WALDORF / STEINER 

NEWS ARCHIVE


January, 2012









This site supplements Waldorf Watch.
To go to Waldorf Watch itself, please click here:






The news items below are presented in reverse chronological order 
— newest first, oldest last.

Please excuse a certain amount of repetition 
in the contents of this archive.
Items 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.
















From the Leeds Steiner School
[UK]:


“Why Leeds should support the Leeds Steiner Free School bid 

“...A Steiner school in the heart of our city [Leeds, UK] would offer us a chance to deliver an alternative educational experience which is about ‘deep’ and lifelong learning habits for our children, as well as a new and special partner in pedagogical excellence. 

“...Steiner education is a fully formed philosophy education [sic] and long experience of delivering education [sic]. It is founded on the idea of community and of communication. 

“...Based on 7 year cycles, Steiner recognises distinct stages that a child must navigate and that we all too often stifle in our education system. 






Response:

Statements posted for pubic relations purposes by Steiner or Waldorf schools are almost always disingenuous. The item quoted here, meant to promote the establishment of a Steiner “free school,” is amazingly misleading. For instance, the article makes no mention of Rudolf Steiner’s occult religion, Anthroposophy, even though Steiner schooling is based on Anthroposophy and Steiner schools exist to promote Anthroposophy. [See “Here’s the Answer”, “Clues”, and “Soul School".] 

Nor does the article mention reincarnation, etheric bodies, astral bodies, or any of the other central Anthroposophical beliefs that inform Steiner schooling. [See, e.g., “Spiritual Agenda” and “Sneaking It In”.] 

At one of two spots, the article alludes to a truth about Steiner schooling, but it never explicitly states that truth. Yes, Steiner schools base their curriculum on the idea that children grow up in distinct seven-year-long cycles. This is sometimes considered the most important of all Steiner school innovations. [See “Most Significant”.] But the article does not explain that these stages are periods during which invisible bodies are believed to incarnate. [See “Incarnation”.] 

Before giving support to Steiner schooling, please do a little homework. Find out what Steiner schools are really all about — and don’t expect Steiner spokespeople to lay out the truth for you. Steiner himself coached the teachers in his schools to mislead the public. [See “Secrets”.] Here, for instance, is something Steiner said during a faculty meeting at the first Waldorf school: 

“Quite a number of people have been born since the nineties [who] are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon ... We cannot, however, create a school for demons ... I do not like to talk about such things since we have often been attacked even without them. Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings. Nevertheless, these are facts. ... Nevertheless, we do not want to shout that to the world. Our opposition is already large enough. Such things are really shocking to people. I caused enough shock when I needed to say that a very famous university professor, after a very short period between death and rebirth, was reincarnated as a black scientist. We do not want to shout such things out into the world." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 649-650. 

If you doubt the relevance of such statements to Steiner education today, in the 21st century, bear in mind that Steiner are schools named for Rudolf Steiner. Waldorf teachers study Steiner’s works and they are often devoted to Steiner. 

Before supporting Steiner education, try to dig past the secrecy and lies, and discover what these schools really stand for.



















“Waldorf School Music and Myths Event 

“Richmond Waldorf School [Virginia, USA] presents Music and Myths, our annual Storytelling Event at the Libbie Place Barnes & Noble – Join us for stories, puppet shows, music and more! ... This event is a fundraiser for RWS [i.e., Richmond Waldorf School] so any purchase you make on the 27th and 28th supports our school! All you need to do is present a voucher at the checkout counter and RWS receives up to 25%!” 

[1-25-2012 http://nearwestendnews.net/2012/01/26/waldorf-school-music-and-myths-event/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nwen+(Near+West+End+News)] 





Response:

Mythology plays a large role in the standard Waldorf school curriculum. The reason may surprise you. Rudolf Steiner taught that myths — with their casts of gods, giants, dwarfs, etc. — are essentially, actually true. 

“Actual facts concerning the higher Spiritual Worlds lie at the foundation of all myths....” — Rudolf Steiner, UNIVERSE EARTH AND MAN IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MODERN CIVILIZATION (Kessinger Publishing, 2003), p. 94. 

You see, 

“Zeus, Apollo, Mars, Wotan, Odin, Thor...are all real beings....” — Rudolf Steiner, THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (Kessinger, facsimile of 1942 edition), pp. 108-109. 

This is not to say that all myths are equal. In the Waldorf belief system, Norse myths — the mythology of Germany and Scandinavia — is truest. 

“Pictures or symbols of Teutonic mythology contain occult truths.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 132. 

“No other mythology gives a clearer picture of evolution than Northern mythology. Germanic mythology in its pictures is close to anthroposophical conception [sic] of future evolution.” — Ibid., p. 17. 

For more on the importance of Norse myths in Waldorf education, see “The Gods”. 

Think twice before making financial contributions to a Waldorf school. Think three times (or more) before sending a child to a Waldorf school.



















“The Waldorf way 

“Charter school organizers emphasize method of learning through arts, nature 

“This isn’t about the right or wrong way to educate children. It’s just a different way. 

“A local group of people are exploring the possibility of opening a Waldorf Method-inspired public charter school for kindergarten through eighth grade as soon as the 2013–14 school year. 

“The Waldorf Method, which started in 1919 in Germany, approaches academics through the arts and nature. 

“Those involved with the Grand Junction [Colorado, USA] Art Based Charter School Initiative think that adapting some of the Waldorf methods for use in a public charter school setting would be an effective alternative for parents who want their children educated more through the arts and personal discovery than from textbooks.” 

[1-29-2012 http://www.gjsentinel.com/entertainment/articles/the-waldorf-way/ 





Response:

Actually, of course, there are right ways and wrong ways to educate children — that is, some methods are more successful than others, and some curriculums contain more truth than others. 

The Waldorf approach does indeed emphasize art and nature, and it does indeed downplay textbooks. There are specific reasons for these decisions. According to the founder of Waldorf schooling, Rudolf Steiner, the arts transport us, literally, into the spirit realm, while nature is the habitat of “nature spirits” such as gnomes. Textbooks are generally spurned because the Waldorf belief system rejects much modern scholarship and science — the sorts of knowledge found in textbooks. Waldorf schooling is built, instead, on the basis of an esoteric belief system, Anthroposophy. [See “Magical Arts”, “Neutered Nature”, “Lesson Books”, and “Is Anthroposophy a Religion?”] 

“Waldorf-inspired” schools may diverge, to varying degrees, from strict acceptance of Anthroposophy, but the problem is that Waldorf methods make little sense without their ideological underpinnings.* The standard Waldorf curriculum is rigid, following a precisely defined sequence based on the notion that children incarnate various invisible bodies (i.e., frames of spiritual forces) at specific ages — the “etheric body” around age 7, the “astral body” around age 14, and the “ego body” at around age 21. Waldorf methods are keyed to this schedule of incarnation. [See “Incarnation”, “Curriculum”, and “Methods”.]

Encouraging children to be artistic and to love nature is obviously all to the good. But, also obviously, unless you accept Anthroposophical doctrines about such things as nature spirits, invisible bodies, and incarnation, you may develop serious doubts about Waldorf schooling.



* Some "Waldorf-inspired" schools are set up by people who know little about Anthroposophy. But others are full-fledged Anthroposophical institutions that have not yet earned the right, within the Steiner/Waldorf community, to attach the Waldorf trademark to themselves. These latter schools will call themselves Waldorf schools (dropping the qualification "-inspired") as soon as they are allowed to do so.






















[Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training]








“Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training 
“Healing Through Singing 

"A lecture by Christiaan Boele 

"February 9, 2012 

"7 pm 

"Marin Waldorf School [California, USA]” 

[1-28-2012 http://www.bacwtt.org/healing-through-singing-february-9-2012 





Response:

Alternative therapies are often used in and around Waldorf schools, and some families find this highly attractive. Predominantly, “Anthroposophical medicine” — based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner — is employed in the Waldorf community. 

The efficacy of such treatments is highly questionable. Thus, for instance, singing is undoubtedly good for the soul and perhaps for the body, but whether it can truly effect “healing” is, at best, doubtful. 

