2011 (c)

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

Here, in reverse chronological order (newest first, oldest last),

are "Quotes of the Day" taken from the News page at Waldorf Watch.

“I do not believe that the people running Waldorf schools are bad people. For a while, after discovering the things I did, I thought there may be something inherently bad or evil in the system of education itself, but I think the problem lies more in the attitude and needs of those people who are involved in this kind of education ... Waldorf schools are more than schools, they are communities, and very tight-knit communities at that ... Once in, the community demands much of your time and money, and this further tends to isolate you from other friends .... Both [of my children] have developed an aversion to anything remotely connected to the Waldorf School ... I continue to ponder why it all happened. How did I almost destroy my daughter by choosing to send her to an apparently caring, art-based, beautiful small private school? How could people who appeared to be good friends suddenly turn on us and later forget we exist?” — A former Waldorf parent. [See “Our Experience”.]

“The teacher of the physical sciences in the Rudolf Steiner school is faced with a formidable task. He cannot morally be present in the school and teach unless he has absorbed, understood, and is in agreement with Rudolf Steiner’s basic conception of the world ... Material science and explanations cannot explain nature.” — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, TEACHING PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1997), p. 1.

The physics and chemistry teachers at Waldorf schools face “a formidable task” because they must be true to Rudolf Steiner’s teachings, but these teachings are at odds with the findings of modern science. Steiner himself often disparaged scientists and modern science, including physics and chemistry. Thus, science teachers at Waldorf schools confront a daily dilemma. If they teach their sciences straight, they violate Steiner’s doctrines. But if they are faithful to Steiner, they must violate the established truths of their sciences.

How they resolve this dilemma varies from school to school. The main point for us to grasp here is that the dilemma exists. Waldorf teachers must bend modern scientific knowledge to one degree or another, since they cannot “morally be present in the school” unless they are devoted followers of Rudolf Steiner — they must be “in agreement with Rudolf Steiner’s basic conception of the world” (or, as Steiner put it, they must be “true Anthroposophists”).* Therefore, “morally,” they must misrepresent the truth about physical reality, to at least some extent; they must be more or less false to science in order to be generally true to Steiner. Inevitably, the education of their students suffers as a result. To the degree that scientific truths are shaded to conform to Anthroposophical doctrines, students are taught Anthroposophy, not science. [See "Steiner's 'Science'".]

* “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. 495. 

The formidable task of Waldorf science teachers is doubly illuminated by this directive. Waldorf teachers must not compromise, yet if a science teacher provides students with any real scientific information that contradicts Steiner's teachings, s/he has made a profound, soul-wrenching compromise. Steiner did not deny that science contains much accurate information about the physical universe, but he said that such information is, at best, only half-true, since it leaves out everything that is important: spiritual truths. Moreover, he often denied that scientific descriptions of the reality are true even at the merely physical level.

(Complicating matters even more: Sometimes Steiner affirmed science. Sometimes he indicated that there should be no real contradictions between his own teachings, which he dubbed "spiritual science," and modern physical science. But then he often turned around and tore into modern physical science, deploring it. [See "Science".] A Waldorf science teacher could be forgiven for being confused.)

Waldorf teachers must accept or, at an absolute minimum, make peace with the doctrines of Anthroposophy. Waldorf schools prefer to hire only committed followers of Rudolf Steiner, but sometimes they must hire nonbelievers, if only temporarily. This can cause problems both for the schools and for the new hires.

Addressing new and aspiring Waldorf teachers, Waldorf teacher Keith Francis writes, "[Y]ou also have to come to terms with reincarnation, karma, the details of the life between death and rebirth and the work of the hierarchies [i.e., ranks of gods] in the evolution of the world and the human being. This is not all. Perhaps the most difficult thing is that you get the impression that anthroposophists think of Christ as a great spiritual being [i.e., He is just one of many gods]. That indefinite article on its own may be enough to give you the feeling that anthroposophy is not for you. The continual references to the members of the hierarchies as Gods do not help." — Keith Francis, THE EDUCATION OF A WALDORF TEACHER (iUniverse, 2004), p. 183. [See "Ex-Teacher 9”.]

“The physical body of the woman has proceeded from the lion nature, whereas the physical bull-body is the ancestor of the male body ... The woman can develop inner courage; e.g. in war, in the care of the sick, in order to work in the service of humanity. The male physical body has that which in the true sense we can call the bull nature. That is connected with the fact that the man, as he is usually organized, has more of the activity based on physical creation. Occultly regarded, these things reveal themselves precisely thus, even if it sounds extraordinary ... Physical science will be utterly fruitless and only describe external facts as long as it does not penetrate into the spirit of these facts. Now it will no longer appear so strange to you that once a race of people existed who had a lion-like body. These took up the ego nature, and through this the lion nature was changed more and more into the female body. Those who received nothing of this spiritual element changed in quite another way; i.e., into the modern lion.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Four Human Group Souls (Lion, Bull, Eagle, Man)”, a lecture, GA 107.

Sometimes it seems impossible that Steiner said the things he did. But he did.

Here's another example of a Waldorf teacher twisting a Bible story — Abraham and the ram — to find Anthroposophical tenets in it: "[T]he earth comes under the influence of a particular sign of the Zodiac every 2160 years. This period marks the duration of a cultural epoch ... The new age of Aries, the ram, began in 747 B.C. ... Abraham saw the ram, i.e. he looked forward to the new age; but the ram's horns were caught in a thicket. Horns are symbols for two centers in the head connected with clairvoyance. When the ram is sacrificed, it means that in the new era men will no longer have the faculty of clairvoyance." — Roy Wilkinson, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT STORIES (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2001), p. 35.

• Once again, in Anthroposophical discourse, astrology is imposed on the Bible: the zodiac, the age of Aries, implicitly the sign of the ram... 

• Steiner claimed that ancient people had natural clairvoyance: This is what allowed them to create "true" myths, fairy tales, and Old Testament stories. But later people evolved to a condition in which most clairvoyant powers have been lost. Fortunately, however, Steiner himself employed "exact clairvoyance" to learn deep spiritual truths, such as the real meaning of the stories in the Bible. 

• In Waldorf belief, a "cultural epoch" is a period lasting about 2,160 years — the length of time when a particular sign of the zodiac has its greatest influence. There are also "great epochs" that are much longer. [See "Epochs".] As Wilkinson indicates, the stages of our evolution are closely connected to the astrological powers of the stars. Or so Anthroposophists believe.

The sort of "logic" found in Anthroposophy is reflected here. The Bible includes a story about a ram. There's an astrological sign called The Ram. Therefore, the Bible story must be about our evolution through astrologically influenced stages. Or so Anthroposophists hold. But no rational or mainstream theologian thinks in these terms. (For more about the sort of "thinking" encouraged in Waldorf schools, see "Thinking Cap". For the use of clairvoyance by Waldorf faculty, see "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".)

Historically, Waldorf faculties have hesitated to engage in public relations,  seeing PR as a descent into the corruption that infests the world beyond Waldorf's walls. A book issued by a Waldorf teacher-training institution helped change this, slightly. HANDLING PUBLIC RELATIONS argues reassuringly that PR efforts do not necessarily damage the soul. And besides, the book says, we need money, and PR will help us get it.

