E - El

[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]

 E -

eagle - also see bull; group soul; lion; man

a) A large bird of prey.

b) According to Steiner, one of the four group souls [1] shared by humans at an early stage of evolution. Modern humans of varying kinds still reflect the influences of these souls. "One calls these four group souls by the names of the apocalyptic beasts [2]: Bull, Eagle, Lion, Man. The Man, however, was at another stage of evolution than the man of today. The names are taken from the organization of the group souls ... The third group, with the mobile element that does not wish to know much of the earth, belongs to the group soul of the Eagle. They are the ones who can raise themselves above what is earthly ... They would have reminded you of people who have much psychism [3] and believe in visions, and because they do not bother much about the physical, have something dried up, something stunted ... They would have reminded you of the bird nature. 'I will hold back my Spirit,' that was the tendency of the eagle men." — R. Steiner, "The Four Human Group Souls (Lion, Bull, Eagle, Man)" (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 107. [See "Four Group Souls".]


Four human group souls, including the eagle,

as per Steiner. [R. R., 2010.]

[1] A group soul is the soul of a species, race, nation, family, or other group; all members of the group share in the soul, Steiner taught.

[2] I.e., four "beasts" mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

[3] I.e., psychic powers.

early-childhood education - also see childhood; play at Waldorf schools; seven-year stages of growth; Waldorf curriculum

Waldorf faculties generally want to assume responsibility for children as early as possible; they know children are most malleable at the earliest ages. The first Waldorf school did not originally offer early-childhood education (preschool education), but Steiner said this needed to change. "The longer we have them [1], the better it is. In that way [2], we can have the children who do not yet go to school. Right now we can generally take the children only when they begin elementary school ... We will have to have something for the earlier years, later is less important." — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 108.

Steiner said that ideally Waldorf schools would take control of children at the very beginning of their lives. "Given the difficult, disorderly, and chaotic conditions of our time, it might almost be preferable from a moral viewpoint if children could be taken into one’s care soon after birth.” — R. Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 69. This is generally not possible. Still, Waldorf faculties attempt to begin ministering to children at the earliest opportunity. The role of parents should be reduced proportionally, Steiner said. "You [3] will have to take over children for their education and instruction — children who will have received already (as you must remember) the education, or mis-education given them by their parents." — R. Steiner, THE STUDY OF MAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 16.

Today Waldorf schools typically have preschool programs. In general, however, such programs do not provide actual early-childhood education (that is, introductory study of reading, counting, etc.) — they are not genuine "head start" programs. Instead, they focus on occult conditioning. In Waldorf belief, children are not ready for academic schooling until their etheric bodies [4] incarnate at about age seven. In general, children should be kept in a dreamlike, hazy frame of mind, Anthroposophists believe. "[I]t is...necessary to let children live in their gentle dreamy experiences as long as possible, so that they move slowly into life. They need to remain as long as possible in their imaginations and pictorial capacities without intellectuality. [5]" — R. Steiner, A MODERN ART OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 2004), pp. 103-104. [See "Thinking Cap".] Academic instruction is delayed in Waldorf schools, and even when such instruction begins, it is de-emphasized. [See "Academic Standards at Waldorf".] 

Arguably, Waldorf students who are denied the benefits of early-childhood education that has real educational content suffer deficits that are difficult, if not impossible, to repair later in life.

[1] I.e., the longer children are in our care.
[2] I.e., if we assume responsibility for children when they are very young. 
[3] Steiner was addressing Waldorf teachers.
[4] The etheric body is the first of three invisible bodies that, in Anthroposophical belief, a human being develops. [See "Incarnation".]
[5] Imagination and "pictorial capabilities" are, according to Anthroposophy, precursors to, or early stages of, clairvoyant vision. The antithesis of these, which Waldorf schools generally seek to diminish, is intellect or critical thinking. [See "Thinking".]

Earth - also see Cosmos of Wisdom; earth; Earth Goddess; Mother Earth; Present Earth

a) The third planet from the Sun.

b) According to Steiner: The Earth today is the planet on which we dwell during the fourth incarnation of the solar system, which is called Present Earth. The planet is Earth and the period is Present Earth. [1]

Steiner taught that we began our evolution during a period called Old Saturn; in an occult sense, we then lived "on" Saturn. We proceeded to the Old Sun period (when we lived "on" the Sun, as it were), and then Old Moon (when we lived "on" the Moon). The Earth itself existed during those periods, but in a very different form from what we know now. In a sense, the Earth and the entire solar system were one and the same, at least to the extent that the evolution of the solar system can generally be equated with the evolution of the Earth. In the early stages of this evolution, Earth and the other members of the solar system (planets, the Sun, the Moon) were generally united as a single body or in just a few distinct bodies. Gradually the members of the solar system separated from one another. We now live on the physical, mineral planet Earth during the Present Earth stage of evolution. During our lives here, we develop our intellect and acquire mundane knowledge. This is a necessary stage, but in the future we will put these things behind us. The use of the brain and the knowledge gained thereby essentially apply only to life on the physical plane, and we are headed much higher. We will proceed to Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan. [2]

Mankind's consciousness during Old Saturn was like a coma, during Old Sun it was like deep sleep, during Old Moon it was like dreaming, and now, during Present Earth, it has become normal waking consciousness. Now for the first time we exist on a solid planet and we look about us with the sort of consciousness that we today consider normal. "Only during the fourth stage [3] did consolidation [of spiritual forces and realities] reach the formation of a solid earth, when the Spirits of Form...sacrificed their ego-substance [4] to enable mankind to develop the waking ego-consciousness that we have today." — R. Seddon, THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORETOLD BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2002), p. 10.

Steiner variously taught that the planet Earth is alive or it once was alive. ◊ “[T]he whole earth is a living being.” — R. Steiner, ESSENTIALS OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1926), p. 64. ◊ "The whole of our earth was once alive. It was first a plant, then an animal.” — R. Steiner's FROM LIMESTONE TO LUCIFER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), editors’ synopsis, p. vii. In accordance with the proposition that the Earth is still alive, Steiner taught that the planet has emotions. ◊ “Just think, children, our Earth feels and experiences everything that happens within it ... [I]t has feelings like you have, and can be angry or happy like you.” — R. Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 132. The planet consists of various layers having such designations of "Fire Earth": ◊ “The Fire Earth is made essentially of feeling and will. It is sensitive to pain and would cry out if stepped on. It consists entirely of passions.” — R. Steiner, THE INTERIOR OF THE EARTH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 31. The shape of the Earth is not what we are usually taught. ◊ “[T]he earth stands in the universe, curiously, as a rounded tetrahedron, as a kind of pyramid. That, gentlemen, is actually still the form of the earth!” — R. Steiner, FROM SUNSPOTS TO STRAWBERRIES (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), p. 185. Conventional teachings about the major formations of the Earth, the continents, are incorrect. ◊ “[T]he continents swim [in the sea] ... All fixed land swims and the stars hold it in position.” — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 617. Steiner sometimes acknowledged that the Earth orbits the Sun, but at other times he denied it. ◊ "The Earth cannot revolve around the Sun because meanwhile the Sun would move away from it. In reality, the Sun moves on, and the Earth and the other planets follow it." — R. Steiner, THE FOURTH DIMENSION (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 128.

Our history on the physical planet Earth has passed through several distinct stages, according to Steiner. During the first stage [5], called the Polarian Epoch [6], the Earth was still united with the Sun and Moon. The second stage, called the Hyperborean Epoch [7], was the first during which the Earth may be conceived as a planet something like the planet we know now: The Earth had separated from the Sun, and thus the planet and its star assumed a relationship somewhat like the relationship we recognize today. [8] During the third stage, called the Lemurian Epoch, the Earth assumed a form much closer to its present form, although its surface features were quite different. Mankind lived on the continent of Lemuria, which essentially filled the area now occupied by the Indian Ocean. [9] The Moon split off from the Earth during the Lemurian Epoch, and due to the activities of Lucifer [10], mankind developed its first knowledge of good and evil. During the fourth stage, the Atlantean Epoch, mankind lived on the continent of Atlantis, which filled a large portion of the area now known as the Atlantic Ocean. [11] Humans at that evolutionary stage had innate clairvoyant powers, and they developed technologies based on life force. [12] But just as human wickedness had destroyed Lemuria, so did it destroy Atlantis. Thus, mankind altered the features and nature of the planet Earth during the periods preceding our current phase of development. Today we dwell in the Post-Atlantean Epoch, the period when the Earth and the planets beyond it exist in the forms that we now consider normal: We live now on a planet that is commonly (but, according to Anthroposophy, inaccurately) called the "real world."


Steiner sometimes spoke of "Earth" when he meant Present Earth, the condition of consciousness in which we now exist. This image shows the conditions of consciousness tagged as if they are planets.More correct tags would be "Old Saturn", "Old Sun", "Old Moon", "Present Earth", "Future Jupiter", "Future Venus", and "Future Vulcan". See the entry for  "conditions of consciousness" in this encyclopedia. [Detail from an image in THE RIDDLE OF HUMANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990); color added. The swooping lines beneath the "planets" show esoteric connections through which human consciousness is augmented.]

