December, 2017

The news items below are presented in reverse chronological order — newest first, oldest last. Please excuse a certain amount of repetitionItems that now appear close together on the screen may have originally been separated by intervals of several days.

Many of the items in this archive generalize about Waldorf schools, describing them as Rudolf Steiner and leading Waldorf representatives have said they should be and as evidence shows they often are today. Not all Waldorf schools, Waldorf charter schools, and Waldorf-inspired schools conform to this model precisely. To evaluate an individual school, you should carefully examine its stated purposes, its practices (which may or may not be consistent with its stated purposes), and the composition of its faculty. 

If any of the terminology used here ("Anthroposophy," etc.) is unfamiliar to you, consulting The Semi-Steiner Dictionary and The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia should help.

— Roger Rawlings

December 25




(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007)

On the surface, a Waldorf Christmas may seem almost normal. There's a Christmas tree, and carols are sung, and best wishes of the season are expressed.

But we need to grasp the beliefs that lurk below the surface.

Let's end our survey by consulting — without interruption or commentary — the founder of Waldorf education, Rudolf Steiner. Here's some of what he had to say.

(If you'd like help deciphering his statements, poking around in The Semi-Steiner Dictionary and The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia might prove productive.)

Today let us consider the seasonal cycle of the earth as a kind of breathing process which the earth carries out in relation to the surrounding cosmos … At the end of December the earth has breathed in fully … It has entirely sucked in its soul element ... This is the time when, for good reason, the birth of Jesus is celebrated ... At Christmas time [the earth] holds its breath … [It is] a time when the earth is, in a certain sense, not speaking with the heavens, a time when the earth has entirely withdrawn into itself … Jesus is born at a time when the earth is alone with itself, isolated as it were from the cosmos.
— Rudolf Steiner, CHRISTMAS
(Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007),
pp. 24-26.

Our forefathers felt themselves to be spiritual children in the whole universe and they said: ‘We have become human beings through the sun spirit … The victory of the sun over darkness commemorates our soul’s victory at the time when the sun first shone down upon the earth; when the immortal soul entered the physical body, descending into the darkness of desires, impulses and passions.’

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 34-35.

At the sixth stage of initiation a person was called a ‘sun hero’ or one who ‘runs the paths of the sun’ … Why was this? To reach this level of the ascending ladder of spiritual knowledge such a person needed to have developed an inner life in harmony with the divine rhythms pulsing through the cosmos … [H]is inner life of soul must beat in accord with the rhythm of the sun….

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., p. 37.

[T]he being known in the Kabbalah as Adam Cadmon [was] the human being who descended from divine, spiritual heights with all that he had acquired during the periods of Saturn, Sun and Moon incarnations. The human being in his spiritual state at the very beginning of earth evolution, born in the Jesus child — this was what the divine wisdom presented to humanity through the festival of Jesus’ birth.

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., p. 62.

The Jesus of the Gospel of St Luke — not the Jesus described in the Gospel of St Matthew — is the child before whom the shepherds worship … [T]he Jesus child described in the Gospel of St Luke…was kept back in the worlds of spirit when the other human souls began to pass through their incarnations on earth. This soul remained in the guardianship of the holiest mysteries of the Atlantean and post-Atlantean epochs … Then it was sent forth into the body predestined to receive it and became one of the two Jesus children — the child described in the Gospel of St Luke.

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 62-65.

What the human being achieves on the earth carries the luciferic principle within it and the human corpse invests the aura of the earth with this luciferic principle. It is not only the human being’s originating intention that arises or as it were blossoms out of human deeds and activities, but also something that has the luciferic element intermixed in with it. This then is in the aura of the earth. And when we now look upon the tree growing out of the grave of the human being Adam, who was led astray by Lucifer, if we look at the tree that has become something different through the luciferic temptation — this tree that was originally the tree of the knowledge of good and evil — we see everything that the human being brought about by the fact that he left his original state of existence, that he became something different through the luciferic temptation, and that something was thereby brought into earthly evolution that had not previously been intended … We form an earthly existence that was not as the gods originally intended for us … [T]he tree becomes the Cross of earthly existence….

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 86-87.

The Magi who brought the symbolic gifts of gold, frankencense and myrrh to the baby in the manger [as described in the Gospel of St Matthew] were astrologers in the ancient sense. They had knowledge of the spiritual processes that work in the cosmos when certain signs appear in the starry heavens … They said: ‘When the constellation of the heavens is such that the sun stands in Virgo in the night between 24 and 25 December, then an important change will take place in the earth. Then the time will have come for us to bring gold, the symbol of our knowledge of divine guidance…[and] frankencense, the emblem of sacrifice…[and] myrrh…the symbol of the eternal in the human being … We bring it as a gift to him who is to be a new impulse for humanity….

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 119-120.

[I]nsight will dawn in those who understand the secret of the two Jesus boys. In the one boy there was present the power of Zarathustra, the wisest of all pre-Christian human beings. This boy represents the flower and summation of all previous stages of human evolution. The aura of the other boy was illumined by the forces of the great Buddha. The body of the one boy springs from the noblest blood of the ancient Hebrew peoples, while the soul of the Jesus boy described in the Gospel of St. Luke leads back to the earth's beginnings.… 

Spiritual science enables us to understand the Christ impulse in the deep currents of human evolution, from the evolution of pre-Christian times. When we plumb these depths the differences between our time and the distant past disappear and the initiates speak once more ... [W]e must know who the Christ truly was … [T]hen the Christ light will shine out in every single soul. This Christ light becomes the Christmas Tree that will illumine all evolution in ages to come.

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 135-136.

December 24

- XII -


(Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2005) 

A few excerpts from this volume, 

published by and for Waldorf teachers: 

“Christmas is the festival of love, because it speaks of the miracle of conception and birth…of incarnation [1] and destiny [2], of spirit, soul and body. [3]” — Helmut von Kügelgen, p. 4.

“O cosmic spirit [4], let us be completely filled with the spirit that grows out of spiritual science [5], so that we may not fail to wrest from Ahriman [6] and Lucifer [7] that which can be of help to the earth, for its salvation and progress! [8]” — Rudolf Steiner, p. 10.

“The marvelous image of the spirit-king, of Zarathustra reincarnate [9], arises before our souls … Zarathustra became the bearer of the cosmic Christ-spirit [10] … Let us feel this as we follow, in this evening, a relevant line of thought in which something may stream out into the rest of our anthroposophic thought….” — Rudolf Steiner, pp.12-13.

“[W]isdom is a twofold thing: wisdom of the Gods [11] and wisdom of the Luciferic powers [12] … [W]isdom is always confronted with an opponent in Lucifer.” — Rudolf Steiner, p. 19.

“If we think of Christ as symbolized by the direct sunlight, we may liken Jahve [13] to sunlight reflected by the moon … [I]n the period preceding the birth of Christianity, the sun religion [14] was  prepared for by a moon religion. [15]” — Rudolf Steiner, pp. 51-52.

“The human physical body…has passed through a Saturn Period [16], a Sun Period [17], a Moon Period [18], and in now passing through an Earth Period. [19] The influence of the astral body [20] began only during the Moon Period … Hence, the physical body does not appear to us today in the form imparted by the forces of the Saturn Epoch and the Sun Epoch….”— Rudolf Steiner, p. 62.

"Peace on Earth 

...Righteousness, or something kin, 

weaves and works in rout and horror, 

and a kingdom yet shall rise up 

seeking Peace upon the Earth. 

Slowly shall its form develop, 

holy duties while fulfilling, 

weapons free of danger forging, 

flaming swords for cause of Right.

And a royal line shall bloom 

mighty royal sons shall flourish, 

whose bright trumpets peal proclaiming, 

Peace, O Peace upon the Earth! [21]"

— Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, p. 67.

Merry Christmas

(if you can recognize the holiday 
as presented in this publication from the 
Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America)

Waldorf Watch Footnotes

[1] Christmas, according to Anthroposophical belief, commemorates the incarnations on Earth of the two Jesus children. [See "Was He Christian?"] All births, from an Anthroposophical perspective, are incarnations. [See "Incarnation".] After the two Jesus children grew up sufficiently and then merged, the survivor — Jesus of Nazareth — became the host for the incarnation on Earth of the Sun God, Christ. [See "Sun God".]

[2] I.e., karma. [See "Karma".]

[3] This is the standard, basic Anthroposophical description of human nature: A human being has a body, a soul, and a spirit. Steiner also gave four-part, seven-part, and nine-part descriptions of human nature, among others. [See "What We're Made Of".]

[4] Although some Anthroposophical prayers address God, many use alternative terminology, since in fact Anthroposophy does not recognize a single God. Anthroposophy is polytheistic.  [See “Polytheism”.] The "cosmic spirit" may be understood to be the Godhead [see "God"], but — in the context of Christmas — it is more correctly understood to be Christ, the Sun God. (Thus, for instance, in ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), author Henk van Oort identifies Christ as the "highest divine being." [p. 22] This identification is disputable, but it does reflect a view often taken by Anthroposophists.)

[5] From an Anthroposophical perspective, true "spiritual science" is Anthroposophy itself. (Adherents of other faiths take different views. Theosophists, for instance, consider Theosophy to be the true spiritual science. Anthroposophy grew out of Theosophy, but there are many differences between the two belief systems as they subsequently developed. [See "Basics".])

[6] Ahriman, as described by Steiner, is one of the chief demons confronting humanity. [See "Ahriman".]

[7] Lucifer, as described by Steiner, is another of the chief demons confronting humanity. [See "Lucifer".] 

[8] Steiner taught that both Ahriman and Lucifer threaten humanity, but their temptations may be turned into valuable gifts if we receive them through the mediation of Christ. [See the entries for "Ahriman", "Lucifer", and "Christ" in in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

[9] I.e., the reincarnated Zarathustra. Zarathustra was the founder of the faith called Zoroastrianism. Steiner taught that Jesus of Nazareth bore within himself the reincarnated soul of Zarathustra as well as the spiritual wisdom of Buddha. Steiner said that Zarathustra was one of the occult initiates who apprehended the Sun God, Christ, before the incarnation of Christ in the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Zarathustra's understanding of the Sun God was imperfect, Steiner said, but it was better than still earlier clairvoyant visions of that god. [For more on hypothesized connections between Zoroastrianism and Anthroposophy, see "Zoroastrianism".]

[10] Having addressed the "cosmic spirit," above, Steiner here refers to "the cosmic Christ-spirit." This spirit is the essence of holy wisdom, Steiner indicated: It is the Logos or the living Word of God. [See, e.g., "Gnosis".] The Sun God, in other words, brings us the central impetus of divine will, what Steiner sometimes called "the divine cosmic plan." [See, e.g., "Universal".] The purpose of Waldorf education, Steiner said, is to help fulfill this plan. “Among the faculty, we must certainly carry within us the knowledge that we are not here for our own sakes, but to carry out the divine cosmic plan." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 55. 

[11] Again, see Polytheism”.

[12] Here, Steiner holds up Lucifer as the antithesis of divine wisdom; Lucifer represents, here, opposition to the divine will. (On other occasions, Steiner described Ahriman as the chief opponent. Both descriptions should be taken as largely symbolic. Lucifer and Ahriman are major demons, in Steiner's cosmology, but there are other evil spirits, as well. [See "Evil Ones".]) The "Luciferic powers" are Lucifer and his minions. (On some occasions, Steiner indicated that beings such as Lucifer are actually composite entities consisting of multiple related beings — in the case of Lucifer, multiple small Lucifers.)

[13] I.e., Jehovah. Steiner taught that Jehovah is not the one and only God Almighty (there is no such God in polytheistic Anthroposophy). Rather, Jehovah is a relatively minor god who originated on the Sun but then moved to the Moon, from which location he ruled over the Hebrew people. [See Old Testament.] 

[14] I.e., Christianity — the religion of the Sun God. (Steiner often indicated that the true form of Christianity today — having the true apprehension of the Sun God — is Anthroposophy. He differentiated this true "Christianity" from mainstream Christianity as found in major Christian denominations. However, because he wanted to designate Anthroposophy as a "science," not a religion, he usually did not say that Anthroposophists worship the Sun God. The overt practice of the Anthroposophical faith is generally found in the churches of "The Christian Community," not in Anthroposophical gatherings, per se. [See "Christian Community" and "Waldorf Worship".])

[15] I.e., Judaism. [See, e.g., "RS on Jews".]

[16] In Anthroposophical belief, the "Saturn Period" (also called Old Saturn or Ancient Saturn) was the first incarnation of the solar system, the first mega-stage of human evolution. [See "Old Saturn".]

[17] This was the second mega-stage of our evolution. [See "Old Sun".]

[18] This was the third mega-stage of our evolution. [See "Old Moon".]

[19] This is the current, fourth mega-stage of our evolution. [See "Present Earth".]

[20] As we have seen previously, Steiner taught that fully incarnated humans have four bodies. The "astral body" is the third of these. [See the entry for "astral body" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

[201] The victory of Anthroposophy will usher in a halcyon, post-Apocalyptic future. But the victory will not come easily. First humankind will have to endure many tribulations, such as the catastrophic War of All Against All. [See "All vs. All".]

December 23

- XI -

What is the true meaning of Christmas? Surely it is to be found in the teachings of Christ. 

One of Christ's most important teachings is the Sermon on the Mount, in which he pronounced blessings on suffering mankind. Here are the beatitudes, as pronounced by Christ and recorded in the New Testament:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

— Matthew 5:3-11 (King James Version)

As usual, Rudolf Steiner found the Bible insufficient; he changed it to conform to his own teachings. Here is some of what Steiner said Christ Jesus actually meant in the Sermon on the Mount:

Beatitude 1 (Blessed are the poor in spirit):

“All the members of [man’s] being — the physical and etheric bodies, the sentient, rational and consciousness souls, the ego, and even the higher soul members [1] — receive new life through the nearness of the Kingdom of Heaven. [2] These teachings are in complete accord with the teachings of primeval wisdom. [3]

“In order for an individual to enter the spiritual world in earlier times, the etheric body had to be slightly separated from the physical body, which was thus formed in a special way. Christ Jesus [4] therefore said in regard to the physical body, ‘Blessed are the beggars, the poor in spirit, for if they develop their ego-ruled bodies in the right way, they will find the Kingdom of Heaven.’ [5]” — Rudolf Steiner, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (Anthroposophic Press, 1978), pp. 29-30. 

Beatitude 3 (Blessed are the meek):

“Of the astral body [6] He [i.e., Christ] said, ‘In former times those whose astral bodies were beset by wild and tempestuous passions could only be subdued when equanimity, peace and purification streamed to them from divine spiritual beings. [7]’ Now men should find the strength within their own egos, through the in-dwelling Christ, to purify the astral body on earth. Thus, the new influence in the astral body had to be presented by saying, ‘Blessed and God-imbued in their astral bodies are those who foster calmness and equanimity within themselves; all comfort and well-being on earth shall be their reward.’” — Ibid., p. 30. 

Beatitude 6 (Blessed are the pure in heart):

“The next sentence of the Beatitudes refers to the consciousness soul. [8] Through it the ego comes into being as pure ego and becomes capable of receiving God into itself. If man can elevate himself to such a degree, he can perceive within himself that drop of the divine, his ego; through his purified consciousness soul he can see God. [9] The sixth sentence of the Beatitudes must, therefore, refer to God. The external physical expression for the ego and the consciousness soul is the blood, and where it brings itself most clearly to expression is in the heart, as expression of the purified ego. [10] Christ said, therefore, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’ Thus, we are shown how in the most intimate sense the heart is the expression of the ego, the divine in man.” — Ibid., pp. 31-32.

Beatitude 7 (Blessed are the peacemakers):

Now let us advance to what is higher than the consciousness soul, to manas, buddhi and atman, or spirit self, life spirit and spirit man [11] ... Man is not yet sufficiently evolved to take the spirit self completely into himself. In this respect he is still at the beginning of his development and is like a vessel that is gradually receiving it. This is indicated in the seventh sentence of the Beatitudes. At first, the spirit self can only weave into man and fill him with its warmth. Only through the deed of Christ [12] is it brought down to earth as the power of love and harmony. Therefore, Christ says, ‘Blessed are those who draw the spirit self down into themselves, for they shall become the children of God.’ This points man upward to higher worlds. [13]” — Ibid., p. 32.

Steiner wraps up his review of the Sermon on the Mount with words that will further surprise Christians:

“So it came to pass that the God-man Christ [14] merged with the human being Jesus of Nazareth and these united forces permeated the earth for three years with their powers. This had to happen so that man would not lose completely his connection with the spiritual world [15] during Kali Yuga. [16] 

“Kali Yuga, the Dark Age...continued until the year 1899. That was a particularly important year in human evolution, for it marked the end of the five thousand year period of Kali Yuga and the beginning of a new stage in the evolution of mankind." — Ibid., p. 33.

Not coincidentally, Rudolf Steiner began his spiritual ministry — delivering spiritual lectures (which might better be termed sermons) — in 1899. [17 ] At that time, and in the way, mankind's long darkness began to lift, and the marvelous light of Anthroposophy began to flash out upon a startled world.

[For more of Steiner's reworking of the Sermon on the Mount, see "Sermon".]

