world. These ahrimantic breakthroughs culminated not long ago in the rise of the personal computer and the creation of the World-Wide Web.” — Anthroposophist Bruce McCausland, COPING WITH EVIL (SteinerBooks, 2006), p. 152. 

◊ “So what did Steiner have to say about television? Nothing. There were no televisions in his time. But, he said enough about early childhood education that we can surmise what his views on the tube would have been. These reasons center on Steiner’s view of the astral body [one of the invisible bodies that incarnate during childhood] … The scenes [on TV], the lack of imagination involved, and the topics covered on most channels would obviously bring on the astral stage of the body at an early age [i.e., premature incarnation of the astral body]. This was one reason that television was banned from Waldorf schools.” — “What Did Steiner Say About Television?’, WALDORF HOMESCHOOLERS, June 23, 2011.

◊ "Many [TV news] items amount to outright deceit. Sometimes shots of people are shown wearing summer clothes...but the interview is taking place with a reporter who is in a country that is experiencing winter ... Illusions are lies, and of all the media, television must surely be the Beelzebub [i.e., it is Ahriman] ... The 'pictures' on television are not real ... [W]hat is a series of untruths, distortions and unreal situations is being presented...." — Waldorf teachers Gilbert & Sylvia Childs, YOUR REINCARNATING CHILD (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 144.

◊ "Every cognizant, conscious parent or general reader should read and heed — indeed be nothing less than filled with righteous indignation and wrath...and, above all, find the moral courage to throw their own diabolical TV device out the window. Now! Today is the day, and this is the hour!" — Joseph Chilton Pearce, Introduction to Keith Buzzell's THE CHILDREN OF CYCLOPS (Waldorf Publications, Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2015), p. 19.

If these statements did not come out of the Anthroposophical/Waldorf world, we might almost think they are jokes — we might almost think the authors are winking at us and being ironical. 

But don't be misled. From an Anthroposophical/Waldorf perspective, there is nothing more serious than resisting the encroachments of evil spirits, especially Ahriman. 

The modern world is full of marvelous inventions, but beware! 

"Whatever the merits of certain inventions, they show the face of Ahriman." — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson.

Waldorf schools typically have "media policies" — guidelines for the use, or avoidance, of certain technological devices. Here's an example:

"[W]e encourage families to significantly limit or discontinue exposure to television, movies, video games, computers and other entertainment media. At the very minimum, we expect families to maintain a no-media policy during the school week." — Media policy, Chicago Waldorf School, downloaded August 28, 2017. [72] 

Did the officials at the Chicago Waldorf School have Ahriman in mind when they posted their media policy? Perhaps not. But in that case, perhaps they should look more deeply into the belief system upon which their form of education is built. Figuring out how to cope with Ahriman is a central Waldorf/Anthroposophical preoccupation. 

◊ “Ahriman would like to turn human beings into completely physical beings [blinding them to spirit]. He wants to wed humans to the earth and reduce them to creatures of instinct. By giving in to his temptation, we aid him in his task.” — Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli, “In Matter, the Spirit”, RESEARCH BULLETIN, Research Institute for Waldorf Education, Autumn/Winter 2013, Vol. 18, #2.

◊ "Ahriman [is] the opponent of Ahura Mazda [i.e., Christ] ... Ahriman is the chief cause of all processes that harden and materialize ... Frozen concepts and fossilized traditions, but also hardened blood vessels, are the results of Ahriman's dominating influence in the wrong places. Ahriman is essential to all life on earth but [he] must be continually kept in his rightful place...."  — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 4.

According to Anthroposophical teachings, Ahriman's "rightful place" is at arm's length. He is the demonic opponent of the Sun God, Christ. He offers us "gifts" that, moderated by Christ, can be helpful to us. In a sense, we need Ahriman during our lowly lives on the physical Earth. But Ahriman is no friend of ours. He wants to make us materialistic so that he can drag us into his kingdom and rob us of our souls. We have this on the highest authority:

"[T]oday...the spirit-soul [i.e., the conjoined human spirit and soul] is asleep. The human being is thus in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world, in which case the spirit-soul will evaporate into the cosmos. We live in a time when people face the danger of losing their souls to materialistic impulses. That is a very serious matter. We now stand confronted with that fact." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 115.

So we should be extremely cautious when fooling around with machines that help Ahriman to incarnate. The best course, usually, is to shut off those diabolical inventions.