[1] See the entry for "incarnations of the solar system" in this encyclopedia.
[2] See "Matters of Form" and "Future Stages".
[3] I.e., the fourth incarnation of the solar system, Present Earth.
[4] According to Anthroposophical belief, the gods assist us through lovingly sacrificing parts of themselves. When the Spirits of Form sacrifice their "ego substance," they make it possible for us to develop our own egos, our "I"s. Spirits of Form, according to Steiner, are gods four levels higher than humanity. The "I" is the spiritual ego. [See "Ego" and the entry in this encyclopedia for "I".]
[5] The account given here, in accordance with various Anthroposophical texts, is somewhat simplified. Prior to the first stage mentioned here, the Earth and mankind passed through earlier phases of Present Earth. But conditions during those phases were so different from what we experience today, accounts of our existence "on" the Earth often pass over those phases. To be accurate, we should say that the Polarian Age was the first Great Epoch of the fourth stage of form (the Physical Stage of Form) of the fourth condition of life (the Mineral Kingdom Condition of Life) during the fourth condition of consciousness (Present Earth). [See the entries in this encyclopedia for these terms.]
[6] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "Polaria" and "Polarian Epoch".

See the entries in this encyclopedia for "Hyperborea" and "Hyperborean Epoch".
[8] Bear in mind, once again, that when we speak of things happening for the "first" time, we generally are referring to firsts within specific evolutionary stages. The overall pattern of evolution, according to Steiner, is complex and entails many recapitulations. Things that seem to happen for the first time, thus, may often be repetitions in a new form of events that occurred before. [See, e.g., "Stages".]
See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Lemuria".
[10] See "Lucifer".
[11] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "Atlantean", "Atlantean Epoch", and "Atlantis".
[12] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "life force".

earth - also see air; Earth; earth ether; earth-water beings; elements; fire; water

Soil, dirt: one of the "four elements," home of the nature spirits called gnomes. ◊ Anthroposophy recognizes "the 'four elements', the archetypal activities of earth, water, air and fire, which were once dynamic qualities in the medieval cosmos and are now Anthroposophical." — G. Ahern, THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT (James Clarke & Co., 2009), p. 92. ◊ "Each of the four elements is home to the corresponding type of elemental beings. [1] Christ...is seen as the Lord of the Elements. [2]" — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 36. 

Soil or earth is the home of the nature spirits called by such names as "goblins" and "gnomes": “There are beings that can be seen with clairvoyant vision at many spots in the depths of the earth [3] ... Many names have been given to them, such as goblins, gnomes and so forth ... What one calls moral responsibility in man is entirely lacking in them ... Their nature prompts them to play all sorts of tricks on man....” — R. Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), pp. 62-63.

Anthroposophy is generally backward, accepting teachings that science has long since discarded. Science today recognizes more than one hundred elements, and earth is not one of them. (Nor are air, fire, or water now categorized as elements.) Earth or soil contains multiple elements: It consists of decaying organic materials intermixed with clays and rock particles.

[1] I.e., nature spirits. These are invisible beings that dwell within the elements and/or forces of nature. Gnomes dwell in earth, undines in water, sylphs in air, and "salamanders" or fire-spirits in fire. [See "Neutered Nature".]
[2] According to Steiner, Christ the Sun God united himself with the Earth, and thereupon He took command of earthly elements. [For a discussion of Christ's true nature, as seen in Anthroposophy, see "Sun God" and "Was He Christian?"]
[3] Gnomes presumably are present at all depths, but Steiner taught that they are more numerous deep underground.

earth ether - also see earth; elements; ether; pentagram

Steiner affirmed the ancient belief that there are four fundamental "elements": air, earth, fire, and water. [1] Early in his career as an occultist, he said that there is an "ether" associated with each element. Earth ether is the rarefied, more elevated variant of the element called earth. The symbol for earth ether, Steiner said, is a square with only the corners distinct, and its color is yellow. Earth ether functions in the human bones and muscles, and its taste is sweet.

In his early teaching, Steiner also indicated that there is a fifth ether, "thought ether". [2] He later generally taught that in fact there are four ethers: life ether, light ether, sound ether, and warmth ether. [3] (In this later scheme. the fifth ether — thought ether — was folded into sound ether.)


These are the five ethers Steiner spoke of early in his occultist career. [R. Steiner, FROM THE CONTENTS OF ESOTERIC CLASSES (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), 12/1/1906, GA 266; color added.]

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

[2]  See the entry in this encyclopedia for "thought ether".

[3] See the entries in this encyclopedia for these terms.


Earth Goddess - also see Earth; gods; goddesses; Mother Earth

In Anthroposophical teachings, the heavens are generally male and the Earth (including the regions bounded by the Moon) is generally female. [1] Thus, whereas the Sun God is a male spirit — Christ — the native spirit of the Earth is a goddess. [2] Steiner spoke of numerous visions of this goddess, derived from numerous spiritual and mythic traditions: She is Demeter, Gaia, Mary, and so forth. [See "Goddess".] Here are some of Steiner's statements about these matters. ◊ "

Demeter [3] is the archetypal being of the earth [4], and her gift to the earth in the form of the forces in the seeds and the produce of the fields, only indicates a still deeper aspect of her being. [5]” — R. Steiner, CHRISTIANITY AS MYSTICAL FACT (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1961), chapter 5, GA 8. ◊ "[A] human being is a product of Uranus [6] and Gaia [7]: the head originates in heavenly forces, the body originates in earthly forces — Uranus and Gaia.” — R. Steiner, THE RIDDLE OF HUMANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), lecture 3, GA 170.

The male heavens are drawn to the female Earth, according to Steiner, and vice versa. Thus, humanity's highest aspirations — toward the spiritual — arise largely through essentially female forces. The Earth Goddess directs us back upward to the spirit realm, the heavens. Steiner said we can see this in the ancient Egyptian tales of Isis, for instance. [8] Isis as the spirit of the fertile Earth becomes, in effect, the human soul with its desires for the spiritual. ◊ This is the human soul dwelling within us, Isis, in a certain sense the eternal feminine who draws us onward to the realm out of which we are born. [9]” — R. Steiner, ISIS AND MADONNA (Mercury Press, 1987), a lecture, GA 57. Steiner said that Isis was later represented, in Christian tradition, as Mary, the Madonna. ◊ "The human soul...is given tangible form in the Madonna. In the Madonna we meet, as it were, with Isis reborn and in an appropriate way enhanced, transfigured.” — R. Steiner, ibid.

For young students in Waldorf schools, the Earth Goddess is often presented in the guise of Mother Earth. [10] Thus, many prayers and graces used in Waldorf schools address both the Sun (the Sun God, Christ) and the Earth (Mother Earth, the Earth Goddess). One such prayer often used is this: "Mother Earth who gives to us this food,/ Father Sun who makes it ripe and good,/ Blessed Earth, Blessed Sun,/ We’ll not forget what you have done." [11]

[1] Female and male are significantly different spiritual conditions, according to Steiner. [See the entries in this encyclopedia for "female" and "male". Also see "Gender".]

[2] Note that, according to Steiner, after Christ the Sun God descended to Earth and, in the body of Jesus, was crucified, his essence (carried by the blood of Jesus) flowed into the Earth. Thereafter, in a sense, the Earth became the domain of the god Christ. [For more on the nature of Christ and his relationship with humanity, see, e.g., "Sun God" and "Was He Christian?"]

[3] In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of grains or, more generally, bountiful nature. 

[4] I.e., the spirit of the Earth.

[5] I.e., she is not only the goddess of grains, but a profound and pervasive beneficent spirit, the Earth Goddess.

[6] In Greek mythology, Uranus — the most ancient god — 

personifies the heavens or the sky. He is, as it were, the Sky God.
[7] In Greek mythology, Gaia — the wife of Uranus — personifies the Earth. She is the Earth Goddess (the "earthly forces").
[8] In Egyptian mythology, Isis — the wife of Osiris — is a goddess of fertility.
[9] I.e., when we incarnate on Earth, we are born out of the spirit realm. Through Isis, we aspire to return to that realm.
[10] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Mother Earth".
[11] See "Prayers"; also see the entry in this encyclopedia for "graces".

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

Anthroposophy generally identifies six "constitutional types" of children [1], especially "difficult" children. Earthly children are those who incarnate fully or too fully on earth; they tend to lose their links to the spirit or cosmic realm. They stand at the opposite pole from cosmic children. [2] Boys tend to be earthly while girls tend to be cosmic. [3] "In the case of what Steiner calls the earthly child, the forces of heredity work strongly, particularly in the metabolic-limb system. [4] These children love earth and, therefore, always have dirty hands. They love material things such as cars, television, electronic equipment, and so forth. [5] They are fascinated by motion. They themselves are constantly in motion. They are practically oriented, although their fine motor skills are below average and this handicap often causes outbreaks of bad temper. " — Summary of presentation by Michaela Glöckler, Waldorf Journal Project 2: Child Observation and Study, ONLINE WALDORF LIBRARY.
[1] See "Holistic Education".
[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "earthly children".
[3] See "Gender".
[4] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "metabolic-limb system".
[5] These attachments are strong danger signals. See the entries in this encyclopedia for "materialism", "technology", "television", etc.

earthquakes - also see catastrophes; volcanos

According to Steiner: we choose or even cause calamities such as earthquakes. “[T]he births which occurred during a time of frequent earthquakes were investigated [by clairvoyance]. It was found that all those born at about the time of an earthquake, though not exactly in its area, were, surprisingly enough, men of a very materialistic cast of mind. The earthquakes were not the cause of this; rather it was these strongly materialistic souls, ripe for birth, who worked their way down into the physical world by means of their astral will [1] and let loose the forces of the Fire-Earth layer [2], which proceeded to shake the Earth at the time of their birth.” — R. Steiner, AT THE GATES OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1986), lecture 14, GA 95. [See, e.g., “Karma”.]

