C - Ch

[A]  [B]  [C-Ch]  [Ci-Cu]  [D]  [E-El]  [Em-Ey]  [F]  [G]  [H]  [I]  [J-L]  [M-Me]  [Mi-My]  [N-O]  [P-Q]  [R]  [S-Sn]  [So-Sy]  [T-V]  [W-Z]

- C -


Cabalism, Cabbalism - also see gnosticism; Judaism; mysticism

Cabbalah (or Kabbalah) is the Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible. The term "Cabbalism" is used to describe this tradition, which has been influential beyond Judaism. Steiner taught that the Christian-gnostic path (interpreting Biblical teachings in light of Christian — and semi-Christian — mysticism) is closely related to Cabbalism.  [See the entry for "Christian-Gnostic way", below.] But Cabbalism itself is now outmoded, Steiner said — like all of Judaism, it belongs to the past. The Christian-Gnostic offshoot is also largely outdated, he said, although some individuals continue to find value in it.

"Cabala. One of the great systems of mysticism ... Although based on Jewish doctrine, it has taken important elements from gnosticism [1], Neo-Platonism, and oriental mysticism ... Teaching a way that leads to a oneness with God, the Cabala describes ten intermediary emanations: Crown, Wisdom, Intelligence, Loving-kindness, Power, Beauty, Eternity, Majesty, Foundation, and Kingdom." — R. Giland, THE NEW STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PARANORMAL (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1980), p. 39.

Steiner taught that the Cabbalism of the Middle Ages had its roots in a far older mystical tradition. [2] He also said that various individuals, such as the person who in a later incarnation [3] became Voltaire, learned much from Cabbalism. "[H]e absorbed much Mohammedan-Asiatic learning...also much of the lore that had been spread far and wide by the Jews — it was not, however, the Cabbalism that was so universally cultivated later on, in the Middle Ages, but an older form of Cabbalism. And so...we find this personality steeped in Mohammedanism [4] but working along particular lines: reckoning, calculating, according to Cabbalistic principles ... [L]ater on, in the 18th century, this same individuality passed over into a man who has become a world-famous figure in French culture, namely Voltaire. [5]" — R. Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), lecture 12, GA 236; emphasis by Steiner.

[1] See "Gnosis".
[2] Steiner taught that all religions are fundamentally alike, and he said "The mission of Anthroposophy to-day is to be a synthesis of religions." — R. Steiner, “Buddha and Christ: The Sphere of the Bodhisattvas”, ANTHROPOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY, Vol. 12, No. 4 (Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain, 1964), GA 130. [See "Altogether".]
[3] See "Reincarnation".
[4] See "Islam".
[5] Steiner saw Voltaire as an adversary; he called Voltaire "one of the great teachers of materialism." — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST, JOHN. Although he found wisdom in Cabalism, he more generally denounced Jewish thinking for leading to materialism and atheism. "Old Testament thinking [led to] the atheistic science of the modern age."— R. Steiner, THE CHALLENGE OF THE TIMES. Steiner's view of "Mohammedanism" was similarly critical. “Mohammedism is the first manifestation of Ahriman.” — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER. Voltaire thus evolved from currents that contained wisdom but also horrid error, from an Anthroposophical perspective.

CALENDAR OF THE SOUL, THE - also see festivals; Gabriel; Michael; Oriphiel; Raphael; seasons

"Rudolf Steiner gave 52 verses, each one relating to a week of the year. This calendar [containing the verses] enables the human soul to participate in the year's seasonal changes." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 17. The verses, in the form of meditations, are keyed to astrological signs as redesigned by Steiner. Adjusting to seasonal/astrological conditions is important, Anthroposophists believe — it keeps one in tune with the alternating gods (Archangels) who oversee the seasons of the year: Raphael in the spring, Oriphiel in the summer, Michael in the autumn, and Gabriel in the winter. [1]

Various Anthroposophical pursuits are coordinated with the seasons and the seasonal verses penned by Steiner. Most obviously, biodynamic agriculture [2] — like all forms of agriculture — requires attentiveness to the annual cycle. Waldorf education is also designed to enact the seasons and their spirits, doing so primarily through the celebration of seasonal/religious festivals. [3] 

The verses in THE CALENDAR OF THE SOUL are deeply mystical, and their special applicability in particular times of the year is sometimes elusive. Yet the verses are, for instance, often read in their prescribed order, one each week, during Waldorf faculty meetings. Here is a sample, the verse for August 18-24:

"And now I feel that my existence,
Remote from the world's reality,
Alone might cease to be,
For if it only built on its own base
Alone it would bring death upon itself."
(Temple Lodge Publishing, 2004).

An early edition of THE CALENDAR OF THE SOUL, with an introduction by Steiner, was published by Emil Molt [4] and distributed to German soldiers during World War I.


 - The Year Participated
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2006.)

[1] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Archangels".
[2] see "Biodynamics".
[3] see "Magical Arts".
[4] Molt financed the first Waldorf school. [See the entry for "molt, Emil" in this encyclopedia.]

Calvary - see Golgotha

Camphill - also see curative education; social therapy; Waldorf communities

The name "Camphill" is used by a number of Anthroposophical communities, which are often isolated and nearly self-sufficient. Generally they provide Anthroposophical "aid" to the developmentally disabled. The name derives from the Camphill Estate near Aberdeen, Scotland. The first Camphill community was established in 1939 by Karl König, an Austrian pediatrician and Anthroposophist. In typical Camphill communities, little or no effort is made to cure any psychological disabilities — these are accepted as products of karma

◊ “The Camphill movement provides village communities and some urban houses for mentally handicapped people who need special care. It was founded at Camphill on the east coast of Scotland by Dr. Konig, a charismatic follower of Rudolf Steiner … Most of the [caregivers] are a committed core whose overriding interest is likely to be esoteric: many belong to the General Anthroposophical Society and the School of Spiritual Science … Anthroposophy’s teachings stress that individuals who become closely involved with each other have karmic ties that reach back into past incarnations and will be part of a future pattern of interaction … The Camphill communities’ stable rhythm of life is marked by an almost medieval sense of the seasons. Christian saints’ days, as well as pagan festivals such as May Day, are celebrated.” — G. Ahern, "Five Karmas, or Anthroposophy in Great Britain". [See "Waldorf Now"; also see "My Life Among the Anthroposophists".]

◊ "Camphill communities are Anthroposophically-inspired residential programs for developmentally-disabled children and adults. Completely contained enclaves, they are worthy of study as models of life in an Anthroposophical world. Since only cooperative inmates are retained, the atmosphere is artificially idyllic, and an ostensible 'village' structure conceals strict authoritarianism." — D. Dugan, "Anthroposophy" - article in THE NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA OF UNBELIEF (Prometheus Books, 2007), pp. 74-76.

◊ "In small communities, such as farms, people with developmental difficulties...work, learn and live together ... Disabilities are not treated as illnesses ... [It is believed that] impairments in one incarnation may be a way to acquire strength for a succeeding one ... There are over 100 Camphill communities...in the world." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 111. 

(illness) - also see disease; medicine

According to the Waldorf belief system, cancer can be cured by mistletoe. “One may now ask, what is to be one’s attitude towards cancer! ... Spiritual knowledge now comes to one’s aid ... In order to cure cancer, the forces of the astral body [1] must be made stronger. And...the remedy has really been discovered in the plant kingdom … The tree, which is rooted directly in the earth, makes use of the forces which it absorbs from the earth. The mistletoe, growing on the tree, uses what the tree gives it [2] ... The mistletoe takes away what the tree only gives up when...its etheric element [3] is excessive. The excess of the etheric passes out of the tree into the mistletoe ... [T]he mistletoe, as an external substance, absorbs what is manifest in the human body as the rampant etheric forces in cancer. [4]” — R. Steiner, “An Outline of Anthroposophical Medical Research: Abridged Report of Two Lectures” (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1924), GA 319. [For more on Steiner's medical guidance, see "Steiner's Quackery".]

[1] In Anthroposophical belief, this is the second of our invisible bodies. An envelope of soul forces, it incarnates around age 14. [See "Incarnation".]
[2] Mistletoe is a parasitic plant; rather than growing directly in the ground, it grows on trees.
[3] I.e., its etheric forces (forces that function on the etheric level). [See the entries for "etheric forces" and "etheric realm" in this encyclopedia.]
[4] I.e., mistletoe — which absorbs etheric forces — absorbs the etheric force of cancer and thus eliminates the cancer.