The word "anthroposophy" means, at its roots, "human wisdom" or "knowledge of the human being." [73] Waldorf education is built on the foundation provided by Anthroposophy as originally delineated by Rudolf Steiner. This certainly seems commendable. Waldorf education, it would seem, is built on the basis of "human wisdom" or "knowledge of the human being."

But let's continue our investigations.

We'll concentrate, this time around, on a single segment of the "human wisdom" upon which Waldorf education stands. Waldorf has stood on Anthroposophical "wisdom" from the start, and it still stands on it today. Although Rudolf Steiner died decades ago, his occult creed remains foundational in Waldorf schooling. The rationale for Waldorf education remains as occult and irrational as it has ever been.

I will draw exclusively from Anthroposophical texts published in, or just before, the 21st century. I will provide a brief introduction to each quotation, and sometimes I will add a little commentary. But mainly I will let each quotation stand — or fall — on its own.

1. Human beings have four bodies, three of which are invisible. The bodies are the ego body (or the "I"), the astral body, the etheric body, and the physical body. Only the physical body is visible to ordinary vision (clairvoyance is needed to "see" the others).

"[T]he human being is seen to be fourfold in nature, comprising (i) our ego or sense of individual selfhood; (ii) our astral body as bearer of a whole range of emotions, desires, likes, dislikes and so on; (iii) our etheric body which as a 'formative-forces body' maintains and supports (iv) our purely physical-material body...." — Waldorf teachers Gilbert & Sylvia Childs, YOUR REINCARNATING CHILD (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 5.

2. The function of the etheric body is to organize the physical body, which would be a formless bag of bits and pieces without supervision by the etheric body. When we die, the etheric body stops organizing the physical body, so the physical body thereupon disintegrates. After the physical body disintegrates, the etheric body goes, too.

"Ether body — one the four members or bodies of the human being, also called the 'life body' because it keeps [an organism] alive. At death, the ether body is separated from the physical body. Due to this separation, the physical body falls into decay, since it cannot maintain its form by itself. Then the human ether body slowly dissolves itself into the general ether of the earth." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 38.

3. Waldorf education is  keyed to the incarnation and development of these four bodies. Waldorf teachers "know" the following (at least, those Waldorf teachers who are true Anthroposophists "know" these things):

"We know that in the first seven years the young child, mostly head, devotes most of its forces to forming its physical body ... We know that in the second stage of life, between the change of teeth and puberty, the growing child develops [her/his] life-body (or etheric body) while learning primarily though feeling ... Only in the third stage...after puberty does thinking rightfully, naturally, organically emerge [i.e., only then is a child really able to think] ... Perhaps the essential question of Waldorf High School education is: How can this new 'soul-body' (or astral body) be helped to emerge in adolescence as harmoniously as possible in relation to the physical and life bodies on the one hand, and serving as artfully as possible on the other hand the imminent emergence of the individuality, the 'I AM' [i.e., the 'I']?"  — Waldorf teacher John Wulsin, "Parzival and the Journey of Adolescence", RENEWAL, A Journal for Waldorf Education, Vol. 15 #1, Spring/Summer 2006.

How, indeed?

4. The etheric body is tightly connected to the physical body, whereas the astral body and the "I" can detach from the physical body. Indeed, every night as you sleep, your astral body and your "I" leave your physical and etheric bodies — they fly away.

"The etheric or life body remains with the physical body as long as one has not yet passed through the gate of death. The physical and etheric [bodies] remain together day and night throughout earthlife, whereas every time we go to sleep, the astral body and the ego separate from the physical and etheric [bodies]." — Anthroposophist Beredene Jocelyn, CITIZENS OF THE COSMOS (SteinerBooks, 2009), p. 139.

As Steiner said, 

"When we are asleep our physical and etheric bodies lie on the bed, and our astral body and ego are outside them.” — Rudolf Steiner, PASTORAL MEDICINE (Anthroposophic Press, 1987), lecture 11, GA 318. 

Steiner said that the astral body and the "I"  rise into the spirit realm.

5. We reincarnate over and over. The bodies you have during one life are aftereffects of the bodies you had during your previous life. Your current astral body comes from your former "I", your current etheric body comes from your former astral body, and your current physical body comes from your former etheric body.

"We...conclude that the astral body is influenced by the 'sediment' of the Self [i.e., remnants of the 'I'] in a previous life. In the same way, the present etheric body is also formed by the 'sediment' of the previous astral body, and the physical body acquired its constitution from what an earlier etheric body had...." — Waldorf teacher Marieke Anschütz, CHILDREN AND THEIR TEMPERAMENTS (Floris Books, 2005), p. 62.