If you are looking for the true meaning of Christmas, don't look for it in a school that accepts Rudolf Steiner's teachings. Rudolf Steiner considered the Bible so inadequate, he wrote his own amendment. Literally. THE FIFTH GOSPEL gives Steiner's "clairvoyant" account of two Jesus children and the descent from on high of the Sun God. This account, studded with unbiblical concepts such as karma and reincarnation, is the gospel embraced by Anthroposophists. 

"The Fifth Gospel is the anthroposophical Gospel." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FIFTH GOSPEL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), p. 37. 

[For more on Steiner's new gospel, see "Steiner's Fifth Gospel".]

Unless you are willing to accept Steiner's new gospel, and his revised Sermon on the Mount, and his revised Lord's Prayer, and all of his occult doctrines, you are unlikely to find what you seek in the Waldorf universe. The real meaning of Christmas — like the real meaning of almost everything else — lies elsewhere.

Waldorf Watch Footnotes

[1] Steiner taught that fully incarnated humans have four bodies: the physical, etheric, astral, and ego bodies. Above these are three soul types or soul components: the sentient soul, mind soul, and consciousness soul. Above these, in turn, are three types or components of spirit: the spirit self, life spirit, and spirit man. [See "What We're Made Of".]

[2] The Kingdom of Heaven is "near" when one attends to Christ (or, perhaps, Steiner). The term "Heaven," as used in Anthroposophy, must be understood metaphorically. Steiner taught that we do not go to Heaven, or Hell, after death: Instead, we dwell for a time in the spirit realm, and then we reincarnate. [See "Reincarnation".]

[3] Steiner based most of his teachings not on the Bible but on more ancient spiritual teachings (which, in some cases, he simply imagined): These constitute the "primeval," clairvoyant visions that, he said, led eventually to his own modern, exact, clairvoyant revelations.

[4] "Christ Jesus," as this name is used in Anthroposophy, should be differentiated from the name "Jesus Christ," designating the Son of God as revered in mainstream Christian churches. "Christ Jesus" is the Sun God incarnated in the body of Jesus of Nazareth, according to Steiner. [See "Sun God".]

[5] When Steiner quotes Christ Jesus, he is very often putting his own (Steiner's) words in the mouth of Christ. Jesus Christ, as quoted in the Bible; did not speak of "ego-ruled bodies." Steiner spoke of such things, and he imposed his teachings on his invented version of Christ. (An ego-ruled body is a body made subordinate to the divine "ego" or "I". [See "Ego".])

[6] The astral body, according to Steiner, is the second of our nonphysical bodies; it is also called the soul body, faith body, or sentient body. It consists of soul forces/living forces that fine-tune the physical body (which has been shaped by the etheric body). The astral body, which contains the senses (twelve in all), incarnates at about age 14. [See the entry for "astral body" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

[7] The "divine spiritual beings" are gods. Anthroposophy is polytheistic. [See “Polytheism”.] 

[8] According to Steiner, the consciousness soul (also called the spiritual soul) is the third of three soul members or soul types; it connects one's inner consciousness with the outer world. (Below it is the mind soul, and below that is the sentient soul.) The consciousness soul incarnates at about age 42. As the highest of our soul members, it allows greater objective comprehension than the lower mind and sentient souls, Steiner said. The consciousness soul has developed as the predominant soul form only in our present cultural epoch, dating from about 1413 CE.

[9] In Anthroposophy, a polytheistic faith, references to a single God must be understood as essentially metaphorical or, at most, spiritually approximate. [See "God".]

[10] For more on Steiner's teachings about the blood and heart, see, e.g., "Blood" and "Steiner's Quackery".

[11] For more on these parts of the human constitution, see the entries for "spirit self", "life spirit", and "spirit man" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.

[12] The "deed of Christ" is Christ's incarnation on Earth. By descending from the Sun, Christ brings "down to earth...the power of love and harmony."

[13] According to Anthroposophy, the "higher worlds" are the spiritual worlds (and planes, spheres, etc.) that stand above the physical, Earthly level of existence. [See "Higher Worlds".]

[14] I.e., the descended Sun God. Steiner taught that Christ was just one of the many gods who have come to Earth as "avatars," although Christ was the most important of these.

“The greatest avatar being who has lived on earth, as you can gather from the spirit of our lectures here, is the Christ — the Being whom we designated as the Christ, and who took possession of the body of Jesus of Nazareth when he was thirty years of age.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL ECONOMY (Anthroposophic Press, 1986) lecture 2, GA 109.

[15] "The spiritual world," as Steiner uses the term here, is the spirit realm in general, comprised of the various "higher" worlds (planes, spheres...) above us.

[16] In Hinduism and Theosophy, Kali Yuga (the term comes from Sanskrit) is the fourth age in a recurrent cycle of ages. During this "dark age," humanity's perception of the spirit realm is almost wholly dimmed. Steiner largely accepted these concepts, although — as usual — he modified them for his own purposes. [See the "Kali Yuga" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

[17] See "What a Guy."

December 22

- X -

Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe in a single all-powerful God. This God is revered in traditional Christmas observances, which are monotheistic celebrations of the birth of God’s son on Earth.

Anthroposophy sees things from a different perspective. Anthroposophy is polytheistic; there is no all-powerful God in Anthroposophical belief. [1] Omnipotence and omniscience are only distant ideals, which the evolving universe may reach in the distant future — but they do not exist now. According to Waldorf belief, God does not exist, at least not as the monotheistic faiths describe Him. In Anthroposophy, there are many, many gods, including evil gods such as the arch-demon Ahriman. [2]

"We can speak of omnipotence as a kind of ideal, but at the same time this conjures the contrary image of Ahriman. [3] We can speak of omniscience as an ideal, but at the same time this conjures the opposing force of Lucifer [4] ... The Jesus child as embodied in the Gospel of St Luke can be felt as a personification of love — placed between omniscience and omnipotence. [5]" — Rudolf Steiner, CHRISTMAS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 51.

When a Waldorf school celebrates Christmas, concepts such as these — the existence of Ahriman, etc. — are in the minds and hearts of many of the Waldorf faculty members. The faith enacted in Waldorf Christmas celebrations is not Christianity, one of the world’s three great monotheistic faiths. It is Anthroposophy, a new-age polytheistic construct.

Here is how Christmas from an Anthroposophical perspective is described in ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z. [6] The author is a Waldorf teacher who repeats several points we’ve already covered, but these points bear repeating. And he does add some additional stuff.

"Christmas — originally a pagan festival that has become a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus. According to Rudolf Steiner there were two Jesus children. These two distinct children are described in the Bible in the Gospels of St Matthew and St Luke. The usual Christmas celebrations in the Christian world are a combination of the biographies of these two Jesus children, since one came from a poor family and was worshipped by the shepherds, while the other was of royal origins and was worshipped by the kings. As the western world came to celebrate the birth of Jesus, rather than the incarnation of Christ at the Jordan [7], the date on which we celebrate Christmas has shifted from its original date of 6 January (still celebrated by the Russian Orthodox Church) to 25 December, so that it is linked instead to a physical birth [8], but also to the figures of Adam and Eve who are celebrated on 24 December. [9] Thus a subtle sense is preserved that Jesus redeems the Fall of Man. [10]" — Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 23.

Here are Anthroposophical astrological indications for Christmas Day this year, 2017:

"Dec 25: Christian celebration of Christmas. Sun 9º Sagittarius: The third temptation in the wilderness [11] ... The third temptation was not [immediately] overcome, for Ahriman [12] held something back that Christ could not encounter ... The temptation to turn stones into bread [13] is an ominous threat through money, through seed manipulation, and through a perpetual need to be 'hooked up' in technological realities [14] ... Materialism causes humankind to see a world pathetically void of spiritual guidance [15] ... Behind this lurks a fear of karma [16] and — ultimately — a fear of judgment ... ASEPCT: Venus conjunct Saturn 6º Sagittarius. Venus recalls Jesus and the disciples visiting Matthew ... Matthew's Gospel, also known as the Aquarian Gospel [17], brings balance into the soul's thinking, feeling, and willing ... As this is the first of the holy days, we may feel inclined to honor the call to inner reflection. [18]" — Robert Powell, JOURNAL FOR STAR WISDOM 2017 (Lindisfarne, Anthroposophic Press, 2016), pp. 212-213.

Waldorf Watch Footnotes

[1] Anthroposophists sometimes speak of God, and the prayers Waldorf students recite often address God. But the Anthroposophical understanding of the noun, "God," is highly unorthodox. Anthroposophy honors many gods. [See “Polytheism”.] The apparently singular God sometimes addressed in Anthroposophy is actually a compound spirit, essentially the combined presence of multiple high gods. Or, as a variant (Steiner gave varying accounts), this "God" may be deemed the nebulous Godhead, an ultimate divine will that is unknowable and, possibly, imaginary. [See "God".] A central orthodox objection to the concept of the Godhead is that it is tantamount to atheism. If "God" or the Godhead is unknowable, then one thing we cannot know is whether He exists. 

[2] Steiner adapted his conception of Ahriman from Zoroastrianism. In that religion, Ahriman is the devil, the opponent of Ahura Mazda, the god of light. [See “Ahriman” and “Zoroastrianism”.]

[3] A note at the end of CHRISTMAS explains “Lucifer and Ahriman are the two polar forces of evil in Steiner’s cosmology. Lucifer tempts us away from the earth while Ahriman fetters us to it.” [p. 151.] Ahriman is an inverse image of omnipotence in that he is an extremely powerful force opposing our correct spiritual evolution. Lucifer plays a somewhat similar role, but in Anthroposophical teachings Lucifer often seems less evil than Ahriman.

[4] Lucifer is an inverse image of omniscience in that he is an extremely knowing tempter who would lead us into a false form of spirituality. [See "Lucifer".]

[5] Steiner taught that Christ stands between the demons Ahriman and Lucifer. Ahriman and Lucifer offer humanity temptations that would ruin us; but their temptations can be converted into valuable gifts if they are moderated by the influence of Christ. Thus, as we evolve toward omnipotence and omniscience, we must be guided by Christ. Then, "we shall have gradually achieved the transformation of our own being into what is called in Christianity 'the Father'." — Rudolf Steiner, THE LORD'S PRAYER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 17.

[6] Despite its title, this book is far from encyclopedic. It is a slim volume (140 pages) that omits far more than it includes. Moreover, many of its entries are disputable. Still, it is a handy reference.

[7] Christ, as we have seen, is the Sun God. He incarnated on Earth when John the Baptist baptized Jesus of Nazareth in the Jordan River. So Steiner taught.

[8] Actually, of course, there were two births, if there were two Jesus children. Steiner taught that the two Jesuses was born at about the same time, but not precisely at the same time.

[9] In Medieval Europe, December 24 was the festival of Adam and Eve, honored as the father and mother of humankind. A play depicting their lives was often performed. Steiner sometimes taught that Adam and Eve are actually composite figures, representing an early stage of human evolution. [See the entries for "Adam" and "Eve" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

[10] It would be more accurate to say that Christ (not Jesus) redeems humanity. Steiner taught that Christ redeems us by serving as our Prototype: He is the paragon toward whom we should evolve. [See "Prototype".]

[11] See Matthew 4:8-10. As Jesus fasted in the desert, Satan tempted him three times. The ultimate temptation was that Jesus could have "all the kingdoms in the world" if he would worship Satan.

[12] In the Bible, of course, the tempter is Satan. Anthroposophists generally identify Satan as Ahriman, while they generally identify "the Devil" as Lucifer. (Sometimes these identifications blur or are even switched.)

[13] See Matthew 4:3. One of Satan's temptations was that Jesus should relieve the hunger of his fast by turning stones into bread. (Here we have an example of elaborate, strained — indeed, preposterous — Anthroposophical interpretation of spiritual texts. When the Bible speaks of turning stones into bread, the occult meaning is "an ominous threat through money, through seed manipulation, and through a perpetual need to be 'hooked up' in technological realities." Verily.)

[14] In Anthroposophy, Ahriman is the demon of materialism, intellect, and technology. (Waldorf schools tend to be, consequently, anti-intellectual and anti-scientific; while embracing green values, they usually view modern technology with alarm.)

[15] Anthroposophists believe that Rudolf Steiner offers the "spiritual guidance" humanity needs now. Building on Steiner's teachings, they seek to make their own direct connections to the spirit realm, perhaps even making discoveries there that eluded their guru. [See "Guru".] Waldorf schools are built on the basis of Anthroposophy, and they seek to steer students and their families toward Anthroposophy, albeit — usually — they do this subtly. [See, e.g., "Spiritual Agenda".]

[16] See "Karma".

[17] THE AQUARIAN GOSPEL OF JESUS THE CHRIST is a book by Levi H. Dowling; it was published in 1908. [See http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/agjc/.] Equating this book with the Gospel of St. Matthew is, at a minimum, questionable. (In the Bible, Matthew's original name is given as Levi. The first name of author of THE AQUARIAN GOSPEL OF JESUS THE CHRIST is Levi. Some Anthroposophists make much of such coincidences.) Christians generally reject Dowling's work as heretical. But, from this perspective, so is Steiner's.

[18] Anthroposophists often meditate by reflecting on verses written by Rudolf Steiner. Here is a Christmas verse of Steiner's as presented in THE ILLUSTRATED CALENDAR OF THE SOUL (Temple Lodge, 2004):

I feel, as free of all enchantment,

The Spirit's Child within the womb of soul;

The holy cosmic Word has borne

In the radiance of the heart

The heavenly fruit of hope

Whose joy goes out to furthest worlds

From the Godhead's ground of my being.

[Concerning the "cosmic Word", see, e.g., "Gnosis". Concerning the "furthest worlds", see, e.g., "Higher Worlds" and "Matters of Form".]

December 21


From The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) and The Marin Waldorf School:

Waldorf Teacher Training

In the Age of the Consciousness Soul

Colloquium for Waldorf Teacher Educators

January 4th-6th 2019

Marin Waldorf School, San Rafael, CA

The Teacher Education Network (TEN) of AWSNA invites Waldorf teacher educators to work together during the
Holy Nights on helping future Waldorf teachers embrace the needs of our times. We will focus on two interconnect-
ed themes: the principles of the 'Pedagogical Law' and the capacities of the Consciousness Soul in adult education.

Explanatory notes from RR:

1. What is the "pedagogical law"? It is "a law formulated by Rudolf Steiner, according to which one member or bodily sheath of a teacher or parent affects the next lower member of a child. For example, if the educator wishes to work on the child's physical body, he should do so through his own ether[ic] body...." — Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 91. Waldorf teachers believe that human beings have, or develop, a total of four bodies, only one of which is visible. Above the physical body are the etheric, astral, and ego bodies. [See "Incarnation".]

Why would a Waldorf teacher "work on a child's physical body"? Because the goals of Waldorf education have little to do with conveying knowledge to children. Instead, the goals include such things as helping children to incarnate and develop their four bodies.

And how can a Waldorf teacher work "through his own ether[ic] body"? It is impossible. The etheric body does not exist; but belief in etheric bodies is one of the occult tenets promulgated by Rudolf Steiner and accepted by his followers. [See, e.g., "Spiritual Agenda".] Teachers who believe they have etheric bodies operate from unjustified esoteric premises; this calls into question their qualifications to serve as educators. 

2. What is the "consciousness soul"? Rudolf Steiner taught that the consciousness soul (also called the spiritual soul) is the third of three soul members or soul types; it connects one's inner consciousness with the outer world. Below it is the intellectual soul, and below that is the sentient soul. The consciousness soul incarnates at about age 42, Steiner said. This soul is under the particular influence of the Spirits of Wisdom (gods six levels above humanity), which means it has ties to the sphere of Jupiter. [See "What We're Made Of", "Our Parts", and "Polytheism".]

As the highest of our soul members, the consciousness soul allows greater objective comprehension than the lower intellectual and sentient souls, Steiner said. The consciousness soul has developed as the predominant soul form only in our present cultural epoch, dating from about 1413 CE. To many, our age seems soulless; Anthroposophists believe this is because we have reached a point of deep, objective existence (and self-involvement) in the material realm, preparing us to rise in renewed, strengthened form into the spirit realm. We have separated ourselves so that we may reintegrate ourselves later. "Man in the age of the consciousness soul...thinks and philosophizes, but he does so in a different manner [than previously] ... [T]he consciousness soul is characterized especially by objectivity, which results from the ability of the self to withdraw completely from the subject he is studying ... In this modern age our self-consciousness has increased immeasurably as well as our consciousness of the external world, so that there is little need to explain the use of the term 'consciousness soul' to describe our present epoch." — Stewart C. Easton, MAN AND THE WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), pp. 57-59.

Teachers who believe in the consciousness soul (and Spirits of Wisdom, and the occult sphere of Jupiter...) operate from unjustified esoteric premises; this calls into question their qualifications to serve as educators. 

This is how trained Waldorf teachers, and their trainers, think. You may want to consider carefully whether you want such people to "educate" your children.


December 20

- IX -

Here is the occult sign for Christ, the Sun God, according to Rudolf Steiner:

Christ was always the representative of the Sun, namely, the intelligence of the Sun.... 