"[T]he process of relating to the public has a spiritual side to it ... While many [Waldorf] schools are experiencing unparalleled growth, others suffer increasing overhead costs with the same number of students or even a decrease in enrollment. Tuition income is never sufficient to cover full operating and scholarship expenses  ... Fundraising activity has become a strenuous way of life for many Waldorf schools ... [I]t may happen that a school slowly begins to isolate itself from the local community. It may see itself, and rightly so, as a cultural haven in a disturbingly hostile world ... [S]ome institutions may not be able to maintain this posture for long unless there is a well-established, built-in community support system ... The connections between the 'inner' and 'outer' work [of a school] are like the ever-changing surfaces of a lemniscate*: a mutually supportive modulation between inner and outer with each surface complementing the other." — Werner Glas and Cornelius Pietzner, HANDLING PUBLIC RELATIONS - A Guide for Waldorf Schools and Other Organizations (Sunbridge College Press, 1984), pp. 3-6.

Today the Waldorf movement is served by aggressive PR and money-raising efforts involving print, audio, video, online, and live presentations that are often quite alluring, especially to audiences unacquainted with the real agenda of the schools.

* Lemniscates (figure eights) appear often in Anthroposophical literature, representing the interchange of forces between the high and the low, the celestial and the mundane, the living and the dead...

“It might help to keep in mind that it is ‘trolling season’ according to Tarjei Straume, a Norwegian anthroposophist who makes it his business to harass critics of Waldorf education. He openly impersonates Waldorf parents who supposedly need ‘help’ here [at the Waldorf Critics list]; it's a means of discrediting this list in order to make it useless to people who come here genuinely seeking advice or information.” [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/20457]

Like Anthroposophists in general, devout advocates of Waldorf education often have a complicated relationship with morality and truth. Deeply committed to Rudolf Steiner’s occult vision, they act as if the ends (defending Steiner and his works) justifies the means — any means. Waldorf advocates who act as “trolls” invent fantastic stories of the horrors they claim to have experienced in Waldorf schools. If critics of Waldorf education fall for any of these tales, the advocates/trolls can claim that all Waldorf horror stories are similarly bogus and all criticism of Waldorf schooling is baseless. This approach might work, if there were no real Waldorf horror stories. But there are. Many of them. [To review troubling reports about life in the Waldorf universe, see, e.g., “Slaps”, “Our Brush with Rudolf Steiner”, “Our Experience”, "A Very Alternative Education", “Ex-Teacher”, “Coming Undone”, “Ex-Teacher 9”, "Moms", “Pops”, “A Victim of Teacher Bullying at Waldorf”, "Ex-Teacher 10",  "Selections from the Green Parent Forum”, etc.]

The dishonesty of some Waldorf advocates is, in and of itself, telling.

"Spirits [i.e., demons] who arise through immoral actions...attack human beings during the embryonic stage and share their existence between conception and birth. Some of these spirits, if they are strong enough, can continue to accompany the human being after birth, creating the phenomena seen in children who are possessed.” — Rudolf Steiner, ANGELS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), pp. 167-168.

If you send your children to a Waldorf school, there is a chance the teachers will decide that one or another of them is possessed. The problem may be resolved quickly, however. They may elect to expel the demonic kid.

"[C]ases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings ... Quite a number of people have been born since the nineties without an I, that is, they are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon ... We cannot, however, create a school for demons.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 649.

Waldorf schools emphasize myths, legends, and fairy tales. This can seem sweet — or at least quaint. But you may be surprised to learn what typical Waldorf teachers have in mind. They generally think the stories they tell their young charges are true, at a spiritual level; they think Anthroposophical truths lie within. Here, for instance, is a Waldorf teacher discussing "Hansel and Gretel.” He finds multiple Steinerish concepts in the story. He does not aim to teach young kids these concepts, overtly. But he would like to plant seeds in the children’s souls. He would nudge them to feel and dream as he and his Waldorf colleagues do — he would start the kids down the path toward Rudolf Steiner’s embrace. 

“The story portrays spirit and soul descending into a physical body and ascending again, enriched, to the spiritual world ... The story could also be looked upon as an initiation process. Soul and spirit are engaged in developing higher organs ... Yet another interpretation would be to consider the story as one of human evolution. With the expulsion from Paradise the human being enters the material world. Through his experiences he regains the faculty of spiritual perception in a new way and regains his spiritual home enriched.” — Roy Wilkinson, THE INTERPRETATION OF FAIRY TALES (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1984). 

• Anthroposophists believe that we have both spirits and souls. We descended to life on Earth from spiritual worlds, and we will ascend again. Our souls are the temporary spiritual identities we have in one life; our spirits are our permanent spiritual identities extending through all our lives.

• Initiation — the process of gaining access to hidden spiritual knowledge — is near the heart of Anthroposophy. [See “Inside Scoop”.] 

• “Higher organs” are nonphysical, invisible organs, predominantly organs of clairvoyance. (“[O]rgans of clairvoyance build themselves...” — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 28.) 

• Evolution is another central concept in Anthroposophy — we have evolved from Old Saturn and are on our way to Future Vulcan. We lost “paradise” by coming to Earth (a sadly material place), but we will move on. [See “Matters of Form”.] 

• The “faculty of spiritual perception” is clairvoyance. Ancient people had it; we tend not to have it now — but we can regain it, in an improved form, by following Anthroposophy.

Such are some of Waldorf beliefs hidden below the happy surface of “Hansel and Gretel” — according to Waldorf belief.

SteinerBooks is the most authoritative Anglo-American publisher of works by Rudolf Steiner and his followers. If you want to sample the sort of thinking that lies behind Waldorf education, the SteinerBooks catalog is a useful tool. The following is excerpted from the description of one SteinerBooks offering published in 2005:

“THE SEER'S HANDBOOK, A Guide to Higher Perception, [by] Dennis Klocek ... A seer ‘sees’ more than meets the eye, using the eyes of the soul* ... In this practical and accessible guidebook, Dennis Klocek, building on the alchemical tradition and the Western path of initiation developed by Rudolf Steiner, shows how the soul’s latent ability can be awakened ... Dennis Klocek is a ‘Renaissance man’ — artist, scientist, teacher, researcher, gardener, and alchemist ... [H]is love for the work of Rudolf Steiner took him to Rudolf Steiner College** in Sacramento, California, where he has been the director of their Consciousness Studies Program ... He is the author of BIO-DYNAMIC BOOK OF MOONS ....”  — SteinerBooks, http://www.steinerbooks.org/detail.html?id=9780880105484

* I.e., clairvoyance.

** A Waldorf teacher-training institution.

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

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

Rudolf Steiner made a great many absurd statements. The two, above, rank among the most absurd. Yet today Waldorf teachers and their representatives still try to justify Steiner’s absurdities — which they embrace as profound wisdom. In 2002, The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America published THE DYNAMIC HEART AND CIRCULATION. The editor, Craig Holdrege, says he “conceived the book from a teacher’s perspective.” [p. vi] What he means, clearly, is a Waldorf teacher’s perspective. And what sorts of statements speak to the Waldorf teacher’s perspective? Statements such as this: 

“The prevailing view in conventional science and medicine is that the heart serves as a pump ... But this model cannot explain many phenomena ... The function of the heart, with regard to the blood returning in the veins, is to regulate resistance ... [T]he force that drives the blood into the heart is not the force of the heart’s pumping action....” [pp. 74-75]

The book offers ingenious arguments to counter “the prevailing view in conventional science and medicine,” and there are shreds of truth on many of the book’s pages. But the overall project is irretrievably mistaken. The book’s goal is to contrive arguments, by hook and by crook, to show that Steiner was right and science is wrong. Consider this carefully, parents. Ask yourself whether you want Steiner’s fervent followers — people who reject reality and who rationalize mystical nonsense — to “educate” your children. Into what dim vistas might they lead your young ones?