[1] I.e., will power, arising from the astral body, operative on the astral level of existence. [See the entries for "astral body" and "astral plane" in this encyclopedia.]

[2] One of the Earth's subterranean layers, according to Steiner.

earth-water beings - also see Ahrimanic beings; demonic beings; gnomes (goblins); cf. air-fire beings

In Anthroposophical doctrine: Ahrimanic beings (minions of Ahriman [1]) dwelling below the surface of the Earth. (In a sense, they are the evil doubles of gnomes, who are amoral. [2] The term "goblin" may apply to subterranean beings who are truly wicked or Ahrimanic.) “Turning now...to the beings whom I called Ahrimanic and who have their stronghold below the surface of the Earth — the earth-water beings — how do these compare with Jahve [3] and the Mercury and Venus beings? [4] ... The Ahrimanic beings wage war continually on Jahve and on the Venus and Mercury powers, and are determined to usurp from Jahve his rightful sovereignty." — R. Steiner, MAN’S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1952), p. 87. [See “Neutered Nature”.]

[1] Ahriman is one of the arch-demons described in Anthroposophy. [See "Ahriman" and "Evil Ones".]
[2] See the entry for "earth," above.
[3] I.e., Jehovah.
[4] Steiner taught that gods dwell in or on various planets and stars. Jahve dwells on the Moon, Steiner said, and the Moon beings/powers are allied with those of Venus and Mercury. "A kind of compact has been made in the spiritual universe between the Moon, — that is, the Jahve Being and the beings that dwell with him in the Moon — and Mercury and Venus, And it is the will and concern of the beings who have joined together in this way, to control, from Moon, Mercury and Venus, the whole flesh-and-blood nature of man. Man is by no means merely an earthly being; influences play into him from the whole great Universe." R. Steiner, MAN’S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS, p. 87.

Easter - also see Christ; Christianity; festivals; Mystery of Golgotha; The Resurrection; Sun God

The celebration of the resurrection of Christ, traditionally —  in the northern hemisphere — the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. At Waldorf schools, Easter is often celebrated as the Spring Festival. [See "Magical Arts".] For Steiner, the Christian festivals needed to be redefined in terms of “mystery knowledge” — that is, occult knowledge or, more precisely, his own teachings. ”The Festival of Easter is close upon us and we remember, perhaps, those Christmas lectures [of Steiner's] in which we endeavoured to grasp the meaning of Christmas in the light of the Mystery-knowledge. [1] If from a higher vantage-point we think of the Christmas Festival on the one side and the Easter Festival, with its prospect of Whitsuntide [2], on the other, the relation between religion and Christianity, if rightly conceived, is brought in a most wonderful way before the eye of spirit.” — R. Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING, Vol. 2 (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1956), lecture 6, GA 102. The distinction Steiner draws here between Christianity and religion results from his appropriation of the term “Christianity.” He taught that his own doctrines reveal the true Christ, the Sun God. [3] Thus, when he spoke of Christianity he often (but not always) meant Anthroposophy, and he claimed that Anthroposophy is a science, not a religion. Hence, the "relation between religion and Christianity" is the relation between religion and Anthroposophy. Anthroposophy provides the "higher vantage-point" — it provides "the light of the Mystery-knowledge."

For Anthroposophists, the Easter festival is an occult celebration of the coming of spring. "Easter — festival related to springtime...when new life and growth appear in nature ... Anthroposophy also draws attention to the Resurrection of Christ in the ether body of the earth. [4] The resurrected etheric Christ nurtures this resurgence of life, and can be experienced by those who develop their perceptions in a special way. [5] ... In the rhythm of the four seasons, spring is most suitable for celebrating this festival because it takes place when the planet is most receptive to Christ's life-giving forces." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 35.

[1] Mystery knowledge is occult or hidden spiritual knowledge, the explication of spiritual mysteries.
[2] Whistunday or Pentecost is the Christian celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Christ's disciplines following Christ's ascent into heaven: the seventh Sunday after Easter. Whitsuntide is the week that includes Whitsunday.
[3] See "Sun God".
[4] According to Anthroposophy, the Second Coming of Christ has already occurred at the etheric level. [See entries in this encyclopedia for "Second Coming of Christ", "etheric body", "etheric Christ", and "etheric realm".] The beneficent influences of Christ pour down on the Earth especially in springtime, Anthroposophists believe.
[5] I.e., those who cultivate clairvoyance in accordance with Steiner's teachings. [See "Knowing the Worlds".]

Easton, Stewart C. (1907-1989)

An Anthroposophical author and, at one time, General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America. He publications include RUDOLF STEINER: Herald of a New Epoch and MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY.

education - also see academic standards; alternative education; curative education; early-childhood education; holistic education; knowledge; libraries; progressive education; spiritualistic agenda; universities; Waldorf curriculum; Waldorf education: goals; Waldorf schools; Waldorf students; Waldorf teachers

The "educational" goals of Waldorf schools are usually inconsistent with the normal understanding of the term "education": Waldorf's goals incline toward affirmation of occultism, specifically Anthroposophy. Education at Waldorf schools is subordinated to the teachers' messianic, spiritualistic agenda. [See "Here's the Answer", "Soul School", "Spiritual Agenda", "Foundations", "Underpinnings", "Basement", etc.] In particular, Waldorf schools see a crucial part of their mission to be supervising the incarnation of their students' invisible bodies. “This is precisely the task of school. If it is a true school, it should bring to unfoldment [1] in the human being what he has brought with him from spiritual worlds into this physical life on earth.” — R. Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS , Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 5, GA 235. Note that Steiner's statement does not mention knowledge. The purpose of education, Rudolf Steiner indicates, is not to convey knowledge to children; it is to help children incarnate, unfolding the etheric bodies, etc., that they brought with them from the spiritual worlds. [See “Incarnation” and “Higher Worlds”.]

The purpose of Waldorf schools is sometimes described in other terms, without reference to invisible bodies (which are difficult to discuss with the uninitiated), but these formulations are nonetheless equally consistent with Anthroposophical occultism. A few examples: ◊ “The success of Waldorf Education...can be measured in the life force [3] attained. Not acquisition of knowledge and qualifications, but the life force is the ultimate goal of this school.” — Anthroposophist P. Selg, THE ESSENCE OF WALDORF EDUCATION (SteinerBooks, 2010)‚ p. 30. ◊ “[T]he purpose of [Waldorf] education is to help the individual fulfill his karma. [3]” — Waldorf teacher R. Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 52. ◊ "Waldorf education strives to create a place in which the highest beings [2], including the Christ, can find their home....” — Anthroposophist J. Almon, WHAT IS A WALDORF KINDERGARTEN? (SteinerBooks, 2007), p. 53.

In general, conveying knowledge — teaching children facts about reality— is not central to the Waldorf enterprise. Indeed, Waldorf schools oppose "fact-based education." [See Waldorf teacher J. Petrash, UNDERSTANDING WALDORF EDUCATION (Gryphon House, 2002), p. 26.] Waldorf schools do not focus on providing the knowledge, information, and qualifications that prepare students for life in the real world. This raises the question whether Waldorf schooling provides genuine education.

[1] I.e., incarnation and development.
[2] See the entry for "life force" in this encyclopedia.
[3] See "Karma". 
[4] I.e., gods.

ego - also see ego being; ego body; ego consciousness; ego feeling; ego organization; ego sense; egoism; I; I, sense of; I Am the I Am

a) A person's sense of self and self-worth.

b) In psychiatry, the mediating mental faculty that tests reality and allows a sense of personal identity.

c) In Anthroposophy, the “ego” or "I" is the spark of divinity bestowed on humanity by the gods; it is the divine "I am." Thus, this spiritual "ego" — which should not be confused with the ordinary ego of psychoanalysis — is the divine sense of self, the divine individuality that distinguishes a human being from lower beings. One's spiritual ego also distinguishes oneself from every other individual possessing such an ego — no one can perceive your ego except you yourself. 

Steiner often spoke of the spiritual ego as if it were a body analogous to the etheric and astral bodies: It is a constellation of divine forces separating one from the surrounding world. (Anthroposophists often say that a human is born four times, when the four human bodies incarnate in succession: the physical body, etheric body, astral body, and the ego or "I". [See "Incarnation".]) But in another sense, the ego is one's essential human nature, one's innermost core. We did not acquire our egos — that is to say, we did not become truly human — until our Present Earth stage of evolution. [1] Anthroposophists believe that among human beings today, the ego incarnates at about age 21 — the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. Once the ego develops adequately, it actuates the knowledge-acquiring faculty called intuition (the third stage toward clairvoyance). Among entities standing lower than the gods, only human beings have spiritual egos; animals, plants, and minerals do not.

"Man, in the form and figure in which he is now evolving, does not emerge until the fourth of the...planetary embodiments [2] — the Earth proper [3]. The essential feature of man's present form is that he consists of the four members: physical body, life-body [4], astral body and Ego. This form however could not have emerged at all, had it not been prepared by the preceding facts of evolution. The preparation took place through the gradual evolution, during the earlier planetary embodiment [5], of beings who had already three of the four members of the present human being, namely physical body, life-body and astral body. These beings, whom we may call in a certain respect the ancestors of man, had as yet no I. [6]" — R. Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969), p. 109. [See "Ego".]

