Ci - Cu

[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 (cont.) -


cinema - see films

circus arts - also see clowns; play; Winterfest

A tangential Waldorf practice is the teaching of "circus arts." Classes in such arts often culminate in circus performances staged before the rest of the school. [1] At one level, the teaching of circus arts is an extension of the Waldorf belief that education should include large elements of play. [2] Consistent with this, particular emphasis is sometimes put on teaching kids clowning. [3] Other considerations include the Waldorf goal of educating the "whole child." [4] Circus arts such as tumbling, juggling, and so forth, contribute to the training of the physical body (PE, physical education) without involving athletic competition. [5] The highest purpose of Waldorf circus instruction and performance is connected to the schools' spiritual (Anthroposophical) intentions. Elements of magic and miracle pervade good circus performances. These elements are congenial to the mystical Waldorf belief system. [6] Then, too, some characters represented in circuses — especially clowns — often seem otherworldly, which accords with Waldorf beliefs affirming the real existence of fabulous beings such as fairies and gnomes. [7] Somewhat like the gnome dolls and figurines that are often found in Waldorf schools [8], the presence of clowns may accustom young children to the possibility that mystical entities may be real. For students, the difference between reality and the magical/mysterious may weaken, then, or even break down altogether. [9] No one believes in the "real" existence of clowns, presumably, but Waldorf education is certainly meant to lead kids toward belief in other sorts of otherworldly presences. When students assume the persona of clowns or other circus characters, their ties to their real identities and to reality overall are severed, at least temporarily. [10] At a minimum, devoting time to circus arts suits the anti-intellectual bias of Waldorf education. Time spent playing, clowning, tumbling, juggling, etc., is time not devoted to academic instruction and learning. [11] A final point: Waldorf circus performances are sometimes attended only by students and staff, but sometimes they are open to the public. This turns these performances into public relations exercises, putting a happy face on Waldorf education. [12]

[1] On other occasions, the schools may bring in professional or semi-professional circus troupes to give performances. Some of these troupes have roots in Waldorf circus-arts programs.

[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "play at Waldorf schools".

[3] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "clowns, clowning".  

[4] See "Holistic Education".

[5] Rudolf Steiner was sharply critical of athletic competition. "Sports are practical Darwinism, and that means setting up the goal of degenerating people back into animals." — R. Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE — Foundations of Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 201. Despite this, Waldorf schools sometimes field teams to compete with other schools in sports such as basketball and soccer. Also, the schools often stage their own "Olympics." [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Olympics".]

[6] See, e.g., "Magic".

[7] See, e.g., "Beings".

[8] See "Gnomes".
[9] See "Who Gets Hurt".
[10] This is comparable to the role playing that occurs during Waldorf Winterfests or Carnivals.
[11] See "Steiner's Specific" and "Academic Standards at Waldorf". Time spent on physical education may usually be time well spent. But in Waldorf schools, enormous effort, energy, and time often go to the preparation of festivals and other special events and performances, including circuses. Much of the time spent on these things is subtracted from time that could have gone to academic instruction. [See, e.g., the section "The Schools' Celebrations", in "My Life Among the Anthroposophists".]
[12] Waldorf schools often make considerable public relations efforts, seeking to attract new families and financial support. [See "PR".]

civilization, civilized people - also see advanced races; Central Europe; Europe; Europeans; Germany; cf. savages

For Steiner and his followers, "civilized" is virtually a synonym for "white European." According to Anthroposophical doctrine, other races remain at levels civilized whites have left behind. “[O]ur white civilized humankind originated because certain elements segregated themselves from the Atlanteans [1] and developed themselves higher here [2], under different climatic conditions. Certain elements of the Atlantean population remained behind, at earlier levels; thus we can see that the peoples of Asia and America are remnants of the various Atlantean races. [3]” — R. Steiner, DIE WELTRÄTSEL UND DIE ANTHROPOSOPHIE (Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), GA 54, p. 145. [See "White Guys".] 

The history of humanity on Earth, according to Anthroposophy, is the history of evolution from early civilizations to higher civilizations and the forms of consciousness they make possible. Only the most advanced people, generally, continue the upward movement. Moreover, to some degree, evolution entails losses — in some ways, ancient peoples were more spiritually aware than modern humans are. [4] However, if evolution continues along its correct trajectory as described by Steiner, higher and higher states of civilization and consciousness will be attained. [5]

[1] I.e., the other peoples of or from Atlantis. [See "Atlantis".]

[2] I.e., in Europe.

[3] I.e., peoples in Asia and America have remained at virtually the level of evolution attained by their forebears on Atlantis. The people of Europe, by comparison, have evolved higher, according to Steiner.

[4] See "The Ancients" and the entry in this encyclopedia for "natural clairvoyance".

[5] As we evolve beyond Present Earth, concepts such as "civilization" will become increasingly outdated. See, e.g., "Future Stages".

clairaudience - also see clairsentience; clairvoyance; music of the spheres

The auditory analog of clairvoyance: "hearing" what cannot be detected by ordinary sound receptors. "[W]hen we become conscious of the world of sound, each being, each thing communicates its own true name [1]; in clairaudience we hear the sound which expresses its innermost being and rings forth as a tone in the universe that is distinct from all others." — R. Steiner, AN ESOTERIC COSMOLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), lecture 14, GA 94. 

[1] I.e., its true identity, its true identifier.

clairsentience - also see clairaudience; clairvoyance; natural clairvoyance 

Psychic knowledge or perception acquired through the use of clairvoyance or similar supersensory means. Often, the term is essentially synonymous with clairvoyance — especially, in Anthroposophy, primitive natural clairvoyance. “In earlier, more spiritual ages [1], when men had more wisdom than has modern abstract materialistic science [2], they were always conscious that there was an old clairvoyance [3] to the possessors of which the world became transparent. They felt that man had lost this old sight and had entered into his present state. Formerly, men did not express their knowledge in abstract formulae and theories, but in mighty, vivid pictures. The Myths are not ‘thought out’ or invented, but are the expressions of a profound primeval wisdom acquired by spiritual vision. [4] In ancient times there was consciousness of the fact that at a still earlier epoch man had embraced the whole world in his feeling, and this is expressed in the Myths. The ‘clair-sentience’ of the old Indian was the last remnant of an original, dim clairvoyance. This was known; but what was not known, was that this clairvoyance — let us summarise it so — withdraws little by little, giving way to the external life which is confined to the world of the senses. [5]” — R. Steiner, THE EAST IN THE LIGHT OF THE WEST (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1940), lecture 7, GA 113. 

[1] See "The Ancients".

[2] Although he claimed that Anthroposophy is a science, Steiner generally deplored science — especially "abstract materialistic science," by which he meant regular science, natural science, the science that results from use of the physical (material) organ called the brain. He sometimes said that there are no contradictions between regular science and his "spiritual science," but on other occasions he more accurately said that regular science and spiritual science are antithetical. [See "Steiner's 'Science'" and "Science".]

[3] See the entry for "atavistic clairvoyance" in this encyclopedia.

[4] I.e., myths are true accounts of clairvoyant knowledge expressed in word pictures.

[5] I.e., we have lost the old clairvoyance and are now largely confined to the world we perceive with our regular senses. Anthroposophy aims to repair this loss.

clairvoyance - also see atavistic clairvoyance; clairaudience; clairsentience; exact clairvoyance; imagination; inspiration; intuition; natural clairvoyance; pictorial activity

Psychic perception; "seeing" what cannot be seen by ordinary vision, especially spiritual beings and realities; according to Steiner, “true” cognition. Steiner claimed to possess "exact" clairvoyance (i.e., extremely reliable psychic perception), and he set development of such clairvoyance as a goal for Anthroposophists and Waldorf teachers. But clairvoyance almost certainly does not exist — there is no reliable evidence for its existence. Because almost all of Steiner's teachings — including his educational principles — are based on his claimed clairvoyant powers, which are likely nothing but fantasies, there is little or no valid basis for Waldorf/Steiner schooling. [See "Clairvoyance", "Exactly", and "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".]

A few Anthroposophical statements about clairvoyance:

◊ "Clairvoyance is the necessary pre-requisite for the discovery of a spiritual truth...." — R. Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 1, GA 99.

◊ "Not every Waldorf teacher has the gift of clairvoyance, but every one of them has accepted wholeheartedly and with full understanding the results of spiritual-scientific investigation [1] concerning the human being." — R. Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), pp. 224-225.

◊ “Modern exact clairvoyance, as developed by him [2], reveals spiritual facts to spiritual vision as clearly as men's ordinary senses reveal to the intellect the facts of the physical world.” — F. McKnight, RUDOLF STEINER AND ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophical Society in America, 1977), p. 4.

◊ “Anthroposophy seeks for what may be called exact clairvoyance ... [T]hat is to say it seeks to develop a knowledge and perception of the spiritual worlds which is no less exact, no less conscientious in the sense of exact science, than is the best tendency and striving of our natural scientific age ... Now with the development of a higher science, the science of initiation [3], according to modern requirements and to Anthroposophy, it is necessary to train, develop and evolve by our own conscious activity both the conceptual thinking-life and the will-life, and it is thus that we can trace what has been called an exact clairvoyance, a modern science of initiation. [4]” — R. Steiner, "Knowledge and Initiation" (Steiner Book Centre, 1983), a lecture, GA 211.

◊ “Acquiring this kind of exact clairvoyance by a strictly methodical process, we become able to recognize and know what lives within us as a spiritual, supersensible reality [5] ... Now, if we are working as teachers — as artists in education — on human beings, we must enter into relation with their supersensible, creative principle...the supersensible that lives in the human being’s self. [6] The anthroposophical method of research [5] makes this possible and so provides the basis for an art of teaching and education." — R. Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 1 (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), pp. 206-207.


According to Steiner, our ordinary senses and brains are able to apprehend only bare physical phenomena (image on the right), whereas clairvoyance allows one to perceive both the physical and all of the supernal constituents existing beyond the merely physical (image on the left). [R.R., sketch, 2009, based on one by Steiner.]