(The arguments made in the book are subtle and complex. To some degree, they change Steiner’s meaning in the process of trying to defend that meaning, a dubious approach at best. Essentially, the authors share Steiner’s revulsion at a simple, mechanistic description of the human constitution, and in this they have a point. The heart is not a simple mechanical pump; it is unlike, say, a bicycle pump. The circulation of the blood is affected by various internal biological factors, including the intricacies of the vascular system. In the end, however, the authors are led astray by their determination to affirm an esoteric vision. Calling the heart a pump may be, at some level, merely a metaphor. But calling the heart the seat of love and wisdom is an even more misleading metaphor — a common one, but a mistaken one. The truth, ultimately, is that the heart does pump blood, and no amount of obfuscation and argumentation can change this. A central characteristic of mystical thought is the refusal to face facts squarely. Mystics prefer their fantasies to reality; they feel ennobled and elevated by their presumed possession of superior, secret knowledge. They feel a comforting pleasure in the very cloudiness of their thinking. As a result, they wander into — and get lost within — the fogs that they themselves generate.)

“An awareness of reincarnation and karma is essential if Christianity is to be alive in the present and future. Even everyday practical life and our social contacts become at one and the same time decidedly more ‘Christian’ and more ‘human’ if we have not only a theoretical knowledge of reincarnation and karma but our heart forces live with it.” — Pietro Archiati, REINCARNATION IN MODERN LIFE (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1997), p. vii.

Reincarnation and karma are essential components of Rudolf Steiner's revised form of gnostic Christianity. But these concepts violate the central orthodox Christian doctrine that we live one life on Earth after which we go to our reward or punishment. In Christianity, Jesus Christ is our Savior; in Anthroposophy, Christ is our Prototype who showed us the sort of human being we should evolve to become. Eventually, we can become Christ’s equal. From a mainstream Christian perspective, this is heresy. The Biblical Christ is one of the three Persons of God Almighty — He stands infinitely above us. Anthroposophists believe that we can rise to Christ’s level — and even higher. Looking far into the future, Steiner pronounced the ultimate heresy:

 “[W]e shall have gradually achieved the transformation of our own being into what is called in Christianity ‘the Father.’” — Rudolf Steiner, THE LORD’S PRAYER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 17.

[Full disclosure. I am an agnostic. Steiner’s teachings are heresies for Christians, not for me. For me, they are merely nonsense. — R.R.]

According to the Steiner belief system, elemental beings or nature spirits — creatures such a gnomes or fairies — really exist. These invisible sprites receive nourishment from the kindly thoughts of the human beings who believe in them. 

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

Here is a "Bible story" of the kind used in Waldorf schools to inculcate Anthroposophical doctrines.

"[A]n angel of God led Adam into a cave. The angel showed Adam a book in which the seventy-two Signs of Light were written. All the wisdom of the world was written in the book. The angel taught Adam to read the signs in the book and said, 'Before you die, you must give this book to a man whose soul is filled with the light of God, so that the wisdom of the angels may continue to shine on earth' ... The Book of Life was not written on parchment; it was Light written in Light." — Jakob Streit, AND THERE WAS LIGHT (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006), p. 45.

• As alluded to in the Book of Revelation, the "Book of Life" is the record kept by God, listing the names of the saved. Some references to such a book may also be inferred from passages in the Old Testament. But the Book mentioned in this story is different. This Book contains "all the wisdom of the world," and it is "Light written in Light." (In Waldorf belief, there is a transcendent encyclopedia of all knowledge written on a akasha, a universal light or ether. This Book is the Akashic Record, and it can be read by great clairvoyants such as Rudolf Steiner. [See "Akasha".]) 
• The story tells of the Book being passed on to a successor of Adam, a man who has divine wisdom. This savant would be an Initiate, a wise leader who possesses spiritual knowledge hidden from others. Anthroposophy is built on the belief in initiation. Rudolf Steiner is viewed as one of the greatest initiates. [See "Guru".] 
• In Anthroposophy (a word originally meaning human wisdom), wisdom is all-important. As a gnostic faith, Anthroposophy teaches that salvation comes not through faith or good works (even though these are important), but through the possession of secret divine wisdom. Here, children are told of "the wisdom of the angels" which must be preserved and spread among men. [See "Gnosis".] 
• The wondrous Book contains "signs." Waldorf belief contains many references to mystic signs and runes. One Steiner text is called OCCULT SIGNS AND SYMBOLS. Here, Waldorf students are introduced to such ideas. [See "Signs".] 
• Seventy-two is a magical number, in Waldorf belief. Steiner taught that there are 72 planetary gods,* and the average human life is 72 years, and we breathe about 72 times a minute, and so forth — so everything makes sense, in an occult sense. And these are the sort of lessons Waldorf schools instill through unbiblical "Bible" stories.

* Steiner attributed this tenet to Iamblichus. See the lecture "Spiritual Wisdom in the Early Christian Centuries", GA 213.

Parents are often pleased that the Waldorf curriculum includes so many Bible stories. They usually do not realize that these stories are twisted out of shape and used to inculcate occult Anthroposophical doctrines. Here is an example: “The Old Testament story of Cain and Abel reveals the transition from Lemuria to Atlantis ... Cain and Abel do not represent individuals of that time, but rather, they represent humanity at the beginning of Atlantis. Cain, the first born son of Adam and Eve, is the last born of the Lemurian age and the first born of the Atlantean age ... As Cain’s heritage is from before the Fall, he is not aware of the difference between good and evil, but as the world begins to absorb the contrast of good and evil, Cain become capable of doing evil, and ‘Cain attacked his brother Abel and murdered him’ (Gen. 4:8).” — EveLynn B. Debusschere, THE REVELATION OF EVOLUTIONARY EVENTS (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 1997), pp. 22-24. 

• Anthroposophists believe that before the current epoch, humans lived on two lost continents, first Lemuria and then Atlantis. [See “Prehistory 101“ and “Atlantis and the Aryans”.] 

• In Waldorf belief, many of the individuals in the Bible are actually composite portraits of humanity at various stages of spiritual evolution. 

• Quoting the Bible, the author tries to make her extremely unbiblical narrative seem consistent with orthodox teachings. 

• Steiner taught that the general trend of evolution is toward spiritual betterment, but he also said that the universe teems with evil beings and even evil gods. “[W]e are watching the battle waged by the good gods against the evil gods....” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. II (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 251. [See “Evil” and “Evil Ones”.]

Atlantis, Lemuria, evolution, multiple gods [see "Polytheism"] — this is not the Bible that Jews and Christians revere and that Muslims acknowledge.

“The Waldorf schools present their anti-materialistic and [pro-]ecological values to people searching other ways to lead their lives – ourselves included ... What scared us the most was the fact that we...were led to believe that the pedagogical tools of the Waldorf school were not closely linked to Anthroposophy ... Unfortunately we experienced the school to be a highly religious sect with no respect whatsoever for legal contracts, and with no continuing professional development, and [no commitment] to what we regard to be social responsibility. In very subtle ways, and with a mild and friendly smile, they assure you that the children’s education is in the best of hands. But, as time showed us, their teacher-training consists exclusively of the spiritual fantasies of one single man [i.e., Rudolf Steiner]. And having done teaching there ourselves, we found their curriculum not comparable to what is required from the state, nor [is it what they] claimed.” — A former Waldorf parent. [See “Our Experience”.]

“...I know now that what [Waldorf schools] present to the world is a beautiful façade that is covering their new-age beliefs, only one of which is a fear of the intellect. For a parent who believes in Anthroposophy a Waldorf school will be a heaven-sent. For parents, who are willing to overlook the religious concepts and themes for the beautiful setting and art based curriculum, a Waldorf school might be fine also.  But parents should be told that their children will be taught religious beliefs [i.e., Anthroposophy] while they are in a Waldorf school. They need to know what these religious beliefs are, and they need to know that they will take precedence over their child’s individual needs and interests. Parents also need to know that their children will not be academically on par with many of their peers unless they take to breaking with Waldorf guidelines and  teach them academics at home.”  — A former Waldorf student teacher. [See “Ex-Teacher 5”.]

