[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]

- D -

daemon, daimon - also see genius; gods; cf. demons

An angel or god, intermediary between higher gods and men. The term is sometimes used as a synonym for "genius" in the ancient sense: a guardian spirit, hovering over or dwelling within the individual. The term is also applied, sometimes, to karma or fate. [1] Steiner taught that the daemon within each human being decides how far that individual may be initiated into mystery wisdom. [2] “Each [individual] is to be able to become a mystic according to his maturity. [3] The message sounds forth to all; he who has an ear, hastens to learn the secrets ... It will be left to the daemon, the angel within each human breast, to decide how far he can be initiated." — R. Steiner, CHRISTIANITY AS MYSTICAL FACT (Rudolf Steiner Publications), chapter 9, GA 8. 

"Steiner speaks of [the daemon or daimon] as the higher self of man, who is awakened through initiation, and in one striking passage even refers to it as the 'son of God' that was born freshly in each human soul during initiation." — S. C. Easton, MAN AND THE WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), p. 67.

[1] See "Karma".

[2] I.e., the hidden or occult meaning of spiritual mysteries. [For more on initiation, see "Inside Scoop".]

[3] I.e., level of spiritual evolution.

Dark Age - see Kali Yuga

Darkness, Spirits of - also see Ahrimanic beings; black; demonic beings; demons; evil beings; Luciferic beings

In Anthroposophy, dark spirits are evil gods, or the minions of evil gods, and/or they are retarded spirits, beings who have fallen behind the proper pace of evolution. Evil spirits of darkness oppose the beneficent operations of the spirits of light. "[T]he spirits of light [1] who sent their impulses into human souls were, of course, guiding human evolution according to the old blood bonds. [2] And so the human souls in the spiritual worlds [3] had certain impulses to follow the ancient human karma [4] on entering into bodies which were to be the population in the second half of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. The spirits of light were using the old measures [5] of controlling and guiding those souls. [paragraph break] The spirits of darkness wanted to gain control over this. They wanted to drive the impulses of the spirits of light from those human souls and bring in their own impulses. If the spirits of darkness had won the battle in 1879 [6], the relationship between human bodies and souls would have been utterly different from what it actually has become in people born after 1879. Different souls would have been in different bodies, and the plan according to which human affairs on earth were ordered would have been according to the ideal of the spirits of darkness. [7] But it is not. Thanks to the victory that Michael won over the dragon [8] in the autumn of 1879, this could not happen.” — R. Steiner, THE FALL OF THE SPIRITS OF DARKNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), lecture 13, GA 177.

[1] I

.e., beneficent gods, especially Elohim. [See "Polytheism".]

[2] I

.e., divinely ordained blood ties: those within families, nations, and races.

[3] I.e., humans dwelling in the spirit realm between Earthly incarnations.

[4] Steiner taught that individuals have karma; so do families, nations, races, and humanity as a whole.

[5] I.e., techniques used by the gods to direct human beings along the proper course of evolution.

[6] I.e., a struggle between Michael and the spirits of darkness, waged chiefly in the spirit realm. [See "Michael" and the entry for "1879" in this encyclopedia.]

[7] I.e., human affairs would be directed by the evil gods rather than the good gods.

[8] I.e., Ahriman, or more generally the forces of evil. [See "Ahriman" and "Evil Ones".]

Darwin, Charles (1809-1882) - also see evolution

A British biologist, originator of the modern theory of evolution. Although evolution is a central topic in Anthroposophy, Steiner rejected Darwin's teachings. [See, e.g., "Going Up".]

the dead, communicating with - also see death; mediums; seances; spiritualism

Steiner disparaged mediums, whose clairvoyant powers were inferior to his own, he said; but he taught that communication with the dead is possible. Anthroposophists follow prescribed procedures to attain this goal. Many of these procedures, and concomitant doctrines, are presented in such Anthroposophical books as THE DEAD ARE WITH US, OUR DEAD, WORKING WITH THE DEAD, and STAYING CONNECTED: How to Continue Your Relationships with Those Who Have Died. For his own part, Steiner claimed to maintain contact with the military commander who launched the German offensives at the beginning of World War I. Steiner's "correspondence" with the dead commander is recorded in LIGHT FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM: Rudolf Steiner's Association with Helmuth and Elizabeth von Moltke; Letters, Documents and After-Death Communications. [See "Steiner and the Warlord".]

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


One of numerous Anthroposophical books dealing with the dead. This one is meant for use by Waldorf teachers. [Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2003.]

death - also see the dead, communicating with; life after death and before birth; reincarnation; cf. birth

In Anthroposophical doctrine, death is part of the repeated process of passing from life to life, alternating between the physical and spiritual realms. After death, you move through a form of purgatory (Kamaloka), then ascend through levels of the spirit realm, under the tutelage of numerous gods. You prepare for your next earthly incarnation in accordance with the karma you have created for yourself. [See "Reincarnation", "Higher Worlds", "Guardians", and "Karma".]

Death, from an Anthroposophical perspective, is a sort of illusion: It is the event that seems to end life but is actually just a passage from one stage of existence to another, a passage that will be repeated many times through the process of reincarnation. [1] We "die" many times, and those we love "die," but in fact there is continuity rather than separation: We remain in contact with the dead, albeit this contact is often unconscious. "You see, what I have just clarified occurs over and over ... All of you, as you sit here, are constantly in communication with the dead. People don't realize this in their ordinary lives because it takes place in the subconscious ... All of you are constantly in communication with the dead." — R. Steiner, quoted in WORKING WITH THE DEAD (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America, 2003), p. 3.

Waldorf authorities suggest that parents and teachers should encourage children to celebrate death and to "serve" the dead. "Should we foster ways to serve the dead with small children? [2] ... If death can live in adults' attitudes as a heavenly birthday [3], then the children will approach it as a fact of life ... Yes, celebrate the death day like an earthly birthday ... Children who become accustomed to celebrating from a very early age the birthdays and death days of people who are part of their social life, learn to accept the spiritual world of beings as real. Thus, they gain a basis for religious experience.... [4]" — H. von Kügelgen, ibid., p. 2.

[1] See "Reincarnation".
[2] I.e., should we teach small children how to serve the dead?
[3] When we "die" on Earth we simultaneously are born into the spirit realm.
[4] This is the underlying purpose of Waldorf education. [See "Schools as Churches".] The religion present in Waldorf schools is Anthroposophy. [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]

deception by Waldorf schools and Anthroposophists - see denial; secrecy

declamation - also see language; Logos; speech; speech formation

Strong, distinct projection of spoken words. Steiner advocated this manner of speech because, he taught, we and the gods create reality through our thoughts and the expression of those thoughts in speech. Anthroposophists are instructed to declaim, and the practice is often emphasized in Waldorf schools. Steiner himself declaimed prayers so loudly that he could be heard in adjoining rooms. Steiner taught that in the future, humans will reproduce by declamation — the larynx will replace the womb as the organ of reproduction. "The larynx is the future organ or procreation and birth." — R. Steiner, EVIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 50. [1]

Literature is often read aloud in Waldorf schools, sometimes as accompaniment for eurythmy. The purpose is occult; it entails mastering declamation and then rising beyond it. "If the art of speech is to be resuscitated — preferably more in the form of a narrative style, or as the kind of poetry developed by the ancient Greeks — and to revise also the art of declamation, which the older German poetry is based on, it is necessary to do something about speech formation. This is the point." — R. Steiner, THE CHILD'S CHANGING CONSCIOUSNESS (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 199. Through the "proper" use of speech, one can hook into the powers and wisdom of the ancients — primarily clairvoyance. The ancients had clairvoyance, most of us now don't, but we all can have it — in a new, improved form — by following Steiner's instructions. The process entails moving upward from imagination to other clairvoyant capacities. "In the picture of the descent of world evolution down to man you have that scale which human beings have to reascend, from Imagination through Inspiration to Intuition. [1] In the poem transformed into eurythmy [3] you have Imagination; in recitation and declamation you have Inspiration as a picture; in the entirely inward experience of the poem, in which there is no need to open your mouth because your experience is totally inward and you are utterly identified with it and have become one with it, in this you have Intuition." — R. Steiner, THE CHRISTMAS CONFERENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), p. 36.

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

[2] These are stages of clairvoyance, according to Steiner. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]

[3] This is a form of dance developed by Steiner. Intended to evoke and express spiritual powers, it is effectively a form of temple dancing. [See "Eurythmy".]

deep sleep - also see dreams; Kamaloka; sleep; will

In deep sleep, according to Steiner, you are in immediate but unconscious contact with the will, the soul force that is deeper than emotion or thought. [1] In deep sleep, you travel to Kamaloka (purgatory) [2], where the gods judge and correct; you receive the direct ministrations of the gods, which form your intentions (your "will") upon return to Earth. 

Whereas ordinary sleep provides spiritual insights that are analogous to vision [3], deep sleep provides impressions that are — initially — analogous to hearing, Steiner said. “Some idea can be given of those experiences which emerge from the insensibility of deep sleep if they be compared to a kind of hearing. We may speak of perceptible tones and words. While the experiences during dreaming sleep [4] may fitly be designated as a kind of vision, the facts observed during deep sleep [5] may be compared to auricular impressions. (It should be remarked in passing that for the spiritual world, too, the faculty of sight remains the higher. There, too, colors are higher than sounds and words. [6] The student's first perceptions in this world do not yet extend to the higher colors, but only to the lower tones. Only because man, according to his general development, is already more qualified for the world revealing itself in dreaming sleep does he at once perceive colors there. He is less qualified for the higher world [7] unveiling itself in deep sleep; therefore the first revelations of it he receives are in tones and words; later on, he can here, too, ascend to colors and forms.)” — R. Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1947), chapter 8, GA 10.

Steiner taught that the consciousness of proto-humans during the Old Sun condition of consciousness was equivalent to deep sleep. We progressed to a form of dreaming sleep during Old Moon. [See the entry for "conditions of consciousness" in this encyclopedia.]