6. The astral body is more airy than the etheric body. The astral body contains our consciousness, emotions, and intentions. It itches to leave the physical body (it almost leaves every time we exhale). After we die, the astral body remains attached to the "I" for a while, but then even this tie is severed.

"Awareness and self-awareness including all feelings and intentions are located in the astral body ... The astral body is related to the element of air. While breathing in, the astral body is drawn into the physical body. While breathing out, the link between the astral and physical bodies is loosened again ... After death the astral body stays with the 'I' for a period of about one third of the life that has just come to an end." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z, pp. 9-10.

7. Belief in the four bodies is fundamental to Waldorf education.

“Waldorf education is based upon the recognition that the four bodies of the human being develop and mature at different times.” — Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING: What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents & Teachers (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 4-5. 

Waldorf education is "based" on this.

The etheric body is believed to incarnate at about age 7, the astral body at about age 14, and the "I" at about age 21. The Waldorf curriculum is geared to this series of incarnations on this schedule.

8. Belief in the four bodies is connected to various other baseless and unscientific Waldorf beliefs — such as belief in the four classical temperaments and belief in six constitutional types.

"In the case of the child with a specific pedagogical problem such as an extreme temperament, constitutional type or psychological or moral issue, one is concerned with the Ego which, in the Earth period, has been sucked into the astral body and into the personal problems that the individual soul is struggling with in this incarnation." — Waldorf teacher Joep Eikenboom, "Audrey McAllen’s ’The Extra Lesson’", WALDORF RESOURCES (International Forum for Steiner/Waldorf Education), December, 2014.

In Waldorf belief, children predominately exhibit four temperaments: choleric, sanguine, melancholic, and phlegmatic. The "constitutional types" of children are large-headed, small-headed, earthy, cosmic, fantasy-rich, and fantasy-poor. [74]

9. Belief in the four bodies is connected to the religious doctrines that constitute the core of Anthroposophy — and that are integral to Waldorf education. Thus, Waldorf teachers are expected to believe in Angels (gods one level higher than humans) and Spirits of Form (gods four levels higher than humans), among other types of gods. (Anthroposophy is polytheistic.) The gods implant visions within the astral body, visions that should guide us during incarnation on the Earth.

"In 1918 Rudolf Steiner gave a lecture called 'The Work of the Angels in Man’s Astral Body.' This lecture is of utmost importance for Waldorf teachers ... In this lecture Steiner describes how the Angels, at the behest of the Spirits of Form, are continually forming pictures in our astral bodies, pictures that will call forth ideals for the future of our life on earth." — Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli, “In Matter, the Spirit”, RESEARCH BULLETIN, Research Institute for Waldorf Education, Autumn/Winter 2013, Vol. 18, No. 2.

This is "of utmost importance for Waldorf teachers."

10. Belief in the four bodies bears on all parts of our lives, and it is connected to many other Anthroposophical beliefs (such as numerology, Atlantis, and a prophesied new chamber in the human heart).

"During marriage...the etheric bodies of the couple merge ... This is partly the reason why couples may find it very painful to be apart  ... 'Five' seems to be a number connected with marriage ... '[F]iveness' [also] has a special relation to the etheric body, which can in turn affect the astral body ... It is our own fifth post-Atlantean epoch that has been given the task of facing and recognizing evil ... It was perhaps in connection with this that Rudolf Steiner apparently also mentioned a 'fifth chamber of the human heart' that is beginning to evolve." — Anthroposophist Margarent Jonas, THE NORTHERN ENCHANTMENT (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2013), pp. 67-70.

There is, of course, no fifth chamber of the human heart. Not yet, anyway. Today, nearly a century after Steiner’s death, there is no sign of such a chamber evolving.

But that's okay. If the fifth chamber is imaginary, so is virtually everything else we have been reading about in Waldorf Wisdom XII.h. Crucially, there are also no etheric bodies, astral bodies, or ego bodies. These bodies play a key role in Waldorf thinking, but they are wholly imaginary; they are hokum. 

Yet Rudolf Steiner’s followers — including many Waldorf teachers — still think and talk and write about these things. Today. Now. In the 21st century.

Waldorf education is based on such phantasms. Still. In the 21st century.


And now, gentle reader, we come to the end of "Waldorf Wisdom".

