Dreams are chaotic — they consist of jumbled images that are hard if not impossible to interpret. In fact, science today largely discounts the idea that dreams have any real meaning. When we dream, the mind is freewheeling, sorting through memories, limbering up for the next day. It is not telling us anything sensible.

Steiner agreed that dreams cannot be taken literally. However, he argued that dreams do have meaning, at least potentially. If we follow the steps Steiner laid out for spiritual initiation (or if we have a certain intuitive connection to the spirit realm, as children do), our dreams can be more or less accurate reports of the spirit realm, even if the superficial images are confused. Or so Steiner said.

“If...we support our conceptual life through the kinds of exercises I have recently described...we will gradually be able to move from the illusory image world of dreams...to what really lies behind the dream as a supersensible reality between sleep and waking.” — Rudolf Steiner, SLEEP AND DREAMS (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 148.

Someone who has made progress in spiritual initiation gains control over dreams. 

“His dreams, hitherto confused and haphazard, now begin to assume a more regular character. Their pictures begin to succeed each other in sensible connection, like the thoughts and ideas of daily life. He can discern in them law, cause, and effect. The content, too, of his dreams is changed. While hitherto he discerned only reminiscences of daily life and transformed impressions of his surroundings or of his physical condition, there now appear before him pictures of a world he has hitherto not known.” — Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1944), p. 113.

Most of us do not have this sort of control, however, so for us dreams can be quite confusing. Still, they are important. 

“Now, where do the images of a dream sequence come from? If you really are standing in the midst of spiritual experience, free from the body, then you have the spiritual world before you with all the processes and beings within it ... To characterize what the dream really is, you could say it is an experience of the individual soul-spiritual essence of the human being ... [T]he eternal is experienced in the dream precisely in the temporal, the transitory, the normal content of life ... [This is] the essence of the dream in the light of spiritual science.” — Rudolf Steiner, SLEEP AND DREAMS, p. 86. 

Dreams take us out of ourselves to a different realm, yet they are also part of our inner nature. Steiner’s views reflect the ancient superstitions that he so often relied upon (although, of course, he put the matter differently). 

“[W]e experience the images as if they were...something external to us ... Nevertheless the dream is in intimate connection with the person’s inner experience ... People in ancient times knew of such things very well.” — Ibid., pp. 161-162.

Dreams, giving a sort of peek into the spirit realm, are more consistent with our inner nature than natural science, logic, or other materialistic processes. Or so Steiner said.

“[T]he dream protests against the laws of nature ... [T]he dream protests against the laws of nature, [so] then the inner aspect of human beings itself is something that protests against the laws of nature ... [O]ur interior proceeds more like a dream than like external logic.” — Ibid., pp. 163-164.

Some of what we’ve seen so far may seem almost sensible to many people. But we really need to comprehend how much superstition and poppycock infects Steiner’s discussion of dreams. 

“Moon man has become earth man ... [W]e still have Moon man in us. Looking upon this Moon man we are able to say: ‘He is what we call the dreamer in us.’” — Rudolf Steiner, THE DESTINIES OF INDIVIDUALS AND OF NATIONS, (Steiner Books, 1986), p. 216.

“This Moon-being — the precursor of present-day man — does not perceive an object with spacial extension and coloring form [sic: from] outside itself; instead, the approach to this object causes a certain image — similar to a dream image — to arise within this being ... The clairvoyant also sees in this way today, only he is fully conscious during the seeing, while the Moon inhabitant had only a dreamlike, dim consciousness." — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), pp. 154-155.

“We have the dreamer in us who has brought Moon nature into us, and we also have a Sun man in us from Sun evolution. This Sun man, however, is no longer able to dream.” — THE DESTINIES OF INDIVIDUALS AND OF NATIONS, p. 224.

“A man who has tried hard to apply clear thinking to some problem but cannot get to the root of it, will find, if he is patient and works inwardly at it, that the Jupiter powers will actually help him during the night.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Spiritual Individualities of the Planets” (THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1988), a lecture, GA 228.

Mars may be called the great 'Talker' in the planetary system ...  Mars is constantly blurting out to the souls in his sphere whatever in the cosmos is accessible to him — which is not everything.  Mars...is particularly active when human beings talk in sleep or in dream.” — Ibid.

“The secrets of men in their earthly existence are transformed by Venus into dream-pictures of infinite diversity. She has a very great deal to do with poets, although they are not aware of it .” — Ibid.

