WALDORF / STEINER 

NEWS ARCHIVE


February, 2018





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





February 27



BLOWING THE WHISTLE
EN FRANÇAIS 



A video of a talk by Waldorf whistleblower Grégoire Perra is now available online: "Conférence à Paris Diderot : Les arts anthroposophiques" {Conference in Paris Diderot: The Anthroposophic Arts}. It is, hélas, in French, and it comes in two parts:






Perra spent most of his life in and round Waldorf schools and other Anthroposophical institutions. After breaking away, he has published important, revelatory papers about the Waldorf and Anthroposophical movements. While his personal experiences with these movements occurred principally in France, much of what he has written is applicable wherever Waldorf schools exist today.

To read English translations of some of Perra's papers, see, e.g., "My Life Among the Anthroposophists", "He Went to Waldorf", and "Mistreating Kids Lovingly". 

— R.R.







 





February 26



VISITING AND COMPREHENDING  
WALDORF SCHOOLS 




From Ithaca.com [New York State, USA]:



Growing Up With Waldorf School

By Jaime Cone

On a recent Thursday morning the Ithaca Waldorf School (IWS) gave a tour of its facilities to about seven interested locals who, in the space of less than an hour, were treated to songs in French, Chinese dance, and the recitation of an ode to farmers. It was just another average morning at the school, which incorporates creativity into nearly every lesson.

With a new addition just completed in December, the Ithaca Waldorf School is now positioned to have a classroom for every grade level from kindergarten to eighth grade by fall of 2019, a scenario the school hasn’t seen since 2015. “We couldn’t have done that without the extra space, as our enrollment has almost doubled in the past three years” said Arabez Smith, assistant to the director and project coordinator of the new construction....

The school currently has 85 students, including those enrolled in the early childhood program, which is designed for children as young as three years old....

Part of the construction was the addition of the “Great Room,” a large, open room with wood floors and high ceilings where the school can hold assemblies and the students can perform plays. In the morning the children start their day by singing together in the room....

On Dec. 1, one of the first activities the students ever did in the Great Room was a winter spiral, a ritual where evergreen branches are laid on the floor in in spiral formation. As each child walks through the spiral he or she carries an apple with an unlit candle at the center. In the center the candle is lit, and the student walks back through the spiral again, the effect being that the room gradually becomes brighter and brighter....






Waldorf Watch Response:

A few comments on various matters may be in order.

1. Tours of Waldorf schools can be informative and even dazzling. But if you are told you are seeing "just another average morning at the school," you probably should be skeptical. You will be observing teachers and students who know they are being observed; quite possibly, they will have spent some time preparing to be observed. Waldorf schools, like all sorts of institutions everywhere, like to put on their best faces when visitors arrive. There's nothing necessarily nefarious about this, but you do need to bear it in mind. And you should realize, too, that Waldorf schools have a long history of concealing much from outsiders. For these reasons, a tour or two of a Waldorf school may not tell you much. [See, e.g., "Secrets" and "Visits".]

2. The Waldorf movement is international, and by some measures it is large. Many highly motivated Anthroposophists work hard to promote Waldorf education worldwide. There are about 1,100 Waldorf schools in the world. On the other hand, many Waldorf schools are tiny. Notice that the Ithaca Waldorf School, with its new, expanded facilities, has a grand total of 85 students. The school intends to expand further, if it can — just as most Waldorf schools do. But a typical Waldorf school is a fringe institution representing a fringe movement. You should consider this carefully before sending a child to a typical, small Waldorf school. Small schools have some advantages, but they also have some significant disadvantages. And these disadvantages can be magnified if a school is part of a fringe, mystical movement — as Waldorf schools are. [See, e.g., "Advice for Parents" and "Clues".]

3. Starting the day with song is a lovely idea. But you should know that, at a typical Waldorf school, many of these songs are hymns, and they are accompanied by prayers recited in unison by students and teachers. These prayers were written by Rudolf Steiner, and they contain elements of the Anthroposophical faith. While Waldorf representatives almost always deny it, the truth is that Waldorf schools are, generally speaking, disguised religious institutions, and their religion is Anthroposophy. [See, e.g., "Soul School" and "Schools as Churches". To read some Waldorf prayers and hymns, see "Prayers".]

4. The religious nature of Waldorf education infuses virtually everything that occurs at the schools. Consider the "winter spiral" ceremony conducted in the Ithaca great room. This event is common at Waldorf schools, and it is essentially a religious ritual. It is usually conducted in a darkened room, in a solemn, reverent manner. In truth, it is an observance of Advent. You may, of course, choose to send your child to a religious school. Many parents make this choice. But in the case of Waldorf schools, make sure you understand the sort of religion practiced there. And if you encounter a strange aura of denial within the school, masking the spirituality discernible within, put your guard up. If you suspect an effort at deception is being made, you may be right. [See such entries in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia as "Advent", "Spiral of Light", "denial", "secrecy", and "occult, occultism".] 

— R.R.






 





February 24



WALDORF'S 
FOUNDATIONS 




From The Newtown Bee [Connecticut, USA]:


‘Foundations Of Waldorf Education’ 
Talk Slated For February 28


Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, 1 Jacklin Road, is scheduled to host a “Foundations of Waldorf Education” talk on Wednesday, February 28, in its Compass Hall, from 7 to 9 pm.

Learn more about the foundations and fundamentals of Waldorf education from early childhood through high school from Sunbridge Institute Director of Education Anna Silber. [Sunbridge Institute is a Waldorf teacher-training institution.]

The event is open to the public, but it will be most relevant for new and prospective Waldorf community members (teachers, parents, grandparents, staff, board members) and lovers of education. This talk is designed to provide a survey of the basis and the basics of Waldorf Education.






Waldorf Watch Response:

Waldorf schools often host such events, which are typically conducted by visiting luminaries from within the Waldorf movement. Attending can be highly informative, especially if you come equipped with knowledge the speakers may not expect you to possess. The speakers will almost certainly describe Waldorf in the most affirmative terms. They will likely conceal much while intending to reveal only a little. But if you come prepared, you should be able to push for candor — and you will recognize when the answers offered are misleading. 

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, laid out "the foundations of Waldorf education" in a series of lectures he delivered to the faculty at the first Waldorf school. These lectures are available today in the book THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE - Foundations of Waldorf Education.*

Steiner told the teachers things that Waldorf spokesfolks usually don't reveal to outsiders. Here are a few:

1. Waldorf education is religious. Waldorf teachers seek to establish connections to the "spiritual worlds;" they work in the name of "the spiritual powers" — that is, the gods. 

“We can accomplish our work only if we [see it] as a moral spiritual task. Therefore, you will understand why, as we begin this work today, we first reflect on the connection we wish to create from the very beginning between our activity and the spiritual worlds ... [W]e wish to begin our preparation by first reflecting upon how we connect with the spiritual powers [i.e., gods] in whose service and in whose name each one of us must work.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE, Foundations of Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 33. 

2. Having established ties to the gods who inhabit the spiritual worlds, Waldorf teachers try to continue, here on Earth, the work the gods began on high. Specifically, the teachers want to continue molding the students as the gods molded them during the kids' previous lives in the spirit realm.

“We want to be aware that physical existence is a continuance of the spiritual, and that what we have to do in education is a continuation of what higher beings [i.e., gods] have done without our assistance. Our form of educating can have the correct attitude only when we are aware that our work with young people is a continuation of what higher beings have done before [the children's] birth." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE, p. 37.

3. The purpose of Waldorf education is not to teach the students. It is to help the students to incarnate properly, so that their souls and spirits fit their physical bodies.

“The task of education, understood in a spiritual sense, is to bring the soul-spirit into harmony with the temporal [i.e., physical] body. They must be brought into harmony and they must be tuned to one another because when the child is born into the physical world they do not yet properly fit each other. The task of the teacher is to harmonize these two parts [the soul-spirit and the physical body] to one another."— Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE, p. 39.

This is "the task of the teacher." Meditate upon that, please.

THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE contains many, many more surprises concerning "the foundations of Waldorf education." But just these first few tidbits may be enough to alert you. Waldorf education is, ultimately, suitable only for families who can embrace the religious doctrines of Anthroposophy.

Suggestion: Get a copy of THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE, read it well, mark the passages that strike you, and bring the book to the meeting. Ask about the passages you've marked. Insist on getting clear answers.

[For a guided tour through the book, with commentary by yrs. trly., see "Oh Humanity".]




Here's the chief point to absorb. Waldorf schools exist to enact the beliefs of a polytheistic religion, Anthroposophy. Waldorf teachers think they are serving the gods (plural: gods). Thus, during a faculty meeting, Steiner said this to the Waldorf faculty:

"[W]e are not here for our own sakes, but to carry out the divine cosmic plan. We should always remember that when we do something, we are actually carrying out the intentions of the gods.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 55.

FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER is another book you might want to study. [For a guided tour, see "Faculty Meetings".]




But, you might ask, do Waldorf teachers today still believe what Steiner and his followers believed nearly a century ago?

Yes, indeed.

Here, for instance, is a statement made pretty recently by an experienced Waldorf teacher:

“Waldorf education strives to create a place in which the highest beings [i.e., gods]...can find their home.” — Joan Almon, WHAT IS A WALDORF KINDERGARTEN? (SteinerBooks, 2007), p. 53.

And here is a pretty recent confirmation of the proposition that Waldorf teachers work to harmonize the kids' souls and spirits with their physical bodies:

“[E]ducation consists mainly in integrating the soul-spiritual members with the corporeal members." — Waldorf teacher Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1998), p. 68.

You should certainly consider attending a meeting called to discuss the foundations of Waldorf education. But you should probably do a little reading first. 

[For more on all this, see, e.g., "Here's the Answer". To consider the low importance Waldorf schools attach to actually teaching the students, see "Academic Standards at Waldorf". To probe into the polytheistic nature of Anthroposophy, see "Polytheism".] 

— R.R.


 The book is also available under the title STUDY OF MAN.











February 22



SUPPORT FOR WALDORF, 
AND CRITICISM 



From CBCNews [Edmonton, Canada]:


Cutting funding for private schools 
'short-sighted,' say supporters 
of alternative education

By Josee St-Onge


The Edmonton public school board's call to phase out funding for private schools is stirring up an old debate about the role of private education in Alberta.

