Christmas





The Waldorf or Anthroposophical conception of Christmas is very different from what you will find in any mainstream Christian church. Waldorf Christmas entails doctrines of evolution, the Sun God, Mysteries, Tarok, Tao, Spirit-Man, Atlantis, reincarnation, two separate Jesuses, and so on. Waldorf teachers may or may not explain any of these doctrines to their students. Generally, secrets will be kept secret; but the spirit underlying the Waldorf celebrations will resonant with occultism.


Below are some interesting statements Steiner made about Christmas. To introduce them, I will begin with Christmas messages ("A Waldorf Christmas", installments I - XII) that I posted on the Waldorf Watch "news" page in 2011:





A Waldorf Christmas
I.

Christmas is coming; it will be celebrated in Waldorf schools around the world. In this festive season, it may be well to remind ourselves just who Christ is, according to Rudolf Steiner and his followers. Most mainstream Christians are likely to be surprised, if not absolutely shocked. What you have been taught in your churches and what you have read in your Bibles is wrong, according to Rudolf Steiner and his followers.

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





A Waldorf Christmas
II.

With Christmas just around the corner, anyone interested in Waldorf education should pause to absorb what Rudolf Steiner's followers believe about Christ. In Waldorf belief, Christ is not the being Christians worship in church. Christianity is monotheistic: There is one God, and Christ is one aspect or person of this God. By contrast, the Waldorf religion — Anthroposophy — is polytheistic, recognizing a vast number of gods. According to Anthroposophy, the three “persons” of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are really three separate gods who preside over different celestial spheres. The god Christians call the Father is really the god of Saturn; the god Christians call the Son is actually the Sun God; and the god Christians call the Holy Spirit is really a Moon god. 

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





A Waldorf Christmas
III.

In Christian belief, the birth of Jesus was a miracle. No man fathered Jesus; God fathered him. Jesus — the Messiah or Christ — is the Son of God.


In the Waldorf belief system, the story is remarkably different. According to Rudolf Steiner, Christ is the Sun God who descended to Earth and incarnated in an adult human body. The body he chose belonged to a man named Jesus — but there were actually two Jesuses, and they had to combine in order to receive the Sun God. One Jesus had the soul of Zarathustra and the other had the soul of Buddha.


“[T]wo Jesus children were born. One was descended from the so-called Nathan line of the House of David, the other from the Solomon line. These two children grew up side by side. In the body of the Solomon child lived the soul of Zarathustra. In the twelfth year of the child's life this soul passed over into the other Jesus child and lived in that body until its thirtieth year ... And then, only from the thirtieth year onward, there lived in this body the Being [i.e., the descended Sun God] Whom we call the Christ, Who remained on earth altogether for three years.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BHAGAVAD GITA (Anthroposophic Press, 1968), p. 59.


“[N]ot one but two Jesus-children were born ... The important thing is to understand clearly what kind of beings these two children were. Occult investigation [i.e., clairvoyance] shows that the individuality [i.e., the spirit] who was in the Solomon Jesus-child was none other than Zarathustra ... Buddha forces permeated the astral body of the Nathan Jesus-child.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM JESUS TO CHRIST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), pp. 133-136.





A Waldorf Christmas
IV. 

In our series "A Waldorf Christmas", we have been looking at Christ Jesus as portrayed in the Waldorf belief system, Anthroposophy. In Waldorf belief, Christ is the Sun God and Jesus is the man in whom Christ incarnated for three years. There were two Jesuses; they combined so that the Jesus who hosted Christ contained the souls of Zarathustra and Buddha. 

Are Waldorf school students taught these doctrines? Is this what they think they are celebrating at Christmas? No. In general, no. Steiner’s followers, including many Waldorf teachers, believe these doctrines, but in general they do not lay them on their students. In general. But in various subtle ways, they often suggest these doctrines to their students. Here, for instance, is part of a Waldorf Christmas story. It does not mention the Sun God. But it tells of “the Sun Child” descending to Earth, bringing precious gifts of light. Once you know what Steiner’s followers believe, you can easily interpret such stories. In this case, the Sun Child is clearly a Christ figure: the Sun God re-imagined, for children, as a child. 

“[T]he Sun Child bade farewell to the Angel fair and walked step by step down the Golden Stair. It led him to the land below, where no light did shine, nor flower did grow. Bearing carefully his gifts of shining life, he at last reached the land that was as dark as night. He made a little bed in the cool, dark earth, to hold the seed of light that would bring a flower to birth.” — Sue Conroy Moran and Cathy Bower, “The Little Sun Child”, THE SEASONAL FESTIVALS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2010), p. 97.

Waldorf teachers find various subtle ways to bring the "truths" of Anthroposophy to their students. They make heavy use of Christmas to do precisely this.





A Waldorf Christmas
V. 

In Anthroposophy and in Waldorf schools, Christmas merges with the ancient pagan celebration of the winter solstice. On December 21, the days stop getting shorter; they begin to lengthen, and the light of springtime begins to approach. This is the fundamental Waldorf view of Christmas: It celebrates the light, the return of the light, and the god of the light: the Sun God, Christ. 

Waldorf schools may present their view openly, or almost openly, or they may disguise it deeply. Usually, they choose disguise. Seeking to be — or to at least seem to be — nonsectarian, Waldorf schools often couch their beliefs in the mildest terms. By doing so, they often conceal more than they reveal. The following is from an article written by a Waldorf teacher for the parents of her students. It is quite mild — and yet, fervor breathes within it. Most parents would likely find it inoffensive; only a few might perceive the Anthroposophical doctrines within and behind it. 

“As the year draws toward the darkest days of winter, we observe a season of anticipation and preparation for the turning of the year, observed since ancient times, when the sun at the Winter Solstice begins once again to bring longer days ... During this season, the children in our class will hear a story of the birth of a child, and the hope, expectation, and joy of this event ... The return of the sun at the Winter Solstice is, in a sense, a birth on the cosmic level. On the human level, the birth of a child offers the same experience of hope and joy.” — Nancy Foster, “The Turning of the Year: Midwinter and New Birth”, THE SEASONAL FESTIVALS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2010), p. 97. 

The solstice is the triumphal renewal of the power of the sun, and that power is greatest in the mighty Sun God. 

◊ “Within pagan traditions of both North and South, there still lived a religious consciousness uniting the gods with the stars and the mightiest divine figure with the sun. And within the pagan mind lived the thought that the time of the earth’s darkest days, the winter solstice, is also the time when the victorious power of the sun, working in all earthly fertility, begins to unfold again.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2008), “The Revelation of the Cosmic Christ”, pp. 96-97. [1]  

◊ “The divine spirit we should venerate is...connected with the power of the sun, the living nature of the sun which the Christ has taken into himself.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM LIMESTONE TO LUCIFER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 228.  

◊ “Had Christ not appeared on the earth, had He remained the Sun-God only, humanity on the earth would have fallen into decay. Increasingly men would have come to believe that material things alone exist, that the sun and the stars are material bodies.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, p. 277. 

This is the meaning of Christmas at Waldorf. [For more on Christ as the Sun God, see “Sun God”. To consider some of the pagan elements in the Waldorf belief system, see "Pagan".] 


[1] Here Steiner speaks of ancient pagans. But note that his teachings accord with theirs.






A Waldorf Christmas
VI. 

A Waldorf Christmas tree can be unique. Usually, there are no electric lights on the tree, since in the Waldorf view modern technology is demonic. Instead, the tree may bear numerous candles, roses, and unusual. symbolic ornaments. Rudolf Steiner prescribed these ornaments; they embody esoteric Anthroposophical doctrines.

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

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



[Rudolf Steiner Press, 1955]




[1] Roses are the key symbol in Rosicrucianism, the occult path that Steiner said is correct for modern humans. What he meant was Rosicrucianism as reconceived by himself. What this meant, in effect, was Anthroposophy. [See “Rosy Cross”.]


[2] These are components of human spirit nature, according to Anthroposophical doctrine. [See “What We’re Made Of”.]


[3] The symbols for Alpha and Omega flank the symbol for Tarok.






A Waldorf Christmas
VII. 

According to Christian tradition, a group of Magi or wise men traveled from the East bearing presents for the infant Jesus. Anthroposophy accepts this tradition, but — as usual — Rudolf Steiner gave it his own interpretation. In his version, the three Magi were occult initiates and the gift they brought was Oriental “mystery” wisdom.

Initiation is a central concept in the Waldorf belief system. Spiritual truths are hidden, mysterious, occult. Only initiates — people who have been admitted to the innermost circles of spiritual knowledge — comprehend these truths. At a fundamental level, the purpose of Anthroposophy is to lead its follower to initiation. One of Steiner’s central texts is HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS: A Modern Path of Initiation (Anthroposophic Press, 1994). Many Anthroposophists — including Waldorf teachers — believe that they are initiates.