“A religious experience. I'll say it again: I send my daughter to a Waldorf school so that she can have a religious experience ... [W]hen we deny that Waldorf schools are giving children religious experiences, we are denying the whole basis of Waldorf education ...To deny the religious basis of Waldorf education — I would say it again — to satisfy public school superintendents, or a talk show host, or a newspaper reporter, is very, very wrong. And the Waldorf leadership, I would say, are waffling on this matter ... But we are, we are schools that inculcate religion in children ... The time has come for us to stop pussyfooting around ... Stop pussyfooting around. Tell everybody what we are about. The day they walk into the school, let them know then.” — Waldorf educator Eugene Schwartz [http://waldorfcritics.org/active/articles/schwartz.html]

After he made this statement, Schwartz was removed from his position as head of Waldorf teacher training at Sunbridge College. The Waldorf leadership still hides their religious mission. [For more on the religious mission of Waldorf education, see 
"Soul School" and “Spiritual Agenda”.]

At Waldorf schools, there is a “fundamental polarity between teacher and parents. ... [T]he role of the teachers [is] to take primary responsibility for the incarnation of the child* ... [T]he teacher is the king or queen of their classroom.” The role of the parents is to ask themselves “What can I do for [the school].”  Parents help “incarnate the school” by becoming “the financial pillar.” 

When teachers take their role to extremes, “it becomes ‘Luciferic,’ tending toward dogmatism, pride, and exclusivity.” When parents overstep their bounds, their activity “becomes ‘Ahrimanic,’ and can be characterized by attempts to control, power-plays, and manipulation.” — Robert Schiappacasse, essay #1 in ADMINISTRATIVE EXPLORATIONS: Essays on Business Practices within Waldorf Schools (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2000), pp. 6-8.

* According to Waldorf belief, children incarnate three invisible bodies;  Waldorf teachers supervise this process. [See “Incarnation”.]

“The spiritual world is always around us, and we can work more consciously if we note the transition as we move from the earthly world to the spiritual world and vice versa. Thus at night we can say as we enter sleep, ‘Now I am entering the spiritual world,’ and in the morning as we awaken, we can say, ‘Now I am entering the earthly world.’” — Helmut von Kügelgen, essay #1 in WORKING WITH THE ANGELS (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America 2004), p. 3. 

Here we glimpse the central error of Anthroposophical thought. Anthroposophists think that when they go to sleep, they are entering the spiritual world, and they tell themselves that the experiences they have then are more significant than the experiences they have when they are awake. The truth is somewhat different. When people fall asleep, they are asleep, and the experiences they have then — dreams — have no real meaning at all. 

Anthroposophists make the same mistake about their waking experiences, mistaking their fantasies and delusions for clairvoyant wisdom. In general, Anthroposophists think that they often enter or at least perceive the spiritual world. They are mistaken, but this error forms the core of their ideology.

Rudolf Steiner used several variants of the Lord’s Prayer. Here is one. (Very approximately, it represents the Biblical prayer read backwards, with most of the words altered, and the focus shifted from a single God in Heaven — monotheism — to a host of gods in the heavens — polytheism.)



Evils reign

Bearing witness to I-being

Separating itself

and to selfhood's guilt —

Incurred through others,

Experienced in the daily bread

Wherein the will of heaven

Does not reign,

Because humanity

Has separated itself

From Your Kingdom

And forgot your names

Ye Fathers in the Heavens.

— Rudolf Steiner, START NOW! (SteinerBooks, 2004), p. 221.

The stories told to Waldorf classes often convey occult meaning. Here is what happened to Adam and Eve when they were expelled from paradise, according to Anthroposophy: "Michael [an archangel] accompanied Adam and Eve to the earth. In the evening, it grew cold. Shaking with cold, Adam and Eve built a small hut out of bushes and made garments of leaves ... Adam and Eve could no longer hear the heavenly music or the angels' voices ... Michael came to Adam and Eve to comfort them. 'You have not lost heaven completely. Pray to God. Then the thread of light, which binds your souls to heaven, will not tear. At night this thread draws you toward the heavenly light." — Jakob Streit, AND THERE WAS LIGHT (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006), p. 34.

• In the Bible, the fall of mankind meant we were cast out of the Garden of Eden. But according to Waldorf belief, mankind's fall meant leaving the spiritual worlds and descending to Earth. (Steiner taught that before life on Earth we passed through evolutionary stages on Saturn, the Sun, and the Moon. Along the way, although evolving, we became progressively less spiritual and more physical. Likewise, individual humans are born on Earth after descending from the spirit worlds where they lived before birth.) 

• in Waldorf belief, Christ is the Sun God and Michael is the Archangel of the Sun. Michael has special responsibility for helping to oversee human evolution, so he accompanied us to Earth. 

• Descending to Earth means being cut off from the spirit worlds ("Adam and Eve could no longer hear the heavenly music or the angels' voices") — but our exile is not absolute. According to Steiner, when we sleep at night, we ascend again into the higher worlds (our astral bodies and our "I"s make this trip, while our physical and etheric bodies stay below). This is what Michael tells Adam and Eve to comfort them: At night, the thread leading back into the heavens “draws you toward the heavenly light." Or, in Steiner’s own words, "[T]he astral body...is outside the human being at night ... [Also] the I. This is how we are at night. We are two people in the night." — Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 102. 

Waldorf students are usually not taught Steiner's words, but they are introduced — generally indirectly — to Steiner's doctrines.

The stories Waldorf teachers tell their students are often designed to instill Anthroposophical beliefs. Here is the meaning of the Waldorf account of Lucifer’s fall and, subsequently, mankind’s fall. Waldorf teachers would use different words when addressing young children, but these are the sorts of words they use when discussing such things among themselves.

"There had been certain beings in the spiritual world who had failed in their normal progress and they had become self-willed. They are known as the Luciferic beings [i.e., Lucifer and his minions]. Ever since man has been endowed with astrality, i.e., the possibility of having feelings, passions, desires [sic: interpolation by Wilkinson], he was open to Luciferic influence. For their own purposes these beings made man aware of himself earlier than planned by the creators. They awakened his senses (opened his eyes) [sic: interpolation by Wilkinson] and he began to lose consciousness of the divine in favor of the terrestrial. By becoming conscious of himself in the world of the senses [i.e., in the physical world], he acquired the ability to choose freely between good and evil." — Roy Wilkinson, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT STORIES (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2001), pp. 17-18.

Here are some of the Anthroposophical doctrines Waldorf students are exposed to it this narrative. Some can be reconciled with the Bible; others cannot. 

• Sin, in the Waldorf view, involves the failure to evolve properly. [See “Sin”.] Thus, those spirits who allied themselves with Lucifer “failed in their normal progress.” [See “Abnormal”.] 

• Evolving in the wrong direction means asserting your own will rather than following the divine plan of the gods. This is what Lucifer and his minions have done — they became “self-willed.” 

• Lucifer is one of the main demons who threaten man’s own proper evolution. The other is Ahriman. [See “Lucifer” and “Ahriman”.] 

• As humans have evolved to higher, more spiritually capable levels (we became “endowed with astrality”), we have developed our own capacities for inner life (“having feelings, passions, desires...”), which has opened us to being influenced by Lucifer. 

• Lucifer and his minions pushed us to evolve too quickly in one way, derailing the plan of the gods by making us too self-aware (they “made man aware of himself earlier than planned by the creators”). 