Cancer (sign) - also see astrology; constellations; Moon; zodiac

◊ "Astrological sign (June 22nd-July 23rd) ... [R]uling planet, the Moon ... [People born under this sign] show unusual enduring love, are fond of tradition, travel, seascapes ... [They are] hermit-like...[and] too changeable and restless...." — G. Riland, THE NEW STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PARANORMAL (SteinerBooks, 1980), p. 42. ◊ "Cancer is symbolized by the crab ... In this mysterious midnight sign inheres the mighty power of mutation...to a new stage of evolution...be it in planet, animal, or man, or even the Earth itself ... The Earth as progressed through the Saturn, Sun, and Moon Periods, to this present mid-Earth Period, and it will evolve to future Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan Periods ... The mystery of metamorphosis in evolution inherent in the sign Cancer was brought out by Christ Jesus [2] ... This was explained by Rudolf Steiner in his lectures on THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW. [3]" — J. Jocelyn, MEDITATIONS ON THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC (SteinerBooks, 2006), pp. 81-82.

Astrological lore of this sort receives serious attention from Anthroposophists. Astrology underlies much of Anthroposophy, including Waldorf education. [See "Astrology" and "Star Power".] Steiner himself designed new representations for the twelve signs of the zodiac, including Cancer. [See "Waldorf Astrology".] Here is a mystic verse Steiner wrote, expressing the "mood" of Cancer. (He wrote similar verses for all the other signs of the zodiac.) "You resting, luminous glow,/Engender warmth of life,/Enwarm the life of soul/To meet with vigor each test/And permeate itself with spirit/In quiet, light-outstreaming./You luminous glow, gain strength!" — R. Steiner, TWELVE MOODS (Mercury Press, 1984), GA 40.


The sign of Cancer, as reconceived by Steiner;
drawing by Imma von Eckhardstein.
[CALENDAR 1912/13 
(Steiner Books, 2003, facsimile edition.]

[1] These are the seven conditions of consciousness or planetary stages described by Steiner. [See the entries in this encyclopedia for these terms.]
[2] The Christ described in Anthroposophy is the Sun God. [See "Sun God".]
[3] See, e.g., the edition published by SteinerBooks in 1985.

Capricorn - also see astrology; constellations; Saturn; zodiac

◊ "Astrological sign (Dec. 23rd-Jan. 20th) ... [R]uling planet, Saturn ... [T]he highly developed Capricorn... is incredibly sure footed [sic]; also cautious, unsentimental, magnetic, industrious, logical, accurate, sky-high ambitious, born workers; but they tend to love only those who love them; are too practical; often despondent, melancholy; too often suspicious and very selfish." — G. Riland, THE NEW STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PARANORMAL (SteinerBooks, 1980), p. 42. ◊ "The more occult-minded [1] one is, the richer the rewards in true gold of God [2], for God and the Zodiac are inseparable. The tenth sign of the Zodiac is so mighty in its import that we can do no more than hint at its subtle importance ... Capricorn may not be as murderous as the lower phase of the Scorpion [3], but it can be cold, calculating, crafty, servile, utterly selfish, and unscrupulous. The extremes range from the black magician [4] to the most selfless, reverential priest or high initiate [5] ... The dualism of Capricorn manifests in the symbology of the amphibious creatures. [6]" — J. Jocelyn, MEDITATIONS ON THE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC (SteinerBooks, 2006), pp.194-195.

Astrological lore of this sort receives serious attention from Anthroposophists. Astrology underlies much of Anthroposophy, including Waldorf education. [See "Astrology" and "Star Power".] Steiner himself designed new representations for the twelve signs of the zodiac, including Capricorn. [See "Waldorf Astrology".] Here is a mystic verse Steiner wrote, expressing the "mood" of Capricorn. (He wrote similar verses for all the other signs of the zodiac.) "May what is coming, rest on what has been./May what has been, surmise what is to come,/For a vigorous present existence./Through inward life-withstanding/May world-beings' guard grow strong,/May life's working might blossom forth,/May what has been endure what is to come!" — R. Steiner, TWELVE MOODS (Mercury Press, 1984), GA 40.


The sign of Capricorn, as reconceived by Steiner;
drawing by Imma von Eckhardstein.
[CALENDAR 1912/13 
(Steiner Books, 2003, facsimile edition.]

[1] See "Occultism".
[2] References to God in Anthroposophical publications must be interpreted cautiously. Anthroposophy is polytheistic. [See "Polytheism".]
[3] I.e., Scorpio.
[4] See "Magic" and "Magicians".
[5] See "Inside Scoop". (Although Jocelyn seems to emphasize the evil side of Capricorn, he acknowledges that there is also a virtuous side.)
[6] While the chief symbol of Capricorn is the goat, Jocelyn says that both the crocodile and the "fish-goat" (goat in front, fish to the rear) can also represent Capricorn.

Carnival - see festivals at Waldorf schools; Winterfest

catastrophes - also see astrology; Atlantis; earthquakes; Lemuria; stars; evil; volcanos

According to Steiner, natural catastrophes are often caused by human evil. In other instances, astrological influences are predominant. “The fate of hundreds and thousands of people may be affected by an earthquake or a volcano. Does the human will influence these things, or is it all a matter of chance? Do dead, natural laws act with blind fury, or does some connection exist between these events and the human will?” — R. Steiner, THE INTERIOR OF THE EARTH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 21007), p. 29. Steiner’s answer is yes, our will causes natural disasters. We create our own karma [1], Steiner taught, and we choose where and when to be born. Our choices can cause catastrophes. “[M]aterialistic souls incarnate, drawn sympathetically by volcanic phenomena ... And these births can in their turn bring about new cataclysms because reciprocally the evil souls exert an exciting influence on the terrestrial fire. ” — R. Steiner, AN ESOTERIC COSMOLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1978), chapter 16, GA 94. Steiner said that, in a sense, we desire catastrophes. We seek them out in order to fulfill our karma. "[W]e see...groups of human souls in their descent from pre-earthly into earthly existence wander to regions situated, for example, in the vicinity of volcanoes, or to districts where earthquakes are liable to occur ... [S]uch places are deliberately chosen by the souls thus karmically connected, in order that they may experience this very destiny ... [They think] 'I choose a great disaster on earth in order to become more perfect....'" — R. Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), pp. 226-227.

We may cause even greater catastrophes when we apply our will in overtly evil directions. The calamities that sank Lemuria and Atlantis were caused in this manner, and willful evil — overflowing as enormous egoism — will produce the calamitous War of All Against All at the end of our current historical epoch. [2]

Other causes of catastrophic events, Steiner taught, include the alignment of the stars. Conventional science, of course, is clueless on such points. “Now let me tell you, gentlemen, how a phenomenon like fire-spewing mountains is usually considered in science ... [T]he learned gentlemen [3] are always looking for the reasons why water vapor rises from a volcano and even bombs fly out; they look for the reasons — yes, they look for them below ground. But that is not where they [4] are ... [I]f the stars above Vesuvius [5] are in a particular position relative to each other...through the position of the stars, with the astral element [6] above thinning out...things are forcibly pulled up from below." — R. Steiner, FROM MAMMOTHS TO MEDIUMS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), pp. 27-30.

[1] See "Karma"

[2] See "Lemuria", "Atlantis", and "All v. All".

[3] I.e., scientists.

[4] I.e., the causes.

[5] A volcano.

[6] I.e., forces of the stars, astral forces. Steiner is, here, attributing volcanic eruptions to astrological influences — the stars pull up materials from within the Earth.

Caucasian race - also see advanced races; Europeans; white race

The white race. According to Anthroposophical doctrine, it is highly evolved, mature; it is associated with Jupiter. The skin color of Caucasians reflects spiritual health, Steiner taught. Caucasians are centered in Europe — other races belong elsewhere. ◊ "In Europe...we come to the Jupiter humanity, the Caucasian race." — G. A. Kaufmann, SOULS OF THE NATIONS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1938), lecture 6. ◊ "When we ask: Which races belong to these continents, we just have to say...the white race or the Caucasian race belongs in Europe, and Africa has the black race or the Negro race. The Negro race does not belong in Europe." — R. Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), lecture 3, GA 349. [See "Forbidden".] ◊ “[W]e can feel in the peach-blossom color of the healthy human being [1] the living image of the soul ... You experience...peach-blossom color, human flesh-color [2], as the living image of the soul; white as the soul-image of spirit; black as the spiritual image of death.” — R. Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), pp. 93-94. [See "Steiner's Bile"].