[1] I.e., the use of clairvoyance.

[2] I.e., Rudolf Steiner.

[3] I.e., spiritual science or occult science, the practice of which depends on occult initiation. [See "Inside Scoop".]

[4] See "Knowing the Worlds".

[5] The "supersensible" lies beyond the reach of ordinary senses. "Supersensible reality" is essentially supernatural reality.

[6] I.e., the spiritual essence of the individual.

[7] I.e., exact clairvoyance. [See "Exactly".]

class books
- see lesson books

Class Readers - also see First Class; School of Spiritual Science

Anthroposophists; members of the First Class [1] in the School of Spiritual Science. They read Steiner's lectures aloud to the rest of the Class. Generally, the lectures are those that Steiner delivered to the original First Class.

[1] See the entry for "First Class" in this encyclopedia.

class teachers at Waldorf schools - also see looping; main lesson; Waldorf teachers; cf. subject teachers

In a process sometimes called "looping," a teacher takes responsibility for a group of Waldorf students and stays with the group for several years. This teacher, the "class teacher," gives the students their main lessons [1] for years, in essentially all subjects. (Other teachers will occasionally provide specialized instruction in particular subjects — these are called "subject teachers.") A Waldorf class teacher will typically stay with the students from first grade through fifth or eighth grade; in rare cases, s/he may stay with them through high school. This requires the teacher to present, over the course of the years, a large number of subjects at a wide range of grade levels, which arguably exceeds any teacher's qualifications. Educational inspectors questioned this system at the first Waldorf school, but the system persists in Waldorf education today. "The school inspector said that with normal teaching methods, average people can be teachers, but with our methods, we need geniuses. I do not think that is necessarily true, but there is something to it.” — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 443-444. Arguably, the Waldorf class teacher system ensures that at least some subjects, at some levels, will be badly taught.

Waldorf teachers generally take the role of priests or spiritual guides for their students. [2] The class teacher becomes the highest of these "priests" for the students in any given Waldorf class. S/he is meant to supplant students' parents as the central authority in the students' lives. As Steiner said to the first group of Waldorf teachers, "You will have to take over children for their education and instruction — children who will have received already (as you must remember) the education, or mis-education given them by their parents." — R. Steiner, THE STUDY OF MAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 16. While all Waldorf teachers are encompassed in such directives, class teachers carry particular responsibility. In a sense, a Waldorf class is the arena in which the class teacher exercises her/his spiritual, artistic, and conceptual freedom. "Freedom in Teaching ... [T]he Waldorf teacher is expected to meet the needs of the children in the class [3] ... Interference with the freedom of the teacher by the school, parents, standardized testing regimens, or the government, while they may be necessary in a specific circumstance...are nonetheless compromises [4]." — Editors, THE SEVEN CORE PRINCIPLES OF WALDORF EDUCATION (Waldorf Publications, 2017), pp.10-11.

[1] I.e., the first, longest lessons of typical Waldorf school days. [See "Waldorf Curriculum" and "Methods".]
[2] See, e.g., "Waldorf Priests".
[3] This statement applies in particular to Waldorf class teachers. This teacher is responsible for "the children in the class."
[4] Such "compromises," consisting of "interference," should be avoided. This is a "core principle" of Waldorf education.

Clement, Christian (b. 1968)

A former Waldorf teacher, Clement is currently a professor in the Germanic and Slavic Languages Department at Brigham Young University. He has undertaken to edit and publish a critical edition of some of Rudolf Steiner's key works. The first volumes have appeared, in German.

clowns, clowning - also see circus arts; intuition; Maypole dance; pagan; white magician

"The buffoon-jester is only one type of clown. Far older historically, more widespread, and of greater significance is the clown-magician with cosmic powers who acted as an intercessor between his people and the gods...." — G. Riland, THE STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PARANORMAL (SteinerBooks, 1980), p.53. Related to the "wise-fools" of various esoteric traditions, clowns may be considered innocent prototypes of occult savants, seers who disdain (or are ill-equipped for) use of the intellect [1], but who find cosmic wisdom intuitively, unthinkingly. [2] They are, in a sense, pagan saints or unreflecting white magicians. [3] They evoke affirmative emotions and moods, especially laughter, which may be deemed productive for cleansing the soul. "Humor is the soul’s exhaling.” — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 364.

Circus arts, often with an emphasis on clowning, are occasionally taught in Waldorf schools. Waldorf teachers sometimes participate in workshops having such titles as "Clowning as an Inner Journey: An Introductory Clown Workshop". [4] The circus performances staged by Waldorf students and teachers are bright and attractive; parents and visitors are often charmed. Understood within an occult Anthroposophical context, however, clowning in particular is a serious spiritual activity, with ties to other pagan spiritual events staged at Waldorf schools such as Maypole dances and fire jumping. [5]

[1] Use of the intellect is generally downplayed and even deplored in Waldorf education. [See, e.g., "Thinking" and "Steiner's Specific".]
[2] In Anthroposophy, intuition is a form of clairvoyance. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "intuition".]
[3] See, e.g., "Pagan" and "Magicians".
[4] See, e.g.,
[5] See the entries for these in this encyclopedia.

college of planetary spirits - see planetary spirits

college of teachers 

at a Waldorf school - also see FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER; Waldorf schools; Waldorf teachers

An inner group of Waldorf teachers who study Anthroposophy together; often this group exercises central administrative authority over the school. [See "Faculty Meetings".] "The most visible, yet inaccessible group is the College of Teachers. In a Waldorf school the College is made up of the most committed and most anthroposophically grounded teachers, usually class teachers [1], as opposed to subject teachers. [2]" — S. W. Whedon, HANDS, HEARTS AND HEADS (ProQuest, 2008), p. 165. The group is a "college" in that its members are meant to be coequal colleagues; in addition, the members of the college undertake advanced study of Anthroposophical texts, chiefly the works of Rudolf Steiner.

Although Waldorf schools are often loosely organized, disavowing hierarchical structures, membership in the college of teachers is an honor and usually confers special authority within the school. Here is a report by a former Waldorf teacher: "[M]ost of these schools do not recognize the principle of leadership: they have no principal or director of studies. [3] At most, they have sometimes conceded authority to a management board ("College of Teachers") consisting of a limited number of members. But school management is therefore undertaken by unqualified personnel who are not paid for this work, which comes in addition to their teaching. This creates a slow, awkward decision-making process ... Steiner imposed the rule of unanimity rather than majority rule, saying the operation of a school should be republican and not democratic [i.e., not based on majority voting], so discussions are sometimes endless. This dogmatic precept wreaks havoc in the small world of a Waldorf faculty where belonging to the College of Teachers inflates the ego." — G. Perra. [See "Indoctrination".]

[1] See the entry for "class teachers", above.
[2] Whereas class teachers present a wide array of subjects to the students in their charge, subject teachers are generally restricted to one or two subjects, and they are often are less central to the school (informally, they stand at a lower rank).
[3] This is not true in all cases. Some Waldorf schools vest authority in administrators, including principals, headmasters or headmistresses, and/or faculty chairs.

College of the Twelve
 - also see Rosenkreutz, Christian; masters

According to Steiner, this was a gathering of spiritual masters during the thirteenth century CE, when mankind had lost its natural powers of clairvoyance. [1] The masters educated a young boy, who became so wise that he assumed the role of their teacher. The boy later reincarnated as Christian Rosenkreutz, the founder of Rosicrucianism. [See "Rosy Cross" and the entry for "Rosenkreutz, Christian" in this encyclopedia.]

[1] Steiner taught that ancient peoples had innate, unschooled clairvoyant abilities. [See the entries in this encyclopedia for "atavistic clairvoyance" and "natural clairvoyance".]

colonies in space - also see asteroids; Moon; planetary migrations; planets

According to Steiner, various beings have created colonies on planets and asteroids. ◊ “[T]he moon today is like a fortress in the universe, in which there lives a population that fulfilled its human destiny over 15,000 years ago, after which it withdrew to the moon together with the spiritual guides of humanity ... This is only one of the ‘cities’ in the universe, one colony, one settlement among many ... As far as what concerns ourselves, as humanity on earth, the other pole, the opposite extreme to the moon is the population of Saturn.”— R. Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 93. ◊ "At present, therefore, by the time a man has gone through death and rebirth, he has achieved his Mars-organisation [1], and has absorbed those Jupiter and Saturn forces to be found in the colonised regions of the planetoids. [2]” — R. Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 10, GA 227.

[1] I.e., the beneficial effects of forces emanating from Mars. (After death, we ascend through planetary spheres, Steiner taught. [See "Higher Worlds".])
[2] I.e., colonized regions of asteroids.

Colonies Iona

Anthroposophical camps in France, associated with Waldorf schools and the Christian Community.

colors - also see arts; beauty; lazure; painting

According to Steiner, colors have healing powers. They are vehicles that bring spiritual beings into the physical realm and that transport us to the spirit realm. Clairvoyants find different spiritual beings in rooms having differently colored walls. “If the person devoting himself to the color which covers these physically dense walls were one who had made certain occult progress...the walls would disappear from his clairvoyant vision...the walls become like glass, but in the sphere which opens up there is a world of purely spiritual phenomena; spiritual facts and spiritual figures become visible ... [M]any different kinds of elementary beings are around us ... But they cannot all be seen in the same way; according to the capacity of clairvoyant vision, there may be visible and invisible beings in the same space. What spiritual beings become visible in any particular instance depends on the colour to which we devote ourselves. In a red room, other beings become visible than in a blue room.... ” — R. Steiner, quoted by John Fletcher, ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 95. [1]

The walls of Waldorf classrooms are often painted in differing colors, meant to produce the correct spiritual conditions for children of differing ages. [2] "The Waldorf classroom colors evolve from...warm, reddish tones in the early grades, through energetic orange/yellow around third grade, into the middle spectrum greens around fourth and fifth grade. It is here at the half-way-point of childhood that a kind of balance is achieved just before the onset of puberty. Green is the balanced color between light and darkness, and meets this age group in a harmonious way. From sixth grade on into the high school, various shades of blue dominate, and even lavender, lilac, and violet tones are indicated for the more inwardly active, thoughtful work of the upper school adolescent. However, craft rooms are often appropriately painted with warm colors, and spaces for eating are aided by appetite sympathetic golden-orange colors. The interior colors in a Waldorf school are meant to support the child’s general phase of development at the same time as to enhance the educational experience for the particular grade level." — "Color in the Waldorf School: Van James", WALDORF TODAY.