• We became earthly, physical, “terrestrial,” which distanced us from the spirit realm. 

• This was good, in a sense — we developed the possibility of free choice (we could “choose freely between good and evil"), so in this sense Lucifer helped us. But the potential cost of his influence is extremely threatening: We are increasingly cut off from the intentions of the good gods who created us (we are not doing what was “planned by the creators”). 

We should note that Wilkinson’s explanations of Anthroposophical doctrine are sometimes questionable; nonetheless, they represent a view from inside the ranks of Waldorf teachers.

A web of mythic tales is woven around young Waldorf students. Some of these stories are ostensibly Biblical, but actually they inculcate Anthroposophical doctrines, which often run counter to the Bible. A Waldorf educator gives this explanation of the Waldorf version of Creation:

"The Biblical story of the creation is couched in magnificent language which everyone can appreciate. To understand what is implied is not so easy. Fortunately, Rudolf Steiner has given an account of evolution from the spiritual scientific aspect and this, though complicated, clarifies the matter considerably. He describes three so-called planetary conditions of the earth. The first is a huge globe of heat, a manifestation of spiritual beings, in which our whole solar system was included as an undifferentiated mass. There was a development from the heat element into a sort of gaseous substance and light. At a third stage there was a condensation to liquid ...

'In the beginning'

"This refers to the beginning of Earth evolution...an interweaving of the elemental substances of heat, gas and liquid which are really the embodiment or means of expression of spiritual beings.


"The word in the original Hebrew is Elohim. It is a plural and Elohim are high ranking [sic] spiritual beings, called in Greek the Exusiai, or by other [i.e., Anthroposophical] designation, Spirits of Form. God as a collective term is justified in so far [sic] as the Elohim work as a group, combining their individual talents with the aim of creating man." — Roy Wilkinson, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT STORIES (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2001), pp. 10-11.

The Waldorf meaning of the Creation story is radically unlike anything you will hear in a synagogue, church, or mosque. 

• "Spiritual science," in Waldorf belief, is Anthroposophy, the occult system created by Rudolf Steiner. It is also sometimes called occult science or esoteric science. 

• A key concept in Anthroposophy — one not near the hearts of anyone who takes the Bible literally — is evolution. 

• Evolution as described by Steiner has no connection to the biological process traced by modern science. Steiner taught that we have evolved through "planetary conditions" or "planetary stages" — we began on Old Saturn ("a huge globe of heat"), progressed to the Old Sun (gas and light), and then to the Old Moon (liquid), before coming to Present Earth (solid matter), the fourth of our planetary stages. Each of the planetary stages encompasses the entire solar system, including the Earth (the planet) as it exists during that period (the planetary stage). 

• Our evolution is overseen by numerous "spiritual beings" or gods, who have a divine plan for our development to higher and higher forms. 

• "In the beginning..." Wilkinson explains that this phrase in the Bible refers not to the real beginning of the universe but to the beginning of our current, fourth planetary stage — life on Earth in its present incarnation. 

• The most shocking part of the Waldorf version of creation entails God. In Waldorf belief, God is not Jehovah, God Almighty, the Creator, or Allah. “God” is a committee of high-ranking spiritual beings. Anthroposophists see the Old Testament as a set of stories about the activities of numerous gods of varying ranks. Here, Wilkinson says that the gods called Spirits of Form (aka Elohim or Exusiai) were instrumental in creating us. 

• Wilkinson's discussion of the word "Elohim" is, at best, debatable. Here is a truer account: "Though Elohim is plural in form, it is understood in the singular sense. Thus, in Genesis the words, 'In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth,' Elohim is monotheistic in connotation, though its grammatical structure seems polytheistic. The Israelites probably borrowed the Canaanite plural noun Elohim and made it singular in meaning in their cultic practices and theological reflections." — ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA. Thus, while Wilkinson argues that "Elohim" connotes a polytheistic universe, in fact the Bible is monotheistic. 

• The Spirits of Form are equivalent to the angelic order called Powers. See, e.g., Rudolf Steiner, EXCURSUS ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1937), lecture 4, GA 124.

Young students in Waldorf schools are exposed to many Anthroposophical beliefs. Much of this exposure comes in the form of stories that, to the uninitiated, may seem innocuous. The following is a Waldorf account of the seventh day of Creation: 

“When everything had been created, God Father looked upon His work and saw that it was good. He gave the angels dominion over the new creation. The Elohim ruled over the sun and the sunlight, the moon and stars. The Cherubim held power over lightning and thunder. The rocks, the water, the air and the fire — all were given their rulers.” — AND THERE WAS LIGHT (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006), p. 29.

This narrative nudges young children toward accepting various Anthroposophical concepts, at least in a generalized form. 

• In Anthroposophy, Angels are gods. There are many gods and many ranks of gods. The Elohim are gods four levels above man, while the Cherubim are gods eight levels above man. [See “Polytheism”.] 

• Astrology plays a large role in the Waldorf belief system, with gods dwelling on planets and stars (Jehovah, for instance, is a Moon god, Christ is the Sun God, Lucifer hails from Venus, and so forth). Here we see gods receiving dominion over stars and planets. [See “Planetary Spirits”.] 

• According to Waldorf belief, various gods extend their powers through natural phenomena on Earth. But, in addition, “nature spirits” or "elemental beings" are present in nature. These are invisible presences lower than gods: Gnomes reside in the ground ("rocks"), undines in the water, sylphs in the air, and "salamanders" (fire spirits) in fire. [See “Neutered Nature”.] According to Waldorf belief, such beings really exist, and Waldorf students are told many tales about them. (Gnomes are especially present in Waldorf schools; gnome dolls and figurines can be found in many Waldorf classrooms.)

Comparing the Anthroposophical version of Creation with the Biblical version shows significant differences. Children who are told the sorts of stories found in AND THERE WAS LIGHT are certainly not being given orthodox Bible stories. Here are the ending verses in Genesis 1 and the beginning verses in Genesis 2, telling of the sixth and seventh days of Creation. Note that the gods mentioned in the Anthroposophical version (Elohim, Cherubim) are not mentioned here; also, according to the Bible, dominion is given not to the gods and nature spirits, but to man. And, certainly, according to the Bible there is one God, one Creator; the Bible is not polytheistic.

27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground." 

29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 

30 "And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food." And it was so. 

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the sixth day.

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  

— THE HOLY BIBLE, New International Version.

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

“As God Father sat upon his throne, he called out seven words through heaven. The seven colors of the rainbow appeared and shone in seven circles around his throne ... Behind the rainbow, majestic fire angels lifted a great cloud curtain, revealing a hall of heaven that had never been seen before. In the hallway were thousands upon thousands of sleeping souls, countless as the stars in heaven ... The fire-angels lowered the curtail and opened the gate of heaven ... Light began to shine, to blaze and sparkle brightly. The darkness withdrew to the depths. Fire-angels stripped flames from their garments, and the new world grew warm. It bubbled and flamed and flashed. Thunder rumbled and rolled so loudly that the evil spirits in the deep huddled in fear. Above them the angels’ eyes, like a thousand suns, sparkled from the bright light of the first day of creation.” — AND THERE WAS LIGHT (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006), p. 13. The author, Jakob Streit, describes the purpose of his book: "This collection of stories and descriptions is the result of the author's work over a period of years introducing children in the lower grades to the world of the Old Testament ... If one succeeds in letting the reality of nature grow out of the divine, colorful background of a world creation, then awe, reverence, and love of nature can blossom ... It is hoped that [these stories] with touch the children's hearts and feelings...." [p. 109.]