We have considered many marvels, ranging from Moon gnomes, to Atlantis, to etheric bodies. And we have seen that Anthroposophists today (including many Waldorf teachers) still believe the mystical fantasies that Rudolf Steiner peddled.

Let's end by bringing ourselves back down to the real world. In our lives on Earth, we inhabit physical bodies, as I hope we can all agree. Well, what did Rudolf Steiner say about our physical bodies? And what do Anthroposophists believe today about our physical bodies? I propose to focus on just two of our organs — perhaps our two most important organs — the heart and the brain. What did Steiner say about these? And what do Anthroposophists believe about them today?

Steiner said that the heart does not pump blood, and the brain does not really think.

◊ “[Science] sees the heart as a pump that pumps blood through the body. Now there is nothing more absurd than believing this.” — Rudolf Steiner, PSYCHOANALYSIS AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), p. 126.

◊ “[T]he brain and nerve system have nothing at all to do with actual cognition....” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 60.

Do Anthroposophists today, in the 21st century, still believe such things?

Here are some Anthroposphical statements that provide the answer. A few of the statements come from the years before the 21st century began; others are genuine 21st-century Anthroposophical affirmations. All of them represent beliefs that are still current in the Waldorf movement.

The heart and the brain
(and the value of knowledge):

◊ “The heart is not a pump! … The heart does not produce circulation…” — Waldorf teacher Friedrich Hiebel, TIME OF DECISION WITH RUDOLF STEINER (SteinerBooks, 1989), p. 87.

◊ “A true understanding of man cannot come from the sort of thinking which designates the heart a pump….” — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER ON EDUCATION (Hawthorn Press, 1993), p. 16

◊ “In contrast to the usual concept of the heart, anthroposophy tells us that it beats because blood flows through the body. The heart is thus not an organ that pumps the blood….” — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 55.

◊ "[In the book THE DYNAMIC HEART AND CIRCULATION] doctors, scientists, and teachers present a dynamic picture of the circulatory system that give [sic] perspective to the prevailing mechanistic ideas that dominate science and medicine today. People today are usually taught that the heart is only a pump. This book transcends this narrow view ... [T]he essays in this book provide...a wealth of factual material that a [Waldorf] teacher can use for his or her blocks." — Description of THE DYNAMIC HEART AND CIRCULATION (Waldorf Publications, 2002; edited by Craig Holdrege); posted at the Online Waldorf Library, November, 2015.

◊ "[T]he brain acts as a mirroring ground upon which thinking can manifest. By doing so it mediates between the spiritual and the physical world just as a radio mediates between the broadcaster and the listener ... The brain does not produce thoughts [it receives them from the spirit realm, like a spiritual radio]." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (2011), p. 16.

◊ "Thinking [is the] faculty of the brain acting as a mirror to reflect thoughts. The brain does not produce thoughts. The non-physical, dynamic thinking patterns originating in the spirit [realm] are reflected in the brain in concepts and definitions. The 'I' enacts this process, with the help of the beings [i.e., gods] of the third hierarchy [i.e., the lowest three ranks of gods] ... This is an important consideration in Waldorf education." — ibid., pp. 120-121.

◊ “The issue is, Will thinking fall prey to the mechanism of the brain? Will ‘the brain thinks’ become reality? ... When the cerebral apparatus dominates thinking, it makes no difference what we think ... Anthroposophy, for its part, presupposes that thinking does not remain bound to the brain ... It recognizes that when thinking is determined by the brain its loses its autonomy and can no longer act freely....” — Steiner adherent Georg Kühlewind, WORKING WITH ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1992), p. 11.

◊ "In as far as we are capable of freeing our thinking, our intelligence, from the physical head, we carry into the etheric body something that was not there before: the human...form. When we study some anthroposophical text...the real gain is not information but 'formation' — the human formation of the etheric body...." — Waldorf teacher Charles Kovacs, THE APOCALYPSE IN RUDOLF STEINER'S LECTURE SERIES (Floris Book, 2013), p. 93.

Anthroposophical beliefs are divorced from reality. Even on such key subjects as the functions of the heart and brain, Anthroposophy is disconnected from the real world. And Waldorf education is based on Anthroposophy.

This is why we get such descriptions of Waldorf education as the following:

"The success of Waldorf Education, Rudolf Steiner [said], can be measured in the life force attained. Not acquisition of knowledge and qualifications, but the life force is the ultimate goal of this school.” — Anthroposophist Peter Selg, THE ESSENCE OF WALDORF EDUCATION (SteinerBooks, 2010)‚ p. 30.

