[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]

 - H -

Halle, Judith von (b. 1972)

A controversial figure among the ranks of Anthroposophists; effectively the leader of a breakaway sect; author of numerous Anthroposophical (or semi-Anthroposophical) texts. She has made several startling claims: She requires no food for sustenance (she has not eaten in years); she can travel through time (she has gone back to be present at the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ); her body is the prototype for the bodies humans will have during Future Jupiter [1]; her body bears the stigmata of Christ. What to make of her has deeply divided Anthroposophists. Some believe her claims and study her writings; others consider her a con artist. Those who believe her tend to embrace her work as fulfilling one of Steiner's prescriptions for his followers: using their clairvoyant powers to make new and original spiritual-scientific discoveries. [2] Others accuse her of fraudulently seeking to supplant Steiner, aiming to make herself the central figure within the Anthroposophical movement. [See "JvH".]


Photo of Judith von Halle snapped 
surreptitiously during one of her lectures.

[1] See "Future Stages".

[2] See the section "Doing Antthroposophy" in "Serving the Gods".

handwork - see crafts 

harm potentially caused by Waldorf schools - also see brainwashing; bullying; indoctrination; Waldorf education: goals; Waldorf parents; Waldorf schools; Waldorf students; Waldorf teachers

Individuals who become involved with Waldorf schools may be harmed in various ways. [1] A small minority may be victimized by physical abuse, bullying, or sexual mistreatment at the schools. [2] More common is the infliction of emotional and psychological damage, including the trauma of demonization and stereotyping. [3] The greatest harm typically done by the schools is subtle but nonetheless profound. The effect of lengthy immersion in the fantastical Waldorf/Anthroposophical worldview can be dissociation from reality; the line between truth and falsehood blurs, with the resulting danger that individuals may be drawn into the occult, phantasmagoric form of spirituality promoted by Rudolf Steiner and his adherents. [4] The primary victims are the students themselves, but other members of their families and even their teachers may suffer as well. [5]

Some victims reel away from the schools in pain and confusion; some bear wounds that last for many years or, indeed, throughout life. For some, their time at Waldorf was dreadful. [6] Yet the harm caused by Waldorf education may be, in some senses, worst for those who love their Waldorf experiences. The ultimate aim of Waldorf education is to lead students and their families into the cult called Anthroposophy. [7] When this project succeeds, people become entangled in a strange worldview — heretical from the perspective of the world's major faiths — that separates them from the real world and may make functioning in the real world extremely difficult. [8] Even when individuals avoid full conversion to Anthroposophy, they may find that their Waldorf education has left them unprepared for productive life outside the Anthroposophical community. Waldorf schools tend to provide a poor academic education, in part because their aims lie elsewhere. [9] Upon leaving the schools, students may find that they lack the knowledge, skills, and qualifications to succeed in the ordinary spheres of life. [10]

Some students thrive in Waldorf schools, and some parents choose Waldorf schools for their children knowing the real nature of Waldorf education. [11] Some Waldorf graduates go on to successful careers in a wide array of fields. [12] Whether a child is harmed by Waldorf depends on many factors, including the length of time s/he is enrolled as a Waldorf student. The Waldorf curriculum is meant to encompass all the stages of childhood, in sequence, from beginning to end; only children who enter Waldorf very young and stay until the completion of high school receive the complete Waldorf treatment. [13] Moreover, there is some variation among Waldorf schools, and there is considerable variation among Waldorf teachers; these factors, along with the personal qualities of individual students, can lead to significantly different outcomes. Nonetheless, parents considering Waldorf schools for their children would do well to carefully consider the criticisms leveled at Waldorf education before making a choice that may alter children's entire lives. [14]

[1] See, e.g., "Who Gets Hurt?"
[2] See, e.g., "Slaps" and "Extremity". Such mistreatment may occur in almost any type of school, to one degree or another. But some critics contend that these problems are especially severe in Waldorf schools, where, for instance, teachers sometimes condone bullying because they think the students are working out their karmas.
[3] See, e.g., "Nuts", "Races", and "Temperaments". While we must hope that demonization of students is rare in Waldorf schools, it does occur. Steiner himself set the precedent when discussing a seven-year-old girl. [See "Secrets".]
[4] See, e.g., “Reality and Fantasy”, "Truth", and “Deception”.
[5] See "Moms", "Pops", "Our Experience", "Coming Undone" and the accounts written by former Waldorf teachers, beginning with "He Went to Waldorf".
[6] See "Cautionary Tales".
[9] See "Academic Standards at Waldorf" and the entry in this encyclopedia for "Waldorf education - goals".
[10] For an overview of problematic aspects of Waldorf education, see the series of pages beginning with "Help!"; also see "Aid and Comfort".
[11] The schools tend to be secretive; only Anthroposophists are likely to fully understand and approve of the Waldorf approach. [See, e.g., "Secrets".]
[12] The same can be said for graduates of almost any type of school. Even the worst schools sometimes have outstanding students and graduates. Critics of Waldorf education argue that some Waldorf graduates succeed despite of, not because of, their Waldorf schooling. [See, e.g., the section "Waldorf Graduates" in "The Upside".]
[13] See "Who Gets Hurt?",  "Waldorf Curriculum" and the section "We Don't Teach It" in "Spiritual Agenda".
[14] See, e.g., "Complaints".

harmony of the spheres - also see clairaudience; creation of the universe; higher worlds; music; music of the spheres; sound ether

The proportional balance between the cosmic spheres, sometimes said to produce an inaudible (spiritual) music. ◊ "Pythagoras may have referred, vaguely, to the 'music of the heavens,' which he alone seemed able to hear; and later Pythagoreans seem to have assumed that the distances of the heavenly bodies from the earth somehow correspond to musical intervals — a theory that, under the influence of Platonic conceptions, resulted in the famous idea of the 'harmony of the spheres.'” — "Pythagoreanism", ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNIC ONLINE, Sept. 22, 2015. The concept has been adopted in various mystical and occult traditions. ◊ "[T]he ancient concept that the physical world originated from the formative music of the spiritual world ... This music of the spheres is not audible in the usual way [1] ... In anthroposophy the term 'sound ether' is used to denote [the medium carrying this music] ... Spiritual formative forces [2] shape solidifying matter through sound." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 54. ◊ "What we call chemical action [3] is projected into the physical world from the...realm of the harmony of the spheres ... The chemical affinity between two substances in the physical world is like a shadowing from the world of the harmony of the spheres. The numerical ratios in chemistry are really an expression of the numerical ratios of the harmony of the spheres ... If one were able actually to bring material substance into etheric dilution...one would hear the harmony of the spheres. [4]" — R. Steiner, THE REAPPEARANCE OF CHRIST IN THE ETHERIC (Anthroposophic Press, 1983), lecture 9, GA 130.

[1] Clairaudience — psychic hearing — is required.
[2] I.e., gods or forces emanating from gods.
[3] I.e., the chemical interactions of physical substances — the subject studied in the science called chemistry.
[4] In Waldorf schools, the study of sciences such as chemistry often reflects such esoteric conceptions. [See "Steiner's 'Science'".] The "sounds" actually detected in radio astronomy, for instance, generally amount to a chaotic hiss, akin to white noise. The teaching of sciences is often one of the weaker portions of the Waldorf curriculum. [See Waldorf Straight Talk.]

Harwood, A. C. (1898-1975)

Anthroposophist and Waldorf educator, founder of the first Waldorf school in Britain, Michael Hall. [See "Academic Standards at Waldorf".]

Hausaka therapeutic painting - also see painting; wet-on-wet painting

Named for art therapist Margaretha Hausaka, this is a form of watercolor painting meant to be guided by unconscious spiritual insight. You begin a painting with no subject in mind, allowing intuition and the flow of the paint to cause a theme to emerge. As practiced by Anthroposophists, Hausaka painting is meant to rejuvenate both body and soul. 

head - also see brain; "head, heart, and hands"; head man; head system; thinking

According to Steiner, not our most important part — merely a metamorphosed cuttlefish (i.e., squid). The brain within the head is similarly devalued in the Waldorf belief system. Thinking with the brain is useful in some circumstances, Steiner taught, but better thinking occurs outside the head. [See "Steiner's Specific".] “It is bias that causes people to imagine that their heads are the most perfect part of themselves. It is certainly structured in a most complicated way, but it is really just a metamorphosed cuttlefish.” — R. Steiner, PRACTICAL ADVICE TO WALDORF TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 2000), p. 98. This is perhaps a startling perspective for teachers to adopt; the implications for their educational system are significant. Waldorf teachers who accept the Anthroposophical view are not primarily interested in conveying knowledge to their students or emphasizing brainwork. Indeed, the Waldorf focus often lies elsewhere. “The success of Waldorf Education...can be measured in the life force [1] attained. Not acquisition of knowledge and qualifications [2], but the life force is the ultimate goal of this school.” — P. Selg, THE ESSENCE OF WALDORF EDUCATION (SteinerBooks, 2010)‚ p. 30. [See, e.g., "Thinking Cap".]

[1] According to science today, there is no such thing as "the life force". [See the entry for "life force" in this encyclopedia.] Focusing on the attainment of this force is, consequently, futile; such an education is fundamentally erroneous.
[2] I.e., such education does not primarily seek to convey information or qualify students for future pursuits.

"head, heart and hands" (a Waldorf motto) - also see holistic education; whole child

Waldorf schools say they educate the whole child. Steiner said the head is not the seat of real knowledge [1] but of course it must be considered in education; the heart (inspiration, clairvoyance) is more reliable [2]; and the use of the hands has occult benefits (e.g., knitting strengthens the teeth). [3]

The Waldorf conception of the "whole child" is occult: The whole child has three invisible bodies (that gradually incarnate), a karma, an astrological sign, a spiritually important racial identity, both a soul and a spirit, twelve senses, and so on. [See "Holistic Education".] Essentially, in attempting to "educate" all parts of a student, Waldorf schools hope to send the student to the "white path." [See "Beat".] But if the Waldorf conception of the whole child is fallacious, then much of the effort made by Waldorf teachers and students may be misdirected and, ultimately, unavailing.

[1] See "Steiner's Specific".  (Steiner taught that we think better with our fingers and toes than with our heads. “As soon as we begin to think with our fingers — and one can think with one's fingers and toes much more brightly, once one makes the effort, than with the nerves of the head — as soon as we begin to think with that part of us which has not entirely become matter, when we think with the lower part of our being, then our thoughts are the thoughts of our karma." — R. Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 126.)

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

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

head man - also see head; "head, heart, and hands"; head system; limb man; rhythmic man

Steiner taught that the human physical constitution consists of three primary systems: the head, chest, and metabolic/limb systems. [See "What We Are".] The "head man" is the inner human being embodying the forces of the head system. (Steiner taught that a human being consists of multiple, small, inner human beings. [1]) Powers of thought are reflected in the head, although real cognition and wisdom are not produced by the head, Steiner said. [2] The purpose of Waldorf education may be summarized as activation of the limb man and the lower portion of the chest man [2], which in turn activate the higher portion of the chest man and the head man. "[I]t is the task of the limb man and chest man to awaken the head-man. Here we come to the true function of teaching and education. You have to develop the limb man and part of the chest man, and then let this limb man and part of the chest man awaken the other part of the chest man and the head-man." — R. Steiner, THE STUDY OF MAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 11, GA 293.  Whether true education can result from such a conception is, at the least, questionable. Saying that schooling aims to activate the head man suggests that a high premium is put on use of the brain — thinking. But in fact Steiner generally disparaged the head and brain, and indeed the Waldorf motto "head, heart, and hands" indicates that the head is no more important (and possibly less important) than other parts of the human constitution. Saying that the true function of education is to activate the chest man, etc., is fundamentally mistaken if the chest man, etc. are mere figments of the imagination.