If you find yourself drawn to Waldorf education, you probably should look into Anthroposophical medicine and determine whether you will want your children to be treated by Anthroposophical doctors. If a child at a Waldorf school becomes ill, Anthroposophical therapies will probably be recommended or implemented by faculty and staff. 

[See, e.g., “Steiner’s Quackery”, "Growing Up Being Made Sick by Anthroposophy", and “Our Brush with Rudolf Steiner”.]



















Also from the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training: 

“Waldorf schools and Waldorf teachers are greatly challenged today by growing pressures from parents and society in general, to be more mainstream ... Now is not the time for us to lose our orientation. This conference...will address the profound sources which can help us keep our bearings....” 

[10-22-2011 http://www.bacwtt.org/inner-activityouter-demands-new-impulse-conference-february-23-25-2012-3 





Response:

As Waldorf schools seek to gain approval and funding from communities and governments, they are tempted to stray from the doctrines of Rudolf Steiner. Within Anthroposophical circles, strenuous efforts are being made to ensure that such straying does not occur. The training for new Waldorf teachers usually places heavy emphasis on Steiner’s doctrines, and Waldorf faculties often undertake continuing, formal study of these same doctrines. 

Rudolf Steiner said that Waldorf teachers should be true Anthroposophists, and to a large extent this standard still holds in Waldorf education. Here are some of Steiner’s statements, setting out the religious, messianic nature of Waldorf schooling and the link between such schooling and Anthroposophy: 

• “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 (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 55. 

• “We can accomplish our work only if we do not see it as simply a matter of intellect or feeling, but, in the highest sense, 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 ... Thus, we wish to begin our preparation by first reflecting upon how we connect with the spiritual powers 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. 

• “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, p. 118. 

• “One of the most important facts about the background of the Waldorf School is that we were in a position to make the anthroposophical movement a relatively large one. The anthroposophical movement has become a large one.” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER IN THE WALDORF SCHOOL (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p.156. 

[For more on these matters, see “Here’s the Answer”, “Spiritual Agenda”, "Teacher Training", and ”Soul School”.]



















From Rudolf Steiner College 
[California, USA]: 


“Join us for an in-depth exploration of the spiritual practice within the modern path of biodynamic agriculture. Founded on Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophic philosophy, methods for developing a sacred relationship to the land will be explored through: 

“• presentations on the alchemy of the four elements as the theoretical basis for the biodynamic worldview 

“• exercises in phenomenology growing out of the work of the poet Goethe 

“• hands-on experiences in the art and science of preparation-making as an alchemical practice.” 


[1-27-2012 http://steinercollege.edu/files/pdf/bd/BD-Redemption-Of-Substance.pdf 






Response:

If you are unsure whether Waldorf schooling is religious, you might look at the courses offered by Waldorf teacher-training institutions such as Rudolf Steiner College. [See “Teacher Training”.] Religious concepts and attitudes inform the majority of these courses.* Here we find a course promoting the concept of "a sacred relationship" with nature. According to the Waldorf belief system, nature is the manifestation of the will of the gods and other incorporeal beings.

Biodynamics is the form of organic farming prescribed by Rudolf Steiner. It involves astrology, magic, and — yes — alchemy. [See “Biodynamics” and “Alchemy”.] Waldorf schools often have biodynamic gardens, and Waldorf students are often required to work in them. [See GARDENING CLASSES AT THE WALDORF SCHOOLS (Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, 1992).]

The worldview underlying biodynamics is the same as the view that undergirds Waldorf education: It is Anthroposophy, Steiner’s occult new-age religion. [See “Is Anthroposophy a Religion?”]


Although there are, of course, far more than four elements, Anthroposophy generally clings to the ancient belief that the only real elements are earth, air, fire, and water. In Anthroposophical belief, these elements are inhabited by four types of "nature spirits": gnomes, sylphs, salamanders, and undines. [See "Neutered Nature".]


Rudolf Steiner was devoted to the writings of Goethe; the Anthroposophical headquarters, the Goetheanum, is named for him. A poet, Goethe undertook "scientific" work that flies in the face of real science. Anthroposophists generally embrace Goethe's approach and therefore reject much of modern science. One result is that science instruction in Waldorf schools tends to be particularly weak. [See "Goethe" and "Steiner's 'Science'".]


This is the sort of world the members of a Waldorf community inhabit.




* Some courses offered there are integral to the teach-training program; others are peripheral. But the great majority reflect the occult doctrines of Anthroposophy.



















Here is a letter written by a veteran public school teacher responding to articles, reported here previously, praising Waldorf schools for their low-tech approach: 



“Comparing a Waldorf education and a public school education simply by the use of computers is missing the mark. Neither the article in the Jan. 22 Free Press by Molly Walsh nor the article she referenced in The New York Times about lack of technology in a Silicon Valley Waldorf School addresses two very potent yet sensitive differences in these educations: socio-economics and parent engagement. 

“The income levels of the families in each school are very different. Waldorf families annually pay $10,000-$17,000 depending on grade level. This does not include hundreds in additional fees for field trips, books, equipment, etc. This indicates a difference in socio-economic stratification in Waldorf versus public schools. People of higher socio-economic status tend to ...have the means to provide a different home life. A literacy-rich environment coupled with opportunities for enrichment through 'extras' such as trips, movement classes and/or music lessons can make a big difference in student outcomes. Additionally, healthier food choices are often available....

“Many studies have examined the link between parent engagement and student outcomes ... Parents with low socio-economic status sometimes feel marginalized by schools which they perceive as pandering to the middle class. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP) documents several such studies. And so, students of low socio-economic status often perform below the national average and the gap continues to widen as they progress through school. 

“...[C]omputers and technology could be one component in leveling the playing field for students in public school.” 
























Ahriman as depicted by Rudolf Steiner
[R.R. rendering, 2012].
In Zoroastrianism, Ahriman is the devil. 
In the Waldorf belief system, Ahriman is one of mankind's
chief foes, along with Lucifer, Sorat, and other evil spirits.
[See "Evil Ones"]






“Shelburne's Waldorf School philosophy is deliberately low-tech 

“The seventh- and eighth-grade students at the private Lake Champlain Waldorf School [Vermont, USA] study the usual academic subjects, carve wooden bowls, knit and sew, play string instruments, sing to the accompaniment of a piano in their classroom, sweep and take out the school trash, and spend recess outside chatting, running around in the snow or feeding the school’s chickens. 

“One thing they don’t do in school is log on to a computer. Their school has no computers and that’s by design. Also missing: TV screens, smart boards, video cameras and other equipment found in many public and private schools. In a nation where public school students often encounter computers in the classroom as early as kindergarten and one to one student laptop programs are increasingly popular, Waldorf isn’t having any, thank you very much.”

[1-22-2012 http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20120122/NEWS02/120121008/Shelburne-s-Waldorf-School-philosophy-deliberately-low-tech 





Response:

As we have pointed out previously, there are good reasons to de-emphasize electronic gadgetry in education, and then there are the Waldorf reasons. According to the Waldorf belief system, modern technology is associated with the arch-demon Ahriman. Use of computers and other technological products threatens us with demonic possession. See, for instance, a publication of the Rudolf Steiner College Press: THE COMPUTER AND THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN, by David B. Black. 

Waldorf schools do not always completely ban computers. Some Waldorfs make gingerly use of computers in the higher grades, and many Waldorf schools now have websites. But the fear of Ahriman and his minions always looms in the background. Indeed, according to Rudolf Steiner, mankind is on the brink of spiritual destruction at the hands of Ahriman: 

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

[See, e.g., “Ahriman”.] 

There are good reasons to de-emphasize electronic gadgetry in education, and then there are the Waldorf reasons. The Waldorf reasons are rooted in heterodox religious doctrines promulgated by Rudolf Steiner, such as belief in Ahriman.



* Steiner identified various worlds within the spirit realm. Lucifer rules over one, Ahriman rules over another. 

• "The evil astral world is the province of Lucifer, the evil Lower Devachan the province of Ahriman...." — Rudolf Steiner, THE ETHERISATION OF THE BLOOD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971), GA 130. ("Devachan" is a Theosophical term for heaven.) 