"Not acquisition of knowledge." 

Can a valid educational system possibly be built on the basis of such a proposition? We don't aim to teach your children much in the way of knowledge.

Or consider the following proposition, which we have seen before: 

"[Waldorf resists] fact-based education." — Jack Petrash, UNDERSTANDING WALDORF EDUCATION (Nova Institute, 2002), p. 26.

Can a valid educational system possibly be built on the basis of this proposition? We don't aim to teach your children many facts.

Or consider another, related proposition, which we have also seen previously: 

"You will injure children if you educate them rationally.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 61.

Can a valid educational system possibly be built on the basis of this proposition? We don't aim to educate your children rationally.

Can a valid educational system emerge from any of these nonsensical propositions, or from any combination of them?


But these propositions describe Waldorf education. These propositions represent "Waldorf Wisdom".

I humbly suggest that everyone meditate deeply on this matter.

That's probably enough. It is just a taste. We could extend our survey of Waldorf beliefs almost endlessly, but perhaps the point has been made. Waldorf education is still immersed in the dark mystical falsehoods of Anthroposophy. Waldorf education still downplays use the brain to produce thoughts, it downplays rational thought generally, and it downplays the acquisition of real-world knowledge. It is still, in other words, an invalid form of education.

There is scarcely such a thing as Waldorf wisdom.

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


Selected, revealing Steiner quotations; includes "Anthroposophy at Waldorf"

More from Steiner 

Other than Rudolf

Who Says continued

Nonsense in the air



Perhaps the worst statements Steiner made

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

Some of Steiner’s silliest statements (on topics such as gnomes)



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

Waldorf schools in the 21st Century

What they're saying


What they're reading

What they're saying (cont.)

Readings (2018...)

More, and more, and...

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.


[1] Anthroposophy (an-throw-POS-o-fee, meaning "human wisdom") is the occult belief system patched together by Rudolf Steiner. A religion, it is the basis of Waldorf belief and practice. [See, e.g., "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?" and "Spiritual Agenda".]

[2] I am generalizing, of course. Not all Anthrioposophists think exactly alike, nor do all Anthroposophical Waldorf teachers behave exactly alike. But I think you will see that my generalizations are generally well-founded. Read on.

[4] Anthroposophical writing is often stilted and clumsy. This, I think, is a fair paraphrase, making von Külgegen's point more clearly than he himself did: Should we Waldorf teachers encourage our young students to serve the dead? Yes, indeed.

[5] Note that the dead are still "part of our social life" — they are still with us, still present in our environment. They are "our beloved dead — our so-called dead who live among us." — Von Kügelgen, p. 2.

[6] See, e.g., "Schools as Churches".

[7] How are the dead "served" if we celebrate their death days? Go back to Bamford's first statement, above. The dead are evolving, like us; they have karmas, like us. They "seek us;" they want to "continue to work on earth." They can evolve further, and fulfill their karmas, if we respond positively to them. If we send them our good energies, they will send us theirs. One way to send them our best is to celebrate their death days. Got it?

[8] Nature spirits, also known as elemental beings or fairies, are the inner or ethereal presences within natural substances, especially within the "four elements": earth, air, fire, and water. Or so Anthroposophists believe. ("Salamanders" are fire spirits, not the amphibians that exist in the real world.)


"Waldorf education is a form of practical anthroposophy." — Waldorf teacher Keith Francis, THE EDUCATION OF A WALDORF TEACHER (iUniverse, 2004), p. xii.

[10] https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/messages/31319.

[11] For more about gnomes and their fellow elemental beings, see, e.g., "Gnomes", "Beings", and "Neutered Nature". To explore the subject of clairvoyance, see "Clairvoyance", "Exactly", and "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness". [9]

[12] Other Waldorf spokesfolks make the same point: Waldorf schools do not aim to teach the students much factual information or, in brief, knowledge. Thus, we find Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson making statements such as these:

◊ “[E]ducation must...concern itself less with actual learning than with developing a flexibility and adaptability of mind....” — Roy Wilkinson, COMMONSENSE SCHOOLING (Henry Goulden, 1975), p. 3.

◊ “Today education has become mainly informative, but it would appear that another role...must be allotted to it....” — COMMONSENSE SCHOOLING,  p. 11.

