In evaluating Waldorf education and Anthroposophy, we should primarily consider statements made by Rudolf Steiner. Steiner created the Waldorf and Anthroposophical movements. His words hold the keys.

But it is important to realize that Steiner's followers — including leading Waldorf educators — say and believe much the same today as Steiner said and evidently believed nearly a century ago. Bizarre, occult beliefs continue to animate Waldorf education and Anthroposophy now, in the 21st century.

Herewith, then, is a sampling of statements made by Waldorf educators, Waldorf proponents, and Anthroposophists aside from Rudolf Steiner himself.

I've included a few non-occult statements. These are not eye-popping; merely eye-opening.

So as not to stack the deck, I have made only minimal efforts to organize the quotes. I've just let the Waldorf representatives and Anthroposophists have their say. I have, however, added some explanatory notes, primarily for the benefit of readers who are not yet well acquainted with Waldorf beliefs and practices.

Some of the sources from which I drew are now several years or even decades old, but all of them remain widely available and consulted in the Waldorf universe.

"[T]he purpose of education is to help the individual fulfill his karma. The teacher is an intermediary and his task is to guide the incarnating individualities [i.e., children] into the physical world and equip them for earthly existence, bearing in mind what they bring with them from the past* and what they are likely to take with them into the future.” — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION - The Waldorf School Approach (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 52.

This is a reference to reincarnation. In Waldorf belief, we are born and reborn many times, creating and enacting our individual karmas. [See "Karma" and "Reincarnation".]

“Must teachers be clairvoyant* in order to be certain that they are teaching in the proper way?  ... The teacher's faculty [of clairvoyance] must be cultivated and brought to a stage of conscious awareness on the part of the teacher.” — Waldorf educator Eugene Schwartz, WALDORF EDUCATION: Schools for the Twenty-First Century (Xlibris Corporation, 2000), p. 17. (“Must teachers be clairvoyant in order to be certain that they are teaching in the proper way? Clairvoyance is needed...." — Eugene Schwartz, THE MILLENNIAL CHILD (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), p. 157.)

* Waldorf teachers seek to develop clairvoyance, and they base many of their decisions and actions on their "clairvoyant" readings of their students. [See, e.g., "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".]

“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. 

* The spiritual atmosphere in Waldorf schools is often evident even on first acquaintance, although the precise nature of the faculty's spiritual beliefs may be unclear to newcomers. The religion in Waldorf schools often seems at least semi-Christian, but it is actually an occult, pagan faith: Anthroposophy. [See, e.g., "Was He Christian?" and "Pagan".]

“[Anthroposophist René] Querido* warned in his talks that parents should be aware of one basic tenet of Waldorf: although not tied to one particular church, it is essentially spiritual. ‘Education itself is a religious experience in the deepest and broadest sense of the word. There is a connection with the divine creative forces.’” — Ida Oberman in THE WALDORF MOVEMENT IN EDUCATION (Edwin Mellen Press, 2008), p. 254.

* Querido was head of Waldorf teacher training at Rudolf Steiner College. The religion at the core of Waldorf schooling is Anthroposophy. It is a strange faith, one doctrine of which is that actually Anthroposophy is a science — "spiritual science" — and not a religion. But by any normal standards of judgment, Anthroposophy quite clearly is a religion.  [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"] 

"All education that is capable of enlisting teachers’ best energies and of giving their pupils the bread of life they long for and without which other bread does not nourish, must be regarded as religious. It need not be dogmatic or ritualistic, or in any way affiliated with a church or sect,* but it cannot avoid questions of higher forms of cognition [i.e., clairvoyance], of the reality of the human soul and spirit, of life beyond the bodily, of spiritual beings above and below humanity [i.e., gods, demons, and nature spirits], of a spiritual concept of the evolution of the kingdoms of nature, of destiny [i.e., karma], and of God.” — Waldorf educator John F. Gardner, EDUCATION IN SEARCH OF THE SPIRIT (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), pp. 154-155.

* Anthroposophists often refrain from attending church services. Their church or sect, however, is Anthroposophy itself.

“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." — Margaret Jonas, in the introduction to RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 4-5. 

* According to Anthroposophical belief, Christ is one of a vast panoply of gods. Christ is particularly important to humanity, Steiner taught, because He left the Sun and came to Earth in order to help guide our evolution. [See "Was He Christian?" and "Sun God".]

“If approximately between the ages of seven and fourteen the child is not introduced in a living way to the Christ, along the lines of the Waldorf curriculum, in later life the youngster is more likely to either deny Christ or to hold onto a traditional faith.”* — Waldorf teacher-trainer René M. Querido, THE ESOTERIC BACKGROUND OF WALDORF EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1995), p. 36.

* The Waldorf curriculum is expressly intended to introduce children to the Sun God. Anthroposophists believe that only they have a true, "living" comprehension of Christ; they deny that mainstream Christian churches have such an understanding. Indeed, the "traditional" faiths that Anthroposophy seeks to supplant include mainstream Christianity.

"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, including the Christ, can find their home....” — Waldorf teacher Joan Almon, WHAT IS A WALDORF KINDERGARTEN (SteinerBooks, 2007), p. 53.

* According to Anthroposophic doctrine, the Sun God has involved himself in human evolution at various times and places — these events are called "Christ events." [See "Events".] Steiner taught that the "Second Coming" of Christ has already occurred: The Sun God now dwells in the "etheric" realm that stands above the physical level of reality. 

“Each of us [Waldorf teachers] is centrally involved in the Michaelic battle* against the forces of darkness for the sake of the children and youngsters in our care.” — Waldorf teacher-trainer René M. Querido, THE ESOTERIC BACKGROUND OF WALDORF EDUCATION, p. 13.


* This is the battle between the archangel Michael and the arch-demon Ahriman, according to Rudolf Steiner's teachings. In Anthroposophical belief, Michael is the archangel of the Sun; he is the warrior-champion of the Sun God. [See, e.g., "Michael" and "Ahriman".]

“A Waldorf school is more than just another independent school that provides a developmental education. It is an organization that seeks to allow the spiritual impulses of our time to manifest on earth in order to transform society ... Steiner described the founding of [the first] Waldorf School as a ceremony within the Cosmic Order ... [T]he founding of every subsequent Waldorf school also has cosmic significance ... [W]e may celebrate the founding of a Waldorf school because it strives to bring the soul-spiritual into the realm of human life.” — Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli, “On Earth as It Is in Heaven”, Research Bulletin, Vol. 16 (Waldorf Research Institute, Fall 2011), pp. 21-24.

“A school class is a destiny community* ... 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.

* That is, students and teacher are bound together by karma.

“[I]t is through the children that the school exists at all and it is they who have really made the decision to be there.”*  — Christopher Clouder and Martyn Rawson, WALDORF EDUCATION - Rudolf Steiner’s Ideas in Practice (Floris Books, 2003), p. 112.

* In Waldorf belief, children choose their parents, teachers, and classmates before incarnation on Earth. They do this in accordance with their karmas.

"In education parent and teacher are encouraged to make themselves sensitive to karmic differences and to karmic needs. 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,* capable of answering the expectations of Michael." — Waldorf teacher Margret Meyerkort, "Working with the Karma of the Young Child", WORKING WITH THE ANGELS (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2004), p. 35.

* The "creator beings" are beneficent gods. Anthroposophy is polytheistic. [See "Polytheism".] This fact alone helps answer the question whether Anthroposophy is truly Christian. Christianity is, of course, one of the great monotheistic faiths.

“[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.

* Becoming a Waldorf teacher is often all but indistinguishable from becoming an Anthroposophist. [See "Teacher Training".] A central objective for Anthroposophists is using clairvoyance to study the spirit realm. [See "Higher Worlds" and "Knowing the Worlds".] 

“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.

"Anthroposophy as a science is the description of the supersensible world [i.e., the spirit realm] as it appears to expanded consciousness [i.e., clairvoyance]." — Otto Fränkl-Lundborg, WHAT IS ANTHROPOSOPHY? (St. George Publications, 1979), p. 27.

“Rudolf Steiner...saw and addressed himself to the latent possibilities in man of advancing beyond the present-day accepted limits of cognition to awaken [clairvoyant] knowledge of the spiritual worlds ... That means that man himself properly belongs to those higher worlds.” — Waldorf educator Francis Edmunds, AN INTRODUCTION TO STEINER EDUCATION - The Waldorf School (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), pp. 6-7.

"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 spiritual vision and, with it, the awakening of independent ego awareness and materialism. The teacher is guided to a deeper understanding of the spiritual significance of mythologies and great epics,** and shows how the ancient world points the way to the future." — Publisher's description, TEACHING HISTORY, Vol. 1, Wilkinson Waldorf Curriculum Series (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000).

* According to Anthroposophical doctrine, people in the past had natural powers of clairvoyance. Whether such ideas are taught to Waldorf students varies from school to school and from teacher to teacher. Usually, Anthroposophy informs everything at a Waldorf school but remains more or less hidden — it is enacted, but it is usually not spelled out for students and their parents. [See, e.g., "Secrets".]

** Anthroposophy attaches great significance to myths and legends, which Steiner said are true reports of events in the spirit realm. Special emphasis is placed on Norse myths, which are believed to be especially true. “Myths...are the memories of the visions people perceived in olden times ... At night they were really surrounded by the world of the Nordic gods of which the legends tell.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 198. 

"[Even] without reaching the initial stage of clairvoyance, which Steiner calls Imagination...young people's imagination may nevertheless be strengthened ... [R]ight education can have the result that someone who is not at all clairvoyant will nevertheless be inspired through sleep."* — Waldorf headmaster John Fentress Gardner, YOUTH LONGS TO KNOW (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), pp. 37-38.

* Steiner taught, and his followers till believe, that dreams reveal spiritual insights. Imagination (or clairvoyance) and dreams are far superior to rational thought.

Astrological chart — A map of the soul’s revelation as it unfolds consciousness through the element of time. Higher spiritual beings reveal their influence, in ebb and flow, through the movement of the planets with stars and constellations as backdrop.”* — Waldorf educator Ron Odama, ASTROLOGY AND ANTHROPOSOPHY (Bennett & Hastings Publishing, 2009), p. 12.

* Horoscopes or astrological charts are rarely displayed openly in Waldorf schools, but many Waldorf beliefs involve astrological powers. [See, e.g., "Astrology".]

"In the Platonic year [a period of approximately 26,000 regular years] the earth comes under the influence of a particular sign of the Zodiac every 2160 years. This period marks the duration of a cultural epoch ... The new age of Aries, the ram, began in 747 B.C. ... Abraham saw the ram, i.e. he looked forward to the new age; but the ram's horns were caught in a thicket. Horns are symbols for two centers in the head connected with clairvoyance. When the ram is sacrificed, it means that in the new era men will no longer have the faculty of clairvoyance."* — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT STORIES (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2001), p. 35.

* Bible stories are often taught in Waldorf schools, although the meanings attached to them vary greatly from what one finds in mainstream houses of worship. [See, e.g., "Old Testament".]

Four pillars of Waldorf pedagogy: “1) There’s a proper time and method for particular subjects to be taught . The child recapitulates the cultural epochs* of humankind. 2) Reverence and respect for Earth is fostered**. 3) Qualitative as well as quantitative dimensions in all things should be developed. 4) Above all, human beings are spiritual as well as physical beings.” — Waldorf teacher Peter Curran, quoted in TAMARACK TALK, Nov. 21, 2006.

* In Waldorf belief, "cultural epochs" are evolutionary stages humanity has passed through during the current incarnation of the Earth. Steiner taught that each individual human recapitulates the evolutionary development of humanity as a whole, and thus there is a correct time for children to study various subjects. When a group of children has reached the level of ancient Rome, for example, they should be taught to view the world as the ancient Romans did. [For more on these matters, see "The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia".]

** Waldorf education aims to teach the children reverence, since the education is essentially religious. Reverence for the Earth — green values — is arguably one of the more attractive elements in Waldorf schooling. However, this reverence is modified by the Waldorf belief that nature is occupied by lowly, mischievous, and even wicked invisible presences, "nature spirits" such as goblins. [See "Neutered Nature".]

"Rudolf Steiner...shows the stages of humanity in the course of the history of civilizations, passing from 'dream-like clairvoyant' visions to a conscious perception of the surrounding world ... Are not children's drawings also impressions, 'footprints' on the path to human maturity?" — Anthroposophist Michaela Strauss, UNDERSTANDING CHILDREN'S DRAWINGS: Tracing the Path of Incarnation (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 18. 

“The authority of the class teacher* during the lower school period, from Classes 1 to 8 in all Steiner schools, is fostered in every way.” — Waldorf teacher Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 85.

* Waldorf teachers usually expect to be treated as unquestioned authority figures, especially in the lower grades when — according to Anthroposophical doctrine — the children's souls yearn for authorities to guide them. [See, e.g., "Faculty Meetings".]

“When authority breaks down in class, the teacher must realize that many of the orthodox methods of dealing with it are ineffective ... Caning is best banished...but at the same time the teacher must not forget that greater physical and moral harm can be done through wrong teaching. The teacher must take into account the soul-nature of the child, and it is not so much what [the teacher] does that matters (“One slap more or less is not of much consequence”),* as much as how he does it.” — Richard Blunt, WALDORF EDUCATION: Theory and Practice (Novalis Press, 1995), p. 120.