As I mentioned above, Steiner taught that children are born with an innate, dreamy connection to the spirit realm. This needs to be preserved, if at all possible.

"Although it is necessary, especially today, for people to be completely awake later in life, it is equally necessary to let children live in their gentle dreamy experiences as long as possible, so that they move slowly into life. They need to remain as long as possible in their imaginations and pictorial capacities without intellectuality." — Rudolf Steiner, A MODERN ART OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 2004), pp. 103-104.

A chart drawn by Steiner shows three states 

of being with their proper, Anthroposophical forms of thought: 

WAKING, Imaginative cognition; DREAMING, Inspired Feeling; SLEEPING, Intuitive Willing ... [P]ictorial cognition enters inspiration...and arises again from intuition.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 118. “Pictorial cognition” is the creation of “imaginations,” that is, the products of imagination or, at a higher level, clairvoyance. “[T]hinking is a pictorial activity which is based in what we experienced before birth.” — Ibid., p. 62.

In Waldorf schools, dreams are generally taken seriously — dreams may be, as Steiner indicated, reports from the great beyond. But dreams need to be handled warily, since they may also reflect a prior stage of our evolution and thus they may no longer be fully up to our needs. 

“On the one hand, because the progress of evolution is such that earlier states play into later ones, we should think of the dream state as a remnant of the ancient pictorial consciousness that human beings possessed during both the Moon phase of evolution and a large part of the Earth phase. During our dreams, a remnant of what was formerly our normal state of consciousness appears in us. On the other hand, this state is also different from ancient pictorial consciousness. Ever since the I [the spiritual ego] first developed, it has been playing into the processes in the astral body that take place during sleep while we are dreaming, so what manifests in our dreams is a pictorial consciousness altered by the presence of the I. Since the I is not conscious of acting on the astral body, however, nothing belonging to the domain of dreaming should be considered part of what can truly lead to knowledge of the higher worlds in the sense of spiritual science. The same is true of so-called visions, premonitions, or ‘second sight.’ These come about when the I eliminates itself as a factor; as a result, remnants of ancient states of consciousness arise. Such states of consciousness are of no direct use to spiritual science, and what can be observed during them cannot be considered results of spiritual science in any true sense.” — Rudolf Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), pp. 410-411.

To clarify somewhat: Dreams are not part of modern spiritual science, as such, although the initiate can discipline and learn from dreams, and children naturally have a good sort of dreamy life, and the clairvoyant sees the way Moon man did, only better, and thinking is a pictorial activity. Dreams, you see, reflect the real activity of our astral body and “I” while we sleep: These incorporeal parts of ourselves leave the physical body, go to the spirit realm, and then return. The astral body produces one kind of dream for us, and the “I” produces another. 

“Thus the two kind of dream point to an activity of the ego and astral body between falling asleep and waking up.” — Rudolf Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), pp. 42-43.

Dreams in which the dead appear have a special significant. They often indicate that we have successfully contacted the dead. 

"The saying, 'The dead are with us,' is itself a strengthening of the spiritual world. And only the spiritual world can call forth in us a true consciousness that the dead are among us. The moment of crossing from waking to sleeping is the same as the moment that generally carries to the one who has died what you have directed toward him ... [D]reams in which the dead appear may very often...actually come to us out of our connection to the dead ... [W]hen the dead person communicates something in the dream, it is a sign that you have been able to communicate [which her or him] ... Whatever the dead person has to communicate to us, the living, is carried from the spiritual realms in the moment of waking. Then it comes up out of the depths of one's own soul ... What apparently speaks out of you yourself is actually what he dead say."  — R. Steiner, quoted in WORKING WITH THE DEAD (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2003), pp. 5-6.

[R. R., 2010.]

From the PARENT HANDBOOK, 2011-2012, 
at the Waldorf School of Bend, Oregon, USA: 

Child Study 

“With parent permission, the faculty may select a child for study. The Child Study is an opportunity to embrace the child in a holistic way. The faculty observes the physical, emotional, and historic experiences of the child. This is done in order to develop an open understanding of the child. In turn, the child’s teacher is guided by comments from other faculty. It allows the teacher to look inwardly so that the child’s needs might be met in a new way.” [http://www.bendwaldorf.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/WSB-PARENT-HANDBOOK-2010.pdf

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

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

All of this is nonsense and it is potentially quite damaging to a child, but it is how Waldorf faculties generally operate. [For the Waldorf conception of “holistic” education and holistic thinking, see “Holistic Education”. To consider what Waldorf faculties mean by the "historic experiences" of a child — in Waldorf belief, these include previous incarnations and the child's karma — see "Reincarnation" and "Karma".]