• “Lucifer wants to take men's souls away and found a planet with them of his own. Ahriman has to help him. While Lucifer sucks the juice out of the lemon, as it were, Ahriman presses it out....” — Rudolf Steiner, INNER IMPULSES OF EVOLUTION (Anthroposophic Press, 1984), lecture 2, GA 171. 

We gain some benefits from the attentions of Lucifer and Ahriman, but we also risk our utter destruction, Steiner said.



















From the Leeds Steiner School
[UK]:


“Leeds [UK] City Council Primary School Place Applications

“Midnight 15th January was Leeds City Council’s deadline for applying for a primary school place, for parents with children aged 4 on 1st September 2012. 

“This time next year, applicants bidding to open Leeds’ first mainstream Free School, Leeds Steiner School (LSS), are hoping that their school will be included in the parental choice list for the city. They are convinced that their educational approach would be a popular choice for parents making decisions about their child’s schooling. 

“LSS will offer an alternative to the curriculum offered in mainstream schools ... The proposed site for the school is the former Fir Tree School in Moortown, though options are open still. Discussions with the council have confirmed there are no current plans for the building, it is of the right capacity and has been in educational use recently.”

 [1-19-2012 http://www.leedssteinerschool.co.uk/wordp/?p=54] 





Response:

Vigorous efforts are being made in many countries to establish new Steiner schools and to solicit government support for such schools. Families who opt for Steiner education may be in for a rude shock. Behind the attractive facade is a bizarre, esoteric worldview. 

[For first-person reports of the disillusionment that can result from selecting Steiner education, see “Cautions”, "Moms", "Pops", and the pages beginning with “Ex-Teacher”.]



















From the Center for Anthroposophy: 


“The Art of Child Study: 
An Inspirational Path to Understand the Unfolding Human Being 

“’The task of education conceived in the spiritual sense is to bring the Soul-Spiritual into harmony with the Life-Bodily.’ – Rudolf Steiner, STUDY OF MAN* 

“Our educational tasks draw us into a new paradigm that reaches across the threshold — beyond the intellectual and emotional to the moral and spiritual. Today, more than ever, we must come to understand the spiritual foundations of pedagogy and appreciate the many challenges in the life of the teacher and the children who draw near us. As teachers we need to respect the sanctity of the child’s individuality by developing moral techniques based in imagination, inspiration, and intuition.” 

[1-22-2012 http://www.centerforanthroposophy.org/programs/renewal-courses/week-one/the-art-of-child-study/ 





Response:

Waldorf schools are not primarily interested in teaching children the ordinary subjects that comprise education in other schools. The purposes of Waldorf schools are, instead, closely tied to the doctrines of Anthroposophy. 

Here are some other ways to explaining the nature and objectives of Waldorf education: 

• "We [Waldorf teachers] want to be aware that physical existence is a continuation of the spiritual, and that what we have to do in education is a continuation of what higher beings [the gods] have done without our assistance. Our form of educating can have the correct attitude only when we are aware that our work with young people is a continuation of what higher beings have done before birth." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 37.

• “[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 ... Teachers too will know that it is their task to help the child to make use of his body, to help his soul-spiritual forces to find expression through it, rather than regarding it as their duty to cram him with information....” — Anthroposophist Stewart C. Easton, MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), pp. 388-389.

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

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

• “[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. 

• "If, therefore, we are asked what the basis of a new method of education should be, our answer is: Anthroposophy must be that basis. But how many people there are, even in our own circles, who try to disclaim Anthroposophy as much as possible, and to propagate an education without letting it be known that Anthroposophy is behind it." — Rudolf Steiner, THE KINGDOM OF CHILDHOOD (SteinerBooks, 1995), p. 4.

• “This is precisely the task of school. If it is a true school, it should bring to unfoldment in the human being what he has brought with him from spiritual worlds into this physical life on earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS , Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 5, GA 235.



* According to Steiner, a human being has both a spirit and a soul. The “life-body” is what Steiner also called the etheric body. 

[For more on these matters, see “What We’re Made Of”, "Our Parts", and “The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia”.]






















Photo posted by the San Francisco Waldorf School
to accompany the story quoted below:

"Chengdu Waldorf Grade School Receives License in China 

"A milestone was reached for worldwide Waldorf education on 10 January 2012 when the Chengdu Waldorf school received a full license as a grade school (as well as kindergarten) from the education authorities in Chengdu, Sichuan province. This was the result of a 'Long March' and some tireless work over seven years by the whole faculty, especially the three founding teachers Li Zhang, Harry Huang, and Zewu Li (father of Mai in the SFWHS tenth grade). Zewu will be visiting the San Francisco Waldorf School with ten eighth grade students the week of February 6, 2012."  






Response:

The Chinese government might want to reconsider. They may not have been informed about the racist Anthroposophical view of Asians and, specifically, the Chinese. For example, the following statements made by Rudolf Steiner can be found in the book THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS (Anthroposophic Press, 1987):

"[T]he Chinese were unable to think out any legal system." — p. 70. 

"[T]he European sort of invention is impossible for either the Chinese or the Japanese ... [T]he Indians in those very ancient times...had tremendous powers of imagination. The Chinese had none at all ... The Chinese lack imagination whereas the Indians have been full of it from the beginning." — pp. 77-79. 

"[T]he Chinese were a prosaic people interested in the outer world, a people who did not live from within. The Indians were a people who looked entirely inward." — p. 82. 

According to the Waldorf belief system, the Chinese reached their evolutionary peak soon after leaving Atlantis (yes, Atlantis): 

“The old Chinese possess a wonderful Atlantean heritage, but they could not progress beyond this zenith.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 40. 

Rudolf Steiner taught that humans reincarnate in various racial forms. In general, lowly or “substandard” souls incarnate in nonwhite bodies whereas highly evolved souls incarnate in white bodies. Steiner deplored the mixing of the races, and he worried about the “Chinesification” of Europe (the appearance in Europe of lowly souls that should have incarnated in China). He said that in particular souls that have been damaged by opium should be incarnating in China, not in Europe: 

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

The Chinese government might want to reconsider the approval of Waldorf education in China. Probably few Anthroposophists today fully share Steiner's racial views, but very few have explicitly or fully repudiated Steiner's racial views. Doing so would be difficult for them, because the idea that humans evolve upward through racial forms is woven into the very fabric of their belief system, Anthroposophy. When Waldorf schools open in nonwhite countries, at least some of the teachers are likely to believe that they are serving dear, unfortunate children who are less highly evolved than white people, and thus one of their goals will be to try to help the children improve spiritually so that they can incarnate in white bodies in their future lives. These teachers are, of course, unlikely to openly state this goal. In today's world, expressing the belief that some races are higher than others is generally unacceptable, and almost everyone knows this — even people who, in private, agree with Steiner about the capacities and characteristics of the various human races. [2] 

[For more on Steiner's racial doctrines, see, e.g., "Steiner's Racism", "Races", "Differences", "Steiner's Bile", and "Forbidden".]



[1] Another problem with Steiner's teachings is that they are often based on fallacies of logic or fact, or both. The population of China today is larger than it was in ancient times, and indeed the population of the Earth is far greater than in ancient times. But Steiner did not recognize these facts. 

“[T]he idea that the population of the earth increases is just superstition on the part of modern science, which always makes its calculations from data to suit itself. The truth is that even in the most ancient times there was a vast population in China, also in South America and North America. There too in those ancient times the land reached out to the Pacific Ocean. If that is taken into account the population of the earth cannot be said to have grown." — THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS, p. 68. 

According to Steiner's "logic," the strenuous efforts made by the Chinese government to limit population growth have been pointless.

[2] Here is how Steiner states his central racial doctrine in one of his most important books, a book that almost all Waldorf teachers study: 

“A race or nation stands so much the higher, the more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal human type ... The evolution of man through the incarnations in ever higher national and racial forms is thus a process of liberation [leading to] an ideal future.” — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 149.



















From The Conway Daily Sun:


“Benefits of Knitting program at Waldorf School Jan. 21 

“Knitting is the perfect antidote to life in the fast world we live in. It offers a very tangible way to connect with yourself and to create something truly useful as well as beautiful. In a world where technological advances such as electronic books, food processors, bread machines, etc., have deprived us of many of life's tactile pleasures, the feeling of yarn and the steady repetition of stitch after stitch is a restorative tonic, producing not a virtual experience that can be altered with a single click, but a real and tangible something. 