Waldorf schools usually claim to be nonsectarian and nondenominational. Yet Waldorf students are told religious story after religious story. These stories create and reinforce the spiritual atmosphere in Waldorf classrooms — an atmosphere that is distinctly Anthroposophical. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concerning an article praising a Waldorf school in a poor community: 

“Unfortunately, Oppenheimer [the author] failed to do his homework ...  His information is entirely anecdotal, much of it supplied by diehard Waldorf enthusiasts currently working at the [school] ... [W]hy didn't Mr. Oppenheimer ask about staff turnover or attempt to talk to teachers that quit in frustration over the unsound academic principles being practiced on these, our most needy students? Did he inquire as to whether any staff had protested the religious indoctrination subtly infused in Waldorf teacher training? Did he check to see if current teachers had attended state approved certification and teacher training programs prior to their hiring? Did he speak to any parents?" — Former Waldorf teacher Kathleen Sutphen, who worked at the school in question for seven years. [See "Ex-Teacher 6".]

A former Waldorf student-teacher describes moving into the residence of a Waldorf faculty member:

 “As I was walking in with my first box of things my new housemate confronted me about my belongings.  She was upset that I had so many books and made it clear that I had to keep them locked away in my bedroom! After that first encounter everything I did seemed to be horrible in her eyes. She didn’t like the medicine I took; it was made in a lab. I needed to go to anthroposophical doctor and use only natural medicines. She didn’t like the clothes that I wore; they weren’t all cotton and dyed with natural dyes. She didn’t like me talking on the phone even though it was in the kitchen and belonged to the house; the phone was a tool of [the devil] Ahriman....

“...[T]here were teacher gatherings and study groups at our house often ... [A]ll the [Waldorf] teachers were passionate and really believed in what they were doing. It soon became obvious to me that...what I had hoped was a misinterpretation of Steiner’s philosophy was in actuality the perfect implementation of it. As far as the outright distortion scientific or historical facts in the Waldorf curriculum, I was asked, “Whose facts are they? How sure are you that yours are true?” ... For many of the teachers, the only science or history they knew were what they learned in their Waldorf teacher training courses. Then came the statement that clarified all their misinformation for me. I was told, 'Steiner had exceptional powers, he saw the future, he knew the truth. If you truly need to learn, you need to study and follow Steiner. Steiner is all anyone ever needs to know.'” [See “Ex-Teacher 5”.]

"Anthroposophists are fairly skilled at lulling people into believing that everything is on the up and up in the world of Waldorf. It is hard for people who have not had negative experiences with Waldorf to understand the scope and enormity of the deception that goes on. Beware of straw-man arguments and misinformation. Never accept the accuracy of any claim made by an Anthroposophist without doing your own research to establish whether it is true." — Former Waldorf parents Margaret Sachs. [See "Help Too".]

“What bugs me most is that the Waldorf schools are still presented as THE ultimate progressive schools, and many parents who only want the best for their child blindly trust their concept. Of course, it is possible to find plenty of negative experiences with teaching and teachers in public schools, but this makes it even worse if Waldorf pedagogy is presented as THE shining counter-ideal. The expectations of many critical parents will remain unfulfilled, for example when it comes to self-determined and individualized learning. A pedagogical concept becomes questionable in my eyes if it tunes out the reality of society to the extent Waldorf pedagogy does. Some may view this as shelter for their children, but I would call it otherworldliness. If school is to prepare for an emancipated life in society, it has to confront the difficulties and problems of the children, no matter whether it is the media, violence, racism or other issues.

“Finally, one should realize in this public discussion that in the meantime the ideas and goals of progressive education have made their way into public schools. The picture that is painted in public about the teaching reality in public schools these days is often wrong. As a student of social pedagogy, herself a Waldorf graduate, said when she watched independent work in a [public school] classroom run by myself and a colleague: ‘Oh, how wonderful, I didn't know teaching like this can be so much fun!’" — Former Waldorf teacher Claudia Pangh. [See "Ex-Teacher 3”.]

"My youngest son, who began Waldorf in kindergarten, complained that he was not learning anything [in first grade] ... After many months of frustrating communication with the school, we placed our Waldorf-educated son in public school ... During my last meeting with his Waldorf teacher, I stated that perhaps Waldorf was inappropriate for him. She replied, 'It sounds to me like you are questioning Anthroposophy. If you are, you should leave, because every teacher here is an Anthroposophist except for one, and she is coming to Anthroposophy.'"  — Debra Snell, interviewed by Jeff Horseman, “An Interview with PLANS President”  [http://waldorfcritics.org/active/articles/InterviewPLANSPres.html]

“[M]alicious occult circles cultivate an alliance with [the demon] Ahriman. They also cultivate an alliance with Lucifer ... Of course, Lucifer and Ahriman also work in the human unconscious. There they accomplish the same things that the malevolent occult circles deliberately set about doing, the same things in which these circles are engaged, in alliance with Lucifer and Ahriman ... At present, luciferic and ahrimanic streams [i.e., forces] have a strong grip on the world and their effect is chaotic. This is shown not only by the great amount of lying and falsification that goes on, but also by everything that is said, simply because it corresponds to emotions and passions without any regard for justifying it by showing how it accords with objective reality.’’  — Rudolf Steiner, THE RIDDLE OF HUMANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), lecture 13, GA 170. 

I do not accuse anyone of alliance with demons — I don't believe in demons. But Steiner did believe in them, and his followers do. Ironically, by Steiner’s standards, Steiner’s own teachings fill the bill as demonic falsehood. His occult circle, Anthroposophy, traffics in little but untruth that fails to "accord with objective reality.’’

The Waldorf system virtually guarantees that students will be badly taught much of the time. A Waldorf class teacher is expected to stay with his/her group of kids year after year, shepherding them higher and higher. Along the way, s/he must teach a wide range of topics (math, geography, literature, history...) at higher and higher levels. No teacher is qualified to do this, but at Waldorf the requirement is common.

“The school inspector said that with normal teaching methods, average people can be teachers, but with our methods, we need geniuses. I do not think that is necessarily true, but there is something to it. So much depends upon the individual teacher, and we must emphasize and support the individuality of the teacher. The children are not participating enough because we are not bringing sufficient fire into the classroom.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 443-444.

It is obvious that knowledge of the human being must be the basis for a teacher's work; that being so, teachers must acquire this knowledge for themselves, and the natural thing will be that they acquire it through Anthroposophy. 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.

“Waldorf Schools should be purely private, without any hint of aggrandizement toward gaining public funds for their further development. This is where the whole [Waldorf] movement went wrong. Seeking tax-exempt status and other perks for their continuation has proven to be a wrong move. This is what has caused the science of the spirit [i.e., Anthroposophy] to be made the property of public materialism. People apparently saw that Waldorf schools should get the same rewards that other private schools get, and so they went forth.

“They failed to consider that the science of the spirit meets no laws of tax exemption. If you believe in it then go ahead, and expect to make the sacrifice; even without pay.”  — Anthroposophist Steve Hale [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/waldorf-critics/message/20561]

"At our Waldorf school, my son's class teacher did take bullying seriously when it was brought to his attention and, as far as I could tell, handled the situation well. Parents in other classes, however, told me they were not satisfied with how teachers handled reports of bullying. One girl...actually broke other children's bones ... Several teen boys, including the son of Waldorf teachers, assaulted a girl ... A girl I knew was rammed against a wall by a teacher ... Yet another girl told me that a teacher hurt her when he yanked her arm to try to force her to cross a stream on a field trip and then grabbed her and shook her violently ... I saw a teacher go ballistic on two children for playing with some outdoor sprinkler lines ... Even a teacher whom we liked and respected had a reputation for occasionally going into extraordinary rages in the classroom.