[1] See "Will".

[2] See "Kamaloka".

[3] See "Dreams".

[4] I.e., comparatively shallow sleep in which a form of cognition, dreaming, occurs.

[5] I.e., sleep too profound for dreaming. More profound wisdom may be attained in deep sleep, but one cannot initially visualize the revelations of deep sleep.

[6] I.e., sounds, the "impressions" received by the ears.

[7] Steiner taught that there are various planes, spheres, and worlds above the physical level of existence. [See "Higher Worlds".]

degenerate races - also see evil races; race; savages; substandard souls; cf. advanced races

According to Steiner, these are races that fail to evolve in the correct manner. Even faults that may seem minor can cause a race to fall behind. “Groups of men in whom the bones had, as it were, become too strong, were now left behind as degenerate races." — R. Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (Collison, 1931), lecture 6, GA 105. [For more on Steiner's racial teachings, see "Steiner's Racism" and "Races".]

deification - see apotheosis

Demeter - also see biodynamic gardening and farming; goddesses; mother forces

The ancient Greek goddess of cereal grains. [1]

 According to Steiner, Demeter is a real being, a goddess who was especially known to the residents of Atlantis, endowing them with clairvoyance. ”Demeter is a figure of Greek mythology whom we associate with the kind of clairvoyant vision which belongs to the very oldest endowment of wisdom of Atlantean humanity [2] — for it is in Atlantis that Demeter is really to be found. When an Atlantean man gazed into the spiritual world [3], he saw Demeter; she really came to meet him ... Atlantean man said to himself: ‘Outside in Nature, forces are at work; through my breathing and through the food I eat they enter into me. What they are outside me is under the control of the great Demeter. But Demeter sends these forces into the human soul, there they are worked upon and transformed into the faculty of clairvoyance.’ ... [Demeter] spreads abroad in the wide cosmos the very same forces which in man develop into the faculty of clairvoyance.” — R. Steiner, WONDERS OF THE WORLD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963), lecture 2, GA 129.

Demeter farms are agricultural operations that follow Rudolf Steiner's organic, biodynamic teachings. Demeter International is a certifying authority that verifies the bona fides of agricultural operations that claim to be biodynamic. 


Traditional image of Demeter.
[Public domain.]

[1] See "Goddess".
[2] I.e., the human beings of Atlantis. Steiner taught that we lived on Atlantis before the start of our present great epoch. [See "Atlantis".]
[3] This was done through the use of clairvoyance, Steiner taught. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "atavistic clairvoyance".] Steiner said that most of the gods mentioned in myths are real beings, and ancient peoples had direct awareness of them. Thus, for instance, “Myths and sagas are not just ‘folk-tales’; they are the memories of the visions which people perceived in olden times ... Human beings were aware of the spiritual both by day and by night. At night they were really surrounded by that world of Nordic gods of which the legends tell. Odin, Freya, and all the other figures in Nordic mythology were not inventions; they were experienced in the spiritual world with as much reality as we experience our fellow human beings around us today.” — R. Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 198.

Demiurge, Demiurgos - also see gnosticism; gods; creation of universe/earrth; Platonism

a) In Platonism: the creator of the world. "Plato adapted the term, which in ancient Greece had originally been the ordinary word for 'craftsman,' or 'artisan' (broadly interpreted to include not only manual workers but also heralds, soothsayers, and physicians), and which in the 5th century bc had come to designate certain magistrates or elected officials. [paragraph break] Plato used the term in the dialog Timaeus, an exposition of cosmology in which the Demiurge is the agent who takes the preexisting materials of chaos, arranges them according to the models of eternal forms, and produces all the physical things of the world, including human bodies. The Demiurge is sometimes thought of as the Platonic personification of active reason." — "Demiurge." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 28 Apr. 2011.

b) In Gnosticism: The Demiurge is one of many subordinate gods, a master of material reality, an enemy of spiritual reality. [See "Gnosis".] ”The term ["Demiurge"] was later adopted by some of the Gnostics, who, in their dualistic worldview, saw the Demiurge as one of the forces of evil, who was responsible for the creation of the despised material world and was wholly alien to the supreme God of goodness.” — Ibid., "Demiurge." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA.

democracy - also see freedom; threefolding

Steiner found very limited value in democracy. Some people, he said, have profound spiritual wisdom, but most others do not — the former are, properly, leaders or teachers while the latter are, properly, followers or students. Steiner said that democracy — putting things to a vote — is appropriate only in strictly political matters; it is inappropriate in cultural, educational, spiritual, and economic matters. Democracy is often valued too highly, he said. "To see clearly as a human being today, to be open to the world and to understand the world, it is necessary not to be dazzled by democratic logic — which has a place only in its own sphere — by empty phrases about democratic progress and so on." — R. Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992) lecture 17, GA 174[See "Democracy".]

demon - see demonic beings, demons

demonic beings - also see Ahrimanic beings; demons; Luciferic beings; Sorat; Spirits of Darkness; Spirits of Hindrance; Spirits of Obstruction; Spirits of Opposition; Spirits of Temptation

According to Anthroposophical belief, evil spirits are active and pervasive. Minor demons are minions of great demons such as Sorat, Ahriman, and Lucifer. "Demonic beings" are beings that have many or all of the characteristic of demons; in the latter case — which is more typical of  Anthroposophical usage — the terms are synonymous. Demons, minor and great, are mankind's enemies, attacking us from the outside and also from the inside. We create demonic beings through our own thoughts and conduct. [See "Evil Ones" and "Steiner's Quackery".]  

There are both good demons (daemons) and evil demons, Steiner said. When we create evil demons, we damage ourselves and humanity as a whole. "The wise man Socrates...speaks of his 'Daimon' which worked in his astral body. [1] This was a good demon; such beings [i.e., demons] are not always evil. [paragraph break] There are, however, terrible and corrupt demonic beings. All demons that are born of lying [2] work in such a way as to throw man back in his development [3]; and because owing to the lies of eminent figures in world-history demons who grow into very powerful beings are all the time being created, we hear of the 'Spirits of Hindrance', 'Spirits of Obstruction.' [4] In this sense Faust says to Mephistopheles [5]: 'Thou art the Father of all hindrances!' [paragraph break] The individual human being...has an effect upon the whole world according to whether he speaks the truth or lies; for beings created by truth or by lies produce quite different effects. Imagine a people which was composed entirely of liars, the astral plane [6] would be populated solely by the corresponding demons and these demons would be able to express themselves in constitutional tendency to epidemics. [7] Thus there is a certain species of bacilli [8] who are the carriers of infectious diseases; these beings are the progeny of the lies told by human beings; they are nothing else than physically embodied demons generated by lies." — R. Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 6, GA 99.

[1] I.e., the second of our three invisible bodies, intermediate between the etheric body and the "I," according to Steiner. [See "Incarnation".]
[2] I.e., those we create by telling lies. Steiner taught that we create actual spiritual beings through our behavior, thoughts, and speech.
[3] I.e., they retard or reverse our evolutionary advance.
[4] See the entries for these in this encyclopedia.
[5] Faust was a legendary German magician; Mephistopheles is Satan. [See "Goethe". In Anthroposophical teachings, Mephistopheles or Satan is Ahriman. See the entries of "Mephistopheles" and "Ahriman" in this encyclopedia.]
[6] I.e., the soul world: the level of existence above the etheric plane. [See "Higher Worlds".]
[7] I.e., the demons would cause diseases, epidemics.
[8] I.e., disease-causing bacteria.

demonic possession - also see demonic beings; demons; incorporation; possession

According to Anthroposophical belief, people who stray from the true Anthroposophical/Waldorf path may be under the control of demons, or they may fall under such control. Battling demons is one of the tasks undertaken by Anthroposophists and Rosicrucians. [1] The chief opponent of demons is Christ. "[P]icture to yourselves a man possessed by demons of the most evil kind who know that they are facing a crisis. Picture to yourselves again that to such a man there comes One Whose mission it is to oppose the demons. [2] What must the demons feel under such circumstances? Ill at ease in the very highest degree! And so indeed it was: in the presence of Christ Jesus the demons were ill at ease. Rosicrucianism has within it the impulse [3] by which the demons must be countered." — R. Steiner, THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1950), lecture 1, GA 130.

Anthroposophists and Waldorf representatives often accentuate Steiner's bright, uplifting teachings, as if these constitute the whole of his vision. But this is a misrepresentation, conscious or otherwise. Steiner warned of many grave spiritual dangers, including demonic possession. Indeed, he taught that many people in the modern world are actually demons in disguise. [5]

[1] Rosicrucians are a secretive order claiming to possess occult spiritual wisdom. Steiner said that Rosicrucianism (as redefined by himself) is the correct path for modern humans. [See "Rosy Cross".]
[2] I.e., a holy spirit who fights demonic influences; inferentially, Christ or one of his representatives.
[3] I.e., the force or spiritual energy.
[4] I.e., the highest portion of the spiritual ego, a human’s spiritual self.
[5] See the entry for "demonization of opponents by Anthroposophists", below.

demonization of opponents by Anthroposophists - also see critics; demons; enemies


According to Anthroposophical belief, opponents of Anthroposophy and/or Waldorf education may literally be controlled by demons or they may actually be, themselves, demons. This belief erects a considerable barrier to any attempts at dialogue between Anthroposophists and their critics. [See "Nuts" and "Can't We All Just Get Along?"] On various occasions, Steiner spoke of people who are not truly human but are demons instead. "[C]ases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings in relation to their highest I [1]; instead, they are filled with beings that do not belong to the human class. Quite a number of people have been born since the nineties [2] without an I, that is, they are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon. There are quite a large number of older people going around who are actually not human beings ... [T]hey are human beings only in regard to their form ... Our culture would not be in such a decline if people felt more strongly [3] that a number of people are going around who, because they are completely ruthless, have become something that is not human, but instead are demons in human form." — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 649-650. Heeding such words, Anthroposophists may perhaps be forgiven if they conclude that ruthless people of this sort — demons in human form or benighted humans influenced by demons — are to be found among their opponents or may even constitute the entire class of their opponents. Steiner warned his followers that they are beset by enemies: “[O]ur enemies are springing up on every side...” — R. Steiner, SECRETS OF THE THRESHOLD (Anthroposophic Press, 1987), “Words of Welcome”, GA 147. [4]

[1] I.e., the highest portion of the spiritual ego, a human’s spiritual self.
[2] I.e., the 1890s.
[3] I.e., recognized clearly. 
[4] See "Enemies".

demons, devils - also see Ahriman; Ahrimanic beings; Asuras; Devil; Spirits of Darkness; demonic beings; demonic possession; evil; evil beings; Lucifer; Luciferic beings; Satan; Sorat

Anthroposophy recognizes both minor and major evil demons. The minor ones include nature spirits embodying our evil actions and thoughts, and the minions of evil gods. The major demons are evil gods including Sorat, Ahriman, and Lucifer. 