Jane Huang's two daughters, Mia and Anya, receive their education at the Waldorf Independent School of Edmonton.

Huang told CBC News on Wednesday that Mia struggles in social situations, and has blossomed in the Waldorf environment, which she describes as less structured and more personalized than a typical school.

"I can already see that my kids will fail in the public school system," Huang said. "If you have a special needs kid, and you know the school will fail your kid, what would you do?"

On Tuesday, Edmonton public school trustees voted to ask the province to phase out funding for private schools and reinvest the money in public education. The board will now send a letter to Education Minister David Eggen asking for action on the issue....






Waldorf Watch Response:

Waldorf schools often have passionate defenders. When Waldorf schools apply to receive public financing, fervent Waldorf advocates often emerge to support the application. When governmental officials consider withdrawing support for Waldorf schools, fervent crusaders can again be expected to fight on Waldorf's behalf. 

Waldorf schools often orchestrate these pro-Waldorf campaigns, as is their right. And they usually have little difficulty finding volunteers to join their appeals. Some people truly, truly believe in Waldorf education.

Officials weighing these matters should certainly listen to arguments in favor of Waldorf. They should realize, however, that there is another side to the story. Many people who become involved with Waldorf schools reel away in anger and distress. Many feel that the schools inflict serious injuries on at least some of the children who are enrolled in them.

And some Waldorf critics say that Waldorf schools are especially hard on kids having special needs.

Public meetings called to make decisions about Waldorf schools will almost inevitably be packed with Waldorf advocates, rounded up by the Waldorf movement. But officials would be well advised to hear out the critics as well as the champions of Waldorf education.

To consider some accounts of distressing and damaging Waldorf experiences, see, e.g., "Cautionary Tales". To delve into the bizarre beliefs on which Waldorf is founded — beliefs that are often the cause of problems at Waldorf schools — see, e.g., "Oh Humanity". To investigate the Waldorf approach to special needs, see, eg., "Horoscopes" and the entry for "special needs" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia. Anyone wishing to form an informed judgment about Waldorf education to consider such material. 

— R.R.












February 20



WALDORF AND 
THE REAL WORLD  


From The Saratogian [Saratoga Springs, New York, USA]:


Waldorf students explore 
options through internships

Juniors at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs will spend at least a week exploring a profession through internship placements from as local as [sic] Saratoga Springs to as far [away as] the United Kingdom during the final half of February.

Required at the school, students research a professional field of their choice during a significant portion of their year. The research process includes exploring their own strengths and interests, interviewing professionals in their chosen field and securing and completing their internship. Workshops are required for the students to attend on subjects ranging from posture and body language to budgeting and goal-setting.

In mid-March, the project ends with students publicly present their internship experience.

This year’s group has been investigating fields ranging from psychology to communications to defense....






Waldorf Watch Response:

This would seem to be an admirably forward-looking effort by a Waldorf school. Such programs might help to offset the otherworldly tenor of Waldorf education, at least to some degree. One criticism often leveled at Waldorf schools is that they fail to prepare students for real lives in the real world. The problem arises principally from the fantastical belief system upon which Waldorf education is built: the occult religion called Anthroposophy.

Having students explore "their own strengths and weaknesses" during a "significant portion" of the junior year is admirable. And linking this to internships in chosen fields may certainly have benefits.

On the other hand, internships lasting just a week or so would seem to be far too short (the internships run for "at least a week"). Kids will gain little or no actual experience during such brief exposure to a field of work. Many schools nowadays focus far too much on preparing students for careers. Such schools threaten to become mere training facilities. The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs seems to avoid this error while possibly erring in the opposite direction.

Sometimes, when Waldorf schools implement apparently forward-thinking, real-world programs, these programs constitute a sort of disguise, hiding the spiritualistic, mystical nature of Waldorf education. As a result, these programs may be essentially hollow. 

Waldorf whistleblower Grégoire Perra reports the following exchange that occurred during legal proceedings in a French courtroom:

"Mrs. Y. testifies with the evident mission of proving that Steiner-Waldorf schools contribute to modern society by preparing students to enter the most prestigious institutions.

"Mrs. Y: 'I am a teacher in a Waldorf school in the south of France, where we have developed an original and deeply innovative apprenticeship program. We are at the heart of modernity! We work in partnership with over 200 leading companies, including CNRS [The National Center for Scientific Research]! This is proof that our Waldorf students fit into society perfectly!'

"[Defense] lawyer: 'But, realistically, what do your students learn about business in a six-month program taken at the age of 15?'

"Mrs. Y: 'Well... They do internships in garages or bakeries....'" [See "My Life Among the Anthroposophists, Part 3".]

Many students at The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs evidently find internships at more eminent facilities than local garages and bakeries. On the other hand, their internships are usually far shorter than six months. The actual value of such internships may be equally moot.

[To consider the actual nature of Waldorf education, see, e.g., "Oh Humanity — The Key to Waldorf" and "Waldorf Now". To delve into Anthroposophy, see, e.g., "Everything — Steiner's Big Picture", "Knowing the Worlds", and "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]


— R.R.















February 19



WHAT WALDORF IS NOT, 
AND WHAT IT IS 


From The Idaho Statesman [Idaho, USA]:


4 charter schools will open 
in Valley this fall. 
Is one of them right 
for your child?

[by] BY MARIA L. LA GANGA

[Laura] Henning is the executive director and guiding spirit behind Peace Valley Charter [a Waldorf charter school] ... Charters are public schools where parents can choose to send their children....

Unlike private Waldorf schools, Peace Valley is tuition-free. It was sanctioned by the Idaho Public Charter School Commission. It will start by offering kindergarten through sixth grade and later add seventh and eighth grades....

The Waldorf teaching philosophy was born nearly a century ago in Germany and appeals to Henning and other parents as much for what it is not as for what it is....






Waldorf Watch Response:

Many families back into Waldorf schools. Disliking other schools for various reasons (too much emphasis on standardized tests, too few art classes, too much sports, too little discipline...), they look for a school that is different. Waldorf is certainly different, and families are often attracted to Waldorf for this reason alone. They choose Waldorf more for what it is not than for what it is.

But this can be a serious mistake. Understanding what Waldorf education is is essential. Unless you can embrace what Waldorf is, Waldorf will almost certainly prove to be wrong for you and your children, sooner or later.

Here's what Waldorf education is. It is a stalking horse for the occult religion concocted by Rudolf Steiner. The religion is called Anthroposophy. Waldorf schools enact Anthroposophical religious beliefs for the "benefit" of the students. Waldorf schools aim to lead students (and their parents) toward Anthroposophy.

But don't take my word for it. Instead, heed the words of Waldorf teachers and Waldorf spokesfolks who have let the cat out of the bag, to one degree or another. Here are some of their revealing statements (more revealing, perhaps, than they intended):

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

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

◊ "[W]hen we deny that Waldorf schools are giving children religious experiences, we are denying the whole basis of Waldorf education." — Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz, "Waldorf Education — For Our Times Or Against Them?" (transcript of talk given at Sunbridge College, 1999).

◊ “[Waldorf] education is essentially grounded on the recognition of the child as a spiritual being, with a varying number of incarnations behind him, who is returning at birth into the physical world.” — Anthroposophist Stewart C. Easton, MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), pp. 388-389.

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

◊ “Waldorf education strives to create a place in which the highest beings [i.e., gods]...can find their home....” — Anthroposophist Joan Almon, WHAT IS A WALDORF KINDERGARTEN? (SteinerBooks, 2007), p. 53.

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

That's what Waldorf is.

[For more on this, see, e.g., "Here's the Answer". For more on the religious doctrines of Anthroposophy, see, e.g., "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]

— R.R.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/education/article200870539.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/education/article200870539.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/education/article200870539.html#storylink=c












February 18



WALDORF, VACCINES,
AND MEASLES 


From OregonLive [Oregon, USA]:

Low vaccination rates put 
some Oregon schools at 
high risk for measles

By Lynne Terry
The Oregonian/OregonLive

Many charter schools in Oregon have such low student vaccination rates for measles that they'd be at risk if the bug — once declared eliminated in the United States — infected anyone in their school.

An analysis by The Oregonian/OregonLive shows that nearly 65 percent of the state's public charter schools lack what scientists call herd immunity against measles, meaning not enough children are immunized to prevent the disease from sweeping through their immediate community....

A much smaller percentage of traditional public schools fall into the same category....

Woodland Charter School in Grants Pass has the lowest herd immunity rate for measles in the state....

Woodland and several of the charter schools on the list — Village School in Eugene, Madrone Trail Public Charter School in Central Point and the Portland Village School — are Waldorf-inspired...."

[downloaded 2/18/2018   http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2018/02/low_vaccination_rates_put_oreg.html   The story originally appeared on Feb. 11 and was updated on Feb. 14]





Waldorf Watch Response:

"Waldorf-inspired" schools model themselves on full-fledged Waldorf schools; some virtually are full-fledged Waldorf schools in everything except in name.

The problem of low vaccination rates at Waldorf schools has been covered here previously. See coverage in, e.g., January, 2018November, 2017September, 2017, and August-September, 2017.

For an overview of Waldorf beliefs about medicine and health, including vaccination, see "Steiner's Quackery".

There have been recent measles outbreaks in Europe, the USA, and elsewhere. News accounts generally have not associated Waldorf schools with these outbreaks, although accounts in the past have often indicated that Waldorf schools can serve as focal points of contagion. See, e.g., "Measles-exposed school has 200 at-risk kids" [The Australian]: "A Steiner school in Perth at the centre of a potential measles outbreak has more than 200 unvaccinated students and has told parents in official documents they can decide whether to ­immunise their children." The terms "Steiner school" and "Waldorf school" are essentially interchangeable designations.


For information about the current measles situation, see, e.g., "Texas Surge In Anti-Vaxxers Could Be Driving Its Latest Measles Outbreak" [Huffington Post] and "European measles cases tripled in 2017" [The Week UK].

— R.R.















February 17



WALDORF CRAFTS: 
FINGERS, SOULS, 
KARMA, AND TEETH


Upcoming at  Cedarwood Waldorf School [Oregon, USA]:


World Language, Practical Arts 
and Class Teacher Conference

February 19 - 21, 2018....


The Workshops

[1] Warmth, Light, Harmony and Life....

[2] World Languages....

[3] Curriculum Planning, Record-Keeping and Writing Reports....