◊ “Who are the Magi? They represent the Initiates of the three preceding races or epochs of culture, the Initiates of mankind up to the time of the coming of Christ....” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1955), lecture 6, GA B60.

◊ “This is the mystery of the ancient initiates bringing their offerings to the new mystery — the Wise Men who are bearers of the wisdom of times past....” — Rudolf Steiner, CHRISTMAS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), pp. 143-144.

Steiner’s followers, including many Waldorf teachers, believe that they possess secret spiritual knowledge extending far back into the ancient past. They think that ancient initiates, studying in their “mystery centers,” understood the spirit realm well, but today’s initiates (i.e., themselves) understand it even better because initiation today includes the knowledge and powers that Christ brought to humanity. Christ is the “new mystery” that Anthroposophists claim to 
comprehend. Thus, in the Waldorf universe, the mass of Christ — Christmas — revolves around initiation.





A Waldorf Christmas
VIII. 

Christmas celebrations at Waldorf schools sometimes seem conventional and thus inoffensive: a tree is decorated, carols are sung, presents are exchanged. Where’s the harm in any of that?

No harm at all, if you believe the doctrines of Anthroposophy. But if you are not a devout Anthroposophist, you may want to think long and hard before joining Waldorf observances of Christmas.

Here is how Christmas is described by one Anthroposophical spokesperson:

“[T]he whole evolution of humanity [1] can be seen as a gradual approach to what approaches us in the figure of Christ [2] ... Jesus and Christ are not one and the same [3], but the former provided a vessel for a wholly non-material force and love to infuse...the being of Christ who embraces, renews and transfigures the darkness and dead weight of earth, and seeds it with inner light. [4]” — Matthew Barton, introduction to CHRISTMAS, a collection of pronouncements made by Rudolf Steiner (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), pp. 3-5.


[1] Many Christians do not believe in evolution. In Anthroposophy, the spiritual evolution of humanity is a central doctrine and goal.

[2] In Anthroposophy, Christ is our “prototype” — we should evolve to become like him. [See “Prototype”.]

[3] Christ is the Sun God who incarnated in the body of the man Jesus.

[4] Compare this to “The Little Sun Child”, which we reviewed in episode IV of A Waldorf Christmas. Waldorf teachers often sneak Anthroposophical doctrines into the classroom. [See “Sneaking It In”.]





A Waldorf Christmas
IX.

Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe in a single all-powerful God. This God occupies the central position in normal Christmas observances. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of God’s son on Earth.

Anthroposophy sees things quite differently. There is no all-powerful God in Anthroposophical belief. [1] Omnipotence and omniscience are only distant ideals, which the evolving universe may reach in the distant future — but they do not exist now. According to Waldorf belief, God does not exist, at least not as the monotheistic faiths describe Him. In Anthroposophy, there are many, many gods, including evil gods such as the arch-demon Ahriman. (Steiner imported Ahriman from Zoroastrianism. References to Ahriman are just one of the strange elements in the Anthroposophical version of Christmas.)

“We can speak of omnipotence as a kind of ideal, but at the same time this conjures the contrary image of Ahriman. [2] We can speak of omniscience as an ideal, but at the same time this conjures the opposing force of Lucifer ... The Jesus child as embodied in the Gospel of St Luke can be felt as a personification of love — placed between omniscience and omnipotence. [3]” — Rudolf Steiner, CHRISTMAS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 51.

When a Waldorf school celebrates Christmas, concepts such as these — the existence of Ahriman, etc. — are in the minds and hearts of many of the Waldorf faculty members. The faith enacted in Waldorf Christmas celebration is not Christianity. It is Anthroposophy.


[1] Anthroposophists sometimes speak of God, and the prayers Waldorf students recite often address God. But this is a disguise or misunderstanding. Anthroposophy is polytheistic. [See “Polytheism”.]

[2] A note at the end of CHRISTMAS explains “Lucifer and Ahriman are the two polar forces of evil in Steiner’s cosmology. Lucifer tempts us away from the earth while Ahriman fetters us to it.” [p. 151.]

[3] Steiner taught that Christ stands between Ahriman and Lucifer. These demons offer humanity gifts or temptations that must be balanced by the influence of Christ. Thus, the powers we are evolving toward — including omnipotence and omniscience — must be moderated by Christ so that they are not perverted by Ahriman and Lucifer.





A Waldorf Christmas
X.

What is Christ's central message to us? Perhaps it is this: We should love God above all else, and we should love our neighbors as ourselves. [1] Most Christians, when considering their faith, will think of this injunction. For Rudolf Steiner’s followers, however, the central Christian teaching is quite different. For them, all the statements attributed by the Bible to Christ have passed through the mind of Rudolf Steiner and emerged as something else. Here is the Anthroposophical version of "Love God and love your neighbor":

“The Gospel says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself, and God above all.’ Another way of putting it is, ‘If one looks upon the divine in the light of the present day aspect of the three ideals [religion, art, and science] [2] as a modern human being must, one learns to love the divine.’” — Rudolf Steiner, AWAKENING TO COMMUNITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1974), p. 83.

Whoa. Steiner has not given us the same message in different words. He has given us a different message. And this, gentle reader, is the point. If you are a spiritual person and you want to embrace the spirituality of Waldorf education, fine, do so. Enroll yourself and your children — enter the Waldorf universe. But, please, do so with your eyes open. Know what sort of universe you are entering. It is not the universe of Christianity. Nor that of Judaism. Nor Islam. Nor Buddhism, nor Hinduism, nor even Theosophy. It is the universe of Anthroposophy, which Rudolf Steiner invented. Steiner’s new religion incorporates bits and pieces of many other religions (which is why Waldorf students are often required to study many world religions), but it is identical to none of them. It is something different, something very strange. It is the gnostic, esoteric, occult concoction called Anthroposophy. If you want it, it is available to you. But walk through that door with your eyes open — and send your children through that door only if you are completely sure that you are making the right decision for them.


[1] Matthew 22:365-40: 

“One of [the Pharisees], an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”

[2] Here is Steiner’s explanation of the three ideals. Note that it is polytheistic and thus incompatible with monotheistic Christianity. 

“[M]en's beholding of the gods became the inner life of the religious ideal. Their symbolical-allegorical expression of divine forms through the various media was the life underlying the ideal of art. In their re-telling of what the gods had told them lived the ideal of science. These three ideals merged into one in ancient Oriental times, for they were at bottom one and the same.” — AWAKENING TO COMMUNITY, p. 74.






A Waldorf Christmas
XI.





 






“Christ was always the representative of the Sun, namely, the intelligence of the Sun ... The sign of the intelligence of the Sun is the following ... This is, at the same time, the occult sign of the lamb. The lamb receives the book with the seven seals ... The seven corners of the sign are called 'horns.' But what do the 'eyes' mean?


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


[R.R. sketch, 2010, based on the one in the book.]







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

Our Father who art in Heaven, 
Hallowed be thy name; 
Thy kingdom come; 
Thy will be done 
On earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread; 
And forgive us our trespasses 
As we forgive those who trespass against us; 
And lead us not into temptation, 
But deliver us from evil. 
For thine is the kingdom 
And the power 
And the glory, 
Forever.
Amen.
[See Luke 11:2-4 and Matthew 6:9-13;

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

AUM.
AMEN.

Evils reign


Bearing witness to I-being

Separating itself

and to selfhood's guilt —

Incurred through others,

Experienced in the daily bread

Wherein the will of heaven

Does not reign,

Because humanity

Has separated itself

From Your Kingdom

And forgot your names


Ye Fathers in the Heavens.


— Rudolf Steiner, WHAT IS ANTHROPOSOPHY? 

(SteinerBooks, 2002), pp 21-22.

This truly bizarre text can also be found 

— in some cases with minor alternations — 

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

Rudolf Steiner, ISIS MARY SOPHIA (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 147,

and Rudolf Steiner, THE FIFTH GOSPEL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), p. 66.

Anthroposophists proudly affirm it.


Steiner's version reworks the prayer extensively, using different words, reversing the order, and addressing a plethora of gods rather than one God. If you are looking for the true meaning of Christmas, don't look for it in a school that accepts Rudolf Steiner's teachings.






A Waldorf Christmas
XII.