The term "demon" is also applied to evil counterparts of geniuses (i.e., beneficial spirits of a planet, etc.). It is in this sense that Sorat is the Sun Demon, opposing the Sun God or the Genius of the Sun, Christ. [1] The actions of evil spirits may ultimately be turned to good account by the beneficent spirits, but evil is nonetheless a very real and potentially calamitous force in the cosmos, Steiner taught. In Anthroposophical cosmology, evil is at war with goodness; and the good gods are quite prepared for combat. "[W]e are watching the battle waged by the good gods against the evil gods." — R. Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. II (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 251. [See "Evil" and "Evil Ones".]

When evil prevails, humans may lose their souls. In a sense, Steiner presented his teachings as a counterweight to the destructive powers of demons. "[T]oday...the spirit-soul is asleep. The human being is thus in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world [2], in which case the spirit-soul [3] will evaporate into the cosmos. We live in a time when people face the danger of losing their souls to materialistic impulses. [4] That is a very serious matter. We now stand confronted with that fact." — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 115. Note that Steiner was addressing Waldorf teachers, instructing them in the ultimate purposes of their work.

Demons are numerous and widespread; some exist within us, and many are our own creations. "The beings who permeate the astral body [5] and make it unfree are known as 'demons'. Your astral body is always interpenetrated by demons, and the beings you yourself generate through your true or false thoughts are of such a nature that they gradually grow into demons ... [S]uch beings are not always evil. [6] [paragraph break] There are, however, terrible and corrupt demonic beings." — R. Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), pp. 64-65. [7] The most terrible of demons is the Antichrist, Sorat: "Christ is the good spirit, the intelligence of the sun [8]; the adversary is the demon of the sun. Certain forces that are constantly working on the human astral body come forth from the demon of the sun. This demon of the sun is the opponent of the Christ spirit and is called Sorat." — R. Steiner, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), part 2, lecture 10, GA 104a.

Ultimately, virtue may prevail. Ultimately, all may be redeemed. The divine cosmic plan of the good gods [9] seeks to encompass all, so that even the actions of evil demons may ultimately accrue to the good. (Lucifer and Ahriman provide humanity with gifts of real value, even while threatening us with grave temptations that may lead us to our destruction. Some Anthroposophical teachings frame these beings as virtuous, although in others the malevolence of the evil demons is made explicit.) The victory of the good is not assured, Steiner said. In Anthroposophy, there is no omnipotent God who is certain to prevail. [10] Evil demons may triumph. "As time goes on, ever more human beings should be able to perceive the Christ unless, as is evidently more than possible, Lucifer and Ahriman succeeded in tempting man to fall victim to their enticements, and accept the materialistic viewpoint [11] as the only possible truth." — S. C. Easton, MAN AND THE WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), p. 212.


While Waldorf schools generally present a sunny face to the world, their belief system includes visions of many demonic powers. [A generalized demon; original illustration by Assia Turgenieff, reproduced in John Fletcher's ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 187; RR copy, 2009.]

[1] See "Sun God" and "Bad, Badder, Baddest". [Re. nature spirits, see "Neutered Nature".]

[2] I.e., the realm ruled by Ahriman.  [See "Ahriman".]

[3] I.e., the combined spirit and soul. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]

[4] I.e., immersing themselves in physical (material) reality, and thus losing connection to the spirit realm.

[5] This is the second of three invisible bodies possessed by a fully incarnated human being, Steiner taught. [See "Incarnation".]

[6] See the entry for "demonic beings", above.

[7] This passage overlaps the one given with the entry for "demonic beings", above. Steiner's followers have published and republished his work in various editions and translations, and under a variety of titles.

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

[9] See the entry for "divine cosmic plan", below.

[10] See "Polytheism" and "God".

[11] See "Materialism U." and the entry for "materialism" in this encyclopedia.

denial, deception, disguise by Steiner and Anthroposophists - also see secrecy; self-deception

Denial is a significant problem in the Waldorf universe. The truth about Waldorf schools is often concealed, as is the thinking behind them: When speaking with outsiders, Waldorf faculties generally deny the occult mission of their schools. [1] Similarly, Steiner generally denied the superstitious nature of his teachings [2], and his followers today continue to deny it. More broadly, Anthroposophists generally deny that their ideology is a religion — they insist it is a science. [3] 

Sometimes such denials are disingenuous; sometimes they are perfectly sincere. When the denial is an intentional ploy, outsiders may be deceived (as the deniers intend); when the denial is sincere, the deniers may deceive themselves (as they surely do not intend). [4] In either case, Anthroposophical denial causes truth to recede and greatly hinders efforts at open, reasonable communication. 

[1] See, e.g., "Secrets".

[2] See, e.g., "Summing Up".

[3] See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"

[4] See, e.g.,"Why? Oh Why?" and  "Fooling (Our Selves)".

[5] See the entry, above, for "demonization".

dentition - see teeth

design - also see Anthroposophy; conditions of consciousness; conditions of life; cultural epochs; divine cosmic plan; evolution of consciousness; great epochs; stages of form 

Anthroposophy is highly structured. The cosmos and its history, as described by Rudolf Steiner, are tightly designed; little in them is random. Many of Steiner's followers find this vision compelling; they argue that the recurrent patterns in Anthroposophical teachings constitute a convincing "inner logic." Everything fits, apparently; it all makes sense. And thus Anthroposophy must be true.

Non-Anthroposophists may reach precisely the opposite conclusion. The patterns found in Anthroposophy may seem to be clearly arbitrary, imposed by a human consciousness on a welter of phenomena that, in actuality, conform to no such patterns. Reality often exhibits scattered, random, and disparate phenomena, skeptics argue — when such phenomena are presented in tidily structured charts, we should usually suspect that the patterns shown are human inventions, not true discoveries. [1] Steiner made everything fit by changing most things, critics allege. Thus, he identified Christ with the Sun God [2], "corrected" the New Testament with his "Fifth Gospel" [3], and insisting that karma and reincarnation [4] are compatible with Biblical teachings.

Here is a simplified representation of the design of cosmic evolution, as typically presented in Anthroposophical teachings:


 ◊ 1. Old Saturn ◊                                             ◊ 7. Future Vulcan ◊ 
 ◊ 2. Old Sun ◊                               ◊ 6. Future Venus ◊ 
 ◊ 3. Old Moon ◊         ◊ 5. Future Jupiter ◊ 
 ◊ 4. Present Earth ◊ ....


 ◊ 1st Elementary Kingdom ◊                       ◊ 7. Human Kingdom ◊ ......
 ◊ 2nd Elementary Kingdom ◊            ◊ 6. Animal Kingdom ◊ 
 ◊ 3rd Elementary Kingdom ◊      ◊ 5. Plant Kingdom ◊ 
 ◊ 4. Mineral Kingdom ◊ 


 ◊ 1. Higher Spiritland ◊                               ◊ 7. Archetypal Stage ◊ 
 ◊ 2. Lower Spiritland ◊                    ◊ 6. Intellectual Stage ◊ 
 ◊ 3. Astral Stage ◊       ◊ 5. Perfected Astral ◊ 
 ◊ 4. Physical Stage ◊ ....


 ◊ 1. Polarian ◊                                       ◊ 7. Epoch of Trumpets ◊ 
 ◊ 2. Hyperborean ◊                   ◊ 6. Epoch of Seals ◊ 
 ◊ 3. Lemurian ◊        ◊ 5. Post-Atlantean ◊ 
 ◊ 4. Atlantean ◊ ....


 ◊ 1. Indian Age ◊                                           ◊ 7. American Age ◊ 
 ◊ 2. Persian Age ◊                                    ◊ 6. Russian Age ◊ 
 ◊ 3. Egypto-Chaldean Age ◊   ◊ 5. Anglo-Germanic Age ◊ 
 ◊ 4. Greco-Roman Age ◊ ....

According to Anthroposophy, there are seven major stages of evolution: the seven conditions of consciousness. [5] During each of these, we evolve through seven conditions of life. During each of these, we evolve through seven stages of form. During each of these, we evolve through seven great epochs. During each of these, we evolve through seven cultural epochs. [6] Steiner said the gods arranged things this way, and his claim is difficult (or impossible) to prove or disprove. But the sheer mechanistic regularity of the pattern invites skepticism. One glaring difficulty is that in order to make his pattern consistent, Steiner included outright fantasies such as Vulcan, Lemuria, and Atlantis. [7]

[1] See, e.g., "Steiner's 'Science'".
[2] See "Sun God".
[4] See "Karma" and "Reincarnation".
[5] Steiner sometimes indicated that there will be five additional conditions of consciousness in the distant future, but these are usually omitted from Anthroposophical accounts.
[6] See the entries for these various terms in this encyclopedia.
[7] See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.