[1] See “Weird Waldorf”, "Magical Arts", and "Mystical Colors".

[2] See "Mystical Colors" and the entry in this encyclopedia for "lazure".

columns - also see astrology; organic architecture; planetary seals; signs; symbols

"[T]o decorate the hall in which the Theosophical Congress [1]...was held...Rudolf Steiner designed seven columns. Each column was related to one of the traditional seven planets (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn) and to the corresponding type of metal (gold, silver, iron, mercury, tin, copper, lead). The seven different capitals of the columns [bore] two-dimensional emblems [of the planets]." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 93. The columns and seals are depicted in MYSTIC SEALS AND COLUMNS (original title PICTURES OF OCCULT SEALS AND COLUMNS.) Derivative columns and symbols are used in various Anthroposophical buildings, including some Waldorf facilities. [See "Through His Eyes".]


Steiner's Mars column.
(Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1954), p. 41;
R.R. copy, 2014.] 

[1] Steiner was a Theosophists before breaking away to establish Anthroposophy as an independent movement.

comets - also see asteroids; astronomy; planets

According to Steiner, comets are cosmic wanderers bringing the laws of the Old Moon [1] into the present solar system. “There is in the Cosmos the same polarity as we have described between male and female [2]: and that is the polarity between a Comet and the Moon. If we wish to understand the nature of a Comet, wandering as it does in cosmic space regardless of the other laws of the Solar System, we must be clear as to the fact that the Comet carries the laws belonging to the old Moon-existence into our own [time] ... [I]t has remained behind at the stage of natural law which prevailed in the Solar System when our earth was still Old Moon. [3] It carries a former condition into a later, into the present; just as the woman’s body carries an earlier condition into present-day existence. [4]” — R. Steiner, THE CHRIST IMPULSE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF EGO CONSCIOUSNESS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1925; facsimile edition by Kessinger Publishing), p. 58. Aside from sexism, this statement is notable for its scientific ignorance. Comets orbit the Sun, following the same laws of physics as all other bodies in the solar system.

[1] I.e., the third incarnation of the solar system. [See "Matters of Form".]
[2] See "Gender" and the entries in this encyclopedia for "female" and "male".
[3] The evolution of the solar system is also the evolution of the Earth and the evolution of human spiritual consciousness. In a sense, these are interchangeable terms. The "Earth" that existed during Old Moon was Old Moon itself. [See "Old Moon, Etc,".]
[4] I.e., the female body preserves characteristics from earlier phases of human development.

composite beings, compound beings - also see inner men

Anthroposophical teachings indicate that many beings we usually consider individuals are actually, in at least some circumstances, composites: They are made up of numerous components that are, themselves, beings. Thus, for example, Steiner taught that Lucifer [1] may be an individual demon but he may also be considered a composite made up of many “Luciferic” demonic spirits.  If Lucifer is a dark or evil god, Steiner also alluded to bright, virtuous composite gods; he indicated that these are centered in the Sun. [2] These gods consist of spiritual powers drawn from multiple divine ranks; they have "members" corresponding to various degrees of divinity. [3] In a somewhat different sense, Steiner said that the figure of Adam in the Bible may be seen as actually a composite of many generations of early Earth-dwelling humans. [4] Steiner also, on occasion, described human beings in general as composites, consisting of numerous tiny, inner humans. "In our ears [5] we actually carry with us a tiny human being, for the human being has feeling, will and understanding. We are made up of lots of tiny human beings.” — BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924  (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 75. 

[1] See, e.g., “Lucifer”.

[2] See, e.g., S. O. Prokofieff, THE MYSTERY OF THE RESURRECTION IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2010), p. 127.

[3] A normal god stands at any one of nine divine ranks. [See "Polytheism".] An abnormal god stands at a lower rank than s/he ordinarily would. A composite god combines elements from various ranks and thus, in a sense, transcends the ranks.

[4] “By ‘Adam’ we have to understand not a single human being, but an ego-consciousness that embraced several generations ... If you look back as far as to Adam, you see the ego-consciousness flow through generations for hundreds and thousands of years.” — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN (London Reference Library, 1942), lecture 8, GA 100.

[5] Steiner located other inner humans in other parts of the human constitution. Thus, he spoke of the "chest man," the "head man," and the "limb man."

computers, and opposition to them at Waldorf schools - also see Ahriman; media policies; technology; television

Waldorf schools generally deprecate high-tech devices such as computers, believing them to embody the power of the arch-demon Ahriman. [1] In practice, Anthroposophists partially overcome their aversion to computers at least for the purposes of posting pro-Anthroposophical messages on the Internet and hosting pro-Anthroposophical websites. [For more on the Waldorf view of computers, see "Spiders, Dragons and Foxes".]

[1] See "Ahriman".


concept sense - see thought sense

conditions of consciousness - also see evolution of consciousness; planetary conditions; Future Jupiter; Future Venus; Future Vulcan; historical narrative; Old Moon; Old Saturn; Old Sun; Present Earth

In Anthroposophical belief, these are the largest phases of our evolution: ancient, present, and future evolutionary über-stages. (Within each of these stages are numerous shorter phases.) Conditions of consciousness are also called planetary conditions or planetary stages; they are stages in the evolution of the solar system, centered on the evolution of human spiritual consciousness. We proceed from one condition of consciousness to the next, evolving on or during each "planet" in succession: Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, Present Earth, Future Jupiter, Future Venus, Future Vulcan, and five more that cannot be named or described. (Each of these "planets" is the solar system as it exists during that stage of evolution. Thus, Old Saturn is the first incarnation of the solar system, during which we attain the type of consciousness available to us at that stage. Everything that exists today, such as the planets Saturn and Earth, existed during Old Saturn, but in very different form from what we know now. In general, things that are separate from each other today were parts of a unified mass during Old Saturn. [1] After Old Saturn, the solar system was reincarnated in a different form: Old Sun. Later it reincarnated again in yet another form: Old Moon. And so forth.) 

The story of human history and evolution, as told in Anthroposophy, is the story of our ascent to higher and higher forms of consciousness. We started at a very dim level, but we will eventually emerge with essentially godlike awareness. 
"Each of these conditions: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth, Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan, characterizes a definite condition of human consciousness ... Saturn evolution [2] was gone through in order that man night gradually rise to higher states of consciousness. That was the first stage of consciousness, the deep trance-consciousness ... [C]onsciousness [like] dreamless sleep [was] the consciousness [man] passed through at the second stage, during the Sun evolution [3] ... Then came the Moon stage of evolution. [4] Man then possessed a consciousness which can be understood more easily because in dream-consciousness man [today] has at least a last remnant of the Moon-consciousness ... The fourth state of consciousness is reached and passed through on our Earth [5]; it is what we call the clear day-consciousness or objective-consciousness. [paragraph break] During the Jupiter period [6] man will rise to a still higher degree of consciousness of which most people to-day have no inkling...the consciousness which we may call the 'conscious picture-consciousness' [7] ... Then upon Venus [8] comes a sixth state of consciousness which may be described as the inspired-consciousness, the consciousness of inspiration ... The seventh stage of consciousness which will exist on Vulcan [9] we may call the Intuitive-consciousness." — R. Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1958), lecture 10, GA 104. 

To summarize, these are the first through seventh conditions of consciousness:

1. Old Saturn - consciousness equivalent to deep trance or coma
2. Old Sun - consciousness equivalent to dreamless sleep
3. Old Moon - consciousness equivalent to dreaming
4. Present Earth - waking consciousness
5. Future Jupiter - imagination
6. Future Venus - inspiration
7. Future Vulcan - intuition

The final three conditions of consciousness listed above are all, in varying degrees, types of clairvoyance. Everyone who survives to the future stages of evolution will have these types of consciousness. In the meanwhile, here during Present Earth, preliminary versions of these mental/spiritual capacities are pursued by Anthroposophists and fostered (it is thought) in Waldorf schools. (Our evolution will continue after Future Vulcan in five more stages, according to Steiner. But they cannot be described.)


According to Anthroposophical teachings, we have evolved through the stages called Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon. We live now in the stage called Present Earth. Ahead of us lie the stages Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan. The clearest overall designation of these stages is "conditions of consciousness." But other terms, such as "planetary conditions," are often used. (Steiner also used the term "manvantaras" [10] during his nominally Theosophical period, but he later dropped it, for the most part.) [Detail from a diagram in THE TEMPLE LEGEND (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 357; color added.]

The clearest individual designations of the various conditions of consciousness are those shown in the prior diagram ("Old Moon," "Old Sun," etc.). But as a sort of shorthand, Anthroposophists often drop the qualifiers ("Old," "Present", "Future") and refer simply to "Saturn," "Sun," etc. Our evolution from Old Saturn to Present Earth has been a process of advancement, but it has also had a downward trajectory: We have declined from a highly immaterial existence during Old Saturn to a densely material existence on the physical planet Earth during the Present Earth period. In the future, however, we will reascend toward full immaterial/spiritual existence (Future Jupiter will be more spiritual than Present Earth has been; Future Venus and, later, Future Vulcan will see us ascend even higher). The layout of Anthroposophical diagrams of our evolution often reflects this overall pattern: downward, then upward. (Pralaya is a rest period — the solar system becomes disencarnate for a specified period.) [Detail from a diagram in THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORESEEN BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publications, 2002), p. 133; color added.]

For an account of evolution as presented in Anthroposophical texts, see the entry in this encyclopedia for "historical narrative".