What is the true meaning of Christmas? Surely it is to be found in the teachings of Christ. One of Christ's most important teachings is the Sermon on the Mount, in which he pronounced blessings on suffering mankind. Here are the first three of these beatitudes as given in the Bible:

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


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


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


[Matthew 5:3-5]


As usual, Rudolf Steiner found the Bible insufficient; he changed it to conform to his own teachings. Here is some of what he substituted for the first three beatitudes:

Beatitude 1:

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


“In order for an individual to enter the spiritual world in earlier times, the etheric body had to be slightly separated from the physical body, which was thus formed in a special way. Christ Jesus therefore said in regard to the physical body, ‘Blessed are the beggars, the poor in spirit, for if they develop their ego-ruled bodies in the right way, they will find the Kingdom of Heaven.’”


Beatitude 2:

“Of the etheric body He [i.e., Christ] said, ‘Formerly, men could be healed of illnesses of the body and soul by ascending into the spiritual world in a state of ecstasy. Now those who suffer and are filled with the spirit of God can be healed and comforted by finding the source, the comfort, within themselves.’”


Beatitude 3:

“Of the astral body He [i.e., Christ] said, ‘In former times those whose astral bodies were beset by wild and tempestuous passions could only be subdued when equanimity, peace and purification streamed to them from divine spiritual beings.’ Now men should find the strength within their own egos, through the in-dwelling Christ, to purify the astral body on earth. Thus, the new influence in the astral body had to be presented by saying, ‘Blessed and God-imbued in their astral bodies are those who foster calmness and equanimity within themselves; all comfort and well-being on earth shall be their reward.’” — Rudolf Steiner, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (Anthroposophic Press, 1978), pp. 29-30. [For more of Steiner's reworking of the Sermon on the Mount, see "Sermon".]

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

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

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




— Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings



















Herewith: 
More of what you may not have known about Christmas:



"The Christmas Festival is the Festival of the Holy Night, celebrated in the Mysteries by those who were ready for the awakening of the higher Self within them, or, as we should say in our time, those who have brought the Christ to birth within them.


"Only those who have no inkling of the fact that as well as the chemical and physical forces, spiritual forces are also at work and that the workings of both kinds of forces take effect at definite times and seasons in cosmic life, can imagine that the moment of the awakening of the higher Self in man is of no importance. In the Greater Mysteries man beheld the forces working through all existence; he saw the world around him filled with spirit, with spiritual Beings; he beheld the world of spirit around him, radiant with light and colour. There can be no more sublime experience than this and in due time it will come to everyone. Although for some it may be only after many incarnations, nevertheless the moment will come for all men when Christ will be resurrected within them and new vision, new hearing will awaken. In preparation for the awakening, the pupils in the Mysteries were first taught of the cosmic significance of this awakening and only then was the sacred Act itself performed. It took place at the time when darkness on the earth is greatest, when the external sun gives out least light and warmth — at Christmas time — because those who are cognisant of the spiritual facts know that at this time of the year, forces that are favourable for such an awakening stream through cosmic space. During his preparation the pupil was told that one who would be a true knower must have knowledge not only of what has been happening on the earth for thousands and thousands of years but must also be able to survey the whole course of the evolution of humanity, realising that the great festivals have their own, essential place within that evolution and must be dedicated to contemplation of the eternal truths. The pupil's gaze was directed to the time when our earth was not as it is now, when there was no sun, no moon out yonder in the heavens, but both were still united with the earth, when earth, sun and moon formed one body. Even then man was already in existence, but he had no body; he was still a spiritual being. No sunlight fell from outside upon these spiritual beings, for the sunlight was within the earth itself. This was not the sunlight that shines from outside upon objects and beings to-day, but it was inner sunlight that glowed within all beings of the earth. Then came the time when the sun separated from the earth, when its light shone down upon the earth from the universe outside. The sun had withdrawn from the earth and inner darkness came upon man. This was the beginning of his evolution towards that future when the inner light will again be radiant within him. Man must learn to know the things of the earth with his outer senses; he evolves to the stage where the higher Man, Spirit-Man [1], again glows and shines within him. From light, through darkness, to light — such is the path of the evolution of mankind." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1955), lecture 2, “Signs and Symbols of the Christmas Festival”, GA 96.





"Everywhere it was the same: in the Egyptian Mysteries, in the Eleusinian Mysteries [2], in the Mysteries of Asia Minor, of Babylon and Chaldea, as well as in the Mithras-cult [3] and in the Indian Mysteries of Brahman [4]. Everywhere the same experiences were undergone by the pupils of these Mysteries at the midnight hour of the Holy Night." — Ibid.





Concerning decorations on the tree: There should be roses, and also occult symbols:


"The Roses, growing out of the green, are a symbol of the Eternal which springs from the Temporal.


"The square is the symbol of the fourfold nature of man; physical body, ether-body, astral body and ego. 


"The triangle is the symbol for Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit, Spirit-Man. 


"Above the triangle is the symbol for Tarok [5]. Those who were initiated into the Egyptian Mysteries knew how to interpret this sign. They knew too, how to read the Book of Thoth, consisting of 78 leaves on which were inscribed all happenings in the world from the beginning to the end, from Alpha to Omega [6] and which could be read if the signs were rightly put together. These pictures gave expression to the life that dies and then springs again to new life. Whoever could combine the right numbers with the right pictures, were able to read the Book. This wisdom of numbers and of pictures had been taught from time immemorial. In the Middle Ages it was still in the fore ground although little of it survives to-day.


"Above this symbol is the Tao [7] — the sign that is a reminder of the conception of the Divine held by our early forefathers; it comes from the word: TAO. Before Europe, Asia and Africa were scenes of human civilisation, these early forefathers of ours lived on the continent of Atlantis which was finally submerged by mighty floods. In the Germanic sagas of Nifelheim or Nebelheim [8], the memory of Atlantis still lives. For Atlantis was not surrounded by pure air. Vast cloud-masses moved over the land, like those to be seen to-day clustering around the peaks of high mountains. The sun and moon did not shine clearly in the heavens — they were surrounded by rainbows — by the sacred Iris. At that time man understood the language of nature. To-day he no longer understands what speaks to him in the rippling of waves, in the noise of winds, in the rustling of leaves, in the rolling of thunder — but in old Atlantis he understood it. He felt it all as a reality. And within these voices of clouds and waters and leaves and winds a sound rang forth: TAO — That am I. The man of Atlantis heard and understood it, feeling that Tao pervaded the whole universe.


"Finally, the cosmic symbol of Man is the pentagram [9], hanging at the top of the tree. Of the deepest meaning of the pentagram we may not now speak. But it is the star of humanity, of evolving humanity; it is the star that all wise men follow, as did the Priest-Sages of old. It symbolises the very essence and meaning of earth-existence. It comes to birth in the Holy Night because the greatest Light shines forth from the deepest Darkness. Man is living on towards a state where the Light is to be born in him, where words full of significance will be replaced by others equally significant, where it will no longer be said: ‘The Darkness comprehendeth not the Light,’ but when the truth will ring out from cosmic space: The Darkness gives way before the Light that shines in the Star of Humanity — and now the Darkness comprehendeth the Light!


"This should resound and the spiritual Light ray forth from the Christmas Festival. We will celebrate this Christmas Festival as the Festival of the supreme Ideal of mankind, for then it will bring to birth in our souls the joyful confidence: I too shall experience the birth of the higher Man within me! In me too the birth of the Saviour, the birth of the Christos [10] will take place!" — Ibid.





"What was the nature of this primeval festival that was celebrated all over the earth at this time of year? In answering this question, we shall restrict our considerations today to those marvelous fire festivals that were celebrated in ancient times in regions of Europe, Scandinavia, Scotland, and in England by the ancient Celtic priests, the Druids.


"What was the nature of their celebration? They celebrated the end of the winter season and the approach of spring. Though, to be sure, winter deepens as we move toward Christmas, nevertheless, a victory proclaims itself in nature at this time that is the symbol of hope, confidence and trust for man. In this way the victory of the sun over the counter forces of nature was expressed in most languages. Today we have felt how the days have grown shorter, which is an expression of the withering and falling asleep of the forces of nature, and this will continue until the day we celebrate as Christmas, a day that was also celebrated by our ancestors. From this day on, the days begin to grow longer. The light of the sun celebrates its victory over darkness. Materialistic thought does not reflect much on this event, but for those endowed with vital feeling and knowledge, it was the living expression for a spiritual experience of the Godhead that guides our lives. As an important and decisive event is experienced in the individual personal life of a man, so the winter solstice was experienced as a decisive event in the life of a higher being — as the memorial of something uniquely sublime. We are thus led to the fundamental concept of the Christmas festival as a cosmic festival, a festival of the first order for humanity." — Rudolf Steiner, THE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL (Anthroposophic Press, 1967), lecture 2, “The Christmas Festival as the Symbol of the Sun Victory”, GA 54.