Deva - also see Devachan; 
Devachanic plane; Devachanic world; gods

A spiritual entity, an ensouled spirit, a god. The word "deva" derives from Sanskrit and is used in Theosophy; Steiner tended to drop the term after breaking with Theosophy. The following is from Steiner's Theosophical period: "At the present time [1] it is very difficult to speak about the Gods or Devas because even those people who still have a positive attitude towards religion and still believe in the Gods, no longer have any living relationship to divine spiritual beings. This living relationship to the Gods, to beings, that is to say, who are exalted far above human beings, has disappeared in the course of the age of materialism. [2] Especially during the materialistic age, which developed from the turning point of the 15th and 16th centuries on into our own time, this living connection with the Gods has been lost ... We can only form definite ideas about the Devas when we take our start from human activity. Up to a certain point, man is free, able to do as he pleases. People however do not work harmoniously together, and therefore the various forces which proceed from human beings must be brought into harmony. What people do must have a general effect, and this must be made to serve a useful purpose in the world. The beings who bring this about are the Devas. They also regulate collective karma. [3] As soon as people unite in a common purpose they have a collective karma which binds them together and leads them on their way, weaving a common karmic thread." — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 8, GA 93a.

[1] I.e., in the modern (Post-Atlantean) epoch.
[2] Steiner taught that we currently are enmeshed in a densely physical or material stage of evolution; we are almost as far removed from the spirit realm as possible. If we fall any further, we will descend into the terrible "Eighth Sphere". [See "Sphere 8".]
[3] Steiner taught that individuals, families, nations, races, etc. all have their own destinies or karma's. [See "Karma".] "Collective karma" is a destiny shared by all members of a group.

Devachan - also see Deva; Devachanic plane; Devachanic world; heaven; Spirit Land

Theosophical term for the spiritual realm entered after death (from the Sanskrit sukhavati, the happy Western Realm). As the world of the Devas, Devachan may be considered roughly equivalent to heaven. In Steiner's teachings, Devachan is presented as the spirit world, Spiritland, or the mental plane. [1]

Just as some texts refer to lower and higher Spiritland, others speak of a lower Devachan (the lower spiritual world, the heavenly plane: rupa-Devachan) and a higher Devachan (the higher spiritual world, world or true intuition: arupa-Devachan). We may also speak of multiple stages of Devachan: “At the first stage in Devachan, therefore, a man corrects his previous life-picture [2], and out of the fruits of his former lives he prepares the picture of his body for his next incarnation. [3] At the second stage in Devachan, life pulsates as a reality, as though in rivers and streams. During earthly existence a man has life within him and he cannot perceive it; now he sees it flowing past [4] and he uses it to animate the form he had built up at the first stage. At the third stage of Devachan, a man is surrounded by all the passions and feelings of his past life, but now they come before him as clouds, thunder and lightning. [5] He sees all this as it were objectively; he learns to understand it, and to observe it as he observes physical things on Earth; and he gathers all his experiences into the life of his soul. [6] By dint of seeing these pictures of the life of soul he is able to incorporate their particular qualities, and thus he endows with soul the body he had formed at the first stage. [7] That is the purpose of Devachan. A man has to advance a stage further there [8], so he himself prepares the image of his body for his next incarnation. “ — R. Steiner, AT THE GATES OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1986), lecture 4, GA 95.

[1] See the entries for such terms in this encyclopedia.

[2] I.e., the mental picture one had of one's life (a self-image that tended to fulfill itself).

[3] I.e., he creates his own future form through the shaping power of imagination.

[4] I.e., we perceive objectively, as an external reality, the life that previously was hidden within.

[5] I.e., just as he gained objective knowledge of his self-image and his inner life, he now comes to dispassionately understand his passions and feelings. Overall, then, he comes to objectively understand the person he had been in his past incarnation.

[6] I.e., all of his new, objective knowledge enters into and informs his soul, which is preparing for the next incarnation (the next life on Earth).

[7] I.e., he creates the body and the soul he will have in his next life.

[8] I.e., in Devachan, we evolve to a higher state, which we will incarnate in our next earthly life.

Devachanic plane - also see astral plane; Devachan; Devanchanic world; music of the spheres; Spiritland

Steiner used this term during his Theosophical period, referring to the spirit world, the third or highest realm of human existence. "Those to be initiated [1] must raise themselves to the astral plane [2], and then to the devachanic plane [3]. It has become clear to us that human beings who raise themselves to the astral plane are surrounded by a world of pictures, which are much more real than anything we call pictures in our poor language ... The physical world is formed out of this world of pictures. When human beings have worked through to the astral plane, then they raise themselves to the devachanic plane; this plane's world of pictures resounds with the so-called music of the spheres [4], which constitutes the inner being of all things." — R. Steiner, READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), lecture 4, GA 104a.

Steiner also used the variant "Devachanic world." The terms "Devachanic plane" and "Devachanic world" are essentially synonymous: “The three worlds are 1. The physical world, the scene of human life. 2. The astral world or the world of soul. 3. The devachanic world or world of spirit. [5] The three worlds are not spatially separate. We are surrounded by the things of the physical world which we perceive with our ordinary sense, but the astral world is in the same space; we live in the other two worlds, the astral and devachanic worlds, at the same time as we live in the physical world." — R. Steiner, FOUNDING A SCIENCE OF THE SPIRIT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), pp. 10-11.

[1] I.e., those who will be allowed to possess occult knowledge. [See "Inside Scoop".]
[2] I.e., the plane between the physical and spiritual planes. [See "Higher Worlds".]
[3] I.e., the spiritual plane.
[4] In this context, the "music of the spheres" is the spiritual/astrological influences of the gods and the spheres they oversee.
[5] Steiner taught that we have both souls and spirits. A soul exists only during one lifetime; a spirit is immortal. A spirit is thus higher than a soul, and the spirit plane or world is higher than the soul plane or world.

Devachanic world - also see astral world; Devachan; Devachanic plane; Spirit-land

This is the heavenly plane or realm: the highest of the three worlds, above the physical world and the astral (or soul) world: the spirit world. [1] It contains higher and lower levels; in this sense, there are higher and lower Devachanic worlds. (Steiner was not always entirely consistent in his descriptions.) "[B]ehind our world lie other worlds — the Astral, the Devachanic, and the Higher Devachanic. Let us first remind ourselves that these three worlds lie behind our own! [2] ... Only if one could place one's soul in the higher Devachanic world — so says clairvoyant insight [3] — would one experience what it is that streams through the other two worlds and penetrates right down into our physical world." — R. Steiner, CHRIST AND THE SPIRITUAL WORLD & THE SEARCH FOR THE HOLY GRAIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1963), lecture 1, GA 149.


[THE ETHERIZATION OF THE BLOOD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971).]

Steiner taught that the three higher worlds specified here are reflected in the physical and sub-physical realms, and in the forces of those realms. Thus there is both a Devachanic world above us and a sub-physical Devachanic world (as it were) below us. "We have the physical world, the astral world, the Lower Devachan and the Higher Devachan. If the body is thrust down lower even than the physical world, it comes into the sub-physical world, the lower astral world, the lower or evil Lower Devachan, and the lower or evil Higher Devachan. [4] The evil astral world is the province of Lucifer, the evil Lower Devachan the province of Ahriman, and the evil Higher Devachan the province of the Asuras. [5] When chemical action is driven down beneath the physical plane — into the evil Devachanic world — magnetism arises. When light is thrust down into the sub-material — that is to say, a stage deeper than the material world — electricity arises. If what lives in the Harmony of the Spheres is thrust down farther still, into the province of the Asuras, an even more terrible force — which it will not be possible to keep hidden very much longer — is generated." — R. Steiner, THE ETHERIZATION OF THE BLOOD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971), GA 130.

[1] See "Higher Worlds".
[2] This is not quite consistent with the statement quoted in the entry for "Devachanic plane," above, in which Steiner says that there are two worlds above the physical world. Here he says there are three worlds above the physical world. (The discrepancy may be considered minor: Steiner has divided the Devachanic world into to worlds.)
[3] See the entry for "clairvoyance" in this encyclopedia.
[4] I.e., the worlds that exist above us have their reflections or counterparts in worlds that exist below us.
[5] See "Evil Ones".

Devil - also see demons; Lucifer; cf. Ahriman; Antichrist (Sorat); Satan

In Anthroposophy, generally, the Devil is identified as Lucifer. [1] However, the term is also sometimes applied to Ahriman [2] and/or to Lucifer and Ahriman jointly. Steiner distinguished between the Devil and Satan, usually identifying the former as Lucifer and the latter as Ahriman. Usually Steiner depicted the Devil (Lucifer) as less malignant than Satan (Ahriman). 

Both Lucifer and Ahriman offer mankind gifts, and many Anthroposophists speak of Lucifer as if he were benevolent deity. But this is a misreading of Steiner’s teachings. “The evil astral world [3] is the province of Lucifer, the evil Lower Devachan [4] [is] the province of Ahriman.” — R. Steiner, 

THE ETHERISATION OF THE BLOOD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1971), GA 130
. Both realms are evil; both demons are evil. This statement comes from Steiner’s Theosophical period, but his essential view of the Devil did not change. Lucifer, the Devil, seeks to tempt us to our ruin. We can turn Lucifer's actions to good account, but the path he tempts us toward is evil. [5] (Satan's intentions and actions are similar to the Devil's, but arguably more malevolent.)

Steiner stressed the evil intentions of the Devil and Satan in such statements as this (often overlooked or suppressed by his followers): "The greatest victory for Lucifer and Ahriman would be if one day they could claim that countless numbers of the dead had passed into their sphere ... This devilish plan — for here we have indeed to do with the devil — was put into effect by Lucifer and Ahriman." — R. Steiner, THE OCCULT MOVEMENT IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY AND ITS RELATION TO MODERN CULTURE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973), p. 92.

[1] See "Lucifer".

[2] See "Ahriman".

[3] I.e., the evil portion of the soul world. [See the diagram accompanying the entry for "Devachanic world", above.]

[4] I.e., the evil portion of the spirit world.