Steiner taught that the head man stands in opposition to the limb man, and in fact is the inverse of the limb man from one's previous incarnation. "The Head man is the metamorphosis of the Limb man of the previous incarnation. The forces that formed the Limb man in the last incarnation, have, during the period between the last death and the last birth...metamorphosed so that they could now form the head. Thus the Head man and the Limb man are complete polar opposites, and the central, Rhythmic man [3] is the adjustment between the two...." — R. Steiner, MAN - HIEROGLYPH OF THE UNIVERSE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 2, GA 201.

[1] See, e.g., the entry in this encyclopedia for "composite beings".
[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "brain".
[3] Just as the head man is the tiny inner human being within the head, Steiner taught, the limb man is located in the limbs and the chest man is located in the chest.
[4] I.e., the chest man. The heart and lungs, in the chest, function rhythmically and thus establish rhythms for the entire organism. (According to Steiner, the rhythms of the microcosm, the human being, echo the rhythms of the macrocosm, the cosmos.)

head system - also see head; head man; nerves-senses system; thinking

One of the three primary systems in the human physical constitution, according to Steiner. “As we appear physically, we are clearly divided into the head system, the chest system, and the abdominal system, including the limbs. [1]" — R. Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 59. The systems are distinct from one another, Steiner said, but they also reflect and overlie one another. [See "What We Are".] 

The head system receives thoughts; it does not actually think, Steiner said; true, "living" thoughts come to us from on high. The physical brain in the physical head is, at best, a sort of receiving station. ◊ “[T]he brain and nerve system have nothing at all to do with actual cognition.” — R. Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCEp. 60. ◊ "The brain does not produce thoughts." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 16. Living thoughts come to us from the ether that Steiner said fills the cosmos. We get most of these thoughts as we descend to Earthly incarnation. ◊ “The cosmic ether, which is common to all, carries within it the thoughts; there they are within it, those living thoughts of which I have repeatedly spoken in our anthroposophical lectures ... [Man] receives [them] at the moment when he comes down from the spiritual world.” — R. Steiner, CURATIVE EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 37.[See "Thinking".]

According to Anthroposophical belief, the abdominal system (seat of the will) is predominant in children until the age of seven. The chest system (seat of emotion) is then predominant until the age of 14. The head system (seat of thought) is predominant after that until the age of 21. The Waldorf curriculum is meant to reflect and augment these three stages of childhood. [2]

[1] Concerning the other systems, see the entries in this encyclopedia for "metabolic-limb system" and "rhythmic-circulatory system".
[2] See "Waldorf Curriculum".

health - also see astrology; curative education; curative eurythmy; karma; medicine; normal; cf. abnormal; disease

In Waldorf belief, health is largely a matter of karma — if your karma permits, you will be in tune with cosmic forces and thus healthy; if your karma requires it, you will be ill in order to pay your karmic debts and thus attune yourself with cosmic forces. In the latter case, you will seek out the diseases and even the causes of death that your karma demands. “[P]eople may virtually be driven to places where it is possible to get an infection in order to find in this the compensating effects for certain karmic causes within them [1]; people are even driven to what one might call fatal life events to find such compensation.” — R. Steiner, MANIFESTATIONS OF KARMA  (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 167.  

Other factors leading to illness are such things as the astrological influences of the stars and planets, Steiner said, but these are intimately connected to destiny or karma. As with all things in the Waldorf belief system, apparent causation, at the physical level, is deemed largely illusory. Real causes are occult — that is, hidden. So, for instance, “We must ask ourselves: In what constellation were we living [2] when, in the nineties, the present influenza epidemic appeared in its benign form? In what cosmic constellation are we living at the present moment? By virtue of what cosmic rhythm [3] 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. [See "Steiner's Quackery".]

[1] I.e., we must compensate for actions we performed in prior lives. We create our karma, which requires us to find "compensating effects" for the "causes" carried in our karma. [See "Reincarnation" and "Karma".]

[2] I.e., what constellation of the zodiac was paramount then?

[3] I.e., the ebb and flow — the rhythmical patterns — of cosmic/astrological influences. [For more on the astrological teachings of Anthroposophy, see, e.g., "Astrology" and "Waldorf Astrology".]

hearing - also see Cancer (sign); senses

One of twelve human senses, according to Steiner. [1] It is a "spirit" sense, associated with the constellation Cancer. [2] "Which star constellation is related to [hearing]? ... [H]earing is related to the Crab (Cancer) ... When we look at the universe, we see giant spiral nebulae ... The Crab...sheds its skin several times during its period of growth [3] ... Now you will also understand why the cochlea in the ear is constructed as a spiral." — A. Soesman, OUR TWELVE SENSES (Hawthorn Press, 1990), pp. 110-112.

See "What We're Made Of".
[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Cancer (sign)".
[3] I.e., the growing crab develops in a spiral pattern, enlarging and progressing outward in a circular motion.

heart - also see blood; feelings; karma; medicine; senses (human)

According to Steiner, the heart is a sense organ, not a pump. ◊ “[Science] sees the heart as a pump that pumps blood through the body. Now there is nothing more absurd than believing this, for the heart has nothing to do with pumping the blood.” — R. Steiner, FREUD, JUNG, AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY, (SteinerBooks, 2001), pp. 124-125. ◊ “The heart is not a pump ... Basically the heart is a sense organ within the circulatory system, yet exactly the opposite is taught nowadays.” — R. Steiner, POLARITIES IN THE EVOLUTION OF MANKIND (Steiner Books, 1987), p. 56. [See "Steiner's Quackery".] 

The heart is the seat of emotion, and it is closely connected with the lungs, according to Anthroposophy. ◊ "[T]he heart is linked to feeling [i.e., emotion] ... The heart and the lungs fulfil an intermediate function between the head (thinking) and the digestive organs and limbs (will). In the heart, the two capacities of thinking and willing meet... [1]" — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 55. In this sense, the heart is analogous to Christ, who stands between Ahriman and Lucifer. [2] Indeed, in Anthroposophical epistemology, the heart is given great importance. The "thinking" that occurs in the head is not true cognition, according to Steiner, whereas the disciplined promptings of the heart may lead to truth and wisdom. Steiner taught that heartfelt feelings (emotions) yield far more truth than does thinking. Feeling, emotion, links us to the spirit realm. ◊ "Feeling really has a connection with all the spiritual beings who must be considered real [3] ... In the sphere of feelings, human beings cannot liberate [4] themselves from the spiritual world.” — R. Steiner, PSYCHOANALYSIS AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), p. 70.

The link between the heart and the spirit realm causes the heart to reflect the spiritual promptings of our consciences, and thereby the heart is an agent of karma. "[L]ife processes become spiritualized when they reach the outer wall of the heart. For what is reflected by the heart are the pangs of conscience ... [T]he forces thus prepared in the heart are our karmic tendencies, the predispositions of our karma ... [T]he heart is the organ that brings what we consider to be our karma into the next incarnation ... [M]oral nuance is in fact stored in the heart and carried over as karmic force into our next incarnation." — R. Steiner, PSYCHOANALYSIS AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), pp. 126-127.

[1] Thinking involves the head, Steiner said (although thoughts are not really created there); willing is seated in the limbs and abdomen, he said. The heart draws on the forces of both the head and the limbs/abdomen. The heart (allied with the lungs — both are rhythmical organs) is the seat of emotion. (Note that this is inconsistent with modern knowledge, which tells us that thinking, feeling, and sensing all occur within the brain.)
[2] Steiner taught that the arch-demons Ahriman and Lucifer offer mankind temptations. When Christ intervenes and holds the demons at bay and in balance, these temptations can become valuable gifts.
[3] I.e., the gods.
[4] I.e., separate. In other words, our feelings always reflect spiritual realities — our feelings inevitably connect us to the spiritual world.

heaven - also see Devachan; higher worlds; Spiritland; cf. hell

According to Steiner, generally, the Biblical heaven as it is usually conceived does not exist; rather, there are spiritual levels or "higher worlds" above us, and our goal is to rise through them as we evolve toward spiritual perfection. [1] As in most things, Steiner used varying terms when discussing the higher worlds and indeed he contradicted himself on numerous occasions. He used the term "heaven" from time to time, and he frequently referred to Devachan [2] during his Theosophical period. If we accept "Devachan" as a Theosophical synonym for "heaven," then this Theosophical conception is what Steiner meant on at least some occasions when he referred to heaven. In a more general sense, Steiner often spoke of multiple spiritual worlds, spheres, and planes. [3] Anthroposophists have sometimes tried to reconcile these regions with the three levels of heaven alluded to by St. Paul, but it is difficult. [4] Steiner spoke of the soul world and above it the spirit world, which he often said contains a lower and an upper level. One can argue that "heaven" may be taken as shorthand for these three spiritual levels. However, Steiner also taught that there are many other spiritual levels or worlds, higher than the ones he specified. 

On at least some occasions, Steiner indicated that the spiritual region that Christians take to be "heaven" is the same that Theosophists take to be Devachan. It is actually just one of many worlds above the physical plane of existence, and by no means the highest of them. Occultism tells of two higher worlds, Steiner taught, but there are others beyond them. "The three different worlds of which occultism speaks are as follows: • The physical world. • The astral world (Purgatory). • The spiritual world, or Devachan in Sanscrit terminology (The Christian Heaven). [5] There are yet other worlds above and beyond these three ...[But] they are...beyond all human conception." — R. Steiner, AN ESOTERIC COSMOLOGY (St. George Publications, 1978), lecture 9, GA 94. 

Steiner's cosmology is complex, and it differs from Biblical teachings in many essentials. If the spiritual goal for many people of faith is to reach heaven, the goal in Anthroposophy is different: It is to evolve to the highest possible level of spiritual consciousness and deification. It is to evolve to Future Vulcan and then to the supernal spiritual conditions beyond that. [6]

[1] See "Higher Worlds".
[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Devachan".
[3] Usually, Steiner taught that there are three worlds, the physical world and two higher worlds above it: the soul world and the spirit world. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]
[4] See, e.g., 2 Corinthians 12:2. There is dispute about the number of heavens referred to by ancient rabbis, priests, and seers. Some sources refer to two, other refer to seven, etc. [See, e.g., the entry for "heaven" in A CATHOLIC DICTIONARY (Aeterna Press, 1961).]
[5] In this instance, Steiner referred to the physical, soul, and spirit worlds, not to three levels above the physical world.
[6] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "conditions of consciousness", "Future Vulcan", "evolution of consciousness", and "tenth hierarchy".

Hebrews - also see anti-Semitism; Jehovah; Jews; Judaism

Semitic people descended from the patriarch Jacob, grandson of Abraham; Jews. According to Steiner, Jews no longer have a role to play in human evolution and thus should disappear as a people. Judaism itself should be eliminated, Steiner said. ◊ "As you know, we distinguish the Jews from the rest of the earth's population. The difference has arisen because the Jews have been brought up in the moon religion for centuries [1] ... The Jews have a great gift for materialism, but little for recognition of the spiritual world." — R. Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 59. ◊ “[T]he best thing the Jews could do now would be to merge into humankind generally…so that the Jews as a people would simply disappear [2] … [T]he mission of Judaism is no longer needed in human development.” — R. Steiner, "Vom Wesen des Judentums" {On the Nature of the Jews}, DIE GESCHICHTE DER MENSCHHEIT UND DIE WELTANSCHAUUNGEN DER KULTURVOLKER, Dornach, 1968, GA 353. [See "RS on Jews".]