[1] Do not confuse the planets we see in the sky today with the conditions of consciousness that bear the planets' names. Thus, Old Saturn was a period of time or duration, whereas the planet Saturn we see in the sky is a place in the physical universe of today. Likewise, today we live in the condition of consciousness called Present Earth; during this period, we live on the planet Earth as it exists now. The period (Present Earth) and the physical planet (Earth) are related but different — one is a period of time, the other is a place. 
[See "Matters of Form".] 
[2] I
.e., Old Saturn, the first evolutionary period for us and our solar system.
[3] I.e., Old Sun.
[4] Old Moon.
[5] Present Earth.
[6] Future Jupiter.
[7] I.e., imagination: the forming of true mental pictures.
[8] Future Venus.
[9] Future Vulcan.
[10] In the broadest sense, manvantara (from the Sanskrit) means simply an age; the term may be applied to major or minor periods. "Manvantara (Sanskrit) Manvantara [from manu + antara between] ... [A] period of activity or manifestation ... One has to gather from context what the meaning of the manvantara referred to is, remembering that what is applicable to a lesser period applied also to a greater, and conversely." — ENCYCLOPEDIC THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY (Theosophical University Press, 1999).

conditions of form - see stages of form

conditions of life, kingdoms of life - also see evolution; 
Animal Kingdom Condition of Life; First Elementary Condition of Life; Human Kingdom Condition of Life; Mineral Kingdom Condition of Life; Plant Kingdom Condition of Life; Second Elementary Condition of Life; Third Elementary Condition of Life

In Anthroposophical belief, our evolution occurs in a cyclical pattern. During each condition of consciousness (see the entry for "conditions of consciousness," above), we cycle through various conditions of life (also called, sometimes, kingdoms of life). In effect, the conditions of life give various degrees of living realization to the consciousness attained during a given condition of consciousness.

The conditions of life during our current condition of consciousness are the 1st Elementary Kingdom, 2nd Elementary Kingdom, 3rd Elementary Kingdom, Mineral Kingdom, Plant Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Human Kingdom. (In Anthroposophical belief, elements and minerals — indeed, all things — are alive. Thus even the lowest kingdom, the 1st Elementary Kingdom, is a domain of life.) In effect, we cycle through the various kingdoms or realms of nature, from lowest to highest. The conditions of life we pass through during other conditions of consciousness are similar, but they vary to the degree that they are adapted to other conditions of consciousness.

During any given condition of consciousness, we evolve through seven conditions of life. When we pass to the next condition of consciousness, we evolve through seven more, similar yet different conditions of life. This evolutionary pattern continues during each condition of consciousness. Likewise, during each condition of life, we evolve through seven stages or conditions of form [1], during each of which we evolve through seven epochs [2], and so on. [See "Matters of Form".] 

"Each condition of consciousness [runs] its course in seven conditions of life; each condition of life in seven conditions of form. That is 7 x 7 x 7 conditions [3] ... Our earth was once Saturn [4]; this went through seven conditions of life and each condition of life through seven conditions of form." — R. Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1958), lecture 10, GA 104.


A part of the cyclical pattern of our evolution, according to Steiner. We cycle through seven conditions or kingdoms of life during each condition of consciousness. Likewise, each condition of life includes seven stages or conditions of form. [Detail from a diagram in THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1958), lecture 10, GA 104. ]

[1] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "stages of form".

[2] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "epochs" and "great epochs". Cf. cultural epochs, which are subdivisions of great epochs. [See the entry for "cultural epochs".]

[3] There are significant differences between various phases of evolution, and the sheer number of phases makes precise definition almost impossible. Steiner sometimes said we will evolve through twelve conditions of consciousness, but in most accounts the number given is seven. During each of these seven conditions of consciousness, we pass through seven conditions of life (7 x 7 = 49). During each condition of life, we pass through seven stages of form (7 x 7 x 7 = 343). During each stage of form, we pass through seven great epochs (7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = 2,401). During each great epoch, we pass through seven ages or cultural epochs (7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = 16,807). [See "Magic Numbers".] Thus, at a minimum, we pass through nearly 17,000 phases of evolution, each phase differing from all the others in at least some way. And Steiner sometimes spoke of additional phases.

[4] I.e., our present reality (life on Earth) proceeded from life "on" Saturn (life during Old Saturn). During Old Saturn (an evolutionary stage), Earth and Saturn (planets: places in the solar system) existed in very different form than we find today, and they were essentially united in a single body: the entire solar system, as it existed then, was essentially a single unified body.

consciousness - also see clairvoyance; conditions of consciousness; consciousness soul; ego consciousness; emotion; evolution of consciousness; feelings; imagination; inspiration; intuition; Jupiter consciousness; thinking; Venus consciousness; Vulcan consciousness

Our entire evolution is bound up in the raising of our spiritual consciousness, according to Anthroposophical doctrine; this is also the goal of Waldorf education. [See "Everything".] We have evolved from an extremely dim initial consciousness during Old Saturn (so low that we were virtually comatose) to our present, wakeful consciousness. [1] As we proceed to additional evolutionary phases (Future Jupiter, Future Venus, Future Vulcan...), our consciousness will climb higher and higher, giving us greater and great comprehension of all levels of reality. We will attain divine consciousness; we will be gods. [2]

As we evolve and reincarnate, we can improve our consciousness at each stage of life or we can slip backwards and fall to lower levels. Rudolf Steiner claimed to possess "exact clairvoyance" — a level of consciousness that yields virtually indisputable knowledge on virtually all subjects. Steiner's followers seek to attain such consciousness for themselves [3], and Waldorf schools seek to foster at least preliminary stages of clairvoyance in their students. [4] These stages are generally referred to as imagination, inspiration, and intuition. [5] Within Waldorf schools, there may be little open discussion of clairvoyance [6], but according to Anthroposophical belief, true imaginative clairvoyance will bloom for all humans who survive to Future Jupiter, while perfected inspiration will bloom during Future Venus, and perfected intuition will bloom during Future Vulcan. [7]

For more on the subject of consciousness, see the entry for "evolution of consciousness" in this encyclopedia.

[1] For more on the stages of our consciousness, see the entry for "conditions of consciousness," above.
[2] Steiner taught that we will initially become gods when we rise to the level of Angels, the lowest ranking gods existing in the universe today. Later, we will ascend through higher and higher ranks. [For an overview of the ranks of gods, see "Polytheisim".]
[3] See "Exactly", "Knowing the Worlds", and "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".
[4] See, e.g., "Thinking Cap".
[5] See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.
[6] See, e.g., "Secrets".
[7] See "Future Stages".

consciousness soul - also see consciousness; intellectual soul; mind soul; sentient soul; soul

According to Steiner's ninefold description of human nature, the consciousness soul (also called the spiritual soul) is the third of three soul members or soul types; it connects one's inner consciousness with the outer world. (Below it is the intellectual soul, and below that is the sentient soul.) When Steiner gave a sevenfold description of human nature, he identified the consciousness soul as the fifth of our major constituent parts. Seen either way, the consciousness soul incarnates at about age 42, Steiner said. This soul is under the particular influence of the Spirits of Wisdom [1], which means it has ties to the sphere of Jupiter. [See "What We're Made Of" and "Our Parts".]

As the highest of our soul members, the consciousness soul allows greater objective comprehension than the lower intellectual and sentient souls, Steiner said. The consciousness soul sharpens our mental capacities, increasing our ability to control our thought processes. The consciousness soul, then, is "that part of the soul with which we can think about the act of thinking. We observe the world with our twelve senses [2] ... Next, we start thinking about these impressions. The third step is thinking about this thinking process ... [The] Renaissance and humanism may be regarded as expressions of this new configuration of the soul." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), pp. 26-27. 

The consciousness soul has developed as the predominant soul form only in our present cultural epoch, dating from about 1413 CE. To many, our age seems soulless; Anthroposophists believe this is because we have reached a point of deep, objective existence (and self-involvement) in the material realm, preparing us to rise in renewed, strengthened form into the spirit realm. We have separated ourselves so that we may reintegrate later. The functioning of the consciousness soul, then, may represent an extreme form of withdrawal. "Man in the age of the consciousness soul [3]...thinks and philosophizes, but he does so in a different manner [than previously] ... [T]he consciousness soul is characterized especially by objectivity, which results from the ability of the self to withdraw completely from the subject he is studying ... In this modern age our self-consciousness has increased immeasurably as well as our consciousness of the external world...." — S. C. Easton, MAN AND THE WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), pp. 57-59.


According to Anthroposophy, we are currently evolving through a series of great epochs (major historical periods). We currently live in the fifth great epoch, called the Post-Atlantean Epoch (i.e., the epoch following the destruction of Atlantis). Each great epoch consists of seven cultural epochs or ages. We currently live in the fifth such cultural epoch, the "fifth post-Atlantean cultural epoch" (also called the Anglo-Germanic Age). During this cultural epoch, we have developed the consciousness soul, just as we developed the intellectual soul during the previous cultural epoch, the "Greco-Roman cultural epoch." Shown here are some important recent historical events and developments according to Anthroposophy. (Kali Yuga is the spiritual dark age as described in Hinduism and Theosophy. Anthroposophists believe that Kali Yuga ended when Rudolf Steiner began delivering spiritual lectures, in 1899 CE.) [Detail from table on p. 37 of MAN AND THE WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY, by S. C. Easton.]