The sign of the intelligence of the Sun is the following: 

This is, at the same time, the occult sign of the lamb. The lamb receives the book with the seven seals. "And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth." (Rev. 5:6) The seven corners of the sign are called "horns." But what do the "eyes" mean?

In occult schools the signs of the seven planets are written next to the seven eyes. The seven eyes signify nothing other than the seven planets, while the names of the planets designate the spirits incarnated in them as their intelligence ... The lamb, Christ, contains all seven. Christ is the alpha and the omega; the seven planets are related to him like members to an entire body. — Rudolf Steiner, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE (SteinerBooks, 1993), pp. 19-21. 

[Cover art, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE; the same image, in sketchy form, accompanies the first lecture in the book; I have opted for the clearer version. — RR]

The symbol Steiner offers us, here, is derived — at least partially — from the Bible. Specifically, it may be partially attributed to the passage Steiner cites in that most mysterious book of the New Testament, The Book of Revelation. But notice how quickly and how far Steiner veers from even that enigmatic Biblical text. He refers to "occult schools," and then he speak of "the seven planets." By the latter, he means the seven sacred planets of astrology. (The actual solar system, remember, has eight planets. Or nine, if we count Pluto. Or ten, if we count...) The seven planets are the outward manifestation of seven gods ("the spirits incarnated in them as their intelligence"). So, the spiritual vision underlying this "sign of the lamb" is polytheistic.

Then, too, we must note the identity of Christ, as indicated by Steiner. Christ is "the representative of the Sun, namely, the intelligence of the Sun." Christ is, in other words, the spirit of the Sun. He is one of the gods presiding in the Heavens; he is preeminent among planetary gods, as the Sun is preeminent among the planets. He is the Sun God.

Occultism. Astrology. Polytheism. The Sun God. Do these figure in your idea of Christ and the festival of Christ, the holiday known as Christmas? They figure in the Anthroposophical/Waldorf idea of Christ and Christmas. Indeed, they are fundamental to the Anthroposophical/Waldorf vision.

To find the true meaning of Christmas, we need to examine the teachings of Christ. One of Christ's most important teachings is The Lord's Prayer, in which He showed us how to address God. Here is the prayer as traditionally used:

Our Father who art in Heaven, 

Hallowed be thy name; 

Thy kingdom come; 

Thy will be done 

On earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread; 

And forgive us our trespasses 

As we forgive those who trespass against us; 

And lead us not into temptation, 

But deliver us from evil. 

For thine is the kingdom 

And the power 

And the glory, 



[See Luke 11:2-4 and Matthew 6:9-13; also consult http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/348087/Lords-Prayer]

As usual, Rudolf Steiner found the Bible insufficient; he used several alternatives to The Lord's Prayer. The most extreme is this:



Evils reign

Bearing witness to I-being

Separating itself

and to selfhood's guilt —

Incurred through others,

Experienced in the daily bread

Wherein the will of heaven

Does not reign,

Because humanity

Has separated itself

From Your Kingdom

And forgot your names

Ye Fathers in the Heavens.

— Rudolf Steiner, WHAT IS ANTHROPOSOPHY? (SteinerBooks, 2002), pp 21-22. (The strange capitalizations and spacings appear there just as I have reproduced them here.)

This truly bizarre "correction" of the Bible can also be found — in some cases with minor alternations — in other books presenting Rudolf Steiner's teachings, including START NOW! (SteinerBooks, 2004), p.221; ISIS MARY SOPHIA (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 147; THE FIFTH GOSPEL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), p. 66; and probably elsewhere. 

Anthroposophists proudly affirm this alteration of a text considered sacred by most Christians. The alteration is extensive and, to Christians generally, shocking. It substitutes other words for Christ's words, it reverses the order of the lines (to the extent that the original lines can be discerned at all), and it addresses a plethora of gods ("ye fathers in the Heavens") rather than one God. It is polytheistic, esoteric, and pagan. From a mainstream Christian perspective, it is heretical.

And so we have an occult symbol for Christ and an occult reworking of Christ's most important prayer. This grotesque symbol and this disfigured prayer have only the most tenuous connection to the Bible and to established Christian theology. They are bound up in occultism, astrology, and polytheism. They are pagan and, from a mainstream Christian perspective, they are heretical.

Will you see the occult symbol for Christ openly displayed in a Waldorf school during Christmas observances? Probably not. Will you hear the polytheistic, backwards "Lord's Prayer" recited in a Waldorf school during Christmas observances? Almost certainly not. Yet such things lie behind the Waldorf conception of Christmas. Waldorf education arises from Anthroposophy, and Anthroposophy consists of things like these.

If you are looking for the true meaning of Christmas, don't look for it in a school that accepts Rudolf Steiner's teachings.

— RR

December 19


Currently offered by the Rudolf Steiner College Press:

Commentary on Old Testament Stories 

"Perspectives on Old Testament stories from the Creation to the return to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, and the story of Esther. The following notes are intended to be elucidations of the Old Testament stories in the light of Rudolf Steiner's spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy]...." — Roy Wilkinson

"Mr. Wilkinson summarizes the stories in an easily readable manner and then comments very concisely on their more significant aspects. Rudolf Steiner gave many indications about the Old Testament but they are scattered throughout his work and Mr. Wilkinson has 'digested' these and related them to the appropriate stories...." — Peter Button

Waldorf Watch Response:

Roy Wilkinson was a longtime Waldorf teacher and a devout follower of Rudolf Steiner. Wilkinson wrote numerous teachers' guides for his fellow Waldorf faculty members, and these guides are widely used throughout the Waldorf movement today. Wilkinson died in 2007.

Here are two samples of the contents of COMMENTARY ON OLD TESTAMENT STORIES (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1984). When Waldorf teachers tell Bible stories to their students, these are the sorts of meanings they think the stories contain. Whether and how the teachers try to convey these meanings to the students varies from school to school and from teacher to teacher. But these are the sorts of meaning Waldorf teachers have been told lurk below the surface of these stories:


"The exodus from Egypt is contemporary with the fall of Troy. The ancient world of divinely led humanity gives way to that of the individual, independent personalities with ego characteristics. The Israelites are experiencing 'homelessness.' Homelessness is a step on the path of spiritual development ... The Israelites spent forty years in the wilderness ... [They] had to experience the realities of the harsh physical worldEarth forces were still active. Their god [Jehovah] was drawing near to the earth and he was experienced in the earthly elements ... Between the creator gods (the Elohim), Jehovah and Christ there is a close relationship. Christ is a manifestation of the Elohim; Jehovah is his servant. Christ was worshipped by many different peoples under a different name as a being of the sun-sphere. He descended to the earth in stages before incarnating in the body of Jesus. During the Moses era the Christ being was in the earth's atmosphere; hence the Jews experienced him in the elements — as a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire." — Ibid., pp. 54-55.

Many people will be surprised to learn that the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt is really, to a significant extent, a story about Christ. According to Steiner, Christ is the Sun God, while Jehovah is associated with the Moon — Judaism, hence, is the Moon religion, while Christianity is essentially the Sun religion. Steiner taught that the Sun God was worshipped by many ancient peoples, but their apprehension of this god was always incomplete. Nonetheless, they recognized him, to one degree or another. This recognition was appropriate, Steiner taught, because the Sun God intervened at various times, in various epochs, throughout the history of human spiritual development. Anthroposophists often refer to the incarnation of the Sun God in the body of a man named Jesus as the "Christ event." But actually, Steiner taught, there have been several "Christ events" — several occasions when Christ became directly involved in human affairs. [See "Christ Events".] Thus, from an Anthroposophical perspective, it makes perfect sense to find (or imagine) references to Christ in the Old Testament.

According to Steiner, Jehovah is actually one of the Elohim, gods who are centered in the Sun. But Jehovah moved to the Moon, and from there he exerted special influence on mankind at one time. He is essentially obsolete today, however, just as Judaism is obsolete, according to Steiner. [See "RS on Jews".] Christ, the Sun God, is the greatest of the solar divinities, and our reverent attention — our worship, if you will — should be focused on him today.

On a different, but related, point: Note the reference to Troy. The fall of Troy is the central subject of the ancient Greek epic poem, THE ILIAD. The myth of the Trojan War is almost certainly nothing but myth — there is little or no evidence that such a war ever occurred — but Steiner and his followers accept the myth as truth. Just as Steiner taught that the Bible is true in some ways (i.e., when interpreted as he directed), he extended equal credence to many other traditions, myths, legends, and religious traditions. Many different peoples have worshipped many different gods — but under Anthroposophy, these gods are rolled up together: They turn out to be the same gods seen differently or at different stages of evolution. Anthroposophy is polytheistic: There are numerous gods, who really exist. [See "Polytheism".] The Norse god Thor, for instance, is a real being, Steiner often said.


"Christ, the spirit of the sun, was approaching ... It is difficult to be specific as to events. Sound can have a shattering effect  but that city walls should fall down as a result of a few trumpets being blown and people shouting is a little hard to believe; however, the event is not hard to understand symbolically. Jericho was situated in a remnant of fertile ground which had all around been destroyed by volcanic activity ... The city was decadent. The spiritual force of the the Israelites may have saved the day as did the pope when confronted by Attila ... The Canaanites possessed old powers of spiritual vision which they were reluctant to give up ... When the Gibeonites brought stale bread and old wine, they were demonstrating that they recognized that their spiritual resources were outmoded ... Joshua supposedly cried for the sun and moon to stand still. As recorded in our Bible, this is a wrong translation. The call was a supplication to the spiritual being of the sun [i.e., Christ]: 'Spirit of the Sun, shine on Gibeon.' It inspired confidence in the Israelite armies." — Ibid., pp. 68-69.

Note that Wilkinson and Steiner do not hesitate to "correct" the Bible. Wilkinson doubts that Joshua brought down the walls of Jericho with his trumpets (although, in believing Steiner's occult doctrines, Wilkinson believes many more astonishing things), and he asserts that the Bible, as usually understood, is wrong to say that Joshua called for the Sun and Moon to stand still. Joshua was really calling upon the Sun God for assistance.

Again, Christ makes an appearance in the Old Testament, according to Anthroposophists. Joshua calls on Christ, "the spirit of the sun." Of course, in identifying Christ as the Sun God, Anthroposophy strays as far from the New Testament as it does from the Old. Nonetheless, Wilkinson suggests that the Israelite armies prevailed because their leader called on Christ.

The Pope also appears here. Steiner considered mainstream Christian denominations — certainly including Catholicism — nearly as obsolete as Judaism. The true faith (which Anthroposophists refer to as "spiritual science") is Anthroposophy.

Tangentially: Steiner had many interesting things to say about volcanoes. Humans cause volcanic eruptions through the use and misuse of their willpower and thoughts. Also, if you trace lines between volcanoes on the surface of the Earth, you will discover that the Earth is really a sort of rounded tetrahedron, not a globe — or so Steiner said. [See, e.g., "Steiner's Blunders".]

COMMENTARY ON OLD TESTAMENT STORIES is available from the Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore for $13.50.
— RR

December 18

- VIII -

Rudolf Steiner “corrected “ the Bible. He corrected both the Old Testament and the New. [See, e.g., “Old Testament” and “Sermon”.]

Steiner’s most startling amendments concern the first four books of the New Testament — the four Gospels. Steiner wrote his own new and improved “fifth Gospel,” laying out the “real” story of the life of Jesus. That is, Steiner explained how there were really two Jesuses, who merged to become a single human vessel into which Christ, the Sun God, descended for a brief three-year sojourn on Earth. [See “Steiner’s Fifth Gospel”.]

Steiner’s followers are both inspired and challenged by his teachings. And they, like almost everyone else, often find Steiner hard to read. In his books and lectures, Rudolf Steiner used a dense, mystical, allusive verbal style that can sometimes seem impenetrable. One result is that an extensive literature of Steiner explications has developed within the Anthroposophical community. Anthroposophists try to make sense of what Steiner said, and they often try to find clearer ways to say what Steiner apparently meant to say. (In this sense, perhaps without meaning to, they strive to “correct” Steiner’s own “corrections” of time-honored spiritual doctrines.)

Bruce Dickson has written a book that seeks to lay out, sensibly and clearly, the contents of Steiner’s fifth Gospel. An avid follower of Steiner, Dickson once intended to become a Waldorf teacher. He took Waldorf teacher training, but then he shifted to an alternate track. He works now as an Anthroposophical “health intuitive.” [See http://blog.goetheanscience.net/author-health-intuitive-bruce-dickson/]

As much of the world prepares to celebrate Christmas, we might pause to glance into Dickson’s book, RUDOLF STEINER'S FIFTH GOSPEL IN STORY FORM. The point is not to learn about Steiner from Dickson — Dickson may be right in some of his interpretations, but then again he may be wrong sometimes. We needn’t try to sort all this out. But Dickson allows us to overhear the sort of stories Anthroposophists tell one another as they elaborate the tenets of their faith. Dickson affords us one angle on the sort of concepts Anthroposophists have in mind when they celebrate their version(s) of Christmas.

So, I will now yield the floor to Mr. Dickson.

"In his Fifth Gospel, Rudolf Steiner details his original scientific research into recorded material invisible to materialistic sight. [1] When he made the fruits of his investigations public, he spoke of two ends he had in mind. One end was to complement and supplement details of the existing four Gospels from the images stored in the Akashic Record, the Akashic Chronicle. [2] His second end was to add, from his investigations...the relevant karmic and reincarnational aspects. [3]" — Bruce Dickson, RUDOLF STEINER'S FIFTH GOSPEL IN STORY FORM (CreateSpace, 2009), pp. 5-6

"Dr. Steiner called what he shared 'additions' because he said the four synoptic Gospels [4] also draw their imagery from the same starry 'picture book' ... [T]he synoptic Gospels are — in part — imagery drawn from the Akashic Records [sic]. He discusses the service the authors of the original four Gospels performed in creating elementary 'picture books' for the spiritual path of Christianity, appropriate for people of their day and the next 1,500 years to come. [5]" — Ibid., p. 7.

"[C]omparison of the facts…in the St. Luke and St. Matthew Gospels indicates one Gospel tells the story or one family: Joseph, Mary and Jesus and the other tells the story of another family: [also named] Joseph, Mary and Jesus. [6]" — Ibid., p. 24.

"[W]e see two Jesus-children growing up. After the Nathan-Jospeh's family returned from Bethlehem, they continued to live in Nazareth with their son. They had no other children ... When Joseph and Mary of the Solomon line returned with their son from Egypt, they settled in Nazareth and had several more children.... [7]" — Ibid., p. 45.

"The two sets of parents were in friendly relationship and the two Jesus children grew up as near neighbors until they were twelve years old ... [T]he Zarathustra-Ego [8], which up to then had lived in the body of the Solomon-line Jesus, now left that body [9] and passed into the body of the Nathan-Jesus ... Deep intensity of feeling had already been apparent in the Nathan-Jesus-boy. When the Zarathustra Individuality passed into him, inner illuminations flashed up in him ... The radiant sun of Zoroastrian wisdom flashed up in him...." — Ibid., pp. 46-49.

"As a result of the Zarathustra-Ego passing over into his soul, Jesus of Nazareth [10] possessed a high degree of clairvoyance. Because of his efforts in other times [11], he received this in a natural unfolding ... In this way he was able to learn by actual first hand [sic] observation of the souls of the heathen people ... Jesus of Nazareth witnessed a priest enacting rites of a cult at many a heathen altar, he saw how numerous demonic beings [12] were attracted to the spot ... [H]e also often observed these demonic powers passing over into the believers participating in these rites." — Ibid., pp. 62-63.

"The first thirty years of the life of Jesus was a human biography ... The three short years between the Baptism [13] and the Mystery of Golgotha [14] are more than a human biography. They contain the progressive miracle of the incarnation of the Christ [15] in the man, Jesus of Nazareth ... A unique being was now living on the Earth … The figure of Jesus of Nazareth in whom the Christ or Logos [16] was incarnated, brought into human life and history what had previously only streamed down to the Earth from the Sun. [17]" — Ibid., pp. 121-122.

That, I think, is sufficient. This is Dickson's account of Steiner's account of the real meaning of the story of Jesus Christ, the story that — in a sense — began on Christmas day.

Note that Dickson published a slightly different version of his book in 2001 under the title RUDOLF STEINER'S FIFTH GOSPEL (Xlibris). In addition, a Kindle edition of RUDOLF STEINER'S FIFTH GOSPEL IN STORY FORM became available in 2012. The differences between the versions would strike most readers as minor. 

[We will continue our preparations for 

a Waldorf Christmas in the next few days.] 

— RR

Waldorf Watch Footnotes

[1] I.e., to study the "materials" recorded high above in the spirit realm, Steiner had to use clairvoyance. Steiner's "science" was his claimed use of "exact" clairvoyance [see "Exactly"] to study the cosmos and its gods. ("Materialistic sight" is the use of your eyes, which are physical or material structures. They are insufficient for "spiritual science.")

[2] The Akashic Record or Chronicle is, supposedly, a celestial storehouse of knowledge accessible to clairvoyant initiates. [See "Akasha".] The record is written on Akasha, a form of cosmic ether or, in some interpretations, starlight. (Note that there are sometimes said to be several records written on Akasha, hence sometimes reference is made to the Akashic Records or the Akashic Chronicles, plural.)