In Waldorf schools, stories from the Hebrew Bible (or, as Christians generally say, the Old Testament) are stressed in the third grade, when — according to Anthroposophical belief — children stand at the evolutionary level of the ancient Hebrews. The Anthroposophical interpretation of these stories, however, diverges far from anything taught in synagogues. Thus, for instance, Noah is taken to be Manu, who led a small band to safety when Atlantis was destroyed. [See "Old Testament".]

[1] I.e., they worship the Moon being, Jehovah. Christianity, by contrast, centers on the Sun God, according to Steiner. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]

[2] Steiner generally deprecated miscegenation [see, e.g., "Blood"], although this is what he apparently calls for here: Jews should merge with (presumably, intermarry with) other peoples, and thus cease to exist "as a people." While there is overlap between Anthroposophy and Nazism on such matters [see "Sympathizers?"], the Anthroposophical approach is clearly less violent. Steiner did not call for the violent elimination of Jews.

Helios — also see Christ; Sun God

The ancient Greek Sun god. "[T]he Greeks...relate of Osiris [god of the dead] that he is the son of [the god] Chronos and [the goddess] Rhea, but not begotten in the right way, so incorrectly begotten that Helios, the Sun-God became so angry about the matter that he made Rhea barren.” — R. Steiner, ANCIENT MYTHS: THEIR MEANING AND CONNECTION WITH EVOLUTION (Steiner Book Centre), lecture 1, GA 180. Steiner taught that various ancient peoples apprehended Christ, the Sun God, but they did so only incompletely. Thus, they gave Him various names and failed to fully grasp his mission promoting human evolution. [See "Was He Christian?"] 


Helios, the Greek Sun god.
According to Anthroposophical teachings,
he is the god who was later recognized as Christ.
[Public domain image.]

hell - also see abyss; eighth sphere; kamaloka; perdition; cf. heaven

According to Steiner, the Biblical hell does not exist, as such; rather, there are various spiritual locations or states where souls are purged or where the results of evil are endured. The physical realm itself may be considered a form of hell to the degree that it is separated from the spiritual realm. Alternately, the abyss [1] separating the physical realm from the spirit realm may be looked upon as a form of hell. But almost no one outside Anthroposophy truly comprehends such subjects, Steiner taught. Most people today hold views virtually indistinguishable from those of old-time peasants. "We have in modern consciousness the feeling of a contrast between heaven and hell; others call it spirit and matter. Fundamentally there are differences only in degree between the heaven and hell of the peasant and the matter and spirit of the philosophers of our day." — R. Steiner, UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN BEING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), p. 84. [See "Hell".]

Concerning the abyss, Steiner said "Let us suppose a man were to deny it was the spirit which has given him a human countenance [2] ... He would remain united with the [physical] body and go down into the abyss. And because of not having used the power of the spirit, the external shape would again come to resemble the previous form. [3] The man who descends into the abyss would become animal like [sic] ... The evil race, with its savage impulses, will dwell in animal form in the abyss". — R. Steiner, ibid., p. 103. 

In the future, evildoers will also be consigned to an "irreclaimable" (or, in some translations, "unredeemable") moon: "From Venus [4], at a certain stage, a separate celestial body becomes [i.e., will become] detached. This — as it were, an 'irreclaimable Moon' — includes all the beings who have persisted in withstanding the true course of evolution. [5] It enters now upon a line of development such as no words can portray...." — R. Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969), chapter 6, GA 13.

Yet another variant of hell, in Anthroposophical teachings, is the "eighth sphere." Demons called asuras [6] strive to drag us into the eighth sphere. "The asuras inhabit the moon and from there they work on the men whom they want to drag down into the eighth sphere and thereby tear away from progressive evolution and its goal — the Christ. All those who strive towards the eighth sphere will eventually live on a moon.” — R. Steiner, FROM THE CONTENTS OF ESOTERIC CLASSES (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 266.


This is a typical Anthroposophical depiction of our overall evolution: We descend from Old Saturn to Earth, then we reascend from Earth to Vulcan. [6] Errant souls, however, may descend too far: They fall from Earth into the terrible Eighth Sphere, which is one of several places or conditions of perdition mentioned in Anthroposophical teachings. [Diagram from R. Steiner, THE OCCULT MOVEMENT IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1973), p. 81; color added.]

[1] See the entry for "abyss" in this encyclopedia.
[2] I.e., suppose a man were to deny that he is human because of he is essentially a spiritual being.
[3] I.e., denying his spiritual nature, such a man would be trapped in physicality, and his physical body would revert to a previous, animal-like form.
[4] I.e., Future Venus. [See "Future Stages".]
[5] In Anthroposophy, the greatest sin is opposing the true course of evolution as intended by the gods (and described by Steiner). [See "Sin".]
[6] See "Evil Ones".
[7] More properly, these stages should be termed Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon, Present Earth, Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan. They are stages of evolution, not planets such as we see in the sky today. [See the entry for "conditions of consciousness" in this encyclopedia.]

herbs - also see biodynamic gardening and farming; homeopathy; medicine

Seed-bearing, low-growing plants having no woody stems. These are often used in Anthroposophical medicine, in preference to actual medications. [See "Steiner's Quackery".] Steiner often vouched for the efficacy of herbs, and he gave detailed expositions of herbs' supposed virtues. Thus, for instance: “Question: 'Do the herbs that grow on mountains have greater healing properties than those that grow in valleys? If so, what is the explanation?' Dr. Steiner: 'It is an actual fact that mountain-plants are more valuable as remedies than those that grow in valleys, particularly than those we plant in our ordinary gardens or in a field ... The plants that have the greatest therapeutic value are indeed those that grow on the mountains. Why is this? All you need to do is to compare the kind of soil in which mountain-plants grow with that in which valley-plants grow.'” — R. Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF THE EARTH AND MAN AND THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1987), lecture 10, GA 354.

Herbs hold a special place in Anthroposophical lore. Steiner claimed that he received his first spiritual initiation from a herb gardener. “In the same train [in which Steiner traveled]...rode a strange man. He was a licensed herb gatherer who went to pharmacies in Vienna to sell the medicinal herbs he had collected. This man 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. In his Mystery Plays [2] Rudolf Steiner pictures this man in the role of Felix Balde.” — E. Katz, “The Mission of Rudolf Steiner", an address given to the American Anthroposophical Society.

[1] Felix Koguzki. See the entry for him in this encyclopedia.
[2] See "Plays".

heredity - also see blood; parents; race; cf. karma

In Anthroposophy, heredity or lineage is important, especially as reflected in one's race; but individual karma is more important. Mainstream scientists know little or nothing of such matters, Steiner said. Even on the purely biological issue of genetic inheritance, scientists are blind, denied the wisdom that might be acquired from spirits dwelling on the Moon, and misled by demonic forces from Mars: “It is because the Moon Beings remain so firmly entrenched in their fortress that modern scientists know nothing essential about heredity ... [Science] is ‘Moon-forsaken’ and ‘Mars-bewitched’. For science speaks under the influence of the demonic Mars-forces and has not even begun to approach the real mysteries of heredity.” — R. Steiner, “The Spiritual Individualities of the Planets” (THE GOLDEN BLADE 1988), GA 228. 

A goal of Waldorf teachers is to minimize the effects of heredity for their students (i.e., they strive to offset the genetic influences received from the students' parents), so that work on karma can proceed unhindered. [1] “[T]he purpose of [Waldorf] education is to help the individual fulfill his karma.” — R. Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 52. To the extent that Waldorf teachers convey the occult truths about heredity of their students, they should do it imagistically and within the context of a discussion of karma and reincarnation. Steiner said. "[A]fter you have given the children an idea of destiny [2], you then slowly teach them about heredity and repeated earthly lives [3] through stories." — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 46.

Among the "real mysteries of heredity" are these: "When the human being wishes to incarnate...[he seeks] a more-or-less fitting vehicle for his needs [4] and hence from the spiritual world he will seek out an appropriate line of descent [5] ... [T]he descending spirit will never find his exact requirements but takes the nearest available. [6] In our materialistic civilization the difficulties are enhanced...[which may account for] the many misfits in society, restlessness and difficult children. [7]" — R. Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2001), p. 62. Because children and their parents are almost always mismatched to some degree, the bonds between children and parents are less important than they otherwise might be, according to Anthroposophical belief.

[1] In general, Waldorf teachers seek to supplant their students' parents. "You will have to take over children for their education and instruction —children who will have received already (as you must remember) the education, or mis-education given them by their parents." — R. Steiner, addressing Waldorf teachers, THE STUDY OF MAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 16.

[2] I.e., karma.

[3] I.e., reincarnation.
[4] I.e., a suitable physical body — one that meets his karmic needs and soul requirements.
[5] I.e., he will choose the family, nation, race, etc. in which to incarnate.
[6] I.e., the heredity one selects is never quite right; heredity (including one's connection to one's parents) is thus always of secondary importance.
[7] I.e., in our materialistic age, fulfilling spiritual needs is more difficult. Hence, many incarnating individuals turn out to be misfits in one way or another — their karmic needs and soul requirements are not quite fulfilled.

Hermes - also see Mercury

a) In Greek mythology, the messenger god.

b) In Anthroposophical doctrine, Hermes was a student of Zarathustra and he was the originator of Egyptian civilization. "According to occult investigation [1], one of these pupils, the one who had received knowledge concerning the mystery of Space, of all that fills space contemporaneously, reincarnated as that personality known to history as Thoth [2], or Hermes of the Egyptians. Hermes had not only to establish in himself what he had received from Zarathustra [3] in an earlier incarnation, but he had to establish it more firmly ... Permeated by the teaching of Zarathustra, and filled by his astral nature [4], the individuality [5] of this pupil was born again [6] as Hermes, the inaugurator of the civilization of Egypt." — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1946), lecture 2, GA 123.

[1] I.e., the use of clairvoyance to study spiritual realities: spiritual science.
[2] The Egyptian moon god.
[3] The founder of Zorastrianism. Steiner taught that great initiates like Zoroaster affected human evolution at many stages, in various incarnations.
[4] See the entry for "astral nature" in this encyclopedia.
[5] I.e., the inner spiritual identity.
[6] I.e., reincarnated.

hexagram - also see astral body; pentagram

A six-pointed star; according to Steiner, a framework for the astral body. [See "Signs".]


hierarchies - also see gods; great chain of being; kingdoms of nature; polytheism

Generally, in Anthroposophy, ranks of beings, extending from the lowest to the highest; but often, in Anthroposophy, the term is applied exclusively to the ranks above man and becomes, then, a synonym for "gods". "When we have to speak of what we call the Spiritual Hierarchies, it means that our souls' gaze must rise to those beings who, in the sphere of our earth [1], have a higher existence than man. [2] In the visible world [3] we can only progress to [4] beings that represent four degrees of one hierarchy, i.e., the mineral world, the plant world, the animal world and the human world. [5] Above man begins a world of invisible beings...and man is able (as far as it is possible for him) to rise a certain distance towards those beings and powers [6] ... The knowledge and investigation which lead us into those regions has not, as you all know, come into existence only at our present time in evolution [7] ... [A]ll that man can fathom, all that he can know and realise, all that he has gained in ideas and conceptions, all that he has attained through clairvoyant imagination, inspiration, and intuition — all has been lived before, and known before, by those Beings who are higher than he. [8] He only follows so to say, in their track [9] ... [W]hen he rises to clairvoyant vision, he finds the imaginations, inspirations, and intuitions [10] by the help of which he can penetrate into the world of those spiritual beings." — R. Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1928), lecture 1, GA 110.