“The White Mountain Waldorf School [New Hampshire, USA] will host an open house on Jan. 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the topic of the benefits of knitting. 

“In Waldorf schools, knitting is one component of the first grade curriculum and kindergarten children are taught to finger knit before they learn to do math.” 

[1-20-2012 http://www.conwaydailysun.com/node/483633/18672 





Response:

People are often surprised — and sometimes charmed — that knitting plays such a large role in Waldorf education. Knitting arguably has potential benefits, and Waldorf schools have become adept at making their fixation on knitting seem reasonable. But as with most other practices at Waldorf schools, the real reasons for the emphasis on knitting are to be found in the occult doctrines of Rudolf Steiner. 

Steiner said that children are born four times. The physical body is born first, and then at about age 7 the “etheric body” (an invisible constellation of formative forces) is incarnated, followed by the “astral body” (soul forces) at age 14, and the “ego body” (spiritual selfhood) at age 21. 

In line with these doctrines, Steiner said that young children should not do much brainwork such as arithmetic; instead, they should concentrate on developing their physical bodies so as to prepare themselves for their second births, the arrival of their etheric bodies. Knitting and other physical activities are meant to assist in the perfection of the physical body. 

The incarnation of the etheric body is signaled by the replacement of baby teeth by adult teeth, according to Steiner. Dental care is given great significance in the Waldorf worldview, and — strangely — it is believed to be connected in deep, esoteric ways to knitting. 

“Go into our needlework classes and handicraft classes at the Waldorf School, and you will find the boys knit and crochet as well as the girls ... This is not the result of any fad or whim ... [T]o drive the soul into the fingers means to promote all the forces that go to build up sound teeth.”* — Rudolf Steiner, SPIRITUAL SCIENCE AND MEDICINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1948), lecture 17, GA 312. 

In other words, 

“Bad teeth, the cause lies in the soul/spirit ... Knitting develops good teeth.”* — FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 112.

Fundamentally, Waldorf education arises from a mystical, anti-intellectual ideology. Arts and crafts are emphasized while brainwork is viewed askance. You see, according to Rudolf Steiner, 

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

Actual cognition, according to Steiner, is clairvoyance. 

If any of this (etheric bodies, clairvoyance, building sound teeth through knitting...) seems odd to you, perhaps Waldorf education is not right for you and your children. 

[For more on these matters, see, e.g., “Incarnation”, “Holistic Education”, “Nutshell”, “Curriculum”, “Thinking Cap”, “Thinking”, and “Steiner’s Specific”.] 



* Longtime readers of the Waldorf Watch news page will have seen these quotations before, and for this I apologize. But, as usual, I direct my little commentaries primarily to newcomers who may not yet know just how bizarre Waldorf doctrines are.




















From the Parent Handbook, 2011-2012
The Waldorf School of Bend
[Oregon, USA]: 


Child Study 

“With parent permission, the faculty may select a child for study. The Child Study is an opportunity to embrace the child in a holistic way. The faculty observes the physical, emotional, and historic experiences of the child. This is done in order to develop an open understanding of the child. In turn, the child’s teacher is guided by comments from other faculty. It allows the teacher to look inwardly so that the child’s needs might be met in a new way.” 

[http://www.bendwaldorf.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/WSB-PARENT-HANDBOOK-2010.pdf 





Response:

Waldorf teachers attempt to know their students well, and sometimes — as indicated here — an entire faculty will unite to “study” a child. You should understand what this means. (I will speak of Waldorf schools in general, not The Waldorf School of Bend in particular. I have not visited that school.)

Waldorf teachers “look inwardly” in several senses. They use their “clairvoyance,” they rely on dreams, and they sometimes resort to horoscopes. [See “The Waldorf Teacher’s Consciousness”, “Clairvoyance”, “Dreams”, “Horoscopes”, and “Waldorf Astrology”.] They seek to determine a child’s “temperament” — sanguine, choleric, melancholic, or phlegmatic. [See “Humouresque” and “Temperaments”.] They consider the implications of a child’s astrological sign. [See “Astrology”.] They try to learn whether a child has incarnated properly. [See “Incarnation”.] 

All of this is nonsense and it is potentially quite damaging to a child, but it is how Waldorf faculties operate. 

[For the Waldorf conception of “holistic” education and holistic thinking, see “Holistic Education”. To consider what Waldorf faculties mean by the "historic experiences" of a child — in Waldorf belief, these include previous incarnations and the child's karma — see "Reincarnation" and "Karma".]

When you understand what Waldorf teachers believe, you may decide that Waldorf is not right for you or your child. 

"One [Waldorf] parent, Ray Pereira, reported that he could not believe what he was hearing from the school faculty. His son's teacher had informed him that his child had to repeat prep because the boy's soul had not fully incarnated. She said 'his soul was hovering above the earth,' Pereira said. 'And she then produced a couple of my son's drawings as evidence that his depiction of the world was from a perspective looking down on the earth from above. I just looked at my wife and we both thought, "'we are out of here'"." — Aron Raphael, CULTS, TERROR AND MIND CONTROL (Bay Tree Publishing, 2009), p. 114. [See "Weird Waldorf".]






















Training for new Waldorf or Steiner teachers takes place in special institutions.
This image shows a class at the Rudolf Steiner College in California, USA.
The photos on the wall depict Rudolf Steiner and the Anthroposophical headquarters.
The image on the blackboard includes the 12 signs of the zodiac 
(astrology is basic to the Waldorf belief system).
The book on the student's desk (center, bottom) is Steiner's 
OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (original title: OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE) —
it is Steiner's main exposition of his esoteric or occult teachings.
[Downloaded Sept. 25, 2011; Rudolf Steiner College, http://www.steinercollege.edu/]




As usual, an interesting discussion is occurring at the Waldorf Critics website. 

“The first (‘foundation’) year of Waldorf teacher training is mostly (about 95%) Steiner texts. This is universal. I am talking about ALL Steiner teacher training programs, worldwide. All of them, every one without exception ... The Steiner texts are common to ALL Waldorf teacher training programs; hence the ‘conformity’ and ‘obedience to lore’ that you apparently find so puzzling among Waldorf teachers.” 

[1-17-2012 http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/22414



[For more about Waldorf teacher training, see “Teacher Training” and “The Waldorf Teacher’s Consciousness”.]



















From The Elm City Beat:


“Headlines Today 

“Waldorf Education Town Hall Meeting Jan 17th 


“Attention Parents in the Greater New Haven Area [Connecticut, USA] 

“If you are looking for a school for your child that NURTURES imagination, creativity, critical thinking, self awareness, lifelong love of learning, and seeks to develop your child's intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual (secular) capacities, please join us to learn about a new Waldorf Education Initiative starting up in the Greater New Haven area ... Our North Haven Parent/Child class for toddlers is enrolling for classes beginning Feb. 7, 2012. Succeeding grades will be added yearly.” 






Response:

Supporters of Waldorf education often issue such invitations, seeking to build interest and community support. Media in small communities sometimes display these items as if they were objective news stories, when quite obviously they are not. [1] You may or may not find Waldorf education attractive, but do bear in mind the difference between objective information and advertising. The item quoted here, for instance, contains a number of highly questionable claims.

Ponder the claim that Waldorf schools seek to develop children's "spiritual (secular) capacities". What, you might wonder, is meant by the very curious phrase "spiritual (secular)"? Anthroposophists wind up using such expressions because their belief system is a religion (Anthroposophy), but one of the tenets of Anthroposophy is that Anthroposophy is not a religion. [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"] Primarily for this reason, Waldorf schools almost always deny that they are religious institutions, although their principles and practices are based on Anthroposophy. The schools usually claim that they are, indeed, secular, although they are very focused on spiritual matters. So they are "spiritual (secluar)."

The spiritual capacities emphasized in Waldorf schools boil down to the use of Anthroposophically approved forms of thought, such as imagination, to gain "knowledge" of spiritual matters. You might ask yourself if you think a "secular" school has any business trying to develop children's spiritual capacities — isn't this the job of churches, temples, mosques, and parents? In any event, if you select a Waldorf school for your child, you should know that the teachers there will have a spiritual agenda for the child. [See "Spiritual Agenda".] You should also know that the central "spiritual capacity" that Waldorf teachers, as Anthroposophists, attempt to develop is clairvoyance. [See "Clairvoyance".] If you do not share the many spiritual beliefs of Anthroposophists, including belief in clairvoyance, you may find Waldorf education alien and unacceptable.