[3] I.e., Steiner added the concepts of karma and reincarnation — drawn from Eastern religions — to the Christian concepts found in the New Testament. This was one of his major "corrections." [See "Karma" and "Reincarnation".]

[4] Dickson goes off the rails, here, a bit. The four Gospels are the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Three of these are considered the "Synoptic Gospels", in that they are written from a similar viewpoint. The Gospel of John is markedly different, and thus it is not considered "synoptic." [See "Synoptic Gospels", ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA.] At another level, there are multiple differences between all four Gospels. Steiner's fifth Gospel aims to resolve significant differences between the Gospels, synoptic or not.

[5] Dickson and Steiner argue that all five Gospels (including Steiner's) are taken from the Akashic Record(s). The four Gospels found in the New Testament are simplified narratives, appropriate for the simple people of the past. Steiner's new and improved Gospel is appropriate for the more sophisticated people of the present. Or so Dickson and Steiner say.

[6] I.e., there were two families whose members had the names Jospeh, Mary, and Jesus. The Gospels in the New Testament give different accounts of the life of Jesus because, actually, they are referring to two separate Jesus children who were members of two separate families. [For more on such matters, see, e.g., "Was He Christian?"]

[7] Both families dwelled in Nazareth, and in fact they were neighbors. One family descended from the line of the priest named Nathan; the other family descended from the line of the king named Solomon. ("Nathan-Joseph" is the Joseph of the Nathan line.) Only the family from the Solomon line went to Egypt; the family from the Nathan line stayed in the region of Bethlehem-Nazareth.

[8] The Jesus of the Solomon line was the reincarnation of Zarathustra, founder of the religion called Zoroastrianism. [See "Zoroastrianism".] The other Jesus bore within himself the spiritual essence of Buddha, as we have seen in previous installments of "A Waldorf Christmas".

[9] I.e., the Solomon Jesus died, and his soul passed over into the Nathan Jesus. The Nathan Jesus now had two souls; he bore the combined spiritual wisdom of Zarathustra and Buddha. This made him a fit receptacle for the descending Sun God.

[10] Dickson here uses the title "Jesus of Nazareth" for the combined Jesus, the human being who resulted from the merger of the Solomon Jesus with the Nathan Jesus.

[11] I.e., previous incarnations.

[12] Demons are numerous in Anthroposophical lore. The Solomon Jesus, bearing the ego of Zarathustra, would have known about the chief demon identified in Zoroastrianism: Ahriman. [See "Ahriman".] When the Solomon Jesus merged with the Nathan Jesus, this knowledge was retained by the resulting Jesus of Nazareth. (And, indeed, Ahriman is a major figure in Anthroposophical teachings today.)

[13] I.e., Jesus’s baptism by John the Baptist. This was, presumably, the moment when the Sun God descended to incarnate within Jesus of Nazareth.

[14] I.e., the Crucifixion. Jesus of Nazareth died then, but Christ still lived.

[15] I.e., the Sun God. [See "Sun God".]

[16] Logos is the Word of God or the divine purpose, the holy intention of God. [See "Logos" and "Gnosis".] According to the Gospel of John, the Logos was embodied in Jesus Christ. According to Steiner, the Logos is the "light" of the Sun (that is, the wisdom, impetus, and force of the spiritual Sun) brought to Earth by Christ, the Sun God.

[17] I.e., the spiritual Sun came to embodiment upon the Earth: the Sun God became incarnate in the body of Jesus of Nazareth.

December 17


Announcement of an upcoming Waldorf arts training course:


Module 3:
Tuesday, December 26 through Sunday, December 31, 2017

Course Fee: $650.


Held on the campus of Highland Hall Waldorf School,
Los Angeles site of the Waldorf Institute of Southern California
17100 Superior Street, Northridge, California 91325

[downloaded 12/17/2017    http://www.waldorfteaching.org/wpat.html]

Waldorf Watch Response:

Waldorf schools are known for placing great emphasis on the arts. The schools are often filled with lovely paintings, drawings, tapestries, and so forth, created by both faculty and students. The allure can be great.

But as is true with everything connected to Waldorf education, there is more (or less) to this beauty than meets the eye. The purpose of Waldorf arts is not aesthetic; it is spiritual; it is occult. Rudolf Steiner taught that the arts create avenues for human souls to rise into the spirit realm. Moreover, he taught that these same avenues enable the gods to reach down into Earthly life. From a Waldorf perspective, creating and appreciating art, when done properly, become acts of mystical devotion. [See "Magical Arts".]

The real purpose of Waldorf arts is indicated by the titles of various Steiner books dealing with art, such as ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998) and ART AS SEEN IN THE LIGHT OF MYSTERY WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2013). "Mystery wisdom" is the occult essence of Anthroposophy, the hidden spiritual truths that Rudolf Steiner claimed to divulge to his adherents. Art, in Waldorf schools and Waldorf communities, is essentially an enactment of Anthroposophy.

Much of this becomes clear when we consider a passage in the announcement of the upcoming event at Highland Hall Waldorf School. Scroll down the announcement and you will come to this:


The Anthroposophy study portion of module #3 continues our study of the Soul Forces; Thinking, Feeling and Willing" [sic] with portions of "Study of Man", "Handwork Indications by R. Steiner", "Will Developed Intelligence", we add study of the "The Four Temperaments" by R. Steiner, and "Educating Through Arts and Crafts" edited by Michael Martin. We continue our study of the phases of development in children in primary school. We also study the four temperaments and how an understanding of them will apply in the classroom dynamic. We also investigate the Twelve Year Change.

So, the program includes considerable study of Anthroposophical texts, many of which are distinctly mystical. Here are a few explanations of terms used in the passage "Anthroposophical Studies", above.

◊ Anthroposophists believe that humans have both souls and spirits. "Soul forces" arise from that part of your spiritual identity that you have during a single incarnation (your soul); "spirit forces" arise from that part of your spiritual identity that you carry through all of your incarnations (your spirit). Reincarnation is a basic Anthroposophical doctrine. [See "Reincarnation".]

◊ STUDY OF MAN is the foundational text for Waldorf education. Consisting of lectures Stiener delivered to the teachers at the first Waldorf school, the book is deeply occult and mystical. [For a guided tour through the book, see "Oh Humanity - The Key to Waldorf".]

◊ In Anthroposophical belief, the will is a distinct human capacity — in effect, it is an incorporeal organ. [See "Will".] Strengthening the will, so that the will informs one's mind, is necessary if one is to gain knowledge of the spiritual worlds above us, Steiner taught. [See "Knowing the Worlds".]

◊ The "four temperaments" define four fundamental human types, according to Waldorf believe. Some people are "melancholic," some are "sanguine," some are "choleric," and some are "phlegmatic." [See "Humouresque - Categorizing Students Hurtfully" and "Temperaments".] The theory of the four temperaments arose in ancient Greece, and it has been replaced by more modern knowledge almost everywhere — except in Waldorf schools.

◊ The "twelve year change" is just one of several alterations that occur as children age, according to Waldorf doctrines. Predominantly, these changes have to do with the incarnation of three invisible bodies — the "etheric body" at around ages 6-7, the "astral body" at around ages 12-14, and the "ego body" at around ages 20-21. [See "Incarnation".]

People who enroll in the "arts" course offered at Highland Hall Waldorf School will end up studying the occult belief system called Anthroposophy. But that is par for the course in the Waldorf universe. At Waldorf, all roads lead to Anthroposophy. 
— RR

December 16

- VII -

Rudolf Steiner, 


(Anthroposophic Press, 1967)

Waldorf Christmas trees are often distinctly unlike those found outside the schools. Usually, there are no electric lights on a Waldorf Christmas tree, since in the Waldorf view modern technology is demonic. Instead, the tree may bear numerous candles, roses, and esoterically symbolic ornaments. Rudolf Steiner prescribed these ornaments; they embody esoteric Anthroposophical doctrines. 

"The Roses, growing out of the green [of the tree], are a symbol of the Eternal [1] ... The square is the symbol of the fourfold nature of man; physical body, ether-body [2], astral body [3] and ego. [4] The triangle is the symbol for Spirit-Self [5], Life-Spirit [6], Spirit-Man. [7] Above the triangle is the symbol for Tarok. Those who were initiated into the Egyptian Mysteries knew how to interpret this sign. [8] They knew too, how to read the Book of Thoth [9], consisting of 78 leaves on which were inscribed all happenings in the world from the beginning to the end, from Alpha to Omega [10] and which could be read if the signs were rightly put together ... Above this symbol is the Tao — the sign that is a reminder of the conception of the Divine held by our early forefathers [11] … [T]hese early forefathers of ours lived on the continent of Atlantis [12]… Finally, the cosmic symbol of Man is the pentagram, hanging at the top of the tree. Of the deepest meaning of the pentagram we may not now speak. [13] But it is the star of humanity, of evolving humanity; it is the star that all wise men follow, as did the Priest-Sages of old.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1955), lecture 2, GA 96.

If you see a Christmas tree decorated this way in a Waldorf school, you may want to pause and reflect. 

"Positions of the symbols on the Christmas Tree"
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 44.

Waldorf Watch Footnotes

[1] Roses are the key symbol in Rosicrucianism (the word means rosy cross). Rosicrucianism is a secretive spiritual society that arose in the 17th century, supposedly instituted by a knight named Christian Rosenkreutz (this name also means rosy cross). Steiner said Rosicrucianism is the correct spiritual path for modern humans. What he meant was Rosicrucianism as reconceived by himself. What this means, in effect, is Anthroposophy.

[2] In Anthroposophical belief, the etheric body is a constellation of life forces; it is also called the life-body or formative-forces-body. The living, formative forces of this body sculpt and preserve the physical body. The etheric body incarnates (i.e., is born) at about age 7, an event marked by the replacement of a child's baby teeth by adult teeth. Once the etheric body develops adequately, it actuates the knowledge-acquiring faculty called imagination (the first stage toward clairvoyance). In addition to human beings, Steiner said, plants and animals also have etheric bodies; minerals do not. 

[3] According to Steiner, the astral body is the second of our nonphysical bodies; it is also called the soul body, faith body, or sentient body. Housing the soul, it consists of soul forces/living forces that fine-tune the physical body (which has been shaped by the etheric body). The astral body contains the senses (twelve in all). It incarnates at about age 14, an event marked by the sexual changes of puberty. Once this body develops adequately, it actuates the knowledge-acquiring faculty called inspiration (the second stage toward clairvoyance). Steiner taught that animals also have astral bodies; plants and minerals do not.

[4] In Anthroposophy, the “ego” or "I" is the spark of divinity bestowed on humanity by the gods; it is the divine "I am." Thus, this spiritual "ego" — which should not be confused with the ordinary ego of psychoanalysis — is the divine sense of self, the divine individuality that distinguishes a human being from lower beings. One's spiritual ego also distinguishes oneself from every other individual possessing such an ego — no one can perceive your ego except you yourself. Steiner often spoke of the spiritual ego as if it were a body analogous to the etheric and astral bodies: It is a constellation of divine forces separating one from the surrounding world. But in another sense, the ego is one's essential human nature, one's innermost core. We did not acquire our egos — that is to say, we did not become truly human — until our Present Earth stage of evolution. Anthroposophists believe that among human beings today, the ego incarnates at about age 21 — the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. Once the ego develops adequately, it actuates the knowledge-acquiring faculty called intuition (the third stage toward clairvoyance). Among entities standing lower than the gods, only human beings have spiritual egos; animals, plants, and minerals do not.

[5] According to Steiner (drawing on Theosophy), this is the first spiritual human component, the first division of spirit nature in the ninefold nature of man. It is the transformed astral body, the reincarnating self. It consists of a high human consciousness (but not the highest), the spirit forming and living as "I" (i.e., a distinct, human/divine individuality) infusing and elevating the astral body.

[6] Life spirit is the second of three members of our spirit nature — it stands between “spirit self” and “spirit man.” It is Budhi or Buddhi. It is the transformed or elevated etheric body, embodying an advanced stage of human consciousness. It is, as it were, the etheric body when it is permeated by the “ego," our spark of divinity.

[7] According to Steiner, this is the third spiritual human component: It is Atma(n). Spirit man is the transformed physical body — our physical envelope elevated and spiritualized, having been infused by the "ego" (our spark of divinity). In a somewhat different usage, spirit man is the highest human consciousness. It is the Godhead as reflected in man, hence the God within. It is the highest division of spirit nature (by one definition): the independent human spiritual being.

[8] Steiner said the tarok is, generally, an emblem of occult Egyptian spiritual knowledge. Its specific meaning must remain hidden, he indicated. Whether he himself understood the meaning of the symbol seems doubtful. “Tarok” and “taroc” are alternate spellings for “tarot.”

[9] "Thoth, (Greek), Egyptian Djhuty, in Egyptian religion, a god of the moon, of reckoning, of learning, and of writing. He was held to be the inventor of writing, the creator of languages, the scribe, interpreter, and adviser of the gods, and the representative of the sun god, Re." — ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA ONLINE. The "Book of Thoth" is a term given to numerous ancient Egyptian texts supposedly written by Thoth.

[10] Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet; omega is the last letter. Alpha and omegar are often used, metaphorically, to represent completion or totality, from beginning to end. In the prescribed pattern shown above, the symbols for alpha and omega flank the tarok.

[11] In Chinese philosophy, the tao or dao is the ultimate principle underlying the universe. “Dao, (Chinese: “way,” “road,” “path,” “course,” “speech,” or “method”) Wade-Giles romanization tao, the fundamental concept of Chinese philosophy. Articulated in the classical thought of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods of the Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BCE), dao exerted considerable influence over subsequent intellectual developments in China. The word for this concept, dao, indicates a 'way' in the sense of a road or a path.” According to Steiner, the occult sign of the Tao harkens back to Atlantis. (Yes, he believed in Atlantis.)

[12] Yes, Atlantis. [See “Atlantis”.]

[13] According to Steiner, the pentagram — a five-pointed star — corresponds to the movement of five types of ether within the human frame. When a pentagram is arranged with a single point at its top, Steiner indicated, it represents humanity. When it is arranged with a single point at the bottom, it is the symbol of black magic.

For more on these and related matters, 
you might consult that invaluable resource 

December 15


I hate to lower the standards of this news page by dipping into Waldorf/Anthroposophical astrology. But perhaps a brief sample would be justified. After all, astrology lurks just below the surface of many Waldorf/Anthroposophical practices.

And today’s reading is better than some. With Christmas approaching, the reading is reverent and kindly.

So, here is the lowdown for today, Dec. 15, 2017:

Dec. 15: ASPECT: Mercury conjuncts Venus 23º Scorpio. Venus recalls Jesus in Capernaum … This aspect lends mental prowess for delicate discourse. Venus was in Mercury throughout the Passion of Christ, who silently endured the greatest trial a human being [sic] will ever face. Silence draws forth the conscience in others, whereas careless words merely fill space with chatter born from an agitated mind. Today we may find we can converse about even the most difficult matters in peaceful accord with others. When we approach all situations with the understanding that each human being is a very good person, then the other’s angel joyfully joins in the discourse.

— Robert Powell, JOURNAL FOR STAR WISDOM 2017 (Lindisfarne, Anthroposophic Press, 2016), pp. 208-209.

Anthroposophists generally have lofty intentions. Anthroposophists mean to be big-hearted and large-souled. This makes it all the sadder that they believe in astrology and other forms of superstitious nonsense. Every onlooker should be appalled — Christians most of all, watching Steiner's follower distort Christianity by linking it to ancient pagan falsehoods. 

— RR

[For more on Waldorf/Anthroposophical astrology, see, e.g., “Waldorf Astrology”, “Astrology”, “Star Power”, and "Astrosophy".]

December 15


Now available from the Anthroposophic Press:

[Lindisfarne, Anthroposophic Press, 2017]

From the publisher:

Journal for Star Wisdom 2018 includes articles of interest concerning star wisdom (Astrosophy), as well as a guide to the correspondences between stellar configurations during the life of Christ and those of today. This guide comprises a complete sidereal ephemeris and aspectarian, geocentric and heliocentric, for each day throughout the year....

According to Rudolf Steiner, every step taken by Christ during his ministry between the baptism in the Jordan and the resurrection was in harmony with — and an expression of — the cosmos. Journal for Star Wisdom is concerned with these heavenly correspondences during the life of Christ and is intended to help provide a foundation for cosmic Christianity, the cosmic dimension of Christianity. It is this dimension that, by and large, has been missing until now from Christianity and its the two-thousand-year history. 

Readers can begin on this path by contemplating the movements of the Sun, Moon, and planets against the background of the zodiacal constellations (sidereal signs) today in relation to corresponding stellar events during the life of Christ. In this way, the possibility is opened for attuning in a living way to the life of Christ, who is now — since the onset of his Second Coming in 1933 — spiritually present in the etheric aura of the Earth.

In connection with the Second Coming, there is in this year’s journal an article by Robert Powell concerning the Apocalypse code and the year 2018 — a year during which a new relationship between the angels and humanity is beginning....