Sometimes Anthroposophists speak of just three spiritual hierarchies: These are groupings of gods, dividing the nine ranks of gods into three brackets. [See the entry for "gods," above.] When the term "hierarchies" is used in this way, the First Hierarchy consists of the three highest-ranking categories of gods, the Second Hierarchy consists of the middle three categories of gods, and the Third Hierarchy consists of the three lowest categories of gods. Here are the three hierarchies and nine ranks of gods, listed from high to low:

The First Hierarchy

 1. Spirits of Love, Seraphim 
 2. Spirits of the Harmonies, Spirits of Harmony, Cherubim 
 3. Spirits of Will, Radiating Lives, Radiating Flames, Thrones 

The Second Hierarchy
 4. Spirits of Wisdom, Kyriotetes, Dominions, Wisdom Spirits 
 5. Spirits of Movement, Dynamis, Mights, Spirits of Motion, Spirits of Activity, Mahat, Principalities, Virtues 
 6. Spirits of Form, Revelations, Exusiai, Elohim, Spirits of Light, Powers 

The Third Hierarchy
 7. Spirits of Personality, Archai, First Beginnings, Principalities, Original Forces, Spirits of an Age, Spirits of Epochs, Primeval Beginnings, Primeval Forces, Time Spirits, Zeitgeists, Spirits of Darkness, Asuras, Spirits of Selfhood 
 8. Fire Spirits, Archangels, Spirits of Fire, Sons of Fire, Agnishvattas, Solar Pitris 
 9. Sons of Twilight, Sons of Life, Angels, Spirits of Dusk, Barhishad-Pitris, Lunar Pitris 

These are the hierarchies and ranks of gods as often described in Anthroposophy. Gods of various ranks are known by various names; sometimes the different designations indicate genuine differences in type or mission, sometimes they do not.

On other occasions, Anthroposophists use the term "hierarchies" to refer directly to the nine categories or ranks of gods, in which case there are nine spiritual hierarchies, extending from the highest gods down to the lowest. Hence, Steiner taught, when we humans become gods, we will constitute the "tenth hierarchy." [11]

[1] i.e., in the region of the cosmos defined by the Earth. (In some instances, Steiner said the "sphere of our earth" is the region of space bounded by the Earth's orbit. But in other cases, he said that the Earth does not orbit the Sun. [See "Deception".])

[2] They are spiritual beings higher than humanity: gods.

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

[4] i.e., apprehend.

[5] These are the four kingdoms of nature that we apprehend in the physical world. They form a "hierarchy" consisting of four steps.

[6] I.e., we "rise" to the "beings and powers" of the invisible realm above the physical plane by gaining clairvoyant knowledge of them.

[7] I.e., humans in the past had some knowledge of the spirit realm.

[8] I.e., the understanding humanity has attained of spiritual matters was achieved earlier by the beings who are above us: the gods. (Steiner taught that the gods evolve much as we do. In the past, they passed through developmental stages that we will pass through in the future.)

[9] I.e., humanity is evolving as the gods evolved before us. The knowledge we attain of the spirit realm comes, to a large degree, from the gods.

[10] The gods send us images (imaginations), inspirations, and intuitions that contain spiritual wisdom. (In Anthroposophy, imagination, inspiration, and intuition are stages of clairvoyance: They constitute "clairvoyant vision.")

[11] See "Tenth Hierarchy".

higher I - also see highest I; I; lower I

According to Anthroposophical belief: the portion of the I (one's spiritual ego [1]) that remains in the spirit realm, as opposed to the lower I, which descends to the physical plane with us when we incarnate in Earthly form. The higher I, remaining above, guides the lower I during Earthly life. "The higher 'I' remains in the spiritual world during an incarnation on earth. It is the author and coordinator of our biography [2] ... [W]hat we feel as our 'I' during life on earth is the mirror image, the 'ego', of this higher 'I'" [3]. — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 58.

The higher I is, in a sense, what one works on during evolution: As the lower I gives place to the higher I, and as the higher I rises ever higher, one approaches one's apotheosis. [See the entry for "highest I," below.] "[T]he development of the ordinary I into the higher I occurs slowly and gradually. But when this development has reached a certain stage, that is, as the I actually reaches higher and higher, it gradually becomes possible to see back to former incarnations. This is the point where the I rises above itself [4] — when the self overcomes itself thanks largely to the forces that enabled it to understand the highest hierarchies [5] ... [W]e become starlike." — R. Steiner, THE EFFECTS OF ESOTERIC DEVELOPMENT (SteinerBooks, 1997), lecture 6.

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

[2] I.e., the higher "I," remaining in a higher region where it partakes of higher wisdom, directs the life of the incarnated human on the physical plane below. In this sense, it writes the story of our life (our new incarnation) on Earth.

[3] I.e., the lower "I" or "ego" that gives us our sense of unique identity during Earthly life is the reflection of the higher "I" that remains above. (In this sense, the higher "I" is our true spiritual self, the humanizing component of our nature that makes each of us a unique being, one who can say "I am." The lower "I" or "ego" is the reflection, here below, of the greater reality, one's true individuality, above. That greater reality evolves toward increasing spiritual perfection.)

[4] I.e., attaining or fulfilling the higher I means transcending the self, the I.

[5] I.e., the highest gods. (Steiner sometimes said that we cannot truly understand the highest gods, but to the degree that we can do so, the power comes to us through Christ and through Anthroposophy — Steiner's own teachings.)

higher mental plane - also see Devachan; Higher Spiritland; mental plane; cf. lower mental plane

According to Theosophical teachings, this is the upper or more elevated portion of the mental plane. [1] It is essentially the level of existence and consciousness in which one can apprehend the more elevated regions of Devachan. [2] Steiner used the terms "mental plane" and "Devachan" during his time as a Theosophist, but he generally dropped them later. "Devachan. The plane on which the causal body [3] exists when it has thrown off, after death, all bodies lower than the mental." — T. Besterman, A DICTIONARY OF THEOSOPHY (Cosimo, 2005), p. 35. After breaking with Theosophy, Steiner generally referred to this plane as Higher Spiritland. [4]

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

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

[3] In Theosophical teachings, this is the immortal part of a human being, which passes through all incarnations. In Steiner's teachings, it is essentially the spirit, as distinct from the soul. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]

[4] See the entry for "Higher Spiritland", below; also see "Higher Worlds".

Higher Spiritland - also see Devachan; higher mental plane; Higher Spirtland Stage of Form; Lower Spiritland; Spirit-Land; spiritland

Spiritland is the Theosophical conception of heaven, Devachan. In a general sense, it may be taken as more or less equivalent to the spirit realm as a whole; but more precisely, in Steiner's teachings, it is the higher of two worlds within the spirit realm, the world of spirit as contrasted to the world of soul. [See "Higher Worlds".] As the higher of the two "higher worlds," Spiritland may itself be conceived as consisting of higher and lower regions. Steiner discusses the higher and lower levels of Devachan in his book THEOSOPHY. Higher Spiritland is the realm/phase where anything that will eventually assume a physical form is conceived as an archetype. [2] Each archetype is then sharpened in Lower Spiritland, cast as an image in the soul world, and then made manifest in the physical world. [2] Higher Spiritland is the realm of true intuition, maximal clairvoyant clarity. [3] "The plane [of existence] closest to our ordinary experience is the one we are connect to through our own world of feelings; this has many different inner regions and is term ‘soul-‘ or ‘astral world’. Beyond it lies the lower and higher Spiritland or Devachan … Just as one can attain higher levels of consciousness in thinking than in dreams, so for the differentiated perception of soul- and spirit- worlds one requires the appropriate supersensible organs of perception. [4]" — Editor's note in SELF-TRANSFORMATION, a collection of Steiner lectures (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), p. 243.

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

[2] Steiner taught that there are three stages of clairvoyance: imagination, inspiration, and intuition. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]

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

Higher Spiritland Stage of Form - also see conditions of life; Higher Spiritland; Lower Spiritland; stages of form

According to the grand pattern of evolution as described by Steiner, during each condition of life (a subdivision of a condition of consciousness), we pass through seven stages of form. [1] In essence, these stages give progressively evolved form to the type of life we experience during any given condition of life. We pass downward, as it were, from the higher region of the spirit world to the lower region of the spirit world, and from there to the soul world, and from there to the physical world. We receive the appropriate shaping forces from each stage as we proceed. Having evolved from a highly incorporeal but essentially unformed condition in Higher Spirtland, we arrive at the densely corporeal, Physical Stage. Thereafter, we reascend toward incorporeality/spirituality in higher, more evolved forms than previously. [2] The seventh stage of form is the perfected, more highly evolved version of the first stage, Higher Spiritland. 



 ◊ 1. Higher Spiritland ◊            ◊ 7. Perfected Higher Spiritland ◊ 

 ◊ 2. Lower Spiritland ◊        ◊ 6. Perfected Lower Spiritland ◊ 

 ◊ 3. Astral Stage ◊   ◊ 5. Perfected Astral Stage ◊ 

 ◊ 4. Physical Stage ◊ .......

During each condition of life (a major subdivision of our evolutionary progress), we pass through seven stages of form. Shaping forces progressively refine and improve us. We descend from Higher Spiritland to the Physical Stage, before ascending again, in stages, in progressively more perfected form.

[1] See the entries for "conditions of life", "conditions of consciousness", and "stages of form" in this encyclopedia.
[2] Throughout our evolution, Steiner taught, we recapitulate prior stages of our evolution as we reach higher stages. Recapitulation is especially clear in some cases, as when we enter the fifth, sixth, and seventh stages of form, which are higher versions of the third, second, and first stages of form. Recapitulation is not mere repetition. Each time we revisit a previous stage of evolution, we do so at a higher, modified level.

r worlds - also see Devachan; heaven; KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT; soul world; spirit realm; spirit world

According to Rudolf Steiner, the spirit realm is inherent in the physical realm: It occupies the same space as the physical realm, infusing it everywhere, although it is hidden everywhere — it can be perceived only through the use of clairvoyance. Further complicating any attempt to describe the spirit realm is the vaporous, fluid nature of that realm: Its various regions and powers tend to flow into one another, so that there are few if any clear demarcations or separations. Nonetheless, Steiner at one point offered this as a general guide: “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. 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.

Despite the virtual impossibility of providing a clear account of the regions of the spirit realm, Steiner often referred to various portions of that realm, sections that may or may not fit neatly within the three-world summary quoted above. Thus, for instance, he spoke of Kamaloka, Lower and Higher Spiritlands, planetary spheres, the Buddhi plane, the nirvana plane, etc. [See “Higher Worlds”.]