When you understand what Waldorf teachers believe, you may decide that Waldorf is just right for you or your child. Or you may decide the opposite. 

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

The following quotations from recent Anthroposophical publications 
cast further light on Waldorf / Anthroposophical beliefs about dreams, sleep, and the night. 
I have appended footnotes. 

"It is a key tenet of anthroposophy [1] that the night, when we sleep, is an essential counterpart to the day. By day we possess the capacity of conscious, logical thinking, while at night, leaving the physical body [2] to regenerate, we give ourselves up to a quite different form of consciousness. Steiner describes night-time as the realm of intuition [3], a place of deep spiritual encounter [4] ... For initiates [5], as we learn both from the ancient mysteries [6] and from modern initiation science [7], the night is a field of conscious awareness, becoming illumined if we can acquire supersensible consciousness [8] within it." — Anthroposophist Edward de Boer, introduction to a collection of Steiner texts, THE NIGHT - As a Wellspring of Strength (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2018), pp. 1-2.

[1] Anthroposophists usually deny that their spiritual system has "tenets" or "doctrines" — they deny that it is a religion. But sometimes (perhaps unintentionally) they admit the truth, which is that Anthroposophy is indeed a religion that does indeed have tenets and doctrines. [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]

[2] Steiner taught that, at night, two of our four bodies — the astral body and the "I" — leave the physical Earth and enter the spirit realm. [See "Incarnation".]

[3] In Anthroposophical belief, intuition — when properly schooled — is a high form of clairvoyance. Thus, the visions that a true Anthroposophists has at night are not mere dreams — they are clairvoyant apprehensions of spiritual truths. [See "Dreams".]

[4] I.e., when the the astral body and the "I" enter the spirit realm at night, they encounter the gods there.

[5] Anthroposophists — including many of those who work as Waldorf teachers — consider themselves occult initiates: They think they have been admitted to the inner circle of spiritual savants, making them privy to spiritual secrets. [See "Inside Scoop".]

[6] "Ancient mysteries," in the sense used here, are spiritual secrets known to ancient seers. Anthroposophists trace much of their own spiritual "wisdom" to hush-hush ancient lore.

[7] The modern spiritual "science" pursued by Steiner's followers is Anthroposophy. [See "Everything" and "Knowing the Worlds".] Committing oneself to Anthroposophy is meant to produce "initiation" into the circle of those who possess occult knowledge (or who profess to do so). [See "Inside Scoop".]

[8] "Supersensible consciousness" is a purported form of awareness that does not depend on information provided by our ordinary senses. It is, in a word, clairvoyance, which purportedly pierces the veil separating physical reality from the spirit realm. Everything is Anthroposophy (and, by extension, in Waldorf education) ultimately depends on the use of clairvoyance. And this is a severe problem, since there is virtually no evidence that actually clairvoyance exists. [See "Clairvoyance".]

Many Waldorf teachers — those who are devout Anthroposophists — use highly questionable means to get to "know" their students and to direct their students' educations. Many rely on their claimed powers of clairvoyance. Many also rely on their dreams. If you doubt that wisdom can come through such things — if you doubt that such things convey truth — you may want to think long and hard before sending your child to a Waldorf school.

“Sleep is by no means merely the annulment of the day. In earlier epochs people knew this very well ... [F]or them it was the portal of entry to those higher spheres from which they felt they derived their being [1] ... The hygiene of sleep needs to become a direct concern of education [2] … What is absorbed through observation and thought by day sinks into deeper strata at night ... Rudolf Steiner attached particular importance to this. Thus the [properly designed school] lesson, in its organic structure...includes the fact of sleep bringing order into the life of soul [3].” — Waldorf educator Francis Edmunds, AN INTRODUCTION TO STEINER EDUCATION - The Waldorf School (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 94. 

[1] I.e., they believed that during sleep they entered the spirit realm. Anthroposophists today believe something similar. Steiner taught that, at night, the astral and ego bodies leave the physical and etheric bodies and travel into the spirit realm — literally, not merely in dreams. “[W]e go to sleep at night, setting forth with our Ego and astral body, leaving behind the body of our waking life....” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN AS A PICTURE OF THE LIVING SPIRIT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), GA 228. [See entries in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia for “sleep”, “etheric body”, “astral body”, and “I”.]