[5] For more on evil as discussed by Steiner, see, e.g., "Evil", "Sin", and "Hell".

devotion - see reverence


dinosaurs - also see animals; dragons

Steiner identified some dinosaurs as fire-breathing dragons. "Yes, those beasts, they did breathe fire ... 

What I am referring to are the dinosaurs from the beginning of the Tertiary Period.

" — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 26. [1] Some Anthroposophists likewise hold that dinosaurs developed during the epoch when mankind lives on the lost continent of Lemuria. "

At the end of the first half of Lemurian times [2], we see the beginning of the Saurian period, when the dinosaurs and other large animals began to develop." — B. J. Lievegoed, "Old and New Mysteries" (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive).

[1] Note that Steiner made this statement to assembled Waldorf faculty members. There is no indication that any teacher disputed the statement. [See "Faculty Meetings".]
[2] See "Lemuria".

Dionysian - also see metabolic-limb system; Waldorf curriculum; will; cf. Apollonian


Related to the Greek god Dionysus — the god of revels, wild impulse, fertility, ecstasy, and creativity. In Anthroposophy, "Dionysian" forces are said to reflect the will [1]; they are seated in the metabolism and limbs. [2] Warmth, motion, digestion, vigor, but also chaos are associated with Dionysian energy. Proponents say that Waldorf education balances warmly emotional Dionysian influences with coolly cerebral Apollonian influences. [3]

According to Waldorf belief, some art forms are primarily Apollonian, others are distinctly Dionysian. "[O]ut of the clouds descends the divine Muse of epic art; out of earthly depths there rise, like vapor and smoke, the Dionysian, chthonic [4] divine-spiritual powers, working their way upward through men's wills. We have to penetrate earth regions to see how the dramatic element rises like a volcano, and the epic element sinks down from above, like a blessing of rain. [5]" — R. Steiner, THE ARTS AND THEIR MISSION (Anthroposophic Press, 1964), lecture 3, GA 276.

Waldorf teachers should present Dionysian and Apollonian subjects and actvities with the appropriate spiritual attitudes, Steiner said. "Just as our reverence [6] grows if we cultivate our connection and attunement with prenatal forces [7], we will acquire greater enthusiasm for teaching by immersing ourselves in other human forces. A Dionysian element irradiates, as it were, the music and speech instruction, while we have more of an Apollonian element in teaching sculpture, painting, and drawing. The instruction that has to do with music and speech we will impart with enthusiasm; the other we will give with reverence." — R. Steiner, BALANCE IN TEACHING (Anthroposophic Press, 2007), p. 20.

[1] See "Will".
[2] See the entry for "metabolic-limb system" in this encyclopedia.
[3] See the entry for "Apollonian" in this encyclopedia.
[4] I.e., earthly. [See the entry for "chtonic" in this encyclopedia.]
[5] I.e., Dionysian influences arise from the Earth; Apollonian influences beam down from above.
[6] Steiner indicated that reverence should infuse all of education. [See "Schools as Churches".] Here, he makes a distinction between subjects that should be approached in a particularly reverent manner, and those that should be approached more enthusiastically.
[7] I.e., forces brought from life before Earthly incarnation.

disabilities - see curative education

discipline - also see authority; Waldorf students; Waldorf teachers

Rudolf Steiner urged Waldorf teachers to maintain strict discipline. In part, this was a reflection of the time and place in which the first Waldorf school opened: early in the twentieth century, in Germany. But in part it reflected the hierarchical structure of Anthroposophy. Steiner indicated that Waldorf students should defer to their teachers in almost all ways, seeing them as essentially unquestionable authority figures. [1] This was particularly so in the lower grades; as the children progressed to higher grades, the control exercised by teachers would normally lessen somewhat. Steiner generally discouraged corporal punishment by teachers, although he did not bar it outright. He indicated that teachers may occasionally slap students [2], but he encouraged nonphysical (psychological, spiritual, or "astral") slaps: "If you give them [i.e., students] a slap, you should do it the way Dr. Schubert [one of the Waldorf teachers] does ... There are physical slaps and astral slaps. It doesn’t matter which one you give, but you cannot slap a child sentimentally.” — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 323. Punishments could entail physical suffering and/or emotional shaming. “If a child comes late ten minutes, have him or her stand for half an hour ... Let them [sic] stand uncomfortably ... [Y]ou can be particularly effective if you allow [sic] them to stand in an uncomfortable place ... We could also buy a number of little sheds....” — R. Steiner, ibid., pp. 109-110. Overall, discipline should be maintained by insisting on the authority of the teaching staff. “[I]t will be very good if you can keep the children from losing their feeling for authority. That is what they need most. You can best achieve that by going into things with the children very cautiously, but under no circumstances giving in.” — R. Steiner, ibid., pp. 14-15. [3] A harmonious atmosphere should prevail, Steiner said, and students should learn to love and emulate their teachers. While their capacities naturally vary, Waldorf teachers usually present themselves as admirable role models, seeking to influence student behavior by inspiring trust and affection. At the first Waldorf school, Steiner often asked the students if they loved their teachers, and usually he was pleased with the response he received. [4] Serious discipline problems have generally been rare at Waldorf schools, since the schools have generally been free to expel troublemakers, retaining only students whose behavior is considered acceptable.

[1] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "authority". 
[2] See "Slaps".
[3] See, e.g., "Faculty Meetings" and "Basement".
[4] See, e.g., "Mistreating Kids Lovingly".

disease, diseases - also see health; human constitution; medicine; vaccination

According to Steiner, most disease results from karma. [1] Curing illness may thus be wrong, interrupting the needed operations of karma. Illness can also come from the stars and from demons. [2] Anthroposophical medicine inclines toward homeopathy, spells, and various forms of magic in addition to some standard medicinal treatments. [3] The occult nature of Steiner's medical teachings is shown best by quoting his remarks about various specific illnesses. 

◊ “If we destroy the susceptibility to smallpox, we are concentrating only on the external side of karmic activity." — R. Steiner, MANIFESTATIONS OF KARMA (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), pp. 165-166. ◊ “We must ask ourselves: In what constellation were we living when, in the nineties [4], the present influenza epidemic appeared in its benign form? In what cosmic constellation [5] are we living at the present moment? By virtue of what cosmic rhythm does the influenza epidemic of the nineties appear in a more acute form today?" — R. Steiner, FROM SYMPTOM TO REALITY IN MODERN HISTORY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1976), p. 89. ◊ "With pneumonia, the cause is always in the astral body [6]; pneumonia can occur in no other way.” — R. Steiner, THE TEMPLE LEGEND (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), p. 60. ◊ "[T]he predisposition to diabetes occurs if the I [7] excludes itself from internal processes ... All of this secretion, which as you know is an oscillating and circulating activity, is neglected while the I is focusing its chief activity on the brain.” — R. Steiner, INTRODUCING ANTHROPOSOPHICAL MEDICINE (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), p. 211. ◊ “In cancer, the sensory-nervous system invades the metabolic-limb system [8] and begins to assert itself there ... An ear that develops in the right place is a normal organ, but when even a very minimal latent ear or other sense organ develops in the wrong place, we are faced with cancer, or carcinoma. [9] To learn to counteract the body’s tendency to develop sense organs in the wrong place, we must look deep into world evolution, into the cosmic evolution that led to the human being.” — R. Steiner, THE HEALING PROCESS (SteinerBooks, 2000), pp. 141-142.

Perhaps the most controversial component of Anthroposophical beliefs about disease is the proposition that children have a karmic need to undergo many of the diseases that afflict them; hence, such childhood diseases should often go untreated. [10]

[1] Belief in karma is central to Anthroposophy. [See "Karma".]

[2] See the entry for "demonic beings," above.

[3] See "Steiner's Quackery".

[4] I.e., the 1890s.

[5] I.e., under what constellation.

[6] I.e., the nonphysical body that incarnates around age 14. [See "Incarnation".]

[7] I.e., one's spark of divinity, one's individual spiritual identity; it incarnates around age 21. [See "Ego".]

[8] These are two of the three systems that make up the human physical constitution, according to Steiner.  [See "What We're Made Of".]

[9] I.e., a cancer is often a tiny ear or other sense organ that has grown in the wrong place.

[10] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "childhood diseases".

divine cosmic plan - also see design; evolution; Godhead; gods

Anthroposophists believe that the gods — assisted by initiates [1] and members of secret lodges [2] — have a plan for humanity's proper evolution. The gods essentially worship us, Steiner taught. [3] We stand at the center of creation, and the evolution of the solar system is intended to raise us to higher and higher stages of consciousness. [4] We will soon become gods [5], and thereafter we will ascend through the ranks of the gods, becoming ultimately supremely divine. [6]

Waldorf schools attempt to operate in accordance with the gods' plan for us. The origin of the plan lies with the Godhead (divine will). [7] In this sense, Waldorf teachers serve the gods and the Godhead. “Among the faculty, we must certainly carry within us the knowledge that we are not here for our own sakes, but to carry out the divine cosmic plan. We should always remember that when we do something, we are actually carrying out the intentions of the gods, that we are, in a certain sense, the means by which that streaming down from above will go out into the world.” — R. Steiner addressing Waldorf teachers: FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 55. [See "Here's the Answer" and "Advice for Teachers".]