[4] Renewing Impulses in Hard and Soft Handwork

Focus on Grades 5-8

Gia Davis, program director of the CWS [Cedarwood Waldorf School] Practical Arts program and teacher, of both handwork and woodwork to grades students. In this group, we will examine the difference in the action of making soft toys, a stuffed animal for instance, to that of an animal carved out of wood, tackle classroom management, and look deeper into the indications for soft and hard handwork as given by Rudolf Steiner.

[downloaded 2/17/2018   https://www.cedarwoodschool.org/events/february-conference-2018]





Waldorf Watch Response:

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf eduation, died in 1925. You might think his influence within the Waldorf movement would have waned by now. Indeed, Waldorf schools often downplay Steiner's importance. At least, they do so when presenting themselves to outsiders, such as parents looking for a good school for their kids.

But, in fact, Rudolf Steiner still reigns supreme in Waldorf education. His word still goes, in almost all matters, large and small. Even in such seemingly unimportant subjects as craftwork, Waldorf teachers typically turn to their great guide, whom they consider a nearly omniscient clairvoyant. Thus, in figuring out how to teach craftwork, Waldorf teachers study "the indications for soft and hard handwork as given by Rudolf Steiner."

Well, what did Steiner say about craftwork? Quite a lot. (He offered his follower a lot of guidance on virtually all matters. Waldorf teachers tend to look on him as a nearly omniscient clairvoyant because he presented himself as a nearly omniscient clairvoyant.)

Some of Steiner's counsel about craftwork was surprisingly political, but most of it was — as we should expect — spiritualistic.

Craftwork provides a bulwark against socialism, Steiner taught. Craftwork promotes a love a beauty, which fortifies the soul against the allure of socialism. “We would do modern culture a great service by introducing artistic craft classes into education ... [T]here is [an] urgent need to stress the necessity of beauty as we drift toward socialism.” — Rudolf Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 2000), p. 37.

More generally, Steiner taught that craftwork limbers up our fingers (which is surely true), thereby improving our thought processes, aligning our thinking with our karmas (these latter points are perhaps less obviously true). “As soon as we begin to think with our fingers — and one can think with one's fingers and toes much more brightly, once one makes the effort, than with the nerves of the head — as soon as we begin to think [with our fingers]...then our thoughts are the thoughts of our karma." — Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 126.

According to Steiner, limbering up the fingers helps our thinking processes because it drives the soul into the fingers. And this has the pleasing side-effect of promoting dental health. “Go into our needlework classes and handicraft classes at the Waldorf School, and you will find the boys knit and crochet as well as the girls ... This is not the result of any fad or whim, but happens deliberately in order to...permeate the fingers with soul. And to drive the soul into the fingers means to promote all the forces that go to build up sound teeth.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE RENEWAL OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 10.

So, to summarize: Waldorf schools emphasize handcrafts in order to fight socialism, and also in order to drive the students's souls into their fingers, thereby helping the kids to think better (by thinking with their fingers instead of their brains), which is good for their karmas and also for their teeth.

There's more to the story, of course. Not everything Steiner said about craftwork is bizarre. But much of it is.

Steiner's followers embrace many extraordinary beliefs, beliefs that tax credulity. Following Steiner means embracing such beliefs. The question for the rest of us, then, becomes whether we want people who believe Steiner to teach our youngsters.

[For a lineup of the specific crafts taught, grade by grade, in typical Waldorf schools, see "The Waldorf Curriculum".]
— R.R.












February 14



WALDORF CENTENNIAL


From InsideHalton.com [Canada]:


Halton Waldorf School participates 
in postcard exchange 
in celebration of 100 years 


Students at Halton Waldorf School are participating in a worldwide postcard exchange to kick off the 100th anniversary of Waldorf education next year.

Throughout this school year, students in 1,100 Waldorf schools from more than 80 countries are creating and sending a postcard to every other Waldorf school across the globe. Each postcard is being individually designed to show something about the student's country, school or self, while broadening their global perspective, according to a press release issued by the school.

The project will connect hundreds of thousands of students to one another through postcards which will be displayed by each school.

"Our students have been very enthusiastic about the Waldorf 100 Postcard Exchange," said Stephanie Ferguson, Waldorf promotions and outreach co-ordinator. "All of the postcards were preaddressed...."





Waldorf Watch Response:

The first Waldorf school was created in Stuttgart, Germany, when Emil Molt — the owner of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Factory — asked Rudolf Steiner to create a school for the children of his factory workers. The school opened in Septemper, 1919.

Steiner staffed the school with his faithful followers, adherents to his spiritual system, Anthroposophy. In meetings with these teachers, Steiner made the Anthroposophical nature of Waldorf education plain. (He was far less candid when addressing outsiders.)

◊ “As teachers in the Waldorf School, you will need to find your way more deeply into the insight of the spirit and to find a way of putting all compromises aside ... 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.

◊ “Among the faculty, we must certainly carry within us the knowledge that we are not here for our own sakes, but to carry out the divine cosmic plan. We should always remember that when we do something, we are actually carrying out the intentions of the gods, that we are, in a certain sense, the means by which that streaming down from above will go out into the world.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 55.

Although the religious nature of Anthroposophy is usually disguised (Anthroposophists prefer to call their system a "science" rather than a religion), nonetheless Steiner sometimes spoke honestly with the Waldorf faculty:

◊ "[T]he Anthroposophical Society...provides religious instruction just as other religious groups do." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 706.

◊ "The position of teacher becomes a kind of priestly office, a ritual performed at the altar of universal human life." — Rudolf Steiner, THE ESSENTIALS OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 23. 

Of all the social outreach efforts made by Anthroposophists — these include Anthroposophical medicine and biodynamic agriculture — Waldorf education has attained the greatest success. Wildly inflated claims are often made for the number of Waldorf schools in the world today, sometimes reaching 5,000 or more. The actual total is approximately 1,100. Even this lower number represents significant popular acceptance of Waldorf education (even though the schools are generally small). There are Waldorf schools on all continents except Antarctica. 

But Waldorf's success is troubled. Most parents who send their kids to Waldorf schools do not understand the occult underpinnings of the schools. The same is almost certainly the case for most government officials who approve the opening of such schools. Waldorf schools almost always hold their cards close to the vest. They work toward Anthroposophical aims, but they do this covertly. 

As in most things, Rudolf Steiner set the example for Waldorf secretiveness. As he told teachers at the first Waldorf school:

“[W]e have to remember that an institution like the Independent Waldorf School with its anthroposophical character, has goals that, of course, coincide with anthroposophical desires. At the moment, though, if that connection were made official, people would break the Waldorf School’s neck." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 705.

Waldorf schools today generally still have the same worry; they generally continue to disguise their "anthroposophical character" and their "anthroposophical desires."

[For more on Waldorf secretiveness, see "Secrets".]







Somewhat surprisingly, Waldorf schools 
take their name from the product 
of Emil Molt's factory: Waldorf-Astoria Cigarettes. 

— R.R.












February 14



GIVE GRÉGOIRE PERRA
A COMIC BOOK FOR 
VALENTINE'S DAY



Now featured at the website La Vérité sur les écoles Steiner-Waldorf [France]:


Des incroyables aventures de Grégoire Perra aux pays des anthroposophes
[The Incredible Adventures of Grégoire Perra in the Land of the Anthroposophists]







Waldorf Watch Response:

Grégoire Perra is a former Waldorf student and a former Waldorf teacher. He left the Waldorf movement, becoming a prominent Waldorf critic in France. When he published articles critical of Waldorf and Anthroposophy, French Waldorf officials sued him for slander. He won the case.

Perra has a website that you should surely frequent if (a) you are interested in Waldorf education, and (b) you can read French.

Second best: Some of Perra's works have been translated into English (par moi) and are available here at Waldorf Watch.

To read about Grégoire's incredible adventures, see "My Life Among the Anthroposophists".

To read other important whistle-blowing works by Monsieur Perra, see, e.g., "He Went to Waldorf" and "Mistreating Kids Lovingly".
— R.R.














February 12



DEFINING THE 
INDEFINABLE




Anthroposophy

Anthroposophy is a modern spiritual path that cherishes and respects the freedom of each individual. It recognises however, that real freedom is actually an inner capacity that can only be obtained by degrees according to the spiritual development of the individual. The striving for this capacity, and the corresponding spiritual development, can be greatly assisted through a scientific study of the spiritual nature of humanity and the universe. Such a study is available in the writings and lectures of Rudolf Steiner — an initiate of the twentieth century. Steiner called his study — spiritual research or Anthroposophy.

Anthroposophy is thus not only the spiritual path to freedom, it is also a scientific study of the spiritual knowledge gained on this path. For Steiner, Anthroposophy was the path that could 'lead the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual in the universe'. And he showed that it is a path that is capable of inspiring many cultural innovations — in education, agriculture, medicine, architecture, science and the arts — and much else.





Waldorf Watch Response:

This definition is typical of representations made by Anthroposophical organizations worldwide, including Waldorf schools. It reveals a little and conceals a lot.

Actually, Steiner's followers often deny that Anthroposophy can be defined. They consider Anthroposophy to be a form of "science" that objectively studies the spirit realm, and because new discoveries about the spirit realm may be made at any moment, the content of Anthroposophy can never be fully pinned down. This is, arguably, true enough — but it is also, quite clearly, a dodge. Even if we accept the premise (which is false) that Anthroposophy is a science, nonetheless the term "Anthroposophy" can be defined. Consider an analogy. New discoveries are being made daily in the science of physics, but this does not stop us from defining the word "physics." Likewise, we can define "Anthroposophy" even while the practitioners of this "science" carry on their "researches." So, we can say that "Anthroposophy" is a purported science that uses the purported faculty of clairvoyance to study the spirit realm. (Anthroposophy turns out to have no real content, since clairvoyance is a delusion. But we needn't insist on this insight while making a simple definition.) In practice, Anthroposophy is the body of mystical beliefs arising principally from the occult writings and lectures of Rudolf Steiner.

Let's look at some elements of the definition offered by the Anthroposophical Society, as quoted above.




