M - Me

[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]

- M -

"M" - also see initiate; Koguzki, Felix; masters; Rosenkreutz, Christian

The second spiritual guide who gave Steiner occult initiation, according to Steiner. [1] M's identity is mysterious, but some of Steiner's followers believe that M is Christian Rosenkreutz. [2] "Felix [Koguzki] brought him [Rudolf Steiner] in contact with another man in Vienna, whose identity has never been revealed ... Rudolf Steiner refers to him as a 'Master' and states that he taught him what one needs to know in order to work effectively out of the spiritual world into this materialistic age. To conquer the 'dragon' of materialism [3] you have to get into his skin. It seems to me that Rudolf Steiner may have stayed with this man for a long weekend. When they parted the Master said: 'You know now who you are! Act accordingly, and remain always true to yourself.' How many people can say that they know who they really are? We should recognize this as an initiation. It is an answer to the call of all ancient Mystery Schools [4], which is engraved in stone above the entrance of the Greek temple in Delphi: GNOTHI SAFTON Translated: KNOW YOURSELF. To the challenge: 0 man, know yourself! here the answer was achieved: You know now who you are. This happened in November of 1879! Precisely at the beginning of the Michael age, in the autumn, the Michael season, when St. Michael became the supreme leading Archangel (time spirit) for all of humanity. [5] This initiation event connected Rudolf Steiner most intimately with St. Michael. From that moment on one can say that Rudolf Steiner is the Ambassador of Michael, the leading Great Initiate of our Michael age. This was an event of world historic importance that took place completely unnoticed by the outer world." — E. Katz, "The Mission of Rudolf Steiner", an essay based on an address to the American Anthroposophical Society, November, 2004.

"Steiner informed the French occultist Edouard Schuré that...he had been 'initiated' by the 'M'. Anthroposophists [generally] say they do not know who 'M' was ... 'M' — if he was of flesh and blood — may have followed a...Western path, particularly a revived Rosicrucianism, as the movement named after Christian Rosenkreutz is termed ... The term 'M' is also reminiscent of the mythical 'Book M' of Christian Rosenkreutz over two centuries earlier, and indeed, Steiner saw Anthroposophy as a spiritually complete Rosicrucianism. [6]" — G. Ahern, THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT (James Clarke & Co., 2009), pp. 28-29.

[1] Steiner said he received his first initiation from the herb gatherer Felix Koguzki. [See the entry for "Koguzki, Felix" in this encyclopedia.]

[2] Christian Rosenkreutz is the putative founder of Rosicrucianism. He is almost certainly a mystical/fictional figure; there is no evidence that he ever existed. [See "Rosy Cross".]

[3] In Anthroposophy, this is generally Ahriman. [See "Ahriman" and "Michael".]

[4] I.e., organized gatherings of initiates where knowledge of spiritual mysteries was imparted.

[5] According to Anthroposophical belief, the Archangel Michael defeated Ahriman and his hordes in a mighty battle in 1879. At that point, Michael assumed responsibility for overseeing human evolution in the modern period. [See "Michael" and the entries for "1879" and "Time Spirit" in this encyclopedia.]

[6] See "Rosy Cross".

machines, machine-animals - also see computers; mechanization; media policies at Waldorf schools; spider beings; technology; television

Steiner taught that modern technology is destructive, even demonic. Machines, as products of this technology, hold terrible dangers — they reflect the deadly effect of thinking produced by the physical brain. “[I]f we could make our thoughts and ideas effective rather than just having them within us...our life of thoughts would have a deathly, paralyzing effect. This is because such thoughts and ideas are in a certain way destructive for everything that is grasped by them ... They only bring about destruction when they come to expression in machines, in tools which are something dead that has been removed from living nature.” — R. Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 33. Among the most advanced machines in Steiner's time were steam engines, which he criticized thus: “When we build steam-engines, we provide the opportunity for the incarnation of demons ... In the steam-engine, Ahrimanic demons [1] are actually brought to the point of physical embodiment.” — R. Steiner, “The Relation of Man to the Hierarchies” (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, Vol. V, Nos. 14-15, 1928). The Waldorf aversion of technological devices such as televisions and computers arises from such thinking. [2] Thus, for instance, Rudolf Steiner College — a Waldorf teacher-training center in the USA — has published THE COMPUTER AND THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1981 — still offered for sale in 2015).

[1] I.e., minions of Ahriman. [See "Ahriman".]
[2] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "computers", "television", and "media policies".

macrocosm - also see cosmos; microcosm

Steiner taught that the human being is a microcosmic counterpart of the cosmos, the macrocosm. [1] “[W]e find a remarkable correlation between human life, the Microcosm, and the forces...driving the several planets round the Sun in the Macrocosm. [paragraph break] In very truth the world is infinitely more complicated than is supposed. Our human nature is comprehensible only if we take account of its kinship with the Macrocosm. Knowing this, spiritual researchers in all epochs have chosen corresponding designations for the Great World and the Little World — the latter being the seemingly insignificant bodily man enclosed within the skin. [There are correspondences] between the Microcosm (man) and the Macrocosm (the solar system) [2] ... [M]an is born as a Little World, a Microcosm, out of the Great World, the Macrocosm.” — R. Steiner, MACROCOSM AND MICROCOSM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985), pp. 44-45. [See "The Center".]


The cosmos, Steiner taught, is a huge reflection of human nature, whereas man is a small embodiment of the entire cosmos. The universe is the macrocosm; man is a microcosm[MACROCOSM AND MICROCOSM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1985).]

[1] In some of his pronouncements, Steiner equated the macrocosm with the solar system; in others, he equated it with the entire universe. Steiner recognized the difference between the universe and the solar system, but he often conflated them.
[2] Sic; the parenthetical phrases appear in this form in the text.

magic, magicians - also see alchemy; black magicians; ideal magic; white magic; witches; wizards

Steiner sometimes said that true occultism [1] knows nothing about magic (suggesting that magic is an illusion), but on other occasions he gave occult, affirmative accounts of magic (indicating that magic is quite real). "Certain kinds of ceremonial magic [2] have definite effects on the human physical body. Everything physical is, after all, a manifestation of the spirit. Certain spiritual aspects which come into being under the influence of ceremonial magic can have an effect on the human physical body, specifically on the system of ganglia...and also on the spinal system. The cerebral system is the most difficult of all to influence by means of ceremonial magic. All this has to be done via the detour of the spiritual element, but it can be done and it can become effective." — R. Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992), lecture 21, GA 174.

According to Steiner, white, black, and gray magic are active in the world. Black and gray magicians, he said, work to destroy human spirituality while white magicians work to promote it. ◊ “For our earth is a battlefield; it is the scene of two opposing powers: right and left. The one, the white power on the right, after the earth has reached a certain degree of material, physical density, strives to spiritualise it once again. The other power, the left or black power [3], strives to make the earth ever denser and denser, like the moon. [4]" — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 20, GA 93a. White magicians work selflessly, Steiner said, while black magicians are monsters of egoism. ◊ "[T]he basic principle of all white magic is that no power can be gained without selfless devotion.” — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1983), lecture 20, GA 93a. ◊ "The black magician has the urge to kill, to create a void around him in the astral world because this void affords him a field in which his egoistic desires may disport themselves." — R. Steiner, AN ESOTERIC COSMOLOGY (Wilder Publications, 2008), p. 41. [See "Magic".]

[1] See "Occultism".
[2] Also known as ritual magic, ceremonial magic uses prescribed rituals to evoke spiritual powers.
[3] See "White-Black", "Report Card", and the entry for "left" in this encyclopedia.
[4] Steiner taught that the Moon is super-hardened and thus inaccessible. This has led some Anthroposophists to claim that the Apollo Moon landings were faked. [See "Today".]
[5] See the entry In this encyclopedia for "astral world".

Maha-Para-Nirvana Plane - also see Nirvana; Nirvana Plane; Para-Nirvana Plane

A term from Steiner's Theosophical phase: a level of consciousness/blessedness above the Para-Nirvana Plane [1]; the realm of living solid objects. In later teachings, Steiner dispensed with differentiations between various Nirvana planes; he folded the Maha-Para-Nirvana Plane and the Para-Nirvana Plane into an enlarged conception of the Nirvana Plane. [2] 

There are innumerable planes in the cosmos, according to standard Theosophical accounts. But there are seven primary planes indicating levels of spiritual development. The seventh and highest is the Maha-Para-Nirvana plane, where self-abnegation is complete and one finds unity with the consciousness of the entire cosmos. Here, Steiner said, one can comprehend and unite with even the life of solid objects that, usually, are deemed lifeless. "On this Maha-para-nirvana plane the life of the solid is to be found. This plane is the other pole of the solid. Through life on the Maha-para-nirvana plane one acquired another means of perception. When one returns one has experienced the activity of beings in the Maha-para-nirvana plane. It is there that the solid stone has its life." — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 5, GA 93a. [See "Higher Worlds".]

[1] See the entry in this encyclopedia for this term.
[2] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "nirvana" and "nirvana plane".

Mahat - also see Dynamis; Spirits of Motion

A Sanskrit term, used in Theosophy to denote the great one(s), the cosmic mind or intelligence. According to Steiner, the designation applies to gods five levels above humanity. "'Spirits of Motion' (Dynamis in Christianity. Mahat in theosophical literature)." — R. Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Harper & Row, 1981), chapter 15, GA 11.

Mahatma - also see adept; guru; masters

a) In Indian teachings, a holy person or sage.

b) In Theosophy, an individual possessing supernatural powers.

c) Also, according to Steiner, an adept. "The 'Adepts' [1] are the Mahatmas or the Masters of the White Lodge [2] or the Masters of Wisdom and the Harmony of Sensations and Feelings." — Note in SPIRITUALISM, MADAME BLAVATSKY & THEOSOPHY (SteinerBooks, 2002), p. 288.

[1] See "Adepts".
[2] See "White Lodge".

main lesson - also see block teaching; class teachers; lesson books; Waldorf curriculum

At most Waldorf schools: the long class at the beginning of the day; other classes and activities are often keyed to it. The main lesson is, as its name indicates, the chief subject studied during that day. Usually, main lessons focus on one subject for a few weeks, then that subject is dropped and another is taken up. [See "Curriculum" and "Lesson Books".] "The arrangement in the Waldorf School is that the main lesson shall take place in the morning. The main lesson begins in winter at 8 or 8:15, in summer a little earlier. [1] The special characteristic of this main lesson is that it does away with the ordinary kind of timetable. [2] We have no timetable in the ordinary sense of the word, but one subject is taken throughout this first two hour period in the morning — with a break in it for younger children — and this subject is carried on for a space of four or six weeks and brought to a certain stage. [3] After that, another subject is taken. For children of higher classes, children of 11, 12, or 13 years old, what it comes to is that instead of having: 8 – 9 Religion, 9 – 10 Natural History, from 10 – 11 Arithmetic — that is, instead of being thrown from one thing to another — they have for example, in October four weeks of Arithmetic, then three weeks of Natural History, etc. [4]" — R. Steiner, THE SPIRITUAL GROUND OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1947), chapter 7, GA 305. 

After a main lesson block ends [5], the subject of that block (history, geography, etc.) is usually not taken up again for many months, perhaps not until a full year has passed. When the subject is finally renewed, it is studied at a somewhat higher level, although a certain amount of time must be spent reviewing material covered previously and, perhaps, forgotten in the interim. Overall, the pattern of main lessons is meant to follow a spiral pattern, emulating and perhaps enacting the upward movement — described by Steiner — of the soul climbing toward enlightenment.

[1] These were the times observed at the first Waldorf school, which was in Stuttgart, Germany. Other Waldorf schools may choose different starting times.
[2] That is, Waldorf schools organize their days differently than other schools do. One subject  (the "main lesson" subject) is studied for a few weeks, with other events during the day keyed to this subject. Then the subject is dropped and another subject is taken up.
[3] Often, main lessons last for 90 minutes, without a break, and a main lesson block may be as short as three weeks.
[4] Actually, at some Waldorf schools, various subjects are often studied at specified times of the day, especially in high school. Thus, while main lesson subjects change every few weeks, other subjects may be studied at specified times of the day for several months, more or less as in other schools.
[5] See the entry for "block teaching" in this encyclopedia.