One more point. (We could discuss several other matters, but one more is probably sufficient for now.) Does Waldorf education really promote "critical thinking"? In a sense, yes. Anthroposophists certainly want Waldorf students to be critical of modern society, modern science, and modern technology. [See, e.g., "Steiner's 'Science'".] But, on the other hand, Waldorf schools rarely encourage critical thought directed at their own, Anthroposophical beliefs. Taking their lead from Rudolf Steiner, they generally consider the brain a relatively unimportant organ, and they sometimes go so far as to deem critical thinking a blight. [2] For them, truth comes primarily through clairvoyance and emotion, not critical thought. [See, e.g., "Steiner's Specific — Thinking Without Our Brains".]

Whenever you read a glowing account of Waldorf education, you may want to consider the source, and certainly you should dig to get below the glowing surface. Perhaps you will still come away with a positive view of Waldorf schools. But perhaps you won't.


[1] In this case, the problem is inadvertent, arising from the layout of the page.

[2] "A youth whose childhood has been touched by the blight of 'critical thinking' will come to the moment of independent insight badly crippled." — John Fentress Gardner, THE EXPERIENCE OF KNOWLEDGE (Waldorf Press, 1975), p. 127. Gardner was a Waldorf school headmaster and a leading American Anthroposophist.



















Here is a follow-up to a story reported here previously about 
an Australian primary school that is discontinuing its Steiner track:


"Hike to Collingwood for a Steiner education

"Former Footscray City Primary School parents will fork out $1600 a year to transport their children to Collingwood College to ensure they receive a Steiner education.

"Late last year parents were informed of the scrapping of the Steiner program at FCPS [Footscray City Primary School] without consultation.

"Former school council president and father of two, Tim Sharkey, said about 90 per cent of the 125 FCPS Steiner students would now have to make the 30 to 40 minute trek to Collingwood College each day.

"He said Collingwood College would put on extra classes to accommodate the students despite Footscray City having enough space to meet demand".  




















“Germany: Teacher (39) at anthroposophic 'Steiner' Waldorf School makes IED for 5th graders - what kind of insanity is this? 

“According to online bild.de waldorfschule (article in German), a 39 y/o male teacher made an explosion of a tube bomb (1 liter volume), packed with 'pupil's made' gunpowder, in a forest near the Free (Private) Waldorf in spring 2010 - his pupils were only 33 yards away from the explosion. 

“Parents reported the incident to the Luebeck district attorney after the school had played down the issue. The popular teacher was only reprimanded by the private school directorate then. 

“The production of an improvised explosive device (IED) is punishable under German Penal Code (3 years of prison). 

“...[W]hat kind of b.s. is this lesson by this 'overeager' teacher? 

“...Producing gunpowder as part of chemistry lessons in terms of showing redox reactions or just exothermal reactions has always been quite acceptable but this is crossing a borderline. 

“If convicted the teacher might also lose his teaching license for life.” 


[1-12-2012 http://josh-rosenroth.newsvine.com/_news/2012/01/11/10112901-germany-teacher-39-at-anthroposophic-steiner-waldorf-school-makes-ied-for-5th-graders-what-kind-of-insanity-is-this]




















“Leeds Steiner School Sets Sights on Moortown 

“The team behind the application to set up a Steiner School in Leeds [UK] under the Government's Free School programme have identified the old Fir Tree School in Moortown as their preferred location. 

“...Leeds Steiner School is currently the vision of parents, friends, trustees and staff at Beechtree Steiner Initiative, a registered charity that has 11 years' experience of running pre-school education and parent and child groups in Leeds. The group are applying to the Government's Free School programme to open a school in September 2013. The school will start initially with reception through to Year 3/4 combined, growing each year with a new reception intake, up to age 16."  




















Understandably, this very strange story 
— reported here previously — 
has gone virtually viral: 


"Teacher under investigation for teaching children how to make pipe bombs 

“A German chemistry teacher is under police investigation for allegedly constructing pipe bombs in class and detonating them in front of pupils by using sparklers. 

“The 39-year-old teacher, who has not been named, apparently taught the children how to make gunpowder and load it into the metal pipes about the size of a one-litre bottle. The bombs were then set off at a nearby heath by using sparklers for detonators, with the resulting explosion so powerful that the pupils felt the shock wave in their stomachs. 

“According to a report in the German newspaper LUBECKER NACHRICHTEN, the teacher constructed bombs for pupils from 2009 to 2011 at a Waldorf school in Lubeck.” 




















“EPA, Federal Courts Continue Crackdown on Violations of Asbestos Regulations 

“The Environmental Protection Agency [USA] continues its crackdown on asbestos-related violations... 

“Even cash-strapped schools are not immune to the EPA’s clout. In October, a private school in Keene, New Hampshire, was fined $12,500 for violating asbestos management laws. Officials from the Monadnock Waldorf School were found guilty of not properly notifying the school community about the asbestos conditions. The fine was later reduced to $4,000 after coming into compliance with the laws.” 




















A discussion is under way at the website 
The Ethereal Kiosk 
on the question whether Waldorf schools 
convey Anthroposophical beliefs and values 
to their students. 







Response:

The answer is yes, Waldorf or Steiner schools almost always convey such beliefs and values. This is, after all, why the schools exist. [See "Here's the Answer".] However, the tenets of Anthroposophy may not be spelled out in so many words for the students. Instead, Anthroposophical instruction can be indirect and subtle, working on the level of emotion and attitude rather than intellect. 

Waldorf schools are much more interested in what their students feel than in what they think. Indeed, in Anthroposophy, the brain is considered an unreliable instrument and thinking is often deemed suspect. Rudolf Steiner taught that truth comes through the heart and the soul (and specifically through clairvoyance), not really through the brain. [For more on these matters, see "Sneaking It In", "Spiritual Agenda" (especially the section, "We Don't Teach It"), "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness", and "Steiner's Specific — Thinking Without Our Brains".]

A related subject: You cannot always believe the statements — and particularly the denials — made by Waldorf school representatives. Anthroposophists believe that they possess deep spiritual wisdom that most other people lack and indeed are unable to comprehend. Anthroposophy is "occult" — meaning that it consists of secret or mysterious doctrines. Thus, Anthroposophists withhold much from the general public, and specifically they often conceal the purposes of Waldorf education. Rudolf Steiner explicitly told Waldorf teachers to maintain confidentiality about what happens in their schools. [See, e.g., "Secrets" and "Our Experience".]

Finally, we should note that there is variation among Waldorf schools, and some schools are "Waldorf-inspired" rather than being fully fledged Waldorfs. Thus, the extent to which particular schools work to fulfill Rudolf Steiner's vision can vary. Moreover, some teachers in Waldorf schools are not Anthroposophists and therefore they are unlikely to fully share the objectives of their true-believing colleagues. For these reasons, it is generally necessary to study the practices of individual schools to determine precisely where they stand on the Waldorf spectrum. [See, e.g., "Advice for Parents", "Clues", and "Non-Waldorf Waldorfs".]



















From Der Spiegel
[Germany]:


“Teacher Accused of Building Pipe Bombs with Students 

“Police in the German city of Lübeck are investigating reports that a teacher at a local Waldorf school made pipe bombs with his students.... 

“According to a report in the Wednesday edition of the LÜBECKER NACHRICHTEN newspaper, the 39-year-old teacher, who has not been named, made gunpowder together with his students who then filled pipes with the explosive. The bombs were later detonated on a nearby heath, using sparklers as detonators. The newspaper reported that the teacher built bombs with classes of fifth-grade students between 2009 and 2011. 

"’No syllabus in the world contains something like this,’ the mother of one of the students told the newspaper. She said that when the bombs were detonated, the students were only 30 meters (100 feet) away and were not wearing protective glasses or ear protectors. ‘The explosion was so powerful that the children felt the shockwave in their guts,’ she said. There were apparently no cases of injuries, however.” 




