In some instances (but not always), Anthroposophists identify the ego with the "lower I" — the portion of the I possessed during Earthly incarnation, distinct from the "higher I" that remains in the spirit realm. [7] "The higher 'I' remains in the spiritual world during an incarnation on earth ... What we feel as our 'I' during our life on earth is the mirror image, or 'ego', of this higher 'I' ... The more someone identifies with his ego or lower 'I', the more difficult it becomes to gain awareness of the purely spiritual entity of this higher 'I'." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 58. In this case, the higher I is one's true spiritual self, whereas the ego is to some degree illusory and can lead to the evils of egoism. [8]


 ◊ Ego - Age 21 ◊ 

 ◊ Astral Body - Age 14 ◊ 

 ◊ Etheric Body - Age 7 ◊ 

 ◊ Physical Body - At Birth ◊ 

According to Anthroposophical teachings, human beings develop four bodies during the first 21 years of life. Waldorf education is intended to help with the incarnation of the three invisible bodies that supplement the physical body. ◊ "Waldorf education is based upon the recognition that the four bodies of the human being develop and mature at different times.” — R. Trostli, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING: What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents, and Teachers (SteinerBooks, 2017), p. 4 ◊ “[F]rom a spiritual-scientific [i.e.,  Anthroposophical] point of view child education consists mainly in integrating the soul-spiritual members with the corporeal members [i.e., integrating the invisible bodies with the physical body].” — G. Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1998), p. 68. [9]

[1] See "Present Earth".

[2] I.e., Present Earth: the fourth condition of consciousness, the fourth incarnation of the solar system. [See the entry for "conditions of consciousness" and "incarnations of the solar system" in this encyclopedia.] Steiner also referred to the incarnations of the solar system as planetary conditions or planetary embodiments. [See the entry for "planetary conditions" in this encyclopedia.]

[3] I.e., the planet Earth as we know it now, during Present Earth.

[4] I.e., the etheric body.

[5] I.e., Old Moon, the third incarnation of the solar system.

[6] They were ourselves at a less evolved stage, not yet truly human.

[7] See the entries for "lower I" and "higher I" in this encyclopedia.

[8] See the entry for "egoism", below.

[9] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Waldorf education - goals".

ego being - also see ego; gods; human stage of evolution; I

According to Anthroposophy: a being who possesses the spiritual condition of selfhood. Only human beings and gods are ego beings — only they possess divine individual identity. Lower creatures, such as animals, do not have egos or I's, Steiner taught. Man developed his ego being in part due to Lucifer [1], who enabled man to understand the difference between good and evil. The god Thor or Donar [2] also played an important role in the bestowal of the spiritual ego. But, Steiner said, it was through Christ [3] that man realized the true nature of his essence as an ego being. "[T]hrough the Christ-Impulse [4] the consciousness came to man that in his ego [5] he had something of Divine substance and of Divine nature. The thought that man can take in the Divine in his Ego-being and that this Divine part can be active therein and distinguish between good and evil, underlies all the deeper sayings of the New Testament." — R. Steiner, THE CHRIST IMPULSE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF EGO CONSCIOUSNESS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1926), lecture 3, GA 116.

[1] See "Lucifer".
[2] See "The Gods" and the entries for "Thor" and "Donar" in this encyclopedia.
[3] See "Sun God".
[4] I.e., the evolutionary impulse provided by Christ. [See "Prototype".]
[5] I.e., his spiritual ego, his "I." [See the entry for "ego", above.]

ego body - also see astral body; ego; etheric body; I

In Anthroposophy, this is an alternate term for the ego or "I" — the third and highest of a human being's three invisible bodies. [1] The ego body can be seen only through clairvoyance.

Steiner often said that at night, when we sleep, the physical and etheric bodies remain on Earth while the etheric body and the "I" ascend to spirit realms. Here he clearly uses the term "ego body" as a synonym for the "I": "When we fall asleep, the physical and etheric bodies remain on the bed, united as in the daytime. The astral body loosens its hold, and the astral body and ego-body raise themselves out of the physical body." — R. Steiner, FOUNDING A SCIENCE OF THE SPIRIT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 20.

On other occasions, Steiner indicated that the ego body or "I" is a spark or focal point within the human constitution, rather than an enveloping body. "The Ego-body appears to the clairvoyant as a blue hollow between the eyes, behind the forehead. When a person begins to work on it, rays stream out from this point." — R. Steiner, AT THE GATES OF SPIRITUAL SCIENCE, Notes from Answers to Questions (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1986), GA 95.

See "Incarnation". 

ego consciousness - also see ego feeling; I; I Am the I Am


At our present stage of evolution, Steiner said, this is the consciousness of individual spiritual selfhood: the profound realization that "I am." At prior stages of our development, the individual ego had not yet been fully established, and “ego consciousness” was then closer to a form or group consciousness. “Humanity started out from an ego-consciousness that was quite different from the one we know to-day. By ‘Adam’ we have to understand not a single human being, but an ego-consciousness that embraced several generations [1] ... If you look back as far as to Adam, you see the ego-consciousness flow through generations for hundreds and thousands of years. But there is a still higher human consciousness, which was given to man in his primal quality as Man. This is the consciousness of humanity, the consciousness which embraces not only a few generations, but the whole of humanity. Then came the consciousness which belongs to generations, lasts for generations, and was finally individualised by man to his ‘I am’. [2] Man, therefore, already possessed the foundations for the ‘I am’ earlier, and for this reason Christ could say: ‘Before Abraham [3], was the “I am.”’ That is the correct teaching of the occult school; it ought to read: ‘Before Abraham was the “I am.”’[4]  ... Christ appeared on Earth to give humanity the forces which will enable men to achieve the highest ego-consciousness in the Sixth Age [5]; He desires to prepare men for the ‘time which is not yet come’ ... [Otherwise] mankind would never have obtained the individual ego.” — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN (London Reference Library, 1942), lecture 8, GA 100.

[1] See "Genesis".
[2] I.e., individual ego consciousness: the ego consciousness we have now.
[3] I.e., the Hebrew patriarch. [See the entry for "Abraham" in this encyclopedia.]
[4] Steiner often corrected the Bible. Steiner professed to possess mystery or occult knowledge; he could speak for the "occult school." [Concerning the "I am," see the entry for "I Am the I Am" in this encyclopedia.]
[5] I.e., the cultural epoch following ours. [See the entry for "cultural epochs" in this encyclopedia.]

ego feeling
- also see ego consciousness; I Am the I Am; cf. I, sense of

This is essentially the same as ego consciousness [1] as we presently comprehend it: the awareness of oneself as a separate individuality with one's own "I" ("I am"). [2] Whereas the sense of "I" [3] allows us to perceive the "I" in another, ego feeling informs us of the "I" in ourselves. Humans have egos, animals do not; thus, humans have ego feeling whereas animals do not. "At a certain moment in life, a distinct ego-feeling dawns in our everyday consciousness ... It is the moment when a human being first addresses himself as ‘I.’ This is something an animal cannot do." — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1946), lecture 8, GA 123. (Note that the "sense of I" allows us to recognize that others have "I"s, but it does not allow us to know those "I"s. True knowledge of each "I" is confined to the individual who is endowed with that "I". Only you can truly know yourself; only you can have your ego feeling.)

[1] See the entry for "ego consciousness", above.
[2] See the entries for "I" and "I Am The I Am" in this encyclopedia.
[3] See the entry for "I, sense of" in this encyclopedia.

egoism, egotism - also see American Age; lower I; War of All Against All; cf. ego feeling

Excessive pride, excessive focus on oneself. Formally, egoism is the theory that self-interest is the basis of morality. As conceived in Anthroposophy, egoism is excessive involvement in one's lower I, the portion of the spiritual ego that you have during incarnation on Earth. [1] The higher I, your truer and better spiritual self, remains in the spirit realm during Earthly incarnation. [2] If you sink too deeply into your lower I, you may lose contact with your higher I; your egoistic emphasis on self detaches you from your true self. "The higher 'I' remains in the spiritual world during an incarnation on earth ... What we feel as our 'I' during our life on earth is the mirror image, or 'ego', of this higher 'I' ... The more someone identifies with his ego or lower 'I', the more difficult it becomes to gain awareness of the purely spiritual entity of this higher 'I'." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 58.

According to Anthroposophical belief, egoism or egotism is a profound error in modern humanity, leading to the War of All Against All [3] and/or the black path. [4] "The Seventh Age [5]...extends from 5733 [CE] to about 7900 [CE] ... The age as a whole is [i.e., will be] dominated by Anglo-American culture, led by an abnormal Spirit of Personality [6] who does not work for the progress of evolution [7] ... [W]orld egoism also proceeds from the English-American people; through their inventions they cover the earth with a network of egoism fraught with evil ... This dominating egoism causes the drying up of regions where it is pursued ... The whole Post-Atlantean Epoch ends with the War of All Against All. [8]" — R. Seddon, THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORETOLD BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2002), pp. 54-60.

Considered somewhat less apocalyptically, egoism according to Anthroposophical belief, 

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

[2] See the entry for "higher I" in this encyclopedia.

[3] See "All v. All".

[4] See the entry for "black path" in this encyclopedia.
[5] I.e., a coming cultural epoch, often called the American Age. It will be the final age of the Post-Atlantean Epoch. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]

[6] I.e., a backward god three steps higher than humans. [See "Abnormal" and "Polytheism".]

[7] I.e., this god opposes our proper development.