"Our ancestors felt themselves to be spiritual children of the whole universe and understood that we have become human beings through what the sun spirit had called forth as our spirit. For us, the victory of the sun over darkness signifies a memory of the victory for our soul when for the first time the sun shone down upon the earth as it does today. It was a sun victory when the immortal soul descended into the physical body and immersed itself in the darkness of instincts, desires and passions." — Ibid.





"Those initiated [11] into the second degree were called the 'Occult Ones,' those of the third, the 'Warriors,' and those of the fourth, the 'Lions.' The initiates of the fifth degree were called by the name of their people — Persian or Indian, for example — because only these initiates were true representatives of their peoples. The initiate of the sixth degree was called a 'Sun Hero,' that of the seventh, bore the name 'Father.'” — Ibid.





"Our scientists know little about these things. To be sure, they see that sun myths are crystallized around the lives of all the great founders of religions. But they do not know that in the initiation ceremonies the leaders were raised to Sun Heroes [12], and it is not at all remarkable when materialistic research rediscovers these customs of the ancients. Sun myths connected with Buddha and even with Christ have been searched out and found. Here you have the reason why they could be found in these myths. They had been put into them in the first place because they represented a direct imprint of the sun rhythm and were the great examples that should be followed.


"The soul of such a Sun Hero who had attained this inner harmony was no longer considered to be a single individual human soul, but one that had brought to birth in itself the universal soul streaming through the whole cosmos. This universal soul was called 'Chrestos' in ancient Greece, and the sublime sages of the Orient knew it by the name, 'Buddhi.' When one has ceased to feel himself to be only the bearer of his individual soul and comes to experience the universe within himself, then he has created an image in himself of what as Sun Soul12 was united with the human body at that time. Then he has achieved something of tremendous significance for the evolution of mankind." — Ibid.



 


"What were the feelings of men who had some inkling of the secrets of Christianity during those early centuries? They said to themselves: The Christ Spirit10 weaves through the world that is revealed through the senses and through the human spirit. In the far distant past this Christ Spirit revealed Himself to Moses. The secret of the human ‘ I ’ resounded to Moses as it resounds to us from the symbol on the Christmas Tree from the sounds I A O — the Alpha and the Omega, preceded by the I. This was what resounded in the soul of Moses when the Christ Spirit appeared to him in the burning bush. And this same Christ Spirit led Moses to the place where He was to recognise Him in His true being. This is described in the Old Testament where it is said that the Lord led Moses to Mount Nebo ‘over against Jericho’ and showed him what must still come to pass before the Christ Spirit could incarnate in the body of a man. To Moses on Mount Nebo, this Spirit said: But thou to whom I revealed myself in advance, mayest not bear what thou hast in thy soul into the evolution of thy people; for they have first to prepare what is to come to pass when the time is fulfilled.


"And when, through many centuries, the evolutionary preparation had been completed, the same Spirit by Whom Moses had been held back, did indeed reveal Himself  — by becoming Flesh, by taking on a human body, the body of Jesus of Nazareth. Therewith mankind as a whole was led from the stage of Initiation signified by the word ‘Jericho’ to that indicated by the crossing of the Jordan.


"The hearts and minds of those who in the early centuries of our era understood the true import of Christianity turned to the Baptism in the Jordan of Jesus of Nazareth into whom Christ descended, Christ the Sun-Earth-Spirit [13]. It was this — the birth of Christ — that was celebrated as a Mystery in the early Christian centuries [14]. The insight for which we prepare ourselves to-day through Anthroposophy, through the wisdom belonging to the fifth Post-Atlantean epoch of civilisation, flashed up in the form of vision from the vestiges of ancient clairvoyance still surviving during the age when the Mystery of Golgotha [15] took place; it flashed up in the Gnostics [16], those remarkable, enlightened men who lived at the turning-point of the old and the new eras, whose conception of the Christ Mystery differed in respect of form but not in respect of content, from our own. What the Gnostics were able to teach trickled through into the world and although what had actually come to pass in the event indicated symbolically by the Baptism in the Jordan was not widely understood, there was nevertheless an inkling that the Sun Spirit had been born at that time as the Spirit of the Earth, that a cosmic Power had dwelt in the body of a man of earth." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1955) lecture 3, “The Birth of the Sun-Spirit as the Spirit of the Earth”, GA 127.





"The Jesus of the Gospel of St. Luke — not the Jesus described in the Gospel of St. Matthew — is the Child before whom the shepherds worship. [17] To them the proclamation rang forth: Now is the Divine revealed from the heavenly heights, bringing peace to the souls of men who are of good-will. And so for the centuries when the higher reality was beyond man's grasp, the festival was instituted which every year brings to his remembrance: Although you cannot gaze into the heavenly heights and there recognise the great Sun-Spirit, you bear within you, from the time of your earthly beginning, the Child-Soul [18] in its state of purity, unsullied by the effects of physical incarnation; and the forces of this Child-Soul can give you the firm confidence that you can be victorious over the lower nature which clings to you as the result of Lucifer's temptation. The linking of the festival of Jesus' birth with remembrance of Adam and Eve gave emphasis to the thought that at the place visited by the shepherds a human soul had been born in the state of innocence in which the soul existed before the first incarnation on earth." — Ibid.





"But one soul — one soul only — remained in this condition, namely the soul of the Jesus Child described in the Gospel of St. Luke. This soul was kept back in the spiritual life when the other human souls began to pass through their incarnations on the earth. This soul remained in the guardianship of the holiest Mysteries through the Atlantean and Post-Atlantean epochs until the time of the events in Palestine. Then it was sent forth into the body predestined to receive it and became one of the two Jesus children — the Child described in the Gospel of St. Luke.


"Thus did the festival of Christ's Nativity become the festival of the Birth of Jesus.


"If we rightly understand this festival we must say: That which we believe to be born anew symbolically every Christmas Night, is the human soul in its original nature, the childhood-spirit of man as it was at the beginning of earth-evolution [19]; then it descended as a revelation from the heavenly heights. And when the human heart can become conscious of this reality, the soul is filled with the unshakable peace that can bear us to our lofty goals, if we are of goodwill. Mighty indeed is the word that can resound to us on Christmas Night, do we but understand its import [20]." — Ibid.





Footnotes for "Herewith"


[1] In Theosophy/Anthroposophy, Spirit-Man or spirit man is Atma(n), a spiritual component of human nature, the transformed physical body, the Godhead within.


[2] The Eleusinian Mysteries were ancient Greek observances in honor of the gods Demeter and Persephone.


[3] Mithras is the Sun God as worshipped in ancient Persia. He thus may be seen as a precursor or variant of Christ.


[4] In Hinduism, Brahman is the ultimate ground of being.


[5] The Tarok is a mystic symbol resembling a capital T with a P grafted to its right side. It represents ancient Egyptian occult or mystery wisdom as found in the Book of Toth.


[6] Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In occultism, they represent the beginning and the end of all things.


[7] Tao looks like a capital T with a small o sitting atop it. In Anthroposophy, it is taken as a reminder of Atlantis, which Steiner said really existed.


[8] In Norse myths, Nifelheim is the place of mists; it stands opposite Muspellsheim, the place of fire. Between them is the Yawning Gap, which may be equated with the Abyss.


[9] A five-pointed star. Such a star atop an Anthroposophical Christmas tree is not the ordinary Star of Bethlehem: It is the occult symbol for man and/or for man’s etheric body. (If a five-pointed star is turned upside down, it becomes the occult symbol for black magic. A six-pointed star signifies man’s astral body.)


[10] Do not confuse Jesus with Christ. At Christmas, Anthroposophists celebrate the birth of the human being who would become the host for Christ, the Sun God, or Christos, the spirit of Christ. Christ is not so much the Son of God as a cosmic power, one of the gods. Also note that, according to Steiner, Christ is our “Saviour” only in a special sense: He is our "Ideal", our Prototype. Christ points the way to the “higher Man” we should become. According to Steiner, the spirit of Christ was known (imperfectly) to occultists in the distant past, usually under names other than "Christ," names such as "Hu" or "Apollo." Prior religions paved the way for Christianity — by which Steiner meant Anthroposophy. The "Christianity" found in churches is errant, Steiner taught. (Sometimes Steiner applied to term "Christianity" to the religion found in churches; at other times he applied it to his own doctrines. But he always stressed the difference between mainstream church beliefs and his teachings. Anthroposophy, he said, is corrected Christianity.)


[11] Initiation is entry into the inner circle where occult secrets are revealed. Initiation is needed in Anthroposophy as in prior mystic cults.


[12] There is not complete uniformity on all these points; there are factions and schisms. The Sun Soul is the spirit of the Sun, usually deemed to be the Sun God, Christ. But Michael, the Archangel of the Sun, is sometimes taken to be the Sun Soul or one Sun soul. Sun Heroes represent or champion the Sun Soul(s). (The Antichrist, Sorat, is the demon of the Sun.)