[1] I.e., a healthy Caucasians.
[2] Sic. Steiner , here, overlooks the natural and healthy hues of humans beings who are members of other races.

celestial sphere
 - also see astrology; astrosophy; crystal heaven

The sky: the illusory globe that seems to enclose the Earth. The celestial sphere — or celestial globe — does not exist. It is an ancient concept long since dismissed by science. [1] Yet Steiner asserted that it does exist, and he attributed strange astrological/formative powers to it. He claimed that our heads are spheres due to the influence of the celestial sphere. Of course, he was wrong on both counts — not only does the celestial sphere not exist, but our heads are not spheres. Nonetheless, Steiner described formative powers flowing down into the spheres of our heads and indeed into the sphere of the Earth: ”We must admit: In regard to our head organization [2], we are organised from the celestial sphere; therefore what underlies the forces of the mineral kingdom must also be organised from the celestial sphere in some way.” — R. Steiner, THIRD SCIENTIFIC LECTURE-COURSE: ASTRONOMY (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), lecture 10, GA 323.

[1] "Celestial sphere, the apparent surface of the heavens, on which the stars seem to be fixed." — ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, March 27, 2015. When we gaze upward, we seem to see the inner surface of a huge sphere, all points of which are the same distance from us. The lights in the sky appear to be attached to this sphere. But this is illusory. The Sun, Moon, planets, stars, galaxies, etc. — the lights in the sky — are moving through empty space, and they are all at vastly different distances from us. Steiner often affirmed ancient fallacies, especially those that attribute centrality to human beings. [See "The Center".]
[2] I.e., the structure of our heads.

- also see fauns; myths

a) In Greek mythology: creatures with the bodies of horses but the torsos, arms, and heads of humans.

b) According to Steiner, the centaur was an early human form, less evolved than our form today. “It is said that Homer was a blind seer, but that means that he was clairvoyant. He could look back into the Akashic Record. [1] Homer, the blind seer, was much more seeing in the spiritual sense than were the other Greeks. Thus, the centaur [2] was once an actual human form. When man looked like this, the moon had not yet withdrawn. [3] The moon force was still in the earth, and in man was still what had formed itself during the sun period [4], the shining pineal gland, which he bore like a lantern on his head. [5]” — R. Steiner, EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MYSTERIES (Anthroposophic Press, 1971), lecture 7, GA 106. [See "Steiner Static".]

[1] In Anthroposophical belief: a celestial storehouse of mystical knowledge, accessible through clairvoyance. [See "Akasha".]
[2] I.e., the centaur as clairvoyant apprehended and described by Homer.
[3] Steiner taught that the Moon, Sun, and Earth — and other members of the solar system — were originally united in a single body. Gradually the planets separated out, and the Sun and Moon eventually separated from the Earth.
[4] I.e., during Old Sun, the second incarnation of the solar system. [See "Matters of Form".]
[5] The pineal gland (which we still have) is an endocrine gland, in the brain, that secretes melatonin. "[W]ithin the human brain there is an organ called the pineal gland; today it is atrophied, but formerly it was open outwardly; it was an organ of force, and sent forth rays. Man moved about in the watery element with a kind of lantern which developed a certain light. This lantern, when the pineal gland was developed, projected from the head, enabling man to distinguish different degrees of warmth. It was the first universal sense organ." — R. Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (Harry Collison, 1931), chapter 7, GA 105. The pineal lantern was especially important to us during Old Moon, the third incarnation of the solar system, according to Steiner.

centers of cosmic influence - also see astrology; race; Spirits of Form

According to Steiner, these are places on the Earth where certain cosmic (planetary, stellar...) influences are strong. Cosmic forces hit the Earth, penetrate deeply, and beam back upward again from the centers of cosmic influence. ◊ "You have now, when you look into the cosmos...activities proceeding from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury [1]. These forces stream down upon Earth, are stemmed there and ray up again from the Earth." — R. Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK-SOULS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1929), lecture 6, GA 121. ◊ Certain abnormal gods [2] help direct the rebounding rays in such a way as to create five spots on the surface of the Earth where cosmic influences are especially focused. These five spots are the regions where the five main human races have developed. "[T]hrough these abnormal Spirits of Form, there are five possible centers of influence, and these, in their reflection upon humanity from the centre of the Earth, really produce what we know as the five main races who inhabit the Earth. [3]" — R. Steiner, ibid. 

[1] I.e., the astrological/spiritual influences of these planets. [See "Astrology".]

[2] I.e., gods who have fallen behind in evolution. [See the entry for "abnormal" in this encyclopedia.]

[3] See "Lecture". Steiner offered varying accounts of humanity's races and peoples. [See "Races", "Differences", and "Embedded Racism".].

Central Europe - also see civilization; Europe; Germany

According to Steiner, Europe is site of the most highly evolved humans, the truest mythology, and the highest culture. Central and/or Northern Europe have reached special pinnacles. [See "Clues".]

Like other peoples, Central Europeans have a special historic/spiritual task. "The task of West European culture, and particularly of Central European culture, is that men shall develop an individual culture, individual consciousness [1] ... The mission of Western and Central Europe is to introduce into men qualities that can be introduced by the consciousness soul. [2]" — R. Steiner, PREPARING FOR THE SIXTH EPOCH (Anthroposophic Press, 1957), a lecture, GA 159.

While Steiner sometimes linked Central Europeans to other Western peoples, he also sometimes made a distinction. His own work came out of Central Europe (he was born in Austria), and he said people elsewhere — even other Westerners — might be unable to comprehend his teachings properly. This is one reason that the actual purposes of Waldorf education should be concealed from audiences in Western countries like the USA. "[T]he western nations will not be able to understand what will arise out of the whole concrete Central European spiritual culture with regard to the art of education; on the contrary, it will annoy them, and it really ought not to be told them in its original form." — R. Steiner, quoted in "The Founding of Adelphi's Waldorf School," ONE MAN'S VISION: In Memoriam, H.A.W. Myrin (The Myrin Institute Inc., 1970), p. 46.

[1] Steiner taught that Westerners have attained a degree of individualism unknown elsewhere: They come closer to possessing a fully developed "I." [See "Ego".]
[2] I.e., one of our three souls or soul parts, also called the spiritual soul; it enables us to think about our cognition of the world around us. [See "Our Parts".]

certificates - also see academic standards; verses 

"[A]t the end of each school year, students in [typical] Waldorf schools are given a certificate and a report on the past year's achievements. A personalized verse or maxim is an essential part of the certificate ... Very often the pupil speaks the verse aloud in front of the class one morning a week during the following year, for a certain period of time." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 17. Some Waldorf schools issue report cards, some do not. Steiner generally opposed reporting on students' academic progress. [1] The personalized verses included in some Waldorf certificates or reports are generally written by the students' class teachers. [2] When students recite these verses in front of their classmates, they usually do so after the entire class has recited a prayer written by Rudolf Steiner. [See "Prayers".]

[1] See "Faculty Meetings".

[2] See, e.g., "Mistreating Kids Lovingly"; also see the entry for "class teachers" in this encyclopedia.

chakras - also see clairvoyance; imagination; inspiration; intuition; lotus flowers; organs of clairvoyance

a) According to Indian thought: centers of spiritual power in the human body; usually there are said to be seven. In descending order, these are said to be located at the top of the head, between the eyebrows, in the throat, in the heart, at the navel, in or round the genitalia, and at the base of the spine.

b) In Anthroposophy, the chakras are described as invisible, incorporeal organs of spiritual perception or receptivity. In effect, these are organs of clairvoyance. "The further we advance [1], the more regularly structured our soul organism becomes ... To the clairvoyant it [2] looks like an independent body, containing certain organs. [3] These organs...may be seen spiritually [4] in the following areas of the physical body: the first, between the eyes; the second, near the larynx; the third, in the region of the heart; the fourth, in the neighborhood of the pit of the stomach or solar plexus; the fifth and sixth, in the lower abdomen or reproductive organs ... [E]sotericists call these formations chakras (wheels) or 'lotus flowers' ... One of the first things to occur when an esoteric student begins practicing [spiritual] exercises is that the light of the lotus flowers intensifies; later the flowers will also begin to rotate. When this happens, it means that a person is beginning to have the ability to see clairvoyantly ... The organ in the vicinity of the larynx has sixteen 'petals' or 'spokes'; the one near the heart, twelve; and the one near the solar plexus, ten." — R. Steiner, HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS (Anthroposophic Press, 1994), pp. 109-111[See "Inside Scoop".]