[8] Sic; emphasis by Seddon.

ego organization - also see ego; higher I; I; lower I

The psychological/spiritual structure of the ego. [1] According to at least some Anthroposophical accounts, it was bequeathed to us by gods four levels above us: Spirits of Form, also called Elohim. [2] "Polar time [3] was a repetition of the Saturn development. [4] The Elohim, Spirits of Form, were working in this warmth [5], this fire, giving the ego organization to the world. The ego organization of man was a part of the Elohim, which then separated from their own being and gave themselves [sic] to the world so that mankind might develop his individual ego. The beginning of the ego organization meant differentiations in the warmth sphere. [6]" — B. Lievegoed, "Old and New Mysteries" (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive). "Ego organization" may be taken as essentially synonymous with "ego body" or simply "ego" (in the Anthroposophical sense: the spiritual ego). "[Man has] an astral body [7], which is the seat of consciousness and feeling, and an ego-body (or ego-organization), which is necessary for self-consciousness." — Editor's note in R. Steiner's SCIENCE (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 223.

[1] See "Ego".

[2] See "Polytheism".

[3] I.e., the Polarian Epoch, the first epoch of evolution on the physical planet Earth. [See "Early Earth".]

[4] I.e., the first incarnation of the solar system, called Old Saturn. [See "Matters of Form".]

[5] Steiner taught that Old Saturn consisted primarily of a form of spiritualized warmth. [See "Old Saturn".]

[6] I.e., the solar system as it was during Old Saturn: a unified celestial body consisting of warmth. (The Sun and planet had not yet separated out as individual orbs.) 

[7] This is the third of our four bodies, according to Steiner. [See "Incarnation" and the entry for "astral body" in this encyclopedia.] The ego body or ego organization is the fourth body.

ego sense - also see ego; I, sense of; senses; cf. ego consciousness

According to Steiner, this is one of our twelve senses. [1] It is a "spirit" sense, functioning under the influence of Aries. [2] It is also known as the "I sense." [3] "Ego Sense ... Rudolf Steiner did not mean with this that you can say 'I' to yourself, or that you experience yourself as an individual, but that you become aware of someone else as an 'I' ... The ego sense [means] being sensitive to whether [someone] stands behind what he says, or, in fact, does not mean it. Just as there are beautiful and ugly colors, so we also experience a demonic element when the speaker is not fully behind what he says, when he is a traitor to the cause." — A. Soesman, OUR TWELVE SENSES (Hawthorn Press, 1990), pp. 110-133.


[1] See "What We Are Made Of".

[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Aries". 

[3] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "I, sense of".


EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD - also see the dead; Egypto-Chaldean Age

An ancient Egyptian text containing magical spells intended to protect the dead during their journey through the hereafter. ”How did Initiates [1] at that time [2] represent the life after death? It was their endeavour that men should experience after death — if only as a faint echo — what men experienced in olden times when they raised themselves up to...that supreme Being — the great Sun-Spirit. [3] This is the meaning of what the ancient Egyptians called the judgment of the Dead; when the dead person appeared before his judge, who weighed his deeds. If these were found to be worthy he might, through the merit acquired in the physical world [4], become a part of the Being looked up to as God of Light, the Sun-God. [5] This was the same being who was called Osiris. It was the journey to Osiris — the union with him that was imparted to the dead as a recollection of an actual previous evolutional condition. [6] This is how we must understand what is contained in the Book of the Dead, that most remarkable record of the Egyptian people.” — R. Steiner, UNIVERSE, EARTH AND MAN (Harry Collison, 1931), lecture 10, GA 105.

[1] I.e., seers who possessed esoteric or occult spiritual knowledge.

[2] I.e., during the Egypto-Chaldean Age [see the entry, below].

[3] I.e., Christ, the Sun God, as comprehended then in the figure of Osiris.

[4] I.e., during life in the physical world.

[5] I.e., his spirit might merge with that of the Sun God.

[6] I.e., a previous incarnation, during which one stood at a particular level of spiritual evolution.

Egypto-Chaldean Age - also see cultural epochs; Post-Atlantean Epoch 

According to Steiner: the third cultural epoch of the Post-Atlantean Epoch, a period of earthly evolution running from approximately 2900 to 747 BCE. [1] "The third age...includes the Assyrian, Babylonian, Semitic and Hibernian cultures. Consciousness, now feeling sheltered within the bloodstream, permeated the sentient soul [2] ... Under the influence of the Bull [3] this age consequently penetrated fully into this external world ... Their mystery wisdom [4] expressed experiences of the Lemurian epoch [5] ... An actual incarnation of Lucifer, the tempter [6]...occurred in China during the third millennium BC." — R. Seddon, THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORETOLD BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2002), pp. 14-15.




We are in the process of evolving through seven great epochs, according to Steiner. Presently we are in the Post-Atlantean Epoch. During this great epoch, we will evolve through seven cultural epochs or ages. The first cultural epoch of our present great epoch began after the Great Flood destroyed Atlantis. The final cultural epoch of our present great epoch will culminate in the terrible War of All Against All. [7] The Egypto-Chaldean Age was the third cultural epoch in the Post-Atlantean great epoch. As indicated by the astrological symbol shown next to its name, it occurred under the aegis of Taurus. [Details from diagram on pp. 132-133 of R. Seddon's THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORETOLD BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2002); color added.]

[1] Humanity will pass through seven great epochs during its present stage of form, Steiner taught. [See the diagram accompanying the entry for "epochs," below.] We currently live in the Post-Atlantean great epoch (i.e., the great epoch following the destruction of Atlantis). During each great epoch, we pass through seven shorter periods called ages or cultural epochs. The Egypto-Chalean Age was the third of these.
[2] According to Steiner, this is the first of our three souls or soul parts. [See the entry for "sentient soul" in this encyclopedia.]
[3] I.e., under the constellation Taurus. [See "Waldorf Astrology".]
[4] I.e., the occult knowledge possessed during that age.
[5] I.e., the age recapitulated the Lemurian great epoch. [See "Lemuria".] As the diagram of the seven great epochs indicates, Lemuria ended in a "Fire Catastrophe." This was a series of firestorms caused by human wickedness, said Steiner. Similarly, Atlantis ended in an immense water catastrophe (the Great Flood), which was also caused by human wickedness. The Post-Atlantean great epoch will end in the terrible War of All Against All, which will likewise be caused by human wickedness. 
[6] See "Lucifer".
[7] See "Prehistory 101" and the pages that follow it; also "All vs. All."

1879 - also see Ahriman; initiation; Koguzki, Felix; Michael; Steiner, Rudolf

The year 1879 CE was momentous. Germany and Austria formed the Dual Alliance. Rudolf Steiner received a double occult initiation (or so he later claimed). And in the spirit realm, the Archangel Michael won a momentous victory over the forces of darkness. "[A] particular crowd of ahrimanic spirits [1] seek over and over again to bring something [evil] into world evolution, but they are always overcome. And so they...lost the battle [against Michael] in the autumn of 1879." — R. Steiner, THE FALL OF THE SPIRITS OF DARKNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2008), p. 137. Michael thereupon became the leading archangel of the modern age. 

In Anthroposophical belief, Steiner and Michael were tightly bound together. "[A] most important event...happened in 1879, when [Steiner] was 18 3/4 years old. He [met] a strange man...a licensed herb gatherer ... This man [2] had profound insights into the spirituality in nature, related to the sun and the moon. For Rudolf Steiner it was a blessing of destiny that he could share with this man some of his own experiences ... However, Rudolf Steiner had questions that went far beyond the grasp of [the herb gatherer] Felix, so Felix brought him in contact with another man in Vienna, whose identity has never been revealed. Rudolf Steiner refers to him as a ‘Master’ and states that he taught him what one needs to know in order to work effectively out of the spiritual world into this materialistic age. [2] ... This happened in November of 1879! Precisely at the beginning of the Michael age, in the autumn, the Michael season, when St. Michael became the supreme leading Archangel (time spirit) for all of humanity. [4] This [second] initiation event connected Rudolf Steiner most intimately with St. Michael. From that moment on one can say that Rudolf Steiner is the Ambassador of Michael, the leading Great Initiate [5] of our Michael age.” — E. Katz, “The Mission of Rudolf Steiner”, an address delivered to the American Anthroposophical Society, November, 2004.

[1] I.e., minions of Ahriman.

[2] I.e., Felix Koguzki.

[3] Some say the Master, often referred to a "M," was Christian Rosenkreutz, the putative founder of Rosicrucianism. [For more on him and Rosicrucianism, see "Rosy Cross".]

[4] Michael, the Archangel of the Sun, is also referred to as St. Michael. [See "Michael".] According to Anthroposophical teachings, Michael assumed direct responsibility for overseeing human affairs in the year 1879. (Archangels assume this responsibility in rotation, for periods lasting 350 years.) Four Archangels also oversee the seasons of the year. Michael's season is autumn.

[5] See "Inside Scoop" and "Guru".

1899 - also see Kali Yuga; Steiner, Rudolf

This was the year in which Steiner suddenly — and to the surprise of his family and colleagues — switched from presenting himself as a secular intellectual and became a professed occultist. It is also the year when, according to Anthroposophists, the "dark age" — Kali Yuga — ended. ◊ "Kali Yuga, or the Dark Age...began approximately in the year 3101 B.C. ... [O]ur souls have appeared repeatedly on the earth in new incarnations, in the course of which man's vision has been more and more shut off from the spiritual world and therefore increasingly restricted to the outer world of the senses ... Kali Yuga came to an end in the year 1899 and we have now to live on into a new age. What is beginning is slowly preparing men for new faculties of soul. [1]" — R. Steiner, TRUE NATURE OF THE SECOND COMING (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1961), lecture 1, GA 118. ◊ “Rudolf Steiner did not immediately step forward as an esoteric teacher. For twenty one years [2] he was silent. Why was this so? ... Rudolf Steiner had to wait [until] the last part of the dark period (Kali Yuga) that ended in 1899.” [3]  — E. Katz, “The Mission of Rudolf Steiner”, an address to the American Anthroposophical Society, 2004.