"In all fairness, there were some serious instances of student bullying and violence at a couple of other schools my children attended, although I never heard of teachers being out of control at any of them.  

"Clearly, though, our Waldorf school was far from being the peaceful, spiritually evolved environment we had originally believed it to be. It's my opinion that some of the teachers at our Waldorf school should not have been working with children and would never have been able to find employment in a non-Anthroposophical school."  [See “Slaps”.]

"[A]lthough the [Waldorf] teachers believed that everything from the color crayon a child used at a certain age, to the knowledge that they were exposed to, had to be completely controlled, they could be left utterly alone on the playground. It was explained to me that this was because ‘The angels watched over and protected them’ while they were playing ... Once, when a child was in tears because the other children kept on pushing her off of a stump they were playing on, I tried to teach conflict resolution skills to the group and was, once again, admonished by the staff.  I was told that all of the children were ‘working through’ things [i.e., karma] and needed to be left alone. Eventually the bullying got so bad that it permeated every part of the child’s school day.  Yet still the teachers would not intervene. The child became sullen and withdrawn....” — A former Waldorf student teacher. [See “Ex-Teacher 5”.]

"[S]ome people can hallucinate so perfectly that even the electrical patterns in their brains agree with their visions." — Arthur C. Clarke, BY SPACE POSSESSED (Victor Gollancz, 1993), p. 54.

The research Clarke drew upon has become a bit dated, but his basic point holds true. Many people who sincerely think that they have had visions have actually suffered from hallucinations. This certainly applies to people who think they are clairvoyant. They are deceiving themselves, down to the level of brain activity. Many Anthroposophists think they are clairvoyant, and more than a few teach in Waldorf schools. If you send a child to a Waldorf school, then, there is a good chance that s/he will have at least one teacher who is subject to hallucinations. This may not be in your child's best interests. (To put the matter mildly.)

"As a math teacher, I had been approached by the [Steiner] school to tutor some students in the 7th grade, and been very disappointed and surprised to see that these students were far behind mainstream math curriculum. I had also learned about the Steiner School’s homeopathic doctor and medical teachings, and, as a cancer survivor, was very distressed to learn that fellow parents, who had been diagnosed with cancer, were eschewing chemotherapy. To some extent, these choices were based on the advice of their circle of friends and school counselors, who  were members of the Waldorf community. One of them, a mother of a boy in my son's class, had died of breast cancer ... [A]nother parent...died in 3 months after making a similarly alternative  medical choice. Prompted to research  the Waldorf community, I realized increasingly how shut-off  from the modern world parents of young children became as they followed the guidelines imposed upon them, isolating themselves by shutting out media, computers, and non-Waldorf friendships at the advice of the school teachers and administrators." — Former Waldorf parent Susan Gurney. [See "Help Too".]

How Waldorf teachers talk about their students: 

"Amy and Jack must be very artistic children who are incarnating just a little slowly and need help ... Maria and Cliff are over-intellectual (tsk, tsk) and already too deep into the physical. Their intellectuality must be checked and they must be given more artistic work and made to recopy their main lesson books — several times, if necessary. Their parents must be instructed to keep them off the Internet, away from the TV and video games and to discourage them from reading the modern novels that fascinate them and doing many other things that an intellectually curious child is apt to do." — Waldorf teacher Keith Francis. [See “Ex-Teacher 9”.]

The "tsk, tsk" comes from Francis, not me. To understand the reference to incarnation, see "Incarnation". Briefly, Steiner taught that human beings reincarnate. A child arrives on Earth with a physical body and then gradually s/he incarnates various invisible, spiritual bodies. Waldorf schools are far more interested in helping children incarnate than in helping them to learn subject matter. This is part of the reason for the anti-intellectual bias at Waldorf schools. [See "Steiner's Specific".]

Here is a good handle on Anthroposophical thinking, and on the kind of thinking that will replace it: 

“The brain is a belief engine. It relies on two processes: patternicity [our tendency to find or invent patterns] and agenticity [the belief that events are not random but result from the intentional actions of mortal or divine beings]. It finds meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless data. It infuses patterns with meaning, and imagines intention and agency in inanimate objects and chance occurrences. We believe before we reason. Once beliefs are formed, we seek out confirmatory arguments and evidence to justify them. We ignore contrary evidence or make up rationalizations to explain it away. We do not like to admit we are wrong. We seldom change our minds ... [But] as science advances, the things we once thought of as supernatural acquire natural explanations. Thunderstorms are caused by natural processes of electricity in clouds, not by a god throwing thunderbolts.” — THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, Sept.-Oct. 2011, p. 57.

Note that the article was not written about Anthroposophy in particular. But it clearly applies to Anthroposophy and all similar worldviews.

“During the many years my children were in a Waldorf school, I had no idea that Anthroposophy was based on racist beliefs. I also did not know that the movement was tainted by Steiner's anti-Semitic teachings and the Holocaust denials made by some Anthroposophists. Had my husband and I discovered any of this while my children were at the school, we would have removed them without much delay....

“Another thing you might want to consider is that many parents have concerns about safety and hygiene issues at Waldorf schools. At our Waldorf school, it was apparent to me that teachers were woefully ignorant in this area. A friend's son fell from a tree at school. He lay on his back, in pain. A teacher came over and scooped him up in her arms, completely unaware that moving a person who is lying on the ground after a fall could cause permanent paralysis. On a camping trip, teachers forced two girls to pick up other people's soiled toilet paper with their bare hands ... Another parent reported that on a badly organized field trip, chaperones failed to keep all children in view. Some of those children, exhausted from having to hike too far, hitchhiked in strangers' cars. I have heard many other stories like these.” — A former Waldorf parent. [See “Our Experience”.]

“What I saw as a lack of honoring of personal interests inhabited everything [at the Waldorf school]. Only certain colors were used at certain ages, only certain materials for certain groups. No black, no lines, no exceptions. I hated seeing the joy in a child’s face fade ... None of these rules made sense to me.  Yet when I asked why they were there, the only response I received was that there was a higher meaning to everything and I was not ‘enlightened’ enough to understand. “ — A former Waldorf student teacher. [See “Ex-Teacher 5.]

“Take the gnomes and undines: they are, so to say, in the world which borders on human consciousness; they are already beyond the threshold. Ordinary consciousness is protected from seeing these beings, for the fact is that these beings are not all benevolent. The benevolent beings are, for instance, those which I described yesterday as working in the most varied ways upon plant-growth. But these beings are not all well-disposed. And in the moment when man breaks through into the world wherein they live and are active, he finds there not only the well-disposed beings but the malevolent ones as well. And so one must first form a conception as to which of them are well-disposed and which of them malevolent."  [Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS SYMPHONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture 8, GA 230.]

“[T]he Steiner dream ends for many families with the realisation that their child is academically far behind his or her peers. Susan Godsland, an independent reading intervention expert, has helped many ex-Steiner children learn to read at 8, 9 and 10. Though she acknowledges that some children can blossom in a Steiner school, that a percentage will learn to read earlier in spite of the pedagogy, she believes it’s cruel to deny a child the chance to read until so late ... [S]he explains why early reading isn’t encouraged [in Steiner schools]. A child is ‘blessed’ with not being able to read and write, since Steiner says early reading will hinder the later spiritual development of children. She adds: ‘this is simply mumbo-jumbo and should be treated with the contempt it deserves.'" — A former Waldorf parent. [See "Coming Undone".]

“I could tell you more [about my experiences teaching in a Waldorf school]...[such as] the pedagogical criteria to judge students according to their temperaments, which were completely new to me, and the strange seating arrangement resulting from them. The sanguines sit by the wall, because they're already so wound up, but the phlegmatics sit by the window, because they need the energy of the light! Or I could talk about the often-praised foreign language instruction, which I found to be a stupid memorization of poems and verses.” — Claudia Pangh, “The Phlegmatic Sits by the Window”. [See "Ex-Teacher 3”.]