The subtle indoctrination of students in Waldorf schools [5] can be understood as activation of chakras, especially the chakra of the heart. Thus, inner knowledge may be evoked or planted without a student receiving such knowledge consciously or intellectually. For practising Anthroposophists, awareness of — and belief in — chakras is open and cognizant. "Chakra — an organ in the ether body and in the astral body [6] ... A chakra mediates between the spiritual world and the physical world ... Chakras also act as organs of perception of events not perceived by the physical senses [7] ... [O]ver the ages, the chakras became less active [8] ... However, a time has come when...[there is] a reactivation of the chakras. A new form of clairvoyance is gradually arising [9] ... The anthroposophical esoteric soul exercises [10] lead to activation of the chakras and to further development of the soul faculties of imagination, inspiration and intuition [11]." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), pp. 18-19.

[1] I.e., advance in spiritual awareness.

[2] I.e., the nonphysical body.

[3] Such organs are themselves nonphysical.

[4] I.e., through the use of clairvoyance. 

[5] See "Indoctrination".

[6] See "etheric body" and "astral body" in this encyclopedia.

[7] I.e., clairvoyance is required.

[8] Steiner taught that modern humans have generally lost their ancient clairvoyant abilities.

[9] This is the "exact" clairvoyance promised by Anthroposophy. [See "Exactly".]

[10] See "Knowing the Worlds".

[11] In Anthroposophical belief, these are precursors to — or stages of — clairvoyance. Preliminary forms of these "faculties" are emphasized in Waldorf schools.


change of teeth - see baby teeth; teeth

chela - also see guru; initiation; mystery wisdom; occultism

The term, from Sanskrit, is used in Theosophy to denote the disciple of a guru. Steiner said a chela is a student of mystery (occult) wisdom; s/he is more advanced than other humans, he said. “Man thinks, feels, wills, in fixed connection. [1] If I see something which pleases me I grasp at it; the idea evokes the will. Without this interaction man would be very insecure. With the Chela, will, idea, and feeling are torn asunder, and must be quite separate. For general humanity that will first be attained at the Jupiter stage of the earth. [2] But before he experiences this, the Guardian of the Threshold [3] meets him, and gives him clarity about the whole of his previous life.” — R. Steiner, “The Animal Soul” (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), a lecture, GA 97

[1] I.e., all these happen together. But for the chela, they become separate processes, thus they are more fully understood and controlled.
[2] I.e., during Future Jupiter, the next incarnation of the solar system, following the present incarnation.
[3] A sentry who blocks entry into the spirit realm. [See "Guardians".] We meet the Guardian(s) after we die. Future Jupiter will occur after the entire solar system, in its present form, dies or ceases to exist.

chemical ether - also see ether; number ether

In Steiner's teachings, this is the third of four types of ether; it is also known as formative ether or number ether. ◊ "The first element finer than the air is the one which causes it to expand ... [I]t is really a fine etheric substance, the first grade of ether, the Warmth-Ether. Then follows the second kind of ether, the Light-Ether. Bodies which shine send out a form of matter which is described...as Light-Ether. The third kind of ether is the formative ether, the bearer of everything which gives form to the finest matter; it is also called the Chemical Ether  ... And the finest of all the ethers is that which constitutes life: Prana, or Life Ether." — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2019), p. 31. ◊ "We know that above the light-ether there is the so-called chemical ether, and then there comes the life-ether. These are the two kinds of ether that we cannot kill ... If we were able to kill the chemical ether, the waves of the Harmony of the Spheres [1] would sound perpetually into our physical body, and we should perpetually destroy these waves with our physical life." — R. Steiner, CHRIST AND THE HUMAN SOUL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 4, GA 155.


 • Life Ether • 
 • Chemical Ether • 
 • Light Ether • 
 • Warmth Ether • 

Steiner taught that the "four elements" (earth, air, fire, water) [2] are accompanied by a "fifth element" — ether or quintessence. [3] In turn, he said, there are four forms of ether. Chemical ether is the third of the four.

[1] I.e., the harmony or music created by the celestial spheres. It is inaudible except through the use of clairaudience, the form of clairvoyance that "hears" what lies beyond the reach of our ordinary senses.
[2] See the entry for "elements" in this encyclopedia; also see "Neutered Nature".
[3] See the entries for "ether" and "quintessence" in this encyclopedia.

chemistry - also see physics; science; science curriculum at Waldorf schools; cf. alchemy

At Waldorf schools, the natural or physical sciences are held in low esteem; this includes chemistry. The Anthroposophical vision inclines more toward alchemy as defined by Steiner [1], and — at a higher level — "spiritual science," the use of clairvoyance to study the spirit realm. [2] Chemistry and the other ordinary sciences are insignificant precisely because they deal with transitory physical reality. "In the last resort, chemistry and physics have no value whatever beyond the earth." — R. Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995) pp. 169-170[3

Still, because it is a standard subject in school curriculums, chemistry is studied in Waldorf schools. The subject is slanted, however, in the direction of "Goethean" science [4], and it aims to promote an Anthroposophical/meditative mindset rather than a genuinely scientific outlook. "When a foundation of observation and disciplined thinking is established, the high school science teacher now introduces a new type of thinking ... [T]his 'new' thinking is called phenomenological thinking ... [F]irst a phenomenon is carefully observed; second, the rigors and laws of thinking and science are applied [5] ... [T]hird, everything up to now is laid to rest, the mind is cleared, and the phenomenon itself is allowed to speak. The student observes what comes forward while keeping the mind from straying ... This activity opens on up to new possibilities ... This type of thinking is freed from the senses and allows the universe to speak through the individual. It is a type of thinking which is truly moral and can be the fertile ground for the 'new' science of the twenty-first century." — David S. Mitchell, THE WONDERS OF WALDORF CHEMISTRY (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2004), pp. 12-13. The "new science of the twenty-first century" is, in effect, Anthroposophy itself, which Steiner and his followers call spiritual science. The thinking "freed from the senses" is, in effect, Anthroposophical clairvoyance. [6] Thus, the study of "Waldorf chemistry" becomes one more way for Waldorf teachers to steer students toward Anthroposophy. [See "Steiner's 'Science'".]


David S. Mitchell, 


(Association of Waldorf Schools 

of North America, 2004).

[1] See "Alchemy".

[2] See "Knowing the Worlds".

[3] See "Science".

[4] See "Goethe".

[5] Within the Waldorf/Anthroposophical world, such "rigors and laws" reflect the Anthroposophical take on reality, not what is usually found elsewhere. [See, e.g., "Thinking".]

[6] See "Clairvoyance" and "Exactly"; also see the entry for "clairvoyance" in this encyclopedia.

Chenault, Kenneth (b. 1951)

Former chief executive officer of American Express, a credit card company. Chenault is a Waldorf alumnus who speaks well of his alma mater, and — because he is an African-American — he is often cited as proof that Waldorf schools are free of racism. However, Rudolf Steiner's followers rarely repudiate Anthroposophical teachings about race (e.g., various races stand at different evolutionary levels, with blacks on the lowest rung), and indeed teachers in the Waldorf school Chenault attended voiced such beliefs (although not, evidently, in Chenault's presence). [See "Light and Dark".]

Cherubim - also see gods; hierarchies; Spirits of Harmony

a) In Christian tradition: the second highest order of angel.

b) In Anthroposophy: gods eight levels above mankind. They are the middle rank of the First Hierarchy, and their task is to harmonize the Earth with the rest of the solar system — thus, they are often called Spirits of Harmony. According to Steiner, ancient humans perceived the Cherubim in a variety of shapes. “Those Beings who came out of spiritual space to meet the Archangels [1], we call Cherubim (The Spirits of Harmony) ... These great Universal Helpers revealed themselves in quite definite etheric shapes or figures. [2] Our forefathers who, through their traditions, were still conscious of these most important facts, represented the Cherubim as those strangely winged animals with differently formed heads — the winged Lion, winged Eagle, winged Bull, winged Man.” — R. Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1928), lecture 4, GA 110. [See “Polytheism”.]


Gods of the First Hierarchy — the highest of three Hierarchies. Below the three Hierarchies stands mankind. Seraphim stand nine levels above mankind, Cherubim stand eight levels above mankind, and Thrones stand seven levels above mankind. Steiner preferred alternate names for various ranks of gods. He designated Seraphim the Spirits of Love, Cherubim the Spirits of Harmony, and Thrones the Spirits of Will. [Adapted from a chart in R. Wilkinson's RUDOLF STEINER - An Introduction to his World-View, Anthroposophy (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), p. 186; color added.]