1) Freedom. Anthroposophists like to claim that they advocate freedom; they claim to provide a path toward the enlargement of human freedom. But notice that the "freedom" they advocate is internal and subjective; it has little to do with actual human liberty, if by this we mean the ability to exercise the power of choice in the wide world. Anthroposophical freedom is "an inner capacity that can only be obtained by degrees according to the spiritual development of the individual." Anthroposophical freedom is freedom from, not freedom for. You free yourself from low impulses, false ideas, and so forth. This may be important and valuable, but it is not what most people mean by freedom. Moreover, the nature of "low impulses", "false ideas," etc., is moot. For instance, false ideas from an Anthroposophical perspective are all ideas that do not conform to the occult beliefs embraced by Anthroposophists. Steiner taught that there is really only one path forward for humanity now, and it is Anthroposophy. You may "freely" choose Anthroposophy and receive the benefits of this choice, or you may "freely" reject Anthroposophy and suffer the dire consequences (essentially, you will lose your soul). This paradigm actually abolishes freedom. You can choose to join Steiner or you can choose to commit spiritual suicide. That's some choice, isn't it? (No. It is not.)




2) Science. We have already looked into this matter, but it deserves further attention. The idea that we might gain objective knowledge of the spirit realm is, of course, highly alluring. It would mean finding answers to life's deepest questions, such as what is the purpose of life, why are we here, and what happens to us after we die? We would all like to have solid answers to such questions. Usually people turn to religion for such answers, of course; and, in reality, Anthroposophy itself is a religion, but it is an odd religion that denies it own nature. It claims to be a science. But this claim is manifestly untrue. Anthroposophy hinges on clairvoyance, which does not exist. If you doubt this, take a careful look at the results of Anthroposophical "research" — look into the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and his followers. You will find that many are preposterous, and a large number are clearly untrue. We cannot directly test Steiner's teachings about the spirit worlds, but we can judge the corollaries that apply to the physical universe. (Steiner said that spirit imbues everything, so the physical universe is reality part of the spiritual universe.) The "clairvoyance" exercised by Steiner and his followers leads them to make error after error after error, Their clairvoyance is, at best, erroneous. But, in fact, it is less reliable than that. It is nonexistent. No convincing proof of clairvoyance has ever been established; no sold evidence for the existence of clairvoyance has ever been produced. Instead, over and over, professed clairvoyants have been shown to be frauds. The dream of clairvoyance may dazzle us, but it remains nothing but a dream. No one is clairvoyant. And the consequence for Anthroposophy is plain. Sadly, Anthroposophy is a sham.




3) Cultural innovations. The Anthroposophical path leads to no real freedom and it entails no real knowledge. But this path is followed by Anthroposophists who seek to implement "cultural innovations" in fields such as "education, agriculture, medicine," etc. Anthroposophy is a revolutionary movement that wants to reform everything. Fine. But reforming human institutions on the basis of a sham worldview is, surely, not the best way to proceed. You should think long and hard before embracing any Anthroposophical cultural initiatives. When choosing a doctor, for instance, you almost certainly should bypass Anthroposophical MDs. Anthroposophical "medicine" is, by and large, quackery. Likewise, in choosing a school for your children, you should be highly skeptical of Waldorf schools. They are, generally, occult academies that exist to promote (quietly, clandestinely, but persistently) Anthroposophy. All Anthroposophical cultural efforts have that goal: They all exist to promote Anthroposophy. Unless you can wholeheartedly — and whole-mindedly — embrace Anthroposophy, you should pass them by.




I have made a bunch of sweeping assertions, above. I've moved along fast, as is necessary in a brief "news" commentary. But scads of documentation are available, if you'd care to dig in. See, e.g., "Freedom", "Steiner's 'Science'", "Clairvoyance", "Here's the Answer", "Oh Humanity", "Steiner's Blunders", "Steiner's Quackery", and "Threefolding". Those offerings should at least provide food for thought.
— R.R.














February 10



WALDORF AND
TECHNOLOGY


From The Times [London, UK]:


Tech-free schools for children of Silicon Valley


[by] Ben Hoyle, Los Angeles
February 10 2018, 12:01am, The Times


The Waldorf School of the Peninsula is small, exclusive and packed with the children of Silicon Valley executives who love the role that technology plays in the pupils’ education there. That is, it plays no role whatsoever.

Instead children at the $25,000-a-year elementary school in Los Altos, California, are learning to explore the world through physical experiences and tasks that are designed to nurture their imagination, problem-solving ability and collaborative skills.

Pencils, paper, blackboards and craft materials abound while tablets, smartphones and other personal electronic devices are banned from the classrooms until they are teenagers studying at the middle and high school campus nearby. Even then technology is only introduced slowly and used sparingly....

There are 130 US schools in the [Association of Waldorf Schools of North America], which follows the century-old teachings of the philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Many of them are concentrated in the Bay Area technology hub around San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

[Waldorf spokeswoman Beverly] Amico sees no contradiction. “It’s a very attractive option for people in the tech world for their children,” she said. “All employers, tech world or not, are looking for graduates these days that can think independently, take initiative, are capable of collaborating, have curiosity and creativity.”

The approach contrasts starkly with the new classroom orthodoxy in most American schools where children are spending more and more time staring at screens in lessons....



Waldorf Watch Response:


The article in today's Times repeats arguments made previously in other articles in other publications. My answer will necessarily be repetitious, too. If, in reading the following, you come upon points you've seen before, please just skip ahead.




There are, of course, good reasons to minimize the amount of time kids spend "staring at screens." And we should not be surprised if a few executives in high-tech companies want to give their kids a break from the whirring, buzzing, flashing world that such executives are themselves creating: the world of computers and virtual reality and 24/7 interconnectedness.

There are good reasons for turning off the screens sometimes. But if you decide you want to reject or minimize something that seems potentially harmful to your own children, make sure you don't unwittingly choose something that is even more harmful. Waldorf education, despite all its obvious attractions, is potentially much more harmful.

Waldorf education is indeed based on the "century-old teachings" of Rudolf Steiner. But what are these teachings? In a nutshell, they are a mystical mixture of superstition and ignorance. They are occult fantasy. They are benighted, backward, and false.

Children who get sucked into the Waldorf belief system — the religion called Anthroposophy — may remain trapped there all their lives.

Steiner is sometimes called a "philosopher," and he did begin his public career publishing some works that might be termed philosophical. But he soon left the field of rational thought and plunged into esoteric, mystical fantasization. He became, by his own admission, and occultist. Thereafter, he wrote and spoke of his "occult research," and he made assertions such as this: 

"In occultism...we speak of the Mars half of Earth evolution and of the Mercury half." — Rudolf Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), p. 79.

"In occultism, we." Steiner was an occultist.

There's a vast amount we could say about all this, but let's focus on the specific issue of high technology. Steiner deplored it, and Waldorf schools today generally avoid it. Why? In a word: Demons.

(And, in another word: Automatons.)

Steiner taught that steam engines and other technological gizmos (the most advanced he knew of) enable demons to materialize on Earth. 

“When we build steam-engines, we provide the opportunity for the incarnation of demons ... In the steam-engine, Ahrimanic demons [i.e., the arch-demon 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). 

Steiner's followers have extended this fear of techn-borne demons into their approach to today's high-tech appliances, such as TVs and computers. 

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

TV's: Demons. Computers: Demons:

"With the achievement of the stored program computer, it begins to be possible to talk in terms of a (macrocosmic) incarnation vehicle capable to sustaining the being of Ahriman." — David B. Black, THE COMPUTER AND THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1981), p. 33. 

Steiner taught that technology will turn humans into automatons. The only defense, he argued, is his own mystical belief system, Anthroposophy.

“[W]ithout new spiritual impulses [i.e., those of Anthroposophy], technology would not only dominate outer life, but would overpower and numb us ... [M]en would turn into something like living automata.” — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND: From the Work of Rudolf Steiner (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1993), p. 9.

We should certainly shield youngsters from excessive immersion in mind-spinning high-tech razzle-dazzle. We should teach them to live richly rewarding lives in the real world, not imaginary lives in tech-contrived virtual worlds. But the occult Waldorf worldview does not offer a real alternative to the virtual universe. The occult Waldorf worldview is superstitious, fantastical, and false. It is, itself, profoundly disconnected from reality.

And it is offered not as a game or mere entertainment, but as the essential guide to life, the Truth by which we should all live. Waldorf schools exist to steer children in that direction.

Your children deserve better than that.




To delve into the nature of Anthroposophy and Waldorf education, see, e.g., "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?", "Spiritual Agenda", and "Schools as Churches".  

To consider the harm that Waldorf schools can inflict, see, e.g., "Cautionary Tales", "Who Gets Hurt", and "Mistreating Kids Lovingly." 

To investigate Steiner's occultism and the Waldorf view of technology, see, e.g., "Occultism", "Ahriman", "Spiders, Dragons and Foxes", and relevant entries in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia, such as "technology", "media policies", "automatons", and "demons".

To learn how Anthroposophy is insinuated into the Waldorf classroom, often without the knowledge or approval of the students' parents, see, e.g., "Sneaking It In" and "Indoctrination".
— R.R.









P.S.

Demonic Devices

(An Appendix)



The claims made for Waldorf schools tend not to change much. Consequently, the rebuttals tend to be repetitive, too. I wind up trotting out passages from Anthroposophical texts that I have trotted out before.


But many other Anthropop/Waldorf passages are available. On the subject of technology, here are a few additional revealing statements. Anthroposophists — including many Waldorf teachers — really do think this way.


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


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


◊ “[T]he whole computer and Internet industry is today the most effective way to prepare for the imminent incarnation of Ahriman ... The net of ahrimanic spider beings developing out of the internet around the earth...will serve [Ahriman] particularly effectively and offer him extremely favorable potential to work.” — Sergei O. Prokofieff, "The Being of the Internet"; see, e.g., The Philosophy of Freedom, downloaded 2/10/2018.


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


◊ "The elemental beings [i.e., nature spirits] responsible for the processes of birth and death...have become evil ... Before the time of radar, television, and computers, Rudolf Steiner prophesied that these elemental beings would enter our time with an abundance of inventions ... [These represent] the forces of evil." — Helmut von Kügelgen, "Threshold Experiences of Children and Adults in the Present Time", Research Bulletin, Research Institute for Waldorf Education, Fall/Winter 1999, Issue #37.


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


◊ “[T]he tendency to mechanize music, to fragment it through the use of technology, [is] an ahrimanic inspiration ... Computer music is a further atomization of the being of music.” — Magda Lissau, THE TEMPERAMENTS AND THE ARTS (The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2003), p 110. 