◊ "The child should not be shocked into awareness by too much factual knowledge...." — COMMONSENSE SCHOOLING,  p. 47.

[13] See the entry for "life force" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.

For more on some of the other subjects touched on in Waldorf Wisdom IV, see the following: 

[14] See "Ex-Teacher 5".

[15] See "Teacher Training".

[16] See, e.g., “Clairvoyance”, “ESP”, and "Exactly". 

[19] See, e.g., the entry for "ideal magic" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia : https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/enci.

[20] Schwartz actually comes close to advocated the old, inexact clairvoyance, at least for some purposes. Accepting from Steiner the proposition that teachers must be clairvoyant, he gives the concept a twist. (Which arguably makes him doubly wrong: wrong from a rational perspective, and wrong from Steiner's perspective. Mostly.) Here is Schwartz's statement again, at greater length: 

“Must teachers be clairvoyant in order to be certain that they are teaching in the proper way? Clairvoyance is needed, but at first we need only the 'clairvoyant' faculties that we are always using without being aware that we are using them." — THE MILLENNIAL CHILD, pp. 157-158. 

But this is piffle. There are no "clairvoyant" faculties of any kind, conscious or unconscious, exact or inexact, refined or ordinary. Clairvoyance does not exist, in any form. None. At all. Zip.

[21] For more about supermen, see "Supermen". As for Vulcan, see (you guessed it), "Vulcan". The supernal wisdom you will find on those pages may make your eyes pop.

[22] For more about the planets, see (you guessed it) "The Planets". Concerning former incarnations of the solar system, see "Old Saturn", "Old Sun", and "Old Moon, Etc.".

[23] For more about floating islands and other Waldorf astonishments, see  "Steiner's Blunders".

[24] For more on all this, see, e.g., "Incarnation".

[25] See, e.g., "Gender".

[26] See "Neutered Nature".

[27] See "Thinking Cap".

[28] For Steiner's teachings about race, see "Steiner's Racism", "Forbidden", and “Races”.

Note that some people — wicked or abnormal individuals — may not develop properly, so they will not follow the proper trajectory. Instead of evolving upward, they may stall, unable to evolve past a certain level. Moreover, some may actually revert, falling to lower levels. In either case, these individuals — bypassed by evolution — may eventually lose their souls and become subhuman. [See, e.g., the entries for "subhumans" and "subordinate nature spirits" in the Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia: https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/encso-sz.] Thus, the defense often advanced by Steiner's followers — that Steiner said we are really all the same — is not true. Steiner said that we all should be the same, we should all evolve properly. But he also said that some people do not evolve properly. Thus, according to Steiner, we are not all the same.

Concerning humanity's future evolution beyond racial forms, and whether this means Steiner's teachings are not racist, see "Universal". Schwartz suggests an optimistic interpretation when he has a fourth Archangel say:

"No one brother apart has been given full might
To redeem earthly darkness through God's loving light. 
Not one race alone — O no, but all three 
In brotherhood will strive for good 
And help Man become loving and free!"

This paints racial difference affirmatively (each race has its own powers or capacities; by cooperating, the races will try to bring about a bright future). The tenor of the play is thus raised. Yet all of the racist implications we have discussed remain in the foregoing lines. In calling for racial brotherhood, Schwartz accurately reflects part (the more defensible part) of Steiner's racial teachings. But he also suppresses or dodges the indefensible part of Steiner' racial teachings, specifically Steiner's doctrine that some races are higher (more evolved, more advanced) than others — with whites (Steiner's own race) standing at the peak. Note that Schwartz does not say that the "good" has yet been attained. The races, with their varying capacities, will "strive" to "help" humanity arrive at a better, freer condition in the future. Significantly, the effort will be a racial undertaking — the three races will function as collectives, trying to assist one another. The effort is not described as a cooperative venture between equal individuals, but as a joint venture of three racial groups that have different capacities. Race remains central to the Anthroposophical vision; the individual is subsumed in the group; the active parties are not individuals but races. "Not one race alone...but all three...." The crucial point is that racial cooperation is not the same as racial equality. Different races, having different missions, living in different regions, under different archangelic gods, may cooperate within the hierarchical arrangement described by Steiner — higher and lower races may aim for the same bright future — but as long as some races are higher than others, they are not equal. At some distant future point, when races no long exist, equality will be attained, Steiner taught. But in the present, in the world we all currently inhabit, there can be no real equality, according to Anthroposophical belief. And, indeed, racial inequality will persist until a distant, fabulous dawn — a dawn that, by ordinary calculation, may never come.