Illustration provided with the description of the book by the publisher:


New Moon 2º Sagittarius, December 18th, 2017:
The healing of the man born blind and Christ visiting
the three kings.
Awakening of our inner king through spiritual insight.

First quarter Moon 9º43' Pisces,
December 26th:
Conception of the Nathan Jesus.
Intuition builds when the Moon travels through Pisces.
We practice how to love one another.

Full Moon 16º38' Germini, January 1st:
Birth of the Nathan Jesus.
We are called to unite with the Angel Jesus.

Last quarter Moon 23º36' Virgo,
January 8th:
Enmity of the Pharisees.
The heart stands as no [sic] one's enemy
despite the enmity directed against us.

"Cosmic Christianity" is essentially astrology grafted onto Christianity. In a broader sense, it is Anthroposophy. Steiner's followers believe that Christianity has been deficient until now — that is, it was incomplete until Rudolf Steiner's teachings became available. Note that "the cosmic [i.e., astrological] dimension of Christianity...has been missing until now from Christianity and its the two-thousand-year history."

"Astrosophy," as conceived in Anthroposophy, is clairvoyant knowledge of the stars, their gods, and their powers. All real "knowledge" in Anthroposophy is attained through clairvoyance. (Such terms as "spiritual insight" and "intuition" essentially mean clairvoyance, in Anthroposophy and at Waldorf schools.)

"Angels," according to Anthroposophy, are gods of the lowest rank. Steiner taught that there are nine ranks of gods. Many gods reside on or near various stars and planets. Anthroposophical study of the heavens is intended to reveal the workings of these gods.

The "Nathan Jesus" is one of the two Jesus children discussed by Steiner. According to Anthroposophical belief, the two children merged, becoming the vessel for the incarnation of the Sun God, Christ.

The "Angel Jesus" is an immaculate god, an Archangel (a god of the eighth rank) who chose to work at the level of Angels (gods of the ninth rank). In this sense, according to Anthroposophical teachings, he is an "abnormal" god. Because of his self-sacrificing purity, the Angel Jesus provided a spiritual avenue through which Christ could enact his Earthly ministry.

The Second Coming, Steiner taught, came in 1933. (For Steiner, who died in 1925, this was a forecast of a future event.) The Sun God returned not to the physical Earth but to the etheric realm surrounding the Earth.

Anticipation of the Apocalypse is crucial among Anthroposophists. Steiner interpreted the final book of the Bible, The Book of Revelation, to explain the coming Apocalypse from an Anthroposophical perspective. He helped crack the "code" of the mysterious chapters of the Book of Revelation. Truth, according to Steiner, is largely hidden — it is occult. He claimed to penetrate the occult mysteries of the cosmos for the sake of his followers.

[For more on these matters, see, e.g., "Was He Christian?", "Polytheism", "Astrosophy", "Occultism", "Clairvoyance", and "Enemies".  Also see relevant entries in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia, such as "Christ", "Jesus", "gods", and "stars".]

December 14

- VI -

Here is a Waldorf Christmas story, written for young children. I have excerpted it from a book published by the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America. You will find the story to be markedly different from typical Christmas tales. This is not a story of the Jesus child in his manger, or Santa at the North Pole, or Frosty the Snowman. No. This is a Waldorf Christmas story.

The Little Sun Child

[by] Sue Conway Moran

and Cathy Bower

Long ago and far away, a child lived with his father [1] in a golden castle, high up in the kingdom of the Sun.... [2]

One day, as the little Sun Child stood looking from his window high up in the Golden Castle, he could see, far, far away, a distant land where no light was shining....

...[H]e asked his father, who was very wise, how he could take the light to that distant land.... [3]

And his father replied, you must travel the path of Starlight ... And so the Sun Child bade his father farewell and...wove his way upon the starlit path. [4]

He had not gone far when he met Blazing Bright, who was the brightest Star in the heavens. [5] 'Oh Blazing Bright, you who shine so bright; have you a gift of light? For there is a land I know, where shines no light nor flowers grow.'

Blazing Bright bowed his head and smiled upon the little Sun Child ... '[T]ake from me this silver seed. Plant it and tend it [on the Earth]'.... [6]

... [T]he little Sun Child thanked Blazing Bright...and again wove his way upon the starlit path.

Soon he came upon Mother Moon [7] ... 'Oh Mother Moon, you shine so bright, have you a gift of silver light?'....

Mother Moon [said] 'You have a task that is indeed great, the silver mists of the moon [8] you must take to the land below....'

...[T]he Sun Child thanked Mother Moon ... [H]e again wove his way upon the starlit path.

Soon the starlit path grew dim [9], and the Sun Child's heart grew sad....

But just then he felt a golden warmth enfold him, and when he looked up, he saw Golden Glow, the Angel fair, the guardian of the Golden Stair. [10]

...Golden Glow took the little Sun Child by the hand, and led him to an unknown land ... 'Here I must leave you on your own, to follow the stairs to the land below....'

So the Sun Child...walked step by step down the Golden Stair. [11] It led him to the land below, where no light did shine, nor flower did grow. Bearing carefully his gifts of shining light, he at last reached the land that was dark as night. He made a little bed in the cool, dark earth to hold the seed of light ... Around the silver seed of the stars he wrapped a mantle of Mother Moon's mist, and then in the cool, dark earth he gently laid the heavenly gifts.

...[F]rom that day to this, many more flowers have grown [12] from the one seed of light that the Sun Child had sown.

The people received each flower with love and gave thanks to the Sun Child who lives high above [13], for no longer does darkness reign on the earth, now that the light has come to birth.

Waldorf Watch Response:

Welcome, then, to a Waldorf Christmas.

Children who hear a sweet story about the "Sun Child" will have their minds and hearts prepared for eventual belief in the Sun God. The kids will have been prepared, in other words, for eventual adherence to Anthroposophy.

Remember that the story you have just read comes to from a book published by an association of Waldorf educators. The book is THE SEASONAL FESTIVALS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD, edited by Nancy Foster (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2010). The story appears on pp. 95-97.

Christmas is still more than a week away. Between now and then, we will look still more intently into the Waldorf conception of that joyous festival. — RR

Waldorf Watch Footnotes

[1] The story begins with faint touches of orthodox Christianity. The "Sun Child" has a father. We might say that the father is God the Father and the Sun Child is the Son of God. Anthroposophists do sometimes speak in such terms. But bear in mind what we have recently learned about the deeper, more occult Anthroposophical conceptions of Christ and God. The story soon veers toward those conceptions, which are distinctly different from mainstream Christian belief.

[2] The Sun Child and his father live on the Sun. The Sun Child is thus either the Sun God as reconceived for young children, or he is the son of the Sun God. In either case, the story becomes the tale of a god descending from the Sun to the Earth.

[3] The Sun Child brings the "light" to the lightless Earth: Figuratively, he brings spiritual enlightenment to humankind. For Christians, the gift of light would be the Word of God. For Anthroposophists, it is Anthroposophy (a word that means, literally, human wisdom).

[4] Anthroposophy incorporates the ancient description of the heavens as consisting of a series of concentric spheres. Steiner taught that, in coming to Earth (at birth) and then leaving it (at death), we pass through this series of spheres. In this story, the Sun Child passes through the same series (in abbreviated form) as he descends to Earth.

[5] The Sun Child meets spirits who are incarnate as stars, planets, moons, etc. Blazing Bright is Venus, the brightest "star" in the heavens. According to Anthroposophical teachings, the god of Venus is Lucifer, the light bringer. In one guise, Lucifer is a devil, of course; he is our enemy. But in another guise, according to Steiner, Lucifer actually bestows gifts on humanity. Here, we see the god of the brightest star acting as a benefactor.

(Blazing Bright may also be seen as a representative of numerous star gods and/or planetary gods. The story of the Sun Child greatly simplifies Anthroposophical teachings. According to Steiner, there are a great many starry realms we pass through on our journeys to and from the Earth; there are a great many gods we deal with on our journeys.)

[6] Blazing Bright gives the Sun Child a gift of light to bring to the Earth. The Sun Child presumably has much sunlight at his disposal, but now he gathers additional light from the stars, etc. In Anthroposophy, nine ranks of gods have been involved in our spiritual evolution; they have all shed their light for us. [See "Polytheism".]

[7] Many Anthroposophical stories and poems accept the ancient notion that the Moon is female; she is changeable and secondary. The Moon is subject to the monthly cycle, and she generates no light of her own — she only reflects the light of the (masculine) Sun.

[8] The Moon provides not light but mist. This is a complex gift. Mist may potentially cause confusion, but it also may produce mystical enchantment. Many Anthroposophical stories and poems celebrate mist and the fairies, elves, gnomes, etc., that may be "seen" within it.

[9] According to Anthroposophical belief, descending to Earth means coming down into the dark, physical level of existence. Especially after we pass into the sublunary region — descending lower than the Moon — we are largely cut off from the spiritual realms of the stars.

[10] Anthroposophists believe that Angels are gods of the lowest or ninth rank. Angels are intensely involved with humanity. Indeed, each Angel oversees and protects one human being — each Angel is, in this sense, a "guardian," a Guardian Angel.

[11] The Golden Stair, as portrayed here, is the series of steps we must travel to come rightly to our physical incarnation and then to arise rightly back into the higher realms after ending life on Earth. (To the extent that the Sun Child or Sun God is a Christ figure, he is descending here — metaphorically — toward physical incarnation.)

[12] Anthroposophy draws on many spiritual traditions, many religions. It is closest to Christianity, in some ways, yet it also has roots in Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, etc. Each spiritual tradition may be seen as a flower, and Anthroposophy may be seen as a bouquet, a gathering of many flowers. The "many flowers" growing from the Sun Child's seed may be seen, then, as the strands of spiritual wisdom that constitute Anthroposophy, resulting from the Sun God's ministry on Earth.

Of course, many religions predate the life of Christ two millennia ago. But, in Anthroposophical belief, even these ancient creeds may often be traced to the influence of the Sun God. Startlingly, Steiner taught that the Sun God, Christ, has actually actually intervened in human evolution several times — there have been several "Christ Events" during which the Sun God planted spiritual seeds. [See "Christ Events".]

Waldorf students are introduced to many religions, during their years in the Waldorf system. This is one way in which the students are led toward Anthroposophy itself, as the culmination of prior spiritual teachings.

[13] After his ministry on Earth, the Sun Child returned to the Sun. (Steiner taught that, in the events related in the New Testament, the Sun God incarnated in the body of Jesus for a total of just three years. He then departed, although he left behind behind his profound spiritual influence. He became, in effect, the god of the Earth fully as much as he is the god of the Sun. Later, in the "Second Coming", he returned to the etheric realm surrounding the Earth.)

December 13


[bust attributed to Rudolf Steiner]

From The Sun Online [UK]:

This mum has banned her kids 
from watching Peppa Pig – 
as it ‘seriously inhibits 
their mental growth’

By Emma Gritt, Senior Feature Writer and Jacqui Deevoy

FOR a lot of parents, Peppa Pig is the cheapest au pair around – but one mum is so determined that her kids won’t be raised by YouTube, she’s banned technology from their lives altogether.

Veronika Pena, 45, doesn’t even own a TV and is immensely proud of the fact that Rafael, 12, and 7-year-old Kiyan have never watched The X Factor or even a moment of the naughty porcine kids are helplessly hooked on.

…Being surrounded by families who do allow their kids to watch TV can make things difficult at times, but Veronika makes sure that friends of the family are aware of her rules.

…Rafael and Kiyan go to a local Steiner school, where the staff are completely supportive of Veronika’s choices....

Waldorf Watch Response:

Watching too much TV, or staring too long at computers screens, or making computer games the center of your life, or getting addicted to text messaging — these are bad things, and parents should certainly steer kids in more healthy directions. But the question is where to draw the line. How much is too much?

(Quick sidebar. What is Peppa Pig? You might well ask. It is a British animated TV series, created for children. It follows the adventures of its porcine protagonist and her animal pals.)

Waldorf schools often have "media policies" that ask — or direct — the parents of Waldorf students to sharply limit the kids' exposure of electronic media in the home. The schools themselves generally forego electronic gizmos almost entirely. During class hours, Waldorf students rarely use computers, or watch videos, or see films... The atmosphere within the schools is reminiscent of the 19th century, before electronics crashed over humanity's head.

It is quite possible to make rational arguments for limiting kids' exposure to modern media and the technological devices that the media depend on. Sometimes Waldorf schools refer to such arguments. Unfortunately, there are deeper reasons for the Waldorf aversion to modern media and machines, and these reasons are distinctly irrational.

Rudolf Steiner's followers, including many Waldorf teachers, fear a demon named Ahriman. [See "Ahriman".] This nasty spirit, who is a master of cold intellectual thinking, lurks in and around modern technology. So Steiner said, anyway. All technological devices are worrisome, in that they can introduce Ahriman and his minions into our lives. Even such relatively primitive technological gadgets as steam engines can release demons. Consider the following, for instance:

“When we build steam-engines, we provide the opportunity for the incarnation of demons ... In the steam-engine, Ahrimanic demons [i.e., Ahriman and his minions] 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).

Devices more up-to-date than steam engines are all the more demonic, as seen from within the Waldorf community.

 "[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 ... [T]he most varied opportunities for a virtual incarnation of...demons are constantly on the increase." — George Unger, “On ‘Mechanical Occultism’” (Mitteilungen aus der Anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland nos. 68–69, 1964).

Computers are especially awful, in this demonic regard.

 “Ahriman finds...favourable conditions [for himself] especially in the world of the computer and digital industry.” — Sergei Prokofieff, “The Being of the Internet,” PACIFICA JOURNAL (Anthroposophical Society in Hawaii), no. 29, 2006. 

Steiner did not instruct his followers to avoid modern technology altogether. He told them to embrace the world and to strive to improve it; but he also advised them to be very, very careful.

"It would be the worst possible mistake to say that we should resist what technology has brought into modern life, that we should protect ourselves from Ahriman by cutting ourselves off from modern life. In a certain sense this would be spiritual cowardice. The real remedy for this is not to let the forces of the modern soul weaken and cut themselves off from modern life, but to make the forces of the soul strong so that they can stand up to modern life.” — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SEEN IN THE LIGHT OF MYSTERY WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1984), lecture 1, GA 275.

Standing up to the awfulness of modern life can be very difficult, however. Even the simple use of electricity can lead to the triumph of the forces of evil.

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

This being the case, all electrical devices are suspect. Waldorf schools make use of electricity — there are electric lights in most Waldorf classrooms, for instance. But the schools would generally prefer to avoid such concessions to modernity, if it were not a sign of spiritual cowardice.

If you share the Waldorf fear of Ahriman, you might want to shield your children completely from Peppa Pig. But if not, you might find a more moderate approach to life in the 21st century. — RR

December 12

- V -

We have been preparing for the observance of Christmas as it occurs in Waldorf schools. Christmas is, literally, the mass or celebration of Christ. We should ask, then, who or what Christ is, according to the Waldorf religion, Anthroposophy.

Most mainstream Christians are likely to be surprised, if not absolutely shocked, by the answer. What you have been taught in your churches and what you have read in your Bibles is wrong, according to Rudolf Steiner and his followers.

“Christ, the Sun God, who was known by earlier peoples under such names as Ahura Mazda, Hu, or Balder, has now united himself with the earth...." — Anthroposophist Margaret Jonas in the introduction to RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 4-5.

So Christ is the Sun God. He is just one of the many, many gods acknowledged in Anthroposophy. [See "Polytheism" ] He is an extremely important god, certainly. But he is not the Son of God as worshiped in mainstream Christian churches. You see, the three persons of the triune Christian God are really three separate gods.

“The highest Ruler of Saturn...appears to us as the Father God, and the highest Ruler of Sun, the Sun-God, as the Christ. Similarly the Ruler of the Moon stage of Earth [i.e., the god overseeing the evolutionary stage before our current evolutionary stage] appears to us as the Holy Spirit....” — Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 100.

According to Anthroposophy, the Sun God came to Earth and was incarnated in the body of a human being named Jesus. As you may recall from a previous discussion [see "A WALDORF CHRISTMAS - II -", below], there were actually two Jesuses, two children named Jesus. One of the Jesus children was infused with the spirit of Buddha, and the other Jesus child was infused with the spirit of Zarathustra. Remarkably, each Jesus child was born to a couple named Joseph and Mary.

Here is Steiner, speaking of these things. (Steiner is almost always hard to read. Below the quotation, I will offer an interpretive paraphrase.)

“We have heard how Buddhism streamed into and worked in the personality born as the child of Joseph and Mary of the Nathan line of the House of David, as related in the Gospel of St. Luke. Joseph and Mary of the Solomon line of the House of David resided originally in Bethlehem with their child Jesus, as recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew. This child of the Solomon line bore within him the Individuality who, as Zarathustra, or Zoroaster, had inaugurated the ancient Persian civilization. Thus at the beginning of our era, side by side and represented by actual Individualities, we have the stream of Buddhism on the one hand (as described in the Gospel of St. Luke), and on the other the stream of Zoroastrianism in the Jesus of the Solomon line (as described in the Gospel of St. Matthew). The births of the two boys did not occur at exactly the same time.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. LUKE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 5, GA 114.