[1] The "new faculties of soul" — essentially clairvoyant powers — are the gifts Steiner claimed to offer his followers.
[2] This was the period between Steiner's claimed double initiation (1879) and the beginning of his career as a self-professed occultist (1899). [See "What a Guy" and "Occultism".]
[3] An alternate Anthroposophical interpretation is the Kali Yuga ended because Steiner stepped forward as an esoteric teacher.

Eighth Sphere - also see Ahriman; evil; hell; irreclaimable moon; Lucifer; perdition; Spirits of Form

Theosophical/Anthroposophical term for a place of perdition, the Planet of Death. According to Steiner, the Eighth Sphere is a realm that Lucifer and Ahriman have created for themselves to rule over. “On the Old Moon [1] certain pictures [2] were present. These should have passed over to the Earth as something everywhere perceptible. [3] But Lucifer and Ahriman [4] retained them for themselves. Lucifer and Ahriman wrested from the Earth certain of its constituents and made them into Imaginations [5], so that these Earth-substances became, not Earthly formations, but Moon formations. Into our Fourth Sphere [6], therefore, there has been instilled a sphere [7] that is really a Moon-sphere, but is filled with Earthly substantiality and is therefore a bogus creation in the Universe. To the seven Spheres [8], an Eighth, created in opposition to the progressive Spirits [9], has been added. The necessary consequence of this is that the Spirits of Form [10] must do battle on the Earth for every morsel of substantiality capable of mineralisation, lest it should be wrested from them by Lucifer and Ahriman and borne into the Eighth Sphere [11] ... All earthly being and existence are involved here. Lucifer and Ahriman strive unceasingly to draw from the Earth's substances whatever they can snatch, in order to form their Eighth Sphere which then, when it is sufficiently advanced, will be detached from the Earth and go its own way in the Cosmos together with Lucifer and Ahriman. Needless to say, the Earth would then pass over to Jupiter [12] as a mere torso [13] ... Therefore we ourselves are involved in the battle. Lucifer and Ahriman battle against the Spirits of Form, with the aim of wresting mineral substance from us everywhere.” — R. Steiner, THE OCCULT MOVEMENT IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973), lecture 5, GA 254. [See "Sphere 8".]


Both the Earth and Moon are enmeshed in the eighth sphere. 
[R.R. sketch based on one by Steiner. See R. Steiner, THE OCCULT MOVEMENT IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973), p.87.]

[1] I.e., during Old Moon, the third incarnation of the solar system. [
See "Matters of Form".]
[2] I.e., true visualizations: mental/spiritual constructs that can become manifested realities.
[3] I.e., this wisdom should have been passed along to become available to us during Present Earth, the fourth incarnation of the solar system.
[4] Two arch-demons. [See "Lucifer" and "Ahriman".]
[5] I
.e., mental pictures, products of the imagination (understood to be, in this context, a form of clairvoyance).
[6] I.e., the fourth incarnation of the solar system, Present Earth. [See "Present Earth".]
[7] i.e., a planetary/spiritual region. (Lucifer and Ahriman kept for themselves visualizations from Old Moon that should have been passed to us during Present Earth. They used substances from the Earth to create a sphere defined by these visualizations: a sphere of Earthly substances that was in reality an Old Moon manifestation. Hence, it is a "bogus creation" that should not have existed). 
[8] I.e., the seven conditions of consciousness through which we will pass, the seven incarnations of the solar system. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]
[8] I.e., the good gods.
[10] I.e., gods four levels above humans. [See "Polytheism".]
[11] They must struggle to keep Earthly substances on Earth; Lucifer and Ahriman try to steal these substances and incorporate them in their Eighth Sphere.
[12] The next or fifth incarnation of the solar system is called, in Anthroposophy, Future Jupiter. (Sometimes it is referred to simply as Jupiter.) [See "Future Stages".]
[13] I.e., a cadaver. That is, we would be spiritually dead when the solar system reincarnates as Future Jupiter.

Einstein, Albert (1879-1955); Einsteinian physics - also see Newton; physics; cf. Goethean "science"

The most important physicist since Newton, author of the special and general theories of relativity, among other seminal contributions; dismissed by Steiner. Although Steiner sometimes claimed that there is no fundamental conflict between his teachings and the findings of modern science, in fact he rejected almost all real science, including Einstein's contributions. Following Steiner's lead, Waldorf schools often have a deep anti-scientific bias. [See "Science", "Steiner's 'Science'", and "Faculty Meetings".]

electricity - also see computers; demons; light; media policies at Waldorf schools; technology; television

According to Steiner, electricity is decayed or compressed light. Light is good, but in its decayed form, as electricity, it becomes potentially evil. The exploitation of electricity can lead to terrible consequences. “[T]he forces of good, will have to grow out of the opposition to evil, and man will have to draw the strength for this opposition out of spiritual sources. This will take place above all during the 5th epoch [1], when the exploitation of electric forces, which will assume quite different dimensions from those which they have assumed so far [2], will enable man to spread evil over the earth, and evil will invade the earth by coming in an immediate way out of the forces of electricity.” — R. Steiner, “The Overcoming of Evil”, ANTHROPOSOPHIC NEWS SHEET No. 7/8 (General Anthroposophic Society, 1948), GA 273.

Steiner's followers generally abhor modern technology, which is so dependent on the exploitation of electricity. Steiner taught that the evils of the modern world will intensify, coming to a catastrophic conclusion after the seventh cultural epoch: The War of All Against All. [3] Even technological devices that predate the widespread adoption of electricity worried Steiner. He taught, for instance, that steam engines promote the incarnation of demons. [4] But the dangers of technology increase greatly when electricity is used in such devices as televisions, Anthroposophists believe. “[W]hat has been said here about the steam engine applies in a much greater degree to the technology of our time...television, for example. The result is that the demon magic spoken of by Rudolf Steiner is spreading more and more intensively on all sides" — G. Unger, "On 'Mechanical Occultism'" (MITTEILUNGEN AUS DER ANTHROPOSOPHISCHEN ARBEIT IN DEUTSCHLAND, nos. 68–69, 1964). [5] Perhaps the most terrible electronic devices, from an Anthroposophical perspective, are computers. Not all Anthroposophists renounce computers completely — some make use of these machines and the Internet in order to promote Anthroposophy and Waldorf education — but the fear of computers runs deep in much of the Anthroposophical community. Thus, leading Anthroposophis Sergei Prokofieff has written, "[T]he whole computer and Internet industry is today the most effective way to prepare for the imminent incarnation of [the arch-demon] Ahriman. [6]" — S. Prokofieff, "The Being of the Internet" (philosophyoffreedom.com, 2015). Likewise, an Anthroposophical publisher had released David Black's booklet, THE COMPUTER AND THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1981).

[1] We currently live in the fifth cultural epoch of the fifth great epoch. [See the entries in this encyclopedia for "cultural epochs" and "great epochs"; also see "Evil".]

[2] I.e., electricity and its uses may not always have been evil or demonic, but they are becoming so as the dire trends of the modern world proceed.

[3] See "All vs. All" and "Spiders, Dragons and Foxes".

[4] “When we build steam-engines, we provide the opportunity for the incarnation of demons” — R. Steiner,  “The Relation of Man to the Hierarchies” (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, Vol. V, Nos. 14-15, 1928).

[5] Waldorf schools generally urge or even require students' parents to sharply limit the kids' exposure to TV and other electronic devices. [See the entry for "media policies at Waldorf schools" in this encyclopedia.]

elemental beings - also see fairies; gnomes; nature spirits; salamanders; sylphs; undines

According to Anthroposophical belief: incorporeal beings residing in nature and, especially, within the four the elements of nature. They lack real spirits, and they sometimes direct hostility or at least mischievousness at humanity. Still, Steiner said, they are often used productively by the gods. The four major forms of elemental beings (also called nature spirits) are gnomes, sylphs, salamanders, and undines, which exist respectively in earth, air, fire, and water. [See "Beings" and "Neutered Nature".] [B]eings exist which are no longer visible to the physical senses, beings possessing body and soul. In various occult teachings they are often called elemental spirits. To call them elemental spirits shows the greatest possible ineptitude, for it is just spirit that they do not possess. [1] It is better to call them elemental beings ... [L]et us accept as a kind of definition that such beings consist of body and soul [but not spirit]. Their existence is of course denied in our enlightened age [2], for man in his present phase of development cannot see them; one who wishes to see them must have progressed to a certain degree of clairvoyant consciousness. [3] The fact that a thing is not perceptible does not mean, however, that it is not active in our world. The activity of these beings of body and soul plays very definitely into our world. What they do can very well be seen, but not the doers themselves.” — R. Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS ON MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1961), lecture 7, GA 102.