[13] Anthroposophists believe that Christ, the Sun God or Sun Spirit, became the Earth Spirit when Jesus was crucified — his blood flowed into the Earth, bearing with it the Sun Spirit which then united with the Earth.


[14] Early Christian mystics, Steiner said, understood Christ and Christmas in the true way, which subsequently has been forgotten in mainstream churches. Thus, in celebrating the birth of Jesus, early mystic Christians were really celebrating the "Mystery" of Christ: how He came from the Sun, entered a human being, and then became the Earth Spirit and our Prototype.


[15] The central event of the Christ Mystery occurred at the Crucifixion, upon Calvary, also known as Golgotha.


[16] The Gnostics were 2nd-century Christians whose teachings were later rejected by the Church — they were heretics. Anthroposophy draws many teachings from the Gnostics.


[17] The Biblical accounts of Jesus’s boyhood years do not mesh. One solution — adopted by Steiner and some others — is to claim that there were two separate Jesus children, two separate human beings who both contributed to the miracle of Christ's incarnation on the Earth. Steiner taught that the two Jesus children — the Solomon Jesus child and the Nathan Jesus child — eventually combined, in the sense that the second (Nathan) Jesus received the spiritual essence or Ego of the first (Solomon) Jesus. The combined Jesus went on to host the Sun God, Christ. The first Jesus child was the reincarnated being who had once been Zarathustra. The second Jesus child was the being described in the Koran. The combined Jesus was the Solomonic-Nathanic Jesus. 


[18] Anthroposophists believe that every real human being is a microcosm, carrying within itself all that is best in the macrocosm, the universe. The soul of a child arrives on Earth carrying within itself the unsullied essence of spiritual wisdom. One consequence is that Waldorf schools try to keep children young. (Anthroposophists also believe that some people are not really human. These subhuman or demonic people are not true microcosms, of course.)


[19] Christ is our model, the one who shows us how to evolve properly. Evolution lies at the heart of Anthroposophical doctrines — not Darwinian evolution, but Steiner's occult, mystic version of evolution, which is a carefully scripted plan laid down for us by the high spiritual powers.


[20] Anthroposophists believe that only they, who accept the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, understand the true import of Christmas.























Jerusalem —
where preparations were made for
Christ the Sun God to come to Earth.
[Monica Gold.]





















Here is a Christmas message I posted 
on the "news" page in 2010:



“Not only does [a] purifying and ennobling process continue throughout a single lifetime, but through many, as the ego evolves to higher and higher stages of development through successive lives or re-embodiments ... [T]he twin concepts of reincarnation and karma or destiny are central to [Steiner’s] spiritual-scientific system.” — Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 28.  




There is no science in Anthroposophy (i.e., “spiritual science”). And, sadly, there is very little real spirit in it, either.


Anthroposophists disparage reality, calling the physical universe a “materialistic” sphere of entropy and death. They want to inhabit a higher, immaterial universe of living spirit. Probably most human beings can sympathize with this aspiration. We all want meaning and magic in our lives. But unless we open our eyes to real, factual truth, the aspiration in and of itself will get us nowhere. Consider. We know for certain that some forms of life exist: ourselves, dogs, cats, whales, cattle, horses... And where do they exist? Right here, in the real, physical universe.


And what about spirit? Do we know for certain that some forms of spirit exist? Of course. The spirit of friendship, the spirit of love, the spirit of mercy, the spirit of honesty, the spirit of truthfulness, the spirit of reverence... And where do these forms of spirit exist? Right here, in the real, physical universe; they exist in the hearts and minds that we, as real forms of life, possess.


To anyone who wishes for a universe of living spirit, I would say: Open your eyes. It is right here. It is all around you. In the real universe. We don't need drummed-up spiritual fantasies such as Steiner's. Reality is more than sufficient.














































The following are Christmas (and Christmas-related) 
items from the 2017 "news" page:








December 1



A WALDORF CHRISTMAS 
- I - 





A peek inside the gnome grotto.





From News Shopper [Buckinghamshire, UK]:


Greenwich Steiner School 

to transform into gnome grotto 

for Christmas




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


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


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


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


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


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







Response:

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


But gnomes?


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


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


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


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


◊ "Until quite recently this faculty [clairvoyance] was common enough, and even now it has not entirely disappeared in some remote areas. It was possible, for example, to see various elemental beings which have been called gnomes, trolls, sylphs, naiads, elves, fairies, and the like. Such beings certainly exist even if the ordinary person can no longer see them." — Stewart C. Easton. [4] 


◊ “[F]our sorts of elementary creatures are dominant [in various regions]. These beings...are still visible to someone with clairvoyant powers. In general, gnomes or root spirits are responsible for the germination of seeds and for plants which grow roots. Nymphs are active in leaf formation ... [E]lves bring light to plants ... [S]pirits of fire bring warmth into the flowers of plants ... In America gnomes are dominant.” — Kees Zoeteman. [5]


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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— R.R.





[1] See "Gnomes".

[2] See "Neutered Nature".

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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












December 2



ADVENT AT WALDORF;
SPIRAL WALKS





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

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


Winter Spiral and the Meaning of Advent

By: Sara Logan from the Festival Committee Archives

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

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

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






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

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

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

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




Footnotes provided by Roger Rawlings




[2] See "Sun God".


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

[5] See "Secrets".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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













December 5



A WALDORF CHRISTMAS 
- II -



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






THE THREE WISE MEN
And the Birth of Jesus
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2017)




From the publisher:



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

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







Response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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














December 7




A WALDORF CHRISTMAS 
- III - 






[Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006]




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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

— R.R.



[To be continued]















December 10




A WALDORF CHRISTMAS 
- IV -



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


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


“The stories I am going to tell are very special. They are wonderful stories of strange beings called ‘gods’ and of giants and dwarfs ... These stories were not just made up; they came about in a different way ... As long as Adam and Eve were still in paradise they could see God ... Then came the children of Adam and Eve, and their children’s children; they could still see God, but not very often ... The more people became used to living on earth...the less they could see God ... [B]ut very many of them, not just a few, could see the angels ... There were many peoples in the world who worshipped the angel-gods, and they had wonderful stories about them. The most wonderful stories were told among people who are called Norsemen ... When these brave, fierce Norsemen had fought a battle, they came home to celebrate their victory with a great feast ... The most important part of the feast was when a man called a ‘bard’ took a harp and sang or recited a poem ... These bards could see the angel-gods better than the others. This is how the stories I am going to tell you came about. They are stories that these wise bards among the Norsemen heard from the angels, from the angel-gods.” — Charles Kovacs, NORSE MYTHOLOGY, Waldorf Education Resources (Floris Books, 2009), pp. 7-9. 


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


Points worth noting re Kovacs' presentation: 


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


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


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


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


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





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

— R.R.



[To be continued]















December 12




A WALDORF CHRISTMAS 
- V -



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Got it? 
— R.R.


[To be continued]














December 14




A WALDORF CHRISTMAS 
- VI -


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



The Little Sun Child


[by] Sue Conway Moran

and Cathy Bower


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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







Response:

Welcome, then, to a Waldorf Christmas.

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

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




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




Footnotes provided by R.R.:



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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















December 16




A WALDORF CHRISTMAS 
- VII -




Rudolf Steiner, 

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL 

(Anthroposophic Press, 1967)






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



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



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








"Positions of the symbols on the Christmas Tree"
— THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 44.




Footnotes provided by R.R.:



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


[12] Yes, Atlantis. [See “Atlantis”.]


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





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














December 18




A WALDORF CHRISTMAS 
- VIII -


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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





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



[We will continue our preparations for 

a Waldorf Christmas in the next few days.] 

— R.R.




Footnotes provided by R.R.:



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[11] I.e., previous incarnations.

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

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

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

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

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

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















December 19




THE OLD TESTAMENT: 
A WALDORF VIEW


Currently offered by the Rudolf Steiner College Press:



Commentary on Old Testament Stories 


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

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







Response:

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

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


THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT


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



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


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


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




JOSHUA AND THE WALLS OF JERICHO


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


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


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


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


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





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













December 20




A WALDORF CHRISTMAS 
- IX -



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


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

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




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


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


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


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

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

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




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



Our Father who art in Heaven, 

Hallowed be thy name; 

Thy kingdom come; 

Thy will be done 

On earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread; 

And forgive us our trespasses 

As we forgive those who trespass against us; 

And lead us not into temptation, 

But deliver us from evil. 

For thine is the kingdom 

And the power 

And the glory, 

Forever.

Amen.


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



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



AUM.

AMEN.