Steiner also indicated that there are more elevated worlds beyond the soul and spirit worlds, but they are virtually incomprehensible to us at our current level of development. “[Our] ascent into the Macrocosm [i.e., the cosmos] can of course proceed to still higher stages ... Man can ascend into even higher worlds; but it becomes more and more difficult to convey any idea of these worlds. The higher the ascent, the more difficult this becomes.” — R. Steiner, MACROCOSM AND MICROCOSM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985), pp. 110-111.

Steiner’s followers attempt to gain direct knowledge of the higher worlds by developing the sort of “exact clairvoyance” that Steiner claimed to possess. [See "Exactly".] In this effort, they follow the guidance Steiner provided in his seminal book, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT, which has sometimes been published under alternate titles such as HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS. [See “Knowing the Worlds”.]


A revised edition of 


published under a new title by the Anthroposophic Press in 1994.

highest I - also see higher I; I; universal I

This is the godly being one can become when the individual/higher I is united with the universal I (which may be considered the Holy Spirit). [1] The highest I, in a sense, is Christ. [2] "The being to come was disclosed to Moses from two sources as the highest form of the 'I'." — R. Steiner, THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER (Lindisfarne Press, 2009), ed. R. McDermott, p. 107. In a more extensive sense, the highest I is oneself when one realizes the potential made possible by Christ. Possessing an "I" makes us human; it also opens the possibility for us to evolve to higher conditions, to become divine, to become gods. Steiner taught that Christ the Sun God [3] opened the path for this further evolution: He became our Prototype. [4] The highest I may be conceived as the highest perfection of our nature, the objective we seek at the end of evolution, during Future Vulcan and beyond. [5] We will then be far beyond human; we will be gods; in a manner of speaking, we will ultimately become God. Only the highest divinity can truly say, in all the statement's signifcances, "I am" — only the highest divinity possesses or is the highest I. [6]

[1] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "I", "higher I", and "universal I".
[2] Steiner tells us that the highest I entered Jesus when he was baptized, supplanting the spirit of Zarathustra that previously had been within him. "All the Gospels tell us that the highest I replaced Zarathustra's when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John." — R. Steiner, ACCORDING TO LUKE (SteinerBooks, 2001), p. 143. [There were two Jesuses, Steiner said. One bore the spirit of Buddha, the other the spirit of Zarathustra. See "Was He Christian?"]
[3] See "Sun God".
[4] In future evolutionary stages, we may no longer need to pattern ourselves on Christ, but for now he is our ideal., our model, Steiner said. [See "Prototype".]
[5] See "Future Stages".
[6] See the entry for "I Am the I Am" in this encyclopedia.

Hinduism - also see Brahma; karma; reincarnation; Rishis; Shiva; Theosophy; Vedas; Vishnu; yoga

A diverse set of Indian religions stemming from the Veda (or Vedas) scriptures. It is a polytheistic faith with a core belief in reincarnation. Theosophy and Anthroposophy draw on it extensively, although they reinterpret its teachings (like other teachings that they incorporate), altering them to varying extents. [See "Veda".]

Although Anthroposophy is often associated with Christianity, its ties to Hinduism are nearly as strong. This can be seen in the Anthroposophical devotion to such un-Biblical doctrines as polytheism, reincarnation, and karma — all of which arrive in Anthroposophy via Theosophical interpretations of Hinduism. Likewise, Hindu terminology — in the form of Sanskrit words and phrases — is woven throughout Anthroposophy; Steiner employed such terminology especially during his early mystical period, when he was nominally a Theosophist, and for a time thereafter, when he first broke away to establish Anthroposophy as an independent movement. Later, Hindu terms showed up less often in his teachings, although the essence of those teachings (including their Hindu-derived components) changed little.

The gnostic Christian elements of Anthroposophy often are wedded to, or modified by, the Hindu elements. Thus, for example, Steiner's teachings about the Holy Trinity embody a conjunction of Christian and Hindu beliefs. "[W]e have to see that highest Divinity of which we find mention by almost all nations as the threefold Divinity — as Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, as Father, Word, and Holy Ghost. From out [of] this highest Godhead, this most exalted Trinity, stream forth the plans for a new cosmic system." — R. Steiner. [See "Trinity".]

historical narrative of Anthroposophy - also see conditions of consciousness; cultural epochs; evolution of consciousness; future; great epochs; history; incarnations of the solar system; yugas

Anthroposophists accept the account of mankind's past and future as "revealed" by Rudolf Steiner using his claimed power of exact clairvoyance. The resulting historical narrative differs markedly from the record charted by mainstream scholars. Here are some significant historical milestones (past and future), according to at least some Anthroposophical authorities:

Prehistorical Period

The prehistoric events described by Steiner are difficult or impossible to date in terms of time as we now know it. Note, also, that some of the final prehistoric events overlap early stages of the subsequent historical period.

◊ In what is to us an unknowable mystery, the Beginning occurs as a free act of divine will
◊ Before space or time as we can conceive them exist, in other "places" and "times," the various gods begin their evolutions
◊ The solar system comes into existence for the first time; it does so in a form occultly denominated Old Saturn (this is our first "condition of consciousness," otherwise called a "planetary condition"); no physical planets as we now know them exist; phenomena are largely undifferentiated and incorporeal; we exist at a level akin to minerals as we now know them; our proto-human consciousness is akin to coma; the beings we now know as Archai (Principalities, Zeitgeists, Original Forces...) evolve to reach their human stage; higher beings — other gods — evolve still higher
◊ After dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Old Sun; we exist at a level akin to plants as we now know them; our consciousness is akin to deep sleep; Spirits of Wisdom (gods six levels beyond ourselves) yield their life-substance, which will become our etheric bodies; the beings we now know as Archangels (Spirits of Fire, Agnishvattas, Solar Pitris...) evolve to their human stage; higher beings — other gods — evolve still higher
◊ After dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Old Moon; we exist at a level akin to animals as we now know them; our consciousness is akin to dreaming; Spirits of Motion (gods five levels beyond us) yield their astral substance, which will become our astral bodies; the beings we now know as Angels (Sons of Twilight, Sons of Life, Lunar Pitris...) evolve to their human stage; higher beings — other  gods — evolve still higher
◊ After dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Present Earth (our fourth condition of consciousness); we evolve to reach our human stage, and our consciousness develops to the level of ordinary waking awareness; "physical reality" develops; we move toward extreme separation from the spirit realm; the planets and other members of the solar system as we know them now gradually develop; the beings who had been human during Old Moon evolve to become gods of the lowest rank; higher gods evolve still higher
◊ The first great epoch of Present Earth, occultly denominated the Polarian Epoch, occurs; the Sun and Moon are still united with the planet Earth; we have incorporeal, gossamer bodies
◊ The Sun separates from the planet Earth, and the second great epoch of Present Earth — the Hyperborean Epoch — occurs; we have airy bodies
◊ The Lemurian Epoch occurs — we dwell on the continent of Lemuria; the Moon separates from the planet Earth; we have iridescent, soft, animal-like bodies; many human souls leave the Earth for other planets; Lemuria is eventually destroyed by human wickedness
◊ The Atlantean Epoch occurs — we dwell on the continent of Atlantis; we develop the physical body, which will evolve to become the human form as we now know it; human souls that left for other planets return to Earth

Historical Period

Some of the following events, described by Steiner, overlap some of the later phases of the prehistoric period, and some may overlap one another. Steiner gave clear dates in some instances, but not in others.

◊ ~ 48,000 BCE - Krita Yuga, the "golden age," begins: human beings live essentially in harmonic union with the spirit realm
◊ ~ 28,000 BCE - Treta Yuga, the "silver age," begins: still a glorious time, but human ties to the spirit realm weaken
◊ ~ 13,000 BCE - Dvapara Yuga, the "bronze age," begins: human spiritual vision is dimmed, ties to the physical world increase
◊ ~ 7500 BCE - Atlantis is destroyed by human wickedness; the Post-Atlantean Epoch is prepared
◊ ~ 7227-5067 BCE - The Ancient Indian cultural epoch (the first post-Atlantean epoch) occurs; mankind develops the etheric body
◊ 5067-2907 BCE - The Ancient Persian cultural epoch (the second post-Atlantean epoch) occurs; mankind develops the astral body
◊ ~ 3000 BCE - Kali Yuga, the "dark age," begins: men directly experience only the physical realm

◊ ~ 2500 BCE (i.e., during the third millennium BCE) - Lucifer incarnates in the East

◊ 2907-747 BCE - The Egypto-Chaldean cultural epoch occurs; mankind develops the sentient soul
◊ 747 BCE - 1413 CE - The Greco-Roman cultural epoch occurs; mankind develops the intellectual soul; rational thought becomes possible
◊ ~ 30 CE - the Sun God, Christ, incarnates on Earth for three years; this is the Turning Point of Time, the event that makes correct future human evolution possible; at the end of three years, Christ's human body is crucified and his blood flows into the Earth
◊ 1413 CE - The fifth post-Atlantean cultural epoch (sometimes called the Anglo-Germanic Age) begins, ushering in the modern world; mankind develops the consciousness soul
◊ ~ 1471 CE - The Archangel Gabriel becomes Time Archangel for the next ~ 350 years
◊ 1605 CE - Buddha incarnates on Mars; he is victoriously crucified there (spiritually if not physically)

◊ 1841 CE - The Archangel Michael becomes the Spirit of the Age for the next ~ 2,160-2,450 years

◊ 1861 CE - Rudolf Steiner is born

◊ 1879 CE - Michael defeats Ahrimanic powers in the spirit realm, and he ejects them; he becomes Time Archangel for the next ~ 350 years; Rudolf Steiner meets the man who will give him his first of two occult initiations; later he meets "M" who gives him his second occult initiation
◊ 1899 CE - Kali Yuga, the "dark age," ends as Rudolf Steiner begins his occult teachings
◊ 1913 CE - Rudolf Steiner breaks with Theosophy and establishes Anthroposophy; Germany's Christ-like position balancing the Luciferic East and Ahrimanic West is brought to crisis as world war threatens
◊ 1914 CE - The Great War, or World War I, begins; it will end calamitously for Germany
◊ ~ 1919-1924 CE - Rudolf Steiner oversees Anthroposophical initiatives in education, medicine, agriculture, religion, etc.
◊ 1925 CE - Rudolf Steiner dies
◊ 1930 CE - Christ begins manifesting in the etheric realm — this is the Second Coming

◊ ~ 1998 CE - Sorat, the Antichrist, becomes manifest (or, some say, he incarnates)

◊ ~ 2000 CE - Christ becomes Lord of Karma
◊ ~ 2250 CE (i.e., during the third millennium CE) - Ahriman incarnates in the West
◊ ~ 2300-2400 CE - Mechanization and materialism create demons that war against the human spirit
◊ ~ 2900 CE - Thinking with the materialistic brain becomes impossible; astrological forces become universally recognized
◊ 3573 CE - The sixth post-Atlantean cultural epoch — the Russian Age — begins; Aquarius is dominant; spiritual knowledge is affirmed
◊ ~ 4500 CE - The truths of Anthroposophy become instinctively obvious; yet Christ's true band remains small
◊ 5733 CE - The final cultural epoch, the American Age, begins; hideous monsters of automation spread across the Earth; all previous trends move toward a climax
◊ ~ 7000 CE - The Moon reunites with the planet Earth
◊ ~ 7900 CE - The War of All Against All brings the Post-Atantean Epoch to its end; survivors transition to the sixth great epoch of Present Earth, when the seals of the Apocalypse are opened
◊ ~~~ The seventh and final great epoch of Present Earth occurs; over a period of ~ 40,000 years, physical reality is abolished, absorbed into human substance; natural law becomes coterminous with moral law; the trumpets of doom sound

Post-Historical Period

History in any normal sense — occurring on or near the planet Earth within the evolutionary stage called Present Earth — is over. Subsequent events occur in other conditions of consciousness.