Elemental beings exist on a spectrum running from immorality (sometimes) to amorality (often). Concerning the elemental beings in the earth, Steiner said this: "Many names have been given to them, such as goblins, gnomes and so forth ... What one calls moral responsibility in man is entirely lacking in them ... Their nature prompts them to play all sorts of tricks on man....” — R. Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), pp. 62-63. The moral blindness of elemental beings is intimately related to their involvement in the lowly physical plane of reality (a plane that where ties to the spirit realm can weaken or even break). Physical reality is, in a sense, nothing but the manifestation of the elementals. "Our visible physical world is a modification of these invisible elemental beings ... [A]ll visible substances come into being by materialization of these elemental entities. When these substances are destroyed, the elemental beings are freed again.” — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 36.

For more on elemental beings, see the entry in this encyclopedia for "nature spirits". 


Influences pass back and forth between the astral plane and various physical strata of nature, Steiner taught. Gnomes, undines, sylphs, and "salamanders" populate the four natural elements: earth, water, air, and fire. Each type of elemental being has a king, whom initiates of various nations and races may identify by various names. "[W]e have a world of elemental beings around us with a king. Among the Indians the king of the gnomes is called Kshiti, the highest of the gnomes; the highest being among the undines: Varuna; the highest being among the sylphs: Vayu and everything having its consciousness in fire is directed by the king of fire: Agni." — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 27, GA 93a. [Color added to the diagram from the book.]

[1] Steiner differentiated between soul and spirit. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.] Spirit is higher than soul; elemental beings lack it.

[2] In statements such as this, Steiner disparages "enlightenment" (the rational use of the brain); his tone here is sarcastic. In other statements, Steiner affirms a different sort of enlightenment (spiritual insight, initiation).

[3] Steiner professed to instruct his followers in methods for developing clairvoyance. [See "Knowing the Worlds".]

elemental kingdoms - also see conditions of life; elemental beings; elements; cf. elementary world

These are first three of the seven conditions of life [1], according to Steiner. In effect, they are phases of living existence prior to the mineral stage (in Anthroposophical belief, virtually everything is alive, including elements and minerals). To become fully alive, an entity must begin in the most remote animate level — the first elemental kingdom — and gradually evolve toward manifestation in higher levels. The first elemental kingdom is a region of shapelessness. The second elemental kingdom is a step toward material life — it is a region of "shaping" powers. The third elemental kingdom is another step toward material existence — it is a region of sentient (but not yet fully shaped) being. Following existence at the material level, the process is reversed and the succeeding stages move back toward nonphysicality, but now in higher, more spiritual forms. The elemental kingdoms contain the forces that find living fulfillment in physical, etheric, and astral bodies. [2] As we evolve higher, we gain the powers found in the progressively higher levels. 

In our current state of evolution, we have risen above the elemental kingdoms and stand in the mineral kingdom. Whenever, in our spiraling, evolutionary progression, we recapitulate the elemental kingdoms, we return to the conditions that existed during Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon [3], but in new, higher forms. ”The occultist says that men today stand in the mineral kingdom ... Today men are creators in the mineral realm. Three other kingdoms, the elementary kingdoms [4], have preceded this; the mineral kingdom is the fourth. All told there are seven. [paragraph break] Men stand in the fourth kingdom ... On the Moon [5] they were still operating in the third elementary kingdom, on the Sun [6] in the second, and on Saturn [7] in the first.” — R. Steiner, OCCULT SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), lecture 3, GA 101.


According to Anthroposophy, the largest stages of our evolution are the conditions of consciousness. [8] Each condition of consciousness has seven subdivisions: the conditions of life, which may be called kingdoms: three elemental (or elementary) kingdoms, followed by the mineral, plant, animal, and human kingdoms. Each condition of life or kingdom has seven subdivisions, which may be called stages of form. (In this diagram, the stages of form are numbered 1-49. In each kingdom, we pass from formlessness — an "arupic" stage of form — to formfulness — "rupic" —  to astral and then physical stages of form. This process constitutes a type of descent after which we ascend again toward spirituality — we arrive finally at the Archetypal Stage of Form, where we complete our evolution in that kingdom). Bear in mind: The diagram, above, represents only a small portion of the overall pattern of evolution as described by Steiner. Here we see 49 stages of our evolution. Altogether, Steiner said, we will pass through 16,807 stages or "conditions" as we evolve from Old Saturn to Future Jupiter. [9] [Detail from diagram in R. Steiner's FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), "Schematic Survey of the Stages of World Evolution", GA 93a; color added.]

[1] See the entry for "conditions of life" in this encyclopedia.

[2] I.e., the first three of our four bodies. [See "Incarnation".]

[3] I.e., the first three incarnations of the solar system. [See "Matters of Form".]

[4] Anthroposophical texts sometimes refer to elemental kingdoms; in other instance, they refer to elementary kingdoms. The terms are, in this context, synonymous.

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

[6] I.e., during Old Sun.

[7] I.e., during Old Saturn.

[8] See the entry for "conditions of consciousness" in this encyclopedia.

[9] Sorting all this out is challenging, and we must resist the temptation to rescue Steiner from his self-contradictions. Various interpretations are possible, and doctrinal disputes thus arise among Anthroposophists. Here is one generally accepted interpretation. During each incarnation of the solar system (Old Saturn, Old Sun, etc.), we evolved through numerous stages that constituted the conditions of life, stages of form, etc., appropriate to those incarnations. If, during Old Saturn, we stood at the "third" elementary kingdom, we nonetheless cycled through all the other kingdoms. (And what Steiner here calls the third elementary kingdom is elsewhere referred to as the first — as in the diagram, above.)

elemental spirits of birth and death - also see birth; death; elemental beings; nature spirits

According to Anthroposophical belief: destructive nature spirits involved in the ending of life, shifting life to a different realm. The gods make good use of them; wicked humans are inclined to make evil use of them. Occult initiates have shielded people at large from knowledge of these beings, Steiner taught, but trends in modern life are spreading the dire effects of the spirits of birth and death. "Spiritual entities are involved when a human being enters this physical world from the non-physical [1], and then leaves it again for the non-physical world. [2] To give them a name, let us call them the 'elemental spirits of birth and death' for the moment ... If people who are quite unable to deal with their instincts and drives, with their passions, had known that destructive entities were present around them all the time, they would have used the powers of those destructive entities. [3] They would not have used them the way the gods do in birth and death...but [they would have used them] within the realm of physical life. If people had felt the desire to be destructive...they would have had ample opportunity to make these entities serve them, for it is easy to make them serve us. This truth was kept hidden to protect ordinary life from the destructive elemental spirits of birth and death [4] ... We are only in the early stages of the technological, industrial and commercial activities which proceed under the influence of the elemental spirits of birth and death. This influence and its effects will be increasingly more radical ... [T]he civilization of our own and future ages has to be such that these spirits can be active in technology, industry, commerce, and so on. [5]" — R. Steiner, THE FALL OF THE SPIRITS OF DARKNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), lecture 4, GA 177.

[1] I.e., when we are born: arriving in the physical world from the spirit realm.
[2] I.e., when we die: returning from the physical world to the spirit realm.
[3] I.e., if people who are controlled by their base instincts and drives understood that these elemental spirits are present all around us, they would make (evil) use of them during life in the physical world.
[4] According to Steiner, good gods and good occult initiates keep much dangerous knowledge from the uninitiated. [For more on initiation, see "Inside Scoop".]
[5] Steiner associated modern technology and indeed much of modern life with dangerous, even evil, elemental beings and the forces of nature they inhabit. [See, e.g., the entry for "electricity," above.]

elemental world - also see nature; nature spirits; cf. elementary world; supersensible world

The natural, material world. [See, e.g., "Neutered Nature" and "The Center".] Steiner said that we must transcend this world to attain our goals, such as developing organs of clairvoyance. ”Such a development gives one the feeling that an organ has awoken to a particular region of the supersensible world. [1] One feels as if one's elemental [2] body were in a kind of sleep with regard to the supersensible world ... With the strengthening of the life of our soul the awakening begins ... In the elemental world [3] itself there is nothing that can aid the soul to bring about this awakening ... Free movement in the supersensible world can be attained by the soul through nothing that is found in the elemental environment. [4]” — R. Steiner, A ROAD TO SELF-KNOWLEDGE (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1956), fifth meditation, GA 16.

(Steiner sometimes used the terms "elemental" and "elementary" interchangeably; sometimes he used them in different senses. The elemental world and the elementary world may, sometimes, be deemed the same. But usually in Anthroposophical texts the elemental world is the physical world accessible to our ordinary senses, while the elementary world is a supersensible level of existence. The elementary world may be considered as a higher reflection of the elemental world, or it may be said to consist of spiritual forces that become physically manifest in the elemental world. [See the entry for "elementary world," below.]) [5]  

[1] I.e., the spiritual realm (which is beyond the reach of ordinary senses).

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

[3] I.e., the physical world.

[4] Steiner indicated that such movement requires his own teachings, Anthroposophy. Indeed, movement to — or at least comprehension of — the spirit realm is the central goal of Anthroposophy.