From the BBC:


“Views sought over new Frome school plans 

“Residents in a Somerset town are being asked for their views on plans for a new free school in Frome [UK]. 

“Project leaders said the Steiner Academy Frome will cater for more than 600 pupils, with the admissions policy based on the school's catchment area. 

“...Free schools are one of the coalition government's flagship policies, promising more freedom for teachers and more choice for parents. 

“...The consultation, which has to go ahead before any government money is confirmed, is open until Tuesday, 14 February, with a questionnaire available online

“...The Steiner Academy Frome, which was given approval in October 2011, will also be the first free school in Somerset. 

“It is based on the ethos of Austrian educationalist Rudolf Steiner. 

"His philosophy believes that equal attention should be paid to the ‘physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural and spiritual needs of each pupil’ in a system ‘designed to work in harmony with the different phases of the child's development’.”

 [1-10-2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-16471308] 





Response:

The people of Frome will be unable to make an informed decision unless the nature of Steiner schooling is explained more accurately. Steiner was not an educationalist — he was a religious leader, a self-described clairvoyant, initiate, and occultist. [See, e.g., “Occultism”, "Exactly", and “Inside Scoop”.] 

Steiner schools are based on the notion that a “child’s development” centers on the incarnation of invisible bodies — the etheric, astral, and ego bodies. [See “Incarnation” and "Most Significant".] 

Steiner schools do, certainly, offer an alternative to conventional education. Unfortunately, the Steiner alternative is benighted. [See, e.g., "
Here's the Answer" and "Coming Undone".]



















From the Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School
 [UK]:


"On Saturday 14th January, there will be a Goethean Science Workshop from 9.30 am to 1 pm. You are warmly invited to this opportunity to gain an insight into this approach to science. Please let us know if possible."  






Response:

Science instruction in Steiner schools tends to be particularly weak. Rudolf Steiner admired the "scientific" writings of the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. (The headquarters of the Steiner movement, the Goetheanum, is named for Goethe.) Goethe promoted a participatory, "observational" form of science in which one projects emotion and spirit into the phenomena of nature. The problem is that one's own biases and beliefs inform one's observations, so that objectivity is lost. You "see" what you want to see. This unscientific form of science is still stressed in Steiner schools, even though — contrary to Steiner's predictions — conventional science has increasingly disproved Steiner's teachings. [See, e.g., "Steiner and Natural Science", "Goethe", "Steiner's 'Science'", and "Steiner's Blunders".]























[Lindisfarne, an imprint of SteinerBooks, 2011]

Astrology plays a large role in the Waldorf belief system. 
Now being featured at SteinerBooks: 


“THE VENUS ECLIPSE OF THE SUN 2012 
“A Rare Celestial Event: Going to the Heart of Technology 
“[by] David Tresemer 

“The hyperbole and inflated attention given to the supposed 'end of the world' on December 21, 2012, has obscured an actual rare celestial event happening in June of 2012 — the passage of Venus before the face of the Sun ... David Tresemer considers the dynamics of Sun, Earth, Venus, and the exact location in the heavens of this eclipse event, weaving a dramatic story about the heart of technology, its uses for good or for ill, and the direction in which to find one’s power in ‘hands of the heart’ ... Find out about the nature of 'erotic phantasms' and how to work constructively with them and who will support us through these times.”



[For more on Waldorf astrology, see the cleverly titled page “Waldorf Astrology”.]



















From Waldorf Today:


"The East Bay Waldorf School [California, USA] is seeking a warm, creative and artistic teacher to guide our rising Class One on their journey through the grades. We are looking for someone who has completed Waldorf Teacher Training, ideally has previous Waldorf teaching experience, a grounding in anthroposophy and a Bachelor’s Degree or higher."  






Response:

Knowledge of, and devotion to, the religion called Anthroposophy is usually a key requirement for Waldorf teachers. Graduation from college is sometimes not required. Some Waldorf teachers are former Waldorf students who went straight from a Waldorf school to an unaccredited Waldorf teacher training program and then were hired to teach in the Waldorf network. Their qualifications to teach are minimal, at best. And yet, under the Waldorf system, many will be expected to teach all subjects in all grades as they shepherd a class from Grade 1 through Grade 5 or higher.



















From Millenialchild.com:


"Downloads of Waldorf Education & Anthroposophy Lectures 

"This page contains PayPal buttons for Child Development. 4 downloads only. To purchase a physical version of the lectures, go to the Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy page. 

"110: Initiation or Vitiation? $20.00 

"111: The Inner Path of the Teacher $20.00 

[1-6-2012 http://millennialchild.com/anthropdown.html 





Response:

Waldorf proponent Eugene Schwartz is selling copies of his lectures. When Waldorf spokespeople like Schwartz use loaded terms such as "initiation," you may want to look below the surface. Anthroposophists often speak in a sort of code; learning the Anthroposophical lexicon can be a challenge. Sometimes there are no hidden meanings in Anthroposophists' statements; sometimes there are many.

In the Waldorf belief system, initiation — at a deep level — means gaining access to occult spiritual knowledge, and the “inner path” of Waldorf teachers is the effort to attain such initiation. See, for instance, one of Rudolf Steiner’s central texts — a book that his followers study carefully — HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS - A Modern Path of Initiation (Anthroposophic Press, 1994). [Also see "Inside Scoop" and "Adepts".]





Rudolf Steiner's second-most important book;
this edition published by the Anthroposophic Press, 1994.



According to Rudolf Steiner, there are three stages of Initiation: Probation, Enlightenment, and Initiation proper. Steiner was prepared to unwrap some occult secrets for the general public, but he also taught that some mysteries need to be preserved. Thus, he discussed the process of initiation, but he kept a curtain of secrecy over other matters.

"Initiation is the highest stage of an esoteric training concerning which it is possible to give indications in a book intended for the general public." — Rudolf Steiner, HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS, p. 80. 

Only initiates are permitted to learn the deeper secrets. Becoming an initiate means, among other things, learning the secret, divine names of things, and grasping the astrological influences of the stars and planets. 

• "[I]nitiation consists in this very act of learning to call the things of the world by those names which they bear in the spirit of their divine authors [i.e., gods]. In these, their names, lies the mystery of things. It is for this reason that the initiates speak a different language from the uninitiated, for the former know the names by which the beings themselves are called into existence." — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Forgotten Books, Anthroposophic Press, 1947), II, "The Stages of Initiation", GA 10.


• "The priests of the Mysteries possessed, as I have told you, the power of contemplating the influence of the Moon; the influence of the Moon bore them up to their astrological Initiation. They learnt how it was possible to be initiated into the secrets of the stars by this means. An important point for the candidate for Initiation was that he should feel as though gravity were of less importance to him than it normally was. He felt that he weighed less. But then he was instructed by the older teachers not to give way to this feeling; when he began to feel lighter he must restore his heaviness by a strong exercise of will.

" — Rudolf Steiner, MAN IN THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE; THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS; AND THE SUN-INITIATION OF THE DRUID PRIEST AND HIS MOON-SCIENCE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), GA 228.

Usually, initiation is conveyed by a spiritual guide or master who oversees one’s spiritual education. However, in Steiner’s system, it is possible to initiate oneself. 

“The soul's awakening to such a higher state of consciousness [i.e., clairvoyance] may be called initiation. 

“The means of initiation lead from the ordinary state of waking consciousness into a soul activity, through which spiritual organs of observation [i.e., nonphysical organs of clairvoyance] are employed. These organs are present in the soul in a germinal state; they must be developed ... A boundless enrichment of [the initiate’s] soul experiences occurs ... There are such cases of self-initiation ... Nothing need be said here about self-initiation, for it can appear without observing any kind of rules. “ — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), pp. 256-257. 

This can lead to a confused situation on Waldorf faculties. Various teachers may consider themselves self-initiated, but their use of “clairvoyance” may produce different “truths” than those produced by their colleagues’ “clairvoyance.” Often, the only touchstone is provided by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, which may or may not be scrupulously observed.




Rudolf Steiner's most important book; 
this edition was published by the Anthroposophic Press, 1972.
Occult science is spiritual science — i.e., Anthroposophy, 
the belief system Waldorf schools were created to spread.