Maitreya Buddha - also see avatars; Buddha

Successor to Buddha. In Anthroposophy, he is deemed to have been an avatar. [See "Avatars".]

Malayan race - also see degenerate races; Mongols; Venus

According to Steiner, the "Venus race": product of powers in/on the planet Venus. Steiner applied this description to Southern Asians: "[T]hese brown Malayans are Mongols who have emigrated, but who, even now, because the sun affects them differently, have habituated themselves to incorporate more light and warmth [1] ... They do not have it in their nature to assimilate as much warmth as they are now assimilating as Malayans. The consequence of this is that they start becoming useless human beings [2]; that they begin to become people whose human bodies disintegrate, human beings whose bodies atrophy. That is indeed the case with the Malayan population. They die from the sun. They die from Easternness ... [T]he Malays are already a dying race. They are dying off." — R. Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung in 1961), GA 349. [See "Races". and "Forbidden".]

[1] I.e., they have had to adapt to receiving more light and heat from the Sun. But, Steiner goes on to say, this adaptation has not been wholly successful.
[2] Steiner identified various peoples and races as evolutionary failures of various sorts. "Useless human beings" is one of the epithets he applied to such failures. [See "Races" and "Differences".]

male - also see father forces; sex; cf. mother forces; female

In Anthroposophical belief, female and male are significantly different spiritual conditions, although each individual has both female and male components. Steiner said that Waldorf teachers need to differentiate between the needs of their male and female students; the differences between male and female are far more than skin-deep.

"Men’s astral bodies [1] are less differentiated, less finely structured, coarser ... [Boys'] astral bodies do not absorb their egos [2] so strongly [as girls' do]. Their egos are more concealed, are not as effective [as girls'] ... [T]he ego of the boy is not absorbed by the astral body and yet lacks independence ... The boy has a certain love of withdrawal into himself." — R. Steiner, EDUCATION FOR ADOLESCENTS (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), pp. 75-76.

"[I]t is especially important for us to present to the boys a fine ideal, [a story about] a picturesque personality, be it a mythical character or a merely imaginative one ... Girls incline more toward the cosmic ... Boys [are more oriented to the Earth and] need to hear about character, about complete human beings. This is essential; we must differentiate the needs of girls and boys." — R. Steiner, ibid., pp. 82-83.

Steiner said this about the evolution of the male and female forms during an ancient period when proto-humans had animal-like bodies and group souls [3]: "[T]he bull body [4] had the special force to attract the female etheric body [5] and unite with it ... The male etheric bodies which crystallized a physical lion body out of themselves, had the power of fructifying the physical lion body itself [6], so that the procreation of humanity was especially cared for by the lion-like race. It was a kind of fructification from out of the spiritual, a non-sexual procreation. [7] The bull race, however...became more and more unfruitful. The result was that on the one side there was a humanity which was maintained by fructification, on the other side, another half which became more and more unfruitful. The one side became the female sex, the other the male. The modern female physical nature has in fact a male etheric body, whereas the etheric body of the man is female. The physical body of the woman has proceeded from the lion nature, whereas the physical bull-body is the ancestor of the male body."  — R. Steiner, "The Four Human Group Souls (Lion, Bull, Eagle, Man)" (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 107. [See "Four Group Souls".]

[1] According to Anthroposophical belief, the astral body is the second of three invisible bodies that a true human being comes to possess. [See "Incarnation".]
[2] The "ego" or "I" is the highest of the invisible bodies that a true human being comes to possess. [See "Incarnation" and "Ego".]
[3] These are souls shared by all members of a group such as a nation or race. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "group soul".]
[4] Steiner taught that among proto-humans at that time, there were bull people, lion people, and eagle people — proto-humans whose bodies were akin to these animals. The fourth group existing at that time consisted of "men," although these were not human beings as we are today. [See "Four Group Souls"; also see the entry for "man", below.]
[5] The etheric body is the first of the invisible bodies that a true human being comes to possess. [See "Incarnation".] Steiner taught that there are both male and female etheric bodies, and today males have female etheric bodies while females have male etheric bodies.
[6] I.e., lion people had lion-like physical bodies produced by their etheric bodies; these etheric bodies were able to "fructify" (essentially, impregnate) the physical lion-like bodies.
[7] This fructification involved the spiritual and physical parts of a single individual, not a union to two separate individuals.

Mammon - also see Ahriman; materialism

a) The devil of greed. The term is also used to denote excessive, immoral love of wealth.

b) In Anthroposophy: the evil god of hindrances, black powers, bacteria, and money. “Mammon is not only the god of money. He is much more the leader of all vile black powers. [1] And his hordes attack not only human souls, but also the physical bodies of humans in order to gnaw away at them and ruin them. People speak of bacteria a lot more today not because they know more about them, but because bacteria have taken on a very special form today. And in the future they [2] will get the upper hand in a terrifying way. When that black age [3] approaches, then fraternal war will rage in a gruesome way, and poor human bodies will waste away, terribly afflicted by diseases and plagues. The stigma of sin will be impressed on human bodies visible to everyone." — R. Steiner, ESOTERIC LESSONS 1904-1909 (Steiner Books, 2007), pp. 232-233. [See "War".] Usually, in Anthroposophy, the name "Mammon" applies to the evil god otherwise known as Ahriman. [See "Ahriman".]

[1] "Black," in this sense, is equivalent to "evil." [See "White-Black".]
[2] I.e., the bacteria.
[3] I.e., a future period of evil and calamity. [See, e.g., "All vs. All."]

man - also see bull; eagle; group soul; lion; cf. human beings; human stage of evolution

In Anthroposophy, this term applies not only to humanity at its present stage of evolution but to humanity at previous stages, and to one of the four group souls shared by humans at an early evolutionary stage. Modern humans of varying kinds still reflect the influences of those group souls, Steiner taught. "One calls these four group souls [1] by the names of the apocalyptic beasts [2]: Bull, Eagle, Lion, Man. The Man, however, was at another stage of evolution than the man of today. The names are taken from the organization of the group souls ... There were forms [i.e., bodies] existing which were especially adapted to receive the Lion egos, others the Bull egos, etc. That was in a very early age of earth evolution ... [W]hat is physical on earth shows us a fourfold picture. The one group especially develop[ed] the organs whose functions coincide more with those of the heart ... They were courageous [3] ... In others, the organs of digestion, of nourishment, of procreation, were especially developed. [4] In the third group, it was especially the organs of movement. [5] In the fourth group, these tendencies were equally shared — both the courageous, aggressive, and the tranquil  ... [T]hose in whom these things were held in equilibrium belonged to the group soul ‘Man.’ [6]” — R. Steiner, "The Four Human Group Souls (Lion, Bull, Eagle, Man)" (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 107. [See "Four Group Souls".] 

Note that in Anthroposophy "human" and "man" are not always synonyms. To be "human" means reaching a certain stage of evolution, higher than the animals of today but lower than the gods. [7] The gods themselves were, generally, human during one stage of their own evolution. Thus, while man is human now during Present Earth, the gods that we call Angels were human during Old Moon, the gods that we call Archangels were human during Old Sun, and so forth. [8]

[1] I.e., souls shared by all members of a species, nation, population, etc. [See the entry in this encyclopedia for "group soul".]

[2] I.e., beasts specified in the Book of Revelation.

[3] These were the proto-humans who shared the "lion" group soul.

[4] These shared the "bull" group soul.

[5] These shared the "eagle" group soul.

[6] Steiner taught that, generally, species of animals exemplify particular qualities or levels of development, whereas human beings (as microcosmic replicas of the cosmos, the macrocosm) embody all the qualities and characteristics that are spread out among the animals, as well as qualities that exceed the animals'.

[7] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "human stage of evolution".

[8] Old Moon was the third incarnation of the solar system, Old Sun was the second. Present Earth is the fourth. [See the entries in this encyclopedia for "incarnations of the solar system", "Old Moon", "Old Sun", and "Present Earth".]

Manas - see spirit self

Mani - also see Manichaeism; cf. Manu

Third-century (CE) Persian religious teacher, founder of Manichaeism. [See "Manichaeism".]


Manichaeism - also see dualism; Mani; cf. trichotomy

A gnostic, dualistic Persian religion“The only hope of understanding Manichaeism is to bring the light of Spiritual Science [1] to bear upon it. Oriental thought had already fallen into decadence but in the teachings of Mani [2] we find a note that is both familiar and full of significance. The Manichaeans strove to attain a living knowledge of the interplay between the spiritual and the material worlds. The aim of those who adhered to the teachings of Mani was to perceive the Spiritual in all things material. In the light itself they sought to find both wisdom and goodness. No cleft must divide Spirit from nature. The two must be realised as one. Later on, this conception came to be known by the name of dualism. Spirit and nature — once experienced as a living unity — were separated, nor could they be reunited. [3]” — R. Steiner, EUROPEAN SPIRITUAL LIFE IN THE 19TH CENTURY (Philosophisch-Anthroposophischer Verlag, 1933, translated by H. Collison), lecture 1, GA 325. [See "Manichaeism".]

[1] I.e., Anthroposophy.

[2] I.e., the Persian religious teacher who founded Manichaeism.

[3] Steiner's statement is potentially confusing. Manichaeism posits a distinct separation of the material and spiritual realms. Thus it is dualistic. In seeking to find the spiritual within the material ("no cleft must divide Spirit from nature"), Mani and his followers nonetheless deemed the two conditions or realms to be fundamentally separate, although the spiritual was deemed to dwell within — or to be approachable through — the physical. 


mantra, mantram - also see meditations in Anthroposophy; prayers; spiritual exercises; supplementary exercises

A component of meditation, often a repeated word or sound intended to focus and clear the mind. "In the Mysteries [1] there were leaders and guides who were not unlike our modern doctors of medicine ... Let us suppose a physician of this kind found that the person who had come to him for healing was too strongly attracted to [i.e., attached to] his physical body ... The physician would say to such a person: When the Moon is full, try going out for a walk in its light, when it is rising in the evening; and while you walk, repeat a certain mantram." — R. Steiner, MAN’S LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Health Research Books, 1960), pp. 73-74. [See "Power Words".]

Steiner gave this indication concerning the mantra "aum": "AUM. [2] One wards off bad influences when one says it in the right way; it connects man with the creating Godhead, the three Logoi. [3] The evil beings who want to tear men away from the Godhead can't stand it. [4] AUM must be spoken with the awareness:

"Primal Self [5] from which everything came
Primal Self to which everything returns:
Primal Self that lives in me
Towards you I strive.
Peace-peace-peace = AUM.

"A is atma, U is buddhi, M is the wisdom that directs the higher self to AUM. [6]" — R. Steiner, FROM THE CONTENTS OF ESOTERIC CLASSES (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 266.

[1] I.e., traditions and centers of occult knowledge.

[2] This mantra, often rendered as "om," is "the most sacred syllable in Hinduism ... It is often regarded as the bija (seed) of all mantras, containing, as it does, all origination and dissolution." — THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF WORLD RELIGIONS (Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 713.

[3] See "God" and "Logos".

[4] See "Evil Ones".

[5] This may be taken as a reference to the Godhead and/or to the "highest I." [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]

[6] In Anthroposophy, atma is spirit man and buddhi is life spirit. [See "What We're Made Of."] 