* Blunt attributes these views to Rudolf Steiner [THE ROOTS OF EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1924), p. 88]. Waldorf teachers generally consider Steiner's views not dated but timeless.

Fairies   Evidence for the existence of the little folk comes mainly from photographs.”* — George Riland, THE STEINERBOOK DICTIONARY OF THE PSYCHIC, MYSTIC, OCCULT (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1973), p. 82.

* According to Anthroposophical doctrine, invisible beings exist both above and below man. The higher beings are gods, the lower beings are nature spirits, also called elemental beings or, sometimes, fairies. [See, e.g., "Neutered Nature".]

"An insightful farmer can learn to transform dead wastes into life by composting ... Fairies are strongly attracted by this practice. They swarm to the farmer's aid ... As suggested by Rudolf Steiner, the biodynamic farmer adds a further attraction. Four kinds of sprays are made ... To strengthen gnome activity in roots a spray of treated cow manure is used (gnomes and cows have a special affinity to each other) ... [etc.]." — Marjorie Spock, FAIRY WORLDS AND WORKERS (SteinerBooks, 2013), pp. 35-36.

* Amazingly, this is not a joke. Anthroposophists believe in the literal existence of fairies or nature spirits. Images and statuettes of nature spirits are often found in Waldorf classrooms. [For more on the gardening practices taught by Rudolf Steiner, and often employed on the grounds of Waldorf schools, see "Biodynamics".]

Elemental beings* ... Among these beings are creatures such as dwarves (earth) [i.e., dwarves exist within the soil], undines (water), sylphs (air) and salamanders (fire). Our visible physical world is a modification of these invisible elemental beings.” — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, 2011), p. 36.

* Although Steiner himself often used the term "nature spirits," he said that a better term is "elemental beings." These invisible presences exist within the four elements of nature, he taught, and they lack true spirits. Thus, they are lower than humans and far lower than the gods.

“The names of the [nature] spirits are gnomes, undines, sylphs and salamanders respectively. 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.

"The invisible elemental beings could be perceived until recent times by many people, and they have passed into the folklore of every country. They were given names, which we shall also use here. The gnomes or goblins are the beings of the earth who work with the roots of plants and have a special affinity for the metals of the earth. The undines are water beings...they work with the leafy part of the plants. The sylphs live in the airy-warmth element, and it is their task to bring light down to the plants. Lastly, there are the salamanders of fire-beings who bring warmth into the blossoms and make possible the formation of a seed...." — Stewart C. Easton, MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), p. 286.

"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. For he was a close observer of their life and work, and it was clear to him that they were of profound importance to the earth.” — Waldorf educator Marjorie Spock, FAIRY WORLDS AND WORKERS: A Natural History of Fairyland (Anthroposophical Press, 1980), p. 8.

“When...love of fairy tales is coupled with an understanding on the part of the story teller, doors are opened to the whole realm of life in which fairy tales are true and live forever.” — Waldorf teacher Joan Almon, WHAT IS A WALDORF KINDERGARTEN? (SteinerBooks, 2007), p. 53.

"Ether — in general, shapeless and invisible life force, also called the fifth essence or 'quintessence' in addition to the four elements of earth, water, air and fire."* — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 37.

* While admitting the existence of the substances listed in the periodic table of the elements, Waldorf faculties generally accept Steiner's doctrine that really there are just four fundamental elements, the same four recognized by the ancients. Steiner also taught that the universal ether (a concept from nineteenth century physics, later discarded by scientists) actually exists in some form. Here we find the ether described in an authoritative Anthroposophical text published in the 21st century.

"Etheric aura  — every living being, a plant, an animal or human being, has an ether body* which can be seen as a luminous configuration around the physical body by people who have developed the necessary perception [i.e., clairvoyance]." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, 2011), p. 39.

* In Waldorf belief, humans have three invisible bodies in addition to their physical bodies. Helping children to incarnate their invisible bodies (the etheric, astral, and ego bodies) is a central purpose of Waldorf education. [See "Incarnation".] The etheric body is supposedly visible to clairvoyants as an aura. [See "Auras".] It is also possible for clairvoyants to perceive one another's astral bodies, Steiner taught, but the ego body can only be perceived by its owner.

"The etheric body preserves the physical [body] and prevents it from dissolving during earthly life. The human being is connected to the...plant world* through the etheric body." — Waldorf teacher Torin M. Finser, EDUCATION AS A JOURNEY (Anthroposophic Press, 1994), p. 249.

* In Anthroposophic doctrine, all beings higher than minerals have etheric bodies. This includes plants. Life forms higher than plants also have additional invisible bodies.

“A third member of the human being [in addition to the physical and etheric bodies] is the so-called ‘astral body’ or ‘sentient body’ ... [C]reatures which possess a nervous system also possess an astral body, and this includes not only Man but the whole of the animal kingdom.”* — Waldorf teacher Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 27. 

* Steiner endorsed the ancient view that there are four "kingdoms" of nature: mineral, vegetable, animal, and human. Minerals have physical bodies and nothing more, he taught. Plants have physical and etheric bodies. Animals have both of these bodies plus astral bodies. Humans have all three of these plus ego bodies or "I"s. [See "The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia".]

“The growth to independence of the astral body starts about the age of seven.* At that age the child is touched by astral forces for the first time. In the curriculum of the Waldorf schools — in the second class — we find that fables and stories of saints are told to children of that age to accompany this process.” — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2008), p. 21.

* Waldorf teachers believe that humans develop through a series of seven-year-long periods. [See "Most Significant".] During the first three of these, the etheric, astral, and ego bodies incarnate. Thus, the etheric body incarnates at age seven, and at that time the astral body begins developing toward incarnation, which will come at age 14. The Waldorf curriculum is designed to guide this process of incarnation and development. [See "Incarnation".] The stories told to Waldorf students are meant to have beneficial spiritual effects.

“[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.

"Through the astral body the human being becomes aware of sensation, instincts, impulses, and passions. The astral body helps us become conscious of our inner life ... Animals also experience the world with the help of the astral body". — Waldorf teacher Torin M. Finser, EDUCATION AS A JOURNEY (Anthroposophic Press, 1994), p. 249.

"One of the most important characteristics of the Waldorf method is the degree of consciousness with which it works at helping these higher bodies [i.e., the etheric, astral, and ego bodies] to integrate. And one of the most important contributions made to modern education by the Waldorf approach is the recognition that every effort must be made to slow down the incorporation of the astral body until the child is strong enough to carry its catabolic capacities without undue physical or emotional damage." — Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz, WALDORF EDUCATION: Schools for the Twenty-First Century (Xlibris Corporation, 2000), pp. 39-40.

"The teacher's work has to do with the four members of the child's being, the physical body, the Soul Bodies [i.e., the etheric and astral bodies] and the Ego." — Richard Blunt, WALDORF EDUCATION: Theory and Practice (Novalis Press, 1995), p. 109.

"The reason many [Waldorf] schools exist is because of the 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". [See "Ex-Teacher 7".]

* Waldorf schools put Anthroposophy into practice. Educating children, in a normal sense — that is, teaching them things — is a low priority. Far more important, from a Waldorf faculty's perspective, is realizing and promoting Anthroposophy. [See, e.g., "Spiritual Agenda" and "Soul School".] To the extent that Waldorf education seeks to benefit children, the "benefit" consists of helping the children to incarnate properly and thus ushering them toward a true spirituality: Anthroposophy.

“Even when speaking to a public audience, Steiner did not hesitate to point to the inextricable ties between Waldorf education and Anthroposophy.”  — Waldorf educator Eugene Schwartz, introduction to THE RENEWAL OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 15.

“[A]ll-important preparatory [spiritual] exercises can be found in KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND IT ATTAINMENT and in OCCULT SCIENCE.* The six basic exercises lead to the development of the twelve-petaled lotus flower...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), p. 4. 

* These are Steiner's two most important books, outlining the essence of Anthroposophy. "Lotus flowers," in Anthroposophic belief, are "chakras" or incorporeal organs, such as organs of clairvoyance. Here, a Waldorf teacher-trainer makes clear that being a true Waldorf teacher means practicing Anthroposophy. Steiner made this point explicitly: "As Waldorf teachers, we must be true anthroposophists in the deepest sense of the word in our innermost feeling.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 118.

"[T]he teacher has a specific task — to teach — and a great responsibility. He, of all people, needs not only the knowledge that spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy] gives but an inward acceptance of such knowledge as well, which also means practicing the given exercises. Inner activity means esoteric development and esoteric development provides a revitalizing force which permeates the human being and his work."— Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 52.

"At 7 years of age, the children are recapitulating their Atlantean evolutionary phase; this recap. began when they were only 1, with Ancient Saturn; 2, Ancient Sun; 3, Ancient Moon; 4, Polaria; 5, Hyperborea; 6, Lemuria; 7, Atlantis.* ... The hard head was the first member of man to incarnate, the subtle blood last. Man the microcosm reflected the Great Flood (geological Ice Age) with a flood of his own. 

"...There was Ancient Atlantis spread before me, a vast black land, shrouded in whirling, white mists ... Later I saw Atlantean humanity divide into the 7 Races ... The Moon Messenger, Noah, took animals on his ark ... His was an astral migration...."
 — Waldorf teacher-trainer Alan Whitehead, GAZE BOTH WAYS (Golden Beetle Books, ~1993), pp. 24-26. 

* These are evolutionary stages, according to Anthroposophical doctrine. Steiner taught that we began our evolution during a period called Old Saturn. We progressed to Old Sun and then Old Moon before arriving at Present Earth. [See "Matters of Form".] Here, during the Earth phase of evolution, we have lived through the Polarian, Hyperborean, Lemurian, and Atlantean epochs before entering our present epoch, generally called the Post-Atlantean Epoch. [See "Early Earth", "Lemuria", and "Atlantis".] In Anthroposophical belief, children recapitulate human evolution as they grow. Human beings are microcosms who embody, in miniature form, the entire universe and its history. [See, e.g., "The Center".]`

"At the Saturn stage [of cosmic and human evolution] there was no solar system but Ancient Saturn occupied space in the universe in which the solar system was to function. A contraction took place to the present Jupiter orbit and the resultant sphere formed Ancient Sun. A further contraction to the present Mars orbit resulted in the formation of the Ancient Moon."* — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), p. 89.

* These are stages of evolution preceding the Present Earth stage, according to Anthroposophical belief. [See, e.g., "Matters of Form".]

"During the first two of the seven great ages (Polaric and Hyperborean) man was not yet an earthly being. The first age during which he took on physical form was the Lemurian, which was followed by the Atlantean age, which was in turn followed by the so-called post-Atlantean, our present age ... Two more such ages are to come before the end of earth evolution. Lastly, it should be remembered that earth evolution itself is in the middle of planetary evolution, with three planetary conditions in the past (Old Saturn, Old Sun and Old Moon) and three still to come (Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan)." — Anthroposophist Stewart C. Easton, MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), p. 85.

“[P]lanetary life phases* ... Moon phase, from birth to age seven: ... gradual transformation of the physical body ... Mercury phase, ages seven to fourteen: golden years of childhood ... sanguine  Venus phase, ages fourteen to twenty-one: emerging sense of self, tremendous physical changes ... Sun phase, ages twenty-one to forty-two: independence of self, individuality begins to shine ... Mars phase, ages forty-two to forty nine: strong individualization, further definition or redefinition of career ... Jupiter phase: ages forty-nine to fifty-six: growing wisdom and breath of overview ... Saturn phase, ages fifty-six to sixty-three: more bound by hard realities...yet at the same time willing to serve selflessly....” — Waldorf teacher Torin M. Finser, INITIATIVE - A Rosicrucian Path of Leadership (SteinerBooks, 2011), pp. 102-103.

* As we noted earlier, Rudolf Steiner taught that life unfolds in seven-year-long stages. Here a Waldorf teacher expounds the planetary/astrological powers prevailing in these stages. Note that the Sun phase, overseen by the Sun God, is triply long (twenty-one years, from age 21 to age 42).

"In the beginning of the 4th planetary 'globe', Earth, the latest incarnation of our telluric home, there was only fire — Polaria, as it was known in occult circles. Fire condensed to gas in Ancient Hyperborea; then to liquid in Lemuria. Here, in the early stages at least, the world was all ocean; but with the advent of Atlantis, mighty Shiva, a compendium of the Spirits of Form, danced on the surface of the earth, dividing the waters from the land."* — Waldorf teacher-trainer Alan Whitehead, GAZE BOTH WAYS (Golden Beetle Books, undated), p. 3.

"[T]he shark eats it own weight in fish every day. In it stomach...we found tin cans, screws, turtles, sea serpents ... [T]he shark can distend its digestive system out both forwards and behind ... Rudolf Steiner has pointed out that in Lemurian times man had a physical organism which, by virtue of the distension and contraction of his inside...indicated the beginnings of a kind of metabolism. As the shark can be counted as one of the developments of the Lemurian age, it should be recognized as a frozen and demonically hardened picture of the conditions of evolution in those times." — Anthroposophist Rudolf Hauschka, AT THE DAWN OF A NEW AGE (SteinerBooks, 2007), p. 44.