[1] I.e., gods two levels above mankind. Archangels (Spirits of Fire, Archangeloi) stand at the middle rank of the First Hierarchy. [See “Polytheism”.]
[2] I.e., they showed themselves in etheric form (in material of the etheric plane). [See the entries for "etheric forces" and "etheric realm" in this encyclopedia.]

chest man - also see chest system; head man; limb man

Steiner taught that the human physical constitution consists of three primary systems: the head, chest, and metabolic/limb systems. [See "What We Are".] The chest (or trunk) system is the seat of emotion, and thus wisdom; it is centered primarily in the heart and lungs. The "chest man" (or "rhythmic man") is the inner human being embodying the forces of the chest system: rhythm, emotion, wisdom. (Steiner taught that a human being consists of multiple, small, inner human beings.) The purpose of Waldorf education may be summarized as activation of the limb man and the lower (less wise) portion of the chest man, which in turn activate the higher (wiser) portion of the chest man and the head man. "[I]t is the task of the limb man and chest man to awaken the head-man. Here we come to the true function of teaching and education. You have to develop the limb man and part of the chest man, and then let this limb man and part of the chest man awaken the other part of the chest man and the head-man." — R. Steiner, THE STUDY OF MAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 11, GA 293. (Note that one other occasions, Steiner gave somewhat different descriptions of the purpose of education. See, e.g., "Here's the Answer".]

chest system
- also see abdominal system; chest man; head system; metabolic-limb system; nerve-senses system; rhythmic-circulatory system

One of the three systems comprising the human physical constitution, according to Steiner; the others are the head system and the abdominal (or metabolic-limb) systems. “As we appear physically, we are clearly divided into the head system, the chest system, and the abdominal system, including the limbs." — R. Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 59. The three systems are distinct from one another, Steiner said, but they also reflect and overlie one another. [See "What We Are".] 

According to Anthroposophical belief, the abdominal system (seat of the will) is predominant in children until the age of seven. The chest system (seat of emotion) is then predominant until the age of 14. The head system (seat of thought) is predominant after that until the age of 21. The Waldorf curriculum is meant to reflect and augment these three stages of childhood. [See "Waldorf Curriculum".]

For more on the chest system, see the entry in this encyclopedia for "rhythmic-circulatory system".

childhood, children - also see childhood diseases; constitutional types; incarnation; play at Waldorf schools; seven-year stages of growth; temperaments

Anthroposophists believe children are newly incarnated beings who have come from the spirit realm, with many previous earthly incarnations behind them. They come with memories of the spirit realm and should be kept young as long as possible to preserve those memories. [See "Thinking Cap".] Children are born four times — the four human bodies (three of them invisible) incarnate during a series of seven-year-long periods. The Waldorf curriculum is keyed to this schedule. “If you recall the teachings of Spiritual Science [1] on the subject of the education of the child you will know that in the first seven-year period of life [2]...man develops principally the physical body ... [T]his is really a recapitulation of what man underwent on Old Saturn [3] ... The second of the seven-year periods...is a recapitulation of what man underwent on Old Sun [4] ... The third seven-year period...recapitulates the development of the astral body that normally belongs to the Old Moon epoch. [5]” — R. Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 68. The etheric body incarnates at about age 7, the astral body at about age 14, and the "I" (or ego or ego body) at about age 21. [See "Incarnation".]

The Waldorf view of childhood is greatly complicated by Steiner's occult doctrines. Thus, for instance, Steiner was devoted to the number 3, which he considered magical. Thus, he described childhood in terms of three sets of three elements, and he said children pass through three stages. To make this system coherent, he hammered together things that are actually quite separate, as when he spoke of the "limb-metabolic system." Here is the resulting picture of childhood painted by Anthroposophy: "On the level of soul, [Steiner] describes the human being as a threefold being, one who thinks, feels, and wills. On the level of consciousness, these three forces manifest as wakefulness (thinking), dreaming (feeling), and deep sleep (willing). On the level of physiology, they utilize the three 'systems' of nerve-senses (thinking), rhythmic-circulatory (feeling), and limb-metabolic (willing). On the level of human development, these forces unfold in discrete seven-year periods: willing dominates the first seven years of life, feelings become accessible to the child in the second seven-year period, and independent thinking blossoms after age fourteen.” — E. Schwartz in the foreword to a collection of Steiner’s lectures and remarks, THE RENEWAL OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 12.

[1] Both Theosophy and Anthroposophy refer to themselves as "spiritual science." When Steiner used the term, he essentially meant his own teachings: the study of the spirit realm through the use of disciplined clairvoyance, leading to the occult "knowledge" he claimed to possess. [See "Exactly" and "Knowing the Worlds".]

[2] The proposition that humans develop through a series of seven-year-long cycles has sometimes been called Steiner's most important educational contribution. [See "Most Significant".] 

[3] I.e., during the first seven years of life, while the physical body is being developed, a child recapitulates the human condition during the first incarnation of the solar system, called Old Saturn. [See "Matters of Form".]

[4] Old Sun was the second incarnation of the solar system. The etheric body incarnates at the beginning of a child's second seven-year period, and the astral body — the second invisible body — incarnates at the end of it (that is, around age 14).

[5] Old Moon was the third incarnation of the solar system. The astral body incarnates at the beginning of this seven-year period, and the "I" — the third invisible body — incarnates at the end of it (that is, around age 21).

childhood diseases - also see childhood; inoculation; medicine; vaccination

In Anthroposophical belief, children need to undergo certain childhood diseases. Interference by parents or doctors, as through vaccination, can be harmful. "Childhood diseases...result from a necessary developmental process in which the human being tries to overcome influences from the inherited physical body. The child must bring inherited substances into line with his own 'I' [1] ... The intensity of this process depends on the degree of conformity between the physical body and the 'I'. The bigger the difference, the more intense the harmonization process expressed in these types of disease will have to be. This basic concept of the origin of childhood diseases has been complicated by new forms of medication that suppress symptoms (vaccination) ... [T]he harmonization process is partly blocked by their use. [2]" — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 20. Hence, childhood diseases are necessary for healthful development and should usually be allowed to run their course. [3]

[1] That is to say, children inherit certain characteristics from their parents, but they also develop their "I's" — their unique spiritual selfhood. Childhood can be seen as a process of reconciling these two forces (inheritance and dawning selfhood) or the process of subjugating/disciplining inheritance so that it does not conflict with or distort one's individuality. According to Anthroposophical belief, childhood diseases manifest the conflict between the two forces and the effort to reconcile them.
[2] Steiner did not absolutely forbid vaccination, but his followers are loath to allow children to be vaccinated. In addition to the imagined problem mentioned here by van Oort, Anthroposophists fear that vaccines can destroy spirituality. [See "Steiner's Quackery".]
[3] For more on the Anthroposophical view of childhood diseases, see, e.g., BLESSED BY ILLNESS (Anthroposophic Press, 1983), by L.F.C. Mees. (Accounts of medical matters at Waldorf schools can be found at the Waldorf Watch Annex — e.g., March, 2013 and May, 2011.)

Chinese (people) - also see abnormal; Asians; Malayan race; Mongolian race; races

Some people are not up to standard; they are abnormal or inferior, according to Steiner. "Low" races tend to be populated by such souls, according to Steiner. The Chinese race, for example, includes many substandard souls, according to Steiner. This is a consequence of opium addiction in China, Steiner said. “By bringing about the ‘opiumising’ of Chinese bodies and causing generations to come into being under the influence of opium's forces, it was possible to condemn the Chinese to take in, to a certain extent, some very immature, sub-standard [sic] souls. [1]” — R. Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1988), lecture 13, GA 173.

[1] I.e., substandard souls have tended to incarnate in Chinese bodies. [For more on Steiner's views of various races and peoples, see "Differences" and "Races".]

choleric - also see humours; melancholic; phlegmatic; sanguine; temperaments

One of the four temperaments described in ancient Greek medical theory. A choleric individual supposedly has a high level of the chemical "humour" called yellow bile. The medical profession long ago put aside the antiquated concept of the four classical temperaments and humours, but Steiner revived it and it is still observed in Waldorf schools today. [See "Humouresque" and "Temperaments".] "People who have a choleric temperament have a strong awareness of the 'I' [1] ... They have a clear and quick comprehension ... [They] are born leaders ... Justice is extremely important to them ... An attack of blind anger is a possible danger, when the 'hotheaded' choleric does not know what he is doing and can inflict terrible damage ... When walking, the choleric tends to dig his heels firmly into the ground. His body is often strong and his neck short ... Favourite color is likely to be red." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), pp. 21-22. 


“The melancholic children are as a rule tall and slender; the sanguine are the most normal; those with more protruding shoulders are the phlegmatic children; and those with a short stout build so that the head almost sinks down into the body are choleric.” — R. Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 34. [R.R. sketch, 2010.] In Waldorf belief, choleric students are stocky and bull-necked; they walk with a militant tread; their memories are poor; they are amiable when allowed to lead, but otherwise they erupt in anger; teachers should challenge them.