“One of the most important facts about the background 
of the Waldorf School is that we were in a position to make 
the anthroposophical movement a relatively large one. 
The anthroposophical movement has become a large one.”
— Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER IN THE WALDORF SCHOOL 
(Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p.156.



Most Waldorf faculties include at least a few people who consider themselves initiates. When you send children to a Waldorf school, you are consigning them to the attentions of these individuals, among others.



















"Blogger strikes out at DPS Super Boasberg with charge of hypocrisy

"A blogger and former public school teacher, Peggy Robertson, has taken aim at Denver [Colorado, USA] Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg, with a simple, yet devastating critique.

"The testing first, learning second culture Boasberg, with the aid of corporate style education reformers, champions in Denver Public Schools isn't what he chooses for his own children. According to Robertson, Boasberg, who has been a senior administrator in DPS for a half decade, doesn't live in Denver, and doesn't even send his child to a public school. Instead Boasberg, who actually resides in Boulder's haven for millionaires, Mapleton Hill, sends his child to a private Waldorf school, one that rejects standardized testing, and eschews a very narrow curriculum for a much broader and child-friendly approach.

"Robertson took aim at Boasberg with her pegwithpen.com blog. In bold text, Robertson proclaims, 'Tom Boasberg has no right to force a corporate education reform agenda on Denver’s children while his child flourishes at a Waldorf school.'"  


[1-6-2012  http://northdenvernews.com/content/view/2346/2/]




















“Oakland Steiner School and the Shazaaam Million Dollar Challenge 

“Oakland Steiner School [California, USA] has been nominated for the Shazaaam Million Dollar Challenge! 

“Shazaaam! Public Relations & Marketing is an Award-Winning Agency in Novi, Michigan. Over the years Shazaaam has gifted over $3 Million in pro bono services to worthy charities and causes. Their gifts have helped these organizations raise millions of dollars, increase their visibility and mobilize thousands of supporters. 

“For their 10 year anniversary, they have decided to gift 10 worthy 501©3 charities each with $100,000 in pro bono marketing support and service to help them spread their messages, raise funds and mobilize supporters. 

“Starting on Monday, January 2, 2012 the nominated organizations will be posted and the public will be invited to vote on their top 10 organizations. Voting lasts until January 23, 2012.” 


[1-6-2012 http://www.oaklandsteiner.org/news/oakland-steiner-school-and-the-shazaaam-million-dollar-challenge/]




















“Tolerance should extend to cults 

“...According to some, your local Steiner school is a hotbed of cultic evil. Increasingly, anti-cult groups (like other victims advocacy groups) have the ear of media outlets who know that cult-bashing makes good press. Increasingly, they also have the attention of politicians who think they are onto a popular cause. 

“It is worrying, therefore, that such ‘cult-busters’ are now seeking greater legal backing for their crusade. And it is very worrying, under our tradition of secularism, when the State takes it upon itself to extend the policing of people's religious beliefs and practices.” 


[1-5-2012 http://www.healthcanal.com/life-style-fitness/25166-Tolerance-should-extend-cults.html]























[Lindisfarne Books, an imprint of SteinerBooks, 2011]






Currently being featured at the 
Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore:


"PROPHECY . PHENOMENA . HOPE: The Real Meaning of 2012 by Robert Powell, explores what 2012 really means, updating the research presented in his timely and ground-breaking book CHRIST & THE MAYA CALENDAR: 2012 and the Coming of the Antichrist (coauthored with Kevin Dann).


"In this new book, Powell focuses on two important and significant prophecies by Rudolf Steiner. The first (from 1909) concerns the Second Coming of Christ, his appearance to humanity as the Etheric Christ. The second prophecy (from 1919) represents the shadow side of Christ's Second Coming. It concerns the incarnation in human form of the being known as Ahriman (ancient Persian tradition) or Satan (Judeo-Christian tradition)."






Response:

This book reflects the sort of thinking that appeals to Anthroposophists. Steiner's own teachings are characterized by superstition and irrationality. 

[See, e.g., "Astrology", "Waldorf Astrology", "Astrosophy", "Alchemy", and "Superstition". For some of Steiner's predictions, see "Millennium". For Steiner's prophecy of an apocalyptic future, see "All v. All". For Steiner's teachings about Ahriman and the Antichrist, see "Ahriman" and "Evil Ones". For Steiner's teachings about the Second Coming, see "Was He Christian?" and "The Brief Waldorf/Steiner Encyclopedia".]



















Efforts at communication between Anthroposophists and their critics are difficult. Often people on opposite sides of the divide use language in different ways and admire different forms of thought. Still, the efforts are probably worthwhile, even if they rarely lead to true mutual understanding.

One venue for an ongoing conversation is the Waldorf Critics website [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/messages/]. This is not a neutral forum — Anthroposophists who visit there are entering a more or less hostile environment. Still, some do visit, and sometimes interesting messages are passed back and forth.

Today one Anthroposophist decided to quit the discussion there. Here is a portion of her departing message, followed by a message I posted in response:


[message from departing Anthroposophist]:

"--- In waldorf-critics@yahoogroups.com, "carynlouise24" <carynlouise24@...> wrote:
">
">Alas though I can't hang around your fun anymore personally I find it rather dull and stupid.


[message from Roger Rawlings]:

"Anyone who wants to get a handle on Anthroposophy would do well simply to come to this site and read the messages posted here by Anthroposophists. They speak for themselves.

"Like many — perhaps all — forms of faith, Anthroposophy appeals to souls in pain. The mean-spiritedness found in so many Anthroposophical messages often has its roots in suffering. 

"One quick example: Anthroposophist Robert Sardello — who explicitly identifies himself as a soul in pain — offers a catalog of the things he finds distressing: 

“'Medicine, education, money, food, energy, media, technology, religion, buildings, economics — all of these organizing forms that together ought to make culture no longer do so but instead are making a pathological civilization. The new symptoms are fragmentation, specialization, expertise, depression, inflation, cruelty, hardness, violence and absence of beauty. Our buildings are anorectic, our business paranoid, detached, and abstract, our technology manic.' — Robert Sardello, FACING THE WORLD WITH SOUL (SteinerBooks, 2004), pp. 15-16.

"This is a virtually all-encompassing catalogue of complaints about life in the modern world. And it is the view of life typically promoted at Waldorf schools: Everything in the modern world is horrid. Humankind has gone wholly off track — except us, here, in our lovely, superior, little cultic community.

"Steiner said that Anthroposophy is meant to be a balm for tortured souls. He spoke of '[T]he longing human soul in its yearning, tormented emptiness' [THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES AND THE PHYSICAL WORLD: Reality and Illusion, p. 224] and he offered his system as an antidote to suffering: '[W]e may point to spiritual science as a bearer of the redemption of human longing ... [S]piritual science now provides what tempestuous but also woeful human beings have sought for a long time.' [Ibid., p. 231.]

"The mean-spiritedness that we so often find in Anthroposophists’ messages derives, at least in part, from pain. We should be sympathetic — although this can be hard when the nastiness is directed at us individually. I myself have (gasp!) not always been utterly Christlike in my responses to attacks directed at my sweet self. But I do try to remind myself sometimes that every Anthroposophist I have ever known has been a good person, or has aspired to be a good person, and the suffering these good persons have inflicted can often be attributed to the suffering they either feel or desperately try to deny.




















Immediate Need: 3rd Grade teacher 

“Orchard Valley Waldorf School [Vermont, USA] is a developing Waldorf School offering programs from infant/toddler through eighth grade to over 180 students. We seek applicants for the position of 3rd grade teacher for the 2011-12 school year ... We seek teachers with Waldorf training, and teaching experience. The ability to work harmoniously through openness and a commitment to building inner strength, through the living practice of anthroposophy are qualities we seek in our faculty.” 

[http://jobs.waldorftoday.com/job/11510/ 





Response:

When they must, Waldorf schools sometimes hire teachers who have not been trained in Waldorf practices and beliefs. But they try to avoid this. The Waldorf movement is tightly bound to Anthroposophy, the religion created by Rudolf Steiner, and Waldorf teacher training usually involves study of Steiner’s spiritual doctrines. In addition, faculty members at Waldorf schools generally continue their study of Anthroposophical tenets throughout their lives. Faculty meetings may include such study, and/or special study sessions may be arranged. Steiner laid out the essential stipulation for Waldorf faculties in these words: 

“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. 