"Every young person who is guided toward the path of spiritual development will surely receive great gifts ... Much is attempted in this sense by Waldorf schools working with the educational insights and methods suggested by Steiner." — Waldorf teacher John Fentress Gardner, YOUTH LONGS TO KNOW (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 37.

"[T]he human being alone has an independent ego* — that inner kernel of self to which we refer when we say 'I.'  This ego is a 'drop of the divine' — that part of us that finds an earthly home in the other bodies [i.e., the physical, etheric, and astral bodies]." — Waldorf teacher Torin M. Finser, EDUCATION AS A JOURNEY (Anthroposophic Press, 1994), p. 249. 

* The spiritual "ego" posited in Anthroposophical doctrine should not be confused with the mental ego discussed by psychologists. For Steiner and his followers, the ego is the fourth of our bodies, incarnating at about age 21. Standing higher than the astral, etheric, and physical bodies, it is an individual's unique spiritual selfhood. It is often called the "I" or, on occasion, the "ego body." [See "Ego".]

"The ‘four temperaments,’* first described by the classical Greek physician Galen...may be understood as the solution to the challenge of integrating the etheric body with its physical counterpart ... Rudolf Steiner attempted to describe them in terms of the fourfold human being 'Where the bearer of the I [ego] predominates, a choleric temperament results. Where the astral body predominates, we find a sanguine temperament. Where the etheric or life body predominates, we speak of a phlegmatic temperament. And where the physical body predominates, we have to deal with the melancholic temperament.’ ... One of the most important characteristics of the Waldorf method is the degree of consciousness with which it works at helping these higher bodies integrate.” — Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz, MILLENNIAL CHILD (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), pp. 185-186.

* Although Waldorf schools claim to respect the individuality of each student, in fact they often classify students according to this ancient four-temperament scheme. [See "Humouresque".] Waldorf students are frequently lumped together in these fallacious categories, and their work assignments and even classroom seating may be made on the basis of such stereotyping. [See "Temperaments".]

“Temperament — the four temperaments are: choleric, phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic. Each of the four temperaments is determined more by one of the four human members, the physical body, ether body, astral body or ‘I’ ... Knowledge of the temperaments can be very helpful in education ... Each temperament...responds best to particular approaches and forms of teaching.” — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, 2011), p. 119.

"Group Soul  — plants and animals have a group soul that does not manifest in the physical world. The initiate with specially trained perception [i.e., clairvoyance] can observe these group souls."* — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z, p. 52. 

* According to Anthroposophical doctrine, beings lower than humans do not have individual souls; they share "group souls." Thus, a dog, for instance, has no soul of its own, but it possesses a tiny sliver of a shared canine group soul. Steiner taught that humans also have group souls, but each individual human possesses, in addition, an individual soul. [See, e.g., "Four Group Souls".]

“Goethe’s pupil Carl Gustav Carus believed that the earth was not a sphere of solid mass but a hollow sphere ... This view of the earth-shell is confirmed by spiritual [i.e., clairvoyant] research ... Physical observations tell us only about the very outermost, relatively thin and also delicate shell of the earth.”* — Anthroposophist Sigismund von Gleich, THE TRANSFORMATION OF EVIL And the Subterranean Spheres of the Earth (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), pp. 32-33.

* Anthroposophists generally accept the descriptions of reality given by Rudolf Steiner, but they may also wander far afield, embracing all manner of occult beliefs. Sometimes these belief are compatible with Steiner's, sometimes not. Thus, Anthroposophical publishers print and distribute works on a wide range of topics that, to most people, would seem to be mere superstition or fantasy. To Anthroposophists, such things — such as the claim that "spiritual research" has proven the Earth to be hollow — are topics meriting serious consideration and, perhaps, acceptance. Thus, Anthroposophy — and the education arising from it — may stray far from reality.

"The computer is special because of its relation to the spiritual being here called Ahriman."* — David Black, THE COMPUTER AND THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1981), p. 2.

* Ahriman is one of the major demons described by Rudolf Steiner. [See "Ahriman".] Waldorf schools are generally averse to modern science and technology, including such technological products as televisions and computers. There are rational reasons for limiting the amount of time children spend starring at TV or computer screens, and Waldorf schools often cite these reasons. But the fundamental Waldorf attitude is rooted in occult beliefs, including the fear of Ahriman. [See, e.g., "Spiders, Dragons and Foxes".]

“[T]he whole computer- and Internet industry is today the most effective way to prepare for the imminent incarnation of Ahriman.” — Leading Anthroposophist Sergei Prokofieff, "The Being of the Internet", reprint in PACIFICA JOURNAL, Anthroposophical Society of Hawai'i, No. 29, 2006.

"My experience is that the computer is definitely off limits for angels." — From a discussion at the Rudolf Steiner Archive, 2009.

“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 belonging to the hierarchy of Angels are active in this web.” — Anthroposophist Richard Seddon, THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1996), p. 24.

"One of the latest ideas in the educational field is programmed learning ... The idea is new, and lends itself to mechanical contraptions [i.e., mechanized teaching aids] ... A machine can instil a string of dates quickly into a child's mind. It can, no doubt, do the same with facts and figures ... As a means of instilling facts, the programme may be efficient. As an educator, it is a monster. Similar arguments apply to the use of radio and television." — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, COMMONSENSE SCHOOLING (Henry Goulden, 1975), pp. 5-6.

“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.” — Anthroposophist Georg Unger, “On ‘Mechanical Occultism’” (Mitteilungen aus der Anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland nos. 68–69, 1964).

* The Waldorf aversion to technology reaches far down the technological ladder to relatively simple mechanisms. The basis for the schools' rejection of technological products of all kinds is often disguised, but fundamentally it can be found in the fear that these machines are demonic or monstrous.

In this passage, Unger is essentially parroting Steiner (a common practice among Anthroposophists): “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).

"[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."  — Georg Unger, ibid.

“Educational aids of various kinds*...detract from the personality of the teacher and from his or her natural authority.” — Waldorf teacher Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), pp 140-141.

* Waldorf schools generally frown upon anything that comes from outside the Waldorf environment. At the core of Waldorf education stand the teachers — as various commentators have noted, Waldorf schools tend to center not on the students but on the teachers. The personality, authority, and beliefs of the teachers are paramount.

“If it is to fulfill its purpose in accordance with the spiritual reality out of which it teaches, then a Waldorf school must be structured and make its administrative and financial decisions in accordance with the same spiritual reality ... To teach the children on the basis of the reality of the supersensible world* and then work with the money as though no such supersensible world existed is to introduce a dishonesty, a lie, into the life of the school”. — Michael Spence, FREEING THE HUMAN SPIRIT - The Threefold Social Order, Money, and The Waldorf School (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 1999), p. 5.

* In Anthroposophic belief, the "supersensible" realm is the portion of reality that lies beyond the reach of our ordinary senses. It is the supernatural or spiritual realm.

“[Waldorf] education is essentially grounded on the recognition of the child as a spiritual being, with a varying number of incarnations behind him ... [I]t is [the faculty's] task to help the child to make use of his body, to help his soul-spiritual forces to find expression through it, rather than regarding it as their duty to cram him with information....” — Anthroposophist Stewart C. Easton, MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), pp. 388-389.

“It is wise, on encountering a fairy, not to be too overeager in one’s scrutiny.* Little People — like those other innocents, animals, and children — have an intense dislike of being stared at. They love to stare at us, of course, but will turn away at once and disappear the moment we return the favor. They have grown shy in the face of our disbelief in them.” — Marjorie Spock, FAIRY WORLDS AND WORKERS (SteinerBooks, 2013), pp. 36-37.

* Amazingly, this is not a joke. Anthroposophists believe in the literal existence of fairies, aka nature spirits or elemental beings.

"Atlantis  — a submerged continent, located where we now find the Atlantis Ocean ... Rudolf Steiner describes the Atlantean culture in many texts and lectures ... Rudolf Steiner's information about Atlantis puts the various developmental stages of humanity into an entirely new perspective." —  Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, 2011), p. 11. 

"People are always concerned about the effect of death on children. Yet many small children can dreamily remember the spiritual world from which they came* ... Their fears of death...are largely instilled over time by the adults around them." — Waldorf teacher-trainer Nancy Jewel Poel, "Helping Our Children and Loved Ones at the Threshold of Death", WORKING WITH THE ANGELS (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2004), p. 86.

* Waldorf schools attempt to retard the maturation of young because, according to Steiner, young children retain ties to the spirit realms from which they came to Earth. [See, e.g., "Thinking Cap".] Here, this concept is extended to suggest that children have little innate fear of death — they remember life in the realm where death has no meaning.

"The mythical and religious content of the earliest grades [in a Waldorf school] bring the child to the same wellsprings  from which humanity began its great journey into awareness.”* — Clifford Skoog, “Waldorf Education and Science”, in WALDORF EDUCATION -  A Family Guide (Michaelmas Press, 1992), edited by Pamela Johnson Fenner and Karen L. Rivers,  p. 79.

* Believing that children have natural ties to the spirit realm, Waldorf teachers usually attempt to reinforce what they image is the children's innate religious predisposition. The early grades are thus usually suffused with "mythical and religious content."

"Planetary types  — also called: 'soul types'. Between two incarnations, the 'I' [i.e., the human spiritual ego] lives in the spiritual world where it travels through the following sequence of planetary spheres: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.* When the 'I' is again born on earth, it arrives there with all the knowledge is has been able to absorb during its sojourn in the spiritual world. This newly acquired knowledge manifests in the soul of the new human being. However, the planetary sphere where the 'I' stayed longest, and where it was really able to absorb new spiritual knowledge, will leave a predominant imprint on the soul." —  Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, 2011), p. 95. 

* According to Waldorf belief, humans travel to the planetary spheres when the physical body is asleep and after the physical body dies. [See, e.g., "Higher Worlds".] Here, a Waldorf teacher explains that children have different "soul types" depending on which planetary spheres they have stayed in longest. 

“[F]rom the heliocentric horoscope comparison, it is possible to see if recurring astrological rhythms that signal an indication of reincarnation patterns are evident.”* — Steiner disciple Robert Powell, PROPHECY - PHENOMENA - HOPE (Lindisfarne Books, 2011), p. 13.

* Steiner taught that our soul types are largely determined by the planets, but reincarnation and karma are linked to the stars. Here, an Anthroposophist discusses the use of horoscopes to learn about patterns of reincarnation. [For more on the prevalence of astrology in the thinking behind Waldorf education, see, e.g., "Star Power" and "Waldorf Astrology".]

“It is in our will that our karmic intentions are stored, intentions which have been prepared during the long period between lifetimes in the company of the spiritual beings of planetary spheres and beyond. But can these intentions be read in a horoscope? Whilst criticizing the superficial nature of much astrology, Steiner shows that we do indeed attempt to choose the appropriate birth time to match the destiny that we are to live out ... On occasion he himself made use of horoscopes as we can see in the case of the ‘special needs’ children.”* — Margaret Jonas, introduction to ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), pp. 2-3.

* Here is another Anthroposophical use of horoscopes, this time sanctioned by Rudolf Steiner himself and bearing directly on the education of young children.

“[T]he girls should know about spinning and weaving, and the methods used in the production of clothing ,,, [T]he boys should be taught woodworking and perhaps metalwork ... The boys should be taught the elements of surveying and planning ... [T]he girls should learn the elements of hygiene, simple bandaging, and suchlike.”*  — Waldorf teacher Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 162.

* Some commentators have argued that the Waldorf curriculum is sexist. Passages like the one we see here give support to this contention.

"[A]n herb gatherer named Felix Koguzski...gave Steiner his first opportunity to share with another human being the reality of the spiritual world ... Steiner's spiritual master, or initiator,* reportedly [then] gave him several tasks, including the seemingly impossible task of reversing the plunge of Western thought and culture into atheistic materialism, as well as the more specific task of restoring to the West an understanding of the dual concept of karma and rebirth." — Waldorf teacher-trainer Robert McDermott, THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER (Lindisfarne Books, 2009), p. 6.

* Steiner claimed that he had received two initiations into occult spiritual wisdom:. First he was initiated by Felix Koguzski, then he received a further initiation by an unnamed Master, whom Anthroposophists usually refer to as "M." (M is generally thought to be Christian Rosenkreutz, the founder of Rosicrucianism.) Initiation is a central concept in Anthroposophy: Most of Steiner's followers, including many Waldorf teachers, consider themselves to be occult initiates — that is, they believed that they possess special, secret spiritual knowledge. The chief reason that Waldorf schools are secretive about their beliefs is that, according to the "rules" of initiation, the secrets of occult spiritual wisdom must not be revealed. [For more on such matters, see "Inside Scoop" and "Rosy Cross".]

"Rudolf Steiner's advice for changing a left-handed to a right-handed child* ... The changeover is advisable for karmic reasons ... One can only change over until the ninth or tenth year ... Only the capacities that have to do with the intellect are brought over to the right hand (writing and...holding a spoon) ... [S]imultaneously one must do artistic, pedagogical, and therapeutic eurythmy exercises."** — Waldorf teacher Rudolf Braumiller, remarks at an Anthroposophical medical conference, 1977.