[1] The "I" is the spiritual ego, the third of our invisible bodies, our spark of divine selfhood. [See "Ego".]

Christ - also see Christ Being; Christ Event; Christ Impulse; Christianity; Cosmic Christ; cosmic I; Etheric Christ; Golgotha; Guardian(s) of the Threshold; Jesus; Second Coming of Christ; Sun God

Steiner derived many of his views from Theosophy [see "Basics"] and from gnostic Christianity [see "Gnosis"]. Thus, Steiner's teachings about Christ are generally quite different from those found within mainstream Christian denominations. [See "Was He Christian?"] Although Steiner sometimes spoke of Christ as the Son of God or the second person of the Christian triune God, he more generally described Christ as one of the innumerable gods inhabiting a polytheistic universe. [See "Polytheism".] Various gods have differing levels of importance to us at various stages of our evolution; Christ is the god who is most important to us at our current evolutionary stage. Specifically, Steiner taught that Christ is a sublime Sun being, the Sun God (the Genius of the Sun, the Sun Hero, the highest of the Solar Pitris). [See "Sun God".] Christ has descended to the physical plane several times during mankind's life on this plane; Christ is an avatar. [See "Avatars".] His most important descent to Earth came when he incarnated in the body of a man named Jesus. The “Christ event” (entailing the "Mystery of Golgotha" — Christ's ministry and Crucifixion), provided the “Christ impulse” for human evolution. Christ became mankind's Prototype, showing us what we should become. [See "Prototype".] Christ poured his essence into the Earth, and he revealed the greater Guardian of the Threshold. [See "Guardians".] Modern people have lost the truth about Christ; to regain it, we need to heed Steiner.

“It was known to the initiated priests of these Mysteries [1] that the sublime Sun-Spirit of whom they spoke to the worshippers is the same Being as He who would later be called the Christ. But before the Mystery of Golgotha [2] the priests could speak to this effect only: 'If you desire to know something of the Christ, you will seek in vain on the earth; you must be lifted to the secrets of the sun. For only outside and beyond the earth will you find the mysteries pertaining to the Christ.'

“...Until the fourth century after the Mystery of Golgotha there were always some who knew that Christ, the Sun-Being, and the Christ who had lived in Jesus of Nazareth were one and the same. It is deeply moving to learn from Spiritual Science [3] of the fervent prayers of men in the early Christian centuries: 'Thanks be to the Christ-Being from whom we should perforce have been separated, had He not come down from spiritual worlds [4] to us here on earth!'

“After the fourth century A.D. the human mind could no longer comprehend that the Christ, who ensures immortality for men, was the sublime, divine Sun-Being. [5] From that time until our own day there have been only the external words of the Gospels, telling of the Mystery of Golgotha. Nevertheless, these words of the Gospels worked throughout the centuries with such power that they turned men's hearts to the Mystery of Golgotha.” — R. Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, III (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1958), chapter 3, GA 226.


Christ as depicted in the monumental statue
at the Anthroposophical headquarters.
[Public domain photo.]

Steiner "corrected" the Biblical account of the life and ministry of Christ Jesus. [See "Steiner's Fifth Gospel".] 

[1] I.e., ancient pagan priests who possessed hidden knowledge.
[2] Golgotha is Calvary, the site of Christ's Crucifixion. The "mystery" of Golgotha is the occult significance of Christ's incarnation, life, and Crucifixion on Earth. (The term is sometimes used to refer specifically to the way Christ united with the Earth when, using the Crucifixion, the blood of Jesus flowed into the Earth.)
[3] I.e., Steiner's own teachings or, more generally, the use of clairvoyance to objectively investigate the spirit realm.
[4] Anthroposophy generally does not speak of heaven; rather, there are spiritual planes, worlds, and spheres above us. [See "Higher Worlds".] Christ the Sun God came to Earth from the sphere of the Sun.
[5] According to Anthroposophical belief, we are evolving through a series of forms of consciousness. Overall, the trajectory is upward, toward higher and higher consciousness. But at the moment, in our Earthly lives on the physical plane, we have lost certain powers of spiritual comprehension — we are sunk in a material existence. Thus, we have lost some of the knowledge the ancients possessed, but we will regain it — and surpass it — in the future.

Christ Being - also see Christ; Sun God

The god whom Anthroposophists call Christ is different from the Son of God recognized in orthodox or mainstream Christianity. [See "Was He Christian?"] In speaking of "Christ," Anthroposophists mean the Sun God, the same god other religions have recognized under an assortment of other names. [See "Sun God".] For this reason, they sometimes use terms such as "the Christ Being" to indicate the distinction between their "true" Christ and the mistaken apprehension of Christ held by virtually everyone else. Thus, for instance, Steiner made such statements as "[I]n the Christ Being we have to do with a high spiritual Being...for whose own evolution the Old Sun period [1] was especially important ... [We] look up to the Christ Being as a high spiritual Being. [2]" — R. Steiner, CHRIST AND THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2008), p. 52.

[1] I.e., the second great stage of human evolution, the second condition of consciousness, the second incarnation of the solar system. [See "Matters of Form".] Like mankind, the gods themselves evolve. Here Steiner says that Christ's evolution progressed markedly during Old Sun.
[2] I.e., a high god — one of many. [See "Polytheism".]

Christ Consciousness - also see Christ; Christ Event; Mystery of Golgotha; Prototype; Turning Point of Time

According to Steiner, this is the consciousness made possible for humanity by Christ's sacrifice (his death at Golgotha). Christ was man's "prototype", the ideal on whom we should model ourselves, Steiner taught. [1] Christ altered human evolution. After a long period of descending further and further into material existence, humanity could begin rising toward the spirit realm. [2] The essential nature of Christ Consciousness is mankind's new capacity to be guided by the understand Not I, but the Christ in me.

"Let us reflect from this point of view upon the words of Christ with which He sent His disciples out into the world to proclaim His Name, and in His Name to forgive sins. Why to forgive sins in His Name? Because the forgiveness of sins is connected with His Name. Sins can be blotted out and transformed into living life only if Christ can be united with our Earth-relics, if during our Earth-existence He is within us in the sense of the Pauline saying: 'Not I, but Christ in me'. [3]" — R. Steiner, CHRIST AND THE HUMAN SOUL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 4, GA 155.

Our futuire evolution, Steiner taught, will essentially mean an ever intensifying and elevating evolution of Christ Consciousness. "The Earth period will be followed by the Jupiter period, when two races, the good and the evil, will differentiate themselves. A Venus-existence will follow that of Jupiter, and again there will be an adjustment through the further evolution of the Christ-consciousness." — Ibid., synopsis of lecture 4.

[1] See "Prototype".
[2] This was the "Turning Point of Time" — the turning point in human spiritual evolution. [See "Turning Point of Time" in this encyclopedia.]
[3] These words, attributed to Saint Paul, are included in a special prayer Steiner prescribed for Waldorf teachers: "Dear God, may it be that, as far as my own personal ambitions is concerned], that I completely forget myself, and may Christ make true in me the Pauline word, 'Not I, but Christ in me.' So that the Holy Spirit may hold sway in the teacher. This is the true trinity." [See "Prayers".]

Christ Event - also see avatars; Christ; Jesus; Second Coming of Christ; Turning Point of Time

In Anthroposophy, a "Christ Event" consists of miraculous actions taken by Christ affecting Earthly and human evolution — the intervention of Christ in Earthly affairs. According to Steiner, there have been several such events — although the most important was the one entailing Christ's Crucifixion and its consequences. [See "Christ Events".] The first "Christ event" occurred while we lived on the ancient (mythical) continent of Lemuria. [1] "If, during the old Lemurian epoch, the first Christ-Event had not taken place, Lucifer and Ahriman [2] would have been able to bring about disaster to the whole of humanity ... [T]he being who later became the Nathan-Jesus [3], and who otherwise would have had the form of an angel, took on human form [4] ... In the super-earthly region [5] Jesus of Nazareth is to be found as an etheric angel-form. [6] Through permeation with the Christ [7] he then assumed etheric human form. [8] Thereby something new entered the Cosmos and rayed down upon Earth and made it possible for man, the physical earthly human form, into whom streamed the force of the etheric super-earthly Christ-Being, to protect himself from that destruction which must have overtaken him. [9]” — R. Steiner, "Pre-Earthly Deeds of Christ" (Steiner Book Centre, 1976), a lecture, GA 152.