Manu(s) - also see Atlantis; Flood; leader; Master; Noah; cf. Adam

a) In Indian/Hindu mythology, the first man, the first king, the author of the Laws of Manu, and the sole survivor of the Great Flood.

b) According to Anthroposophical belief: the term "Manu" applies specifically to Noah, a high initiate from Atlantis. [1] Here is how a Waldorf educator describes the story of Noah and the Flood: "Many people, and also giants, now lived on the earth but men had become wicked ... The story refers to the sinking of the continent of Atlantis ... Noah, or Manu, as he is known elsewhere, was the leader of the sun-oracle of Atlantis [2] ... He was the most advanced leader and he was obviously still in touch with the creators of the Earth, the Elohim or Spirits of Form [3] ... Noah gathered together people sufficiently mature [4] and, knowing that the catastrophe was coming, emigrated to the center of Asia ... Here he set up a cultural or mystery center [5] from which the early Post-Atlantis civilizations were inspired." — R. Wilkinson, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT STORIES (Henry Goulden, 1984), pp. 20-21. [See "Old Testament".]

"Manu" may be taken as a name but also as a title: the Manu. "Then came the great Flood. The less advanced Atlanteans [6] went from West to East, settling in the lands of Europe. The most advanced of all went towards Asia and founded in Central Asia the great colony of the Manu. The Manu was the lofty Being who was the leader of this handful of the most advanced Atlanteans who went with him to Central Asia and from there called the different cultures to life. [7]  It must here be borne in mind that in Asia and Africa, as the result of earlier and later migrations, and through other peoples who were descendants of still earlier epochs, the countries were inhabited, and these pupils of the Manu went out in various directions in order to spread new strains of culture. The first mission went from Central Asia to India. The Manu sent his first pupils to India; he himself, for certain reasons, withdrew into the background." — R. Steiner, "A Chapter of Occult History" (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY, Vol. 14, No. 1, Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1969), GA 108.

c) In Theosophy and Anthroposophy, the term "Manu" may also be used as a designation for various spiritual masters who have led humanity toward spiritual wisdom. Known also as "the Masters of Wisdom," they have included both superhuman and human initiates. "The Masters — the 'Manus' — were the 'leaders of humanity,' 'superhuman individuals' [8] of the 'White Lodge' [9], who brought wisdom to human beings from the pre-earthly realms in the preceding epochs of human evolution [10]. In the fifth post-atlantean epoch, however [11], such leaders would be drawn from the ranks of humanity itself." — C. Bamford, introduction to ESOTERIC LESSONS 1904-1909 (SteinerBooks, 2007), pp. xxiv-xxv. 

[1] See "Atlantis".
[2] I.e., the Atlantean center of occult knowledge associated with the Sun.
[3] In Anthroposophical belief, these gods — who stand four levels higher than mankind — played a major role in forming our physical planet, the Earth. They were not, however, the creators of the universe. [See "Origins".]
[4] I.e., sufficiently advanced, sufficiently evolved.
[5] A "mystery center" is much like an oracle considered as a location — it is a place were occult knowledge explaining spiritual mysteries is developed and maintained.
[6] I.e., people of Atlantis.
[7] This, according to Steiner, was the beginning of history as we know it. The chief cultures created in Post-Atlantean times gave their names, in Anthroposophical accounts, to human evolution following the destruction of Atlantis. These stages are usually referred to as cultural epochs or ages. [See the entry for "cultural epochs" in this encyclopedia.]
[8] See "Supermen".
[9] See "White Lodge".
[10] See "evolution" and "evolution of consciousness"", in this encyclopedia.
[11] I.e., the present historical period.

manvantaras - see conditions of consciousness

Mars - also see Buddha; Mars epochs; Mars humans; Mars organ; Mars period; Mars-Mercury; Mongolian race; planets

a) The fourth planet from the Sun.

According to Steiner, the planet Mars that we see today is an improved remnant of the Old Moon phase of evolution: "Mars is a reincarnation of Old Moon on a higher level." — R. Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969), p. 329. [See "Planets".] Mars is also the center for the abnormal spirits responsible for the “Mongolian race”: “[I]n the Mongolian race we find the Mars-race." — R. Steiner, THE MISSION OF FOLK-SOULS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1929), lecture 6, GA 121. [See "Races".]

Steiner taught that the planet Mars is the transfer location for Buddha — it is where Buddha went in order to undergo a crucifixion comparable to Christ's on Earth. "Buddha became a Redeemer and Saviour for Mars as Christ Jesus had become for the Earth. The Buddha had been prepared for this by his teaching of Nirvana, lack of satisfaction with earthly existence, liberation from physical incarnation. This teaching had been prepared in a sphere outside the Earth but with the Earth's goal in view. [1] If we can look into the soul of the Buddha and grasp the import of the Sermon at Benares [2] we shall witness the preparation of activity that was not to be confined to the Earth. And then we shall realise how infinitely wise was the contract between Christian Rosenkreutz [3] and the Buddha, as the result of which, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Buddha relinquished his activity on the Earth through which he would have been able, from the spiritual world, to influence human souls between birth and death, in order henceforward to work in the Mars sphere for souls between death and rebirth. [4]” — R. Steiner, BETWEEN DEATH AND REBIRTH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1975), lecture 5, GA 141. [See "Mars".] Despite having been "crucified" on Mars, Buddha is alive there, having defeated death there. "[T]he Buddha lives — quite really — on Mars." — R. Steiner, MAN IN THE LIGHT OF OCCULTISM, THEOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 10, GA 137.

Steiner also said that Mars is the source of Copernican maya, the mistaken idea that planets orbit the Sun. “Mars used to radiate different forces. The Mars culture that human beings experience between death and a new birth [5] went through a great crisis in the earth’s fifteenth and sixteenth centuries ... When these conditions came into force on Mars, the natural consequence would have been for Mars to continue sending down to earth human beings who brought Copernican ideas with them, which are really only maya. [6] What we are seeing, then, is the decline of the Mars culture. Previously Mars had sent forth good forces. But now Mars sent forth more and more forces that would have led us deeper and deeper into maya. The achievements inspired by Mars at that time [7] were ingenious and clever, but they were maya all the same.” [See "Mars" and "Higher Worlds".]


This is a representation of the Mars sphere, considered as a spiritual rather than a physical domain. [R.R. impressionistic sketch, 2010.] Steiner taught that the spheres of the planets may be defined in terms of physical space, but essentially they are spiritual conditions existing under the aegis of planetary gods.

b) In Greek/Roman mythology: Mars is the god of war, Ares. Steiner endorsed this view, indicating that Mars — like most other gods described in myths and legends — actually exists; or, at the least, identifying Mars as the God of War makes sense. Ancient seers correctly discerned the warlike nature of Mars and its inhabitants, Steiner said. "[T]he men of Mars [8] have quite an exceptional lust for war. The Greeks acted on a true knowledge when they made Mars the God of War. One is indeed filled with wonder and amazement when one finds in the world of legend these echoes of the truth. Unforgettable is the impression one receives when, having discovered that terrible wars took place there, one finds that this occult knowledge is present in the names that were given out of the knowledge contained in the ancient Mysteries. [9]" — R. Steiner, MAN IN THE LIGHT OF OCCULTISM, THEOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 10, GA 137.

[1] In Anthroposophy, the "sphere" of a planet is the portion of the solar system bounded by that planet's orbit. The god(s) of that planet exercise authority within that sphere. (Spheres are nested. The sphere of a planet far from the Sun is larger than, and encompasses, the spheres of planets closer to the Sun.) Here Steiner says that Buddha's teachings about nirvana originated in a sphere outside the Earth's. (Steiner sometimes taught that the planets do orbit the Sun, but he sometimes taught that they do not. [See "Deception".])

[2] This was Buddha's first sermon, his initial revelation of enlightenment.

[3] The putative founder of Rosicrucianism, who almost certainly never existed. [See "Rosy Cross".] Steiner taught that Buddha was a student of Rosenkreutz's and he went to Mars at Rosenkreutz's behest.

[4] Steiner taught that in sleep and following death we rise through the planetary spheres. [See "Higher Worlds".] By positioning himself in the Mars sphere, Buddha is able to affect human souls following death — that is, during the interim between one Earthly incarnation and the next.

[5] See the previous note. The "Mars culture" is the spiritual influence of Mars and Buddha, especially as we experience it between Earthly incarnations.

[6] The chief Copernican idea, which Steiner called "maya" or illusion, is that the planets — including Earth — orbit the Sun. Steiner often, but not always, said that the planets do not orbit the Sun. This complicates (and potentially invalidates) his teachings about planetary spheres, which are defined by planetary orbits. [For Steiner's contradictory indications about orbits, see "Deception".]

[7] I.e., the illusory teachings of Copernicus, for example.

[8] I.e., inhabitants of Mars. (E.g., "The men of Mars tend to settle permanently on a certain spot. Men on the Earth are cosmopolitanly inclined; Mars men are wedded to the soil, there are very few cosmopolitans among them. And there is, or rather was, on Mars constant war and strife, due to the astral bodies that are very strong and not tempered and made gentle by an I." — R. Steiner, MAN IN THE LIGHT OF OCCULTISM, THEOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 10, GA 137.) Mars "men" are not, strictly speaking, humans; they are not, according to the usual understanding of the term, "men."

[9] I.e., ancient knowledge of spiritual mysteries. [See the entries in this encyclopedia for "mystery" and "mystery knowledge".]

Mars epochs - also see epochs; Mars; Mars period

According to Steiner: Periods in Earth history presided over by Samuel, the archangel of Mars. One began around 1120 CE and ended around 1470 CE. It thus overlapped the end of the Greco-Roman cultural epoch and the beginning of the Anglo-Germanic cultural epoch. [1] "[T]he voyages of discovery [2] [were] a kind of reflection upon earth of what was taking place in the spiritual worlds. The explorers were filled with a courage inspired by Michael [3] while yet belonging to a Mars epoch of evolution. Samael, the Spirit of Mars, worked in their lower impulses and instincts... [4]" — I. Wegman, "On the Work of the Archangel Michael", ANTHROPOSOPHY, A Quarterly Review of Spiritual Science, No. 3.  Michaelmas 1930,  Vol. 5. Note that, according to Steiner, Archangels oversee evolutionary periods on a rotating basis. Thus, Samuel may preside during various periods of Earthly history: These would all be deemed, to use Wegman's terminology, "Mars epochs."

(Note that Wegman's use of the term "epoch" does not denote either great epochs or cultural epochs, and thus should be considered incorrect. The "Mars epoch" she mentions was, from an Anthroposophical perspective, one of the approximately 350-year-long periods presided over by various Time Archangels. [5] In a sense, it was one of the seven subdivisions of the Anglo-Germanic cultural epoch, although it began before the opening of the Anglo-Germanic cultural epoch.) 

[1] See the entry for "cultural epochs" in this encyclopedia. In Anthroposophical texts, the Greco-Roman cultural epoch is usually said to have ended in 1413 CE. The Anglo-Germanic cultural epoch, in which we still live, began then. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]

[2] I.e., exploratory expeditions undertaken by Europeans.

[3] I.e., the Archangel of the Sun, a warrior god who battles the arch-demon Ahriman. [See "Michael" and "Ahriman".]

[4] I.e., Michael worked in the higher capacities of the explorers while Samuel worked in their lower capacities.

[5] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Time Archangels".

Mars humans - also see Jupiter humans; Mars; Mercury race; Moon humans; planetary humans; Saturn humans; Sun humans; Venus humans; Vulcan humans

In Anthroposophy: humans who migrated to Mars and returned, or sometimes their offspring, or sometimes people under the particular sway of Mars. [See "Mars".] “You will remember the passage in the book OCCULT SCIENCE dealing with the time when the human souls ascended to the planets and afterwards descended once more to earth-existence. I spoke of how the Mars-men, the Jupiter-men and the others descended again to earth." — R. Steiner, "Picture of Earth-Evolution in the Future" (THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1960), GA 204. [See "Planets", "Planetary Humans", and "Everything".] Mars humans usually should be differentiated from "men of Mars" or Mars men. [See the references of "men of Mars" in the entry for "Mars", above.]