Interpretive paraphrase: I, Rudolf Steiner, have told you that the Gospel of St. Luke deals with a child named Jesus, who was born into the Nathan line of the House of David. This child’s parents were named Joseph and Mary. This child carried, in its soul, the wisdom of Buddha. I have also told you that the Gospel of St. Matthew deals with a second Jesus child; this Jesus was born into the Solomon line of the House of David. This Jesus’s parents were also named Joseph and Mary. This Jesus was the reincarnation of Zarathustra, or Zoroaster, the founder of the ancient Persian religion called Zoroastrianism. So, at the beginning or our historical period, there were two Jesus children living side by side. The stream of Buddhism was found in one of these children and the stream of Zoroastrianism was found in the other. The two children were not born at exactly the same time.

Got it? 
— R.R.

[To be continued]

December 11


From The Daily Sentinel [Colorado, USA]:

Opting for choice


Juniper Ridge [a Waldorf charter school] is unlike any other school in District 51...

...[Juniper Ridge] offers a microcosm of what's happening in the region and across the state: Charter schools are expanding at a rate that outpaces their traditional school counterparts. Three of the four charter schools that were open before this year in Mesa County have grown in enrollment by at least 13 percent over the past five years, compared to 1.7 percent growth in School District 51 overall during that same period. A fifth charter school opened this fall.

While charter schools are growing for a number of reasons, according to state and local officials, it comes down to choice. From four-day school weeks to mandatory art classes, learning Latin in kindergarten to alternative education philosophies, charter schools offer different options than many traditional public schools...

...The five local charter schools each offer unique approaches and philosophies to educating children — different from traditional schools and from each other.

Patrick Ebel, administrative director at Juniper Ridge, said that's the reason so many parents are choosing charter schools. Ebel attributes Juniper Ridge's rapid growth to the school's Waldorf education philosophy....

Waldorf Watch Response:

In many news reports and in the public's mind, Waldorf schools are increasingly associated with the charter school movement. But two distinctly different questions are at issue. Whether one approves or disapproves of charter schools in general is one question. Whether one approves or disapproves of Waldorf schools specifically is a very different question.

Certainly Waldorf schools offer an alternative to traditional public education. But not all alternatives are necessarily better; some may be distinctly worse. Waldorf schools are, generally, worse.

The fundamental problem with Waldorf schools is that they stand upon, and enact, the mystical "clairvoyant" teachings of the occultist, Rudolf Steiner. [See, e.g., "Square One".] There is no rational basis for Waldorf education. [See, e.g., "Oh Humanity".] The education provided in Waldorf schools is often deficient at many levels. [See, e.g., "The Waldorf Curriculum" and "Academic Standards at Waldorf".]

The underlying purpose of Waldorf schools is to lure students and their families toward the new-age religion devised by Steiner: Anthroposophy. [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"] Waldorf schools are, generally, disguised religious institutions. [See "Schools as Churches".] Ultimately, Waldorf is the right choice only for families who are devout Anthroposophists or who are inclined in that direction.

The religious nature of Waldorf schools raises a particular problem in the USA. The US Constitution prescribes the separation of church and state. Under this principle, Waldorf schools should not be eligible to become charter schools.

There are, of course, some differences between individual Waldorf schools; different shadings, different degrees of devotion to Steiner's teachings. Waldorf schools that are especially eager to be accepted into the charter-school system — and thus to receive taxpayer financing — may be more willing to stray from Steiner (or to seem to do so) than are other Waldorf schools. 

Not all Waldorf schools are wholly alike. [See, e.g., "Non-Waldorf Waldorfs".] If you become interested in a particular Waldorf school, you should make a concerted effort to understand what really goes on there or what is intended to go on there. [See, e.g., "Advice for Parents" and "Clues".]

In Britain, charter schools are called "free" schools, and Waldorf schools are generally called Steiner or Steiner-Waldorf schools. The US Constitution, of course, does not apply in Britain. But the issues concerning Waldorf education are essentially the same in Britain (and in all other countries) as in the USA.  — RR

December 10

- IV -

Many Bible stories are told in Waldorf schools, and they often serve as the basis for plays and pageants staged by the students. But as we anticipate Waldorf Christmas observances, we should look into other sorts of tales that are also given great spiritual importance at Waldorf schools. Preeminent among these are Norse myths, the myths of northern Europe. Norse myths are crucial in establishing the spiritual atmosphere found in Waldorf schools, the atmosphere that gives Waldorf Christmases their special character.

Steiner taught that Norse myths convey special insights into human evolution and, indeed, he said that they reflect many of his spiritual "discoveries." [See "The Gods".] Here is Waldorf educator Charles Kovacs indicating how teachers should introduce Norse myths to Waldorf students. Imagine a Waldorf teacher standing at the head of a classroom, talking to the children:

“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.” — Charles Kovacs, NORSE MYTHOLOGY, Waldorf Education Resources (Floris Books, 2009), pp. 7-9. 

Kovacs creates a weird blend of pagan myths and Biblical teachings. He goes from gods, giants, and dwarfs to Adam and Eve and then back to the Norse "angel-gods." The blurring of distinctions is typical of Anthroposophy generally and Waldorf education in particular. Overall, Kovacs follows the Steiner/Waldorf line: Norse gods really exist and Norse myths are true (they are not fictitious; they were not "just made up"). This is how, far too often, Norse myths — and, to a lesser degree, other myths and legends — are presented to impressionable young children in Waldorf schools.

Points worth noting re Kovacs' presentation: 

◊ Norse myths are polytheistic: There are many, many gods. In addition, Norse myths tell of other beings invisible to ordinary vision, such as dwarfs (gnomes) and giants (the gods’ enemies). These teachings are largely consistent with Anthroposophy. [See "Polytheism" and "Beings".]

◊ “God,” in the polytheistic Anthroposophical universe, is a sort of metaphor for the highest gods and the amorphous Godhead. [See “God”.] 

◊ Kovacs introduces the Anthroposophical account of mankind’s gradually changing consciousness as we have descended into physical existence. [See the entries for "evolution", "evolution of consciousness", and "Present Earth" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.] 

◊ In Anthroposophy, “Angels” are gods one level higher than humanity. Steiner taught that there are nine ranks of gods. [See the entry for "gods" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.] Here, the children are told that after people lost the ability to see the highest gods, they could still see the lowly “angel-gods.” (The loss of spiritual vision, in Anthroposophy, is the weakening of our clairvoyant powers. [See, e.g., "Clairvoyance".])

◊ Thus, Norse myths are true: They are the tales the “wise bards among the Norsemen heard from…the angel-gods.”

Bible stories, Norse myths, and other spiritually charged stories are employed In Waldorf schools to subtly introduce the students to Rudolf Steiner’s occult teachings: Anthroposophy. [See “Sneaking It In”.] This is the atmosphere in which Waldorf schools observe a special form of Christmas: an Anthroposophical Christmas. — RR

[To be continued]

December 9


From The Gympie Times [Australia]:

Speakers to support
Steiner education
in Mary Valley

THREE speakers will add their support to Steiner-inspired education for the Mary Valley at the third meeting of the Mary Valley/Gympie Steiner School group at Pie Creek Hall on Monday, December 11 from 5-7pm.

At 5pm, Jonathon Anstock will present an overview of possibilities for the proposed school. Mr Anstock is an educator of more than 45 years, ex-Steiner teacher, Steiner advocate, [etc.]...

At 5.20pm, and [sic: an] overview of primary Steiner education and homeschooling will be given by Tim Nixon, who has been a Steiner teacher for 13 years and is currently teaching class 5 at Noosa Pengari Steiner School....

At 5.50pm, local happiness coach Kylie Dean will talk about Steiner Inspired Big Visioning.

Ms Dean recently returned from America where she visited or connected with three Steiner inspired schools and ventures...."

Waldorf Watch Response:

Education authorities and ordinary citizens often face difficulties when assessing proposals for new Waldorf schools. Often, there is an organized push for the schools by Anthroposophists and their allies, whereas there is little or no organized opposition. Most people outside the Anthroposophical movement know little or nothing about Waldorf education.

Often, the image presented by Waldorf advocates is extremely rosy. Waldorf can sound quite lovely. The challenge is to dig beneath this glowing surface — a task that can be difficult and time-consuming. (For one iconoclastic, highly critical report published today, see "Rudolf Steiner, Clairvoyant, Educationist and Racist" in The People's Daily Morning Star. Be advised: The People's Daily Morning Star is a socialist newspaper, a fact that may or may not be relevant to your assessment of the article.*)

If all three scheduled speakers at a public forum focused on Waldorf education have allegiance to the Waldorf movement, this fact should probably be relevant to your assessment of the forum.

"Steiner Inspired Big Visioning" is an unusual term, not often encountered. But anyone trying to assess Waldorf education should realize that this form of education is based on the "clairvoyant" visions of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education. Steiner claimed to be clairvoyant, and many Waldorf teachers today believe they are clairvoyant. This fact should certainly be relevant to your deliberations about Waldorf.

A few relevant quotations:

◊ "Not every Waldorf teacher has the gift of clairvoyance, but every one of them has accepted wholeheartedly and with full understanding the results of spiritual-scientific investigation concerning the human being." — Rudolf Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), Vol. 2, p. 224. "Spiritual science" is Anthroposophy. "Spiritual-scientific investigation" is the disciplined use of clairvoyance. If "not every Waldorf teacher" is clairvoyant, then at least some Waldorf teachers are clairvoyant, according to Steiner.

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

◊ “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.

◊ “[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.

If clairvoyance is a delusion, then there is no basis for Waldorf education. And the fact is, clairvoyance is a delusion. It does not exist. People who think they are clairvoyant are deluding themselves. Please think carefully before authorizing such people to "educate" your children. [See "Clairvoyance""Exactly", "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness", and "Why? Oh Why?"] — RR

* Excerpt:

THE Rudolf Steiner School, in Kings Langley near Watford, has been ordered to close after a totally unsatisfactory Ofsted inspection.

...[W]ill the Steiner school in Kings Langley survive? That is important to nearly three dozen other private Steiner schools which also dream of getting state funding.

Or will the school close and the resulting post-mortem and enquiries help shine a bright cleansing light on the nasty, nutty, racist beliefs of Rudolf Steiner and end the scandal that allows state funding for this awful education system and the racist and superstitious philosophy that is at its root?

For previous coverage of events at Kings Langley Rudolf Steiner School,
see, e.g., the Waldorf Watch news item for Oct. 24, 2017.

December 9


From Castanet [Canada]:

Ministry pulls Waldorf funds

A year after dozens of students left the Kelowna Waldorf School, the provincial government has pulled its funding for the school.

The independent school, which teaches children up to Grade 8, dealt with political infighting among its Board of Trustees and parents last school year, resulting in the exodus of students.

Several parents of former students have since come forward with concerns about the academic deficits they've seen in their children since leaving the school, despite Waldorf report cards that said they were on track.

The Ministry of Education informed the Kelowna Waldorf School this week that as a result of a ministry inspection on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 of this year, the school's government funding will be pulled.

...Rick Salsa, president of the Kelowna Waldorf School's Board of Trustees, says he anticipates the school will be able to fulfill the ministry's requirements by their re-inspection early next year....

He said the school's teachers are undergoing "professional development" this week, with the assistance of the province's Independent Schools Branch.

The Kelowna Waldorf School received $502,574 in provincial funding over the 2016/17 school year.

During that year, the ministry conducted three inspections of the school "in response to concerns raised by the school community"....

[downloaded 12/9/2017; article published 12/8    https://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/213523/Ministry-pulls-Waldorf-funds]

Kelowna Waldorf School allegedly failed to bring students up to 
required grade levels, while claiming that it did meet these requirements. 
For previous coverage of events at the school — and reflections on whether 
these reflect problems in the Waldorf movement generally — 
see the Waldorf Watch news item for Nov. 26, 2017
For a pro-Waldorf response, see the item, below,  
dated Dec. 3, 2017 ("Pro-Waldorf Rejoinder").

December 8


From KentOnline [UK]:

Canterbury parents and teachers
to open new school for six-month trial

By Marijke Hall

A group of parents and teachers are setting up a new independent school on the edge of Canterbury.

The Canterbury New School is due to open next month for a six-month trial in the former Steiner School building in Chartham, with plans to then move to a site in Faussett Hill, Lower Hardres.

Beth Cuenco, one of the parents involved, says the project is a result of the closure of the Steiner, which shuts this month after 40 years due to money troubles, but insists it will be a brand new school.

She said: “We really wanted that inspired education to continue so we got together to set this up, but it is a new initiative...."

...Mrs Cuenco says the school, which will cost parents about £8,000 a year, will open next month on five mornings a week with a small intake of just 15 children aged six to nine, but the intention is for the number to rise to 10 to 15 per class.

There will also be an independently run nursery, which will start with 10 youngsters in January. Mrs Cuenco says eventually the school will cater for children aged from three to 18.

“We want the school to grow with the children,” she said....

[downloaded 12/8/2017; article published 12/7   http://www.kentonline.co.uk/canterbury/news/canterbury-parents-and-teachers-open-new-school-136573/]

For previous reports about the Canterbury Steiner School, 
see the Waldorf Watch news item for October 10, 2017.

December 7


From the Shawnee Mission Post [Missouri, USA]:

Could Waldorf education 

be right for your family?

Maybe your child’s schedule has too much stress, bustle, and screen time… and not enough peaceful, reflective, quiet time. Maybe your child’s inner creativity has seemed to wane, and they have no time for artistic expression and exploration during the school day.

Maybe your child needs more time playing and working in the outdoors, building coordination and fine-motor skills. Or maybe your child needs opportunities to work with friends on meaningful projects that build academic prowess and foster a sense of purpose, courage, and inner resolve.

These are some reasons that parents have chosen a Waldorf education for their children.

Waldorf is a “whole child” educational model. For a century now, the broad-based Waldorf curriculum, developed by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, has emphasized the concept of “heads, hands, and heart,” promoting a balance of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being in students. Waldorf education seeks to foster individuals who are motivated to serve humanity with strength of will, depth of feeling, clarity of thought, and the ability to work with others.

Today there are more than 1,000 independent Waldorf schools worldwide, including 137 in the United States....

Waldorf Watch Response:

As we have noted previously, articles about Waldorf education published by small local media tend to be unreflective. The writers often pass along, uncritically, whatever Waldorf representatives have told them. Only rarely do the writers seek out alternative viewpoints; only rarely do they undertake extensive research.

The article excerpted, above, is potentially even more misleading. It is not really a news report at all. It is a long ad for Waldorf, arranged to resemble a news article. It is "sponsored content" written by a "Shawnee Mission Sponsor." It is ad copy. It is PR.

This does not mean that the article is false, necessarily, but recognizing the real nature of the article might cause readers to put up their guards, at least a little.

We have already reviewed, on previous occasions, most of what needs to be said in response to Waldorf PR like this. So let's, very quickly, make just a few points now.

1. Rudolf Steiner was not a philosopher. He took a shot at philosophizing, but he didn't get far. [See "What a Guy".] So he turned instead to occultism. [See "Occultism".] Waldorf schools like to call Steiner a "philosopher" or "scientist" or "educational reformer" — these tags sound so much better than "mystic" or "occultist." But the latter terms are far truer.

2. Steiner's teachings are almost entirely based on his claimed use of clairvoyance. He said he was clairvoyant; he said he could teach his followers to become clairvoyant; and many Waldorf teachers today believe they are clairvoyant. [See "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness" and "Exactly".] The problem is that clairvoyance is an illusion, a fantasy. As far as anyone really knows, it does not exist. [See "Clairvoyance".] This knocks the props out from under Steiner's teachings. And if Steiner's teachings collapse, this, in turn, knocks the props out from under Waldorf education. There is no rational basis for Waldorf education. [See "Oh Humanity".] 

3. Waldorf schools do, indeed, aim to work upon the "whole child." But what, precisely, do they mean by this? In practice, the "holistic" Waldorf approach means de-emphasizing brainwork and intellect while stressing other capacities. The whole child, in Anthroposophy, is a reincarnated being who has three invisible bodies, twelve senses, both a soul and a spirit, an aura, a "temperament," a karma, an astrological sign, a spiritual significant racial identity, and so on: The Waldorf conception of the "whole child" is deeply occult. [See "Holistic Education".]

4. Waldorf schools almost always deny that they are religious institutions. And yet the "article" in the Shawnee Mission Post says that Waldorf education aims to foster "spiritual well-being in students." This is a tip-off. The truth is that Waldorf schools care far more about children's spirits than anything else. Waldorf schools are religious academies in which the spiritual vision — the central faith — is the religion called Anthroposophy. [See "Schools as Churches".] If you want to let Anthroposophists have a major say in your child's "spiritual well-being," then a Waldorf school may be the right choice for your family. But if not, then not. — RR

December 7

- III - 

[Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006]

As Christmas approaches, we would do well to consider some of the spiritual teachings conveyed to students in Waldorf schools. This will lay a basis for understanding Christmas as observed in Waldorf schools.

Waldorf education, especially in the lower grades, includes extensive exposure to the Waldorf belief system, Anthroposophy. Much of this exposure comes in the form of stories that, to the unwary, may seem innocuous. Here, for instance, is a Waldorf account of the first day of Creation. It bears only a slight resemblance to any account found in the Bible; it is fundamentally Anthroposophical.