[1] See "Lemuria".
[2] Great demons, who tempt and threaten mankind, but who also bring us gifts that benefit us when Christ offsets their powers. Note that their intentions are wicked: They would "bring about disaster to the whole of humanity." [See "Lucifer" and "Ahriman".]
[3] Steiner taught that there were two Jesus children, one from the line of Nathan and one from the line of Solomon. The spirit of Buddha was in the former, the spirit of Zarathustra in the latter. The two children (each having parents named Mary and Joseph) merged to become the vessel in which the Sun God incarnated. [See "Was He Christian?" and "Steiner's Fifth Gospel".]
[4] I.e., the Nathan Jesus would normally have been an Angel — a god one level above humanity — but instead he incarnated as a physical human.
[5] I.e., the spirit realm above the Earthly level of existence.
[6] I.e., the Jesus who lived in Nazareth has the etheric body of an Angel. [See the entry for "etheric body" in this encyclopedia.] In general, Steiner used the title "Jesus of Nazareth" to refer to the combined Jesuses who became the vessel for the Sun God. "‘Jesus of Nazareth’ was now a Being, whose inmost nature comprised all the blessings of Buddhism and Zoroastrianism." — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. LUKE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 5, GA 114. In a more limited sense, "Jesus of Nazareth" is (usually) identified as the Jesus of the Nathan line; the Jesus of the Solomon line eventually merged with him, Steiner taught.
[7] I.e., through the infusion of the Sun God into the body of Jesus.
[8] I.e., he took on a human etheric body rather than an Angelic etheric body.
[9] Although Lucifer and Ahriman threatened disaster for humanity, man was able to protect himself because of the Christ influences streaming down to Earth from the higher worlds above.

Christian Community - also see Anthroposophy; Christianity; Cosmic Christ; religion

This is an openly religious offshoot of Anthroposophy — a "Christian" denomination that has adapted itself to Anthroposophy. "The Christian Community is part of an international movement for the renewal of religion, founded in 1922 in Switzerland by the eminent Lutheran theologian and minister Friedrich Rittlemeyer, with the help of Rudolf Steiner, Austrian thinker and mystic ...  [T]he teachings are rich, varied and evolving. They are inspired by traditional Christian theology, the original work of Rudolf Steiner, and by independent research and insights of priests and members. There is room in this modern Christian theology to incorporate such ideas as reincarnation and karma, a truly cosmic conception of Christ [1], and the role of spiritual beings at all levels of existence. [2]" — thechristiancommunity.org. [See "Christian Community" and "My Life Among the Anthroposophists".]

[1] The "cosmic" Christ is the Sun God. [See "Sun God" and the entry for "Cosmic Christ" in this encyclopedia.]

[2] The primary "spiritual beings" are a plethora of gods. Anthroposophy is polytheistic, and the Christian Community has adapted itself to such polytheism. [See "Polytheism".]

Christian-Gnostic way - also see gnosis; gnosticism; Rosicrucianism; Yoga

According to Steiner, this is one of the three paths to occult initiation [1]; the others are Rosicrucianism [2] and Yoga. [3] Rosicrucianism is the right path for modern humans, Steiner said (having redefined Rosicrucianism so that it is almost indistinguishable from Anthroposophy); in it, the student's guru is more a friend than a master. The Christian-Gnostic way, incorporating gnostic teachings [4] deemed heretical by mainstream Christian churches, was appropriate for humans during the period before the modern age, Steiner said; in it, the student's guru leads the student to Christ (gnostically conceived as the Sun God [5]), who then supplants the guru. The oldest way is the path of yoga, which was appropriate for ancient humans, Steiner said; on that path, a student's guru is a master who must be strictly obeyed. [6]

Christian Gnosticism remains relevant, but only for some, Steiner said. 
“Those persons who today are still inwardly upright and honest Christians, those who are permeated with certain principle themes of Christianity, may choose the Christian-Gnostic path, which differs little from the Cabbalistic path. [7] For Europeans in general, however, the Rosicrucian path is the only right path ... An Oriental Yoga training without a strong submission to the authority of the guru is totally impossible. The Christian-Gnostic or Cabbalistic path allows a somewhat looser relationship to the guru on the physical plane. The guru leads his pupil to Christ Jesus; he is the mediator. With the Rosicrucian path, the guru becomes always more a friend whose authority rests on inner agreement.” — R. Steiner, ESOTERIC DEVELOPMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1982), lecture 8, GA 96. 

Steiner was defensive about charges that he sought to revive Christian Gnosticism and that his doctrines resulted from his reading of occult texts. He claimed, on the contrary, to have made independent discoveries about the spirit realm through his disciplined use of clairvoyance. “Of my clairvoyant researches into the world of spirit it has often been alleged that they are a re-hash, howsoever modified, of ideas about the spiritual world which have prevailed from time to time ... Gnostic doctrines, oriental fables, and wisdom-teachings were alleged to be the real source of my descriptions [of the spirit realm] ... My knowledge of the spiritual — of this I am fully conscious — springs from my own spiritual vision ... As to whatever I might formerly have read...I was able to eliminate such things completely while engaged on supersensible research. [8] [paragraph break] But the critics [said that] I was merely reviving the ideas of Christian Gnosticism. Time and again I found myself confronted with comments of this kind ... OCCULT SCIENCE — AN OUTLINE, now to be published in a new edition, is after all an epitome of anthroposophical Spiritual Science as a whole, and is pre-eminently exposed to the same kinds of misunderstanding. [9]” — R. Steiner, 1925 preface to OCCULT SCIENCE — AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969), GA 13.

[1] See "Inside Scoop".
[2] See "Rosy Cross".
[3] See "Yoga".
[4] See "Gnosis".
[5] See 
"Sun God".
[6] Steiner's account of the role of the guru varied from statement to statement. He generally indicated that spiritual aspirants must place full reliance on their gurus, no matter which path they take. [See "Guru".]
[7] See the entry for "Cabalism", above. (Steiner here essentially folds Cabalism into Gnosticism.)
[8] I.e., disciplined use of clairvoyance to study the spirit realm. [See "Knowing the Worlds".]
[9] This is Steiner's most important occult text, outlining the results of his "supersensible research," i.e., "anthroposophical Spiritual Science." [See "Everything".] 

Christianity - also see Christian Community; gnosticism; occultism; Rosicrucianism; Theosophy; cf. Anthroposophy

a) A monotheistic religion centered on Jesus Christ as the Savior of mankind.

b) Anthroposophical "Christianity" violates the foregoing definition — it is polytheistic and sees Christ as the descended Sun God, an avatar who became mankind's Prototype. By the standards of mainstream Christian churches, it is heretical. 


Was He Christian?”.]

Steiner sometimes called Anthroposophy "Christianity," but he also drew a line between Anthroposophy and orthodox Christianity. The “Christianity” Steiner advocated is an “inner” or “spiritualized” belief system that identifies Christ as the Sun God (or Genius of the Sun); He is one of a plethora of gods, although He has particular importance to humanity because He enhanced human “evolution.” This Christ is the god revealed through “mystery” or occult teachings. “From what the ancient Mystery wisdom [1] saw, and through the prophetic sight of future Mystery wisdom [2], we gather that the human beings who take in what we shall call the inner Christianity, the spiritualized Christianity, those who look to the Genius of the Sun with regard to Christ: these individuals [3] will experience an acceleration of their evolution and reappear on the earth again at the end of twentieth century.” — R. Steiner,

 THE BOOK OF REVELATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 116

While Anthroposophy draws heavily from gnostic Christian and Rosicrucian traditions, it is chiefly an offshoot of Theosophy, and it accepts many Hindu doctrines and concepts. It also includes lesser strains derived from other religions, such as Zoroastrianism and Buddhism.

[1] I.e., occult knowledge that comprehends spiritual mysteries. Ancient mystery wisdom is the occult knowledge possessed by clairvoyant seers in the past. Steiner taught that such seers had some comprehension of Christ, the Sun God, but their comprehension was incomplete.
[2] Steiner professed to employ precise clairvoyance that allowed him to see the mystery wisdom of the future.
[3] I.e., true Anthroposophists. Steiner taught that normally centuries pass between incarnations. [To consider Steiner's forecasts for the end of the twentieth century, see "Millennium".]

Christian Rosenkreutz - see Rosenkreutz, Christian

Christ Impulse - also see Christ; Christ Principle; evolution; Mystery of Golgotha; Prototype

According to Steiner, this is the spiritual power provided for human evolution by the Sun God, Christ. Through the incarnation of Christ on Earth, this power passed into the Earth and became available to all humans, Steiner taught. "[I]n the Sermon on the Mount [1] the great message that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand is proclaimed. In the course of these events the mystery of human evolution was fulfilled in Palestine. [2] Man had reached a degree of maturity in all the members of his being [3] so that he was able with his purified physical forces to receive the Christ impulse directly into himself. [4] So it came to pass that the God-man Christ 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 during Kali Yuga. [5]" — R. Steiner, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (Anthroposophic Press, 1978), lecture 2, GA 107. [

See "Sermon".] Upon the death of Jesus on the cross, his blood flowed into the Earth, uniting Christ with the Earth permanently.