◊ "Speaking of ‘intelligent machines’ that would appear in the future, Steiner presents a broad context that illustrates the multitude of challenges human beings will face ... Rudolf Steiner addresses...the secret of the ‘geographical’ or the ‘ahrimanic’ doppelgänger ... Based on his spiritual research, Rudolf Steiner discusses this doppelgänger or ‘double’ in the wider context of historic occult events relating to ‘spirits of darkness’ [i.e., demons or evil gods]. Specific brotherhoods [i.e., secret societies] seek to keep such knowledge to themselves in order to exert power and spread materialism." — Publisher's description, Rudolf Steiner, THE ELECTRONIC DOPPELGÄNGER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2016).

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


◊ "Many [TV news] items amount to outright deceit. Sometimes shots of people are shown wearing summer clothes...but the interview is taking place with a reporter who is in a country that is experiencing winter ... Illusions are lies, and of all the media, television must surely be the Beelzebub [i.e., it is Ahriman]...." — Gilbert & Sylvia Childs, YOUR REINCARNATING CHILD (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 144.


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


◊ "Little do we realise the effects of modern living. When nature, especially the mineral, is broken down, the elemental beings belonging to the progressive Hierarchies [i.e., ranks of gods] are driven out, and when we then reassemble the material into a machine according to laws thought out with our intellect, we substitute Ahrimanic beings. When we sleep — and our will is always asleep — our ego and astral body are outside the physical [body], right within all the creakings and jerkings of the machinery around us, which are then brought back on waking into the physical and etheric bodies, as if crushing them to pieces. We cram ourselves with Ahrimanic beings!" — Richard Seddon, THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1996), pp. 23-24.



Etc.



— R.R.














February 9



CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ, 
BUDDHA, AND MARS



Among the Steiner lectures currently featured at The Rudolf Steiner Archive are those gathered under the title THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ. They are well worth reading.

Christian Rosenkreutz was the putative founder of Roscrucianism, the mystical movement that — as we have seen recently — was so important to Steiner. [See, e.g., the Waldorf Watch "news" item for February 6, below.]

In these lectures, Steiner ranges over a wide spectrum of topics, including karma, the starry heavens, the dawn of modern occultism, the Christ impulse, and so forth. The awesome culmination of the series is reached in the final lecture, number seven. If you want to understand Steiner — and, thus, to understand the thinking upon which Waldorf education is founded (Anthroposophy) — you really should spend some time with all of these lectures, and especially with number seven. The title of that mighty, culminating lecture is "The Mission of Gautama Buddha on Mars."

Here is an excerpt:


A Conference of the greatest and most advanced Individualities was called together by Christian Rosenkreutz. His most intimate pupil and friend, the great teacher Buddha, participated in these counsels and in the decisions reached. At that spiritual Conference it was resolved that henceforward Buddha would dwell on Mars and there unfold his influence and activity. Buddha transferred his work to Mars in the year 1604. And on Mars he performed a deed similar to that performed by Christ on the Earth in the Mystery of Golgotha [i.e., Christ's Crucifixion and its aftermath]. Christian Rosenkreutz had known what the work of Buddha on Mars would signify for the whole Cosmos, what his teachings of Nirvana, of liberation from the Earth would signify on Mars. The teaching of Nirvana was unsuited to a form of culture directed primarily to practical life. Buddha's pupil, Francis of Assisi, was an example of the fact that this teaching produces in its adepts complete remoteness from the world and its affairs. But the content of Buddhism which was not adapted to the practical life of man between birth and death was of high importance for the soul between death and a new birth. Christian Rosenkreutz realised that for a certain purification needed on Mars, the teachings of Buddha were pre-eminently suitable. The Christ Being, the Essence of Divine Love, had once come down to the Earth to a people in many respects alien, and in the seventeenth century, Buddha, the Prince of Peace, went to Mars — the planet of war and conflict — to execute his mission there. The souls on Mars were warlike, torn with strife. Thus Buddha performed a deed of sacrifice similar to the deed performed in the Mystery of Golgotha by the Bearer of the Essence of Divine Love. To dwell on Mars as Buddha was a deed of sacrifice offered to the Cosmos. He was as it were the lamb offered up in sacrifice on Mars and to accept this environment of strife was for him a kind of crucifixion. Buddha performed this deed on Mars in the service of Christian Rosenkreutz. Thus do the great Beings who guide the world work together, not only on the Earth but from one planet to another.






Waldorf Watch Response:


It may seem inconceivable that Steiner meant the things that he said and wrote. But he certainly did. At least, he repeated many of his most preposterous teachings many times. He certainly gave every indication that he wanted us to take him seriously on all of his assertions, even the strangest.

As one of Steiner's enthusiastic acolytes has written in a different but related context:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the last few pages have taxed some readers’ capacity for giving Steiner the benefit of the doubt and left them wondering who could possibly believe this science fiction story. Yet this cosmic history is the backbone of Steiner’s work.” — Gary Lachman, RUDOLF STEINER (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2007), p. 147.

Steiner meant what he said and wrote. The only real question for us now is whether we can possibly take him seriously.





To delve further into Steiner's astonishing statements about Buddha and Mars, see, e.g., "Mars". To look into other, related subjects, see, e.g., "Matters of Form", "Lunacy", "Sci Fi", "The Planets", "Planetary Humans", "Vulcan", "Supermen", and "Steiner's Blunders".
— R.R.













February 8



READINGS

WALDORF, SPIRIT, 
AND DOCTRINES 



Many families are drawn to Waldorf schools because of the spirituality found within. This spirituality is usually quite apparent, even though Waldorf spokesfolks almost always deny that Waldorf education is religious.


To sample Waldorf spirituality, we can consult various internal Waldorf publications. Here are a few excepts from ONE, TWO, THREE! — A collection of Songs, Verse, Riddles, and Stories for Children of Grades 1-3, compiled by sometime Waldorf teacher David Adams.


Young children at Waldorf schools are immersed in an atmosphere of Anthroposophical religious doctrines, as is suggested by the following excepts from the latest, revised version of the book (released by Waldorf Publications in 2017).








[Waldorf Publications, 2017.]





"Sword of Michael [1], brightly gleaming,

Down to earth its light is streaming...."


— from "Michaelmas Verse", ONE, TWO, THREE!, p. 13.




"The speech of the stars [2]

Bright and lucid rings, 

Fashions stars of ice 

In the architecture of snow.... [3]"


— from "Winter Wisdom" [4], ONE, TWO, THREE!, p. 13.



"Spirit within and spirit without,

Spirit in Nature round about [5],

Spirit that weaves through everything,

Thanks and praise to you we bring. [6]"


— from "Evening Table Grace", ONE, TWO, THREE!, p. 15.



"God so bright in heaven above, 

Thank you for your boundless love ... 

Now send your angel, shining bright, 

To stand beside me through the night...."


— from "Bedtime Prayer" [7], ONE, TWO, THREE!, p. 15.






Waldorf Watch Notes:

[1] It is striking that Michael appears so early in this anthology of material meant for young children. In Anthroposophy, the archangel Michael is a warrior god (hence the verse refers to Michael's sword). Michael is the Archangel of the Sun, the champion of Christ the Sun God. [See "Michael" and "Sun God".] According to Waldorf belief, Michael has particular importance to humanity now — Steiner said Michael currently oversees human spiritual evolution (hence the verse describes Michael's light streaming down to us). Young children at Waldorf schools are rarely taught Anthroposophical doctrines in detail, but they are often exposed to stories, poems, skits, and so forth, that make these doctrines generally familiar. Michael the spiritual warrior is a familiar figure for many Waldorf students, even the youngest ones.


[2] In what sense do the stars speak? Not audibly, of course; perhaps not literally. But in Waldorf belief, the astrological influences of the stars are extremely important. [See "Waldorf Astrology."] Anthroposophy is polytheistic, and many gods are believed to reside within or near various stars and planets. [See "Polytheism".] Steiner said that these gods send their influence down to us; they do so, in a sense, by speaking their spiritual intentions, thereby shaping the reality of our lives on Earth. (Hence, the "speech of the stars" shapes what we see around us in winter — it "fashions stars of ice," snowflakes.)


[3] Note that the language in this poem is hardly appropriate for young children. "Speech of the stars," "lucid," "fashions", "architecture" — these are not words that come naturally from the mouths of young children. But true-believing Waldorf teachers, in their enthusiasm for their Anthroposophical beliefs, often seem to forget themselves. [To delve into Anthroposophical beliefs about language, see "Oh My Word".]


[4] In Waldorf belief, all four seasons of the year are imbued with spiritual wisdom. Seasonal festivals are often celebrated at Waldorf schools, marking in turn each season and its spiritual essence as conceived in Anthroposophy. [See the section on seasonal festivals in "Magical Arts".]


[5] Anthroposophy verges on pantheism — it holds that spirit infuses virtually everything (spirit within, spirit without). Nature is believed to reflect the beneficence of many gods, as we have seen. Nature is also believed to be the domain of invisible presences that stand below the rank of gods — these are "nature spirits," otherwise known as "elemental beings." The four main types of nature spirits are gnomes, sylphs, undines, and fire spirits. Young Waldorf students are often told tales about these beings, especially gnomes. [See "Neutered Nature" and "Gnomes".]


[6] This is a prayer addressed to the "Spirit in Nature", the "Spirit that weaves through everything." You may interpret this in various ways, but you should have no doubt that, in verses like this, Waldorf students are being taught to pray. [See "Prayers".] Teaching kids prayers in school would be inexplicable if Waldorf schools were not religious institutions. But, in fact, Waldorf schools are religious institutions, as the teaching of prayers reflects. [See "Schools as Churches".]