[1] See "Inside Scoop".
[2] See, e.g., "The White Lodge".
[3] See, e.g., "Everything."
[4] See "The Center" and the entry for "conditions of consciousness" in this encyclopedia.
[5] See "Tenth Hierarchy".
[6] This is the central narrative of Anthroposophy. Our future is not assured, Steiner taught — the divine plan may not be fulfilled — but this is what the future should hold. [See "Everything" and the essays that follow it; also see the entries in this encyclopedia for "conditions of consciousness", "evolution of consciousness". "planetary conditions", and "incarnations of the solar system".
[7] See "God".

divine I - see cosmic I; universal I

divine will - also see divine cosmic plan; Godhead; gods

According to Anthroposophical belief: the divine intent or impetus found in the divine cosmic plan; the Godhead. The created universe is the image of the divine will. "[A] Christian [1] sees a mirror image of the Godhead, of divine will, in every single thing in the world. The universe contains the sacrificed Godhead, and this reflected image of the Godhead was called in esoteric Christianity ‘the kingdom’. [2] What the kingdom meant to them was the divine will raying back to them multiplied a million times. The kingdom was the creative power of Atma, the living force of Buddhi in us [3], the creative force working in the outside world.” — R. Steiner, THE LORD'S PRAYER - An Esoteric Study (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 64. In such passages, Steiner was in fact conveying Anthroposophical beliefs, not Christian teachings as such. He often made this plain. "The whole universe is brought to life by the universal will, which expresses itself infinite diversity. This process of Divinity repeating itself in infinite differentiation us known in every occult or spiritual science [4] as the 'kingdom' as distinct from the 'will'. The will is the central point, its reflection the kingdom. So you can compare the will with Atma, Spirit Man, and the kingdom or the will's reflected image with Buddhi, Life Spirit." — R. Steiner, ibid., p. 10. [5]

[1] Steiner sometimes identified Anthroposophy with Christianity, and sometimes he drew a sharp distinction. Here, in referring to "a Christian," he essentially means anyone who acknowledges the primacy of Christ (whom Steiner identified as the Sun God). Note that Steiner quickly shifts focus to "esoteric Christianity" and then he introduces non-Christian concepts ("Atma," "Buddhi"). As ever, he is leading to, and affirming, the Theosophical/Anthroposophical, occult perspective.

[2] Anthroposophy is rooted not in orthodox Christianity but in esoteric of gnostic (heretical) semi-Christian teachings. [See, e.g., "Gnosis" and "Rosy Cross".]

[3] These are Hindu terms, which Steiner adapted from Theosophy. [See "God" and the entries in this encyclopedia for "spirit man" (Atma) and "life spirit" (Buddhi).

[4] As Steiner used the terms, true "occult science" or "spiritual science" is Anthroposophy. Prior forms of such "sciences" generally agreed with his, he taught, although they were less advanced. [See, e.g., "Altogether".] Here he claims that all such sciences agree on the points he is discussing.

[5] Clearly, very little of this accords with mainstream Christian doctrines. (Steiner says he is here discussing "occult or spiritual science," not the religion of Christianity.)

divination - also see clairsentience; clairvoyance; dreams; occultism; superstition

Discovering information through intuition, clairvoyance, or some other nonrational means. Thus, a "divining rod" is a forked stick used to discover underground water or subterranean treasures; the rod presumably responds to unseen influences. Anthroposophical beliefs in such matters is tantamount to superstition. "...Moritz Benedikt has discovered that when a person holds the divining rod by both prongs the forces in the left side of the body unite with those in the right side. Or, as he expresses it, the forces, by flowing together, form a common stream of emanation. When a person particularly strong in such forces walks over ground beneath which there is water, a change takes place in the forces of both sides of his body. This change is caused by emanations streaming upwards from the water below into the person." — R. Steiner, ASPECTS OF HUMAN EVOLUTION (Anthroposophic Press, 1987), lecture 4, GA 176. [See "Divining".]

The use of divining rods may be dismissed as not representing true divination, but Anthroposophists tend to believe in virtually all forms of divination as defined here. "Knowing" and "divining" mean much the same thing, from an Anthroposophical perspective. The key form of "cognition" in Anthroposophy — clairvoyance — is akin to divination. [See "Clairvoyance".] Statements such as the following represent the Anthroposophical view. ◊ "[W]hen, divining or knowing, your soul can gaze upon eternity, then mightily it lifts itself beyond all space and time." — R. Steiner, WHITSUN AND ASCENSION (Anthroposophic Press, 2007), p. 97. ◊ "Divination  The method of gaining knowledge of the unknown, or foreseeing future events by use of omens, augury, or psychical talents of a diviner in which supernatural powers are implied as cooperating, has been universally practiced from the most ancient times ... All the great ancient cultures...developed and utilized the important arts of divination." — G. Riland, THE NEW STEINERBOOKS DICTIONARY OF THE PARANORMAL (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1980), p. 76. ◊ "[T]he kind of divination practised at the end of the Middle Ages, before the dawn of modern science, was only one specific form ... [P]rophecy as a whole is a much wider sphere, connected in some way with definite states of consciousness which a human being can attain only when he throws off the shackles of his personality." — R. Steiner, ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 19. Note that Steiner himself divined or claimed to know the future. [See "Past and Future" and "Future Stages".]

"doing" Anthroposophy - also see Anthroposophy; clairvoyance; self-deception; spiritual science; Waldorf schools; will 

Anthroposophists think their ideology is a science and by using the methods of this science they can gain direct knowledge of, and access to, the spiritual realm. They attempt to enact or "do" Anthroposophy by acquiring and using "exact clairvoyance." [See "Exactly".] They seek to develop exact clairvoyance largely by following steps prescribed by Rudolf Steiner, many of which are indicated in Steiner's book KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT, which has also been published under the title HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS. In general, Anthroposophists are faithful to Steiner; what they "perceive" clairvoyantly is consistent with what he "saw." But sometimes they branch out, making new and original "discoveries." This keeps Anthroposophy alive, in a sense, but it also creates the possibility for schisms and sects. The survival of Anthroposophy in its original form is threatened when practitioners cut or loosen their ties to Steiner and roam far afield. [For Steiner's general prescriptions on attaining clairvoyance, see "Knowing the Worlds". For various prayers, meditations, mantras, etc., prescribed by Steiner, see, e.g., "Power Words". For a look at some of the problems that arise when Anthroposophists attempt to "do" Anthroposophy in nontraditional ways, see "JvH".] 

Waldorf schools attempt to "do" Anthroposophy indirectly by infusing it into their classes and activities. Waldorf education is essentially an enactment of Anthroposophy, with the purpose of promoting Anthroposophy. As one Waldorf teacher has written, "Waldorf education is a form of practical anthroposophy." A former Waldorf teacher has added, "The reason many Anthroposophical schools exist is because of the Anthroposophy, period. It's not because of the children. It's because a group of Anthroposophists have it in their minds to promote Anthroposophy in the world." [See "His Education" and "Ex-Teacher 7". Also see "Serving the Gods", "Spiritual Agenda", and "Sneaking It In". For prayers, graces, and hymns used in Waldorf schools, see, e.g., "Prayers". For the pursuit of exact clairvoyance by Waldorf faculty members, see "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".]

Dominions - also see Kyriotetes; Spirits of Wisdom

According to Steiner: gods six levels above man. “Certain sublime Beings whose life Saturn rays back [1], may be called Spirits of Wisdom. (In Christian spiritual science they bear the name Kyriotetes, i.e. Dominions.) Their activity on Saturn [2] does not be any means begin with the middle epoch of evolution ... Indeed in a certain sense it is by then already at an end [3] ... The Spirits of Wisdom have in their etheric body [4] attained the power to do more than enjoy the reflection of Life — as on Saturn [5]; they are now able to pour Life out of themselves, endowing other beings with it. [6]” — R. Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE — AN OUTLINE, chapter 4, part 3, GA 13. [See “Polytheism”.]



 • 4. Dominions, Spirits of Wisdom, 

 Wisdom Spirits, Kyriotetes • 


 • 5. Mights, Dynamis, Spirits of Motion, 

 Spirits of Activity, Principalities, Virtues • 


 • 6. Powers, Spirits of Form, Revelations, 

 Exusiai, Elohim, Spirits of Light, Authorities •  [2]

There are nine rank of gods, according to Anthroposophical belief. The middle three ranks comprise the Second Hierarchy. Dominions are members of the highest rank within the Second Hierarchy. (Above them are the three ranks of the First Hierarchy, not shown here.)

[1] I.e., Saturn reflects the influence of these gods.
[2] I.e., their actions during Old Saturn, the first incarnation of the solar system. [See "Matters of Form".]
[3] Steiner taught that Old Saturn, like subsequent incarnations of the solar system, consisted of numerous periods or phases. The Spirits of Wisdom completed much of their participation in Old Saturn before the middle period of Old Saturn. 
[4] An etheric body is an invisible constellations of forces; it is higher than a physical body but lower than an astral body. [See "Incarnation".]
[5] I.e., during Old Saturn.
[6] I.e., whereas during Old Saturn they received vivifying forces from the cosmos, they are now able to vivify other beings, pouring out beneficent influences from within themselves.

Donar - also see Thor

The Germanic god of thunder: Thor. According to Steiner, Donar/Thor was instrumental in bestowing the "I" (divine individuality) on humanity. Steiner taught that various peoples and races received this gift in different ways and to different degrees. "[T]his ‘I’ was bestowed upon man by an Angelic Being...by Donar or Thor [1]... [T]he East [2] did not experience the whole process of receiving the ‘I’ as though coming from a higher spiritual world, with the assistance of a divine spiritual individuality such as Thor. This was experienced in Europe, and hence the European felt this gradual ascent to the individual ‘I’ as the emerging from a kind of group-soul. [3]" — R. Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS, (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1929), lecture 10, GA 121.