◊ After dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Future Jupiter (our fifth condition of consciousness); we become divine, attaining a rank equivalent to today's Angels (Sons of Twilight, Sons of Life, Lunar Pitris... i.e., gods of the lowest rank); our consciousness rises to the level of perfected imagination ("Jupiter consciousness")
◊ After dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Future Venus; we reach a rank equivalent to today's Archangels (Spirits of Fire, Agnishvattas, Solar Pitris...); our consciousness rises to the level of perfected inspiration ("Venus consciousness"); a moon of perdition separates and becomes the dwelling place of remaining evildoers
◊ After dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Future Vulcan; we reach a rank equivalent to today's Archai (Time Spirits, Primeval Forces, Spirits of Selfhood...); our consciousness rises to the level of perfected intuition ("Vulcan consciousness")
◊ Five more cosmic reincarnations lie beyond, but no description is possible; comprising the Tenth Hierarchy, we gradually evolve to become God the Father

[For these matters, I have used various Anthroposophical sources, including S. C. Easton's MAN AND THE WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY, R. Seddon's THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORESEEN BY RUDOLF STEINER, and R. Steiner's OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, THE TRUE NATURE OF THE SECOND COMING, etc. Bear in mind that Steiner and his followers have not been wholly clear or consistent on many of the subjects outlined here, so many details are, at best, tentative, and lists incorporating other events and dates may be drawn up. —R.R.]

history (subject) - also see Akashic Chronicle; historical narrative; Waldorf curriculum

According to Steiner, the conventional or mainstream understanding of history is seriously mistaken; we would better off learning none of the false ("external") history taught in conventional schools and universities. The truth about humanity's past is occult and available only to clairvoyants, whose researches are harmed if they are polluted by ordinary historical knowledge. "[T]he less the seer knows from external history on the subject of his investigations, the easier it is for him to read in the Akashic records. [1] External history is a positive hindrance to occult research [2] ... In fact we have in ‘history’ neither more nor less than a fable convenue. [3]" — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN (Percy Lund, Humphries and Co., 1933), lecture 2, GA 112. 

The study of history at Waldorf schools is informed by this vision, and some of these concepts may be brought openly into the classroom. [See "Oh My Word".] “We are all part of history, a fact which is considerably reinforced if we can accept the idea of reincarnation. [4] Events are symptoms of inner processes, of spiritually guided progress.” — R. Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER ON EDUCATION (Hawthorn Press, 1993), p. 97. [See "Basement".] In Waldorf belief, the true history of mankind and indeed the history of the entire solar system is the evolutionary history of mankind's rise toward divine clairvoyant powers. That is, history has little to do with historically verifiable events; it is the story of the evolution of consciousness. "History — in general: the development of human consciousness through the ages." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 56.

[1] I.e., a celestial storehouse of knowledge, accessible only through clairvoyance. [See "Akasha".]
[2] I.e., "spiritual science" — the disciplined use of clairvoyance to study spiritual realities.
[3] I.e., an agreed-upon fable.
[4] In Anthroposophical belief, reincarnation is the key to history: We live multiple, successive lives, seeking to evolve from life to life. Thus is true, occult human history created.

holistic education, Waldorf style - also see "head, hands, and heart"; ninefold nature of man; Waldorf schools; whole child

Waldorf schools often describe themselves as providing education for the "whole child" — head, heart, and hands. [See the entry for "head, heart, and hands", above.] But the Waldorf conception of wholeness differs markedly from that found elsewhere. The "whole child" addressed by Waldorf teachers has 12 senses, four bodies, a karma, a "temperament" (phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, or melancholic), a spiritually important racial identity, an astrological sign, etc. [See "Holistic Education" and "What We're Made Of".] 

Waldorf schools are not primarily interested in education, as most people understand that term. Their objectives are spiritualistic, entailing the karma and evolution of the students. [See "Spiritual Agenda".] Thus, the Waldorf curriculum is intended to assist in the incarnation and development of various "bodies" and "organs" or "members" that exist only in occult belief; there is no basis for such concepts in modern science, medicine, or education.

The Waldorf conception of human nature, and its application in schooling, is outlined in the book FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE, which has also been published under such titles as STUDY OF MAN. The "whole child" as conceived in Waldorf doctrine is the occultly membered being Steiner describes in this book, which anyone wanting to understand Waldorf education should study. [See "Oh Humanity".]

Holocaust denial - also see fascism; Jews; Judaism

Some Anthroposophists deny that the Holocaust occurred. [See, e.g., "Our Experience".] In part, this stems from their belief that the German folk soul is so elevated that Germans could not have committed such a barbarous crime as the systematic slaughter of entire populations. It also stems, in part, from Steiner's dismissive attitude toward Judaism. Anti-Semitism that does not recognize itself as such reflexively denies that anti-Semitism can reach such a crescendo of violence as the Holocaust. [For Steiner's teachings about Judaism, see "RS on Jews".] Historian Peter Staudenmaier has written of one representative Anthroposophist, "Verhulst’s texts on the holocaust, published by the anthroposophist periodical Driegonaal, rehearse the standard holocaust denier repertoire ... He conjectures that the 'holocaust fraud' continues to be perpetrated...." [http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/topics/25032]

Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit - also see Christ; Father God; God; Old Moon; trinity

a) In orthodox Christianity, the third person in the Trinity - the aspect of God that is spiritually active in the world.

b) According to Steiner, the Holy Ghost — like the Father and the Son — is not a member of a single God, but actually a separate god. The Holy Ghost is the god that presided over Old Moon. “The Sun [1]...was transformed into what in spiritual science we call Moon. [2] This was the third incarnation of the Earth, [3] which will again introduce us to a directing central Spirit. [4] The highest Ruler of Saturn, the Ego Spirit, appears to us as the Father God [5], and the highest Ruler of Sun, the Sun-God, as the Christ. [6] Similarly the Ruler of the Moon stage of Earth [7] appears to us as the Holy Spirit with his hosts known in Christian esotericism as the Messengers of the Godhead, the angels.” — R. Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 100.


 ◊ 1. Old Saturn ◊ 
 {Presiding: God of Saturn} 

 ◊ 2. Old Sun ◊ 
 {Presiding: God of the Sun} 

 ◊ 3. Old Moon ◊ 
 {Presiding: Holy Ghost

The first three incarnations of the solar system were largely directed by the three gods designated here, although many other gods also contributed to mankind's evolution during these periods. The Holy Ghost, as conceived in this account, is the chief angelic representative of the Godhead. A lunar spirit, "female," the Holy Ghost shows varying aspects, conveying intuitive wisdom, Steiner taught.

Steiner described the Holy Ghost as a beckoning light, illuminating our past and future lives; it is what Christ bestowed, and it is what enabled Christ. It is the feminine side of divinity, the female creator of Christ. "One could also say that the ‘Holy Spirit’ is the (feminine) ‘Mother’ principle of the (male) ‘Son’ principle, Christ. We owe the development of the ‘Christ in us’ to the ‘Holy Spirit’ (the female creator of Christ). [8]" — R. Steiner, ISIS MARY SOPHIA (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 49. [See "God".]

The Holy Ghost may be conceived as conveying the message that aspirants to initiation wish to receive. The Holy Ghost is then the cosmic or universal I [9] or its extension, its representative and messenger. “Through all that is received during catharsis [10], the student cleanses and purifies the astral body [11] ... [T]he student is surrounded by spiritual light ... If you prefer, one may say 'overshadowed by the "Holy Spirit," or cosmic, universal "I."'" — R. Steiner, "Christ, the Virgin Sophia, and the Holy Spirit", THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER (Lindisfarne Books, 2009), ed. R. McDermott, p. 164.

[1] I.e., Old Sun, the second incarnation of the solar system. [See "Old Sun".]
[2] I.e., Old Moon, the third incarnation of the solar system. 
[See "Old Moon, Etc.".] In Anthroposophical teachings, the Holy Ghost is described as the ruler of the Old Moon (prior to the rebellion of Lucifer and his minions). "[D]uring Moon, those beings that were...the good spirits...[are] those for which the Christian designation is angel ... We have designated the outstanding Leader of these spirits as the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost." — R. Steiner, ROSICRUCIAN WISDOM, p. 121.
[3] The evolution of the solar system may be spoken of as the evolution of the Earth, since they are integral, and indeed Earth — and Mankind — stand at the center. [See "The Center".]
[4] I.e., a presiding, directing god.
[5] I.e., the god of Saturn, directing the forces of divine identity, the "I" or spiritual ego possessed by each highly evolved entity. We humans would attain our spiritual egos during Present Earth, the fourth incarnation of the solar system.
[6] See "Sun God".
[7] I.e., Old Moon. (The Earth an Moon were still a single body during Old Moon.)
[8] Clear differentiations and distinctions are not always to be found in spiritual matters as depicted in Anthroposophy. Thus, for instance, "[W]e must call the father of Jesus Christ the 'Holy Spirit that begot the Christ in the bodies of Jesus.'" — R. Steiner, THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER, p. 177.
[9] See the entries for "cosmic I" and "universal I" in this encyclopedia. If the Godhead is conceived as being or containing the cosmic or universal I, then the Holy Ghost may be conceived as the bearer of this spiritual essence.
[10] I.e., during preparation for occult initiation.
[11] I.e., the second of three invisible human bodies. [See "Incarnation".]

Holy Grail, The - also see Arthur, King; mystery knowledge; mystery streams; Parzival; Round Table

a) In Christian legend, the cup or platter used by Jesus at the Last Supper.

b) In Anthroposophy, the Holy Grail is "mystery" (i.e., hidden, occult) spiritual knowledge and fulfillment, especially the mystery knowledge and fulfillment found of the East. “[I]n this arising of the Holy Grail there stands before us everything that went into the post-Christian renewal of the principle of the ancient Mysteries. [1] Fundamentally speaking, the phrase the 'Holy Grail', with all that belongs to it, involves a reappearing of the essence of the Eastern Mysteries.” — R. Steiner, THE MYSTERIES OF THE EAST AND OF CHRISTIANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 4, GA 144. [See "Grail".]

[1] Primarily, Steiner taught that, in modern times, he himself revealed the deep meaning of spiritual mysteries. Other revelations had come in the centuries following the incarnation of Christ, renewing and improving upon ancient mystery knowledge; his own teachings improved upon such revelations. (Christ's incarnation was the "turning point of time." The two major phases of Earthly human evolution have been those before and after the incarnation of Christ.)

Holy Nights - also see Christmas; Epiphany; festivals

"[T]he 13 nights between Christmas and Epiphany ... During winter...life forces have been breathed in [by the Earth] [1] and are active within the earth [sic]. The elemental beings [2] in the earth are busy preparing the coming spring with its new resurgence of life." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), pp. 56-57. 

[1] Steiner taught that the Earth, as a living being, breathes. (However, he also sometimes taught that the Earth is dead.)
[2] I.e., nature spirits such as gnomes — invisible presences within the elements and forces of nature. [See "Neutered Nature".]