Mars-Mercury - also see conditions of consciousness; Mars; Mercury; Present Earth

In some esoteric teachings: an occult designation for the solar system's (or humanity's) present condition. In Anthroposophy, this is Present Earth or our current condition of consciousness. [1] Mars is paramount during the first half; Mercury during the second. "Mars has given iron to the Earth and the Mercury influence manifests on the Earth in such a way that it makes the human soul more and more free, more and more independent. In occultism [2] therefore, we speak of the Mars half of Earth evolution [3] and of the Mercury half ... Earth evolution is spoken of as 'Mars-Mercury.' Used in this connection the names do not designate the planets we know today but the influences at work during the first and second halves of Earth evolution." — R. Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), p. 80. [See "The Planets".]

[1] See "Present Earth" and the entry for "condition of consciousness" in this encyclopedia.
[2] See "Occultism".
[3] I.e., Present Earth.


Mars organ - also see Jupiter organ; Mars; organs of clairvoyance; planetary organs; Saturn organ 

According to Steiner, this is a spiritual organ developed through the influence of Mars. [See "Mars".] Steiner taught that we develop various spirit-endowed "organs" on our passage through the higher worlds. [See "Planetary Humans" and "Higher Worlds".] "In the same way that in earthly life we have head, heart, limbs...after [death] we have organs which we must attribute to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. [paragraph break] These are then our inner organs, just as heart, pineal gland, kidneys, are on Earth. [1] All this has gone through a metamorphosis into the spiritual and these new organs, not fully formed when first we leave the soul-world and enter the world of spirit [2], now have to be gradually developed. For this purpose we do not describe one circle only [3] in the Sun-existence, as in our Moon-existence, but three. [4] In the first circle the spiritual Mars organ is developed; in the second, the Jupiter organ, and the Saturn organ in the last circle." — R. Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 10, GA 227.

[1] I.e., we rely on these organs during our lives between Earthly incarnations.
[2] I.e., when we rise from the soul world to the spirit world, which is higher. [See "Higher Worlds"; also see the entries in this encyclopedia for "soul world" and "spirit world(s)".]
[3] I.e., just one phase, one period during our existence under the aegis of the Sun.
[4] Steiner taught that when we rise into the higher (spiritual) worlds, we pass through the "spheres" of various "planets" (including the Sun and the Moon). In Anthroposophy, the "sphere" of a planet is the portion of the solar system bounded by that planet's orbit. The god(s) of that planet exercise authority within that sphere. Here Steiner says that our "Moon-existence" consists of just one phase whereas our "Sun-existence" has three phases, during which we develop three spiritual "organs."

Mars period - also see death; Mars; Mars epoch; planetary spheres; Samael; sleep

a) In Anthroposophy, the period one spends in the sphere of Mars while asleep or after death. Steiner told of our rise through various planetary spheres followed by our subsequent descent through them. "Throughout this period of the time between death and a new birth, we live among spiritual beings. [1] And then we begin to travel through the starry heavens on our way back to Earth [2] ... [W]e pass through the spheres of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars [etc.]...." — R. Steiner, PLANETARY SPHERES AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON MANS LIFE ON EARTH AND IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 4, GA 218.

b) In Anthroposophy, in a different sense: a period of time presided over by Samael (or Samuel), the Archangel of Mars. [See the entry for "Mars epoch", above.] Thus Samael was Time Archangel [4] from approximately 1120 AD to approximately 1470 AD, a 350-year period that overlapped the end of the Greco-Roman Epoch (approx. 747 BC - 1413 AD) and the beginning of the Anglo-Germanic Epoch (1413 AD - 3573 AD). "Samael , the Archangel of Mars, was nearing the end of his quarrelsome rule as Time Archangel when the [Anglo-Germanic] age began ... It was at this time that the cosmic intelligence was carried from the heart to the head; from being heart-centred, human beings became increasingly centred in their heads. [3]" — R. Seddon, THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORESEEN BY RUDOLF STEINER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2002), p. 17.

[1] I.e., gods — particularly gods who preside over various planetary spheres. [See "Planetary Spirits" and "Higher Worlds".]

[2] We rise through the planetary spheres when, after death, we ascend to the higher worlds. Then we descend through them again as we move toward a new awakening or birth on Earth. In Anthroposophy, the "sphere" of a planet is the portion of the solar system bounded by that planet's orbit. The god(s) of that planet exercise authority within that sphere.

[3] I.e., wisdom accessible to humanity (originating with the gods) no longer was to be found primarily in the heart but in the head. This was a process of alienation, as humanity came to rely on intellect rather than feelings, which are truer. (The heart, in Anthroposophy, is spiritually higher than the head. Steiner taught that no true thinking occurs in the head. [See "Steiner's Specific" and "Thinking".]) This was a necessary evolutionary step, Steiner taught, but it removed us farther from the spirit realm.

[4] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Time Archangels".

Martinmas - see festivals; St. Martin's

Maryon, Edith (1872-1924) - also see Goetheanum; Representative of Humanity

A sculptress and devout Anthroposophist, Maryon did most (or, probably, all) of the work on the statue of Christ, Ahriman, and Lucifer, designed by Steiner; it stands in the Anthroposophical headquarters, the Goetheanum. [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]

Masonry - see Freemasonry

masters (Masters) - also see Bodhisattvas; guru; initiate; leaders; lodges

In Anthroposophical belief: spiritual guides, gurus, high initiates. "These elevated beings have already passed along the path that the rest of humankind has yet to travel. They act a the great 'teachers of wisdom and the harmony of human feelings.'" — R. Steiner, quoted by R. McDermott in THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER (Lindisfarne Books, Anthroposophic Press, 2009), p. 86. Anthroposophists generally consider Steiner himself to be one of the great masters.

Masters can assist us in surprising ways. "When man is in a sleeping condition, any being having the power to send out thoughts [1], can gain an influence over him. He can therefore be influenced by higher individualities, such as those we call Masters. They can send thoughts into the etheric body [2] of the sleeper. Someone can therefore receive into his etheric body pure and lofty thoughts when the Masters consciously wish to make this their concern ... Thus in the morning there are to be found in the etheric body, firstly thoughts which have approached it from the environment [3] and secondly thoughts also which the Masters or other individualities have implanted into it." — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 20, GA 93a.

The masters have evolved to a higher level than the rest of us. “In the Seventh Round [4] everyone will have reached the stage at which our Masters stand today. Then our ego [5] will be the bearer of all earthly experiences. To begin with this will be concentrated in the Lodge of the Masters. [6] The higher ego [7] then will draw itself together, become atomic and form the atoms [or seeds] of (future) Jupiter. [8]” — R. Steiner, ibid., lecture 25. [See "The White Lodge".]

In Theosophy and Anthroposophy, masters (or Masters) are also referred to as "Manus" or, more narrowly, as Masters of Wisdom. Most have been superhuman, but beginning in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, they have included humans [9]. In addition to Steiner, masters revered by Anthroposophists include Jesus/Zoroaster [10] and Christian Rosenkreutz [11].

For more on initiates and gurus, see "Inside Scoop" and "Guru".

[1] I.e., projecting thoughts, implanting them in others. Some mystics associate this power with remote viewing, extrasensory perception, or mental telepathy.
[2] The etheric body is the lowest of the three invisible bodies that a true human being comes to possess, according to Steiner. [See "Incarnation".] 
[3] I.e., thoughts carried within the spiritual environment in which we all exist. (Steiner spoke of "living thoughts" that are essentially spirits; they come to us from the higher worlds of the gods, which are coextensive with, but fundamentally different from, the physical world. Living thoughts are carried in the "cosmic ether," Steiner said. [See "Thinking".])
[4] I.e., the culminating condition of life in the Present Earth condition of consciousness. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]
[5] See "Ego".
[6] A "lodge," in this sense, is a gathering place (generally not on the physical plane) where masters meet and perform their occult functions. [See, e.g., "The White Lodge" and the entry for "lodges" in this encyclopedia.]
[7] I.e., the part of the ego that remains in the spirit realm while the rest of the human being is incarnate on the physical plane.
[8] I.e., the higher ego will become concentrated, becoming as it were the seed from which the next great stage of evolution, Future Jupiter, will be produced. [See "Future Stages".] (The "atoms" Steiner speaks of here are not the atoms studied in modern physics; Steiner generally denied the reality of the latter. [See "Atoms".])
[9] See "Manu(s)" in this encyclopedia.
[10] See the entries for "Chirst", "Jesus", and "Zarathustra", in this encyclopedia.
[11] See "Rosy Cross".


Masters of Wisdom (Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of Feelings) - also see Bodhisattvas; Esoteric School; Manu(s); masters (Masters)

In Anthroposophical teachings, these are Manus or Masters who have acquired transcendent spiritual knowledge. In effect, they are perfected Anthroposophists (who may have long predated Anthroposophy as such), initiates who have attained true gnosis. [See "Gnosis".] Some of these Masters may arise from the ranks of humans, but others have arisen from the ranks of spirits who are more advanced than humans: in essence, gods. (Steiner taught that the gods evolve much as we do, and indeed they are often passed through their own "human" stage before evolving higher.)

Such masters direct attention toward us, conveying lessons to assist us in our own evolution. Steiner attributed the founding of the Esoteric School to these masters, and he told students at the school the following: "As we know, it's our duty at the beginning of each esoteric lesson to address the Spirit, the regent of the day who helps to direct the earth in world evolution ... After we've meditated on the verses or have done the other things that the masters of wisdom and of the harmony of feelings have given us for our training, we should remain absolutely quiet for awhile ... Then one has a condition in which clairvoyance can begin." — R. Steiner, FROM THE CONTENTS OF ESOTERIC CLASSES (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), 8/23/1911, GA 266. For Steiner's followers, the messages from the Masters are transmitted principally through Steiner himself.

Sometimes, the title "Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of Feelings" (or a variant) is applied to seven specific spiritual initiates. "While the ancient Mysteries were disappearing, this new kind of connection with the spiritual world was born. In this new Mystery stream a new kind of Initiates arose, again with seven leading Initiates, sometimes referred to as 'Masters of Wisdom and of Harmony of Feelings' or simply as the 'Masters.'" — E. Katz, "The Mission of Rudolf Steiner" (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive, 2004). These Masters are said to include Christian Rosenkreutz and "Master Jesus."

materialism - also see automatons; brain; intellect; mathematism; matter; science; thinking; world conceptions

a) Excessive interest in material possessions.

b) The philosophical belief that nothing exists except matter and the movements of matter.

c) In Anthroposophy: a state of condensed (or over-condensed) spirit; also "materialistic thinking" — reliance on logic and the physical organ called the brain. [See "Materialism U."] Nothing good or ultimately true can come from such thinking, Steiner said. “The brain is an instrument for purely intellectual apprehension. Intellectualism and materialistic thinking are one and the same, for all the thinking that goes on in science, in theology, in the sphere of modern Christian consciousness — all of it is the product of the human brain alone, is materialistic. [1] This manifests itself, on the one hand, in the empty formalism of belief; on the other, in Bolshevism [2] ... [T]he materialistic brain represents a process of decay: materialistic thinking unfolds only through processes of destruction, death-processes, which are taking place in the brain.” — R. Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), pp. 147-148. [See "Steiner's Specific".]

d) One of the twelve "justified" or defended world conceptions, according to Steiner. "There are people so constituted that it is not possible for them to find the way to the Sprit, and to give them any proof of the Spirit will always be hard. They stick to something they know about, in accordance with their nature. Let us say they stick at something that makes the crudest kind of impression on them — Materialism. We need not regard as foolish the arguments they advance as a defence or proof of Materialism, for an immense amount of ingenious writing has been devoted to the subject, and it holds good in the first place for material life, for the material world and its laws. [3]" — R. Steiner, HUMAN AND COSMIC THOUGHT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1991), p. 30. Steiner associated materialism with the astrological sign Cancer. [See "Philosophy".]


 materialism — Cancer   
 sensationalism — Leo 
 phenomenalism — Virgo 
 realism — Libra 
 dynamism — Scorpio  
 mathematism — Gemini 
 rationalism — Taurus 
 idealism — Aries 
 psychism — Pisces 
 pneumatism — Aquarius 
 monadism — Sagittarius 
 spiritism — Capricorn 

These are the twelve world conceptions enumerated by Steiner, and the constellations under whose power he said they stand. Materialism exists under the aegis of the constellation Cancer.