“As God Father sat upon his throne, he called out seven words through heaven. The seven colors of the rainbow appeared and shone in seven circles around his throne ... Behind the rainbow, majestic fire angels lifted a great cloud curtain, revealing a hall of heaven that had never been seen before. In the hallway were thousands upon thousands of sleeping souls, countless as the stars in heaven ... The fire-angels lowered the curtail and opened the gate of heaven ... Light began to shine, to blaze and sparkle brightly. The darkness withdrew to the depths. Fire-angels stripped flames from their garments, and the new world grew warm. It bubbled and flamed and flashed. Thunder rumbled and rolled so loudly that the evil spirits in the deep huddled in fear. Above them the angels’ eyes, like a thousand suns, sparkled from the bright light of the first day of creation.” — Jakob Streit, AND THERE WAS LIGHT (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006), p. 13. 

Author Jakob Streit describes the purpose of his book this way: 

"This collection of stories and descriptions is the result of the author's work over a period of years introducing children in the lower grades to the world of the Old Testament ... If one succeeds in letting the reality of nature grow out of the divine, colorful background of a world creation, then awe, reverence, and love of nature can blossom ... It is hoped that [these stories] with touch the children's hearts and feelings...." — Ibid., p. 109.

Waldorf schools usually claim to be nonsectarian and nondenominational. Yet Waldorf students are told religious story after religious story. These stories create and reinforce the spiritual atmosphere in Waldorf classrooms — an atmosphere that is distinctly Anthroposophical. Here is a brief examination of terms and concepts found in the Creation story, above:

◊ "God Father" is a distinct Anthroposophical formulation. This is not God the Father or Jehovah, but an amorphous ground of being, the Godhead. [See "God".] According to Steiner, "God the Father" is only a distant ideal, while Jehovah is a lowly god, one of many. [See "Polytheism" and "Genesis".]

◊ Anthroposophy is a polytheistic faith, with vast numbers of gods, including "fire angels." Many Waldorf stories condition children to accept polytheism. [See "Polytheism".] 

◊ There are no references to "fire angels" in the Bible, but in Anthroposophical doctrine fire angels or "fire spirits" are gods two levels above man, and they played a major role in the Creation. [See "Polytheism".] Waldorf students receive such lessons in stories like this one. 

◊ As for the number seven — there are no references to this number in Genesis 1 or 2, save for reference to the seventh day of creation. In Anthroposophy, however, seven is a magic number — Steiner called it the number of perfection. [See "Magic Numbers".] Steiner taught that there will be seven main stages of human evolution, and there are seven planetary spheres (seven circles), and the human constitution has seven members, and children mature in seven-year-long periods, and, and... Here, Waldorf students are introduced to the importance of the number seven.

◊ The reference to thunder is at least an oblique reference to Thor, the Norse god of thunder. Steiner identified Thor as a real god, one who played a leading role in human evolution. Waldorf students hear a great deal about Thor. [See "The Gods".] 

◊ As for "evil spirits in the deep," both the Bible and Anthroposophy speak of evil spirits. [See "Evil Ones".] In the Bible, their home is Hell. Anthroposophy rejects the Biblical description of Hell. Instead, according to Waldorf belief, evil beings are consigned to the "abyss" — the deep chasm separating Earth from the higher worlds. [See "Hell" and "Higher Worlds".] In this story, Waldorf students are told of evil spirits huddled in such a chasm or "deep."

This story, like many of the others told to young Waldorf students, presents Anthroposophical concepts in an apparently, approximately acceptable form. Young children may absorb these concepts and be heavily influenced by them for the rest of their lives. Indeed, this is the purpose of such stories told in Waldorf schools. — RR

[To be continued]

December 6


Some help-wanted ads placed by Waldorf schools in the USA during the last couple of days:

◊ City of Lakes Waldorf School [Minneapolis, Minnesota] is seeking a fully qualified and inspired class teacher to join our faculty as a grades teacher for the 2018-19 school year. Qualified candidates will have a college degree, Waldorf teaching training and experience in the classroom, and will have developed a strong commitment to Waldorf education … We are seeking individuals who are committed to excellence in teaching, parent education and dialogue, self-development, collegial cooperation and to working out of Anthroposophy….  [12/5/2017  http://jobs.waldorftoday.com/job/83696/grades-teacher-at-city-of-lakes-waldorf-school/]

◊ Cedarwood Waldorf School [Portland, Oregon] is searching for a qualified and experienced first grade teacher for the 2018-19 school year. Please submit your resume … We have a strong, talented faculty that works hard to support one another and consciously represent Waldorf education to our school community and beyond … Portland is also home to a rich anthroposophical community that includes several Waldorf schools, anthroposophical doctors and a branch of the Anthroposophical Society….  [12/5/2017   http://jobs.waldorftoday.com/job/83691/grade-one-teacher-2018-19-at-ccedarwood-waldorf-school/]

◊ Tucson Waldorf School [Tucson, Arizona] is seeking a grades class teacher for the 2018-19 school year to join our dedicated faculty. A successful candidate will be a Waldorf certified teacher or an experienced teacher who is close to completing an accredited Waldorf training program ... We are a full member school of AWSNA [the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America]. Our strong, experienced faculty is committed to continuous growth and improvement, and our pedagogy is strongly rooted in Anthroposophy....  [12/4/2017   http://jobs.waldorftoday.com/job/83678/grades-class-teacher-for-2017-18-at-tucson-waldorf-school/]

Waldorf schools sometimes hire teachers who are not deeply committed Anthroposophists — they sometimes hire teachers from outside the Waldorf / Anthroposophical universe. But they generally avoid this, if at all possible. They generally strive to abide by Rudolf Steiner’s admonition:

“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.

Thus, Waldorf spokesfolks sometimes openly affirm the supremacy of Anthroposophy in Waldorf education:

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

When addressing outsiders, Waldorf schools almost always claim that they do not teach Anthroposophy to the students. In a technical sense, this denial is often true: The schools usually do not lay out Anthroposophical doctrines, chapter and verse, and require the students to memorize these. On the other hand, Anthroposophy is distinctly present in all real Waldorf schools — it pervades almost everything that is done in the schools.

Here is how Rudolf Steiner put the matter, when addressing Waldorf teachers:

“You need to make the children [i.e., Waldorf students] aware that they are receiving the objective truth, and if this occasionally appears anthroposophical, it is not anthroposophy that is at fault. Things are that way [in a Waldorf School] because anthroposophy has something to say about objective truth. It is the material that causes what is said to be anthroposophical. We certainly may not go to the other extreme, where people say that anthroposophy may not be brought into the school. Anthroposophy will be in the school when it is objectively justified, that is, when it is called for by the material itself.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 495.

Anthroposophy will be in the school. How often will it be present? How often will its presence be “justified”? Since Anthroposophists believe that their doctrines are the great, universal Truth underlying all other knowledge, they think that the presence of Anthroposophy will be “justified” at virtually every point in every subject studied in Waldorf schools. Waldorf teachers who are “true Anthroposophists” may be circumspect about injecting their beliefs into the subjects they teach — but they will inject them.

Anthroposophy will be in the school. Parents thinking of sending their children to Waldorf schools certainly should understand this. This is the fundamental reality about Waldorf schools. Anthroposophy will be in the school.

[For more on these matters, see, e.g., “Spiritual Agenda”, “Sneaking It In”, “Here’s the Answer”, and “Indoctrination”.] — RR

December 5

- II -

Christmas is different in the Anthroposophical universe. Here is a new book, now available from the Rudolf Steiner Press:

And the Birth of Jesus
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2017)

From the publisher:

...In this freshly-collated anthology of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, complemented with illuminating commentary by editor Margaret Jonas, we are offered solutions to the riddles surrounding Jesus’s birth and the seemingly conflicting accounts within Christian scripture. Could there have been two different births – in other words, two infants, both named Jesus, born to two sets of parents?

From the mystery of the birth, we are led to a study of the three wise men – who are mentioned in only one of the four Gospel accounts. Who were they, what was their teaching, and what was the meaning of the star they followed? And, why did they offer gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus? THE THREE WISE MEN offers solutions to the enigma of the identity and spiritual backgrounds of these magisterial figures and also provides suggestions as to their possible future roles in the drama of human development....

Waldorf Watch Response:

Steiner did, indeed, teach there there were two Jesuses. [See the item, below, from Dec. 1: "A WALDORF CHRISTMAS - I -".] Perhaps the important point to grasp, now, is that Steiner's follower's still believe him on this point (as on virtually all other points). Thus, we find statements such as the following, coming out of Anthroposophical circles in recent years:

◊ "Rudolf Steiner casts a clarifying light on the diverse and irreconcilable contradictions between the accounts given in the four Gospels of the life and teachings of Jesus. If the information in the Gospels is related not to one but to two different Jesus children, many contradictions in the story disappear ... The Jesus child mentioned in the Gospel of St Matthew descends from the royal line of King Solomon, whereas the Jesus child in the Gospel of St Luke descends from Nathan the priest ... [T]he two Jesus children merged at a certain stage, to create the body in which Christ [i.e., the Sun God] could incarnate...." — Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 63. 

◊ "Nathan Jesus [was] an immaculate and pure soul whose one and only physical incarnation was as Jesus of Nazareth ... Solomon Jesus...was a reincarnation of Zoroaster. In turn, Zoroaster was a reincarnation of Zarathustra ... He was a bodhisattva [an enlightened being], who...helped prepare humanity for the subsequent descent into incarnation of Ahura Mazda, the cosmic Sun Spirit...Christ." — Robert Powell, JOURNAL FOR STAR WISDOM 2016 (SteinerBooks, 2015), pp. 233-234.

◊ "The two [Jesus] children were very different ... The Solomon Jesus was clever in a worldly sense...the Nathan boy was untalented in the intellectual sense but blessed with an unusual kindness of heart ... The Zarathustra individuality who had lived in the body of the Solomon Jesus transferred [his essence] to the Nathan boy and became, so to speak, the ego of this person. The new ego then worked within this physical frame [i.e., the body of the Nathan Jesus] to make it capable of receiving the Being of Christ. The relinquished body of the Solomon Jesus died soon thereafter...." — Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER: An Introduction to his Spiritual World-view, Anthroposophy (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), pp. 232-233.

As for the three wise men, otherwise known as the three kings or the three Magi, what was their "wisdom"? In a word, astrology. Let's consult Steiner himself on these occult matters:

◊ “[T]he old, real, and genuine Astrology expresses itself in the destinies of men.” — Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIANISM AND MODERN INITIATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1965), lecture 3, GA 233a.

◊ “For as what man is today stands written in the heavenly spaces in the writing of the constellations of the stars, so stands written there too what is yet to happen with him. This is the ground of true astrology. You will see at once, from what we have been considering, that you really only need to know occultism and you have at the same time the root principle of astrology.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN IN THE LIGHT OF OCCULTISM, THEOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 9, GA 137.

◊ "The story of the three Kings or Magi points to the existence of an ancient lore of the stars, an ancient knowledge of the secrets of the worlds of stars in which the secrets of happenings in the world of men were also revealed. This ancient lore of the stars was very different from our modern astronomical science ... What plays with a higher significance into man's inner life from beyond space and time, but into the world of space and time, was read by an ancient star-lore from the courses and movements of the stars, and it was this star-wisdom that formed the essential content of the science belonging to an earlier epoch. Men sought in the stars for explanations of what was happening on the earth." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1967), I, Christmas, lecture 5, GA 203.

Christmas is different in the Anthroposophical universe. We will doubtless return to this point as Christmas approaches. — RR

December 4


The racism embedded in Anthroposophy poses a continuing problem for advocates of Waldorf education. We might hope that 21st-century Anthroposophists would distance themselves from Rudolf Steiner’s racism, and indeed some have done so. But, troublingly, many have moved in the opposite direction, defending Steiner’s teachings on race, and thereby reaffirming those teachings. One result is that at least some segments of the Anthroposophical community have forged ties to the far right.

Here are excerpts from a message on these matters posted Dec. 3 by historian Peter Staudenmaier at the Waldorf Critics list:

[B]ack in October I posted a couple messages about the increasing visibility of openly far-right Waldorf proponents in Germany, in particular Caroline Sommerfeld, whose writings in defense of Steiner's racial doctrines have been promoted by prominent mainstream Waldorf figures. One of the more striking examples of Sommerfeld's patrons is Lorenzo Ravagli, editor of Erziehungskunst, the central periodical of the Waldorf movement. Comparing German and North American contexts is always tricky, but this would be a little bit like officials of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America adopting a well-known alt-right ideologue as their own. 

Sommerfeld's synthesis of anthroposophy and the far right continues to gain attention in German-speaking Europe….

…For those among Steiner's followers who don't want to see their movement devolve into a plaything for xenophobes, nationalists, populists and authoritarians, it will take more than pretty words to change the momentum of anthroposophy's right wing. What is needed is an honest and historically informed reckoning with the continuing legacy of Steiner's racial teachings and a critical confrontation with their resonance in today's world. 

Staudenmaier is an associate professor of history at Marquette University. He focuses on modern European history, including the history of Anthroposophy and the Waldorf movement. His publications include BETWEEN OCCULTISM AND NAZISM: Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era (Brill, 2014).

To investigate Anthroposophical racism and its echoes in the Waldorf movement, you might consult the following:

December 3


From The Examiner [Tasmania, Australia]:

A different way to learn: 
Tamar Valley Steiner school 
two years on from launching

[by] Lucy Stone

From little things, big things grow.

A playgroup becomes a kindergarten, a kindergarten a primary school.

And, hopefully, in the near future, that primary school could become a high school.

Tamar Valley Steiner School opened for the first term of 2016 as a natural extension of the Rainbow Garden Steiner playgroup, with eight pupils commencing their formal education under the Steiner system.

Just two years later, the school has 42 pupils....

The Steiner education system is focused on learning through play, breaking down the structural demands of English, maths, geography, art, science into more free-form ideas of learning through doing....

The first Steiner school was founded in 1919, based upon the philosophy of its namesake Rudolf Steiner – the system is also known as Waldorf, with more than a thousand schools now operating world-wide....

Waldorf Watch Response:

This article gives a reasonably accurate account of the way many Waldorf schools develop — incrementally, starting small and aiming to grow; adding higher grades as the first students mature; and hoping to attract new students along the way. Sometimes the process works, and a full-fledged Waldorf school may result. In other cases, a new school may stall, remaining small but surviving. And then again, sometimes things go badly amiss, and a new, little school blinks out of existence. Clearly, the future of a school currently having a total enrollment of just 42 kids is very much up in the air.

Articles like "A Different Way to Learn" are usually of interest only to local readers; folks far away may take little notice. The writers of these pieces often aim to produce what amount to local boosterism, giving chirpy, upbeat narratives of local enterprises. What, if anything, should we make of them?

We probably should not ignore them. If nothing else, they contribute to the impression that the Waldorf movement is large and expanding ("with more than a thousand schools now operating world-wide"). At a minimum, we should ask whether an article of this sort penetrates beneath the surface to any degree.

This article — like so many of its kind — seems not to penetrate at all. For instance, although the article is fairly long, the word "Anthroposophy" appears nowhere in it. [1] Nor is there any reference to the incarnation of invisible bodies, a key concept and concern for Waldorf faculties. [2] Nor is there any reference to the religious practices in Waldorf schools, such as the prayers that students and teachers usually recite in unison at the start of each day. [3]

Instead, we are told that Waldorf schools arise from the "philosophy" of Rudolf Steiner. The truth is that Steiner was not a philosopher but a mystic; his belief system is an occult, gnostic religion, not a "philosophy." [4] These truths, if included in the article, would put things in a rather different light. The result would be a truer account of Waldorf education.

We cannot expect every reporter who writes about Waldorf education to know the subject well. But if you are considering a Waldorf school for your child, you should do your best to understand precisely what you would be letting your child in for. [5] — RR

[1] Anthroposophy (an-throw-POS-oh-fee) provides the basis for Waldorf education. [See "Oh Humanity".] It is a new-age religion concocted by Rudolf Steiner, drawing principally from Theosophy. [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?" and "Basics".]

[2] Virtually everything at Waldorf schools is geared to the incarnation of three invisible bodies: the etheric body at around age 7, the astral body around age 14, and the ego body around age 21. [See "Incarnation".]

[3] See "Prayers".

[4] See "Occultism", "Everything", and the entry for "Anthroposophy" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.

[5] See, e.g., "Here's the Answer" and "Advice for Parents".

Concerning Waldorf pedagogy (which the article describes casually — and vaguely — as "free-form ideas of learning through doing"), see "The Waldorf Curriculum" and "Methods".

December 3


A letter posted at the Research Institute for Waldorf Education, replying to an article ("Their Report Cards Are a Lie") published in Castanet [see the item posted at Waldorf Watch, Nov. 26, 2017]:

I wish to address “Their report cards are a lie” from the Nov. 24 Castanet article and offer another perspective on Waldorf education. Having had four children attend Waldorf schools both in Canada and Australia, I offer valid testimony to the education as a system that offers solid instruction from the ground up.