Unfortunately, like other soul members, the consciousness soul can be perverted. ”Lucifer anchored himself in the sentient soul; and there he remains ... It was in [the] second soul-member [4]...that Ahriman established his footing [5] ... Thirdly, there is the consciousness soul (spiritual soul), arising from an unconscious transformation of the physical body ... Towards the end of the Atlantean epoch [6], the etheric body [7] corresponding to the head came right into the physical head and gradually brought about self-consciousness in the physical body. Fundamentally speaking, man is still working at this unconscious transformation of the physical body, at the development of the consciousness soul. And in the age now approaching [8], those spiritual Beings known as the Asuras [9] will creep into the consciousness soul and therewith into the human ‘I’ or ego [10] — for the ‘I’ lights up in the consciousness soul. The Asuras will generate evil with a far mightier force than was wielded by the Satanic powers [11] in the Atlantean epoch or by the Luciferic Spirits [12] in the Lemurian epoch. [13]” — R. Steiner, THE DEED OF CHRIST AND THE OPPOSING SPIRITUAL POWERS (Steiner Book Centre, 1954), lecture 1, GA 107. [For information on Asuras, see "Evil Ones".]



 • Consciousness Soul • 

 • Intellectual Soul • 

 • Sentient Soul • 

According to Steiner's ninefold description of the human constitution, our high soul nature — indicated here as Soul Nature (b) — stands between our body nature and our spirit nature. [15] (Our lower soul nature — which we might designate as Soul Nature (a) — is part of our body nature.) Soul Nature (b) in turn consists of three souls or soul components. The consciousness soul is the highest of these; it is also called the spiritual soul.

[1] I.e, gods six levels higher than humanity. [
See “Polytheism”.]
[2] See "What We're Made Of".
[3] Easton, following Steiner, differentiates the thinking and philosophizing possible today from that which was possible during the Greco-Roman cultural epoch (747 CE-1413 CE). Properly evolved human existing today literally have more highly developed bodies and souls than did the peoples of previous periods, Steiner taught.
[4] I.e., 
the intellectual soul.
[5] Luicfer and Ahriman are arch-demons. They offer tempting gifts that may destroy us or that, suitably managed by the Sun God, may assist us. [See "Lucifer" and "Ahriman".]
[7] I.e., the epoch when we lived on Atlantis. [See "Atlantis".]
[7] The lowest of our nonphysical bodies. [See "Incarnation".]
[8] I.e., the next cultural epoch.
[9] These are demonic powers. [See "Evil Ones".]
[10] See "Ego".
[11] I.e., powers of Ahriman.
[12] I.e., minions of Lucifer.
[13] I.e., the epoch when we lived on the continent of Lemuria. [See "Lemuria".]
See "What We're Made Of"

conspiracies, conspiracy theories - also see enemies; Holocaust denial

There is a distinct strain of conspiracist thinking (the promotion of conspiracy theories) among Anthroposophists. Thus, for instance, a collection of Steiner essays titled SECRET BROTHERHOODS has been described this way by its publisher: Steiner takes us behind the scenes of external events, revealing the dark world of secret, elitist brotherhoods working to control the masses through the forces of economics, technology and political assassinations.” [1]

In Anthroposophical circles, there is a tendency to blame Anthroposophical problems on outside conspiratorial enemies. So, for instance, when Waldorf schools in the UK failed a number of official inspections [2], an article in the Anthroposophical news service NNA included the following: "This sudden spate of inspections caused serious alarm [among Waldorf supporters]. There was much speculation about whether the anti-Waldorf lobby had had a hand in what some saw as a witch-hunt." — Nexus News Service, June 21, 2019. The article balances such conspiricist thinking ("the anti-Waldorf lobby") with more moderate Anthroposophical attitudes, but it implicitly acknowledges the existence of conspiracy theories among at least some Anthroposophists. Steiner himself urged his followers to be wary, because “[O]ur enemies are springing up on every side...” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRETS OF THE THRESHOLD (Anthroposophic Press, 1987), “Words of Welcome”, GA 147. [3]

Anthroposophists also sometimes give credence to such conspiracist claims as that the Holocaust never occurred, and the Apollo Moon landings were faked. Subscribers to such claims argue that conspirators have spread false reports about the Holocaust, the Moon landings, and other "fictitious" events. [4]

[1] Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS and the Mystery of the Human Double (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004). [See "Double Trouble".]

[2] See "The Steiner School Crisis".

[3] See "Enemies".

[4] See "Holocaust denial" and "Moon landings" in this encyclopedia.

constellations - also see astrology; stars; zodiac

Illusory star patterns (i.e., lights in the night sky that we link together in imagined groupings) — the Big Dipper, Orion, and so on. In reality, the stars and galaxies we perceive as constellations are separated by immense distances and have no real connection with one another. [1] Yet astrology and Anthroposophy teach that constellations have extraordinary powers over Earthly life. [2]

[1] See "Why? Oh Why?".

[2] See "Astrology" and “Star Power”.

constitutional types
 - also see cosmic children; earthly children; fantasy-poor children; fantasy-rich children; large-headed children; small-headed children; temperaments; Waldorf schools

Waldorf teachers sometimes sort their students, especially the "difficult" ones, into six "constitutional types." [1] “Steiner describes terms of six constitutional types: large-headed and small-headed, earthy and cosmic, fantasy-rich and fantasy-poor. Together with the four temperaments [2] this typology connects the fundamental constitutional characteristics with the help of which a child learns to express himself in the most varied ways and to reveal his inner being.” — M. Gloeckler, "Constitutional Types in School-Age Children" (AnthroMed Library).

Particular importance is given to head size, and sometimes discussion of constitutional types focuses almost exclusively on this. "Constitutional types - the classifications of two constitutional types, the large-headed and the small-headed child, represents a principal division ... [L]arge-headed...children have a rich imagination and are not particularly open to sense impressions ... They have a tendency to daydream and usually have a stout physique. There is a link to the phlegmatic temperament ... [S]mall-headed...children will be distracted by every sense impression, are likely to have a poor imagination and to be thin and pale ... There is a link to the melancholic temperament." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 27.

Cosmic children are oriented to the spirit realm. "Cosmic children have a 'talent to live in the prenatal world' (Glöckler). [3] The head is well formed physically and functionally (angelic children) whereas the rest of the body lacks penetration of the formative forces. [4] These children have good perception but are poor in executing and concluding a thought process. They have difficulties naming geometric forms ... In the case of what Steiner calls the earthly child, the forces of heredity work strongly, particularly in the metabolic-limb system. [5] These children love earth and, therefore, always have dirty hands. They love material things .... These children often need special individual attention." — Waldorf Journal Project 2: Child Observation and Study (The Online Waldorf Library Journals).  

Fantasy-rich children often have strong imaginations, which in Anthroposophical belief means a dawning power of clairvoyance. [6] Fantasy must be distinguished from true imagination, however, and false visions need to be corrected. A child who is too deeply sunk in fantasies may need corrective eurythmy [7] and other forms of aid. 
Fantasy-poor children may be deficient imagination, and may need to be stimulated in this important regard. "They easily forget. They must be encouraged to be more observant while they are reading and also to listen to what the teacher tells them in class." — Ibid.

[1] In some cases, Anthroposophists refer to just two constitutional types: large-headed and small-headed children. See, e.g., H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 27. 
[2] See "
Humouresque" and "Temperaments".
[3] The "prenatal world" is the spirit realm where one lives between Earthly incarnations.
[4] These are primarily the forces of the etheric body. [See "Incarnation".]
[5] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "metabolic-limb system".
[6] See "Imagination - It Has To Be Good, Right?" and the entry for "imagination" in this encyclopedia.
[7] See "Eurythmy" and the entry, below, for "curative eurythmy".

continents - also see Atlantis; islands; Lemuria

According to Steiner, continents float and are held in place by the stars. [See "Steiner's Blunders".] “The continents swim and do not sit upon anything. They are held in position upon the earth by the constellations. When the constellations change, the continents change, also. The old...atlases properly included the constellations of the zodiac in relationship to the configuration of the Earth’s surface. The continents are held from the periphery; the higher realms [1] hold the parts of the Earth.” — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 618.

[1] I.e., planetary spheres, the zodiac, or more generally the higher worlds (the spirit realm). [See "Higher Worlds".]

contradiction - also see brain; dualism; living thoughts; logic; mystery; occultism

Many contradictions lurk within the complex body of Anthroposophical belief, and particularly within the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. For instance, Steiner often said that the planets do not orbit the Sun; but on other occasions, he said that they do orbit the Sun. [1] Similar contradictions, on matters of fact and also matters of meaning, are scattered throughout Steiner's books and lectures.

Aware of this problem, Steiner attempted to explain and justify the situation in such lectures as "Why Contradictions Exist Everywhere and Must Exist." In part, he sought to defend himself on what may be judged a significant flaw in his work. But in part he was expounding a fundamental spiritual perspective, claiming that logic is limited and must be transcended in spiritual studies and practice. The "truths" he offered are "alive," he said — they shift and grow, they merge, they flow together and evolve. Thus, differences and even contradictions may be overcome in the ultimate, grander scheme of things.

This Anthroposophical vision attracts some individuals for precisely the same reason that it repels others. Perhaps, as Steiner sometimes said, everything contributes to the divine cosmic plan of the universe. Even the actions of "evil" beings such as Ahriman and Lucifer may be, in this sense, part of the good, beneficent plan. [2] But, if the distinction between good and evil spiritual powers blurs, if "evil" actions become indistinguishable from good actions, then a crucial difference has been expunged, vastly complicating — or perhaps wholly preventing — moral decision-making. Thus, the Anthroposophical vision may be deemed either lovely or absurd, productive or destructive, due to its multiple internal contradictions. (One interpretation is that, according to Steiner, the universe does not ultimately make logical sense — it transcends logic — and hence his teachings do not ultimately make logical sense. A critical response would be that the fault lies with Steiner: He failed to give a comprehensible, sensible explanation of the universe.) [3]

Religious teachings are often paradoxical; they often surpass ordinary understanding. Hence, the contradictions within Anthroposophy may be taken as typical of religion generally, and they may serve to demonstrate that Anthroposophy is indeed a religion. The difficulty is that Anthroposophy claims to be a science, not a religion, and according to Steiner Anthroposophy must be judged by the standards applied to all sciences. But in that case, contradictions become flaws that may invalidate an entire system.