[1] Angels, according to Steiner, are gods one level higher than humans; Archangels are two levels higher; Archai are three levels higher. [See "Polytheism".]
[2] I.e., peoples of the East, especially Asians. 
[3] I.e., a soul shared by a population. Steiner says that Europeans have a sharper sense of individual identity than do Asians. In this sense, because the "I" is central to human identity, Europeans are more highly evolved, more fully human, Steiner taught. [For some of Steiner's teachings about various people and races, see "Races" and "Differences".]

doppelgänger - also see double; Guardian(s) of the Threshold

In German folklore: a wraith or apparition of a living person. Steiner affirmed the existence of doppelgängers, and he attributed them largely to Ahriman. "[T]here are all sorts of thoughts sitting in us that are capable of taking on human form. [1] When Ahriman [2] has the chance to make these parts of the soul independent and give them human shape, they confront us in the elemental world [3] as our Doppelgänger, or double. We have to be aware that everything changes as soon as we leave our physical body and enter the elemental world. One can't encounter oneself while in the physical body, but we can be in an etheric body [4] on entering the elemental world and still see this etheric body from outside as one sees the double. [paragraph break] In terms of its substance, the double is a large part of the etheric body. We retain part of that body, but another part of it separates off and becomes objective. We look at it and see that it is part of ourselves, to which Ahriman has given our own shape. Ahriman tries to squeeze everything to make it conform to physical laws. The physical world is ruled by the Spirits of Form [5], who share this rulership with Ahriman. Therefore Ahriman can shape part of the human being into the double." — R. Steiner, SECRETS OF THE THRESHOLD (Anthroposophic Press, 1987), lecture 7, GA 147. Steiner taught that one's doppelgänger becomes the lesser Guardian of the Threshold. [6]

[1] In Anthroposophy, thoughts and other inner phenomenon may manifest as incorporeal or even corporeal beings.
[2] Ahriman is an arch-demon, Steiner taught. [See "Ahriman".]
[3] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "elemental world".
[4] This, according to Steiner, is the lowest of our three incorporeal bodies. [See "Incarnation".]
[5] According to Steiner, these are gods four levels higher than humanity. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Spirits of Form".]
[6] See "Guardians".

double, human (evil) - also see demonic possession; doppelgänger; incorporation

According to Steiner, the double is the evil counterpart of a human being, existing within the human (as demons are evil counterparts of geniuses and/or good gods). “It is...freedom of heart and soul which is so strongly objected to by that opponent [1] about whom I have told you that he accompanies the human being from birth until death ... Under the influence of this double a great deal can emerge ... [The double blocks our] goal of enabling...evil to be transformed into good to some extent ... Where the double is strongly at work, that is where the true tendency of the fifth post-Atlantean period [2] is being counteracted.” — R. Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS and the Mystery of the Human Double (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 171[See "Double Trouble".]

Belief in the double affects Waldorf education. “Rudolf Steiner...strongly urged [Waldorf] teachers to take into account in their process of educating children the workings of the double ... The double wants to cut man off from the Christ and the Cosmos. The double wants to help develop a soulless society of intellectual automatons [3], in other words, an Ahrimanic race [4] that will unite itself with the earth [5] on a permanent basis and forsake the cosmos and the cosmic goals of the original creative Gods." — R. Schmitt, THE DOUBLE (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1981).

[1] I.e., the double.
[2] I.e., the purpose of the fifth cultural epoch of the current great epoch.
[3] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "automatons".
[4] I.e., a "race" under the sway of Ahriman. [See "Ahriman".]
[5] I.e., material reality, as opposed to spiritual reality.

dragons, fire-breathers - also see Ahriman; demons; dinosaurs; serpent; snake

According to Steiner, dragons really existed; they were fire-breathing dinosaurs. "[T]hose beasts, they did breathe fire, the Archaeopteryx, for example ... What I am referring to are the dinosaurs from the beginning of the Tertiary Period.'” — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 26. [See "Faculty Meetings".] Steiner said these beast were Ahrimanic, and they existed at about the time humanity dwelt in paradisical conditions on the early Earth (conditions represented as Eden in the Bible).

In Anthroposophical teachings, images of dragons may be used to symbolize Ahriman or evil powers generally, as for instance the evil forces combatted by Michael. “To see something like this in the right way, we can always call on an image which humanity has known throughout its evolution — the fight between Michael and the dragon. This image has come up again and again in the course of evolution. We may characterize it by saying that every battle between Michael and the dragon is similar to the one in the 1840s [1], but it is about different things — harmful and damaging things. We may say that a particular crowd of ahrimanic spirits [2] seek over and over again to bring something into world evolution, but they are always overcome.” — R. Steiner, THE FALL OF THE SPIRITS OF DARKNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2008), p. 137. [See "Michael".] 

In Anthroposophy, "the dragon" often refers specifically to Ahriman and his minions. But the term is also used to denote evil in general: The forces that would deflect us from our proper evolution toward divinity. "Dragon — collective name of all forces that try to distract human beings from their intended development."  — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 31.

Also, Steiner said, dragons are mythic images of men living “on” the Moon [3] who breathed heat rather than air. "Moon-men did not breathe as man does today; they breathed fire, not air ... Many of the older, still clairvoyant painters symbolised this in the image of the fire-breathing dragon; they knew that in ancient times there had been these Moon-beings who breathed fire." — R. Steiner, AT THE GATES OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1986), lecture 9, GA 95.


Impression of an Anthroposophical seal, 

based on a seal of the Apocalypse:

Michael overcoming the dragon 

(the forces of evil, or particularly Ahriman).

[See Rudolf Steiner, 


R. R. sketch, 2010.]

[1] Steiner told of a great combat between Michael and Ahriman in the middle 1800s; it culminated in 1879. [See the entry for "1879" in this encyclopedia.]
[2] I.e., minions of Ahriman.
[3] I.e., during Old Moon, the third incarnation of the solar system.  [See "Matters of Form".] The "men" living then (perhaps better designated proto-humans) were not yet truly human.

dreams - also see divining; intuition; sleep

Dreams can be made reliable sources of knowledge, according to Steiner. Anthroposophists strive to attain a state in which they have true dreams. [1] Steiner prescribed spiritual exercises that would, he said, enable the aspirant to dream truly. ◊ “His dreams, hitherto confused and haphazard, now begin to assume a more regular character. Their pictures begin to succeed each other in sensible connection, like the thoughts and ideas of daily life. He can discern in them law, cause, and effect. The content, too, of his dreams is changed. While hitherto he discerned only reminiscences of daily life and transformed impressions of his surroundings or of his physical condition, there now appear before him pictures of a world [2] he has hitherto not known.” — R. Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1944), p. 113. ◊ “Now, where do the images of a dream sequence come from? If you really are standing in the midst of spiritual experience, free from the body, then you have the spiritual world before you with all the processes and beings within it ... To characterize what the dream really is, you could say it is an experience of the individual soul-spiritual essence of the human being [3] ... [T]he eternal is experienced in the dream precisely in the temporal, the transitory, the normal content of life ... [This is] the essence of the dream in the light of spiritual science. [4]” — R. Steiner, SLEEP AND DREAMS (SteinerBooks, 2003) p. 86. [See "Dreams", also "Knowing the Worlds".]

[1] Everyone has at least some true dreams, Steiner taught, although interpreting dreams can be difficult. Dreams in which dead acquaintances appear, for instance, may often include indications that you have succeeded in contacting these individuals from beyond the grave. [See the entry for "the dead", above.]
[2] I.e., the spirit realm.
[3] I.e., the human's combined soul and spirit.  [See "Our Parts".]
[4] I.e., as Steiner generally used the term, Anthroposophy.

drugs - also see alcohol

"[B]y using drugs we try to escape from our purely intellectual consciousness with its narrow boundaries. [1] The astral body [2] and the 'I' [3] are expelled from the ether body [4] and physical body in an abnormal way. [5] The 'I' is presented with deceptive illusions [sic] and has no control over these impressions ... [paragraph break] [O]ver time human consciousness has become increasingly cut off from the spiritual world [6], focusing instead on the earth in its purely physical manifestation ... The 'I' can feel incarcerated in the physical body to such an extent that it starts looking for an escape route through drugs." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), pp. 32-33.

[1] See "Steiner's Specific" and the entry in this encyclopedia for "intellect".

[2] This is the second of the three invisible bodies that Anthroposophists believe incarnate during the first 21 years of life. [See "Incarnation".]

[3] This is the third invisible body. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "I".]

[4] This is the first invisible body, usually called the etheric body. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "etheric body".]

[5] Steiner taught that the astral body and I leave the etheric and physical bodies normally every night during sleep. In Anthroposophy, abnormality usually reflects deficiency or evil.

[6] The author here presumably means the spirit realm in general, not the spirit world specifically. [See the entries in this encyclopedia for these terms.]

Druids - also see ancients; Arthur, King; pagan

Ancient Celtic seers, magicians, and/or priests. "In the West of Europe were...initiation schools [1], and in them the Druids were the initiates. The whole social life of the people was still even then ordered and regulated by these initiates." — R. Steiner, “Parsifal” (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), a lecture, GA 97. 

According to Steiner, Druids were correct in many things; at least some Druids may be deemed "pagan Christians" — that is, early initiates who acknowledged Christ without truly comprehending Him. Steiner taught that various initiates in the West of Europe were pagan Christians. "A sublime and wonderful phenomenon was unfolding here behind the scenes of world history. From the west, pagan Christianity, Arthur Christianity [2], which also appeared under other names and in different guises, was advancing.” — R. Steiner
, THE KARMA OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 159. [See Pagan”.]

[1] I.e., schools that led their students to occult initiation.
[2] I.e., pagan Christianity as represented and promoted by King Arthur. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Arthur, King".]

dualism - also see double; good and evil; materialism; polarities; cf. monism; tritheism

a) In some philosophical systems, the concept that there are separate material and spiritual/nonmaterial realms, matter and mind, the physical and the spiritual.

b) In Christian theology, the heretical belief that two beings — mortal and divine — coexisted within Jesus Christ.

c) The religious concept that the universe is divided between two opposite principles, roughly of equal strength, usually considered the good or light spiritual power and the evil or dark spiritual power. 

Threads of dualistic thinking run through the fabric of Anthroposophy. Many of Steiner's teachings posit polar opposites: the spiritual as opposed to the physical, the high as opposed to the low, the "good" as opposed to the "evil." If, as Steiner sometimes taught, spirit is the only true condition of existence — spirit infuses everything, and the divine cosmic plan encompasses everything — then there should be uniformity within and beneath all phenomena. But Steiner explicitly rejected monism, and he often indicated that some things are antithetical to, or divorced from, spirit. In this sense, his vision was distinctly dualistic.