[2] I.e., Steiner’s teachings about sleep (“the hygiene of sleep”) are important for Waldorf teachers. According to Anthroposophical belief, one’s sleep experiences are almost more real and significant than one's waking experiences. “When first we fall asleep, we recapitulate briefly the pictures of our earlier incarnations; this happens, Rudolf Steiner affirms, even when we take a nap ... It is through these pictures that our individuality, our eternal ego, works across time into space.” — Waldorf teacher Audrey E. McAllen, SLEEP - An Unobserved Element in Education (Hawthorn Press, 1986), p. 41.

[3] Waldorf education is essentially religious [see “Schools as Churches”], concerning itself with such matters as “the life of the soul.” Waldorf teachers would like to help steer their students’ sleep experiences, just as they seek to gain spiritual wisdom through their own dreams. Steiner taught that Anthroposophists can gain control of their dreams, so that the results are accurate images of the spirit realm. “[T]he eternal is experienced in the dream ... [This is] the essence of the dream in the light of spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy].” — Rudolf Steiner, SLEEP AND DREAMS (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 86. [See "Dreams".] One corollary is that, in seeking to understand their students, Waldorf teachers often rely, at least in part, on the dreams they have about the kids.

“When first we fall asleep, we recapitulate briefly the pictures of our earlier incarnations [1]; this happens, Rudolf Steiner affirms, even when we take a nap ... It is through these pictures that our individuality, our eternal ego [2], works across time into space. Our karma of the present life [3] is imbedded in our muscles, which are, spiritually speaking, ‘condensed organs of the musical forces of Inspiration.’ [4]” — Waldorf teacher Audrey E. McAllen, SLEEP - An Unobserved Element in Education (Hawthorn Press, 1986), p. 41.

[1] I.e., previous lives. Reincarnation is a crucial concept in Anthroposophy. [See "Reincarnation".]

[2] I.e., our spiritual ego, our "I". [See "Ego".]

[3] Karma is another crucial concept in Anthroposophy. [See "Karma".]

[4] Inspiration, which Steiner said is a form of clairvoyance, is "imbedded in our muscles", not in our brains. When the rational brain is turned off during sleep, clairvoyant powers are awakened. [See the entry for "inspiration" in in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

“The paths trodden by children night after night, the depth of the spiritual world into which they immerse themselves [1] is of immense importance to the success of our education [2]… 

"Only so far as a child is able to carry his or her earthly experiences during waking life into the nightly world of sleep, is the child approachable through Waldorf education [3]… 

"The Waldorf curriculum replaces the effects of form-creating spiritual beings [4]. That is how the high value placed upon the significance of sleep should be understood which Rudolf Steiner indicated… 

"[Waldorf teachers] stimulate children’s’ feeling nature before they are dismissed from the lesson [5]. The conclusions that were formed can now further work on the limbs during sleep in that part of a person into which the astral body and the 'I' withdraw [6]. What is experienced by the waking day-consciousness is processed in the metabolic regions and altered through the mediation of the planetary energies of Mercury and Venus [7]. Through this a transformation now begins to take hold. Namely, during the night the etheric body unfolds its activity in the head … The astral body, with its faster and more unsteady rhythm, has gradually withdrawn from this region. The events perceived during the day now appear as images in the conceptual activity of the head which children find before them the next morning [8].” — Waldorf teacher Nina Kuettel, “Sleep as a Task of Waldorf Education”, May 6, 2015, The Online Waldorf Library.

[1] In Waldorf belief, human beings enter the spirit realm during sleep. Specifically, Rudolf Steiner taught that the astral body and the “I” enter the spirit realm while the physical body and the etheric body remain on Earth. [See entries in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia for “sleep”, “etheric body”, “astral body”, and “I”.]

[2] I.e., Waldorf education. Waldorf teachers attempt to steer their students toward healthful sleep experiences, so the children will be susceptible to Waldorf influences the next day.

[3] I.e., Waldorf education works only when kids are adequately prepared by their sleep experiences. Waldorf education is irrational; it approaches children through the irrational parts of consciousness, such as those active in sleep. Rationality is harmful for children. “You [Waldorf teachers] will injure children if you educate them rationally....” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 61.

[4] I.e., the work of Waldorf teachers is an extension of the work performed by the gods previously. "We [Waldorf teachers] want to be aware that physical existence is a continuation of the spiritual, and that what we have to do in education is a continuation of what higher beings [the gods] have done ... [O]ur work with young people is a continuation of what higher beings have done before birth." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 37.