[1] See "Deception".
[2] See "Lucifer" , "Ahriman", and "Evil Ones".
[3] See "Steiner's Illogic".

cosmic children - also see constitutional types; cf. earthly children

Anthroposophy generally identifies six "constitutional types" of children [1], especially "difficult" children. Cosmic children are those who do not readily incarnate on earth; they retain strong links to the spirit or cosmic realm. They stand at the opposite pole from earthly children. [2] Girls tend to be cosmic while boys tend to be earthly. [3] Cosmic children tend to live in their minds rather than in physical existence. "The head is the most cosmic part of our body ... Cosmic children have a 'talent to live in the prenatal world' [4] ... The head is well formed physically and functionally (angelic children) whereas the rest of the body lacks penetration of the formative forces.[5] These children have good perception but are poor in executing and concluding a thought process. They have difficulties naming geometric forms. They do not like to engage in physical activities." — Summary of presentation by Michaela Glöckler, Waldorf Journal Project 2: Child Observation and Study, ONLINE WALDORF LIBRARY.
[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "earthly children".
[3] See "Gender".
[4] I.e., the spirit realm where they lived before earthly incarnation.
[5] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "formative forces" and "etheric forces".

Cosmic Christ - also see Christ; Christ Being; Christian Community; Etheric Christ; Sun God

The "Cosmic Christ" is essentially Christ as conceived in Anthroposophy and worshipped in the Christian Community. [1] He is the Sun God [2] who poured his essence into the Earth, who yet exists in cosmic precincts as an etheric being. [3] Steiner taught that Christ would become even more fully present for us here on Earth as the twentieth and subsequent centuries unwound. "In many lectures dating from 1913, Steiner insisted that throughout the twentieth century and thereafter, the etheric body [4] of the Sun being, the Cosmic Christ, would increasingly envelope the Earth". — R. McDermott, THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER (Lindisfarne Books, Anthroposophic Press, 2009), pp. 65-66.

[1] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Christian Community".

[2] See "Sun God".

[3] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Etheric Christ".

[4] See the entry for "etheric body" in this encyclopedia. Steiner taught that Christ's Second Coming would occur or at least begin during the first third of the twentieth century — it would happen on the etheric plane. [See the entries in this encyclopedia for "etheric realm", "Christ, Second Coming Of", and "Second Coming of Christ".]

cosmic ether - see ether; also see thought ether

Cosmic Humor, Cosmic Humour - see rock being

cosmic I — also see Christ; Cosmic Christ; Godhead; I; Logos; Sun God; universal I

In Anthroposophical belief: the universal self; the divine spiritual identity of which we all partake. Our individual I's [1] descend from it and will reascend to become it. Its greatest embodiment in our own evolutionary sequence is Christ, the Sun God — the Logos or Word of God. [2] ◊ "Ego and sun are the inner and outer aspects of the same being. What orbits out there through space as the sun is the cosmic I. What lives within me is the human I." — R. Steiner, ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 101. ◊ "On Saturn, Sun and Moon [3], the higher self was diffused over the entire cosmos. At that time the cosmic I was spread out across all humankind; but now we have to permit it to work upon us, upon our previously prepared inner nature. [4]" — R. Steiner, THE MYSTERIES OF THE HOLY GRAIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2010), p. 9. ◊ "The universal I, the cosmic I entered [Jesus]; and from then on, for three years, the Sun Logos spoke through the body of Jesus. [5]" — R. Steiner, ibid., p. 11.

[1] The "I" or spiritual ego is one's divine individuality. [See "Ego".]
[2] See "Sun God
and "Logos". 
[3] I.e., during Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon — the first three incarnations of the solar system. [See "Matters of Form".]
[4] I.e., we were once united within the unitary substance of the solar system, sharing in the cosmic I. But now that we have individual I's, we stand apart from the cosmic I, so we must seek it, inviting it to "work upon us."
[5] In Anthroposophical teachings, there were two Jesuses who united to become the human vessel for the incarnation of the Sun God. [See "Steiner's Fifith Gospel".]

cosmic intelligence - also see creation of universe/earth; divine cosmic plan; Godhead; gods; Michael

"[T]he intelligence originating from the hierarchies [1] and guarded by the archangel Michael [2]. This all-embracing intelligence is the basis of all Creation."  — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 28. [For more on this, see the entry for "creation," below.] The cosmic intelligence is the divine spirit of wisdom embodied by the gods, stemming from the Godhead [3], and underlying all of creation.

Anthroposophy teaches that Michael, the Archangel of the Sun and Christ's champion, had great responsibility for fulfilling the cosmic intelligence, but eventually he surrendered much of this responsibility. When Christ the Sun God incarnated on Earth [4], a new period began in which humans assumed their own mastery of intelligence. "[H]e who ordered the Cosmic Intelligence which thus came to man along with the spiritual Revelations — he who ordered this Cosmic Intelligence, who had, so to speak, dominion over it — is the same spiritual Being whom we, when we make use of our Christian terminology, call the Archangel Michael. He had to administer the Cosmic Intelligence in the cosmos ... Now this too was connected with the descent of Christ to the earth: Michael and his hosts witnessed not only the departure of Christ from the Sun, but above all they saw how Michael himself was gradually losing his dominion over the Cosmic Intelligence ... Michael felt that the dominion over the Cosmic Intelligence was passing from him — falling from his grasp. While down below — looking down on to the earth — [the gods] saw this new age of Intelligence, beginning from the 8th or 9th century [CE] onwards. Men were beginning to form their own thoughts for themselves." — R. Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. 3 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1977), lecture 7, GA 237.

i.e., gods. [See "Polytheism".]
[2] See "Michael".
[3] See "God".
See "Steiner's Fifith Gospel".

COSMIC MEMORY - a book by Rudolf Steiner

A history of human development so far, as described by Steiner: it contains chapters on the Akashic record, Lemuria, Atlantis, the division into sexes, the life of Saturn, life on the Moon, etc. [See, e.g., "Lunacy" and "Steiner Static"; also see the entry in this encyclopedia for "historical narrative".]


Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY 

- Prehistory or Earth and Man

(Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959).

Cosmic Word - see Logos

cosmos - also see astrology; astronomy; solar system; stars

a) The physical universe.

b) The spiritual universe infusing the physical universe. Man's location in the cosmos is a central subject of Anthroposophy. ◊ ”We are able to grasp man's position in the cosmos only if we understand how [man's] different members [1] are placed in the universe.” — R. Steiner, “Man and the Cosmos”, ANTHROPOSOPHICAL NEWS SHEET, No. 1/2 (General Anthroposophical Society, 1948), GA 220. ◊ Steiner and his followers put humanity at the center of the cosmos. "The entire created universe has been brought into being so that the human being might come into existence." — R. E. Koetzsch, "Anthroposophy 101". [2]

[1] I.e., the parts of the human constitution. [See "Our Parts".] Steiner taught that our various parts are astrologically linked to various planetary spheres and constellations. [See "What We're Made Of".]
[2] See "The Center".

Cosmos of Love - also see Cosmos of Wisdom; love; Planet of Love; Earth; Present Earth

According to Steiner, this is — generally — the occult designation of the Earth or the Present Earth stage of evolution. ◊ “[I]n occultism [1] we call the Moon [2] the ‘Cosmos of Wisdom’ and the Earth [3] the ‘Cosmos of Love.’ As we today, standing on the Earth [4], wonder at the wisdom embedded in it, so one day the beings of Jupiter [5] will stand before beings from which love will stream forth to them in fragrance.” — R.Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS ON MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1961), lecture 6, GA 102. ◊ "Earth-existence signifies the Cosmos of Love; existence on the previous planet [6] signifies the Cosmos of Wisdom. We are to evolve love from its most elementary stage to its highest ... Evolution of wisdom preceded the evolution of love; love is not yet perfected. It is to be found in the whole of nature, in plant, animal and man from the lowest sex-love to the highest spiritualised love. Immense numbers of beings which the love-urge brought forth are destroyed in the battle for existence. Conflict is active wherever love is, the entry of love brings conflict, necessary conflict. But love will also overcome it and change conflict into harmony." — R. Steiner, ORIGIN OF SUFFERING, ORIGIN OF EVIL, ILLNESS AND DEATH (Steiner Book Centre, 1980), lecture 2, GA 55.

[1] See "Occultism".

[2] I.e., Old Moon — the third incarnation of the solar system. [See "Matters of Form".]

[3] I.e., Present Earth, the fourth incarnation of the solar system. [See "Present Earth".]

[4] I.e., on the planet Earth as it exists now, within the Present Earth stage of evolution.

[5] I.e., beings of the fifth incarnation of the solar system, called Future Jupiter. [See "Future Stages".]

[6] I.e., the previous "planetary condition" — that is, the previous incarnation of the solar system: Old Moon. [See "Old Moon, Etc".]

Cosmos of Wisdom - also see Cosmos of Love; Old Moon; Planet of Wisdom; wisdom

According to Steiner, this is third incarnation of the solar system, also called "Old Moon." "At the outset of our studies to-day we must deal with a word that in Spiritual Science [1] is very important. In Christian occult science [2] the Old Moon [3] is called the Cosmos of Wisdom and the Earth [4] the Cosmos of Love. By 'Moon' we here mean the Moon Period of the Earth. [5] The reason why the Old Moon is called the Cosmos of Wisdom is because all that was then developed was filled with wisdom. When the Earth Period succeeded the Moon Period [6] the Cosmos of Wisdom was replaced by the Cosmos of Love. When the Earth came forth from the darkness of Pralaya [7], the rudiments of the human being which had been developed in former periods reappeared — the physical, etheric and astral bodies. [8] On the Old Moon [9] wisdom had been implanted in these bodies and their mutual relationships; we therefore find wisdom in the constitution of these three bodies. We find the greatest wisdom in the construction of the physical body, less in that of the etheric body, and still less in that of the astral body." — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN (London Reference Library, 1942), lecture 4, GA 100.

[1] As Steiner generally used this term, it designates his own teachings: Anthroposophy.