Evils reign


Bearing witness to I-being

Separating itself

and to selfhood's guilt —

Incurred through others,

Experienced in the daily bread

Wherein the will of heaven

Does not reign,

Because humanity

Has separated itself

From Your Kingdom

And forgot your names


Ye Fathers in the Heavens.


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



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

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




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


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


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

— R.R.













December 22




A WALDORF CHRISTMAS
- X -


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


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



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



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





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



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





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



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





Footnotes by R.R.:


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


[16] See "Karma".


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


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


I feel, as free of all enchantment,

The Spirit's Child within the womb of soul;

The holy cosmic Word has borne

In the radiance of the heart

The heavenly fruit of hope

Whose joy goes out to furthest worlds

From the Godhead's ground of my being.


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













December 23




A WALDORF CHRISTMAS
- XI -


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


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



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

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

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

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

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

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

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

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

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


— Matthew 5:3-11 (King James Version)




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



Beatitude 1 (Blessed are the poor in spirit):


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


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



Beatitude 3 (Blessed are the meek):


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



Beatitude 6 (Blessed are the pure in heart):


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


Beatitude 7 (Blessed are the peacemakers):


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



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


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

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


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



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





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



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



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



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





Footnotes by R.R.:


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

[17] See "What a Guy."
— R.R.













December 24




A WALDORF CHRISTMAS
- XII -






CHRISTMAS 

(Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2005) 




A few excerpts from this volume, 

published by and for Waldorf teachers: 





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



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



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



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



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



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



"Peace on Earth 

...Righteousness, or something kin, 

weaves and works in rout and horror, 

and a kingdom yet shall rise up 

seeking Peace upon the Earth. 


Slowly shall its form develop, 

holy duties while fulfilling, 

weapons free of danger forging, 

flaming swords for cause of Right.

And a royal line shall bloom 

mighty royal sons shall flourish, 

whose bright trumpets peal proclaiming, 

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

— Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, p. 67.






Merry Christmas

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






Footnotes by R.R.:


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


[2] I.e., karma. [See "Karma".]


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


[11] Again, see Polytheism”.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

— R.R.













December 25




AND SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS

AT WALDORF







CHRISTMAS

(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007)





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


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


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


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







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

— Rudolf Steiner, CHRISTMAS 

(Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), 

pp. 24-26.





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

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 34-35.





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

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., p. 37.





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

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., p. 62.





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

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 62-65.





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

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 86-87.





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

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 119-120.





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


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

— Rudolf Steiner, ibid., pp. 135-136.


























From the Waldorf Watch News, 2019:




DECEMBER 19, 2019


REBIRTH IN THE TRUE 
SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS



Waldorf schools around the world are observing Christmas.

Ho-hum, you may respond. What else is new?

But we shouldn't let Waldorf Christmas ceremonies pass without noting their unusual nature.

A good guide to the Waldorf take on Christmas is a brief book put out by the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America: CHRISTMAS - From the Work of Rudolf Steiner (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2005). Within its pages, readers may learn that a proper Waldorf Christmas embodies numerous occult Anthroposophical doctrines, such as belief in reincarnation, and apprehension over the actions of the arch-demons Lucifer and Ahriman, and reverent contemplation of Christ's deep spiritual ties to the Sun.

As for reincarnation: Waldorf founder Rudolf Steiner taught that human beings are engaged in a divinely assisted evolutionary process consisting of a long, long series of births and rebirths alternating between the spirit realm and the physical realm. Which is to say, we reincarnate. Reincarnation is not, of course, a Christian belief — it derives, instead, from Eastern faiths such as Hinduism. Yet reincarnation is central to the Anthroposophical worldview, including the Anthroposophical view of Christmas.

So, for instance, the book CHRISTMAS informs us that a true, probing examination of the New Testament may lead us to revise our thinking on a number of subjects, including reincarnation. This is tied to a central "riddle" in the New Testament: The various Gospel accounts of the birth and life of Jesus contradict one another in various ways. 

"It may be that this riddle...can lead one to a different understanding of birth, incarnation, and reincarnation." — CHRISTMAS, p. 2.

Christians often speak about the need to be "reborn in Christ." There is certainly Biblical support for this concept. So, for instance, the New Testament includes these words:

"Unless one is born anew, one cannot behold the kingdom of God". — John 3:3.

This Biblical passage is cited on page 2 of CHRISTMAS. The standard Christian understanding of being "born anew" means accepting Christ as one's Savior, as through the process of baptism. But according to Anthroposophical belief, the primary meaning of being "born anew" is different: It centers on reincarnation. Rudolf Steiner taught that we are born, and then born again, and again, and again, as we renew ourselves through the long sequence of incarnations in the realm above and in the realm here below. [See "Reincarnation".]

The doctrines of incarnation and reincarnation arise in an extraordinary way in the Anthroposophical understanding of Christmas. Steiner said the explanation for inconsistencies between the Gospels is that, actually, these New Testament books tell us about two different young men named Jesus. One of the Jesuses (who came from the line of Solomon) had within him the reincarnated spirit of Zarathustra, while the other Jesus (who came from the line of Nathan) had within him the reincarnated essence of Buddha.

“[N]ot one but two Jesus-children were born ... The important thing is to understand clearly what kind of beings these two children were. Occult investigation [i.e., clairvoyance] shows that the individuality [i.e., the spirit] who was in the Solomon Jesus-child was none other than Zarathustra ... [Meanwhile] Buddha forces permeated the astral body of the Nathan Jesus-child.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM JESUS TO CHRIST (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), pp. 133-136. [See "Solomonic Jesus" and "Nathanic Jesus" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

The story of Christmas, as conveyed by Steiner, may be summarized thus: A child named Jesus was born to a couple named Mary and Joseph. This child, who descended from the line of Solomon, had the reincarnated soul of Zarathustra. Meanwhile, not far away, a second Jesus was born, also to a couple (a different couple) named Mary and Joseph. This second child, who descended from the line of Nathan, had the reincarnated soul of Buddha. When the Solomon Jesus was 12 years old, he died in order that his soul (containing Zarathustra) could migrate into the body of the Nathan Jesus. So, now, the surviving Nathanic-Solomonic Jesus contained the essences of both Zarathustra and Buddha. When this Jesus reached the age of 30, the Sun God (Christ) descended from the Sun to the Earth and incarnated in Jesus's body (the body of the Nathanic-Solomonic Jesus). 
The Sun God remained here on Earth for a total of three years, after which he departed again. [See "Was He Christian?"]

“[T]wo Jesus children were born. One was descended from the so-called Nathan line of the House of David, the other from the Solomon line. These two children grew up side by side. In the body of the Solomon child lived the soul of Zarathustra. In the twelfth year of the child's life this soul passed over into the other Jesus child and lived in that body until its thirtieth year ... And then, only from the thirtieth year onward, there lived in this body the Being [i.e., the descended Sun God] Whom we call the Christ, Who remained on earth altogether for three years.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BHAGAVAD GITA (Anthroposophic Press, 1968), p. 59.

That's a lot to absorb in one sitting, so let's end our discussion here. For now. In a coming installment or two, we may look further into the true identity of Christ (the Sun God), and perhaps we will briefly explore the activities of Lucifer and Ahriman. Stay tuned.






DECEMBER 21, 2019


TWO MIGHTY DEMONS 
AT CHRISTMASTIME 


Published by a Waldorf educational association, the book CHRISTMAS - From the Work of Rudolf Steiner (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2005) presents a startling vision of the mid-winter Christian holiday. The contents of the book, drawn chiefly from Rudolf Steiner's writings and lectures, will strike many Christians as heretical. Other readers are likely to find the contents simply bonkers [1].

Here is a prayer that appears early in the book:

"O cosmic spirit, let us be completely filled with the spirit that grows out of spiritual science [2], so that we may not fail to wrest from Ahriman and Lucifer that which can be of help to the earth, for its salvation and progress!" — CHRISTMAS - From the Work of Rudolf Steiner, p. 10.

Lucifer does not usually play a large role in Christmas rites. (As for Ahriman — we'll get to him in a minute.) Lucifer is a threatening, villainous figure whose presence would be out of keeping with traditional Christmas celebrations, which are usually meant to be bright and joyous. Still, Lucifer (unlike Ahriman) is generally recognized in mainstream Christian tradition. He is the Devil. He is Satan. [3]

Lucifer is also recognized in Rudolf Steiner's belief system, Anthroposophy [4]. But Steiner drew a distinction between the Devil and Satan. Effectively, Steiner divided Devil/Satan into two arch-demons, one called Lucifer, the other called Ahriman. 