[5] I.e., Waldorf lessons are designed to stimulate the emotional, intuitive parts of students' consciousness. (This stimulation may often come as the climax of a lesson, at our near the end of the lesson.)  

[6] The astral body and “I” are the two higher “bodies” possessed by human beings. The effects of Waldorf education are imbedded not in the brain but in the “limbs” (i.e., the metabolic-limb system posited by Steiner — see the entry for “metabolic-limb system” The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia).

[7] The Waldorf belief system includes belief in astrology. [See, e.g., “Astrology”.] Here, the effects of Mercury and Venus (i.e., the gods residing there) are affirmed. 

[8] The child is prepared for the next day’s classes through the activity of the etheric body in the head. The higher astral body has its activities elsewhere. Rudolf Steiner frequently downplayed the importance of the head and its chief organ, the brain. ◊ “[T]he brain [has] nothing at all to do with actual cognition [i.e., clairvoyance]....” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE, p. 60. ◊ "Within the brain there is absolutely no thought [i.e., the brain doesn't think]...." — Rudolf Steiner, WONDERS OF THE WORLD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963), lecture 7, GA 129. Waldorf education similarly devalues brainwork. Largely for this reason, Waldorf schools have long been known for low academic standards. [See “Academic Standards at Waldorf”.]

"From the beginning of his work with teachers and physicians [1], Rudolf Steiner always stressed that educating is simultaneously healing, a subtle healing ... [T]hrough anthroposophical knowledge of the human being [2]...a concept that looks for the origin of health is introduced ... In the buildup of the human organism [3], physical body, etheric body, astral body, and ego-organization [4] work closely throughout life ... Soul activity [5] becomes possible because the ego-organization and astral body are only loosely connected with the physical and etheric bodies ... The astral body submerges rhythmically — through inhalation and heart contraction (systole) — into the physical and etheric organism and is released once again through exhalation and heart-expansion (diastole) [6] ... In spiritual activity, the ego-organization, astral body, and etheric body are free of the physical body while active in thinking [7] ... During the day...the ether body is available for body-free thought activity [8]. At night, the etheric body enters once more into the physical body ... At night, the ego-organization and astral body are released completely from [the physical body] and commune with beings in the spiritual world [9]." — Waldorf doctor (and former Waldorf student) Michaela Glöckler, EDUCATION AS PREVENTIVE MEDICINE (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2002), pp. 15-18. [10]

[1] Particularly at the first Waldorf school, opened in Germany in 1919.

[2] See "What We're Made Of"  and  "Our Parts".

[3] In Anthroposophical belief, this process is inextricable from the process of incarnation. [See "Incarnation".] The "human organism" may be understood to include all components of the human constitution, or it may be considered as consisting primarily of the physical parts of a human being. Here, Glöckler says that the three invisible bodies work throughout life to build and perfect the physical organism.

[4] Steiner taught that fully incarnated humans have four bodies: the physical, etheric, astral, and ego bodies. The "ego-organization" is the psychological/spiritual structure of the spiritual ego, including its lowest and highest components.

[5] Steiner taught that humans have both souls and spirits. The former (involved with the astral body) is one's temporary spiritual identity during a single lifetime; the latter (involved with the ego body) is one's permanent spiritual identity through all lifetimes. (Reincarnation is a central Anthroposophical belief.) Here, Glöckler says the soul can be active because the ego and astral body are not tightly bound to, and thus not limited by, the physical body.

[6] I.e., the astral body alternates between close connection with the physical and etheric bodies, and disconnection from them. The spiritual ego is even less connected to the physical and etheric bodies.

[7] Steiner taught that thinking does not actually occur in the brain. Rather, we receive thoughts from the gods, using the brain more or less as a radio receiver. "[T]he brain...mediates between the spiritual and physical world[s] just as a radio mediates between broadcaster and listener." — Waldorf teacher Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 16.

[8] I.e., it assists in the "thinking" process that is independent of the bodily organ called the brain.

[9] I.e., while the physical and etheric bodies sleep on Earth, the astral body and ego rise into the spirit realm and converse with the gods. "This is how we are at night. We are two people in the night." — Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 102. [See, e.g., "Holistic Education".]

[10] In sum, Steiner and his followers think that Anthroposophical education — or Waldorf education — confers health because of its salubrious spiritual essence. Readers will have to decide whether they think education based on concepts such as we see here — etheric body, astral body, etc. — contains truth or any possible of therapeutic effect.