Holy Spirit - see Holy Ghost

homeopathy - also see disease; health; herbs; medicine

Treating diseases by administering tiny doses of substances that could cause those diseases. Anthroposophical medicine includes homeopathic practices. [See "Steiner's Quackery".] Today, homeopathy is generally dismissed as ineffective at best, dangerous at worst. "[H]undreds of studies...have been done on homeopathic remedies [and] the vast majority have found no value in the remedies ... Since homeopathic remedies don't work any better than placebos or doing nothing, there is no need for an elaborate explanation as to how they work ... The main harm from classical homeopathy is not likely to come from its remedies, which are probably safe because they are inert, though this is changing as homeopathy becomes indiscernible from herbalism in some places. One potential danger is in the encouragement to self-diagnosis and treatment. Another danger lurks in not getting proper treatment by a science-trained medical doctor in those cases where the patient could be helped by such treatment." — "Homeopathy," THE SKEPTIC'S DICTIONARY.

horoscope - also see astrology; karma; zodiac

An astrological forecast, often in chart form, of a person's destiny based on the position of stars and planets, especially at the time of birth. Steiner sometimes used horoscopes, and at least some Waldorf teachers use them. "Each of us is assigned a particular horoscope, in which the forces are revealed that have led us into this life." — R. Steiner, ASTRONOMY AND ASTROLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 46. [See "Horoscopes".] As he was on so many topics, Steiner was inconsistent on the question of horoscopes. He sometimes repudiated horoscopes, but on other occasions he affirmed their validity. His general position was that the common understanding of virtually any subject — and especially esoteric subjects — is mistaken and he himself offered the needed correction. Thus, ordinary horoscopes are severely flawed, but cosmic truths are revealed by any horoscopes that he himself offered.


A horoscope template.

[Public domain.]


 — also see Christ
a) In ancient Egyptian religion: an attendant of Ra, the Sun God.

b) In Anthroposophy: the Sun God — Christ as apprehended by the ancient Egyptians. “Christ, the Sun God, who was known by earlier peoples under such names as Ahura Mazda, Hu, or Balder, has now united himself with the earth...." — M. Jonas, introduction to RUDOLF STEINER SPEAKS TO THE BRITISH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 4-5. [See "Was He Christian?"]

human beings - also see Anthroposophy; human constitution; human kingdom; Human Kingdom Condition of Life; human stage of evolution; I; Jupiter humans; Mars humans; Moon humans; Saturn humans; Sun humans; universal human; Vulcan humans; cf. automatons; subhumans

According to Anthroposophical doctrine, humanity stands at the center of the entire created universe. [See "The Center".] Humans are spiritual beings who have evolved from Old Saturn. [See "Matters of Form".] Future evolution (to Future Jupiter and beyond) will see humans become gods and, ultimately, God the Father. [See "Future Stages" and "The Father".] Other beings have also passed through a "human" phase of evolution on their ascent to divinity. [See, e.g., "Old Sun".] In this sense, being human means attaining a certain evolutionary level, particularly attaining an "I" or spiritual ego. [See "Ego".] Some people on Earth now are human in form only — they are not really human beings. [See "Secrets".]

Steiner taught that human beings exist within the hierarchical organization of the cosmos, but our position is not fixed. We currently stand higher than subhuman beings such as nature spirits [see "Neutered Nature"] and the members of the lower three kingdoms of nature: minerals, plants, and animals. We currently stand below nine ranks of gods. [See "Polytheism".] However, we are in the process of forming the "tenth hierarchy" and we will ascend through the ranks of the gods. [See "Tenth Hierarchy".] Humans have individual spiritual identities, but they also partake of group souls. [See, e.g., "Four Group Souls".] One's individual identity is of paramount importance, but one's identity is also affected by one's membership in a family, people, nation, or race, and in some senses the individual is chiefly an expression of the larger groups to which s/he belongs. [See "Differences" and "Races".]

For more on the Anthroposophical conception of human beings, see the following entries in this encyclopedia: "human constitution," "human kingdom", "Human Kingdom Condition of Life," and "human stage of evolution." For the application of such matters to Waldorf education, see "Oh Humanity". 

human constitution - also see fourfold nature of man; inner men; ninefold nature of man; sevenfold nature of man; threefold nature of man; twelvefold human body

Anthroposophists generally deem the human constitution to consist of three major elements: spirit, soul, and physical body. However, Steiner also gave fourfold, sevenfold, and ninefold descriptions of the human constitution. And on occasion he spoke of man's twelvefold physical nature. In the latter case, Steiner drew connections between the parts of the human body and the twelve constellations of the zodiac. Additionally, Steiner taught that the outer human being contains multiple inner human beings. He sometimes said there are three such inner humans — the metabolic-limb man, the nerve-senses man, and the rhythmic man — but on other occasions he alluded to many others.

Here is the ninefold nature of man, as outlined by Steiner. This is, in a sense, his most encompassing description of the human constitution. We have three major parts (body, soul, and spirit), and each of these consists of three subparts:


• Body Nature •

 1. Physical Nature 
 2. Etheric Nature 
 3. Soul Nature (a) 

 • Soul Nature (b) •

 4. Sentient Soul 
 5. Intellectual Soul 
 6. Spiritual Sou l

• Spirit Nature •

 7. Spirit Self (a) 
 8. Life Spirit 
 9. Spirit Man 

To look into this further, and to consider Steiner's other enumerations of human parts, see "What We're Made Of" and "Our Parts".

human kingdom - also see Human Kingdom Condition of Life; kingdoms of nature 

Steiner said this is the highest kingdom of nature, above animals, plants, and minerals. In Anthroposophical belief, everything is alive, so life pervades all of the kingdoms of nature. Even minerals are alive, although they are trapped at a very low level, possessing only the sort of consciousness we knew during Old Saturn — essentially, they are comatose. [1] Plants, a step higher, have Old Sun consciousness — they are deeply asleep. [2] Animals have Old Moon consciousness — they are in a dreaming state. [3] Humans are awake. Moreover, humans have I's or spiritual egos. [4] Members of the human kingdom thus have four "bodies": physical, etheric, astral, and ego bodies. [5] Animals have only the first three of these, plants only the first two, and minerals only the first.

[1] Old Saturn was the first incarnation of the solar system. [See "Old Saturn".]
[2] Old Sun was the second incarnation of the solar system. [See "Old Sun".]
[3] Old Moon was the third incarnation of the solar system. [See "Old Moon, Etc."]
[4] See "Ego".
[5] See "Incarnation".

Human Kingdom Condition of Life - also see conditions of life; human kingdom; human stage of evolution

According to Anthroposophical teachings: the seventh condition of life, which will conclude our current condition of consciousness. During each condition of consciousness (Old Saturn, Old Sun, etc.), evolving entities cycle upward through seven subsidiary conditions. [1] During our current condition of consciousness, these subsidiary conditions or cycles may be called conditions of life. (The same term may be applied to subsidiary conditions in other conditions of consciousness, but the environment there will be quite different.) As we move through the conditions of life, we proceed from the lowest elementary condition, through mineral, plant, and animal levels, to the human level. Becoming truly human means possessing an I or ego, but this degree of fulfillment is not possible until we reach the requisite consciousness. We have become "human" during Present Earth, but we have not yet reached the "human kingdom of life" — our evolution toward full humanity is not yet complete. (Being "human" is not a mere matter of biology; we become human by reaching certain levels of evolution. Other beings have reached these levels before us, and thus they were "human" before us. Angels became human during Old Moon, and then rose higher; Archangels became human during Old Sun, and then rose higher; and so on. These beings became fully human and then they rose to become superhuman: They became gods.)



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

The seven largest stages of our evolution are the conditions of consciousness, shown above. We currently exist in the Present Earth condition of consciousness. The seven substages of Present Earth — conditions of life — are shown below.


 ◊ 1st Elementary Kingdom ◊                 ◊ 7. Human Kingdom ◊ 

 ◊ 2nd Elementary Kingdom ◊           ◊ 6. Animal Kingdom ◊ 

 ◊ 3rd Elementary Kingdom ◊    ◊ 5. Plant Kingdom ◊ 

 ◊ 4. Mineral Kingdom ◊ 

While we are, in a sense, undeniably human today, we have not yet evolved to the highest level of human existence — we are not yet as fully, perfectly human as we will become. We dwell today within the mineral kingdom — we are still densely physical (unspiritual); the human kingdom still awaits us in the future. "Each condition of consciousness can only run its course in seven conditions of life ... Upon the earth [2]...[man] has only passed through the first three conditions of life and is now in the fourth — in the mineral kingdom." — R. Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1958), lecture 10, GA 104.

Even during the appropriate condition of consciousness, only the most advanced members of any class of entities rises to the human kingdom in any sequence of conditions of life. Less advanced members of the class fall out of evolution before this stage is attained — abnormal or indeed evil, they cannot rise higher and thus remain behind. The advanced beings who reach the human kingdom receive there a preview of the Future Vulcan condition of consciousness (or its equivalent in a different sequence of evolutions). The process of individuation reaches its pinnacle in the human kingdom and then it is, in a sense, reversed. We then evolve toward universal, shared consciousness. "[The] last Condition [of life], the fastest of the seven, in which only progressive human beings take part, may be seem as a precursor of Vulcan evolution. [3] Here one can form the human being anew in free activity [4] ... The laws governing events regarded as chance...are seen through [5] ... When various people all adopt and live with a definite common ideal, they enable a higher common consciousness to express itself through them ...  All separateness is given up, and every 'I' flows together into a comprehensive consciousness...." — R. Seddon, THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORETOLD BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2002), pp. 109-110. (Note that Seddon's descriptions of these matters, like Steiner's, incline toward our own evolution. Terms would need to be adjusted if we sought to accurately describe the experiences of other beings who have evolved through their equivalents of our coming Human Kingdom Condition of Life.)

[1] We are evolving through this sequence. The gods have done much the same. For clarity, we will focus on our own evolution and the terminology employed in Anthroposophy to describe it. Remember that the gods went through a similar, but not identical, process. Other terms would be more appropriate to describe at least some stages of the gods' evolution, but in large part that evolution is unknown to us.
[2] I.e., during Present Earth. [See "Present Earth".]
[3] I.e., Future Vulcan. [See "Future Stages".]
[4] I.e., we can freely remake ourselves, perfecting ourselves.
[5] I.e., they are understood to be illusory.

human stage of evolution - also see ego; evolution of consciousness; human beings; Human Kingdom Condition of Life; I


According to Steiner: We are now at the human stage of our evolution (i.e., we are currently human beings), although we have not yet perfected our humanity. Other beings have been human before us; they reached their own human stages of evolution, and then they evolved higher, as we will do in the future. [See the entry for "Human Kingdom Condition of Life," above, and "Steiner Static".] “[E]ach planetary condition [1] has a special task. What is the task of our earth? [2] It is to make human existence possible for man as man. [3] All the activities of the earth are such that through them man may become an I-being, an Ego being. [4] This was not the case in the former conditions [5] ... Man has only become human, in the present sense of the word, on earth. The former planetary conditions...[had] a similar task. [6] Other beings became human on those other planets [7], and now stand at a higher stage than man ... The Archangels [for instance] were first able to become human on the Sun [8]....” — R. Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES (Anthroposophical Publishing Co.), lecture 3, GA 110.