Steiner adapted the figure of Lucifer from Christianity, and he adapted the figure of Ahriman from Zoroastrianism [5]. An ancient Persian faith, Zoroastrianism evolved to become deeply dualistic: Its doctrines posit a cosmic struggle between a beneficent god of light (the Sun god, called Ahura Mazda), and an wicked god of darkness (the devil, called Ahriman). 

Steiner taught that Lucifer and Ahriman both work to harm humanity, but they do so in different ways. Lucifer seeks to lure mankind into false forms of spirituality [6], while Ahriman seeks to lure us into complete, soul-destroying attachment to physical reality [7]. Lucifer would separate us from the true spirit realm by taking us into imaginary spirit realms, while Ahriman would separate us from the true spirit realm by convincing us that only physical existence is real. In general (although he waffled a bit), Steiner identified Lucifer as the Devil and Ahriman as Satan.

At this point, we should circle back to the prayer shown above. Note that the prayer refers to benefits Lucifer and Ahriman can provide us: "that which can be helpful." How can demons who aim to destroy us possibly be our benefactors? Steiner claimed it is possible. Both Lucifer and Ahriman hold out temptations that can be turned to good advantage, Steiner said — but we must "wrest" these benefits from the demons. Our proper relationship with Lucifer and Ahriman is essentially a struggle, a conflict; and we would surely lose this conflict if not for the spiritual champion who intercedes on our behalf. This champion is Christ [8].

A large statute, designed by Steiner, stands in the Anthroposophical headquarters building. It shows the proper relationship between Christ, Lucifer, and Ahriman.



[Public domain photo.]

A bit confusingly, there are two images of Lucifer and two images of Ahriman in the statue. But the basic situation is this: Christ stands erect and powerful, gesturing toward the two demons he must tame. Under his feet crouches the grotesque form or Ahriman, writhing within a materialistic cave. Meanwhile, beyond Christ's upraised arm (and hard to see, around the corner) is Lucifer, plunging upside-down out of the spirit realm. Christ is our champion, our savior, in that he interposes between the two arch-demons, mastering them, and thus protecting us from the worst potential of their demonic "gifts" [9].

This is the figure, Christ triumphant, who is celebrated at Christmas as conceived in Anthroposophy. This Christ is not exactly the Son of God — he is not exactly one person of the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) as worshipped in mainstream Christian denominations. Instead he is, surprisingly, the Sun God — the same god who has been worshipped under such names as Hu and Balder. He is, in other words, Ahura Mazda [10].

We will return to the question of Christ's identity in a future installment of this brief Christmas series. But let's end for today by noting that the prayer, above, is addressed to the "cosmic spirit." Don't jump to the conclusion that this spirit is God. There is no One and Only Supreme God in Anthroposophy. Whereas Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are monotheistic faiths (they all worship, in various ways, the One and Only Supreme God), Anthroposophy is polytheistic, recognizing a vast number of gods [11]. Steiner taught that there are nine ranks of gods, and above these we may vaguely discern a nebulous "Godhead." This Godhead is the "cosmic spirit" to whom the prayer in question is addressed [12]. 

Mystics of many faiths have conceived of a Godhead or something similar. Belief in the absolute grandeur and power of God (or the gods, or divinity in any form) almost inevitably leads us to this concept. The ultimate creative force and prime mover of the universe, transcending space and time, is surely beyond our comprehension. We must humbly bow before this supreme mystery, the unknowable fountainhead of all that exists or may possibly exist. Steiner subscribed to the concept of such a fountainhead. The problem with this concept, from a religious perspective, is that it leads us toward atheism. If an unknowable Godhead looms above us, completely surpassing our understanding — then one thing we cannot understand is whether this spirit actually exists. (We cannot know anything about the Godhead, including whether the Godhead is real.) Steiner's teachings may take us, then, into what is sometimes called "mystical atheism" — we no longer believe in God, and we have no knowledge whatsoever about the Godhead [13]. We are left uncertain, uninformed, in the darkness.

Few if any Anthroposophists follow the logic of their faith to this extreme conclusion. They would probably consider it Luciferic. But there it is, a trap of unbelief implicit in Steiner's doctrines.

Merry Anthroposophical Christmas.





Waldorf Watch Footnotes:


[1] See, e.g., the previous entry in this series of Christmas reports: "Rebirth in the True Spirit of Christmas", December 19, 2019.

It is important to realize that the book CHRISTMAS is addressed to Waldorf teachers. How to use the book is left for each teacher to decide.

[2] See "spiritual science" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia (BWSE). In brief, for Anthroposophists, real "spiritual science" is Anthroposophy.

[3] Actually, the name originally applied to a mortal man.

"Lucifer ... an epithet for the King of Babylon. By some of the [church] fathers it was taken in conjunction with Luke 10.18 as a name for the devil ... [It] became the basis for the myth...that the devil is a rebellious angel cast into hell." — THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF WORLD RELIGIONS (Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 588.

[4] See "Anthroposophy" in the BWSE.

[5] See "Zarathustra" and "Zoroastrianism" in the BWSE.

[6] See "Lucifer".

[7] See "Ahriman".

[8] Christ, Steiner said, is the Sun God. [See "Sun God".] Steiner also taught that in his conflict with Ahriman in particular, Christ is aided by the Archangel of the Sun, Michael. [See "Michael".]

[9] When the statue was nearly finished, Steiner realized that it was unbalanced. So he added supplementary, smaller figures of Ahriman and Lucifer next to Christ (again, Ahriman is lower, Lucifer is higher). Above these additional figures hovers a mysterious rock being, looking on impassively.

[10] See "Christ" and  "Sun God" in the BWSE.

“Christ, the Sun God...was known by earlier peoples under such names as Ahura Mazda, Hu or Balder.” — Margaret Jonas, Introduction to RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 5.

[11] See "Polytheism".

[12] See "God".

[13] See "The Godhead" in the BWSE.






DECEMBER 23, 2019


GODS, AVATARS, THE SUN,
AND WALDORF EDUCATION



The religion underlying Waldorf education, Anthroposophy [1], is often mistakenly taken to be a version of Christianity. There are several reasons for this mistake, chief of which is the emphasis Anthroposophy places on Christ. Christ and Christmas are big in Anthroposophy — and at Waldorf schools. Nevertheless, it is wrong to confuse Anthroposophy with Christianity.

One enormous difference is this: Whereas Christianity is one of the worst's great monotheistic faiths, Anthroposophy is polytheistic. According to Rudolf Steiner — who founded both Anthroposophy and Waldorf education — there are nine ranks of gods. These ranks extend from gods who are only a bit more spiritually evolved than humans, to gods who are almost inconceivably more evolved [2].

Steiner sometimes used designations that make the ranks of gods seem more or less the same as the echelons of angels discussed by various theologians. So, Steiner sometimes called the gods of the lowest rank "angels," the gods of the next rank "archangels," and so on. But actually Steiner preferred other designations. Here are the names Steiner generally preferred, ranging from the designation for the lowest-ranking gods to the title for the highest-ranking gods: Sons of Twilight, Spirits of Fire, Spirits of Personality, Spirits of Form, Spirits of Movement, Spirits of Wisdom, Spirits of Will, Spirits of Harmony, and Spirits of Love [3]. Above or behind these many gods hovers the mysterious Godhead, Steiner said [4].

The difference between Christianity (monotheistic) and Anthroposophy (polytheistic) is perhaps most strikingly shown in a revision of the Lord's Prayer sometimes used by Steiner. In Christianity, the Lord's Prayer is the archetypal invocation Christ described for his disciples: It is the model believers should use in their own devotions; it shows how believers ought to address God [5]. The Lord's Prayer opens with the words "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name." The altered prayer used by Steiner runs backward (e.g., it begins rather than ends with "Amen"), and it concludes with these words: "man separated himself from your realm, and forgot your names, you Fathers in the heavens" [6]. Note what has happened: A monotheistic prayer addressed to a single God has been reversed; it has become a polytheistic prayer addressing multiple gods ("Father" has become "fathers", and "name" has become "names").

Steiner taught that the many gods inhabiting the nine ranks have varied and distinct purposes. But he said that most of the gods are beneficent, working for the good of the cosmos in general and mankind in particular. However, Steiner said, not all gods are good. Some gods have destructive or oppositional intentions [7]. There are, in other words, evil gods in addition to good gods. Thus, Steiner sometimes made statements such as this: 

“[W]e are watching the battle waged by the good gods against the evil gods....” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1956), p. 251.