[For more on these matters, see “Teacher Training”, “The Waldorf Teacher’s Consciousness”, and “Here’s the Answer”.]



















“The fire that badly damaged the Westport Presbyterian Church [Kansas City, USA] last week could now prevent some children from going to school ... [T]he City of Fountains Waldorf School was set to open their doors Thursday, but they are now looking for a new home ... It was located on the second-floor of the church ... [Katie] Roos said a group of parents from all different backgrounds put their heads together to plant the roots for the one-of-a-kind waldorf-style school, a non-traditional educational system centered around the arts.” 

[1-3-2012 http://www.kctv5.com/story/16439000/church-fire-puts-schools-in-jeopardy 





Response:


Church groups that ally themselves with Waldorf schools are often shocked when they eventually learn the nature of the Waldorf belief system: polytheistic, pagan, and gnostic. [See “Polytheism”, “Pagan”, and “Gnosis”.] 

Waldorf schools are often extremely attractive because of their emphasis on the arts. But like almost everything else in Waldorf schools, the arts are employed for superstitious purposes. [See “Magical Arts” and “Superstition”.]



















From a discussion that is just getting started 
at mothering.com:


"help with DH.. thinks Waldorf school might be boring

Q. “Our oldest just turned 3, so we're only up to preschool.. but one of the options that we're considering is the local Waldorf school. They have a 3/4 preschool and then continue through grade 8. I have been attending Waldorf parent-tot programs for several years, and love many aspects of the approach. DH is concerned, however, that our DD might be bored there (i.e. too much unstructured time).” 

A1. “Simply, what is wrong with being bored?” 



[For other, perhaps more informative, discussions of Waldorf schooling, see “Q&A”. Re. acceptable boredom in Waldorf schools, see, e.g., "Ex-Teacher 5".]



















"Read what went on between Marx and Engels, observe the peculiar configuration of Marx's mind, and remember at the same time what I have told you of the relationship between these two individuals in the 8th–9th century, and you will find a new light falling upon every sentence written by Marx and Engels." 






Response:


THE SOUTHERN CROSS REVIEW, edited by Anthroposophist Frank Thomas Smith, has published the text of a lecture delivered by Rudolf Steiner in 1924: "Karmic Relations". According to Steiner, individuals often have relationships that span multiple lifetimes. Indeed, we often need to use a new life to undo or redo or improve upon or make amends for our behavior toward certain individuals in past lives. Or so Steiner said. [See "Karma".]



















The First Three Years: San Francisco Waldorf School Parenting Program 

"San Francisco Waldorf School’s Early Childhood Parenting Program offers two types of classes for babies, toddlers, and their parents. Observation classes are the first step in our program. They provide a gentle introduction to the group setting and a welcoming space for parents and children to explore and experience the rhythm and mood of Waldorf early childhood. Work and Play classes are for parents who have completed an Observation class. They encourage continued personal growth and exploration of Waldorf education through our established practice of quiet observation with the additional activity of inspired domestic and artistic work or observation and connection with one’s child in Nature.” 

[1-2-2012 http://www.redtri.com/san-francisco/the-first-three-years-san-francisco-waldorf-school-parenting-program 





Response:

Although Waldorf schools generally employ a slow-learning approach — postponing reading and arithmetic until age 7, for example — they like to enroll children as early as possible. Thus, they often offer programs for infants too young to attend kindergarten. The underlying purposes are 1) to begin a child’s Anthroposophical* conditioning at the earliest possible age, and 2) to offset the influence of the child’s parents, who are presumed not to understand the true nature or needs of children. Anthroposophists believe that only they possess the needed knowledge. Thus, Rudolf Steiner said to Waldorf teachers: 

“You will have to take over children for their education and instruction — children who will have received already (as you must remember) the education, or mis-education given them by their parents.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE STUDY OF MAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 16. And he added: "Given the difficult, disorderly, and chaotic conditions of our time, it might almost be preferable from a moral viewpoint if children could be taken into one's care soon after birth." — Rudolf Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 2, (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 69. 

As always, try to see beyond the surface when considering a program offered at a Waldorf school. The description of the program at the San Francisco Waldorf School, above, contains several points of interest. 

• “Rhythm and mood” are crucial Waldorf values. Spiritual truths and conditions are thought to ebb and flow rhythmically, and Waldorf activities are meant to embody such rhythms. 

• In the Waldorf system, mood is far more important than thought. The schools try to help children to feel spiritual truths; they are less interested in helping children to understand spiritual truths as ideas or mental constructs. [See, e.g., "Spiritual Agenda".] 

• Promoting "personal growth" is, of course, a noble ideal. But you should know what such growth means according to Waldorf belief. To a large extent, it means the incarnation of invisible bodies, such as the etheric body that supposedly incarnates at around age 7. [See "Incarnation" and "Most Significant".] 

• “Inspired domestic and artistic work” is a telling phrase. Inspiration is one of the three forms of clairvoyant consciousness stressed in Anthroposophy (the others are imagination and intuition). Waldorf faculties think that children should be inspired to walk the Anthroposophical path, as should their parents (who will then be able to perform inspired "domestic work"). 

• Art is of great importance, since in Waldorf belief the gods speak to us through art and even descend to Earth through art, while we can ascend into the spirit realm through art. [See “Magical Arts”.]  

• “Nature” is a loaded term in the Waldorf vocabulary. Note how the word is capitalized in the statement above. According to Waldorf belief, the natural world is infused by the spiritual world; entering nature is a way of approaching spirituality. Nature is also the domain of invisible “nature spirits” such as gnomes and sylphs. Some nature spirits are hostile to man, and Steiner taught that the natural or physical world is a place of delusion, but generally these points are downplayed in Waldorf public presentations. [See “Neutered Nature”.] 

Before opening the door of a Waldorf school and walking through, acquaint yourself with Waldorf beliefs and consider whether they are compatible with your own.


* "Anthroposophy" is the name of the Waldorf belief system. [See "Everything" and "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]






















[Anthroposophic Press, 1987]







Surely the most compelling story in or around the Waldorf/Steiner universe today (Jan. 1, 2012) is this: The incomparable website WaldorfWatch has begun posting a series of quotations from a special source: THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS (Anthroposophic Press, 1987). This book is a collection of talks Rudolf Steiner gave in 1924 to workmen who were constructing the second Anthroposophical headquarters building, the second Goetheanum. (The first Goetheanum had been destroyed by fire.) Steiner spoke more informally and clearly than was his custom, so the book provides an eye-opening introduction to many of his doctrines.


Here are the first three quotations in the series:

1. "Unless the earth as a whole had died there could be no human being. Human beings are parasites, as it were, on the present earth. The whole earth was once alive; it could think as you and I now think. But only when it became a corpse could it produce the human race ... Originally there was a living, thinking, cosmic body — a living, thinking, cosmic body!" — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS, p. 3.

2. "What then is actually the original element that makes things solid or fluid or gaseous? It is heat! And unless heat is there in the first place, nothing at all can be solid or fluid. So we can say that heat or fire is what is underlying everything in the beginning." — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS, p. 5. 

Some ancient Greek philosophers said that there are four chemical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Anthroposophists generally hold to this view today. Here, Steiner speaks of heat "or fire" as if it were a chemical: an "original element."

3. "It is not true that the animals were there originally and that man developed out of them. Man was there originally and afterwards the animals evolved out of what could not become man ... Thus the animals are indeed related to man, but they developed only later in the course of world evolution." — Rudolf Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS, pp. 7-8.

Steiner taught that the universe was created for man, and man was the first new being to exist in this universe. Animals evolved from man: They are beings who failed to keep evolving, so they branched off from mankind and remained at various lower levels while man continued evolving upward. (Some humans also failed to keep evolving, Steiner taught, so they remained behind as decadent races. The most evolved race, he taught, is the white race. 

"The white race is the future, it is the most spirit-building race." — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS, p. 63. [See "Forbidden".])


To keep abreast of the series as it develops, check in occasionally at the Waldorf Watch Archive: "Quotes 2012".




































[R.R., 2012.]