[1] All of these spheres are corrupted to the degree that they rely on intellect and the brain, Steiner taught. Truth, in all these areas, comes from other sources, he said — ultimately, truth comes from clairvoyance. True cognition, Steiner said, is clairvoyance and the reception of "living thoughts" from the gods. [See "Thinking".] The "cognition" produced by the brain is false: "[T]he brain and nerve system have nothing at all to do with actual cognition." — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE  (SteinerBooks, 1996), p. 60. Even "Christian consciousness" is damaged by the material brain — it then becomes "modern," a term with deeply negative connotations for Steiner and his followers.

[2] Sic: emphasis by Steiner.

[3] Steiner taught that intellect and natural science can generally describe the physical realm well enough, but they are wholly inadequate for probing higher levels of existence.

material occultism - see mechanical occultism

mathematics - also see clairvoyance; geometry; logic; mathematism; numerology

Like other subjects, mathematics as taught at Waldorf schools is often infused with religious (occult, Anthroposophical) feeling and intent. "It is possible to introduce a religious element into every subject, even into math lessons. Anyone who has some knowledge of Waldorf teaching will know that this statement is true. A Christian element [1] pervades every subject, even mathematics. This fundamental religious current flows through all of [Waldorf] education." — R. Steiner, THE CHILD's CHANGING CONSCIOUSNESS AS THE BASIS OF PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 94. [See, e.g., "Schools as Churches".] 

Steiner placed special importance on geometry with its “symmetrical drawing...which stimulates inner perception. [2]” — R. Steiner, quoted in RUDOLF STEINER ON EDUCATION (Hawthorn Press, 1993), p. 97. Waldorf belief holds that geometry can convince children to believe in the supersensible realm, and indeed it fosters clairvoyance. Basic geometric concepts awaken clairvoyant abilities.” — R. Steiner, THE FOURTH DIMENSION: Sacred Geometry, Alchemy, and Mathematics (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 92. Steiner said he experienced the mystical power of geometry in his own life: “Through his geometry book, that assistant teacher at Neudörf provided me with a confirmation of the spiritual world I needed then.” — R. Steiner, AUTOBIOGRAPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 2006), p. 10. [See "Mystic Math" and "Basement".]

A form of numerology runs through the Waldorf approach to numbers. In Anthroposophical belief, numbers have mystical significance; whether these beliefs are openly revealed during Waldorf math classes depends on the choices made by individual teachers. Steiner made statements such as the following about numbers: "Three is the number of the Divinity revealing itself ... Four is the sign of the cosmos or of creation ... Five is the number of evil ... Seven is the number of perfection." — R. Steiner, OCCULT SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (Anthroposophic Press, 1972), pp. 34-44. [See "Magic Numbers".]

[1] Steiner sometimes differentiated between Anthroposophy (which he termed a "science") and Christianity (a religion), but sometimes he conflated these terms. The "Christianity" in Waldorf education is Anthroposophy, which honors Christ the Sun God. [See "Sun God", "Was He Christian?", and "Waldorf Worship".]

[2] I.e., clairvoyance.

mathematism - also see materialism; mathematics; philosophy; world conceptions

One of the twelve justified or defended world conceptions, according to Steiner: accepting as true only those things that can be dealt with mathematically. "The crudest kind of materialism [1]...will consist in this, that people carry to an extreme the saying...that in the individual sciences there is only so much real science as there is mathematics ... [A]nyone who raises himself above...crude materialism [2] will become a mathematical thinker, and will recognize as valid only whatever can be treated mathematically. [3] From this results a conception of the universe that really admits nothing beyond mathematical formulae. This may be called Mathematism.” — R. Steiner, HUMAN AND COSMIC THOUGHT (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1991), pp. 32-33. Steiner associated materialism with Gemini. [See "Philosophy".]

[1] See the entry for "materialism", above.

[2] I.e., anyone who — while still essentially a materialist — rises to more sophisticated thinking than crude materialism. (Spiritual people, Steiner taught, do not embrace mathematism; they rise far higher.)

[2] In effect, mathematism is a higher form of materialsm, Steiner says here. Mathematics may lead us in the direction of spiritual realities [see the entry for "mathematics", above], but remaining immured in mathematics and only mathematics would leave us far short of true comprehension of spiritual realities.

matter - also see materialism; maya; nature; physical plane; physical world

a) Physical substance, empirically real.

b) In Anthroposophy: condensed or crystalized spirit, and/or illusory substance — the lowest form of existence, the farthest removed from the spirit realm. During our Present Earth phase of evolution [1], we have sunk down into matter. Steiner said the following about an early stage of Earthly life: “With the increasing densification of terrestrial matter, the spiritual being gradually lost the ability to mold this matter [2] ... A new manner of reproduction arose ... While before there had been no organs of reproduction, these now made their appearance ... With this an important stage in the development of mankind is reached. The immediate influence of the soul has been withdrawn from the physical body. [3] The latter is totally given over to the physical and chemical world of matter." — R. Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), chapter 8, GA 11. [See "Early Earth".] 

[1] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "Present Earth".
[2] Steiner taught that matter has become more dense than it was in previous stages of cosmic evolution. Purely spiritual beings cannot mold or work with this extremely dense matter, so a new form of reproduction became necessary.
[3] I.e., the soul no longer had immediate, close contact and control over the physical body, which had sunk far into material existence.

maya, illusion - also see fantasy; materialism; physical world; veil; cf. reality; truth

A concept from Hinduism: illusion, specifically the illusory nature of the phenomenal (natural or physical) world; also, the gods’ powers causing such illusion. Steiner adopted the concept of maya. ◊ “I must emphasize this again and again, that the saying ‘the world is Maya’ is so vitally important." — R. SteinerTHE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), p. 64. ◊ The greatest liar, the author of so many illusions that await us in the world of matter, is the arch-demon Ahriman. “Ahriman [1] infused into human observation something like a dark smoke cloud that prevents penetration to the spiritual. [2] Through Ahriman's agency man is enmeshed in lies, in maya, in illusion.“ — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1973), lecture 12, GA 112. [See "Neutered Nature".]

[1] See "Ahriman".
[2] I.e., Ahriman clouded our vision, preventing us from directly observing spiritual realities.

Maypole dance - also see festivals; pagan

Originally a pagan fertility rite — the dancers circle an enormous phallus. An modified form, Maypole dancing is often included in Waldorf spring festivals and other celebratory/ritual occasions. It is then presented as a celebration of renewed life forces, a thanksgiving for the return of the forces of springtime. [See, e.g., "Failure".] Such colorful events often make for effective public relations, charming parents and attracting new families to the schools. The charm may fade when the esoteric meanings of the events are discovered. (At one level, a Waldorf Maypole dance may be seen as an enactment of the swirling interplay of cosmic gender forces. In Waldorf belief, male and female are distinctly different spiritual conditions [1], although each soul passes through both conditions in the course of reincarnation. [2] A person incarnating as male in one life will incarnate as female in the next, and this alternating pattern will persist through many incarnations.) Virtually every activity at a Waldorf school is ultimately an esoteric Anthroposophical action of some type.


Maypole dance at a Waldorf school

[see March, 2012 and May, 2011].

[1] See, e.g., "Gender" and the entries in this encyclopedia for "female" and "male".

[2] Reincarnation and its allied concept, karma, are central Anthroposophical doctrines. [See "Reincarnation" and "Karma".]

McDermott, Robert A. (b. 1939)

An American Anthroposophist who has held high positions at the New York Center for Anthroposophy, the Rudolf Steiner Institute, and Rudolf Steiner College. His publications include THE ESSENTIAL STEINER, THE NEW ESSENTIAL STEINER, and STEINER AND ANTHROPOSOPHY.

mechanical occultism - also see America; American Age; English people; eugenic occultism; hygienic occultism; occultism

A form of occultism (possession and use of secret knowledge) that will produce machines that operate in accordance with subtle, semi-metaphysical principles rather than through the use of basic physical, cause-and-effect reactions. So, for instance, machines may be created that function in response to sympathetic vibrations rather than through the burning of dead matter (coal, oil, and so forth). Secret societies consisting of British, American, and other representatives of the English-speaking world will evince a particular capacity for developing such machines. "Every knowledgeable member of these secret circles is aware that solely by means of certain capacities which are still latent in man but are still evolving, and with the help of the law of harmonious vibrations, machines and mechanical constructions can be set in motion ... The capacity to set motors in motion according to the law or interacting vibrations we develop on a considerable scale among the English-speaking peoples." — R. Steiner, quoted by G. Unger, "On Mechanical Occultism" (Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib, downloaded 5/30/2020).

Steiner also referred to this form of occultism as "material occultism" and "mechanistic occultism." The powers developed under these headings will alleviate much human toil, but they will also become tools for political oppression. "By means of [material occultism]...certain social forms at present basic within the industrial system shall be set up on an entirely different foundation ... These things are at present in process of development [within secret centers] ... If what I am now discussing with you under the name of mechanistic occultism enters into the field of practical action, which is the ideal of those secret centers, it will be possible to accomplish the work not only of 500,000,000 or 600,000,000 but of 1,080,000,000 persons. The possibility will thus come about of rendering unnecessary nine-tenths of the work of individuals within the regions of the English-speaking peoples. Mechanistic occultism will not only render it possible to do without nine-tenths of the labor still performed at present by human hands, but will give the possibility also of paralyzing every uprising attempted by the then dissatisfied masses of humanity." — R. Steiner, THE CHALLENGE OF THE TIMES (Anthroposophic Press, 1941), pp. 92-94.

mechanization - also see Ahriman; America; automatons; machines; spider beings; technology

The use of machinery, or the process of automating various activities. According to Steiner, mechanization is encouraged by the arch-demon Ahriman [1], and it is especially characteristic of Americans. [See "America" and "Steiner Static".] Mechanization is one of great temptations of our cultural epoch, Steiner taught. "Mankind now faces two paths: One of these leads through the mechanization of the spirit. [2] In more recent times, the spirit has become very mechanical, particularly in regard to the abstract laws of Nature, which have also been applied to social life, as ruling laws. Mechanization of the spirit — vegetalization of the soul! Vegetals [sic] sleep [3] — and the human soul also tends to sleep ... Let us now turn our gaze to the East. There we can see that the animalization of the bodies [4] is coming up in a very strong measure. Just as the Americanization of the spirit [5] represents a mechanization of spiritual life, so the Bolshevism which tends to spread out in the East represents an animalization of the bodies ... At the present time, humanity has therefore the choice of advancing in a direction where it can find, on the one hand, the mechanization of the spirit, the vegetalization of the souls and the animalization of the bodies [6], or else it may, on the other hand, seek the path leading to an AWAKENING OF THE SPIRIT. [7]" — R. Steiner, "The Crossing of the Threshold and the Social Organism" (ANTHROPOSOPHICAL NEWS SHEET, No. 5-6, General Anthroposophical Society, 1940), GA 193.

