June 14, 2018


Waldorf schools 

      WALDORF / STEINER      


The news items on this page are culled from media around the world — especially in English-speaking countries. The commentary appended to most items is my own.
If any of the terminology used here ("Anthroposophy," etc.) is unfamiliar to you, consulting The Semi-Steiner Dictionary and The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia should help.

Momentous events, with potentially enormous consequences, are afoot in the wide world. Seen in this real-world context, events in and around Waldorf schools shrink to near-irrelvance.
But as long as we care about the well-being of children who have been sent to Waldorf schools, or who may be sent there, we should carry on with our work here.
— Roger Rawlings

June 14, 2018


Waldorf schools 

June 11, 2018


A new publication from Rudolf Steiner Press, available this month:

[Rudolf Steiner Press, 2018.]

From the publisher:


Connecting to those who have Died

[by] Rudolf Steiner

As a spiritual teacher, Rudolf Steiner wrote many inspired and beautifully-crafted verses. Often they were given in relation to specific situations or in response to individual requests; sometimes they were offered to assist generally in the process of meditation. Regardless of their origins, they are uniformly powerful in their ability to connect the meditating individual with spiritual archetypes. Thus, the meditations provide valuable tools for developing experience and knowledge of subtle dimensions of reality.

Matthew Barton has translated and selected Steiner’s verses, sensitively arranging them by theme. In this collection – for maintaining a connection to those who have died – Rudolf Steiner offers hope and consolation to the bereaved. The first section features words of wisdom on death and its deeper, spiritual meaning; the second part consists of verses which stress the continued links between the living and the dead, indicating how our thoughts can help those who have departed earthly life. The final section is devoted to verses which express something of what the dead experience in their new existence.

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Waldorf Watch Response:

The "verses" written by Rudolf Steiner are, in reality, prayers. [See "Prayers".] 

Most of the verses or prayers written by Steiner are addressed to gods, but some are addressed to the dead. Several collections of funereal Steiner prayers have been published previously; they have borne such titles as LIVING WITH THE DEAD (Sophia Books, 2003), THE DEAD ARE WITH US (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2006), OUR DEAD (SteinerBooks, 2011), and STAYING CONNECTED: How to Continue Your Relationships with Those Who Have Died (Anthroposophic Press, 1999). The new collection, MEDITATIONS FOR THE DEAD, enlarges this roll.

We should note that Anthroposophical prayers addressed to the dead are often meant to help, encourage, or strengthen departed souls in one way or another. Here is one such prayer, in this case addressed to a soul who committed suicide:

"Your will was weak.
Strengthen your will.
I send you warmth for your coldness.
I send you light for your darkness.
My love to you.
My thoughts with you.
Grow, walk on."
— Rudolf Steiner, LIVING WITH THE DEAD, p. 34.

Presumably the dead are grateful to receive such constructive thoughts.

Of course, prayers and meditations for the dead are not meant exclusively to help souls who have gone on to the spirit realm. Many are also meant to bring consolation to the living. Steiner taught that we can sometimes receive messages from the dead, thereby maintaining our bonds with the beloved departed. Steiner consoled the widow of a German general, for instance, by conveying messages from him to her. [See "Steiner and the Warlord".]

◊ • ◊

Young children in Waldorf schools are sometimes taught to recite prayers for the dead or to undertake other actions that will aid the dead. The children are taught to "serve" the dead by, for instance, celebrating "death days" — the days on which various individuals died. The following is from a volume written for the guidance of Waldorf teachers:

"Should we foster ways to serve the dead with small children [i.e., teach small children to serve the dead]? ... Yes, celebrate the death day like an earthly birthday ... Children who become accustomed to celebrating from a very early age the birthdays and death days of people who are part of their social life, learn to accept the spiritual world of beings as real. Thus they gain a basis for religious experience." — Helmut Kügelgen, WORKING WITH THE DEAD (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2003), p. 2.

◊ • ◊

(It is good, by the way, to see Rudolf Steiner identified as a "spiritual teacher," as Rudolf Steiner Press does in the promotional material quoted above. Often, for PR purposes, Steiner's followers call him a "philosopher," or a "scientist", or an "educational reformer." But, in reality, he was a spiritual teacher, an occultist, the leader of a new religion. It was in this capacity — not as a philosopher or scientist or educational reformer — that he wrote prayers for his followers to use. Writing such prayers is something that religious leaders do. It is something that Steiner did.)

— R.R.

For previous news items,
at the website

[R.R., 2018.]