[1] See "Sermon".

[2] I.e., the occult significance of human evolution was realized, in Palestine, in the life of the Sun-God-in-Jesus. Christ Jesus fulfilled the human potential, becoming the Prototype of humanity's proper further evolution: He showed us how to be our own best selves. [See "Prototype".]

[3] I

.e., all parts of the human constitution (especially as realized in the body of Jesus) reached a high level of development.
[4] I.e., because man (in particular, Jesus) had evolved as far as he had, it became possible for the human body to receive the spiritual impulse sent by the Sun God.
[5] I.e., the spiritual dark age. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Kali Yuga".]

Christmas - also see Christ; festivals; Sun God; Winterfest

The observance of Christmas at Waldorf schools is, in part, the traditional Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus; in part, it is the celebration of the Sun God's incarnation [1]; in part, it is a pagan seasonal festival, a Winter Festival [2], celebrating the turn of the annual cycle, marking the passage of the shortest day of the year and thus the impending return of the Sun's warmth. [See R. Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), lectures 1-8; also see "Christmas".]



Rudolf Steiner, 


(Anthroposophic Press, 1967).

Stamped on the cover of this book are symbols often used as Christmas-tree decorations in Waldorf schools. At the top: a pentagram, which Steiner said is the symbol of man; then the Tao, symbolizing divinity as apprehended on Atlantis [3]; then the symbols of Alpha and Omega (beginning and end) bracketing Tarok, symbolizing ancient Egyptian occult knowledge; then the triangle, symbolizing man's three spiritual components [4]; and finally the square, representing the fourfold nature of man. [5]

[1] See "Sun God".

[2] See the section on Waldorf festivals in "Magical Arts".

[3] Steiner taught that Atlantis really existed; mankind dwelled there before the current great epoch of human evolution. [See "Atlantis".]

[4] See "Our Parts".

Christmas Conference, The - also see Anthroposophical Society; Anthroposophy; Foundation Stone Meditation; General Anthroposophical Society

Late in Steiner's life, Anthroposophy was in turmoil. There were disputes and schisms among Anthroposophists, and the original Goetheanum — the Anthroposophical headquarters — had burned down. (Anthroposophists attribute the fire to arson, but no proof was ever produced.) Steiner laid plans for a new Goetheanum, and he officially joined the Anthroposophical Society, a step he had refrained from taking previously. Steiner used the Anthroposophical conference late in December, 1923, to re-inaugurate the movement — Anthroposophists today look back on this as the true launching of Anthroposophy, and they credit Steiner with sacrificing himself for their sake. "Rudolf Steiner knew the risk. To unite his destiny, his individual karma, with that of the Society's membership might very well cloud his relationship with the spiritual beings [1] who guided and nourished the Movement." — H. Barnes, A LIFE FOR THE SPIRIT, Rudolf Steiner in the Crosscurrents of Our Time (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 201. (Viewed from this perspective, Steiner himself becomes a Christlike figure. “His life, consecrated wholly to the sacrificial service of humanity, was requited with unspeakable hostility; his way of knowledge was transformed into a path of thorns. But he walked the whole way, and mastered it for all of humanity.” — M. Steiner, in the Conclusion of R. Steiner's THE STORY OF MY LIFE (Anthroposophic Press, 1928), p. 340.)

[1] I.e., gods, guiding spirits, fonts of occult wisdom.

Christmas Foundation Meeting, The - see The Christmas Conference

Christmas Play - also see Kings' Play; Paradise Play; Shepherds' Play

"The second in a sequence of three plays performed between Advent and Epiphany by the staff of many Waldorf schools ... The plays originate from an age-old tradition among [German] peasants ... In the Christmas Play the story of the birth of Jesus as described in the Gospel of St Luke is performed."
 — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 24.

Christ Principle

 - also see Christ; Christ Impulse; evolution; Mystery of Golgotha; Prototype; Turning Point of Time 

Effectively the same as the Christ Impulse, this is the essential spiritual power of Christ, altering human evolution, redirecting us to the spirit realm. We had been descending further and further into the physical or material level of existence. The incarnation of the Sun God [1] on Earth produced the Turning Point of Time [2], giving us a new impetus to turn upward again toward true spirituality. "As the evolution of humanity reached the Greek period [3], human beings were confronted by another force that began to drive them back up to the spiritual world from which, as it were, they had been expelled since the Lemurian age. [4] This new force was the Christ-Principle, which entered Jesus of Nazareth and permeated His three bodies — the physical, the etheric, and the astral. [5] When the human soul is completely imbued with the Christ-Principle, the Ahrimanic and Luciferic powers [6] will be defeated, and through this principle the course of evolution will be reversed. [7]" — R. Steiner, THE PRINCIPLE OF SPIRITUAL ECONOMY (Anthroposophic Press, 1986), lecture 4, GA 109. Just as the Jesus was imbued by the Christ Principle, so can all humans be similarly imbued, according to Steiner.

[1] See "Sun God".
[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Turning Point of Time".
[3] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Greco-Roman Age".
[4] See "Lemuria".
[5] These are three of the four bodies that a fully incarnated human possesses, according to Steiner. [See "Incarnation".]
[6] See "Ahriman", "Lucifer", and "Evil Ones".
[7] I.e., the downward trend will end and we will begin rising again toward the spirit realm.

Christ, Second Coming of - also see avatars; 

Christ Event; Etheric Christ; Second Coming of Christ

a) In Christian belief, the physical return of the Savior to Earth at the Last Judgment.

b) In Anthroposophy, the return of Christ in the etheric realm. [1] By most Anthroposophical accounts, it has already happened — it came or began during the year 1930 CE, following the end of Kali Yuga (approximately 1899 CE) and Rudolf Steiner's death in 1925. [2] The Second Coming was preceded by other "Christ events". [See "Christ Events".] Waldorf schools often celebrate Advent, the festival of Christ's appearance or reappearance. [See "Magical Arts".] 

Essentially, in Anthroposophy, the "Second Coming" is not the bodily return of Jesus Christ to the Earth, but humanity's awakened ability to apprehend the essence of Christ, the Sun God, present in the etheric level of existence. "[I]t must be understood that Christ's coming to Earth was a unique occasion which will not be repeated ... This event [3] has to be understood not as a coming again of the Christ but as a raising of the human power to perceive Him spiritually." — R. Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER - An Introduction to His Spiritual World-View, Anthroposophy (Temple Lodge, 2005), p. 240. [4]

For more on this subject, see the entry for "Second Coming of Christ" in this encyclopedia.

[1] I.e., the supersensible (supernatural) realm above the physical level of reality. [See the entry for "etheric realm" in this encyclopedia.]
[2] Steiner began delivering spiritual lectures in 1899. Anthroposophists see this as the marker if not the cause of the end of Kali Yuga, the spiritual "dark age." Steiner's own work was instrumental in enabling humanity to perceive Christ in the etheric realm, Anthroposophists believe. The culmination of Steiner's earthly mission, in 1925, set the stage for the return of Christ in 1930, or so Steiner's followers tend to believe.
[3] I
.e., the Second Coming. This quotation asserts that the Second Coming differs from Christ's birth on Earth in the bodily form of Jesus. During the former, Christ became a physical presence on the Earth; during the later, Christ does not come bodily to Earth.
Whether the Earthly life of Christ as narrated in the Bible was indeed a "unique occurrence" is not quite correct, according to Steiner's teachings. [See "Avatars" and the entry for "Christ Event", below.] Steiner said, sometimes, that Christ came to Earth more than once. Anthroposophists pore over Steiner's words, sometimes in perplexity, and doctrinal disputes are common.

Chronos - see Cronus

chthonic - also see materialism; matter; nature

a) In normal usage, pertaining to the underworld.

b) In Anthroposophical usage (usually), "chthon" is the principle or essence of the earthly, the material, the natural.
When the chthonic is not properly incarnated in healthful bodily manifestation, moral monstrosities result. "[T]he mix of chthonic energies invoked by freewheeling ego-centric human free willing divorced from grounding in the body results in a variety of modern abominations, the atom bomb, corporate profit-driven genetic engineering, pharmaceutical drug-driven psychological therapy, computer-driven financial micro-trading algorithms, and the militarization of civilian life being only a few of the most obvious." — S. Clarke, "Some Notes Toward the Resolution of the Dilemma" (Rudolf Steiner Archive, 2014).