"We feel the need for guidance; but this only appears if we have created a bond with Christ [1], who must be conceived here as connected with the life of the sun [2] … But to take effect in the spirit and soul in freedom [3], he [i.e., Christ] must be able to penetrate the soul whilst [it is] independent of the body in sleep [4] ... Thus in our ego and astral body we are really one with the life forces of sun and stars [5] … The Higher Beings who enter into our body at night have their scene of activity generally speaking on the sun [6] ... [W]e behold the actions and deeds of the beings of the Hierarchies [7] ... While we sleep the soul thus absorbs in spiritland the world of tones [8] ... In this deeper dreamless sleep, forces of the astral body reach as far as the starry world…and it [i.e., the astral body] draws its strength from that world. [9] The astral body now reposes in a world where the stars are embedded — the world of the harmony of the spheres ... We must ‘feel’ in a concrete way the spiritual world into which we are submerged when we fall asleep; we must feel and know how there lives there what is now happening as a result of the mission entrusted by Christ to Michael [10] ...." — Anthroposophists Richard Seddon and Dr. Jean Brown, THE WONDERS OF SLEEP (Wynstones Press, 2012, reprinted 2015), pp. 68-70.

[1] I.e., human beings feel the need for guidance, but we receive it only after we have made a personal connection with Christ. Anthroposophy places great emphasis on Christ, which may create the impression that Anthroposophy is a form of Christianity. But the differences between Anthroposophy and Christianity are vast. [See, e.g. “Was He Christian?”]

[2] In Anthroposophy, Christ is the Sun God — the same god who has been known under such names as Apollo or Hu. [See “Sun God.] Christ rules over, and dwells upon, the Sun — he is “connected with the life of the sun.”

[3] Steiner taught that humans have both souls and spirits, and we are evolving toward an unprecedented degree of spiritual freedom. [Sometimes, in Anthroposophy, “soul” is used as a designation for the astral body. See the entries for these various terms — spirit, soul, freedom, astral body — in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia (BW/SE)]

[4] I.e., Christ must be able to enter into the higher parts of ourselves while we sleep. Steiner taught that our astral bodies and spiritual egos rise into the spirit realm at night, while our physical bodies and etheric bodies remain on Earth. "This is how we are at night. We are two people in the night." — Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 102. [See "Incarnation".] Here, we are told that Christ enters into the parts of ourselves that rise into in the spirit realm at night (these parts are "independent of the [physical] body" while we sleep).

[5] I.e., the astral body and spiritual ego become united with the cosmos: They become "one with the life forces of sun and stars".

[6] The “Higher Beings” are gods. Anthroposophy is polytheistic. [See “Polytheism”.] Christ is the most important god for us now, Steiner taught, but many other gods also play roles in our lives. Here, we are told that the gods who minister to us at night are all "generally speaking on the Sun" (they are Christ and his solar subordinates). They work on all of our parts, including the lowly physical body.

[7] Steiner taught that there are nine ranks of gods, subdivided into three groupings called “Hierarchies.” The “beings of the Hierarchies” are the nine ranks of gods who constitute the three Hierarchies. [See “Polytheism”.] We observe the activities of the gods when we attain high spiritual consciousness (high clairvoyance).

[8] I.e., while we sleep, the astral body absorbs the music of the spheres (the harmonies of the cosmos). [See "music of the spheres" in the BW/SE.]

[9] The “starry world” is the high region of the cosmos beyond our solar system. Anthroposophy is closely linked to astrology — the influences of the stars and their gods reach us on Earth through astrological influences, or so Anthroposophists believe. [See “Astrology” and “Star Power”.]

[10] Michael is a warrior god. He is the Sun Archangel, who fights on behalf of the Sun God. Steiner taught that Christ has entrusted the supervision of current human evolution to Michael. [See “Michael”.] "What is happening now" is the mission of Michael and its effects.

Waldorf teachers are expected to be guided by Anthroposophical beliefs about sleep. Thus, in addition to the book we have been considering here, you should consult Waldorf teacher Audrey E. McAllen's book, SLEEP - An Unobserved Element in Education (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2004).

— Compilation and commentary by Roger Rawlings

To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, 
use the underlined links, below.


adepts : putting it to use

criticism : left brain, right brain


Goethe : Steiner and

reality and fantasy : what we know and what we don't

thinking : try not to use your brain