As for Steiner's teachings about blood, see "Blood".

[29] See "Clearing House”.

[30] See http://millennialchild.com/catalog10.html.

[31] See http://www.waldorflibrary.org/images/stories/articles/CHFall_1984a.pdf.

[32] See “Embedded Racism.

[33] Anthroposophists believe that long ago humans lived on the continent of Lemuria. When we destroyed Lemuria, we moved to Atlantis. [See "Lemuria" and "Atlantis".] Here, Hale tells us that while we lived on Lemuria (during the Lemurian Age), the mineral kingdom was transferred from the Moon to the Earth.

[34] Ahriman and Lucifer are two arch-demons. Much of Anthroposophical lore revolves around the activities of Ahriman and Lucifer. [See "Ahriman" and "Lucifer".]

[35] See https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/anthroposophy_tomorrow/conversations/topics/20267.

[36] Waldorf schools rarely teach the kids Anthroposohy in any open, aboveboard manner. But they quite often teach it covertly, below the board. [See, e.g., "Spiritual Syllabus" and "Out in the Open".

[37] See “Polytheism”.

[38] See, e.g., "Racism and the Relationship of Anthroposophy to Nazi Philosophy" at http://www.waldorfcritics.org/articles.html#RacismAlso see "Steiner's Racism"  and "RS on Jews".

[39] This will be creative destruction: It will clear the decks for the next stage of our evolution, called Future Jupiter. [See “Future Stages".]

[40] See “Lunacy”.

[41] E.g., "The roots of [Waldorf education] are indeed very weird German stuff, but that has been very thoroughly purged from the curriculum at any Waldorf school I've ever seen. It's not a cult, at least not any more..." [See "Q&A".]

[42] See, e.g., https://steiner.presswarehouse.com/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=235.

[43] See, e.g., https://rscbookstore.com/products/the-esoteric-background-of-waldorf-education. Note that Rudolf Steiner College is a Waldorf teacher-training institution.

[44] If you are curious, you might look at "Sneaking It In”, or "Clearing House”, or "Out in the Open”, or "Who Gets Hurt?".

[45] How soon will Ahriman come? Anthroposophists debate this, like most other details in their theology. Some expect Ahirman momentarily; others think his arrival is not quite so imminent. But virtually all agree that Ahriman is coming. "The bad news, in one sense, is that Ahriman is coming, and there is nothing we can do about it. In addition, collective humanity is helping his incarnation and that of his henchmen. This is not new information for anthroposophists." — Waldorf teacher Meg Gorman, "What Shall We Do About Ahriman?", NEWS FROM THE GOETHEANUM, republished at Anthroposophy.org [http://www.anthroposophy.org/fileadmin/nfm/enfmf-6/pdfs/EN6-Research-Ahriman.pdf].

[46] This quotation is fairly typical of Anthroposophical prose. I’ll offer the following paraphrase: The good gods above have demonic counterparts below. (The "Abyss" is the deep spiritual Pit; it is, in a sense, Hell.) Thus, the heavenly Godhead has a demonic counterpart residing at the deep center of the Earth. This demon, Lucifer (the "Reversed God" — the demonic reverse image of the Godhead), sends evil impulses upward, especially through the seventh layer of the Earth. (The interior of the Earth consists of many different layers.) Another arch-demon, Ahriman, can be found down there, serving as a mirror or prism sending up evil impulses that confuse humans' minds.

[47] Michael, the Sun Archangel, serves the Sun God so that the divine cosmic plan may be fulfilled. Michael’s chief foes are Sorat, the Antichrist or Sun Demon, and Ahriman, who sometimes serves as a secondary Antichrist. Waldorf teachers, bearing their students' karmas in mind, try to help the students to work for the divine cosmic plan in allegiance with Michael.

Much Anthroposophical writing is dense and, consequently, hard to read. The reason I cut out so many words from so many quotations (inserting ellipses), and interpolate so many explanations (inserting bracketed phrases), is that I attempt to make Anthroposophical writing clearer than the authors themselves made it.

[48] We have touched on this topic before; see section Vi, above. But it is so fundamental to Anthroposophy and Waldorf education, we should return to it often.

[49] See "Clairvoyance". 

You may also want to consult "ESP". 

[50] See "Coming Undone".