[2] Steiner taught that there have been many strains of occult spiritual knowledge. Various religions and spiritual movements have had their own forms of "occult" or spiritual science, generally held by initiates in the inner circles of those religions and movements. Steiner affirmed the truth of various spiritual approaches to the degree that they conform to his own teachings. Here, he attributes to "Christian occult science" a set of beliefs that are in fact found it his own system. In this sense, "Christian occult science" becomes nearly indistinguishable, at least on this subject, from Anthroposophy. [Steiner summarizes the key doctrines of Anthroposophy in his book AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE. See "Everything".]

[3] I.e., the incarnation of the solar system that preceded Present Earth: Old Moon. [See "Old Moon, Etc." and "Present Earth".]

[4] I.e., the present incarnation of the solar system: Present Earth.

[5] Old Moon was an incarnation of the entire solar system, including the Earth. The evolution of the entire solar system was, in a sense, the evolution of the Earth. Hence, we may speak of the "Moon Period of the Earth" (i.e., the Old Moon stage of the evolution of the Earth).

[6] When Old Moon was succeeded by Present Earth.

[7] I.e., a rest period between incarnations of the solar system.

[8] These are our three our four bodies, according to Steiner. [See "Incarnation."]

[9] I.e., during Old Moon.

crafts - also see arts; knitting; play at Waldorf schools; teeth; cf. academic standards

At Waldorf schools, crafts are often emphasized at the expense of academic subjects. Crafts are meant to have spiritual and medicinal benefits. Some of the expected benefits are startling. Knitting, for instance, is expected to promote the development of good teeth. “Go into our needlework classes and handicraft classes at the Waldorf School, and you will find the boys knit and crochet as well as the girls ... This is not the result of any fad or whim, but happens deliberately in order to...permeate the fingers with soul. And to drive the soul into the fingers means to promote all the forces that go to build up sound teeth.” — R. Steiner, THE RENEWAL OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 10. Steiner taught that teeth are reincarnations of the body's extremities, such as fingers. The connection between fingers and teeth means that forces are passed, at the etheric level, from the fingers to the teeth.

In general, developing manual dexterity is expected to improve thinking, since — according to Steiner — we do considerable thinking with our bones, including those in our fingers. Steiner taught that ancient peoples understood that some forms of thinking occur in the bones, but modern humans have lost much of this awareness. “The ancients...believed that people thought with their bones ... We can thank the capacity of our skeletal system for everything we have in abstract science ... Our skeleton has considerable knowledge, but because we cannot reach down into the skeleton with our consciousness, our awareness of that knowledge fades...." — R. Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE: Foundations of Waldorf Education (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 75. The bones of our fingers and toes may have special effects on our mental capacities — Steiner said that we think with our fingers and toes. “As soon as we begin to think with our fingers — and one can think with one's fingers and toes much more brightly, once one makes the effort, than with the nerves of the head — as soon as we begin to think with that part of us which has not entirely become matter, when we think with the lower part of our being, then our thoughts are the thoughts of our karma. [1]" — R. Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 126. Steiner taught that the methodical, repetitive motions of craftwork — such as knitting — leads ultimately to improved mental abilities in the next incarnation. A knitter, for example, learns not lose the thread s/he uses; thereafter, in a later life, s/he will not lose the mental threads of careful thought.

Steiner also advocated crafts education in order to combat social trends of which he disapproved. “We would do modern culture a great service by introducing artistic craft classes into education. Those of us who want the best for humankind become tremendously anxious about our culture today when we see, for example, the way abstractions and the primitive ideas of those with socialistic tendencies threaten to flood our culture (which will not happen if we [2] attain our goals). We would no longer find beauty in our civilization, but only what has utility. Even when people dream of beauty, there is no feeling of the urgent need to stress the necessity of beauty as we drift toward socialism. [3] This must be recognized.” — R. Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 2000), p. 37.

For a list of the crafts often taught. grade by grade, in Waldorf schools, see "The Waldorf Curriculum". For more on the thinking behind the Waldorf approach to crafts, see, e.g., "Steiner's Specific", "Academic Standards at Waldorf", and "Methods".

[1] See "Karma".

[2] I.e., Anthroposophists or, more specifically, Waldorf teachers. Anthroposophy and, by extension, the Waldorf movement have political as well as spiritual aims. [See "Threefolding".]

[3] Advocates of Waldorf education sometimes claim that such education is progressive, but this is largely false. Anthroposophy generally rejects the modern world, its science, technology, and social movements. [See, e.g., "Beat" and "Waldorf Now".] 

creation of universe/earth - also see cosmic intelligence; Christ; creationism; First Hierarchy; Godhead

According to Steiner, we should not expect to comprehend how or why the universe was created. The act of creation ultimately is attributable to divine will, but the original enactment of that will is so distant, we can know little about it. Our present universe was preceded by other, unknown evolutions. ◊ “[T]he higher we ascend in the kingdoms of Nature, the less we are able to say what a being [1] will do in a certain situation ... We must accept the creation of the World as a free act of the Logos. [2] We must not question the Why and Wherefore. All those who have true insight have never spoken of a Cause of the Creation of the Universe.” — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS AT THE PERIPHERY: Rudolf Steiner's Observations on Star Knowledge, Nov. 10, 1904; compiled by R.S.W. Bobbette. ◊ "Only in a conceptual splitting of hairs will one want to find out what was 'at the very beginning' of the world, or 'why God really created the world.' ... Behind the general mass of men stand the inventors, artists, scientists, and so forth. Behind them stand the initiates of mystery science [3], and behind them stand superhuman beings. [4]” — R. Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), chapter 11, GA 11.

In Anthroposophy, creation arises from the nebulous Godhead or cosmic intelligence, and is enacted by a plethora of gods. There is no one-and-only creator God as depicted in monotheistic faiths. [See "Polytheism" and "God".] In a more limited sense, the creation of worlds (not the entire universe, but worlds within the universe) is the provence of the gods of the First Hierarchy [5]. These gods also create the beings that populate those worlds. "That which proceeds from the beings of the First Hierarchy is a detached world [6] ... [T]he inner experience of the beings of the First Hierarchy lies in creation, in forming independent beings ... Creation of worlds is their external life — creation of beings their inner life." — R. Steiner, SPIRITUAL BEINGS IN THE HEAVENLY BODIES AND IN THE KINGDOMS OF NATURE (Steiner Book Centre, 1981), lecture 5, GA 136. [See the entry, below, for "First Hierarchy".]

In a particular sense, Steiner said, Christ created our world. “No, it is not as the people of old believed; the earth was not created by the Father God. The Father God made the Son come forth from Him; and the Son is the creator of the earth.” — R. Steiner, MATERIALISM AND THE TASK OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), lecture 16, GA 204. Understand that Steiner's use of terms, here, is intricate. He usually said that Christ is the Sun God, not the Son of God. The Father God is, in a sense, the Godhead, from which everything arises, and Earth (or, more correctly, Present Earth) is a stage of evolution more deeply than it is a mere planet — it is a stage in which Christ has been the formative and guiding spirit. [7] Note, too, that — in a somewhat different sense — Anthroposophists attribute the creation of Earth to numerous gods all standing four levels above men: "Noah...was the most advanced leader and he was obviously still in touch with the creators of the Earth, the Elohim or Spirits of Form. [8]" — R. Wilkinson, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT STORIES (Henry Goulden, 1984), p. 21.

[1] Steiner taught that essentially all beings exist on a mighty, hierarchical, evolutionary chain. The sub-physical world sits below the physical world with its four kingdoms of nature (mineral, plant, animal, and human); the physical world, in turn, exists below the spirit worlds with their nine ranks of gods. The higher a being stands along this chain, the freer it is, and thus the less it can be comprehended by those below it.
[2] I.e., the creation of the world was a voluntary, free, inexplicable action of divine will, Logos, the creative spirit of the Godhead. [See "Logos" and "God".] 
[3] I.e., occult initiates, spiritual masters (like Steiner).
[4] I.e., gods and supermen. [See "Polytheism" and "Supermen".]
[5] I.e., gods of the three highest ranks; they constitute the most august "hierarchy" or grouping of gods.  [See "Polytheism"; also see the entry for "crystal heaven", below.]
[6] I.e., independent, autonomous planets or worlds, and the inhabitants of those worlds.
[7] I.e., Present Earth. [See "Present Earth".]
[8] See 
"Polytheism" and the entry for "Spirits of Form" in this encyclopedia.

creationism - also see Anthroposophy; creation of universe/earth

The belief that all things were intentionally created by God or the gods. Waldorf teachers often profess a form of creationism, although their specific beliefs are quite different from those of mainstream Christian creationists. [See "Going Up".] According to Anthroposophical teachings, creation has been the joint undertaking of many different gods of varying ranks and powers. [See "Polytheism" and "Steiner Static".]

critical thought - also see intellect; rationalism; thinking; cf. authority; faith

Rational, critical thought is damaging, according to Steiner and many of his followers. ◊ "A youth whose childhood has been touched by the blight of 'critical thinking' will come to the moment of independent insight badly crippled ... Because skepticism has long since robbed him of part of his heart, he will now feel unable to embrace enthusiastically what he has come to understand." — J. F. Gardner, THE EXPERIENCE OF KNOWLEDGE (Waldorf Press, 1975), pp. 127-128. [See "Beat" and "Criticism".] ◊ Thus, "You will injure children if you educate them rationally....” — R. Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 61.

Arguably, such propositions reflect the Waldorf effort to indoctrinate children: Waldorf students are led to feel, in their hearts, what their teachers wish them to feel, while they are deflected from critical examination of the attitudes and beliefs they are internalizing. The children are expected to uncritically accept what they are told. Discussion and questioning should be minimized. ◊ "[T]each the children respect. The children should not raise their hands so much." — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 65. ◊ "[W]e need to create a mood, namely, that the teacher has something to say that the children should neither judge nor discuss." — R. Steiner, THE CHILD's CHANGING CONSCIOUSNESS AS THE BASIS OF PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 94.