The gods, both good and evil, dwell mainly in regions beyond the Earth, Steiner taught. But occasionally, he said, gods descend from the sky, assume human form, and walk upon the physical Earth. When they do this, they become "avatars" [8]. Gods only rarely make this descent, Steiner said, but there have been several instances. And the most important instance, he said, was the descent of Christ: 

“The greatest avatar being who has lived on earth, as you can gather from the spirit of the lectures given here, is the Christ, that Being Whom we designate as the Christ, Who took possession of the bodies [9] of Jesus of Nazareth in the thirtieth year of his life.” — Rudolf Steiner, CHRISTIANITY IN HUMAN EVOLUTION: Avatar Beings (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), a lecture, GA 109.

Calling Christ an avatar changes the meaning of the New Testament considerably. Whereas Christians worship Christ as the Son of God, Steiner said Christ was actually one of the several different gods who have walked the Earth in a human body. So, even though Steiner says Christ was the most important avatar, Steiner's teachings actually diminish the stature of Christ. We see this reflected in statements sometimes made by Waldorf teachers. Thus, Waldorf teacher Joan Almon has given the following description of the purpose of Waldorf education: 

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

Almon singles out Christ, but she also folds him into a host of gods: "the highest beings." In Anthroposophical belief, Christ is one of the many, many gods populating the cosmos, and he joined the procession of the several gods who have come to Earth as avatars.

This leads us to a pair of crucial questions: What sort of god was Christ before he became an avatar? And, when he descended to the physical Earth, where did he come from? Steiner's answers to these questions should shock Christians. Christ, he said, is the Sun God; he came down to the earth from his home not in heaven but on the Sun. Here are a few of the statements Steiner made on these questions:

◊ “The sun oracle of ancient Atlantis [10] had already prophesied the coming of Christ, of the Sun-God.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL ECONOMY IN CONNECTION WITH QUESTIONS OF REINCARNATION (Anthroposophic Press, 1986) lecture 1, GA 109.

◊ "After Zarathustra [11] had learned to look up to the sun and see in its aura the Sun God, he knew that this Sun God was no one else but the Christ-Spirit." — Rudolf Steiner, THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL ECONOMY (Anthroposophic Press, 1986), lecture 10, GA 109.

◊ "The incarnation of the Christ, the sun spirit, in the body of Jesus of Nazareth was the great event which took place in the northern stream of peoples." — Rudolf Steiner, THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1940), lecture 6, GA 113.

◊ “Had Christ not appeared on the earth, had He remained the Sun-God only, humanity on the earth would have fallen into decay.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1958), “World-Pentecost; The Message of Anthroposophy”, GA 226.

So Christ is the Sun God, the same god whom ancient people worshipped under a variety of names [12]. The critical thing to grasp, for the purpose of our current discussion, is this: Anthroposophy divides the Christian God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) into three separate gods:

“The highest Ruler of Saturn, the Ego Spirit, appears to us as the Father God, and the highest Ruler of Sun, the Sun-God, as the Christ. Similarly the Ruler of the Moon stage of Earth appears to us as the Holy Spirit....” — Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 100. [13]

To conclude our exploration of the meaning of Christmas as understood in Anthroposophy, we should return to the book CHRISTMAS - From the Work of Rudolf Steiner (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2005). Here is a statement, and a Christmas verse, presented in the book. The speaker is Rudolf Steiner:

"I should like to convey in the following words what we should try to experience as Christmas feeling arising from our anthroposophical world conception...

"Triumphant in our deepest soul/ Lives the Spirit of the Sun;/ Quickened forces, set astir,/ Awake the feelings of His presence/ In the inner winter life./ Hope, impulse of the heart,/ Beholds the Spirit victory of the Sun/ In the blessed Light of Christmas,/ The sign of highest life/ In the winters's deepest night." — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in CHRISTMAS, p. 34.

Who or what is the "Spirit of the Sun"? Who or what lifts the gloom or winter with "His presence"? He is the Sun God. As we saw previously, He is "the highest Ruler of Sun, the Sun-God, [known to us] as the Christ." [14]

When Waldorf teachers and their pupils recite a verse such as this, they are giving voice to Anthroposophical dogma. They are participating — knowingly or not — in an Anthroposophical religious observance. For such is the meaning of Christmas as it emerges from the "anthroposophical world conception."





Waldorf Watch Footnotes:


[1] See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?".

[2] See "Polytheism".

[3] See the entries for these terms in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia (BWSE).

[4] See the Waldorf watch News item for December 21, 2019.

[5] See Matthew 6:9-13 and, for an abbreviated version, Luke 11:2-4.

[6] Here is the prayer: "Amen./ The evils hold sway./ Witness of egoity freeing itself./ Selfhood guilt through others incurred,/ experienced in the daily bread,/ wherein the will of the heavens does not rule,/ because man separated himself from your realm,/ and forgot your names,/ you Fathers in the heavens." [See "Was He Christian?".]

[7] See, e.g., "Evil Ones".

[8] See "Avatars".

[9] According to Steiner, fully evolved human beings have four bodies, three of which are invisible. [See "Incarnation".]

[10] Steiner taught that before our present stage of evolution, mankind lived on Atlantis. The "sun oracle of ancient Atlantis" was, according to Steiner, the seer on Atlantis (or the seer's temple) possessing knowledge of the Sun God. In general, Steiner taught that whenever humans have worshipped the Sun God, under whatever name, they have been worshipping the God we now know as Christ.

[11] Zarathustra was a Persian prophet, the founder of Zoroastrianism. Steiner taught that when Zarathustra gained knowledge of the Sun God, he was coming to know Christ.

[12] "Christ, the Sun God...was known by earlier peoples under such names as Ahura Mazda, Hu or Balder.” — Anthroposophist Margaret Jonas, Introduction to RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 5.

[13] Steiner taught that Rosicrucianism is the correct spiritual path for modern humanity. What he meant was Rosicrucianism as reconceived by himself: a form of Rosicrucianism that is essentially indistinguishable from Anthroposophy. [See "Rosy Cross".]

The "Moon stage of Earth," in Anthroposophical belief, was a prior incarnation of the solar system: Steiner called this stage Old Moon. [See "Old Moon, Etc."]

[14] Christ remained on the earth, as an avatar, for three years, according to Steiner. During that time, Christ united spiritually with the Earth, thus altering the course of Earthly — and human — evolution. Then Christ departed. But later, Steiner said, Christ returned to the etheric region around the Earth. This event, which Anthroposophists usually date around the year 1930, was Christ's "Second Coming" as foretold by Steiner. [See "Second Coming  of Christ" in the BWSE.] Christians, unlike Anthroposophists, generally still anticipate the Second Coming — they eagerly look forward to it as a future event. E.g.,

"Second Coming, also called Second Advent or Parousia, in Christianity, the future return of Christ in glory, when it is understood that he will set up his kingdom, judge his enemies, and reward the faithful, living and dead. Early Christians believed the Advent to be imminent (see millennium), and most Christian theologians since then have believed that the visible appearance of Jesus may occur at any moment and that Christians should be ever ready for it. Such believers find evidence for the Second Coming in the Gospels (Matthew 24–25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5–26; John 14:25–29), in the Book of Revelation, and in other biblical and traditional sources. See also Last Judgment." — "Second Coming", ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA , December 23, 2019.

— R.R.















The formatting at Waldorf Watch aims for visual variety, 
seeking to ease the process of reading lengthy texts on a computer screen. 




Some illustrations on the various pages here at Waldorf Watch 
are closely connected to the contents of those pages; 
others are not — they provide general context. 




I often generalize about Waldorf schools. 
There are fundamental similarities among Waldorf schools; 
I describe the schools based on the evidence concerning 
their structure and operations 
in the past and — more importantly — in the present. 
But not all Waldorf schools, Waldorf charter schools, 
and Waldorf-inspired schools are wholly alike. 
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. — R. R.










 
To visit other Waldorf Watch pages
related to this page, 
use the underlined links, below.



ANTHROPOSOPHICAL CHRISTIANITY
also see "Religion, Spirituality"


Christmas

Easter : celebrating the spring

Michaelmas : banners and drums in autumn

Christian Community : not so Christian

events : specifically, Christ Events

JvH : she does it her way

Logos : the Cosmic Word

prototype : our representative

Sermon : on the Mount

Sun God : the Christ you didn't know

trinity : God, gods...




WALDORF SCHOOLS/COMMUNITIES


Christmas

extremity : love, out of bounds

fairy tales : their use in Waldorf schools

gender : boys and girls

holistic education : the "whole child"

if only : wishing, hoping...

more on education : quotations about education, religion, health...

PR : efforts to "re-brand" Waldorf schools

pseudoscience : at Waldorf schools

Q&A : informed opinions, and others

schools themselves : the

spiritual syllabus : in the open

star power : astrology Waldorf-style

this very day : Waldorf and Steiner schools pledging allegiance

visits : welcome?

Waldorf priests : doing their duty

BBC & SWSF : on the air