* "[I]t is a fact that children will become idiotic through lefthandedness." — Rudolf Steiner, 1922 (GA 300/2).

** Eurythmy is a form of spiritual dance, often required of all students in a Waldorf school. It is thought to have spiritual, therapeutic effects. "Eurythmy is obligatory. The children must participate.  Those who do not participate in eurythmy will be removed from the school." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 65. [See "Eurythmy".]

"Steiner describes unseen beings who tempt and waylay us in two very different directions. On one side, there are the servants of Lucifer...who would abandon the goals of the highest hierarchies [i.e., the highest gods] and create a blissful kingdom of spiritual light and delight for themselves. On the other side, there are immensely powerful beings who strive to blind us to the spirit ... These spirits of materialism belong to the dark power that ancient wisdom called Ahriman ... Both Ahriman and Lucifer have played, and continue to play, necessary roles in human and world evolution."* — Waldorf teacher Henry Barnes, A LIFE FOR THE SPIRIT (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 131.

* Sometimes Steiner indicated that Lucifer and Ahriman are profoundly evil; sometimes he indicated that, actually, Lucifer and Ahriman serve the purposes of the benevolent gods. In either case, Steiner's followers believe that these beings are crucially important to human evolution, offering us temptations that — when we overcome them — enable us to rise to higher spiritual levels. 

“Steiner characterized the task of the modern age in terms of two principles...which he named Lucifer and Ahriman ... Man contained the potentialities of both principles within his soul, and he had to learn to develop them in harmony with one another ... This could be achieved through Art.”* — Richard Blunt, WALDORF EDUCATION: Theory and Practice (Novalis Press, 1995), p. 12.

* Waldorf schools are fully of lovely art, and the curriculum emphasizes art. The reasons have little to do with aesthetics, however. In Waldorf belief, art serves mystical purposes. [See "Magical Arts".]

“There are two psychological demons at work. The one goads man on with extravagant visions of ever vaster accomplishments until he begins to see himself as a kind of god — that is the tempter called, of old, Lucifer. The other entangles man more and more in matter, convincing him that, in fact, he is no more than the dust he is made of — that is the ancient deceiver, the father of lies, Mephistopheles, or Ahriman.” — Waldorf educator Francis Edmunds, AN INTRODUCTION TO STEINER EDUCATION (Sophia Books, 2004), p. 5.

“Early in the Lemurian age [i.e., while we lived on Lemuria], Lucifer and Ahriman continued their onslaught on the human being, and caused a disruption of the human senses. 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, and in the middle of the Atlantean age [i.e., while we lived on 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.

“To be told...when the sky is filled with sunlight and rain that the fairies are baking [these things]...creates an indelible mood of magic.* To be told that the rainbow is caused by light refracting through raindrops is neither plausible to a child nor particularly inspiring.”  — Christopher Clouder and Martyn Rawson, WALDORF EDUCATION - Rudolf Steiner’s Ideas in Practice (Floris Books, 2003), p. 93.

* To understand such statements, you must know that Anthroposophists believe in the literal existence of fairies and the actual efficacy of magic. They want Waldorf students to accept these "truths" as well.

“[F]our sorts of elementary creatures are dominant [in various regions]. These beings...are only known to us through fairy tales, but they are still visible to someone with clairvoyant powers. In general, gnomes or root spirits are responsible for the germination of seeds and for plants which grow roots. Nymphs are active in leaf formation ... [E]lves bring light to plants ... [S]pirits of fire bring warmth into the flowers of plants ... In America gnomes are dominant.” — Steiner disciple Kees Zoeteman, GAIASOPHY (Lindisfarne Press, 1991), p. 209.

“[T]he etheric body stands one stage above the physical body and is responsible for its life and its form ... Using [our] everyday clairvoyance, it is [also] possible to become aware of the third member of the young person, the astral body.” — Waldorf educator Eugene Schwartz, MILLENNIAL CHILD (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), p. 115 & p. 179.

“[I]t is highly important that [Waldorf teachers] work at developing their own speech — musicality, rhythm, clarity, enunciation, plastic force, and so on ... [I]n working with the musicality of language, with its structure and sounds, we are at work in a wonderfully heavenly interval: a divine pause, a spiritual hiatus* between our future and the student’s past. We entice the student from his or her givens [sic] from the past...into this divine hiatus.” — Waldorf teacher Magda Lissau, THE TEMPERAMENTS AND THE ARTS (The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2003), pp. 135-136.

* Naturally, it is important for teachers to speak well and clearly. But, as usual, the Waldorf perspective is mystical. Steiner taught that speech creates spiritual realities; the gods create by speaking their intentions, and humans can do the same. When Waldorf teachers employ rhythmical, musical tones of voice, they are attempting to guide students into a spiritual condition ("a divine pause, a spiritual hiatus") distinct from ordinary experience, where karma and reincarnation may be improved.

"Even today...the Jews dominate the global scientific and artistic fraternities...."* — Waldorf teacher-trainer Alan Whitehead, THE PEOPLE POOL (Golden Beetle Books, 1993), p. 89. 

* Rudolf Steiner was a racist. Arguably, he harbored no racial hatred, but he taught that some races are lower and less evolved than others. [See "Steiner's Racism".] His followers today are usually far more circumspect, and few may be outright racists. But racist remarks — including statements reflecting anti-Semitic stereotypes — still find their way into Anthroposophic discourse with troubling regularity.

“The ‘exploration into God’ for Waldorf teachers is to familiarize ourselves more and more with ‘unborn-ness,’ a supersensible* phase through which souls travel before incarnation.” — Waldorf teacher-trainer René M. Querido, THE ESOTERIC BACKGROUND OF WALDORF EDUCATION, p. 17. 

* Exploring the supersensible realm, a central endeavor for Anthroposophists, is also an objective for Waldorf teachers. In this instance, they are encouraged to examine the condition of their students' souls prior to incarnation on Earth.

“[T]he living sustain the dead by providing a form of nourishment during sleep from thoughts on spiritual matters formed when awake.”* — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), p. 115. 

* Rudolf Steiner claimed to be able to converse with the dead, and maintaining contact with the dead is an objective for his followers. [See, e.g., the book STAYING CONNECTED - How to Continue Your Relationships with Those Who Have Died (Anthroposophic Press, 1999).] According to Anthroposophic belief, the living assist the dead by beaming affirmative thoughts to them. Startlingly, Waldorf teachers often think they need to supervise their students' relationships with the dead. [See, e.g., the section "The Gateway of Death - Working with Death in the Kindergarten" in the book WORKING WITH THE ANGELS - The Young Child and the Spiritual World (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2004).]

“[W]e may begin to understand several tendencies of contemporary music. An increasing polarization of the luciferic and ahrimanic took place towards the end of the [nineteenth] century. We note that the Romantic composers — Romanticism exhibits a tendency towards the luciferic — were on the increase. On the other hand, we find the tendency to mechanize music, to fragment it through the use of technology, an ahrimanic inspiration. Musical compositions that imitate nature have also such an impulse. Computer music is a further atomization of the being of music.”* — Waldorf teacher Magda Lissau, THE TEMPERAMENTS AND THE ARTS (The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2003), p 110.

* Waldorf representatives generally disparage technology, especially high technology as found in computers. There is also a widespread Waldorf tendency to repudiate modern culture and art in most of its forms, such as contemporary music. Waldorf is largely backward-looking.

"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 the Board room [i.e., the meeting room for the board of directors or college of teachers]."* — Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz, THE WALDORF TEACHER'S SURVIVAL GUIDE (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2000), p. 61.

* Waldorf faculties tend to believe that their work is overseen by beneficent gods [see, e.g., "His Education"], but it is also targeted by demons. The "college of teachers" is the central committee in typical Waldorf schools — the members gather to make administrative decisions and also to study Steiner's teachings. They seek to fulfill the will of the gods.

"Zodiac — has its center in the individual self. The constellations are the circumference of spiritual beings.* Planets are the focalizers of spiritual forces of the zodiac." — Waldorf educator Ron Odama, ASTROLOGY AND ANTHROPOSOPHY (Bennett & Hastings Publishing, 2009), p. 12.

* That is to say, spiritual beings — gods — manifest in the starry constellations. [For more from Ron Odama, see "Ex-Teacher 4".]

“[M]uch depends on the inner attitude of the teacher ... [It] can grow out of a regular meditative practice...five minutes in the morning and perhaps ten minutes in the evening. Rudolf Steiner gave three words...to characterize the attitude of the teacher: Devotion, Protective Feeling, and Enthusiasm. Each of these is accompanied by a eurythmic* gesture. Devotion — arms folded over the chest in reverence; Protective Feeling — half a ‘B’ gesture with the right arm; Enthusiasm — the right arm stretched upwards — the ‘E’ gesture.” — Waldorf teacher-trainer René M. Querido, THE ESOTERIC BACKGROUND OF WALDORF EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1995), p. 102 

* Eurythmic positions represent letters of the alphabet. Here Waldorf teachers adopt three positions for meditative purposes. Performing eurythmy is one way that Waldorf teachers undertake Anthroposophical meditative practices.

“Watching a eurythmy performance is mesmerizing. It’s as if a delicate golden thread were winding its bright way through the performers as they inscribe a beautiful, harmonious movement in the ‘soul space’ of the stage. The thread is alive and on fire, and the eurythmists move in reverence to it, always aware of the subtle creative force beyond their individual selves. The weaving hands, borealic veils, and solemn gestures...carry me into a contemplative space. I imagine this must be how we ‘spoke’ before incarnation, when with bodies of light we expressed ourselves with our whole being in movement.”* — Richard Leviton, quoted in WALDORF EDUCATION -  A Family Guide (Michaelmas Press, 1992), edited by Pamela Johnson Fenner and Karen L. Rivers,  p. 70.

* Eurythmy is, in effect, Anthroposophy in action, a type of worship. As Steiner said, "In having people do eurythmy, we link them directly to the supersensible world." — ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 246-247. Or, as a former Waldorf teachers has written, "Anthroposophists believe the movements [of eurythmy] are a sign language with spiritual significance that help the child communicate with the spirit world." [See "Whats Your Views".]

"[T]here are certain quite general exercises taken from the realm of curative eurythmy that can be done win the morning assembly with all the children." — Waldorf teacher Marjorie Spock, TEACHING AS A LIVELY ART (Anthroposophic Press, 1985), p. 40.

“Twelve particular constellations, known as the zodiac...have a particular formative presence in our universe. Their relative movements can be experienced as an ever-changing dance or conversation ...  In long distant ages we could experience fellowship with the beings of the starry world, and addressed them as gods and goddesses ... Out of his spiritual research, Rudolf Steiner also recognized the living quality of the zodiac circle. He experienced it speaking or singing to us, and perceived that a specific consonant...sounds out of each sign of the zodiac ... Likewise, each of the planets sings to the earth with a different vowel quality.” — Waldorf teacher-trainer Cynthia Hoven, EURYTHMY (HeartSong Press, 2012), pp. 29-30.

“At the age of 11 children begin to develop a sense for what is historical, and this is then the right time to present pictures of the civilizations...which stretch from Atlantis to the present.”* — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION, p. 63.

* Here we find a Waldorf teacher expressing belief in the historical reality of Atlantis, with at least a suggestion that Waldorf students should be taught that Atlantis really existed.

“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...but instead [it] responds to the living circulation of the blood.”* — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 55.

* Many Anthroposophical beliefs fly in the face of fact and reason. Yet Steiner and his followers cling fiercely to these beliefs. Thus, for instance, [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.

"When a foundation of observation and disciplined thinking is established, the [Waldorf] high school science teacher now introduces a new type of thinking ... [T]he mind is cleared, and the phenomenon [being studied] is allowed to speak. The student observes what comes forward while keeping the mind from straying ... This activity opens on up to new possibilities ... This type of thinking is freed from the senses* ... [It] can be the fertile ground for the 'new' science of the twenty-first century." — Waldorf teacher David S. Mitchell, THE WONDERS OF WALDORF CHEMISTRY (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2004), pp. 12-13.

* Rudolf Steiner frequently disparaged intellect, critical thought, and indeed the use of the brain. The school system he created seeks to foster a meditative, imaginative form of thinking, freed from the senses and the limitations of intellectuality. In a word, the form of cognition celebrated in the Waldorf universe is clairvoyance.

"Brain — The brain acts as a mirroring ground ... [I]t 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."* — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 16.

* Just as Anthroposophists believe that the heart is not a pump, they believe that the brain is not a thinking organ.  “[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.

“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....” — Georg Kühlewind, WORKING WITH ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1992), p. 11.

“[T]he task of the educator is to make oneself a kind of prophet* of the child’s future.” — Christopher Clouder, head of the Steiner Waldorf schools Fellowship, “Spiritual Dimension and Autonomy” (1998) http://www.ecswe.org/wren/documents/spiritual_journal.pdf.