[1] See "Ahriman".
[2] I.e., one path open to us is to further damage our souls by increasing our reliance on mechanization. (Such mechanization is occurring especially in America, according to Steiner. A mechanized soul or spirit is significantly damaged.) The other path is the spiritual/Anthroposophic path, Steiner indicated.
[3] Shifting terms, Steiner speaks of turning our souls not into machines but vegetables. Both images carry the same meaning: He is warning of damaging our souls by separating them from spirituality, putting them to sleep as either machines or vegetables.
[4] Steiner here refers to downward evolution, in which our bodies become more animal-like. He sees this occurring in "the East," especially Russia, where Bolshevism (Communism) had gained power.
[5] I.e., the baleful spiritual effects of American materialism and mechanization. (Mechanization, vegetalization, and Americanization of souls are all essentially the same phenomenon, according to Steiner's account.)
[6] The "first path" faced by humanity has two sub-paths, as it were: the soul-destroying avenue found especially in America and the terrible animalistic descent found especially in Russia. (The second, better path, Steiner said, is found especially in the land between the western and eastern extremes: Germany.)
[7] Sic; i.e., Anthroposophy. (Steiner says that we can continue down the destructive path of mechanization or follow him up the path of spiritual awakening.) 

media policies at Waldorf schools - also see Ahriman; computers; mechanization; technology; television

Many Waldorf schools have "media policies" under which parents agree to curtail their children's exposure to television, computers, cell phones, the Internet, and other electronic media or forms of electronic communication and entertainment. Sensible arguments can be made for limiting the amount of time children spend staring into electronic screens, but the Waldorf view is mystical rather than rational. The fundamental Waldorf objection to technological devices of all sorts is a fear of demons. Rudolf Steiner taught, and his followers believe, that technology provides the means for demons to incarnate on Earth. [See "Computers" and "Media Policies" at Waldorf Straight Talk.] Usually, however, Waldorf schools describe their media policies in calmer terms. Thus, for instance: "Why do we choose to protect our children from exposure to TV, videos, movies, computer games, gameboys, and other media? ... The Waldorf School is designed to nourish the feeling life of children and to strengthen the imagination [1] ... Students accustomed to passively receiving impressions have difficulty making the inner effort necessary to sustain imaginative thought ... Parents are especially asked to refrain, throughout the years at Summerfield (even in HIGH SCHOOL!), from any media exposure on a school night ... We encourage parents to....create a media-free lifestyle." — Summerfield Waldorf School, downloaded May 13, 2015.

The actual thinking behind Waldorf media policies is found in such works as THE COMPUTER AND THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN (Rudolf Steiner College Press), by D. B. Black. [2] The author indicates that the development of computers has hastened the earthly arrival of the terrible demon Ahriman. [3] 
Steiner warned that the very use of electricity leads to a demonic society. "[E]lectric atoms are little demons of Evil ... [W]hen we listen to a modern physicist blandly explaining that Nature consists of electrons, we merely listen to him explaining that Nature really consists of little demons of Evil! And if we acknowledge Nature in this form, we raise Evil to the rank of the ruling world-divinity ... If we contemplate electricity today, we contemplate the images of a past moral reality that have turned into something evil." — R. Steiner, "Concerning Electricity" (General Anthroposophical Society, 1940), GA 220. Steiner's followers have heeded him on this matter. “The exploitation of electric forces — for example in information and computing technologies — spreads evil over the Earth in an immense spider's web. And fallen spirits of darkness [i.e., demons]...are active in this web.” — R. Seddon, THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1996), p. 24. To protect children, then, we need to shield them from electronic mechanisms.

[1] See the entry for "imagination" in this encyclopedia.
[2] See, e.g., "Spiders, Dragons and Foxes". 
[3] Ahriman is one of the two chief demons described in Anthroposophical texts. [See "Ahriman".]

medicine - also see childhood diseases; curative education; curative eurythmy; disease; health; herbs; homeopathy; human constitution; inoculation; life force; vaccination; vital force

"Anthroposophical medicine" is often practiced in and around Waldorf schools; it is a form of "holistic" therapy relying heavily on herbal preparations, color therapy, eurythmy, and other unscientific (quack) approaches. [See "Steiner's Quackery".] “Anthroposophic medicine (AM) is medicine that has been infused with the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Chief among these teachings is that the body is not an independent material organism and that good health depends on a harmonious relationship between the physical body, spirit or vital force, the soul, and the ego. ... [A]nthroposophic medicine is even more out of touch with modern, science-based medicine than homeopathy. AM not only thinks that the vital spirit plays a major role in health — a view it shares with homeopathy [1] — but AM also brings into play other metaphysical entities it refers to variously as the etheric body, the astral body, and the ego. [2] AM thinks the soul, the senses, and consciousness are beings that exist independently of the body and that such things as herbs and essential oils can bring these things into harmony with each other and with the physical body. AM is certainly in harmony with Steiner's basic approach to reality, which was to think he had special powers to see directly into occult realities [3] without the bother of tests in experience or replication by others. When you believe you have clairvoyant powers, you don't feel the need to prove your claims the way other scientists do. Steiner approached medicine the same way he approached everything else from astrology to Atlantis to education to farming to metaphysics: He dictated his visions. Why anyone considers him a scientist is a great mystery. His notion of science as involving the explanation of how immaterial entities affect material entities is the very opposite of science.” — R. T. Carroll, THE SKEPTIC’S DICTIONARY [http://skepdic.com/anthroposophicmedicine.html]

For first-person accounts of Anthroposophical medicine in practice, see, e.g., "Growing Up Being Made Sick by Anthroposophy" and the section titled "Doctor" in the long essay "Spotlight on Anthroposophy."

Both Waldorf education and Anthroposophical medicine are based on Rudolf Steiner's occult description of the human constitution. To examine this, see "What We're Made Of", "Our Parts", and "Oh Humanity".

According to Anthroposophical belief, many diseases are the result of karma and thus should be allowed to run their course (you have the disease because your karma makes the disease necessary). [4] Likewise, ailments can result from difficulties during the process of Earthly incarnation. Thus, childhood diseases in particular should often be supported rather than opposed. "[C]hildhood illnesses should be treated in the proper way, by supporting the illness...not fighting the illness ... [W]e should consider [childhood illnesses] as the greatest blessings, because through them man is able to strengthen his personal form by conquering [an inherited] predisposition, [thus] enabling him to incarnate better." — L.F.C. Mees, BLESSED BY ILLNESS (Anthroposophic Press, 1983), p. 192. 

In addition to karma, astrological influences are also important in the development and treatment of illnesses, Steiner taught. “We must ask ourselves: In what constellation were we living when in the nineties [i.e., 1890s] 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 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. Seeking medical insight in the stars is, at a minimum, a questionable therapeutic practice. [5]

One of many controversial issues in Anthroposophical medicine concerns vaccination. Anthroposophy does not absolutely forbid vaccination, but it encourages a very cautious approach, since vaccines may be spiritually harmful. Some "inoculations will influence the human body in a way that will make it refuse to give a home to the spiritual inclinations of the soul.” — R. Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 91. Natural remedies are preferred, such as the use of mistletoe to treat cancer. Preserving the purity of the blood is given high significance — see Steiner's THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1967). Steiner's overall approach to medical matters is indicated in AN OCCULT PHYSIOLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005). 

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

[2] See "Incarnation".

[3] See "Clairvoyance", "Exactly", and "Occultism".

[4] For Anthroposophical teachings about karma, see "Karma" and "Reincarnation".

[5] For Anthroposophical teachings about astrology, see "Astrology" and "Star Power".

meditations in Anthroposophy - also see mantras; prayers; spiritual exercises; supplementary exercises

Although Steiner labeled Anthroposophy a science rather than a religion, it entails religious practices such as prayers and meditations. Waldorf faculty members often rely on Anthroposophical meditations. "To foster the connection between [Waldorf] teachers and the Third Hierarchy [1] Rudolf Steiner gave information which could be considered a kind of prayer or meditation. The actual words are available only to the college members [2] ... When united in common striving, the archai [3], in particular the Spirit of the Times (Michael) [4], gives to the group the light of wisdom and the creative forces of intuition." — R. Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION — The Waldorf School Approach (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), pp. 122-123. [See "Soul School".]

A representative example of a meditation written by Steiner:

"Dark is the face of Earth
When darkened by the Sun's blinding ray.
But light and clear becomes my day's horizon
When the soul's inner life illumines it
With Wisdom from the Stars." [5]
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 95.


Steiner prescribed various prayers and meditations for his followers. (In keeping with Steiner's claim that Anthroposophy is a science rather than a religion, the prayers are often referred to as verses.) The line between prayer and meditation is often thin in Anthroposophy. [6]

To read meditations Steiner prescribed for Waldorf teachers, see "Teacher Training".

[1] Steiner taught that there are nine ranks of gods, divided into three groupings or "hierarchies." [See "Polytheism".]
[2] I.e., members of a Waldorf school's inner circle, the "college of teachers." The group is a "college" because the members study Anthroposophy (essentially Steiner's teachings) together.
[3] I.e., gods three levels above mankind. (Note the secrecy maintained by the college. Such secretiveness is a central issue concerning the Waldorf movement. [See "Secrets".])
[4] According to Anthroposophical belief, Michael is the Archangel of the Sun; he has particular responsibility for overseeing human evolution during our time. [See the entries for "Michael" and "Time Spirits" in this encyclopedia.]
[5] For some Anthroposophical teachings about "wisdom from the stars", see, e.g., "Astrosophy", "Star Power", and "Horoscopes".
[6] See, e.g., "Power Words". [Also see "Prayers".]

mediums - also see the dead, communicating with; seances

Mediums are "seers" who claim to be able to communicate with the dead and/or other disembodied spirits. According to Steiner, many mediums do have the powers they claim, but often at a low level (unlike the high level attainable through his "exact clairvoyance" [1]). Mediums often misunderstand what they perceive, Steiner said. “When mediums are possessed of the necessary faculties, they can see the Akasha Chronicle [2], although in most cases only its astral reflections. [3] Now there is something singular about the Akasha Chronicle. If we discover some person there, he behaves like a living being. If we find Goethe, for example, he may not only answer in the words which he actually spoke in his life but he gives answer in the Goethean sense; it may even happen that he utters in his own style and trend, verses he never actually wrote. The Akasha picture is so alive that it is like a force working on in the mind of the human being. Hence the picture may be confused with the individuality himself. Mediums believe that they are in contact with the dead man whose life is continuing in the spirit, whereas in reality it is only his astral Akasha-picture. The spirit of Caesar may already have reincarnated on earth and it is his Akasha picture that gives the answers in seances. It is not the individuality of Caesar but only the enduring impression which the picture of Caesar has left behind in the Akasha Chronicle. This is the basis of errors in very many spiritualist seances. We must distinguish between what remains of the human being in his Akasha-picture and what continues to evolve as the true individuality. These are matters of extreme importance.” — R. Steiner, THEOSOPHY OF THE ROSICRUCIAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 4, GA 99. [See "Seances".]

[1] See "Exactly".
[2] This is a celestial storehouse of knowledge, accessible through clairvoyance. [See "Akasha".]
[3] Steiner proceeds to explain: Mediums think they contact particular spirits, but generally they only contact representations of these spirits as found within the Akasha Chronicle. A spirit (an "individuality") "contacted" by a medium may no longer be present in the spirit realm but may have reincarnated on Earth, in which case all the remains in the spirit realm is this spirit's "Akasha picture." (Note that Steiner claimed that he was able to contact particular spirits in actuality. [See "Steiner and the Warlord".])

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

One of the four temperaments described in ancient Greek medical theory. A melancholic individual supposedly has a high level of the "humour" called black bile. Medical knowledge long ago put aside the antiquated concept of the four classical temperaments and humours, but Steiner revived it and it is still observed in Waldorf schools today. [See "Humouresque" and "Temperaments".] "Of the four humans members or bodily sheaths — the physical body, the ether body, the astral body and the 'I' [1] — the physical body dominates the other three in those [individuals] of a melancholic temperament. The element of earth, with all its characteristics, has the upper hand [2] ... Sorrow is intensely felt and joy much more rarely. Favourite colors may be brown and black ... [M]elancholics have the potential to develop great compassion for the sufferings of others ... Teachers and parents of melancholic children are advised to provide much warmth and understanding." — H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), pp. 75-76.


Steiner taught that the four temperaments are manifested in four bodily types. “The melancholic children are as a rule tall and slender; the sanguine are the most normal; those with more protruding shoulders are the phlegmatic children; and those with a short stout build so that the head almost sinks down into the body are choleric.” — R. Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 34. [R.R. sketch, 2010.] In Waldorf belief, melancholic students stand droopingly and walk slowly; their eyes are mournful; they are self-involved and have good memories for matters concerning themselves; they cast a pall of gloom; teachers should encourage them not to sadden their classmates.