[7] Here a Waldorf "verse" is quite explicitly identified as a prayer. Significantly, it is a prayer meant to be recited after school hours. Waldorf faculties are often eager to extend their spiritual influence into students' homes, prescribing spiritual activities to be undertaken there. To make this more acceptable to students' parents, the specified activities are usually stripped of any overtly Anthroposophical terminology. Thus, this prayer is addressed to "God," and it asks Him to send a guardian angel to protect the sleeping child. Few parents, especially in monotheistic cultures, would object to this. You may want to know, however, that in Anthroposophy there is no One and Only God such as is worshipped in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. [See "God".] Instead, Anthroposophists believe that there are nine ranks of gods arrayed under the nebulous Godhead. Angels are gods of the lowest rank, and indeed each Angel is assigned to oversee a single human being. Archangels (such as Michael) are gods of the second rank — they oversee groups of humans such as families, nations, and races. Archai are gods of the third rank — they oversee epochs of human spiritual evolution. And so on; Anthroposophy identifies nine ranks of gods along with their responsibilities. But the familiar words we have been using ("God," "angel," etc.) are somewhat misleading. Steiner said that the more accurate designations for the nine types of gods are these, going from lowest to highest: Sons of Twilight, Spirits of Fire, Spirits of Personality, Spirits of Form, Spirits of Movement, Spirits of Wisdom, Spirits of Will, Spirits of Harmony, and Spirits of Love. [See the entries for these various gods, under their various designations, in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.] Of course, Waldorf students are rarely taught these things explicitly, and much of this is kept hidden from students' parents.

— R.R.













February 7



WALDORF, PRACTICAL ARTS, 
AND THE RUBICON 



From Pasadena Now [California, USA]:



Pasadena Waldorf School Third Graders 
Learn Practical Arts Firsthand

Article...courtesy of PASADENA WALDORF SCHOOL


The Pasadena Waldorf School (PWS) third grade class recently took a field trip to Wellema Hat Shop in Altadena. The trip is part of the third grade curriculum, focusing on practical arts. Practical arts are a mainstay in Waldorf Education. While all PWS classes from Preschool to High School weaves practical arts into the curriculum, the stronger focus in grade three gives the children of that age an understanding of how things come into being and a respect for the creations by others. When students engage in practical arts it instills in them a sense of confidence and accomplishment that will carry through into adulthood. The PWS third grade practical arts curriculum includes once-a-week lessons in cooking, building or gardening, along with several field trips throughout the year to local artisans in and around Los Angeles introducing the children to artisanal professionals....






Waldorf Watch Response:


This article — provided by a Waldorf school and printed, evidently unedited, by a compliant local newspaper — is fairly typical of Waldorf PR. It paints a pleasing picture that omits far more than it reveals about "Waldorf "Education."

Waldorf schools profess to educate the whole child — head, heart, and hands. This is, in theory, fine. But you should know that the "whole child" as conceived in the Waldorf worldview is a mystical being, one who 

◊ is in the process of incarnating three invisible bodies

◊ possesses 12 senses

◊ has lived on Earth many times before (reincarnation is a basic Waldorf belief)

◊ has a karma

◊ has an astrological identity

◊ stands at a particular evolutionary level reflected by the child's race

◊ is on the path toward developing clairvoyance

and so on and so forth. This is the Waldorf view of childhood. [See "Holistic Education".]

Introducing children to practical arts such as hat-making is part of the Waldorf effort to educate the "hands" — that is, the practical physical body. This is, in theory, fine. But bear in mind that time spent educating the hands is probably taken from time that might be spent educating the head. Waldorf education is deeply anti-intellectual. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, disparaged the brain and brainwork, and his teachings on these matters still rule in Waldorf schools. [See "Steiner's Specific".]

Note, too, that time spent learning about old-fashioned, artisanal occupations — excellent as this may be — is probably taken from time that might be spent preparing children for life in the modern, high-tech world of the 21st century. Waldorf schools are generally averse to modern technology in all its forms, from television to computers. In a word, Waldorf schools are often backward. Whatever your own views on modern technology may be, this matter — which affects whether a child leaves school prepared for real life in the real world — deserves careful thought. [See, e.g., the entries for "technology" and "media policies" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

Concerning the question of real life in the real world, consider this. In Waldorf belief, third graders stand at a critical juncture. Having incarnated their "etheric bodies," they are preparing for the incarnation of their "astral bodies." [See "Incarnation".] Moreover, they are engaged in "crossing the Rubicon" — they have either made the crossing already or they are about to do so:

“Between their seventh and ninth birthdays a metamorphosis in thinking takes place and children begin to form their own mental images. This development is accompanied by a further distancing of the self from the world. Usually the impact of this separation begins to effect the emotional life of children shortly after the ninth birthday (between the age of 9 1/3 and 11 2/3), and is known in Steiner circles as the ‘crossing of the Rubicon’.” — The Steiner Approach to Child Development (Steiner Education Australia, 2011).

Waldorf schools often lure children into attractive but fantastical views of life and the world. Considerable damage may result. [See, e.g., "Who Gets Hurt".]

One more point. Waldorf schools usually claim to respect the individuality of all children, but in fact they tend to describe children as marching together in lockstep, reaching various mystical stages of development on a fixed timetable. Thus, we find the onset of "crossing the Rubicon" specified with considerable exactitude: It comes between "the seventh and ninth birthdays." Yes, some individual variation is possible within this rigidly specified timespan, but not much. And, surely, you should ask yourself if the very concept of "crossing the Rubicon" makes any sense, no matter when a child presumably approaches it. [See the entry for "crossing the Rubicon" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

Taking third graders to a hat maker's shop is fine. It can be genuinely educational. But in order to understand "Waldorf Education," we need to see past pleasing Waldorf PR. Everything in Waldorf schools derives, ultimately, from the mystical doctrines of Rudolf Steiner and his devoted followers. [See, e.g., "Waldorf Now", "Today", "Today 2", etc.]
— R.R.













February 6



ANTHROPOSOPHICAL ASTROLOGY 
(CONTINUED) 
 



Tomorrow is a big day, astrologically speaking. Perhaps you should prepare yourself.


Here are the impending portents in the heavens, as indicated in a publication put out by SteinerBooks, an imprint of The Anthroposophic Press:



"Feb. 7: Last quarter Moon, 23º50' Libra: Christ's Descent into Hell: At this same degree, the Moon bore witness as the earthquake split the ground beneath Christ's cross on Golgotha [i.e., Calvary]. This was the beginning of his descent into the inner Earth....


"In his descent, Christ would journey to his mother in the Earth's heart, a land known as Shambhala ... His precious footprints are our guide ... The Rosicrucian path of initiation entails such a descent [for us]....


"This last phase of the current lunar cycle brings to conclusion what was founded at its inaugurating New Moon ... Are we willing to journey into the graveyard of the subearthly realms in order to reclaim our light?" — JOURNAL FOR STAR WISDOM 2018, edited by Robert Powell (SteinerBooks, 2017), p. 114.






Waldorf Watch Response:


In case any of that is unclear, here are a couple of elucidating notes from The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia. (I have shortened the Rosicrucian entry for use here.)



Shamballa (Shambala, Shambhala)   


Some ancient Eastern teachings tell of a mystical kingdom called Shamballa. Steiner occasionally said Shamballa is the portion of the spirit realm that ancient humans were able to perceive with their natural clairvoyance. He also indicated that future humans will enter Shamballa when Anthroposophy is fulfilled. “Again and again we have heard that it was once possible for men to look with clairvoyant vision into the spiritual world … Those who are connected with the spiritual world in this way resort [i.e., allude] again and again to Shamballa — the name of this mysterious land … [In the future] in the course of two thousand five hundred years…there will arise the experience of the land of Shamballa ,,. Christ Jesus [will be] encountered [in] the mysterious land of Shamballa.” — R. Steiner, THE TRUE NATURE OF THE SECOND COMING (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1961), lecture 2, GA 118.



Rosicrucian, Rosicrucianism

 

The Rosicrucians are “a worldwide brotherhood claiming to possess esoteric wisdom handed down from ancient times....” — ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA.


Steiner claimed to revive Rosicrucianism in improved form (Anthroposophy): It is the proper path for modern humans, he said. For this reason, Steiner is sometimes identified as a Rosicrucian initiate. “We shall study the path that is right for modern humanity: the Rosicrucian path.” — R. Steiner, MACROCOSM AND MICROCOSM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985), p. 94…. 


True Rosicrucianism, according to Steiner, includes the following teachings (which prove to be essentially indistinguishable from Steiner's central Anthroposophical teachings): • There is an elemental world below man, and a spiritual realm (or several such realms) above us. We go to the latter during sleep and after death. • We lead many lives, through the process of reincarnation. • After we die, we prepare for our next earthly incarnation — in the spirit realm, we take in wisdom and prepare for our next life in the physical realm. • Our lives on Earth and elsewhere are heavily influences by karma, the destiny we create for ourselves. We should work to improve not only our own karmas but the shared karma of all humanity. • During the long process of reincarnation, humanity gradually evolves from a very lowly condition to a godlike state. This evolution began on or during Old Saturn and will continue to and beyond Future Vulcan.





For more on Anthroposophical (and Waldorf) astrology, see "Astrology" and "Waldorf Astrology". For more on Rosicrucianism, see "Rosy Cross".
— R.R.













February 5



READINGS

THE GROUND 
WALDORF TEACHERS 
STAND UPON 
 



Waldorf schools are religious institutions. 


Spokespeople for the schools usually deny this, yet it is certainly true.


The Waldorf religion bears some resemblance to Christianity, since it places great importance on Christ. [1] But the Waldorf religion also bears considerably resemblance to Hinduism, since it is polytheistic and incorporates such doctrines as karma and reincarnation. [2] Traces of other faiths, such as Zoroastrianism, are also present. [3] But fundamentally, the Waldorf religion is distinct and separate from other religions — it is Anthroposophy. [4]


Because public statements put out by Waldorf schools are often misleading [5], we can get a clearer understanding of the Waldorf movement by studying publications meant primarily for internal use within the Waldorf community. Here is a revealing passage from such a publication. It makes Waldorf’s religious nature quite clear. (The passage tells of an event occurring almost 100 years ago, but it asserts the relevance of that event for Waldorf teachers today.)



“On September 9, 1919, Rudolf Steiner gathered together the first twelve Waldorf teachers for the first time. He gave the teachers a means for making connection with the spiritual world. [6] He said to them, ‘In the evening before your meditation [7], ask the angels, archangels, and archai [8] that they may help you in your work the following day.’ [9] He was asking them to open themselves in such a way that spiritual substance [10] could pour itself into their soul beings: into their will, their feeling and their thinking. [11] In doing this, the basis for imagination, inspiration, and intuition is created. [12] Then Rudolf Steiner shook each teacher’s hand and looked deep into his eyes, as if sealing a sacred pledge. We, too, must take this pledge; it is the ground on which we stand as Waldorf educators. This is the wellspring of strength of which we stand so in need.” — Louise deForest in THE JOURNEY OF THE "I" INTO LIFE (Waldorf Early Childhood Association on North America, 2012), p. 17. [13]



Note that THE JOURNEY OF THE "I" INTO LIFE was published by a Waldorf teachers' association, the Waldorf Early Childhood Association on North America (WECAN). It was published recently, in the 21st century, and it lays out “the ground on which we stand as Waldorf educators.” That ground is the religion called Anthroposophy.