* Waldorf teachers see themselves as prophets and priests. They can foresee the future, they think, by developing their powers of clairvoyance. They serve their students by serving the gods. "The position of teacher becomes a kind of priestly office, a ritual performed at the altar of universal human life." — Rudolf Steiner, THE ESSENTIALS OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 24. [See "Waldorf Priests".]

“Religious experience, like artistic feeling, has a strengthening effect on the Etheric Body ... Therefore, a religious mood should pervade the [Waldorf] teacher’s actions as well as the subjects of the curriculum.”* — Richard Blunt, WALDORF EDUCATION: Theory and Practice (Novalis Press, 1995), p. 153.

* Waldorf faculties generally accept Steiner's directive that religious feeling, if not religious doctrines, should pervade schooling. "It is possible to introduce a religious element into every subject, even into math lessons. Anyone who has some knowledge of Waldorf teaching will know that this statement is true." — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHILD's CHANGING CONSCIOUSNESS AS THE BASIS OF PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 94.

“Mathematics is closer to the nature of the human body than writing or reading ... [W]hat is most important here is not the shape of the numerals, but what lies behind them ... This living reality has much more meaning for the spiritual world* than what lives in reading and writing.” — Waldorf teacher Lois Cusick, WALDORF PARENTING HANDBOOK (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2005), pp. 54-55.

* Waldorf faculties believe that all subjects are, at root, religious, but some subjects are closer to the core of religion than others. Mathematics is thought to embody occult spiritual truths. [See, e.g., "Mystic Math" and "Magic Numbers".]

“The first mathematicians were priests. Mathematics was not a mere physical science, but a revelation of divinity ... [Math has] an ethical quality ... It manifests order in the world ... One could go even further and say that this is a divine wisdom manifesting itself, and in this sense, mathematics becomes a religious study. In thinking mathematically one is tracing the divine pattern.” — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, TEACHING MATHEMATICS (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1994), pp. 2-3.

"The first 666 period saw the birth of Islam, bitter rival of Christianity ... Add 666 to 666 and we arrive at the year 1332.* Around this period, Christian Europe was in the grip of an Inquisitorial Dark Age — its very own Ahriman inspiriation! [sic] ... 1332 plus 666 is...1998!! [sic] ... [I]t's not as if we weren't warned. Steiner must have been turning in his [grave] at the environmental folly that has brought the world to its knees in this century; one which achieved the critical mass of wholesale destruction in 1998 ... [W]ill there be an earth worth inhabiting in the 3rd Millennium? Steiner says there will, and he's been right so far." — Waldorf teacher-trainer Alan Whitehead, ARCHIOS (Golden Beetle Books, 1993), pp. 1-2.

* For more on this sort of numerological thinking in Waldorf belief, see "Mystic Math".

“The stories I am going to tell are very special.* They are wonderful stories of strange beings called ‘gods’ and of giants and dwarfs ... These stories were not just made up; they came about in a different way ... As long as Adam and Eve were still in paradise they could see God ... Then came the children of Adam and Eve, and their children’s children; they could still see God, but not very often ... The more people became used to living on earth ... the less they could see God ... [B]ut very many of them, not just a few, could see the angels ... There were many peoples in the world who worshipped the angel-gods, and they had wonderful stories about them. The most wonderful stories were told among people who are called Norsemen ... When these brave, fierce Norsemen had fought a battle, they came home to celebrate their victory with a great feast ... The most important part of the feast was when a man called a ‘bard’ took a harp and sang or recited a poem ... These bards could see the angel-gods better than the others. This is how the stories I am going to tell you came about. They are stories that these wise bards among the Norsemen heard from the angels, from the angel-gods.” — Waldorf teacher Charles Kovacs, NORSE MYTHOLOGY, Waldorf Education Resources (Floris Books, 2009), pp. 7-9.

* This is how Kovacs recommends Waldorf teachers introduce young students to Norse myths. Essentially, the kids are to be told that these stories are true. This conforms to Anthroposophical doctrine. “No other mythology gives a clearer picture of evolution than Northern mythology. Germanic mythology in its pictures is close to the anthroposophical conception of future evolution.” — THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 17, lecture synopsis.

“The human spirit, making its way into the alien element of earth, cannot at once lay hold upon the body provided by heredity. For years it must labor to remodel the inherited form into a shape more suited to its individual needs and character. With the cutting of the second teeth at six or seven this task is brought to completion* ... With the coming of the second teeth significant changes may be noted in the child’s whole being ... If, before the change of teeth, the child has developed wholesomely among adults whose character has provided him with impressions of moral strength; if, between the second dentition and puberty, his teacher has been an artist able to satisfy his need of beauty, the child enters adolescence with a thought capacity powered by a healthy will, armed and enriched by feeling ... A true art of education...founds its practices upon an insight into the changing interplay of body, soul and spirit in the different periods of the child’s development. It sees in the child from birth to the change of teeth a being of wholly different needs than those of the second period, which terminates in puberty....” — Waldorf educator Marjorie Spock, TEACHING AS A LIVELY ART (Anthroposophic Press, 1985), pp. 9-13.

* The Waldorf belief system attaches surprising importance to teeth. The child's etheric body is thought to incarnate when baby teeth are replaced by adult teeth. Moreover, Steiner taught that humans think more with their teeth than with their brains. "[T]he child develops teeth for the purpose of thinking." — EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1943), lecture 4, GA 307.

“The phrase ‘change of teeth’ is consistently used by Steiner to refer to the time when the primary teeth are lost  and the permanent teeth emerge. This stage of development lasts for approximately the first seven years ... The Etheric and Astral Bodies are not yet born and are held in Etheric and Astral ‘envelopes’ which surround the physical body.”* — Richard Blunt, WALDORF EDUCATION: Theory and Practice (Novalis Press, 1995), p. 67.

* Anthroposophists believe that human beings have four bodies that incarnate at different periods. Before a body incarnates, it remains within an invisible sheath. "For his etheric body man is enveloped by an ethereal sheath...until about the change of teeth, the sixth or seventh year ... This event represents the 'birth' of the etheric body. After it man is still enveloped by an astral sheath, which falls away at the age of puberty — between the 12th and 16th year. The astral body in its turn is 'born.' Then at an even later point of time the I is born." — R. Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963), chapter 7, GA 13.

"Rudolf Steiner describes how, in our development after physical birth, we human beings go through further 'births': 'Just as we are enclosed within the physical sheath of our mother up to the time of birth, we are enclosed in an etheric sheath up till the change of teeth, that is, till about the seventh year.'"* — Anthroposophist Michaela Strauss, UNDERSTANDING CHILDREN'S DRAWINGS: Tracing the Path of Incarnation (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 51.

* According to Waldorf belief, the invisible, "higher" bodies are wrapped in incorporeal "sheaths" until they incarnate or are born.

“Steiner presented the challenging observation that we as human beings are born not once, but four times on our way to adulthood. Three of the four members of the bodily organism, however, are supersensible in nature and not directly accessible to sense perception. Each member of the total human organism requires a period of about seven years to mature and to fully penetrate the physical body.”  — Waldorf educator Henry Barnes, A LIFE FOR THE SPIRIT - Rudolf Steiner in the Crosscurrents of Our Time (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 150.

"As a spiritual entity, like the Sphinx, advances through time, it sheds its detritus in the form of hideous astral phantoms; malevolent beings* which hang around the fringes of human consciousness waiting to be unwittingly invited in." — Waldorf teacher-trainer Alan Whitehead, WORLD WITHIN, CHILD WITHOUT (Golden Beetle Books, 1993), p. 15.

* While Anthroposophy is largely an optimistic faith, and Waldorf education is often enacted in a gauzy atmosphere of upbeat spirituality, the doctrines propounded by Rudolf Steiner also speak of many evil, demonic beings and forces.

"[A] non-physical record of Christ's life exists in purely spiritual form. Dr. Steiner called this...the Fifth Gospel. He said this 'spiritual document' resided in a larger body of information called the Akashic Record, the body of the Angel Akasha ... Dr. Steiner is quite clear that his research* shows the synoptic Gospels are — in part — imagery drawn from the Akashic Records ... [I]n earlier centuries the 'picture books' of the original four gospels, was [sic] sufficient for mankind's development. But nineteen centuries later...20th century persons want the full story ... So be it." — Waldorf teacher Bruce Dickson, RUDOLF STEINER'S FIFTH GOSPEL (Xlibris, 2000), pp. 11-13. 

* Steiner's "research" was his claimed use of clairvoyance to study the spirit realm.

"Steiner's original contribution to human knowledge was based on his ability to conduct 'spiritual research', the investigation of metaphysical dimensions of existence ... A natural seer from childhood,* he cultivated his spiritual vision [i.e., clairvoyance] to a high degree, enabling him to speak with authority on previously veiled mysteries of life." — Publisher's note, RUDOLF STEINER EDUCATION - An Introductory Reader (Sophia Books, 2003).

* Steiner claimed that, as a young boy, he saw a ghost or disembodied spirit.

"Akasha Chronicle — a chronicle or record that is imperceptible to the ordinary sense, into which are inscribed all events that occur in the cosmos ... Rudolf Steiner developed the ability to read this supersensible chronicle." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, 2011), p. 5.

“[W]e should consider what we do in education as a continuation of the work of the Hierarchies [i.e., the gods].”* — Waldorf teacher-trainer René M. Querido, THE ESOTERIC BACKGROUND OF WALDORF EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1995), p. 85.

* Rudolf Steiner gave this charge to Waldorf teachers, and they continue trying to abide by it. They think that they know the gods' intentions, and that they can help fulfill those intentions after children have incarnated on Earth. "[W]hat we have to do in education is a continuation of what higher beings [the gods] have done without our assistance. Our form of educating can have the correct attitude only when we are aware that our work with young people is a continuation of what higher beings have done before birth." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 37.

“[T]he Phantom is related, on the one hand, to present-day Saturn, the outermost planet of our solar system* and, on the other, to the whole starry cosmos.” — Anthroposophist Sergei O. Prokofieff, THE CYCLE OF THE YEAR AS A PATH OF INITIATION (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1995), p. 264.

* Phantoms, specters, and other unseen beings — high and low, good and evil — abound in Anthroposophy. Almost as telling, Anthroposophists believe that the solar system ends with Saturn. They think that Uranus and Neptune are not true members of the solar system.

“[A]dversarial powers and this ‘prince of darkness’ (Ahriman) do not just hold sway in the darkness of the Abyss, but also in the wider atmosphere ... [C]ertain Rosicrucian masters* such as Georg von Welling, describe these supersensible facts in more detail, referring to the ghost spheres of the atmosphere ... [T]he counter-earth forces are also definitely active above ground.”  — Anthroposophist Sigismund von Gleich, THE TRANSFORMATION OF EVIL And the Subterranean Spheres of the Earth (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), p. 30.

* Steiner taught that Rosicrucianism, as redefined by himself, is the correct spiritual path for modern humans. [See "Rosy Cross".]

“The earth breathes, [it] takes one breath every twenty-four hours, breathing in during the afternoon, and breathing out in the morning ... The earth obeys also another annual rhythm, breathing out in the spring and breathing in again in the autumn ... [T]hese supersensible facts are of the greatest importance in anthroposophical (biodynamic) agriculture inaugurated by Rudolf Steiner.” — Anthroposophist Stewart C. Easton, MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), p. 287.

“[G]ames devised for the purpose of teaching have no place in schools. [The idea] that learning is play, declared Steiner, is the very best educational principle for ensuring that nothing at all is learnt ... Similarly so-called ‘visual aids’ [such as movies and videos]...should be avoided.”  — Waldorf teacher Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE  (Floris Books, 1991), p. 102.

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

“The choleric teacher or parent who is given to sudden, violent bursts of fury causes his children to live in a perpetual state of subconscious terror ... The phlegmatic teacher has an equally drastic though more subtle effect on his pupils. Their lively spontaneity is suppressed in his presence ... The melancholic teacher who is absorbed in his brooding fails to set up a reciprocal relationship with his pupils ... The excessively sanguine teacher continually overstimulates his pupils. They are exhausted by his restlessness” — Waldorf educator Marjorie Spock, TEACHING AS A LIVELY ART (Anthroposophic Press, 1985), pp. 123-124.

"I am a missionary on behalf of [Rudolf] Steiner." — An instructor in a Waldorf teacher-training program. [See “Teacher Training”.]

“During this period, spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy] experienced a considerable breakthrough.* The first Waldorf school, founded in September, 1919, was flourishing, and seeds had been planted for similar schools in Holland and England." — Waldorf teacher-trainer René Querido, Introduction, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995).

* As we have seen, Waldorf teachers consider their work to be practical Anthroposophy; their objective is to enact and spread Anthroposophy in the world. As in most other things, they take their guidance on such points from Steiner. “One of the most important facts about the background of the Waldorf School is that we were in a position to make the anthroposophical movement a relatively large one. The anthroposophical movement has become a large one.” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER IN THE WALDORF SCHOOL (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 156.

"[S]cience, social studies, and history theoretically were all explored and integrated into the curriculum, but always on a 'Waldorf' timeline and scale, and never in-depth. Additionally, the information imparted was often not accurate. For example, the children were taught that there were 4 elements — Earth, wind, fire and air, and that the continents were islands floating on the ocean." — A teacher who tried Waldorf before turning to Montessori. [See "Ex-Teacher 5".]