[1] Anthroposophists believe that human beings have four bodies, three of which are invisible. [See "Incarnation".]
[2] In addition to reviving the ancient belief in the four temperaments, Steiner revived the ancient belief that the created universe consists primarily of four elements. [See "Neutered Nature".] Just as one sort of body is predominant in each temperament, so is one element predominant in each temperament, Steiner taught.

members of the human constitution - see bodies; human beings; human constitution; whole child

memory, memorization - also see clairvoyance; education; recapitulation; thinking; Waldorf education: goals

According to Steiner, memory is a high faculty — humans have it, animals don't. “To attribute memory to animals is an error ... It is natural enough to think of memory when a dog recognizes its master ... Yet in reality the recognition depends not on memory ... Surely, one might [think], since the dog grieves when its master goes away, it must retain some memory of him ... [But] the animal’s behaviour implies the absence of all memory.” — R. Steiner, OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2005), pp. 46-47. [See "Everything".]

Steiner's occult doctrines about human memory are honored in Waldorf schools. "[I]n ancient times, when human beings were clairvoyant [1]...memory as such was not needed ... [But] clairvoyance increasingly faded [sic] ... Personal memory therefore became necessary. The first stage was a localized memory system, related to place and occurrence ... At a second stage, [people] employed rhythm in spoken texts to support their memory function. At a third stage memory became fully internalized ... [P]eople gradually acquired the capacity to memorize all kinds of sense impressions ... In child development, historical evolution of memory systems is repeated. [2] In the early years, for instance, nursery rhymes based on rhythmic and regularly repeating words engage with a child's rhythmic memory.... [3]" H. van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), pp. 76-77.

However, memorization (what one might call learning facts) is downplayed in Anthroposophy and in Waldorf schools. ◊ "The Science of the Spirit [4] teaches us the art of forgetting ... All memorized matter should disappear from the mind to make room for an actively receptive spirit." — R. Steiner quoted by E. Schwartz in THE MILLENNIAL CHILD (Anthroposophic Press, 1999), pp. 150-151. ◊ "[I]ncorrect education sooner or later finds expression...in the form of discomfort or disease ... [O]verstimulation of the memory can cause the child to grow lank ... This is bound up with the interaction of the Etheric and Astral Bodies.... [5]” — R. Blunt, WALDORF EDUCATION: Theory and Practice (Novalis Press, 1995), p. 110.

[1] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "atavistic clairvoyance".
[2] I.e., it is recapitulated — the maturing child recapitulates the evolution of humanity as a whole.
[3] The Waldorf curriculum in the earliest grades is meant to follow this developmental path, engaging children in these ways.
[4] I.e., Anthroposophy.
[5] These are two of the three invisible bodies that, Steiner taught, incarnate — one at a time — during the first 21 years of life. [See "Incarnation".]

mental plane - also see Devachan; Higher Spiritland; Lower Spiritland; mental world; planes; Spiritland

A Theosophical term, denoting a level of existence essentially equivalent to Devachan: heaven or Spiritland, the spiritual world, the world of harmony of the spheres, the world of inspiration. [1] The mental plane includes the lower spiritual world (Lower Spiritland) or the heavenly world, and the higher spiritual world (Higher Spiritland) or the world of true intuition. Steiner largely accepted these Theosophical concepts, with modifications, but he used such terminology less after breaking away to establish Anthroposophy. [2] He taught that plants, as creatures below humans and animals [3], have a consciousness confined to the mental plane. "The entire plant world has its consciousness on the mental plane." — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 27, GA 93a. [For an overview of the "higher worlds" and their planes and spheres, see "Higher Worlds".]

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

[2] See the chronology included in the entry for "Steiner, Rudolf" in this encyclopedia.

[3] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "kingdoms of nature", "plant kingdom", and "plants". 

mental telepathy - see telepathy

mental vision - also see astral vision; clairvoyance; imagination; inspiration; intuition

Steiner used the term "mental vision" is various ways. The precise definition in one usage is "inspiration." In other cases, the term applies to imagination or any use of the mind to consider/conceive things thoroughly. ◊ "[E]xact, correct observation appears at first in symbols. If man concentrates for instance on his spinal cord, it is a fact that he always sees a snake. He may perhaps also dream of a snake, because this is the creature which was placed out in the world when the spinal cord was formed, and has remained at this stage. [1] The snake is the spinal column outwardly projected into the world. This pictorial way of seeing things is astral vision (Imagination). [2] But it is only through mental vision (Inspiration [3]) that the full significance is revealed." — R. Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 1, GA 93a. ◊ "It is necessary for us to bring the whole of this case [4] before our mental vision ... [T]he individuality [5] enters the Spiritual world with the astral body [6] only, and continues its further wanderings in that world." — R. Steiner, COSMIC AND HUMAN METAMORPHOSES (Garber Communications, 1989), lecture 1, GA 175.

[1] Steiner taught that most animals are beings that split off from the human evolutionary line at various levels of development. Thus, humans developed spines at one stage, and then they evolved to higher stages. But some beings could not evolve higher, so they split off at that stage and became snakes.
[2] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "astral vision" and "imagination."
[3] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "inspiration".
[4] Steiner was speaking of a seance.
[5] I.e., a physically disembodied individual.
[6] This is the second of three invisible bodies that, Steiner taught, real human beings develop. [See "Incarnation".]

mental world - also see Devachan; Higher Spiritland; mental plane

A Theosophical concept, the mental world is the second "higher world;" it is situated beyond the astral world. [1] Steiner used the term "mental world" early in his career as an occultist, but he tended to abandon it later. [See "Basics".] ◊ "[O]ne is raised to a still higher world that may be called the higher spirit-land or, if you will, the higher mental world [2] ... We are in this higher spirit-land when experiencing the splitting of the ego, and the ordinary ego in memory only. [3] It is here that one is first able to form a true estimate of man on earth. As one looks back one begins to know what man is in his inmost being. There, too, it is first possible to come to an experienced judgement concerning the course of history. [4]" — R. Steiner, INITIATION, ETERNITY AND THE PASSING MOMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1980), lecture 5, GA 138. ◊ "Those who have gotten to know the realities of the astral world which lies behind our sense world, and of the devachanic (or mental world) which lies even deeper [5], will come to a new and higher understanding of religious sources." — R. Steiner, THE GOSPEL OF ST. JOHN (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), lecture 1, GA 94.

[1] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "astral world".
[2] Steiner generally taught that there are two higher worlds, the second of which has two regions, one higher than the other. In Theosophical terms, the mental world with its two regions is above the astral world; in Anthroposophical terms, the spirit world with its two regions is above the soul world. [See "Higher Worlds".] Here Steiner is speaking of existence in the higher region of the spirit world ("higher spirit-land").
[3] Steiner taught that the spiritual ego or "I" [see "Ego"] has higher and lower parts. The higher "I" exists in the spirit realm; the lower "I" (or "ego") exists on the physical plane when an individual incarnates on that plane.
[4] I.e., it is only when we rise to higher spirit-land that we can look back at ourselves as we were during Earthly incarnation and reach a correct understanding of Earthly life.
[5] I.e., higher. Again, Steiner is saying that above the physical world is the soul world (the astral world), and above that is the spirit world (the mental or devachanic world). 

Mephistopheles, Mephistophelean power - also see Ahriman

a) A familiar spirit (i.e., an attendant demon) of Satan, a figure more of fiction than theology — the tempter of Faust. [See "Goethe".]

b) According to Steiner, Satan himself: Ahriman. "[I]t was to Ahriman [1] that the faculty of human cognition was primarily directed. [In Zoroastrianism,] Ahriman was a Being whose existence was divined by men, a Being of whom they had some knowledge through the culture inaugurated by Zarathustra [2]; and from there the knowledge of Ahriman spread among the other peoples and into their world of ideas. Ahriman with his hosts appears as a figure with the most diverse names among the civilized peoples. And owing to the peculiar conditions obtaining in the souls of the European peoples who had remained farthest in the rear of the migrations from West to East, who had been less affected than the others by what had transpired in the ancient Indian, ancient Persian, Egyptian and even in the Greco-Latin civilizations — owing to these circumstances there prevailed among the European peoples from whom the Fifth Epoch of culture [3] was to be born, an attitude of soul which regarded Ahriman alone as a figure of dread. [4] And while many different names were adopted — as for example, 'Mephistopheles' among the Hebrew people — in Europe the figure of Ahriman became the 'Devil' [5] in his various forms.” — R. Steiner, THE DEED OF CHRIST (Steiner Book Centre, 1954), GA 107. [See "Ahriman".]

[1] "Ahriman Zoroastrian deity Avestan Angra Mainyu ('Destructive Spirit') the evil spirit in the dualistic doctrine of Zoroastrianism." — ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA ONLINE, May 14, 2015. [Also see "Ahriman".] 

[2] A Persian prophet, founder of Zoroastrianism. [See "Zoroastrianism".]

[3] I.e., the cultural epoch in which we now live: the Anglo-Germanic Age. [See the entry for "cultural epochs" in this encyclopedia.]

[4] Ahriman was originally the devil of Zoroastrian belief; he was the foe of the god of light, Ahura Mazda. In Anthroposophical teachings, Ahriman cooperates and also competes with another arch-demon, Lucifer. [See "Lucifer".] Ahriman is often deemed the more terrible of the two, although — according to Steiner — both Ahriman and Lucifer have actually benefited mankind in some ways, thanks to the intervention of Christ, the Sun God. [See "Sun God".] Still, Ahriman in particular is usually seen as a dreadful figure. [To consider Ahriman and Lucifer within the context of other demonic beings, see "Evil Ones" and "Bad, Badder, Baddest".]

[5] Often, Steiner differentiated between "the Devil" and "Satan", identifying the former with Lucifer and the latter with Ahriman. Here, he applies the term "the Devil" to Ahriman.

Mercury - also see astrology; astronomy; Mars-Mercury; Mercury race; planets; Vulcan

a) The planet closest to the Sun (if we agree that Vulcan does not exist).

According to Anthroposophical belief: Like other planets, Mercury is a spiritual as well as physical orb, and it is largely indistinguishable from the spiritual powers residing on/in it. It is populated by beings more evolved than earthly humans. [See "Planets".] It is also the center for the abnormal spirits responsible for the “Negro race.” ◊ “We come next to Mercury. In contrast to the other planets, Mercury is not interested [1] in things of a physical, material nature as such, but in whatever is capable of co-ordination. Mercury is the domain of the Masters [2] of co-ordinative thinking ... Mercury provides the forces for capacities of intellect and reason, especially of intellect [3] ... Venus and Mercury bring into the human being the karmic element [4] that is connected more with the life of soul and spirit [5] and comes to expression in his qualities of heart and in his temperament [6] ... Venus, Mercury and the Moon may be called the destiny-determining planets. [7]” — R. Steiner, “The Spiritual Individualities of the Planets” (THE GOLDEN BLADE, 1988), GA 228. ◊ “In the interior of Africa is the point where the abnormal Spirits [8] belonging to the planet Mercury concentrate their forces. The outcome of them is the Negro or Ethiopian race ... [I]t comes about that the most childlike and the most aged racial types [9] — the Negro and Red Indian — are both of them, though in such different ways, the result of planetary forces working into the glandular system.” — G. A. Kaufmann, SOULS OF THE NATIONS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1938), lecture 6. [See "'Negro'".] Because Steiner sometimes indicated that the planet Vulcan exists, in Anthroposophical belief Mercury is probably not the planet closest to the Sun. [See "Vulcan".]


Astrological sign for Mercury.


(Dover Press, 1955); color added.]

b) In Greek/Roman mythology: Mercury is the god of eloquence, skill, trading, thievery; he is the divine messenger; Hermes.