— R.R.








.

THE JOURNEY OF THE "I" INTO LIFE -

A Final Destination or a Path Toward  Freedom?

Lectures from the 2012 International Waldorf 

Early Childhood Conference at the Goetheanum [14]

(Waldorf Early Childhood Association on North America, 2012)






Waldorf Watch Footnotes


[1] In Anthroposophy, unlike Christianity, Christ is the Sun God — the same god who has been known by such names as Hu and Apollo. [See "Sun God".]


[2] See "Polytheism", "Karma", and "Reincarnation.


[3] See, e.g., "Ahriman".


[4] See "Is Anthroposopjhy a Religion?"


[5] See, e.g., "Secrets".


[6] This activity — seeking to make "connection with the spiritual world" — is the essence of religious practice.


[7] Anthroposophy entails many meditations and prayers, most of which were written by Steiner. [See, e.g., "Power Words" and "Prayers".]


[8] In Anthroposophy, these are three ranks of gods. They are also known by the more "accurate" titles Steiner gave them: Sons of Twilight, Spirits of Fire, and Spirits of Personality. [See "Polytheism".]


[9] The Waldorf teachers “ask” these gods for something. In other words, they pray to these gods. Significantly, the request centers on the teacher’s “work” — that is, the tasks Waldorf teachers undertake in and around Waldorf schools.


[10] I.e., the essence of spiritual reality, the substance of the higher worlds — the gods' beneficence.


[11] See the entry for "thinking-feeling-willing" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.


[12] In the Waldorf movement, as in Anthroposophy generally, these are three stages of preparation for clairvoyance and/or they are three forms of clairvoyance. [See the entries for "imagination", "inspiration", "intuition", and "clairvoyance" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]


[13] Lousie deForest is a WECAN board member. Her lecture was titled "Our Children: Our Guides Toward Becoming Truly Human". THE JOURNEY OF THE "I" INTO LIFE includes lectures by four other Anthroposophists.


[14] The Goetheanum is the international headquarters of the Anthroposophical movement. A large structure designed by Steiner, it is essentially a cathedral. [See "Is Anthroposopjhy a Religion?"]














February 4



WALDORF, GREEN VALUES,
& EVANGELISM
 



From The Sydney Morning Herald [Australia]:


Welcome to the jungle: the Bali school attracting wealthy Western families


Everyone from rap stars to doctors is enrolling their children in Bali’s Green School, where a focus on self-sustainability is designed to equip students for an uncertain future.


…[T]he element that truly distinguishes Green School is its very premise … [I]t was intended to do nothing less than create a future generation of “green leaders”....

It is not hard to see in [Green School founders] John and Cynthia Hardy something of the spirit of Rudolf Steiner....

Green School parents [include] “digital nomads,” early retirees, midcareer rebooters and Steiner evangelists....

This story has been lifted, apparently without attribution, from The New York Times, which ran the story last November.

To read a longer excerpt from the story, and Waldorf Watch commentary about it, see https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatchannex/november-2017; scroll down to November 13: "Waldorf Tangentially".
— R.R.













February 3



WALDORF: TRUTH, BEAUTY,
GOODNESS, & HEALTH 




The following is listed at the website of AWSNA (The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America), announcing an upcoming event at an American Waldorf school:


Kolisko Hawaii

Truth, Beauty and Goodness:
The Future of Education, Healing
Arts and Health Care

A conference with Michaela Glöckler,
international and local presenters.

February 17-20, 2018

Honolulu Waldorf School




Waldorf Watch Response:


This is a fairly representative example of the way the Waldorf movement likes to present itself to the world: a barrage of lofty language expressing high-flown ideals. And, often, the appealing language is accompanied by eye-catching, spiritualistic artwork.

"Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Health." Who could possibly oppose any of that? No one, of course.

But with Waldorf, it is always wise to look below the surface.

The "Truth" underlying Waldorf is Anthroposophy, the occult religion concocted by Rudolf Steiner. And Anthroposophy is the source of all the "Beauty," "Goodness", and "Health" (or "Healing Arts and Health Care") affirmed within the Waldorf / Anthroposophical community. If you cannot embrace the religion of Anthroposophy, Waldorf will almost certainly prove to be — sooner or later — wrong for you and your family. [See, e.g., "Is Anthroposopjhy a Religion?" and "Schools as Churches".]

The "Healing Arts and Health Care" affirmed in and around Waldorf schools boil down to the quack medicine created by Steiner, so-called Anthroposophical medicine. Like all forms of quack medicine, it is distinctly dangerous. [See "Steiner's Quackery".]

The chief presenter of the upcoming event at the Honolulu Waldorf School is Michaela Glöcker. She is an Anthroposophical MD and a prominent promoter of Steiner's medical teachings. If you want to get a sense of her work, you should dip into any of her numerous essays and books. Here is an example. (You may find the going difficult, but please plug along. To get a feel for Anthroposophy, you need to consider how Anthroposophists talk and write. For assistance, you might refer to The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia — e.g., such entries as "Lucifer" and "Ahriman".)

"The body is a carrier of the ‘I'-consciousness [i.e., the consciousness made possible by the human spiritual ego] and it is a carrier of developmental possibilities. Both are there.

"There are two beings [i.e., two demons], Lucifer and Ahriman, who do not like these components at all. Lucifer does not want us to have awareness of the world around us. He wants us to enjoy ourselves, mirror ourselves, and develop aberrations from healthy self-awareness that go toward egoism. Like Lilith [Adam's first wife, a demon], we are not so nice as women if Lucifer tempts us.

"Men can do this in their own way. This is where Luciferic temptation comes in. Lucifer is a microcosm interested in small things. Lucifer is happy with vanity. Life has to be fun and joyful, where we can take pride in ourselves and show off.

"Rudolf Steiner once came onto the [Waldorf] school playground in Stuttgart and said that there were two ladies sitting in front of the school who could not be allowed in. A teacher who went to look saw no one. But Rudolf Steiner explained that the two he saw sitting there were vanity and the craving for power. 

"Ahriman, on the other hand, has a deep hatred and lack of understanding for destiny. People are only numbers to him. Everyone is exchangeable to him ... Rudolf Steiner told physicians that Ahriman wants to kill karma. We cannot use a more accurate concept. We have to listen to it and ponder on it. Ahriman wants to kill destiny because it [karma] makes development possible. Grand Ahrimanic powers focus on the earth, on the solid, the rational, the mathematical."

— Michaela Glöcker, "From Unborness to 'I' Consciousness", GATEWAYS, Newsletter of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, Fall 2012, No. 63.





As for the eye-cartching, prismatic art usually found in Waldorf schools, it is almost invariably mystical. According to Rudolf Steiner, the whole point of art is to be transported by beauty out of our world and into the worlds of the many, many gods above us. [To dig into these matters, at least a little, see "Magical Arts", "Higher Worlds", and "Polytheism".]
— R.R.













February 2



A WALDORF OPENING, 
A WALDORF CHALLENGE  




One of Britain's leading Waldorf schools, Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley, is looking for a new Principal. The following is from Waldorf Today:


[Job posting]

Title: Principal
Location: Rudolf Steiner School, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire UK
Salary: Competitive
Contract: Permanent
Annual leave: 40 days
Start date: September 1, 2018 / or asap

This is a rare and exciting opportunity to take the role of Principal in one of the premier Steiner Waldorf Schools in the UK. There’s a chance to have a significant impact on the school and on Steiner education in the UK as it advances in to the 21st Century...

The role offers
• a vibrant and enthusiastic staff and student body
• partnership with a forward thinking governing body
• the opportunity to have a lasting impact on the future of Steiner Waldorf education in the UK
• competitive salary package

For the full recruitment pack and application form visit:





Waldorf Watch Response:

Before applying for the position, you should know that whoever takes the job is likely to face significant challenges, not mentioned in the help-wanted advert at Waldorf Today.

The following is from a news article published in The Sunday Telegraph last September:


Exclusive: Top Steiner school ordered to close 

by Government over child safety fears


Britain’s flagship Steiner school has been ordered to close amid fears over child safety, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.


The Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley had already been banned by the Department for Education (DfE) from admitting any new pupils, following a series of damning Ofsted inspections which uncovered a raft of safeguarding failings.


It comes after Denis McCarthy, a senior staff member who was also a leading figure in the UK’s Steiner school movement, was sacked from the school for gross misconduct.


“He was a senior figure in anthroposophy,” a source close to the school told The Sunday Telegraph. “He was the most powerful person in the school, he had a large following.


“The school did everything that they could to protect him: minimising or dismissing concerns, and deleting safeguarding emails."


The development raises questions about the 34 other Steiner schools in the UK and Ireland, which includes four state funded Steiner academies....


The school has issued a public apology to children and their families for “real and serious failings going back several years”, acknowledging that it failed to act on “repeated concerns raised by parents” over safeguarding.


The school was notified in July of the Secretary of State for Education’s intention to remove it from the independent schools’ register, a decision which the school is now appealing. 


The drastic move, which is only used as a last resort by ministers, follows a spate of highly critical inspections over the past 18 months....


[9-2-2017  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/02/exclusive-top-steiner-school-ordered-close-government-child/]



A follow-up at The Times (London) was brief but to the point:


Steiner school battle

The Rudolf Steiner School in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, faces closure after an Ofsted report raised concerns over “a culture of close relationships”, including pupils meeting teachers off-site, that put children at risk. A member of staff was dismissed in January for gross misconduct following safeguarding concerns. The school will stay open while it appeals against closure.



The school evidently hired expensive legal counsel (Princess Di's former representatives, no less) for its appeal. The ultimate upshot of all this remains to be seen. But the new Principal will have, at a minimum, considerable cleaning up to do.