But the Anthroposophical vision is intricate and complex. Drawing from Hinduism and Theosophy, Anthroposophy speaks of multiple good gods and multiple evil gods, and the lines between them often blur. Moreover, particular dualities exist within the broader panoply; pairs may stand in opposition to one another or they may complement one another. Thus, according to Steiner, there is the Sun religion (Christianity) which stands in contrast to, but also in sequence with, the Moon religion (Judaism). [1] There are two chief evil gods (Ahriman and Lucifer), who are variously rivals and partners, and whose actions may be turned to good account because of the interposition of a supremely good god, Christ. [2] Human attributes and activities are divided between the Apollonian and Dionysian, but multiple other factors also come into play, such as temperament (sanguine, choleric, melancholic, or phlegmatic), astrological sign, and so on. [3] Thus, the dualistic elements of Anthroposophy are modified within a tapestry of other influences and doctrines.

[1] See, e.g., "Sun God" and "Lunacy".

[2] See "Ahriman", "Lucifer", and "Was He Christian?"

[3] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "Apollonian" and "Dionysian"; also see "Temperaments" and "Astrology".

Dugan, Dan (b. 1943)

A sound engineer and inventor, former Waldorf parent, and — as secretary of People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools (PLANS) — a leading critic of Waldorf education. 

duration - also see evolution; Old Saturn

According to Steiner, time began about midway through the Old Saturn period of evolution. Prior to that (if the word "prior" can be used in this context), there was a timelessness akin to eternity. Steiner called this timelessness "duration." "[W]ith the Saturn state of heat [1] what is called 'time' first makes its appearance, for the preceding states are not at all temporal. They belong to the region [2] that in spiritual science [3] may be called 'duration.' For this reason it must be understood that in all that is said in this work [4] about such states in the 'region of duration,' expressions referring to temporal relationships are only used by way of comparison and explanation. What precedes 'time,' as it were, can only be characterized in human language by expressions containing the idea of time, for we must also be conscious of the fact that although the first, second, and third states of Saturn [5] did not take place one after the other in the present sense of the word, we cannot do otherwise than describe them one after the other. Indeed, in spite of their duration or simultaneity, they are so inter-dependent that this dependence may be compared with a sequence in time." — R. Steiner, AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), chapter 4, part 3, GA 13.

[1] Steiner taught that during Old Saturn the solar system essentially developed as a sphere of spiritual heat. (Old Saturn was the first incarnation of the solar system. [See "Old Saturn".])
[2] Space and time (or timelessness) are here indistinguishable.
[3] I.e., Anthroposophy.
[4] I.e., this book.
[5] I.e., the first three phases or periods of Old Saturn.

Dvapara Yuga - also see Hinduism; Kali Yuga; Kritra Yuga; Treta Yuga

In Theosophy and Anthroposophy, drawing from Hinduism: the bronze age (not to be confused with the historical Bronze Age). It is the third of four world ages. Many Hindu and Theosophical texts say Dvapara Yuga lasts 864,000 years, and it recurs during each cycle of ages. Other texts tend to treat each yuga as a one-time and considerably shorter event. Steiner said that Dvapara Yuga ended about 3,100 years before the birth of Jesus. “Then came the epoch of those incarnations when man's vision was more and more shut off from the spiritual world [1], when his whole nature was directed to the outer sense-world and firmly consolidated in that world; inner ego-consciousness, consciousness of manhood, became more and more definite and distinct. This is the Bronze Age, or Dvapara Yuga. Man's knowledge of the spiritual world was no longer as sublime or direct as in earlier times, but something at least had remained in humanity. It was as if in men of the present day who have reached a certain age there were to remain something of the jubilance of youth ... [T]his is past and over but it has been experienced and known and a man can speak of it as something with which he is familiar. Thus the souls of that age were still in some degree familiar with experiences leading to the spiritual worlds. That is the essential characteristic of Dvapara Yuga.” — R. Steiner, THE TRUE NATURE OF THE SECOND COMING (Anthroposophical Publishing Co, 1961), lecture 1, GA 118.



 ◊ Krita Yuga (the Golden Age) ◊ 

 ◊ Treta Yuga (the Silver Age) ◊ 

 ◊ Dvarpa Yuga (the Bronze Age) ◊ 

 ◊ Krita Yuga (the Dark Age) ◊ 

These are the world ages according to Hinduism. Theosophy has adopted a modified version of this conception, which Steiner accepted at least during his Theosophical period.

[1] I.e., people generally lost at least part of their clairvoyant consciousness of the spiritual realm.

dwarfs - also see gnomes; nature spirits; Norse myths; cf. giants

In Anthroposophy: generally, mythological beings, perceived clairvoyantly. "In ancient times a kind of natural clairvoyance was a common heritage of the European peoples. Indeed man's consciousness as it is to-day has evolved from that earlier state of clairvoyant consciousness. [1] With these ancient clairvoyant faculties, man was able to perceive certain connections of his life, and what he so perceived was then expressed in the legends and myths which speak of goblins, elfin-beings, dwarfs and the like." — R. Steiner, "The European Mysteries and Their Initiates", ANTHROPOSOPHY QUARTERLY, Vol. 4, No. 3, 1929. The nature of such myths is complex, Steiner said. The beings and events in them must be understood as representations of spiritual realities, and they should not often be taken literally. On the other hand, Steiner said that myths are essentially true, and he taught that beings such as goblins or gnomes really exist. [See “Beings”, "Neutered Nature", and "Gnomes".]

[1] This evolution has generality entailed a loss of the old "natural clairvoyance". [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "atavistic clairvoyance".] However, we now have the possibility of attaining higher, "exact" clairvoyance by heeding Steiner. [See "Exactly" and "Knowing the Worlds".]

dynamic drawing - see form drawing

Dynamis - also see Mights; Spirits of Movement

According to Steiner: gods five levels above humanity, sometimes called Spirits of Motion or Spirits of Movement. “When by the working together of Will and Life a certain stage of Saturn evolution has been reached [1], other Beings [2] too begin to work. They also are in the surrounding sphere of Saturn. [3] We may call them Spirits of Movement; in Christian terminology they are Dynamis or Mights. They have no physical body and no life-body [4]; their lowest member is the astral body [5] ... The Spirits of Movement, we might say, make Saturn as a whole [6] appear as an animate being endowed with soul. [7]” — R. Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, chapter 4, part 3, GA 13. [See “Polytheism”.]


Hebrew/Christian Esotericism.......    ............Anthroposophy
(Ranks of Angels)........................................(Ranks of Gods)

 1. Seraphime, Seraphim.................................Spirits of Love 
 2. Cherubime, Cherubim.........................Spirits of Harmony 
 3. Thronos, Thrones.........................................Spirits of Will 
 4. Kyriotetes, Dominions...........................Spirits of Wisdom 
 5. Dynamis, Mights................................Spirits of Movement 
 6. Exusiai, Powers..........................................Spirits of Form 
 7. Archai, Principalities.........................Spirits of Personality 
 8. Archangeloi, Archangels..............................Spirits of Fire 
 9. Angeloi, Angels........................................Sons of Twilight 

These are the ranks of divine beings, from highest to lowest, according to some esoteric teachings. The nine ranks of angelic beings were denominated as shown to the left  by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in the 6th century CE. [8] According to Steiner, the beings shown here are gods, and he assigned them the names shown to the right. Note that other names are also sometimes used for beings of the various ranks. In Steiner's teachings, human beings constitute (or will constitute) the tenth rank. [9] Thus, Sons of Twilight (rank 9) stand one level higher than humanity (rank 10), Spirits of Fire (rank 8) stand two levels higher than humanity, etc. Ultimately, Steiner said, humans will ascend through the ranks, destined for the pinnacle of divinity. [Table adapted from E. R. Smith's THE BURNING BUSH (Anthroposophic Press, 1997). Also see R. McDermott, THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER (Lindisfarne Books, 2009).] 

[1] I.e., when the spiritual forces of will and life caused the solar system to reach a certain stage of the Old Saturn evolutionary period. [See "Old Saturn".]

[2] I.e., other gods. (Steiner had previously described the actions of gods aside from Dynamis.)

[3] I.e., like the gods discussed previously, the Dynamis were in the enveloping sphere which was the solar system at that time.

[4] I.e., etheric body. [See "Incarnation".]

[5] These gods were too highly evolved to have physical or etheric bodies. Their lowest component parts were astral bodies. [See "Incarnation".]

[6] I.e., the solar system as it existed during Old Saturn.

[7] I.e., these gods endowed the living solar system with soul. (In Anthroposophical belief, essentially everything is alive).

[8] "Pseudo-Dionysius The Areopagite, (flourished c. 500), probably a Syrian monk who, known only by his pseudonym [Dionysius the Areopagite], wrote a series of Greek treatises and letters for the purpose of uniting Neoplatonic philosophy with Christian theology and mystical experience ... Historical research has been unable to identify the author, who, having assumed the name of the New Testament convert of St. Paul (Acts 17:34), could have been one of several Christian writers ... The treatises 'On the Divine Names,' 'On Mystical Theology,' 'On the Celestial Hierarchy,' and 'On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy' comprise the bulk of the Dionysian corpus of writings." — ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA ONLINE, July 21, 2015.

[9] See "Tenth Hierarchy".

- also see philosophy; world conceptions

The philosophical theory that phenomena are caused by energy rather than matter or motion. According to Steiner, dynamism is one of the twelve justified — i.e., defended— world conceptions, philosophical standpoints which he associated with signs of the zodiac: “There can be persons who...hold that 'forces' are dominant everywhere ... A world-outlook of this kind — which looks everywhere for forces behind phenomena — can be called Dynamism." — R. Steiner, HUMAN AND COSMIC THOUGHT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1991), p. 37. Steiner associated dynamism with Scorpio. [See “Philosophy”.]