[51] Full disclosure: I knew John Gardner. He was the headmaster at the Waldorf school I attended: In those days, it was called The Waldorf School of Adelphi University. My mother was Mr. Gardner's secretary. [See "Waldorf's Impact".]

John Gardner died in 1998. 

As of today, August 11, 2017, YOUTH LONGS TO KNOW is still offered for sale by its publisher. [See https://steiner.presswarehouse.com/Books/SearchResults.aspx?str=youth+longs+to+know.] The book remains "current" in the Waldorf community.

[52] See “PR". 

[53] See, e.g., “Knowing the Worlds”.

[54] See “Prayers" and "Secrets".

[55] See “Polytheism”.

[56] See, e.g., "Magical Arts".

[57] See, e.g., "Thinking".

[58] See, e.g., “Threefolding”.

[59] See “Oh Humanity".

[60] https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/bbc-swsf.

[61] Anthroposophy generally holds that physical reality is built up of just four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. [See, e.g., "Neutered Nature".]

The "dwarves" referred to here are more typically called gnomes. [See "Gnomes".]

[62] This statement covers a wide swath of Anthroposophic belief, including astrology. [See, e.g., "Astrology" and "Star Power".]

Re. the human "double", see "Double Trouble".

[63] See, e.g., "What a Guy" and "Guru".

[64] See "Sympathizers?". Also see the section "Racism and the Relationship of Anthroposophy to Nazi Philosophy" at the website waldorfcritics.org.

[65] See, e.g., "Steiner's Racism", "Races", and "Differences".

[66] July 9, 2017 https://stopsteinerinstroud.com/2017/07/09/steiner-academy-sussex-weald-again/.

[67] Anthroposophy incorporates elements drawn from many religions, yet it stands apart as a distinct faith, not wholly compatible with any other, Western or Eastern. [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"] The specific doctrinal matters we are discussing today — karma and reincarnation — are derived from Eastern faiths. Yet Anthroposophy is at least as Western as it is Eastern — for instance, it focuses on the figure of Christ. No devout adherent of any mainstream faith, West or East, will find Anthroposophy entirely acceptable. Becoming an Anthroposophist means moving down a different path.

[68] See "Indoctrination". 

[69] We create ourselves as we create our own destiny, our karma. This is the spiritual law of cause and effect, as described earlier in this series of quotations.

[70] See "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness", and "Dreams".

[71] January 8, 2013 http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2013/01/steiner-academy-bristol-a-challenge-be-open-with-parents.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=steiner-academy-bristol-a-challenge-be-open-with-parents

[72] See http://chicagowaldorf.org/about/faq.

[73] These definitions represent are the literal meaning of the word, which comes from the Greek: anthropos (human being) and sophia (wisdom).

Steiner chose the term "Anthroposophy" as the designation for his occult movement. The series of "Waldorf Wisdom" postings, taken in its totality, indicates how much true wisdom can be found in the Anthroposophical movement: very, very little or, to round this off, just about none.

The following is from The Semi-Steiner Dictionary:

“Anthroposophy.” A strange word. Most people, on first hearing it, don’t quite catch it. What? Anthropology? Anthro-what?  If we break the word down to its Greek roots, “anthroposophy” means human wisdom (anthropos = human, sophy = wisdom). A slight variant is that the word may refer to knowledge of or about human beings. Today, the word “Anthroposophy” (capitalized or not) is used primarily as the name of Rudolf Steiner’s occult system, which forms the basis for Waldorf education. Steiner adopted the word for its affirmative meaning, although in doing so he eviscerated it. Arguably, there is little or no real wisdom in Steiner’s Anthroposophy.

Steiner did not coin the term “anthroposophy.” Various authors wrote of anthroposophy — referring to human wisdom or human knowledge in one form or another — long before Steiner. Thus, for instance, in 1650 Thomas Vaughan published ANTHROPOSOPHIA THEOMAGICA - A Discourse on the Nature of Man and His State After Dearth. According to the OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY, the first known use of the word “anthroposophy” in English occurred in 1542. Steiner was a Theosophist when he first referred to anthroposophy — he differentiated his teachings from those of other Theosophists by shifting the focus from the God or the gods (theos) to humanity (anthropos). Steiner may have learned the word “anthroposophy” (in German, “anthroposophie”) from the philosopher Robert von Zimmerman, whose ANTHROPOSOPHIE was published in 1882. 

[74] See the entries for "temperaments" and "constitutional types" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.

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

[R.R., 2017.]