Thus, when the children eventually come "to the moment of independent insight," that insight will have been fundamentally molded by the conditioning directed by the Waldorf faculty over a period of years. Waldorf students should be passive recipients until the moment when the ideas and attitudes implanted in them emerge in the guise of original thoughts. But far from being original, such thoughts are the lessons that the students have uncritically accepted from their teachers. This, at least, is the intention behind Waldorf schooling: The students are not educated so much as they are indoctrinated, albeit subtly and pleasantly. [See "Indoctrination".]

crocheting - see crafts; knitting

Cronus (Cronos, Kronos) - also see Saturn

In ancient Greek mythology: Saturn, who was the supreme god before being deposed by Zeus. [See "Trinity".]

crossing the Rubicon - also see childhood; consciousness; "I"

The Rubicon is a large stream in northern Italy; when Caesar led his troops across this stream, he committed himself to a military campaign. In common usage, "crossing the Rubicon" refers to taking an irrevocable step. In Anthroposophical doctrine, the phrase refers to a theoretical transition occurring in childhood at around the age of nine. The child leaves the dreamlike consciousness of early childhood and awakens to the existence of the self as a separate entity present in a universe of other beings and phenomena. “Between their seventh and ninth birthdays a metamorphosis in thinking takes place and children begin to form their own mental images. This development is accompanied by a further distancing of the self from the world. Usually the impact of this separation begins to effect the emotional life of children shortly after the ninth birthday (between the age of 9 1/3 and 11 2/3), and is known in Steiner circles as the ‘crossing of the Rubicon’.” — The Steiner Approach to Child Development (Steiner Education Australia, 2011).

Note that sometimes Waldorf teachers speak of children "crossing the Rubicon" later in their development. "When children have crossed the Rubicon of the fourteenth year, the teacher can appeal to their reasoning and understanding faculty." — Waldorf teacher R. Wilkinson, COMMON SENSE SCHOOLING (Henry Goulding, 1975), p. 73. According to Steiner, the main turning points of childhood occur around ages 7 and 14, when the etheric and astral bodies incarnate. Childhood effectively ends at age 21, when the "I" incarnates. [See "Incarnation".]

The transition to a modern, rational mode of thought is connected, in Anthroposophy, to Steiner's mystical beliefs about clairvoyance. "[C]rossing the Rubicon...separated the old clairvoyance from the abstract comprehension of the ego ... Here we see the dawning of the ego and how its advances toward its fulfillment." — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. MARK (Steiner Books, 1986), p. 141.

crystal heaven - also see astrology; fixed stars; zodiac

a) The ancient concept of a solid crystal sky to which the "fixed stars" are attached, and/or the solid crystal vault of heaven beyond the fixed stars.

b) In Anthroposophy, a finding of primeval clairvoyance: the region beyond the zodiac, containing the deeds of Beings performed during evolutions before our evolution. [See "Overhead".] “It was called in primeval wisdom the Crystal Heaven, and that is where the deeds of beings belonging to a previous evolution [1] were deposited.” — R. Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES AND THEIR REFLECTION IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD (Anthroposophic Press, 1970), p. 125.

[1] According to Anthroposophy, gods evolve much as humans do. Human evolution began in the first incarnation of our solar system: Old Saturn. [See the entry for "conditions of consciousness," above.] We were in effect the youngest beings in the universe at that time. The beings higher than ourselves, the various ranks of gods, were older — they had begun their own existences during periods that preceded Old Saturn. The higher a god, in general, the older it is, meaning it began its evolution that much further back in time. We can know little or nothing about the histories of gods (i.e., the evolutionary phases of these gods) that occurred before our own existence began.

cult - also see guru; religion

A relatively small, unorthodox, religious circle, often centered on the teachings or guidance of a revered individual. Many critics say that Anthroposophy resembles, or is, a cult. [See, e.g., "Six Facts You Need to Know About Steiner Education".]

cultural ages - see cultural epochs

cultural epochs - also see American Age; Anglo-Germanic Age; civilization; Egypto-Chaldean Age; epochs; Greco-Roman Age; Indian Age; nations; Persian Age; Russian Age; cf. great epochs

In Anthroposophy, "cultural epochs" are phases of human civilization/evolution, especially subdivisions of our present great epoch, the Post-Atlantean Epoch. [1] Lasting about 2,160 years each, cultural epochs are also called cultural ages. The Post-Atlantean Epoch consists of seven cultural epochs, including four that we have already passed through (the Indian, Persian, Egypto-Chaldean, and Greco-Roman Ages) and two that lie ahead of us (the Russian and American Ages). Our present cultural epoch is sometimes referred to simply as the Present and sometimes as the Anglo-Germanic Age. [2]

Our passage upward through the cultural epochs is an evolution of human types, peoples, and/or races. Our souls acquire new characteristics as we reincarnate in more highly evolved forms. “[A]s human evolution proceeds, certain definite capacities, certain definite impulses are developed in each succeeding cultural epoch. It is impossible to imagine people living in the ancient Indian period having a condition of soul development similar to ours. [3] From epoch to epoch, as human beings pass through succeeding incarnations on earth, different impulses [4] are needed for the human soul.” — R. Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992), lecture 14, GA 174. [See “Epochs”.]

In Waldorf education, growing children are thought to recapitulate the stages of human evolution. Waldorf faculties think that various subjects should be keyed to the evolutionary stages the children are thought to be recapitulating. Sixth graders, for example, are deemed to stand at the psychological/spiritual/mental level of the ancient Romans, so their classes should reflect the knowledge available to ancient Romans. Thus, astronomy lessons for Waldorf sixth graders typically exclude all knowledge of the planets, stars, and constellations that was discovered after ancient Rome. In essence, this means that virtually all real astronomical information is excluded. [5] Other topics are presented in similar fashion at various grade levels, as the students allegedly rise through the cultural levels of human evolution. “There’s a proper time and method for particular subjects to be taught. The child recapitulates the cultural epochs of humankind.” — P. Curran, quoted in WHAT IS WALDORF EDUCATION?, a collection of essays by Steiner (Anthroposophic Press, 2003), pp. 21-22.


These are the seven cultural epochs or ages of the Post-Atlantean great epoch, along with their associated astrological signs. Thus, the Greco-Roman Age was dominated by Aries, our present age is dominated by Pisces, and the coming Russian Age will be dominated by Aquarius. The final cultural epoch, the American Age (Capricorn), will culminate in the horrific War of All Against All. [See "All v. All". The diagram is a detail from a much larger illustration in Richard Seddon's THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORESEEN BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publications, 2002), p. 133; color added.]

[1] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "epochs", "great epochs", and Post-Atlantean Epoch".
[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Anglo-Germanic Age".
[3] I.e., people then were less evolved than we are now, so their souls were less developed than ours.
[4] I.e., different motivating forces, different streams of energy enabling us to evolve higher.
[5] See "Oh My Stars". The children will receive up-to-date information about astronomy only if the subject is studied again in a higher grade, but usually this is not done. The Anthroposophical view of the heavens is closer to astrology than to astronomy; a student who has learned about ancient astronomy but not modern astronomy is primed to accept the Anthroposophical vision. [See "Astrology", "Star Power", and "Waldorf Astrology".]

curative education - also see Camphill; curative eurythmy; Waldorf education: goals

In a sense, all Waldorf education is meant to be curative — Waldorf teachers are less interested in imparting information to their students than in fostering the healthful incarnation of the students' invisible bodies and the wholesome enactment of karma. [See "Incarnation" and "Karma".] These objectives may be summarized as seeking to impart a healthful, healing life force. “The success of Waldorf Education...can be measured in the life force [1] attained. Not acquisition of knowledge and qualifications, but the life force is the ultimate goal of this school.” — P. Selg, THE ESSENCE OF WALDORF EDUCATION (SteinerBooks, 2010)‚ p. 30.

Steiner indicated that the original Waldorf school was meant for "normal" children. He said that some abnormal children are demons in disguise, and "We cannot...create a school for demons." — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 649. [See "Faculty Meetings".] More recently, however, efforts have been made to extend the curative "benefits" of Steiner's teachings to all children, including those with special needs. These efforts are often centered in Camphill communities. [2]

Many of Steiner's indications for curative education are presented in EDUCATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005). Essentially, Anthroposophists attempt to aid those in their care by enacting Anthroposophy in its various forms. Curative eurythmy [3] is often central to these efforts.

[1] See the entry for "life force" in this encyclopedia.
[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Camphill".

[3] See the entry below.

curative eurythmy - also see eurythmy; curative education; medicine

In Waldorf schools, eurythmy (the form of spiritual dancing devised by Steiner [1]) is thought to have curative properties, and special curative sessions are sometimes created for those who "need" them. Even infants can benefit from curative eurythmy, Steiner said. Thus, referring to one child, Steiner said, "What would have been the right educational treatment for this child in very early years? Obviously a special effort should have been made to begin with curative eurythmy even before he was able to walk, simply moving his limbs oneself [sic] in eurythmic movements. If this had been done, then the movements carried out in this way in the limbs would have been reflected in the nerves-and-senses organism [2], and since at that early age everything is still supple in the child, the form of the head could actually have grown wider. [3]" — R. Steiner, EDUCATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS (Rudolf  Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 106-110. 

Essentially, curative eurythmy is the use of various bodily movements meant to stimulate and correct the human organism. The practice of curative eurythmy is sometimes guided by specially trained curative eurythmists, and in general it falls within the ambit of Anthroposophical medicine. [4] "A distinct and specialized form of eurythmy is used as therapy to address a wide range of health problems. There are post-graduate training courses in therapeutic eurythmy".  — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 41. [For more on curative eurythmy, see "Eurythmy".]

[1] See "Eurythmy".

[2] I.e., the brain, nervous system, and sense organs.

[3] In Anthroposophical teachings, head size is thought important. [See the entry for "constitutional types," above. Also see the discussion of phrenology in "Humouresque".]

[4] See "Steiner's Quackery".

curriculum, Waldorf - see Waldorf curriculum