“If [a person] learns systematically to apply his will to his own thinking...it becomes God-thinking, a creative force itself ... Rudolf Steiner’s method of work calls upon man, in the highest degree, to face and outgrow himself.” — Anthroposophist Francis Edmunds, AN INTRODUCTION TO STEINER EDUCATION (Sophia Books, 2004), p. 7.

“The feeling life of the child will be further engaged by [studying] each animal ... [W]e help the children see the perfected specialization of each animal species, be it a wing, fin, webbed foot, claw, and so on, in contrast to the blessing and gift of the nonspecialization of the human physical body with its infinite possibilities....”* — Anthroposophist Astrid Schmitt-Stegmann, Introduction to PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 2000), p. xiv.

* According to Rudolf Steiner, the animals evolved from humans. Specifically, animals are beings who branches off from the human evolutionary line at various points because they were incapable of evolving further. Thus, animals embody qualities that humans possessed at earlier stages of human development.

“[In college] I chose to study psychology and astrology ... [Later] I began to study Anthroposophy ... I went to work as a Waldorf teacher ... After two years, we left to start a Waldorf School in South Dakota ...  Financial hardships forced the teachers [there] to abandon Waldorf education ... I [left] to teach Special Education on the Pine Ridge [Amerindian] Reservation ... After two years I went to work in the public school system ... [Later] we found a Waldorf school where I could teach and our children attend ... [Then] I went to work as an insurance agent/financial planner ... I found a position [at a Waldorf school] in Kona, Hawaii ... I was forced out due to political differences ... My last teaching attempt was at a Waldorf school in Bellevue, Washington. To my dismay I found that the Waldorf school was not following Rudolf Steiner’s indications ... I retired and began to devote my time to astrology....” — Ron Odama, ASTROLOGY AND ANTHROPOSOPHY (Bennett & Hastings, 2009), pp. viii-xi.

“From the beginning, Steiner saw his task as the rescue of humanity ... [S]omething new must be created. But such a new revelation can no longer be received passively from the Gods, as was the case in previous epochs. It must now be created by, in, and through human beings.”* — Anthroposophist Christopher Bamford, Introduction, ANTHROPOSOPHY IN EVERYDAY LIFE (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), pp. x-xi.

* Waldorf education is one of the central efforts through which Anthroposophists attempt to fulfill the will of the gods.

"Before the moment of earthly conception, the yet-to-be-born soul approaches the Gate of Birth, and there views a tableau of the life to come. In previous times, souls would immediately descend after witnessing this picture of their karmically-determined future. In our time, in which the world has grown so materialistic and life has become so difficult, more and more souls hesitate for a moment, reluctant to face their destiny. When they do choose to incarnate, they are a little late, and cannot 'mesh' their higher members with their lower bodies. So a moment of hesitation, a little lateness, leads to an incomplete intertwining of body and soul, and this in turn can be a prime factor in those learning difficulties and emotional problems that will appear in childhood."* — Waldorf educator Eugene Schwartz, THE WALDORF TEACHER'S SURVIVAL GUIDE (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2000), p. 23.

* Note that ideas like this are offered to Waldorf teachers to help them understand their students. It is also important to realize — as we have already seen — that Waldorf teachers think one of their primary tasks is to help students incarnate properly, so that the various invisible bodies (etheric, astral, ego) mesh properly. [See, e.g., "Incarnation".]

“Not only does [a] purifying and ennobling process continue throughout a single lifetime, but through many, as the ego evolves to higher and higher stages of development through successive lives or re-embodiments ... [T]he twin concepts of reincarnation and karma or destiny are central to [Steiner’s] spiritual-scientific system.” — Waldorf teacher Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 28. 

"In the early grades when the children were living so strongly in their life forces, I knew I had a real chance to help them work at balancing and harmonizing themselves in preparation for their lives on the earth."*  — Waldorf teacher Torin M. Finser, EDUCATION AS A JOURNEY (Anthroposophic Press, 1994), p. 32.

* A note by Finser adds: "These deeper, latent issues are connected with karma." — Ibid., p. 236.

“Aware as they* became through his** lectures...of how spiritual beings,*** especially Michael,**** stood behind their work,***** they could not help but feel that they must devote all that they had in them to the furtherance of this work.” — Anthroposophist Stewart C. Easton, RUDOLF STEINER: Herald of a New Dawn (Anthroposophic Press, 1980), p. 347.

* Anthroposophists.

** Rudolf Steiner's.

*** Gods.

**** The Archangel of the Sun.

***** Work as “spiritual scientists,” Waldorf teachers, etc.

Classses 1 to 4 (Ages 7 to 10)  This first stage should be devoted to aspects of nature-religion, whereby the child should be brought to feel that wisdom is expressed through the workings of the divine in nature.”  — Waldorf teacher Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 176.

“A youth whose childhood has been touched by the blight of 'critical thinking'* will come to the moment of independent insight badly crippled ... Because skepticism has long since robbed him of part of his heart, he will now feel unable to embrace enthusiastically what he has come to understand." — Waldorf educator John F. Gardner, THE EXPERIENCE OF KNOWLEDGE (Waldorf Press, 1975), pp. 127-128.

* Waldorf schools generally deplore critical thinking. They want children to develop the ability to think imaginatively and unconventionally — but rational, critical thinking is largely discouraged, especially in the lower grades. The Waldorf approach attempts to lead children toward heartfelt, semi-clairvoyant true belief, so that they "come to understand" the sorts of things that Anthroposophists "understand." 

"Unconquered hero of the skies

St. Michael —

Against the foe with us arise,

Thine aid we pray the foe to slay,

St. Michael."

— THE WALDORF SONG BOOK (Floris Books, 1992), 

complied by Brien Masters.

“Steiner had exceptional powers, he saw the future, he knew the truth.  If you truly need to learn, you need to study and follow Steiner. Steiner is all anyone ever needs to know.” — a Waldorf school teacher, quoted by a former colleague [http://www.montessorianswers.com/my-experiences-with-waldorf.html]

“Rudolf Steiner's comments [on vaccination]*...leave no doubt about the ‘hidden agenda’ behind the plan to vaccinate all the world's children with as many vaccines as possible, thus devastating their spiritual development ... In the future, when more enlightened minds will look back to today and will judge our misguided vaccination zeal, I hope they will be able to say that anthroposophists were among those with the discernment and the courage [to oppose vaccination].” — Philip Incao, “Report on Vaccination”, GATEWAYS (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America), #34, Spring 1998.

* Among other things, Steiner said "The soul will be abolished by means of a medicament yet to be discovered ... [A] vaccine which will be injected into the human organism in earliest infancy, if possible immediately after birth, to ensure that this human body never has the idea that a soul and a spirit exist ... Materialistic doctors will be entrusted with the task of driving souls out of human beings.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Crumbling of the Earth and the Souls and Bodies of Man”, ANTHROPOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY (Mercury Press), Vol.. 19, No. 1, 1974.

"I'm glad my daughter gets to speak about God every morning: that's why I send her to a Waldorf school. She's learning stories from the Old Testament ... She's learned that God created the world in seven days ... [S]he's learning it as truth ... That's why I send her to a Waldorf school. She can have a religious experience. A religious experience. I'll say it again: I send my daughter to a Waldorf school so that she can have a religious experience." — Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz, “Waldorf Education — For Our Times Or Against Them?” [www.waldorfcritics.org/active/articles/schwartz.html]

“It is often said by Waldorf teachers that there should be no textbooks in a Waldorf school. In various instances in the faculty meetings Steiner recommends a particular textbook, states that most textbooks are inferior, questions whether the teachers couldn’t write their own, and suggests that the class needs a textbook to unite all the students. 'I have nothing against using a textbook, but all of them are bad ... Look for a textbook, and show it to me when I come back' (September 11, 1921).”  — Betty Staley, introduction to FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. xxxii.

* Instead of using textbooks, Waldorf schools often have the students create "class books," which they write and illustrate under the guidance of their teachers. This greatly limits students' exposure to non-Waldorf ideas and greatly increases the authority of the teachers — the class books essentially reproduce the teachers' lectures, statements, and drawings.

“In Anthroposophical Waldorf schools, absolutely everything centers around the task of implementing Steiner's spiritual scientific theories ... Each individual child's education takes a back seat to the spiritual scientific and cosmic Christian* tasks and ideals of the Anthroposophical initiative.” — a former Waldorf teacher [http://waldorfcritics.org/active/articles/baandje.html]

* The term "spiritual science," as used by Steiner's followers, primarily means Anthroposophy. Alternative tags include "occult science" and "esoteric science." [See, e.g., "Everything".] The "cosmic Christianity" of Anthroposophy consist essentially of teachings Steiner drew from Theosophy and gnostic Christianity. [See "Basics" and "Gnosis".] The Christ recognized in Anthroposophy is the Sun God. [See "Sun God".]

“Over and above the physical body, spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy] recognizes a second essential principle in Man: it is that which Steiner usually refers to as the ‘etheric body,’ though he sometimes refers to it as the ‘life-body’ or ‘formative-forces-body’ ... [T]he etheric body is accessible to investigation only to [i.e., by] those who have developed the necessary higher organs of perception [i.e., "organs" of clairvoyance].” — Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 26.

“A third member of the human being [above the physical and etheric bodies] is the so-called ‘astral body’ or ‘sentient body’ ... [C]reatures which possess a nervous system also possess an astral body, and this includes not only Man but the whole of the animal kingdom.” — Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 27.

“Tuba mirum, 

Spargens sonum, 

Coget omnes ante thronum, 

coget omnes ante thronum, 

ante thronum. 

Per sepulchra regionum ...  

coget omnes ante thronum.”  

—THE SECOND WALDORF SONG BOOK  (Floris Books, 1993), 

compiled by Brien Masters.

Translated from the Latin, the song says “The trumpet, spreading its awful sound, will collect all before the throne, will summon all before the throne, before the throne. Through the graves of the regions ... [it] will drive mankind before the throne.” 

“Our modern, theoretical knowledge does not, in fact, grasp or explain the true being of man.* Beneath all that the average human being knows of himself, there live hopes, longings, aspirations, dreams of the might-have-been or the might-yet-be, unused gifts, maybe, that are urging to be realized....”  — Waldorf educator Francis Edmunds, AN INTRODUCTION TO STEINER EDUCATION - The Waldorf School (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 4.

* The word "Anthroposophy" means knowledge of man. This is what Steiner professed to offer: a true, hidden, occult knowledge of human nature. And this is the basis of Waldorf education.

"Apollonian ... [T]he formative forces emanating from the power of thought ... The opposite of Apollonian is Dionysian, in this context referring to the forces arising in the digestive organs and the will.* In Waldorf education, teachers try to organize their lessons in such a way that Apollonian and Dionysian activities alternate to create a balanced and living dynamic." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, 2011), p. 8.

* Steiner's description of human nature and physiology is mystical and divorced from reality. But it is the basis on which Waldorf education is built. See "Oh Humanity".

“These two gods — Apollo and Dionysus — embody polar complementary forces that work in opposite ways to develop the child and young adult ... Left to themselves, these forces can work one-sidedly on the growing child, with devastating consequences. Allow the sculptural, formative, centripetal, linear forces of Apollo to exert too strong a grip, and we can see children grow prematurely stiff in carriage and sometimes burdened of soul, like grumpy little gnomes trapped in the confines of precociously sclerotic bodies. Allow the musical, centrifugal, curvilinear forces of Dionysus to rise up too strongly, and we can see children who stay youthful and carefree too long, like flighty Peter Pans or fluid slender sylphs. ... Children overly prone to becoming trapped in the [physical] body need to draw, write, and revel in the details of a subject in order to loosen their ‘I’ a little from the confines of the physical organism. By contrast, children who have difficulty taking hold of the physical organism need to observe, as from a bird’s eye view, what they have drawn or written, or be encouraged to attend to the overall meaning or context of a subject, rather than its details. [paragraph break] Underlying these suggestions is the general maxim: Move, and you excarnate; be still, and you incarnate.” — Waldorf teacher and institute director Douglas Gerwin, introduction to BALANCE IN TEACHING (Anthroposophic Press, 2007), pp. x-xi.

"It may be the case that an [incarnating child] is not successful in choosing its biological parents. But as always, karma...may be relied on ... Adoptive or foster parents may be chosen by the incarnating ego for particular reasons ... It may be that if for some reason a child is unable to be born to its choice of parents, the child will be born into a family that lives near to those 'ideal' parents ... Similarly, a child might be born into the family of a close relation — the possibilities are numerous." — Waldorf teachers Gilbert and Sylvia Childs, YOUR REINCARNATING CHILD (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 11.

"[The] special contribution, the unique substance, mission, and intention of the independent Waldorf School, is the spiritual-scientific view of human nature [i.e., Anthroposophy] ... It certainly is possible that the Waldorf schools will, gradually or suddenly, distance themselves from this substance, because they increasingly fail to understand it, and because they are influenced by the criticism imposed from outside ... [T]he weakening and fading away of the innovative, independent Waldorf schools would be disastrous....” — Anthroposophist Peter Selg, THE ESSENCE OF WALDORF EDUCATION (SteinerBooks, 2010)‚ p. 4.