“We discovered our children had been surreptitiously exposed to Anthroposophy in many different ways, such as through rituals, 'art,' history classes filled with ancient myths, and a boring form of movement called 'eurythmy,' which supposedly links people directly to Steiner's 'supersensible world.' Much of it might seem harmless, but in the long run it affects the development of a child's thinking. One of my children, now an adult, is still angry at having been led to believe things that were not true." — Former Waldorf parent Margaret Sachs. [See “Our Experience”.]

Waldorf schools, often so serene and lovely on the outside, are often riven by internal strife and jealousy. Using pseudonyms for her former colleagues, an ex-Waldorf teacher has written, “At the end of my first year, a parent meeting was called by Mrs. Blue Jay (who never showed up) because four families were pulling their children out  ... The tension in the room was not just thick, it was stifling. Someone unaccustomed to the thickness of Trembling Trees [i.e., the school] would have been gagging from the tension but we all had learned to breathe in this environment by now ... I clutched my pen as I took notes trying to keep my throat from closing in.” — Former Waldorf teacher Lani Cox. [See “Ex-Teacher”.]

"I noticed a disturbing pattern emerging at my children's Waldorf School. Problems arise . . . parents ask questions . . . parents become upset . . . parents take children out of the school. I wondered why ... To my astonishment I discovered similar disturbing patterns with many parents from other [Waldorf] schools. Was this a coincidence or was there a logical explanation? Why are parents so often frustrated with events at Waldorf schools? Why do they feel their questions and concerns are not dealt with? Why do parents feel that these schools are not 'nonsectarian schools' as is promised in Waldorf outreach material and handbooks? After joining a Waldorf school parents have many questions . . . what is all this we hear about karma and reincarnation? What do you mean by 'soul work?' Why are prayers recited daily but called verses? What are these Anthroposophy study groups for parents? I thought Anthroposophy was not in the school? And . . .who was Steiner and what was his reason for founding the Waldorf movement?" — Former Waldorf parent Steve Galliford ("Walden") [http://waldorfcritics.org/active/articles/WhoIsRS.html]

“The greatest contrast to electricity is LIGHT [sic]. If we look upon light as electricity we confuse good and evil. We lose sight of the true conception of evil in the order of Nature, if we do not realize that through the electrification of the atoms we transform them into carriers of evil; we do not only transform them into carriers of death, as explained in my last lecture, but into carriers of evil. When we think of them as atoms, in general, when we imagine matter in the form of atoms, we transform these atoms into carriers of death; but when we electrify matter, Nature is conceived as something evil. For electric atoms are little demons of Evil.”  — Rudolf Steiner, “Concerning Electricity” (General Anthroposophical Society, 1940), GA 220.

Rudolf Steiner clearly know almost nothing about atoms, electricity, and light. Whether he understood the nature of evil is, itself, open to question. Teaching his credulous followers to embrace occult nonsense while rejecting real knowledge hardly qualifies as virtuous conduct.

“[M]alevolent or narrow-minded people can easily discover contradictions in the concepts of spiritual science. The concepts are alive, and what is alive is mobile, though it does not, in fact, harbour contradictions.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992) lecture 22, GA 174.

Anthroposophists generally assert that anyone who questions or criticizes their beliefs is evil. They apparently cannot imagine that anyone could offer criticism based on sound reasoning and clear evidence — they cannot acknowledge that any of their critics could have good intentions and might, in fact, be telling the truth. Following the lead of their founder, Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophists cultivate a culture of paranoia and antagonism. They think that they, the sole possessors of truth and virtue, are surrounded by demonic foes. [See “Enemies” and "Double Trouble".]

Have Anthroposophists cleansed themselves of the racism Rudolf Steiner bequeathed them? Here’s a quiz. Who made the following statement? a) Rudolf Steiner in 1911. b) One of Steiner’s followers in 2011.

“I had the opportunity of working alongside a South American couple today. Both were of dark skin; the man had small eye sockets yet the woman had large ones. The woman struck me as being racially mixed in an obvious way in that not only did she have large eyes, but her entire physique carried quite defined and fine characteristics which I recognized as typical of 'northern races'. As well, the way in which she dealt with issues facing her was through imposing a slow, reflective outward mannerism. What impressed me in this, was that this woman seemed to engage the activity of 'thought' not only as an instrument for determining an outward task but also as an instrument for the maintenance of the various levels of her physical composure, even to the biological level. I personally found this tendency familiar in that it relates in a generalized way, to northern peoples. The man on the other hand had a little more of a coarser [sic] demeanor and possessed a predominantly stalky [sic: stocky] physique yet I found him to be surprisingly tall. He could very well have a little racial mixing to his background though I did find 'elements' to physique [sic] quite imposing. I suspect that this impression reflected the fact that the man engages an instinctual force through his body.

“I've been reassured by several 'white' South American acquaintances that there is indeed a strong European presence in South America, in fact a couple of my own maternal grandfather's brothers immigrated there ... I hope these observations act as positive input to your ongoing reflections on race.“

Answer: b) One of Steiner’s followers in 2011. [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anthroposophy_now/message/2380]

Perhaps some of Steiner’s followers have cleansed themselves of the racism Rudolf Steiner bequeathed them. But the evidence is not reassuring. Here, the writer (“organicethics”) analyzes racial characteristics almost precisely as Steiner did. [See, e.g., "Forbidden".]

The Waldorf view of childhood is greatly complicated by Steiner's occult doctrines. Thus, for instance, Steiner was devoted to the number 3, which he considered magical.* Thus, he divided childhood into three sets of three elements, and he said children pass through three stages (each seven years long). To make this system coherent, he hammered together things that are actually quite different, as when he spoke of the "limb-metabolic system." (Consult any legitimate medical text. We have arms and legs, and we have a metabolism, but these are separate; there is no limb-metabolic system.) Nonetheless, Steiner is believed by typical Waldorf teachers. Here is how childhood is described by a leading advocate of Waldorf schooling: 

"On the level of soul, [Steiner] describes the human being as a threefold being, one who thinks, feels, and wills. On the level of consciousness, these three forces manifest as wakefulness (thinking), dreaming (feeling), and deep sleep (willing). On the level of physiology, they utilize the three 'systems' of nerve-senses (thinking), rhythmic-circulatory (feeling), and limb-metabolic (willing). On the level of human development, these forces unfold in discrete seven-year periods: willing dominates the first seven years of life, feelings become accessible to the child in the second seven-year period, and independent thinking blossoms after age fourteen.” — Eugene Schwartz in the Foreword to a collection of Steiner’s lectures and remarks, THE RENEWAL OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 12.

A system is which everything seems to fit is appealing. But Steiner's system is unsupported by actual medical, psychological, or educational knowledge. It even violates mainstream theology. It is appealing mystical mumbo-jumbo.

"Three is the number of the Divinity revealing itself ... Seven is the number of perfection." — Rudolf Steiner. [See "Magic Numbers".] 

“Based on my experiences [as an assistant teacher in a Waldorf school], I think that many parents don't realize what immense importance the Anthroposophical ideology has in Waldorf schools. Families will probably get into conflicts right away if the parents aren't convinced and practicing Anthroposophists themselves; the impression of a certain amount of indoctrination appeared at least partly justified. As I said, Anthroposophically oriented families probably won't have a problem with that, but others should think twice about what they are getting into.” — Claudia Pangh, “The Phlegmatic Sits by the Window”. [See "Ex-Teacher 3”.]

[R.R., 2014.]