Waldorf education does not follow the same linear path as the public schools, [but] the paths converge by the third grade. Children in every system of education will read at varying levels. Math is taught early and reading is taught through a series of speech, song and verse, fine motor skill work such as knitting and drawing, writing, and then reading the written word. As an Early Childhood Educator, my college text books [sic] attest to the fact that this is indeed the way to teach reading to children. Just like building a house, when the foundation is strong, the rest can stand upon it.

Math, science, social studies, language arts, reading and writing. My children were taught all of these subjects and have gone on to be honour students in university. Academically, they are strong. While this is important, it is not as important to me as the human beings they have become. Waldorf education gave our family more than just book smarts. They were taught languages, art, music, handwork and sense of humanity. My young adults are competent, confident, three dimensional thinkers. Their public high school teachers commented on this constantly. Like so many students who attend Waldorf schools all over the world, they will shake your hand, look you in the eye, and give depth and meaning to conversations, their work, and to their lives.

I would send them there [i.e., to Waldorf schools] over and over again [sic]. Please do your own research. Learn more. Make responsible decisions having explored all credible sources.

[by] Christopher Janko

Waldorf Watch Response:

Any criticism directed at Waldorf education is almost certain to draw a flurry of rebuttals and retorts. Sometimes these responses are angry, sometimes they are modulated; sometimes they are voluntary messages offered by individuals having no direct ties to the Waldorf movement, sometimes they are part of a coordinated public-relations counteroffensive orchestrated by groups within the Waldorf movement.

Certainly, to reach your own conclusions about Waldorf, you should consider all the evidence and arguments provided by the various parties who have taken informed positions on the matter. There can be reasonable differences of opinion, and we might hope there can be reasonable discussion.

Some Waldorf schools are likely to be better than others. Some students may thrive in the Waldorf system, while others may be badly harmed. While academic standards have often been low in Waldorf schools, they need not always be low. And, then, it is important to realize that outstanding alumni may emerge from almost any school of any type, good or bad. The most important factors, often, are the innate qualities of the students themselves, and the support, love, and guidance they receive from their parents. The influence of teachers, and the effects of particular instructional methods, often pale by comparison.

But the overriding issue concerning Waldorf is somewhat different. Waldorf schools exist, ultimately, to promote the religion called Anthroposophy. The schools nudge kids and their families toward Anthroposophy — which is mystical, occult, polytheistic, and pagan. The ultimate question parents needs to consider, when thinking about Waldorf, is whether they are comfortable with this ultimate, religious goal of Waldorf schools. [See, e.g., "Here's the Answer", "Spiritual Agenda", and "Sneaking It In".]

It is easy to find testimonials that make Waldorf seem excellent. But it is also easy to find testimonials that relate horrific Waldorf experiences. The latter should at least give us pause. Why do so many people reel away from Waldorf feeling aggrieved and pained? [See, e.g., "Cautionary Tales".]

Christopher Janko is surely correct when he urges you to explore "all credible sources." Deciding which sources are credible can be difficult, but it can be crucial, and it rests with you. [For some assistance, you might consult "Advice for Parents" and "Clues". To review some of the attractions of Waldorf schooling, see "Upside". To consider how much weight to give to the successes attained by some Waldorf graduates, see the section "Waldorf Graduates" on that page. As for the poise and self-regard that Waldorf schools sometimes foster in at least some students, see "Mistreating Kids Lovingly".] — RR

December 2


Tomorrow, December 3, is the beginning of Advent — the celebration of the coming, or second coming, of Christ. Although Waldorf schools almost always deny that they are religious institutions, Advent is one of the many religious observances found in these schools. On the surface, of course, the religion involved in any observance of Advent would seem to be Christianity. But the religion at Waldorf schools is in fact Anthroposophy [1], which honors Christ not as the Son of God, per se, but as the Sun God — the divinity presiding over the Sun who, Anthroposophists believe, incarnated in a human body for three years. [2]

The primary Advent ceremony held at Waldorf schools is the "Advent Spiral," also known by such names as "Winter Spiral," "Spiral of Light,", etc. Here is part of a description, posted by one Waldorf school:

Winter Spiral and the Meaning of Advent

By: Sara Logan from the Festival Committee Archives

Winter Spiral is a festival that is unique in our calendar of the year. There are no presentations by the grades, no speeches by the administration. Instead, we sit in silence in a darkened room, listening for a song sung by a single voice as a candle is lit in the center of a spiral of evergreen boughs, a symbol of life amidst the dead of winter. Then, as quiet music plays, each child in turn takes a candle into the center of that spiral and lights it, then places the candle in an apple along the path. The lights brighten the path for those who come after. Each child walks alone, at his or her own pace, in his or her own way.

...The word “Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.” It is used in the Christian tradition to refer to the four Sundays before Christmas, when people prepare for the birth of the Christ child. However, this seasonal observance has been kept by people around the world from all paths and beliefs; as autumn gives way to winter, we prepare for the return of the sun, the lengthening of days, and for the insights that we can gain from reflection on the year that has been and on what may be to come.

In Waldorf schools, for many years, children of all backgrounds have participated in the month-long observance of the rebirth of the light through songs, stories, craft activities, and the Winter Spiral festival. 

The ties between Christianity and Anthroposophy — and the differences between these faiths — are complex. [3] Sometimes the figure of Christ stands at the focal point of Waldorf ceremonies, but sometimes Christ is hidden. Often, the many roots of Anthroposophy, extending into many faiths other than Christianity, are emphasized. [4] And an effort is often made to disguise the religious nature of Waldorf ceremonies altogether. Waldorf schools are often secretive about their real purposes [5], and even committed members of the Waldorf community may sometimes be uncertain about these purposes. Self-deception is a major problem within the Waldorf movement. [6]

To understand the fundamentally religious nature of the spiral ceremony in a Waldorf school, consider the emotional impact the event is likely to have on a young child: In a darkened room, in a mood of solemnity, the child proceeds along a spiral path. To the accompaniment of quiet music, the child carries a candle to a central flame, lights the candle, and then — reversing direction along the spiral — quietly places the lit candle in a selected spot amid a glowing, curved series of candles.

Here is the account of Advent and the spiral ceremony written by a Waldorf teacher for an Anthroposophical reference book:

"Advent ... Ample attention is paid to this period in Waldorf schools. On the Monday morning after each Advent Sunday, pupils gather in the school hall to sing Advent songs [7] about the forthcoming birth of Jesus [8] ... In [Waldorf] nursery schools [9], an Advent spiral of fir branches is laid out on the floor. Accompanied by lyre music [10], each child in turn walks through this spiral and lights a candle at the center of the spiral. The burning candles are placed in the spiral thus creating a beautiful, luminous spiral on the floor ... The whole sequence [of Advent events] represents an evolution towards the arrival of the highest possible human potential — the human being's higher 'I' [11] — with which Christ can unite through his own descent to earth. [12]"  — Henk van Oort. [13]

Waldorf Watch Footnotes

[2] See "Sun God".

[4] Anthroposophy is essentially an amalgam of other religions, much like its predecessor in Steiner's life: Theosophy. [See "Basics".]

[5] See "Secrets".

[6] Proponents of Waldorf education sometimes intend to mislead others about the nature of the Waldorf worldview; but sometimes they deceive themselves. [See, e.g., "Why? Oh Why?"]

[7] These are, in essence, hymns. Many prayers and hymns are recited and sung in Waldorf schools. [See "Prayers - Also Hymns".]

[8] According to Anthroposophical doctrine, there were actually two Jesus children who merged to become the host for the incarnating Sun God. [See the story, below: Dec. 1, "A WALDORF CHRISTMAS -I-".]

[9] Sometimes the ceremonies are restricted to Waldorf nursery schools — where the emotional impact on very young children will be great — but often older students are also involved. [See, e.g., "Magical Arts".]

[10] This detail is variable. Other instruments may be used, or the music may be sung. But lyre music is particularly apt for a celebration of the Sun God. In Greek mythology, the Sun God — Apollo — had a lyre, given to him by Hermes.

[11] This is the higher component of one's divine selfhood, according to Waldorf belief. [See the entry for "Higher I" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

[12] According to Rudolf Steiner, the Sun God descended to Earth to create the correct trajectory for human evolution. By becoming human, the Sun God made himself the prototype for correct human spiritual development. [See "Prototype".]

[13] Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 3.

December 2


Mbagathi Rudolf Steiner School 
in funding crisis

By NNA staff

NAIROBI (NNA) – The Mbagathi Waldorf School in Kenya is in a serious financial crisis following a significant drop in sponsorship this year and last year.

“Our sponsorship income dropped significantly in 2016 and the same trend is noted in 2017...” the school says.

...As a school which caters for underprivileged children from very poor backgrounds, the Nairobi school offers its pupils two warm meals a day and the deficit corresponds to the cost of these meals....

The school has therefore launched an urgent “Meals Appeal” to cover the cost of the meals....

But the issue is a more fundamental one. Funding is needed for the long-term stability of the school and it is the significant fall in sponsorship since 2016 with no sign of a change next year either which underlies the problem: “We have to raise our income in general....

The Mbagathi Waldorf School plays an important role in the whole of East Africa. Over the years the school has worked to strengthen and support Waldorf development in the region. One of its achievements has been to develop the “East African Association Committee”, a body which supports cooperation between the East African Waldorf initiatives and works on future strategy for the development of Steiner/Waldorf education in East Africa.

The Mbagathi school also runs a teacher training course...and organises conferences and workshops.

December 1

- I - 

From News Shopper [Buckinghamshire, UK]:

Greenwich Steiner School 

to transform into gnome grotto 

for Christmas

Stepping inside this Christmas grotto inside school in Blackheath will truly be like stepping through the looking glass once the display opens.

Michael Beverley has worked for the past nine years on making the ultimate grotto that can turn the room into an enchanted homeland for gnomes.

Part of Greenwich Steiner School’s Enchanted Winter Fair, Michael will work with parents at the school over the course of 16 hours to transform the classroom into the Gnome Grotto.

Michael said: “I have literally spent hundreds of hours creating the features. When children and adults enter the grotto, I want them to feel like they've been transported to another world, no longer bounded by the four walls of the classroom.

“Last year a friend’s child was convinced that the holo-gnome was real and asked me where on earth did I manage to find a real live gnome.…”

The fair takes place at the Blackheath school on December 3….

Waldorf Watch Response:

You may be surprised to find a Waldorf school associating Christmas with gnomes. The central figure of Christmas celebrations is usually the Christ child, of course. Or, when religion is de-emphasized, Yuletide festivities may feature Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, or a reindeer named Rudolf…

But gnomes?

If we identify gnomes with Santa's elves, then perhaps creating a "gnome grotto" to celebrate Christmas might make some sense. But let's widen our focus. The fact is, Waldorf schools put emphasis on gnomes year-round. And the reason is startling. Rudolf Steiner’s followers believe that gnomes are real. Gnomes really exist. [1] 

Steiner taught that gnomes are "nature spirits" or "elemental beings" — they are incorporeal entities dwelling within nature. Steiner accepted the ancient belief that there are four fundamental "elements" — earth, air, fire, and water. Each element is the abode of one type of nature spirit. Gnomes dwell within the earth, sylphs dwell in the air, "salamanders" or fire spirits dwell in fire, and undines dwell within water. [2]

All of this might seem like quaint, old-time superstition or mythology. But Steiner took it all seriously, and his followers today continue to take it seriously. Thus, we find Anthroposophists making statements such as the following:

◊ “The names of the [nature] spirits are gnomes, undines, sylphs and salamanders ... To be aware of them, the special faculty of spiritual vision [i.e., clairvoyance] is necessary.” — Roy Wilkinson. [3] 

◊ "Until quite recently this faculty [clairvoyance] 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." — Stewart C. Easton. [4] 

◊ “[F]our sorts of elementary creatures are dominant [in various regions]. These beings...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.” — Kees Zoeteman. [5]

Belief in gnomes is one doctrine of the Waldorf religion, Anthroposophy. When Waldorf schools emphasize gnomes (there are stories about gnomes, paintings of gnomes, little statues of gnomes...), they are subtly bringing the religion of Anthroposophy into the classroom. [6] True-believing Waldorf teachers think they should encourage kids to believe in “real live gnomes” — this is a preliminary step toward inducting the kids into the Anthroposophical faith. [7] 

But let's refocus on Christmas. As you may already have gathered, Christmas in Waldorf schools is different from Christmas almost anywhere else. Gnomes are the least of it.

In its traditional form, Christmas is, of course, the celebration of the birth of Christ. Christians believe that a baby named Jesus was born, and he grew up to become the Christ, the Savior of mankind.

Anthroposophical teachings are different. For one thing, Christ is not Jesus. Christ, according to Rudolf Steiner, is the Sun God — the god who has dwelt within, and controlled, the Sun. This is the same god whom ancient peoples worshipped under such names as "Apollo." 

”[W]hen the Greek uttered the name of Apollo he was indeed referring to the being which later was revealed as the Christ, but he could only conceive of it in a kind of veiled form, as Apollo.” — Rudolf Steiner. [8]

In the Anthroposophical account, the Sun God descended to Earth and incarnated — for just three years — in the body of a human being named "Jesus." If we expend a little effort, we can reconcile this account (more or less) with standard Christian beliefs. But wait. Anthroposophists believe that there were actually two Jesus children. One of these children was the reincarnation of Zarathustra, while the other embodied the spiritual essence of Buddha. When the two Jesus children merged, they became the receptacle for the incarnated Sun God. [9]

◊ “[T]wo Jesus children were born. One was descended from the so-called Nathan line of the House of David, the other from the Solomon line. These two children grew up side by side. In the body of the Solomon child lived the soul of Zarathustra. In the twelfth year of the child's life this soul passed over into the other Jesus child and lived in that body until its thirtieth year ... And then, only from the thirtieth year onward, there lived in this body the Being Whom we call the Christ, Who remained on earth altogether for three years.” — Rudolf Steiner. [10] 

◊ “[N]ot one but two Jesus-children were born ... The important thing is to understand clearly what kind of beings these two children were. Occult investigation [i.e., clairvoyance]] shows that the individuality who was in the Solomon Jesus-child was none other than Zarathustra ... Buddha forces permeated the astral body of the Nathan Jesus-child.” — Rudolf Steiner. [11]

A Waldorf Christmas is different from almost any other kind of Christmas. [12] We will undoubtedly return to this point — and expand upon it — during our review of additional Waldorf "news" items during the month of December. — RR

[1] See "Gnomes".

[2] See "Neutered Nature".

[3] Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 90.

[4] Stewart C. Easton, THE WAY OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985), p. 37.

[5] Kees Zoeteman, GAIASOPHY (Lindisfarne, Anthroposophic Press, 1991), p. 209.

[6] This is just one way Anthroposophy is subtly promoted in Waldorf schools. [See "Sneaking It In".] 

[7] See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"  Bringing kids to Anthroposophy is the ultimate aim of Waldorf education, but the process is subtle and slow. [See "Spiritual Agenda" and "Indoctrination".] Generally, the objective is to set the kids' feet on the path toward spiritual truth (Anthroposophy), but not to expect the children to arrive at full allegiance to Anthroposophy until sometime during their adult years. Still, the religion of Anthroposophy is usually pervasive, just below the surface at Waldorf schools — and sometimes it emerges into clear view. [See, e.g., "Waldorf Worship".]

[8] Rudolf Steiner, THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1940), lecture 6, GA 113.

[10] Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BHAGAVAD GITA (Anthroposophic Press, 1968), p. 59. 

[11] Rudolf Steiner, FROM JESUS TO CHRIST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), pp. 133-136.

[12] Steiner did not create his doctrines out of whole cloth; he drew from various occult traditions, predominantly Theosophy and gnostic Christianity. [See "Basics" and "Gnosis".]

December 1


From the Chico Enterprise-Record [California, USA]:

Audit finds possible financial fraud 
at Blue Oak Charter School

A former Blue Oak Charter School administrator is alleged to have used school credit cards to purchase weapons, movies and clothing, according to an audit conducted by the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team.

...The 380-student Waldorf school experienced significant financial challenges in recent years and was over budget for several years and struggling with cash flow, Executive Director Susan Domenighini said.

The board became concerned that something “wasn’t right,” and approached Chico Unified School District, the agency tasked with overseeing the school, for additional support and eventually asked the Butte County Office of Education request that FCMAT conduct an Extraordinary Audit.

The findings of that audit, released earlier this month, indicate there may have been misuse of school funds on the part of the former school executive director and noted that “deficiencies and exceptions” and the school’s internal control environment increased “the probability of fraud, mismanagement and/or misappropriation of funds.”

...Interviews conducted by the team also indicated that the school’s former business manager may have used school accounts to order materials used to manufacture items that were later sold to the community during fundraisers, and those interviewed suggested those materials may have been used for items the business manager sold for her own personal fundraising efforts.

...Butte County Office of Education Superintendent Tim Taylor...praised the school for bringing attention to its financial issues.

...Blue Oak Charter has changed or expanded some of its financial policies...addressing some of the deficiencies brought up in the audit report, and its financial outlook has improved.

[downloaded 12/1/2017; article published 11/30   http://www.chicoer.com/article/NA/20171130/NEWS/171139970]

[R.R., 2017.]