[1] The planet Mercury has interests, intentions, etc., because it is essentially indistinguishable from its resident gods.

[2] See the entry for "masters", above.

[3] According to Anthroposophical belief: Like the other planets, stars, and constellations, Mercury exerts astrological influences. [See "Astrology".]

[4] See "Karma".

[5] Steiner differentiated between soul and spirit. See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.

[6] See the entries in this encyclopedia for "heart" and "temperaments".

[7] I.e., they has particular influence in matters of karma.

[8] I.e., abnormal gods. Steiner taught that a being is abnormal if it does not evolve as quickly as the other members of its class. [See the entry for "abnormal" in this encyclopedia.]

[9] Steiner taught that blacks are infantile, Asians are adolescent, whites are mature, and American Indians are senescent. [See "Steiner's Racism".] Here we are told that the planetary forces of Mercury affect the glandular system of "the Negro."

Mercury race - also see Africans; Jupiter humans; Mars humans; Mercury; Moon humans; planetary humans; Saturn humans; Sun humans; Venus humans; Vulcan humans

In Anthroposophical teachings: black Africans or "the Ethiopian race," which exists under the astrological influence of Mercury. "[T]hrough the co-operation of the normal Spirits of Form [1] with the abnormal ones [2] centered in Mercury, the negro race came into existence ... From the Mercury centre [3] the abnormal Spirits of Form worked with great power and caused man to be so varied that the form of the Ethiopian race arose." — R. Steiner, THE MISSION OF THE FOLK SOULS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1929), lecture 6, GA 121.

[1] According to Steiner, these are gods four levels higher than humanity. [See "Polytheism".]

[2] Normal gods, Steiner taught, have evolved to their intended level; abnormal gods have lagged behind.  [See the entry for "abnormal" in this encyclopedia.]

[3] This is the spot, in Africa, where the influence of Mercury is strongest.

Mercury supermen - see supermen

mermaids - also see undines

Mythical half-human sea creatures; sometimes said to be undines (nature spirits or elemental beings that dwell in water). [See "Neutered Nature" and "The Ancients".] “[T]he third set of lectures concerns the astral-etheric beings [1] known as elemental spirits [2], whose existence is rarely acknowledged today beyond the sphere of folklore. We discover how indebted we are to these beings, both benevolent and malevolent [3], for our continued existence. Steiner gives an account of their different levels of consciousness ... Many of us will be familiar with the wise but gruff dwarf, the water sprite or mermaid who tries to lure the human being into its own fluid consciousness-world , and the unearthly beauty of the fairy queen which would entrap men and render them powerless, as if they slept. The fact that the elemental spirits, like irresponsible children, might choose to sport with the unprotected human consciousness should not undermine the fact that these spirits ‘wish man to make a move onwards with his consciousness, so that he may participate in their world.’”  — A. Druitt, introduction to HARMONY OF THE CREATIVE WORD (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001), a collection of lectures by Rudolf Steiner, pp. xvii-xviii.

[1] I.e., beings that dwell in the etheric and astral realms; they generally have etheric and astral bodies but not physical bodies.

[2] According to Steiner, there are four main types of such beings (usually called elemental beings or nature spirits): undines (who dwell in water), gnomes (in the earth), sylphs (in the air), and salamanders or fire spirits (in fire). [See "Neutered Nature".]

[3] Steiner taught, generally, that malevolent spirits may contribute to cosmic evolution when their actions are moderated and redirected by the good gods. (Steiner's followers sometimes interpret Steiner's teachings in these matters to indicate that there are no truly evil powers in the universe, but this is for the most part a misconstruction. [See, e.g., "Evil Ones", "Sin", and "Hell".])

messianism - also see Anthroposophy; Christ; divine cosmic plan; Michael; missions; salvation; spiritualistic agenda; Waldorf education: goals; Waldorf teachers

Belief in a Savior or belief that one has a role as a savior. In Waldorf schools: teachers' belief that they are serving the divine cosmic plan [1] promoting the evolution of humanity toward divinity. This self-assigned purpose is deemed far more important than conveying knowledge to the students or giving students an ordinary education. Waldorf messianism entails combating demonic forces that would impede the spiritual/evolutionary progress of the students. Here are two relevant statements Steiner made to Waldorf teachers: ◊ “Among the faculty, we must certainly carry within us the knowledge that we are not here for our own sakes, but to carry out the divine cosmic plan. We should always remember that when we do something, we are actually carrying out the intentions of the gods, that we are, in a certain sense, the means by which that streaming down from above will go out into the world.” — R. Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 55. [2] ◊ "What I wanted to present to you is this: we must become aware of Michael’s battle [3] ... Teachers should unite themselves with Michael in a particularly close way, for to live in these times means simply to crawl into the dragon [4] ... To live in the truth means to unite oneself with Michael. We must unite ourselves with Michael whenever we enter the classroom; only through this can we bring with us the necessary strength. Verily, Michael is strong!" — R. Steiner, BALANCE IN TEACHING (Anthroposophic Press, 2007), p. 105. [See "Schools as Churches", "Spiritual Agenda", and "Waldorf Priests".]

[1] See the entry for this term in this encyclopedia.
[2] See the entry for "Waldorf education - goals", in this encyclopedia.
[3] I.e., the struggle of the Archangel Michael combating demonic powers. [See "Michael".]
[4] i.e., the arch-demon Ahriman. [See "Ahriman".] 

metabolic-limb man - also see head man; limb man; metabolic-limb system; nerve-senses man; rhythmic man; will man

This, according to Anthroposophic belief, is the inner human being that embodies the forces of the will; centered in the metabolic-limb system [1], he is called also sometimes called simply limb man. [2] (Steiner taught that a human being consists of multiple, small, inner human beings.) Steiner said that the substances of the metabolic-limb system and metabolic-limb man come from the highest world, the spirit world [see "Higher Worlds"], but the activity of the metabolic-limb man comes from the physical world. "[T]he substance of this metabolic-limb system is not derived from the Earth. Improbable as it may sound, you bear within your metabolic-limb man something which is not of earthly origin but consists wholly of substance from the third world, the world of the spirit [3] ... Your real legs are indeed spiritual throughout; your real arms too ... [This is] the spirituality of the limbs and of the digestive organs ... On the other hand the forces, the activity, for all that makes up the metabolic-limb man are drawn from the physical world." — R. Steiner, THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1966), lecture 5, GA 227.

[1] See the entry for "metabolic-limb system", below. Steiner said that the limbs and metabolism or abdomen are parts of a single physiological system. [Also see "What We're Made Of".]
[2] See the entry in this encyclopedia for "limb man".
[3] Steiner taught, generally, that there are three worlds: the physical world, the soul world, and the spirit world. He distinguished soul from spirit. [See the entries for these terms in this encyclopedia.]

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

Steiner taught that the human physical constitution is dominated by three primary systems: the nerve-senses system (sensing the world and processing the sensations), the rhythmic-circulatory system (blood circulation and breathing), and the metabolic-limb system (digestion and movement). [See "What We're Made Of" and "Our Parts".] This description is fundamental to the Waldorf approach, yet it is false. [See "Oh Humanity".] The second and third of the "systems" Steiner described combine organs and operations that in actuality are quite separate. The heart circulates the blood and the lungs breathe air; these are separate organs and functions. Likewise, in reality, the metabolic system (essentially the digestive system) is distinct from the arms and legs; digesting food, in reality, does not involve the limbs. There is no metabolic-limb system. 

According to Steiner, the metabolic-limb system is the inverse of the nerve-senses or "head" system — the metabolic-limb system of one incarnation becomes the head system in the next incarnation. “[W]hat we carry about in a particular earth-life as our head is the transformed body (apart from the head) of the previous earth-life [1], but especially the transformed metabolic-limb system; or what to-day is metabolic-limb man is transformed during the life between death and rebirth [2] into the head-formation of the next earthly life.” — R. Steiner, MAN AS A BEING OF SENSE AND PERCEPTION (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1958), lecture 3, GA 206.

The metabolic-limb system is the seat of the will, Steiner said. In the Waldorf curriculum, emphasis is given to this system, and to the development of will [3], during the earliest grades. Later, emphasis is turned to the rhythmic-circulatory system (the seat of emotion), and later yet the nerve-senses system (the seat or mirror of thought). [To examine the Waldorf curriculum, see "The Waldorf Curriculum" and the essays that follow it. To consider how Steiner's description of the human constitution determines the nature of Waldorf education, see "Oh Humanity".]

[1] Steiner taught that we incarnate many times. [See "Reincarnation".]

[2] Steiner taught that between lives on Earth (often called, in Anthroposophy, "lives between birth and death"), we have lives in the spirit realm (often called, in Anthroposophy, "lives between death and rebirth").

[3] See "Will".

metabolic processes - see life processes

metals - also see alchemy; astrology; minerals; planetary seals

In Anthroposophy, drawing from astrological/alchemical traditions, the seven astrological planets (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn) are associated with seven types of metal (gold, silver, iron, mercury, tin, copper, lead). These metals are thought to impart the powers of "their" planets, and are often used in occult seals (mystic symbols worked in bas relief). Steiner taught that the powers of metals are intimately involved in mankind's spiritual nature and activities. "When we become acquainted with the form of the metals we reach the realm of the higher spiritual beings [1]; when we become acquainted with their substantiality and metallity [2] we enter the astral world, the world of souls. [3]" — R. Steiner, TRUE AND FALSE PATHS OF SPIRITUAL INVESTIGATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1969), lecture 3, GA 243.

"Lead [i.e., the metal, lead] results from the unimpeded action of Saturn, tin from that of Jupiter, iron from Mars, copper from Venus, and what is now termed quicksilver from Mercury. Similarly we must recognise a relationship between everything of the nature of silver, all that is silvery...and the unimpeded action of the Moon ... Earth's wealth of metals is the result of forces acting on the earth from without. [4]" — R. Steiner, SPIRITUAL SCIENCE AND MEDICINE (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1948), lecture 6, GA 312.

Reportedly, the health-conferring qualities of various metals are sometimes invoked in Anthroposophical medicine. "The Anthroposophical doctor Daphné von Boch...teaches future doctors how to heal with planetary metals." — D. Krauss, "We Do Anything Except Vaccinate", KONTEXT: WOCHENZEITUNG, July 8, 2020.

[1] I.e., gods — many of whom dwell on/in/around stars and planets.

[2] A coinage of Steiner's ("Metallität"), meaning metallic nature.

[3] I.e., the first "higher world" — the realm between the physical world and the spirit world. [See "Higher Worlds".]

[4] I.e., from the outside. Essentially, Steiner is speaking of astrological forces. [See "Astrology".] He says that on Earth we find the metals associated with the various planets beyond the Earth.

meteors - also see Ahriman; asteroids; astronomy; comets; Michael; planets 

"[W]hen in high summer, from a particular constellation, meteors fall in great showers of cosmic iron, then this cosmic iron, which carries an enormously powerful healing force, is the weapon which the gods bring to bear against Ahriman [1], as dragon-like he tries to coil round the shining forms of men. The force which falls on the earth in the meteoric iron is indeed a cosmic force whereby the higher gods endeavour to gain a victory over the Ahrimanic powers, when autumn comes on." — R. Steiner, THE FOUR SEASONS AND THE ARCHANGELS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1968), lecture 1, GA 229.

A former Waldorf student who went on to become a Waldorf teacher, Grégoire Perra, remembers a speech he heard when he was a new Waldorf faculty member: "I remember a disorienting first meeting during which a colleague of the executive committee of the school gave a speech, three quarters of an hour long, about iron 'meteorites' (from meteors crashing into the Earth) which he said bring the forces of the archangel Michael down to humanity — this was meant to give courage to the teachers." [2] In Anthroposophic belief, Michael is the Archangel of the Sun — he is a warrior god who fights on behalf of the Sun God. [3]

[1] See "Ahriman".

[2] See "He Went to Waldorf".] 

[3] See "Michael" and "Sun God".