“Human culture needs to be transformed according to a spiritual vision of the human being [i.e., Anthroposophy]. Every domain* of human thought and activity — education, [etc.] — must be renewed on the basis of [the Anthroposophical] understanding of the human being.” — Anthroposophist Ronald Koetzsh, “Anthroposophy 101”, http://waldorfcritics.org/active/articles/anthroposophy101.html.

* Waldorf schools are just one branch of the Anthroposophical movement, which seeks to remake all human institutions in accordance with the doctrines promulgated by Rudolf Steiner. [See, e.g., "Threefolding".]

“A true knowledge of the child will enable the teacher to understand how the correct education of Soul and Spirit brings health to the physical body, and how incorrect education sooner or later finds expression...in the form or discomfort or disease ... [O]verstimulation of the memory can cause the child to grow lank ... This is bound up with the interaction of the Etheric and Astral Bodies....” — Richard Blunt, WALDORF EDUCATION: Theory and Practice (Novalis Press, 1995), p. 110.

“[T]he occasion was an opportunity [for Steiner] to showcase...his anthroposophical ‘spiritual science,’ of which the practice of Waldorf education was an important, even primary, application.”* — Anthroposophist Christopher Bamford, introduction to THE SPIRITUAL GROUND OF EDUCATION, The Foundations of Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 2004), p. vii.

* Although Waldorf apologists often say that there is little link between Waldorf education and Anthroposophy, in fact Waldorf is a "primary application" of Anthroposophy. If you cannot embrace Anthroposophy, you are unlikely — in the end — to find Waldorf education satisfactory.

“[W]e are interested in what shaped Rudolf Steiner as an educator. Certainly, his native clairvoyant capacities played a role, as did his scientific training.* Nor should mention be omitted of the crucial human and spiritual encounters [with individuals who gave him occult initiation]: Felix Kogutsky...with whom he could speak about the spiritual world as with someone of experience; [and] the otherwise unnamed Master.”   — Christopher Bamford, introduction to THE EDUCATION OF THE CHILD, Foundations of Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), a collection of Rudolf Steiner’s teachings about education, p. viii.

* Steiner's followers often describe him as a scientist, but he was not. He never undertook any scientific work. He affirmed the "Goethean science," which is fundamentally unscientific; and then he established his own "occult science," Anthroposophy — which again is unscientific. [See, e.g., "Is Anthroposophy Science?"]

“Clairvoyance, present in all human beings [in ancient times], started gradually to diminish ... This decrease of clairvoyance was due to a change in the four members of the people; the ether body, the astral body and the young ego were pulled gradually into the physical body. They experienced more and more the influence of earthly gravity.”  — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2008), p. 62.

“A horde of fourth grade berserkers rise from the darkness of the hall to stamp onto the stage ... [The child who plays the Norse god] Thor, though one of the smallest in the class, has an enormous voice to match the famous Thor’s Hammer ... The bit where Thor...knocks the taunting warriors off their benches in well choreographed waves of destruction, is particularly impressive ... [E]ach festival [celebrated at Waldorf schools] is embedded in a cycle of festivals which...express the inner mood of the spiritual calendar* ... [F]estivals are also linked to the intuitive realm of the future. In an age in which traditional forms of ritual and community are fading, the Steiner Waldorf Schools strive to cultivate a new, free consciousness of time, human development and community.”  — Christopher Clouder and Martyn Rawson, WALDORF EDUCATION - Rudolf Steiner’s Ideas in Practice (Floris Books, 2003), pp. 12-18.

* The Waldorf school year is punctuated by various festivals. celebrated by the whole school. While these events are often given innocuous titles such as "Fall Festival" or "Spring Festival," many are essentially religious observances. [See "Magical Arts".]

“The equinox is for us a turning point, a change in the relation of light and darkness in the world around us. On September 29th the autumn festival traditionally known as Michaelmas is celebrated [in Waldorf schools]. This festival is named for the Archangel Michael, conqueror of  the powers of darkness, the harvester of the deeds of human souls. It is at this time that the image of Michael with the dragon appears before us as a mighty imagination, challenging us to develop strong, brave, free wills, to overcome love of ease, anxiety and fear.  This demands inner activity, a renewal of the soul which is brought to consciousness in the Michaelmas festival, the festival of the will.” — Karen Rivers, “Michaelmas”, in WALDORF EDUCATION: A Family Guide, p. 145. 

"The Science of the Spirit [i.e., Anthroposophy] teaches us the art of forgetting ... All memorized matter should disappear from the mind to make room for an actively receptive spirit." — Rudolf Steiner quoted by Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz in MILLENNIAL CHILD (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), pp. 150-151.

“This [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.” — Waldorf teacher Jack Petrash, UNDERSTANDING WALDORF EDUCATION (Gryphon House, 2002), p. 26.

* Waldorf schooling necessarily disparages factual information, since so much of Waldorf belief has no basis in the real, factual world. Waldorf promotes a dreamy, mystical mindset instead. You might ask yourself whether a child who is steered away from facts is receiving a real education. The obvious flaw in Petrash's argument is that the way to deal with the outdating of knowledge is to keep abreast of the newest, most accurate information, not to turn one's back on the facts.

“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.

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

* The chief flexibility aimed at is the ability to accept the bizarre doctrines of Anthroposophy — which Waldorf teachers consider "commonsense." For most people, however, the downplaying of "actual learning" must be considered a severe fault in Waldorf schools.

“When a school is based on a spiritual conception of the human being, a more diverse set of values become important ... Sometimes the important spiritual lessons at a school are not actually spoken; they simply are lived* ... And yet, there are times when spiritual matters need to be addressed more specifically.” — Waldorf teacher Jack Petrash, UNDERSTANDING WALDORF EDUCATION (Nova Institute, 2002), pp. 138-142.

* Much goes unspoken at Waldorf schools. Rudolf Steiner claimed to posses hidden or occult spiritual knowledge, and his followers generally think that they, too, possess such wisdom. And one of the rules of spiritual initiation is that occult secrets must not be revealed to the uninitiated. [See, e.g., "Secrets" and "Inside Scoop".] 

"You are not an initiate, and therefore you cannot understand the kind of energies we're dealing with here." — A Waldorf teacher, explaining why a student's parent cannot understand Waldorf practices. [See "Moms"]

"This is an essential 'technique' of Waldorf education; at every seven-year developmental phase the teacher works intensively with one of the child's higher bodies,* slowly weaving its activities together with the member [i.e., higher body] worked on in a previous stage of growth. What is distinctive about the Waldorf method is that it perceives the validity of each approach in the course of time, as a particular 'higher member' is dominant in effecting growth and maturation." — Waldorf educator Eugene Schwartz, WALDORF EDUCATION: Schools for the Twenty-First Century, p. 35.

* Steiner's doctrine that humans develop through a series of seven-year-long phases is sometimes described as his greatest educational contribution. [See "Most Significant".] According to Waldorf belief, the “etheric body” incarnates around age 7, the “astral boy” at about age 14, and the “ego body” around age 21.

"Many people, and also giants, now lived on the earth but humanity had become wicked ... The story [of Noah and the Flood] refers to the sinking of the continent of Atlantis ... Noah, or Manu, as he is known elsewhere [i.e., in other religions and/or mythologies], was the leader of the sun-oracle of Atlantis [i.e., a center of occult knowledge on Atlantis] ... He was the most advanced leader and he was obviously still in touch with the creators of the Earth, the Elohim or Spirits of Form* ... Noah gathered together people sufficiently mature and, knowing that the catastrophe was coming, emigrated to the center of Asia ... Here he set up a cultural or mystery center from which the early Post-Atlantis civilizations were inspired." — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT STORIES (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2001), pp. 24-25.

* Anthroposophy is both pagan and polytheistic, incorporating many strange beliefs, such as belief in Atlantis. There are nine ranks of gods, according to Steiner. Spirits of form are in the fourth rank, counting upward. [See "Polytheism".]

“He [Rudolf Steiner] attacked the theory that fairy tales derived only from popular imagination, and described times, before the awakening of the intellect, in which man regularly found himself in a special [clairvoyant] condition between waking and sleeping. In this special state, visions arose in many forms* ... [People said] ‘everything around us is bewitched spiritual truth.’” — Anthroposophist Werner Glas, SPEECH EDUCATION IN THE PRIMARY GRADES OF WALDORF SCHOOLS (Sunbridge College Press, 1974), pp. 47-48. 

* Steiner taught that all fairy tales are true, at the level of clairvoyant insight. This is why fairy tales are given such prominence in Waldorf schooling. “Fairy tales are never thought out [i.e., invented]; they are the final remains of ancient clairvoyance, experienced in dreams by human beings who still had the power ... All the fairy tales in existence are thus the remnants of the original clairvoyance.” — Rudolf Steiner, ON THE MYSTERY DRAMAS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1983), p. 93.

“Much of what we today regard as faith content [i.e., matters of faith] was knowledge in earlier times. Some people sought this knowledge by developing ‘hidden powers of the soul,’ as Steiner calls them, and today we are not aware how much of what we today regard as knowledge has been discovered through older paths of knowledge [predominantly, clairvoyance].” — Agnes Nobel, EDUCATING THROUGH ART - The Steiner School Approach (Floris Books, 1991), p. 164.

“Young children are not yet un-linked from their spiritual connection [to the higher worlds where they lived before earthly birth] ... [I]nnate spiritual awareness shines in little children ... For their continued spiritual development, children need only a little outward instruction. According to Rudolf Steiner, they simply need to be taught in a balanced three-dimensional way, one that develops the head, heart, and hands to preserve their innate religious awareness.”* — Jack Petrash, UNDERSTANDING WALDORF EDUCATION (Nova Institute, 2002), pp. 134-135.

* Guiding the "spiritual development" of children — a task usually reserved for parents and religious leaders — is the self-appointed religious goal of Waldorf education. As Steiner said, "The position of teacher becomes a kind of priestly office." — Rudolf Steiner, THE ESSENTIALS OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 23.

“In early civilizations the mass of people lived in a child-like state and were guided and directed by personalities who in some respects were more mature, i.e., the priests and kings. These in turn were guides by spiritual beings — gods — and were what is known as ‘initiates,’ by which is meant that they had direct experience of a supersensible [i.e., supernatural or spiritual] world.” — Waldorf educator Roy Wilkinson, TEACHING HISTORY, Vol. 1. (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2000), p. 4.

"A step on the path to super-sensible perception [i.e., clairvoyance] is a heightened knowledge of, and sensitivity to, colour. In good esoteric schools, colour instruction has always been a high priority, due to informed clairvoyant (clear-viewing) perception being based on fine colour discrimination."* — Waldorf teacher-trainer Alan Whitehead CHOIRS OF COLOURS - Primary Painting, Sculpture, Drawing; A Rudolf Steiner Approach (Golden Beetle Books, 2004), p. 48.

* Color discrimination is needed, for instance, to interpret auras correctly.

"Senses — there are twelve senses.* The lower four are: touch, life, movement, balance ... The middle senses are: warmth, sight, taste, smell ... The upper-senses [sic] are: 'I'-sense, thought, language, hearing." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, 2011), p. 107.

* Most Anthroposophical descriptions of human nature and physiology arise from mysticism, not scientific facts. Thus, in Waldorf belief, the heart does not pump blood and the brain is not a thinking organ.

“It should be understood by any school or institution seeking affiliation with AWSNA [the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America] that Waldorf Education is based on Anthroposophy, the philosophy initiated by Rudolf Steiner. Waldorf is a trademark name in the United States and is reserved for independent schools which meet the membership standards established by AWSNA ... Only schools which have been accepted as Sponsored or Full Members of AWSNA may represent themselves as Waldorf schools or use the words ‘Waldorf’ or ‘Rudolf Steiner’ in their names or subtitles.” — Why Waldorf Works, as of 11-22-2011 [http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/02_W_Education/faq_starting.asp]

“[P]rimal memory is experienced ... It enlivens many an early game or even transfigures it* ... [T]he incarnation of the soul into the physical body, is the subject of countless games ... The children are playing at becoming incarnated.” — Heidi Britz-Crecelius, CHILDREN AT PLAY - Using Waldorf Principles to Foster Childhood Development (Park Street Press, 1996), p. 105. 

* The Waldorf curriculum includes lots of time for children to simply play. Multiple justifications are given for this, some of which make sense. But the underlying rationale is the mystical belief that children retain memories of their pre-earthly lives, and in their play they enact those memories as well as the process of their incarnation on Earth.

“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 ... In mastering the world of physical perception the child encounters difficulties in that he first has to overcome a dream-like yet intensely real awareness of spiritual worlds. This awareness 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." — Waldorf educator A. C. Harwood, PORTRAIT OF A WALDORF SCHOOL (The Myrin Institute Inc., 1956), pp. 15-16.