[5] Differing interpretations are possible. While claiming, sometimes, to be a scientist (a "spiritual scientist") whose work must be held to the formal standards of logic and proof, Steiner also sometimes said that he dealt in "living thoughts" that (as spiritual beings) mutate, evolve, and even contradict one another. Hence, we cannot always resolve various issues in Anthroposophy. [See "Steiner's 'Science'" and "Thinking".] What Steiner meant by "elemental world" and "elementary world" in various statements must usually be deduced from the other contents and the contexts of those particular statements.

elementary beings - see elemental beings

elementary kingdoms - see elemental kingdoms

elementary world - also see astral plane; soul world; cf. elemental world; elemental kingdoms

The first world we enter during the process of occult initiation; it is the first "higher world," the astral plane or soul world. [See "Higher Worlds".] “The ascent into the Macrocosm [1] leads the candidate for Initiation first of all into what has been called in Spiritual Science the Elementary World [2] ... [T]he outer and inner aspects of the Elementary World differ somewhat from each other. Studying our own being with ordinary, normal human consciousness and not with clairvoyance, we find certain qualities which belong partly to our soul [3] and partly to our outer constitution [4]; these are the qualities of our temperament. [5] We classify them as the melancholic, the phlegmatic, the sanguine and the choleric ... [W]hen a man passes into the Macrocosm he does not feel as if he were confronting objects as in physical existence but as if he were within every object in the Elementary World; he feels united with it.” — R. Steiner, MACROCOSM AND MICROCOSM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969), lecture 7, GA 119.

(Steiner sometimes used the terms "elemental" and "elementary" interchangeably; sometimes he used them in different senses. The elemental world and the elementary world may, sometimes, be deemed the same. But usually in Anthroposophical texts the elemental world is the physical world accessible to our ordinary senses, while the elementary world is a supersensible level of existence. The elementary world may be considered as a higher reflection of the elemental world, or it may be said to consist of spiritual forces that become physically manifest in the elemental world. [See the entry for "elemental world," above.) [6]  

[1] I.e., the spiritual cosmos.

[2] I.e., the soul world.

[3] I.e., the spiritual essence of oneself that changes from incarnation to incarnation; cf. the spirit, which passes, immortal, from incarnation to incarnation.

[4] I.e., one's outer form, one's physical body.

[5] See "Humouresque" and "Temperaments".

[6] Differing interpretations are possible. While claiming, sometimes, to be a scientist (a "spiritual scientist") whose work must be held to the formal standards of logic and proof, Steiner also sometimes said that he dealt in "living thoughts" that (as spiritual beings) mutate, evolve, and even contradict one another. Hence, we cannot always resolve various issues in Anthroposophy. [See "Steiner's 'Science'" and "Thinking".]

elements - also see air; earth; elementary world; fire; science; water

Fundamental substances. Modern science recognizes more than a hundred. Anthroposophy — accepting ancient teachings — recognizes four: earth, air, fire, and water. [1] As he often did on a wide array of subjects, Steiner affirmed an antiquated concept while interpreting it so as to apparently substantiate his belief system. Here, he posits connections between the four elements and the four temperaments, another antiquated concept he embraced [2]: “[W]hen a man rises...into the Elementary World [3] where he has a true perception of what are usually called the ‘Elements’ — earth, water, air and fire — he also becomes aware that his own corporeality — including the higher members [4] — is built out of this Elementary World [5]... Now strangely enough, there exists in the Elementary World a mysterious relationship between the aforesaid four elements and the four temperaments, between the melancholic temperament and the element of ‘earth’, between the phlegmatic temperament and the element of ‘water’, between the sanguine temperament and the element of ‘air’, and between the choleric temperament and the element of ‘fire’. This relationship is expressed in the fact that the choleric man has a stronger inclination to merge with beings living in the ‘fire’ of the Elementary World [6] than with the others; the sanguine man is more inclined to merge with the beings living in the element of ‘air’; the phlegmatic man with the beings living in the element of ‘water’; and the melancholic man with the beings living in the element of ‘earth’.” — R. Steiner, MACROCOSM AND MICROCOSM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1968), lecture 7, GA 119.

Science classes at Waldorf schools are likely to include references to the modern understanding of the elements; the periodic table of the elements may well be displayed (listing hydrogen, helium, lithium, and so on). Anthroposophists believe, however, that at a deeper, "truer" level there are really just four elements, and these are inhabited by the four main types of elemental beings or nature spirits: Gnomes dwell in earth, sylphs in air, undines in water, and "salamanders" (or fire spirits) in fire. [See "Neutered Nature".] These beliefs are often conveyed to Waldorf students, at least indirectly. Affirmation of Steiner's teachings about the four elements and four temperaments is made plain by prominent Waldorf spokespeople such as Roy Wilkinson. ◊ "Temperaments are usually classified in four categories, choleric, sanguine, melancholic and phlegmatic, related respectively to the four elements fire, air, earth and water." — R. Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER ON EDUCATION (Hawthorn Press, 1993), p. 61. ◊ "If a person has too much of the Earth in him we call him a melancholic; Water, phlegmatic; Air, sanguine; and Fire, choleric." — R. Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2001), p. 33.

[1] The four elements were postulated in ancient and medieval philosophy. In Anthroposophy, a fifth "element" — ether — is also sometimes specified. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "ether".]
[2] See "Humouresque" and "Temperaments".
[3] See the entry for "elementary world," above. Cf. the entry for "elemental world."
[4] I.e., the higher parts of his constitution. [See "What We're Made Of" and "Our Parts".]
[5] I.e., the human constitution manifests forces of the elementary world.
[6] The elements exist at the physical level, but they also exist in spiritualized form in the elementary world above. When we are in the elementary world, we perceive the connection between a particular temperament and a particular element. (As in most matters, our perception is less clear while we live on the physical level.) Steiner taught that various invisible being dwell within the elements. [See the entry for "elemental beings", above.] Here he says that people having a specific temperament are drawn to specific types of elemental beings.

Elohim - also see gods; Jehovah; Powers; Spirits of Form

a) God (singular).

“Elohim, singular Eloah, (Hebrew: God), the God of Israel in the Old Testament. A plural of majesty, the term Elohim — though sometimes used for other deities, such as the Moabite god Chemosh, the Sidonian goddess Astarte, and also for other majestic beings such as angels, kings, judges (the Old Testament shofetim), and the Messiah — is usually employed in the Old Testament for the one and only God of Israel, whose personal name was revealed to Moses as YHWH, or Yahweh. When referring to Yahweh, elohim very often is accompanied by the article ha-, to mean, in combination, ‘the God,’ and sometimes with a further identification Elohim hayyim, meaning ‘the living God.’ [paragraph break] Though Elohim is plural in form, it is understood in the singular sense. Thus, in Genesis the words, “In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth,” Elohim is monotheistic in connotation, though its grammatical structure seems polytheistic. The Israelites probably borrowed the Canaanite plural noun Elohim and made it singular in meaning in their cultic practices and theological reflections.” — "Elohim." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 18 May. 2011.

b) Gods (plural) standing four levels above humanity, according to Steiner. They occupy the lowest rank within the Second Hierarchy, among deities that have been known as Revelations, Exusiai, Spirits of Form, Spirits of Light, Authorities, and Powers. [1] 



 • 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 • 

There are nine rank of gods, according to Anthroposophical belief.
The ranks are divided into three larger groupings called hierarchies.
The middle three ranks of gods comprise the Second Hierarchy.
The gods of each rank are known by various names.
The Elohim stand in the sixth rank, the lowest rank in the Second Hierarchy.

Anthroposophy teaches that Christ assumed the rank of an Elohim when he descended to Earth. "[T]he Christ, in his descent toward the earth and his eventual incarnation, had taken on the rank of one of the Elohim, or, as Steiner describes it, he had become the essence of all the Elohim." — S. C. Easton, MAN AND WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1989), p. 188.

Steiner generally taught that there are seven Elohim, one of whom is Jehovah, the god of the Jews. “We know that Yahve [2] had six companions who separated off the sun. [3] Yahve himself went with the moon [4] which reflected the sun's light to the earth, but he is a companion of the other Elohim ... [T]he whole present evolution of humanity could not have gone on without, on the one hand, the accelerating sun forces, and, on the other, the hindering moon forces. [5]” — R. Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS ON MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1961), lecture 7, GA 102. 

[1] See "Polytheism".

[2] I.e., Jehovah.

[3] I.e., the Elohim came from out of the Sun.

[4] Steiner taught that Jehovah dwells on the Moon, from which location he has ruled over the Jewish nation. [See "Lunacy".]

[5] According to Steiner, both Sun and Moon have provided helpful influences for human evolution, as have their associated religions (Christianity and Judaism). [See "Sun God" and "RS on Jews".] The Sun forces however are clearly superior — they accelerate our forward evolutionary movement — while the Moon forces "hinder" us.

elp - see elves

elves - also see dwarfs; fairies; goblins; nature spirits


a) A common name for certain supernatural beings found in folk tales: fairies or variants of fairies.

b) According to Steiner, elemental beings [1] within the human aura. [2] "[O]ur brain connects us with certain elemental beings, namely those elemental beings that belong to the sphere of wisdom [3] ... To etheric observation [4], [an aura] hovers in the immediate vicinity of our head. The I [5] lives in it, and alongside the I are found the elemental beings of the myths and sagas. There they are called elves, fairies, and so on. [5]" — R. Steiner, THE RIDDLE OF HUMANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), lecture 5, GA 170. [See “Beings”.]

[1] See the entry for "elemental beings," above.
[2] See "Auras".
[3] Steiner taught that many elemental beings possess great, deep knowledge. At least some of these — "elves, fairies, and so on" — exist in our auras.
[4] I.e., clairvoyance.
[5] The "I" is our fourth body, or our spark of divine individual identity. Possessing an "I" makes one human. [See "Ego".]
[6] Some Anthroposophists say that all elemental beings dwell in the human aura. Others locate only a few there. Steiner generally said that the elemental beings known as gnomes dwell in earth, sylphs in the air, undines in water, and "salamanders" in fire. [See "Neutered Nature" and "Beings".]