[1] I.e., condition of consciousness. [See the entries for "conditions of consciousness" and "planetary conditions" in this encyclopedia.]
[2] I.e., the purpose of the fourth condition of consciousness, called Present Earth. [See "Present Earth".]
[3] I.e., Present Earth exists so that we may evolve through our human stage (we will live at this stage "as man" or as the beings we are now, not yet having risen to godly status).
[4] I.e., everything that is done during Present Earth is intended to enable us to develop our spiritual egos and thus to be human. [See "Ego" and the entry for "ego being" in this encyclopedia.]
[5] I.e., former conditions of consciousness had other goals (for us). We had not yet reached our human stage of evolution, but we were preparing ourselves to attain it. (This preparation was overseen, and to a large extent enacted, by the gods.) 
[6] I.e., former conditions of consciousness had different goals for us, but they had the same goal for the beings that preceded us in evolution: They enabled those beings — whom we know now as gods — to reach their own human stages of evolution.
[7] I.e., during those conditions of consciousness. (Adapting to the language used by others before him, Steiner often spoke and wrote in terms that can mystify and beguile more than inform. When he described life "on" various "planets," he sometimes meant existence on actual planets, but often he meant existence in/on phases of the solar system's evolution. His meaning must often be deduced from context.. [See the entries for "planets" , "planetary conditions", and "conditions of consciousness" in this encyclopedia.])
[8] I.e., during the second condition of consciousness, called Old Sun. [See "Old Sun".]

humanism - also see Anthroposophy; human beings; microcosm; Waldorf schools

a) A rational approach or attitude that looks to human beings rather than gods to give meaning to life; emphasis upon human virtue and abilities.

b) In Anthroposophy: placing man at the center of the universe, as the object of the gods' worship. Waldorf schools often claim to be humanistic. This claim is true, if we understand "humanism" in this second sense (i.e., Waldorf schools are "humanistic" in accordance with Anthroposophical doctrine). [See, e.g., "The Center".] For Steiner's followers, Anthroposophy itself is the ultimate form of humanism (the word "Anthroposophy" means human wisdom or knowledge of the human being).

humors, humours - also see temperaments

Bodily fluids as catalogued by ancient physicians: black bile, blood, choler (or yellow bile), and phlegm. These fluids were thought to produce the four human "temperaments": melancholic, sanguine, choleric, and phlegmatic. [See "Humouresque".] “Humour, also spelled Humor, (from Latin 'liquid,' or 'fluid'), in early Western physiological theory, one of the four fluids of the body that were thought to determine a person’s temperament and features. In the ancient physiological theory still current in the European Middle Ages and later, the four cardinal humours were blood, phlegm, choler (yellow bile), and melancholy (black bile); the variant mixtures of these humours in different persons determined their 'complexions,' or 'temperaments,' their physical and mental qualities, and their dispositions. The ideal person had the ideally proportioned mixture of the four; a predominance of one produced a person who was sanguine (Latin sanguis, 'blood'), phlegmatic, choleric, or melancholic. Each complexion had specific characteristics, and the words carried much weight that they have since lost: e.g., the choleric man was not only quick to anger but also yellow-faced, lean, hairy, proud, ambitious, revengeful, and shrewd. By extension, 'humour' in the 16th century came to denote an unbalanced mental condition, a mood or unreasonable caprice, or a fixed folly or vice.” — “humour." ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, Online, 29 Apr. 2011.

Waldorf schools typically categorize students according to the four temperaments associated with the four ancient humours (although much of this may be kept secret from the students themselves and their parents). [See "Temperaments".]

hygienic occultism - also see Central Europe; eugenic occultism; karma; mechanical occultism; occultism; races

"I must speak to you also regarding...the hygienic occult capacity ... This hygienic occult capacity is well on its way [to developing] ... This capacity will come to maturity simply through the insight that human life, in its course from birth to death, progresses in a manner identical with the process of an illness ... [E]very knowing person in the Western [occult] circles is aware that materialistic medicine will have no basis in the future. As soon as the hygienic occult capacities evolve, a person will need no external material medicine, but the possibility will exist of treating [illnesses] prophylactically in a psychic way to prevent those illnesses that do not arise through karmic causes because karmic illnesses cannot be influenced ... The potentiality of hygienic occult capacities is present in special measure among the people of the Central [European] countries ... In the case of the population occupying the area approximately eastward from the Rhine and all the way into Asia, these capacities will be present on the basis of birth ... The people of the East will have not the least capacity for material occultism; they will be able to receive this only when it is given to them, when it is not kept secret from them. It will always be possible to keep it secret, especially when the others are so stupid as not to believe in things that are asserted by a person who is in a position to see into them. In other words the people of the East and those of the Central countries will have to receive material occultism from the West. They will receive its benefits, its products. Hygienic occultism will develop primarily in the Central countries, and eugenic occultism in the Eastern lands ... [T]he people of the West will possess the potentialities of material occultism from birth, but will be able to acquire hygienic occultism [during their lifetimes] ... [People] of the Middle [i.e., Central] countries will possess through birth primarily the potentiality for hygienic occultism, but will be able to acquire for themselves — if it is given to them — a material occultism from the West and a eugenic [occultism] from the East ... [People] of the East will possess from birth the potentiality for eugenic occultism, but will be able to acquire for themselves from the Middle countries hygienic occultism." — R. Steiner, THE CHALLENGE OF THE TIMES (Anthroposophic Press, 1941), pp. 97-102.

hymns - also see music; prayers; religion; spiritualistic agenda

Religious songs. They are often sung in Waldorf schools in accordance with the general religious intention of the schools. For instance, THE WALDORF SONG BOOK (Floris Press, 1992) includes such hymns as FOR ALL THE SAINTS: 

"For all the saints who from their labours rest,

Who thee by faith before the world confest,

Thy name, O Jesus, be for ever blest."

[See "Prayers".]

Hyperborea - also see Hyperborean Epoch; Lemuria; Old Sun; Polaria

a) In ancient Greek mythology: a mild, bounteous land "beyond the north wind;" its happy residents practiced magic, flew through the air, and were blessed with great longevity. 

b) According to Theosophical teachings, the Hyperboreans were the second root race [1] of the earth.

c) In Anthroposophy: Hyperborea was, generally, the second condition of Present Earth [2], the situation of ancient humanity between the Polarian and Lemurian great epochs. [3] Hyperborea is sometimes described as a ball of cosmic gas and light that recapitulated the second incarnation of the solar system, Old Sun. [4] However, Steiner indicated that during the time of Hyperborea, the planet Earth existed as a distinct celestial object, from which the Sun had separated. "The Polarian age was followed by the Hyperborean age, with a race of human beings who had airlike bodies. The sun had separated from the earth and now worked from outside.” — R. Steiner,  READING THE PICTURES OF THE APOCALYPSE (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), lecture 6, GA 104a. [See "Early Earth".] In some accounts, Hyperborea was a location upon the evolving planet Earth, in effect a continent or region. After living on or in Hyperborea, humanity made its next home on the continent of Lemuria.

[1] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "root races".
[2] See "Present Earth".
[3] See "Early Earth" and "Lemuria".
[4] See "Out in the Open" and "Old Sun".

Hyperborean Epoch - also see great epochs; Hyperborea; Lemurian Epoch; Polarian Epoch

According to Steiner — drawing from Theosophy — this was our second large evolutionary period of our Earthly lives (so to speak): our second great epoch. [1] It followed the Polarian Epoch and preceded the Lemurian Epoch. 
[See "Early Earth".] 
Man was not yet physical, as we understand this term. Indeed, all conditions during the Hyperborean period are extremely difficult to describe in language that makes sense to us now. The Earth — growing denser, but not yet fully material or physical as we understand this concept — was the scene of action for spirit beings, only some of whom would become the creatures we find on Earth now. The line between divine and human was less clear then, and the beings who were "men" were not ourselves as we understand ourselves now. “During the Age which preceded the Lemurian Age, we have the Hyperborean Age on the Earth, that of the Sun Men, of the Apollo-Men [2] ... [T]he Hyperboreans lived in their soft forms, [and] these Sons of the Sun [3] were in position to incarnate and they formed a particularly beautiful Race. They were the Solar Pitris. [4] Already in the Hyperborean Epoch they created for themselves an upright form ... In the Hyperborean Epoch the Solar Pitris became the beautiful Apollo-men....” — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 23, GA 93a. 

"[T]he human being of this age [i.e., the Hyperborean] had no rigid form but was pliable and adaptable ... Also existing in this sphere are [i.e., were] certain beings who [had] not yet wholly completed the past stages of their evolution ... There are also higher beings who find they can no longer exert the desired influence in this denser matter and they leave. [5] Their departure ultimately results in the formation of the present Sun ... [A] rhythm is established for the soul to be in the body for a certain time and then outside [it]. This is the beginning of day and night experience [6] ... The outside planets of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars have become independent [7] ... Venus and Mercury [separate] as habitations for beings at intermediate stages [of spiritual evolution]. Remaining is an Earth-Moon planet [8] in which the forms of life become more and more differentiated ... Man's body has a substantiality almost like air." — R. Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), pp. 97-98.

The Polarian and Hyperborean Epochs may all be looked upon as the preparatory stages of Earthly evolution, leading to the Lemurian and Atlantean Epochs, which laid the basis for our current Post-Atlantean reality.


During our lives on the Earth (as Anthroposophical texts usually have it), we will evolve through seven great epochs. [9] The Hyperborean Epoch (sometimes called simply "Hyperborea") followed the Polariean Epoch ("Polaris") and preceded the Lemurian Epoch ("Lemuria"). We currently live in the Post-Atlantean Epoch ("post-Atlantis"). The coming Sixth and Seventh Epochs are sometimes called the Epoch of the Seals and the Epoch of the Trumpets, respectively. Great Epochs are sometimes referred to as Ages, but usually the term "age" is reserved for cultural epochs (seven subdivisions of a great epoch). [10] [Detail from diagram in Roy Wilksinson's RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge, 2005), p. 94; color added.]

[1] Anthroposophical accounts of evolution are complex. In one sense, we have always existed on "Earth" if we conflate the evolution of the solar system with the evolution of the Earth, as Steiner often did. However, past incarnations of the solar system are referred to as Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon. Only after passing through all three of those stages did we arrive at the Present Earth stage (the fourth incarnation of the solar system). Within this stage, we have evolved through numerous smaller stages (conditions of life and, within those, stages of form). Currently, according to Anthroposophical teachings, we exist within the physical stage of form, within the Mineral Kingdom Condition of Life, within the Present Earth incarnation of the solar system. It is within this current phase that we began evolving through the seven great epochs, of which the Polarian Epoch was the first and the Hyperborean Epoch is the second. [See the entries in this encyclopedia for these various terms. For an overview, see the entries for "evolution" and "design".] 

[2] i.e., semi-humans having spiritual ties with Old Sun, the second incarnation of the solar system or the second condition of consciousness. [See "Old Sun".]

[3] Later to be known as gods of the Sun: Solar Pitris.

[4] See "Polytheism".

[5] I.e., certain spirits who found conditions on the densifying Earth uncongenial left the Earth. They were responsible for creating the Sun as we know it now.

[6] Steiner taught the soul leaves the body and travels to the spirit realm at various times, such as after death and (generally) at night.

[7] I.e., they have separated from the general, unified core of the solar system.

[8] The Moon had not yet separated from the Earth.

[9] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "epochs" and "great epochs".

[10] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "cultural epochs".