“Rudolf Steiner’s gift of anthroposophy, the result of his own spiritual synthesis [1], recovered a host of lost truths of destiny [2] buried beneath the sediments of scientific determinism. [3] His spiritual perception [4] uncovered a wealth of soul-strengthening nutriments [5] available to all who delve beneath the surface of biography. [6] Those who examine biographical time will begin to detect the presence of lawfulness. [7]” — William A. Bryant, JOURNEY THOUGH TIME (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2006), p. 2.

[1] Anthroposophy is, at root, an amalgam of previous religions, especially Theosophy (itself an amalgam) and gnostic Christianity.


[2] Karma. Steiner taught that peoples of the past generally understood spiritual truths, such as the reality of karma, better than modern humans do. 

[3] Anthroposophy fundamentally opposes modern science and the determinism of natural scientific laws. 

[4] Clairvoyance.


[5] Anthroposophy is meant to nourish the soul.


[6] The "surface" shows only apparent facts accessible by the brain and senses. 

[7] One’s life is actually ruled by spiritual laws, such as the law of karma.

“Sleep is by no means merely the annulment of the day. In earlier epochs people knew this very well ... [F]or them it was the portal of entry to those higher spheres from which they felt they derived their being* ... The hygiene of sleep needs to become a direct concern of education ... What is absorbed through observation and thought by day sinks into deeper strata at night ... Rudolf Steiner attached particular importance to this. Thus the [properly designed school] lesson, in its organic structure...includes the fact of sleep bringing order into the life of soul.” — Waldorf educator Francis Edmunds, AN INTRODUCTION TO STEINER EDUCATION - The Waldorf School (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 94. 

* Steiner taught that, at night, the astral and ego bodies leave the physical and etheric bodies and travel into the spirit realm — literally, not merely in dreams. One's sleep experiences, then, are almost more real and significant than one's waking experiences. Waldorf teachers try to bring the results of sleep life into the classroom.

“When first we fall asleep, we recapitulate briefly the pictures of our earlier incarnations; this happens, Rudolf Steiner affirms, even when we take a nap ... It is through these pictures that our individuality, our eternal ego, works across time into space. Our karma of the present life is imbedded in our muscles, which are, spiritually speaking, ‘condensed organs of the musical forces of Inspiration.’” — Audrey E. McAllen, SLEEP - An Unobserved Element in Education (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2004), p. 41.

"Children's first drawings follow a cosmic movement that knows neither the outside nor inside* ... Soul processes find their expression in the realm of colour ... The drawings illustrate transitions and overlapping of the most varied realms of perception." — Anthroposophist Michaela Strauss, UNDERSTANDING CHILDREN'S DRAWINGS: Tracing the Path of Incarnation (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 71.

* Waldorf teachers evaluate their students in many ways, using "clairvoyance," relying on dreams, mystically interpreting the students' drawings, and so forth. Thus, for instance, “Ray Pereira could not believe what he was hearing. His son's teacher had just said his...boy's soul had not fully incarnated ... '[S]he produced a couple of my son's drawings as evidence that his depiction of the world was from a perspective looking down on the earth from above. ‘I just looked at my wife and we both thought, “We are out of here”.’" — Milanda Rout, “Questions About Steiner’s Classroom".

“One [Waldorf grad] told me that in her teens she was surprised to learn that the Greek gods were not historical figures, so thoroughly did the curriculum meld myth and history.”* — A former Waldorf proctor, 2011. [See “Dorm Dad”.]

* Accepting Rudolf Steiner's teachings, many Waldorf teachers treat myths and fairy tales as true clairvoyant tales, and they may convey this belief to their students. “Myths...are the memories of the [clairvoyant] visions people perceived in olden times." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING. "All the fairy tales in existence are...the remnants of the original clairvoyance.” — Rudolf Steiner, ON THE MYSTERY DRAMAS.

“The story [Hansel and Gretel] portrays spirit and soul descending into a physical body and ascending again, enriched, to the spiritual world ... The story could also be looked upon as an initiation process. Soul and spirit  are engaged in developing higher organs [i.e., organs of clairvoyance].” — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, THE INTERPRETATION OF FAIRY TALES (Harry Goulden, 1984), pp. 13-14.

“When establishing the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Steiner replaced the function of the head teacher Steiner with the collective work of the teachers on deepening an understanding of the nature of the human being ... This daunting task requires the school to have an organizational structure that enables such research* to be practiced and supported. Hence the formation of what is known as the College of Teachers** ... The role of the College of Teachers is to carry responsibility for the education in the school. This includes appointing and deploying staff, research and developing the curriculum....” — Waldorf teachers Christopher Clouder and Martyn Rawson, WALDORF EDUCATION - Rudolf Steiner’s Ideas in Practice (Floris Books, 2003), pp. 112-114.

* The “research” performed by Anthroposophists is the use of clairvoyance to study the spirit realm. The "nature of the human being" is the spiritual nature revealed by clairvoyance. [See "Oh Humanity".]

** The college of teachers is the central, governing body in most Waldorf schools. It generally consists of senior faculty members, and it is a "college" in that the members gather to study the occult teachings of Rudolf Steiner.

“Rudolf Steiner gave us the methods in the field of spiritual science, or anthroposophy, and some of their results.* He inaugurated heart-warming, practical adventures in many areas of culture — for example, education, agriculture, medicine, science, art, social theory, and religion. He has shed real light on the reality and accessibility of Christ.”** — Waldorf educator John F. Gardner, YOUTH LONGS TO KNOW (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 210.

* Anthroposophical "research" — like its application in Waldorf schools — is the use of clairvoyance to explore the spirit realm. It is, in other words, a fantasy, a delusion. [See, e.g., "Clairvoyance".]

** The Christ of Anthroposophy is Ra, the Sun God. [See "Sun God".]

“To secure consistent quality of content, Rudolf Steiner College became organized around the worldview underlying Waldorf education [i.e., Anthroposophy] ... [T]he chief objective of the college program was training [Waldorf] teachers ...  [A]ny such training had to begin with a year spent on the world-view underpinnings [sic] of the method: ‘It mattered enormously whether [the students] could connect with Anthroposophy.’”*  — Ida Oberman, THE WALDORF MOVEMENT IN EDUCATION (Edwin Mellen Press, 2008), p. 252.

* Waldorf teacher training varies from campus to campus, but usually it is rooted in — and devoted to — Rudolf Steiner’s occult teachings: Anthroposophy. [See "Teacher Training".]

Flying Saucers  Technically described as U.F.O’s, or unidentified flying objects. There is general agreement about the saucer shape with three spherical support beneath. Sound evidence can be found for the existence of these unheralded objects.” — George Riland, THE STEINERBOOK DICTIONARY OF THE PSYCHIC, MYSTIC, OCCULT (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1973), p. 85.

“The important educational factors in the first years of life are learning to eat, to take in substance and transform it — an action of the ego [1] — and learning to sleep, which is a breathing rhythm between the soul-spirit [2] and the earthly body [3]. Until the change of teeth [4], the child lives in an organism [5] in which there lives a replica of the spiritual world. [6] The archetype of the physical body as the Word of the Zodiac [7], the impress of the planets on the life organs — lungs, liver, heart, etc. — and the movements they made during the embryonic period [8], this is the content of the body of formative forces [9], which is imbued with life from the cosmic ether [10], which the soul-spirits of children draw to themselves in the moon-sphere [11] before their birth.” — Audrey E. McAllen, SLEEP - An Unobserved Element in Education (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2004), p. 33.

[1] The “I” or ego body — the third of our invisible bodies to incarnate.

[2] The combined soul and spirit.

[3] The physical body.

[4] The loss of baby teeth, signifying the incarnation of the etheric body, the first of our invisible bodies.

[5] The physical body, perfected during the first seven years of life.

[6] Children come to Earth bearing the imprint of the spirit realm. Humans beings are microcosmic replicas of the universe, the macrocosm.

[7] Astrology. The physical body is the exhaled embodiment of stellar powers. The "Word of the Zodiac" is the expressed formative effect of the stars and their gods, the foremost of whom for us is the Sun God, the embodied Word of God.

[8] Astrological influences are especially great upon embryos.

[9] The etheric body.

[10] The universal etheric medium.

[11] The region bounded by the orbit (so-called) of the moon.

"The melancholic, being the person most given up to the contracting polarity, as it works into the mineral realm, will tend to occupy the least extension in space. He will shrink into a point.” — Waldorf teacher Magda Lissau, THE TEMPERAMENTS AND THE ARTS (The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2003), p. 165.

When I get started compiling a list like this, it's hard to know where to stop. Perhaps I'll knock off here.

What you've seen, above, are not necessarily the most revelatory statements ever made about Waldorf education and Anthroposophical beliefs. These are just the quotations I was able to gather fairly readily. If you poke around, you could doubtless come up with others, perhaps including some that are even more head-spinning.

Advocates of Waldorf education usually pick their words with great care; they usually rationalize and dissemble, trying to make their practices and beliefs seem as reasonable as possible. But, once you know what to look for, you should easily locate statements that reveal the real (occult, mystical, incredible, false)  thinking on which Waldorf education is built.

I urge you to look. The truth about Waldorf is almost inconceivable (clairvoyance, fairies, Atlantis, ancient gods, invisible bodies, astrology, karma...) but it is the truth about Waldorf. That is to say, it is the set of falsehoods that Rudolf Steiner preached and that his followers believe.

(Believe it or not.)

— Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings

For additional statements made by 
Steiner's followers in 
recent years and decades,

see, e.g., 


You may also want to consult 
at the Waldorf Watch Annex.

For a statement about the identity of individuals 
quoted and paraphrased at Waldorf Watch, 
see "Trolls?"

[R.R., 2013.]

This is the spectrum of visible colors displayed as a radiating, enclosed continuum. To the rational mind, such images have no special, spiritual meaning. But in Waldorf belief, they are dense with mystical significance. According to Rudolf Steiner (leaning on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe), colors represent moral/spiritual qualities. And these qualities, Steiner taught, find expression in the four classical temperaments. Thus, the hues extending from purple to orange represent the choleric temperament, which manifests in three personality types: the tyrant, the hero, and the adventurer. Moving clockwise around the circle, hues reaching from orange to green represent the sanguine temperament, which manifests as the bon vivant, the lover, and the poet. The hues ranging from green to violet-blue evince the phlegmatic temperament and its three manifestations, the preacher, the historian, and the teacher. Finally, the hues from violet-blue to purple embody the melancholic temperament, brought to life by the philosopher, the pedant, and the ruler. 

This, truly, is how children are classified in Waldorf schools, according to their "temperaments" and the probable adult fulfillments of these temperaments. The colors shown — or their spiritual intensifications and variants — are clairvoyantly visible in auras (or so some believe). Moreover, the four temperaments are spiritually related to the type of “body” that predominates in various quadrants: for choleric individuals, the ego-body predominates; for sanguines, the astral body; for phlegmatics, the etheric body; for melancholics, the physical body (or so Steiner taught). Likewise, each of the four temperaments is associated with one of the four “elements”: for cholerics, fire; for sanguines, air; for phlegmatics, water; for melancholics, earth. This means that children of varying temperaments have particular connections with particular nature spirits: cholerics, fire spirits; sanguines, sylphs; phlegmatics, undines; melancholics, gnomes. Finally, the twelve personality types (tyrant, hero, etc.) are associated with the twelve humans senses — which in turn are associated with the signs of the zodiac. 

So: The wheel is pretty, perhaps. But, as used in Waldorf schools, it is disconnected from reality. For more on these matters, see the chapter on temperament's in Lois Cusick's book, WALDORF PARENTING HANDBOOK (Rudolf Steiner College Press); Roy Wilkinson's booklet, THE TEMPERAMENTS IN EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner College Press); Magda Lissau's THE TEMPERAMENTS IN THE ARTS (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America); and Rudolf Steiner’s multiple indications in such volumes as NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press) and FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER. (Anthroposophic Press) To quote from the latter, for instance: “In cholerics, you will generally find an abnormally developed sense of balance (Libra) ... In sanguines (Virgo), in connection with the sense of balance and sense of movement, the sense of movement predominates. In the same way, in melancholics (Leo) the sense of life predominates and in phlegmatics (Cancer) the sense of touch predominates physiologically because the touch bodies are embedded in small fat pads.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 91. Hard as it is to believe, this is in fact how Waldorf teachers tend to classify and think about their students.

(Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2005), p. 31.]

Choleric kids, by the way, tend to be stocky, with pronounced shoulders (or so Steiner taught). Sanguines are well-proportioned. Phlegmatics tend toward obesity. Melancholics are generally skinny. These are handy rules-of-thumbs, enabling Waldorf teachers to pigeonhole students even when the teachers lack highly developed clairvoyant capacities. If you don't think that body type reflects soul qualities, you may have doubts about the Waldorf approach. To the rational mind, making moral and spiritual judgments about people based — in whole or in part — on body type is little better than prejudice and stereotyping. [For more on the temperaments as conceived in Waldorf schools, see "Humouresque" and "Temperaments".]

For a list of published works and statements 
by Anthroposophists other than Steiner himself,
with an emphasis of beliefs embraced by Anthroposophists today,
see "Others".

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


Selected, revealing quotations; includes "Anthroposophy in Waldorf"


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)


[R. R., 2015.]