To see previous coverage of this story, including commentary by Andy Lewis at The Quackometer Blog, see the Waldorf Watch "news" pages for last September and October: https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatchannex/september-2017 and https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatchannex/october-2017.
— R.R.













February 1



WALDORF, IMAGINATION, 
AND CLAIRVOYANCE 



The following is from a lecture by Rudolf Steiner featured today (Feb. 1, 2018) at the Rudolf Steiner Archive. I have highlighted key terms; I comment on these following the extract:


Someone attains a kind of Imaginative knowledge as the first level of clairvoyant knowledge who makes his soul an instrument of spiritual research by that self-education which I have characterised in my book How Does One Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds?....

In my book Occult Science. An Outline. you find the attempt to show not only the human development on earth Imaginatively, but also the former embodiments of our earth in other, preceding heavenly bodies. You find everything that was shown in this respect represented in such a way that it corresponds to the logical consciousness and the facts of sensory life. Now a theologian who had read this book said to me once, what I have read there is absolutely logical and rational, so that one could deign to remember that the author got around to writing this book completely out of the today's cultural life only by logical conclusions. — This made me wonder and I said to myself, then the whole representation has not come about maybe by clairvoyance but by mere logic. — He said this, although he had to admit that he could not find by his own logic what is given in this book as knowledge. One meets this fact often today that such representations are put up by mere logic, even if the results are pieced together from trains of thought to make them comprehensible. However, everything that you read in the Occult Science is not found by logical conclusions. It is hard to find these matters by logic. However, after they have been found, they are interwoven with logic. They are found of course also not without logic, but not at all on the way of logical conclusion, everything does absolutely correspond to Imaginative knowledge.

[2/1/2018   http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Dates/19120201p01.html]





Waldorf Watch Response:

Rudolf Steiner is the founder of Waldorf education. If you want to understand Waldorf, you need to understand Steiner.

Steiner delivered thousands of lectures. Transcripts of most of these lectures are available in book form and online. They are difficult to read, but the effort can produce surprising rewards.

Here are some of the key Waldorf / Anthroposophical matters touched on in the lecture extract above:

◊ Imaginative knowledge   Waldorf schools place great emphasis on imaginative thinking. This emphasis can be alluring; some people are drawn to Waldorf schools primarily because Waldorf stresses imagination. Imaginative children can make great mental leaps; they can be creative and innovative; they are not bound by narrow, constricting rules of mere logic. Einstein himself said that imagination is extremely important.

This is all alluring. But you need to understand that in the Waldorf worldview, called Anthroposophy, imagination is a precursor to — or, more specifically, it is a stage of — clairvoyance. Steiner tells us as much here. He speaks of "Imaginative knowledge as the first level of clairvoyant knowledge." Everything in the Waldorf worldview ultimately derives from clairvoyance. This is a point we must consider with some care.

◊ Clairvoyant knowledge   Rudolf Steiner claimed to be clairvoyant, and many Waldorf teachers make a similar claim. They think they can see things that most people cannot. They think their "imaginative knowledge" or their "clairvoyant knowledge" penetrates to spiritual truths that lie hidden behind the illusions of ordinary, physical existence. 

Steiner said that his disciplined, highly refined clairvoyance let him study the spirit realm objectively; he claimed to be an objective spiritual researcher. This is an extremely alluring proposition. Who would not want to possess definite, objective knowledge of the spirit realm? But Steiner's claim — like the claim made by so many of his followers — depends on the existence of clairvoyance. If you do not believe in clairvoyance, you should be skeptical of all the things Steiner said and did, including his creation of Waldorf education. We will return to this point.

◊ How Does One Attain Knowledge of the Higher Worlds?   This is one of Steiner's two most important books. It is more commonly referred to as KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT or, more simply, HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS. In this book, Steiner lays out his central prescriptions telling his followers how to develop their clairvoyant powers. 

To understand the Waldorf vision, you really should look into this book. A detailed guide to the book is available here at Waldorf Watch: See "Knowing the Worlds - Steiner's How-To"

Occult Science. An Outline.   This is the other of Steiner's two most important books. It has also been published under such titles as AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE and AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE. In this book, Steiner lays out the main results of his professed use of clairvoyance. He reveals, at least in outline form, much of the hidden knowledge that is dirfectly available only to clairvoyant savants such as himself. 

To understand the Waldorf vision, you really should look into this book. A detailed guide to the book is available here at Waldorf Watch: See "Everything - Steiner's Big Picture".

◊ Former Embodiments of the Earth   A key part of the hidden wisdom Steiner reveals has to do with the evolution of humanity, which is deeply interwoven with the evolution of the solar system or, more specifically, the evolution of the Earth. Steiner taught that the solar system and the Earth go through a process of reincarnation much as we humans do. The first "embodiment" of the Earth was a phase of evolution called Old Saturn. (This was not the planet Saturn that we know now. It was an incarnation of the entire solar system in a form extremely unlike anything we know now, but suffused with the powers of Saturn.) This was followed by periods called Old Sun and Old Moon. We now live in the period called Present Earth. Next, the solar system will reincarnate as Future Jupiter, then Future Venus, and then Future Vulcan. 

To delve into this vision of our past and future — a tale that is the foundation of the Waldorf worldview — see, e.g., "Matters of Form".

Mere Logic   Steiner claimed that Anthroposophy is objective; it is, he said, a "science." Specifically, he said it is "spiritual science" or "occult science." He often said Anthroposophy is quite logical, and he sometimes said that there are no real conflicts between it and ordinary science (chemistry, physics, botany, and so on). But none of this is true. As you may have already started to suspect, Anthroposophy is extremely illogical; it is a farrago of fantasies. And, indeed, Steiner quite often disparaged real science, and intellect, and even the use of the brain. Logic — and truth — are absent from Anthroposophy; they are Anthroposophy's greatest opponents. 

To delve into these matters, see, e.g., "Steiner's Specific", "Steiner's Illogic", and "Steiner's Blunders".

Clairvoyance    It all boils down to clairvoyance. Everything in Anthroposophy — including everything at the basis of Waldorf education — depends on clairvoyance. If clairvoyance doe not exist, then Anthroposophy collapses. And if Anthroposophy collapses, then there is no valid basis for Waldorf education.

Here's the kicker. Clairvoyance does not exist. There is no convincing evidence that anyone has ever been clairvoyant or that anyone living now is clairvoyant. There is no convincing evidence that clairvoyance exists. None. Zero. Zilch. See "Clairvoyance".

And what does this mean for Waldorf education? It means there is no valid basis for Waldorf education.
— R.R.













February 1



WALDORF, PROTEST, 
AND FURY 



From the Belfast Telegraph [Northern Ireland]:


Dad fury as police called to remove son
staging protest outside Northern Ireland school


By Claire McNeilly

February 1 2018



A Northern Ireland man has told of his anger after police were called to remove his 14-year-old son from outside a local school.

Two officers arrived at Holywood's Rudolf Steiner School at around noon on Monday to deal with a young boy, Ben Geraghty, who was staging a peaceful protest....

The teenager's parents have now been told that none of their three children, who are currently pupils, are welcome at the school.

They also received a letter threatening action from a debt collection agency for arrears.

The protester's father, Jonny Geraghty...said he will be taking further action over his "serious concerns".

The father-of-six has already written to Lady Sylvia Hermon, a school trustee, to express his anger over the incident and he has also contacted the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF), the umbrella body....

Parents pay school fees to Holywood Steiner based on their income, but problems arose when the Geraghtys were told theirs were increasing from £280 to £594 per month....

Last week, the couple received a letter telling them they were going to "withdraw your children's school place from Friday, January 26" — meaning that Ben, Leon and Amelie (who didn't go to school on Monday) are now not in education....

Mr Geraghty said everything that has happened has given him no alternative but to home school his children himself because they will be unable to adapt to mainstream educational institutions.

[2/1/2018   https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/dad-fury-as-police-called-to-remove-son-staging-protest-outside-northern-ireland-school-36553870.html]





Waldorf Watch Response:

Waldorf schools project an image of harmony and kindliness. Sometimes this image is merited. Many families have pleasant Waldorf experiences; many love their schools.

But a surprisingly large number of families have painful, even rancorous, Waldorf experiences. When things go wrong at Waldorf, they tend to go extremely wrong.

Waldorf schools are often within their rights to expel students, and they sometimes exercise these rights. On other occasions, parents exercise their own rights and pull their kids out of Waldorf schools. Disputes over fees can be one reason for discord between schools and families. A more basic reason can be disputes over the Waldorf belief system. Parents are sometimes shocked when they learn what Waldorf schools actually represent.

Here is a report by a former Waldorf parent, Dan Dugan, who went on to become a prominent Waldorf critic:


I enrolled my son in the San Francisco Waldorf School ... I was very impressed with the school. I liked very much the way art is integrated into the curriculum in Waldorf.... 


One day while visiting the school, I browsed through some books by Rudolf Steiner that they had for sale. I saw some very strange things about “astral bodies" and "root races." I asked my son's teacher whether these subjects were taught in the classroom. She assured me that though the teachers studied Steiner, only Steiner's teaching methods were used in the classroom, and Steiner's philosophy wasn't taught to the children. I learned later that this is a standard disclaimer, and it is far from the truth. I should have known better, but I was so in love with the facade of the school that I looked the other way.


Over the year and a half my son was in the school, I became increasingly disturbed about three things:


1. Weird science ... [I]nadequate and erroneous science was part of the Waldorf system.


2. Racism ... Why would a school in San Francisco in 1988 be promoting 1920s German racism?


3. Quack medicine. An "Anthroposophical physician" gave a lecture to the parents on "Anthroposophical medicine."  It was classic quackery....


I started speaking up at meetings and lectures about these problems. I requested a meeting with the College of Teachers, the committee of senior teachers that ran the school. They were "too busy." Instead, a committee of three teachers was delegated to give me an ultimatum: "You don't have to believe what we believe, but if you are going to talk about your disagreements with the other parents, you will have to leave." We left.


[downloaded 2/1/2018   http://www.waldorfcritics.org/articles/dugan_dan_csr0202j.htm]



For other accounts of problems parents have encountered at Waldorf schools, see, e.g., "Moms", "Pops", "Coming Undone", and "Our Experience". As for the ability of Waldorf students to adapt to mainstream education, see, e.g., "Academic Standards at Waldorf".
— R.R.





































[R.R., 2018.]