Anthroposophists believe an awful lot of nonsense. An example: magic. Steiner taught that many forms of magic are real, and there are both good (white) and evil (black) magicians. 

Herewith, some interesting remarks about magicians, along with references to other unrealities taken for real by Steiner’s followers. 

“The white magician would impart to other souls the spiritual life he bears within him. 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. He needs the power which he acquires by taking the vital force of everything that lives, that is to say, by killing it.” — Rudolf Steiner, AN ESOTERIC COSMOLOGY (Rudolf Steiner Press 1978), lecture 9, GA 94.

“This [the pentagram] is the occultist's sacred pentagram, the symbol of man. Its point is directed upwards, which indicates that the spirit streams to man from the heights ... The sign of black magic is a pentagram with one point at the bottom, through which magicians attract bad forces from the earth and send them out of the two top horns [i.e., the two legs of an inverted five-pointed star] into the environment by means of their bad will in order to use soul and nature forces for their own egotistical, evil purposes.” — Rudolf Steiner, FROM THE CONTENTS OF ESOTERIC CLASSES (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 266.

“The black magician draws his most powerful forces out of the morass of sensuality. The purpose of sexual rites is to introduce such magic into these circles. A battle is continually taking place on the earth, the one side striving to purify the passions, the other side striving to intensify sensuality. The beings who are guided by the Christ-Principle seek to win the Earth for themselves, but there are also the other antagonistic beings who seek to usurp the Earth.

“...When an animal is tortured, the amount of pain inflicted on it recoils immediately on the astral body of the human being. Here certainly it is reflected as it's opposite; hence the sensual pleasure in cruelty. Such feelings bring about a lowering of the human astral body. When a person destroys life, this has for him a tremendous significance ...  In no way can one so readily assimilate destructive astral forces as by killing. Every killing of a being possessing an astral body evokes an intensification of the most brutal egoism. It signifies a growing increase of power. In schools of Black Magic therefore, instruction is first given as to how one cuts into animals. Cutting into a definite place, accompanied by corresponding thoughts, induces a certain force, in another place it induces another force. (What corresponds to this in the case of the White Magician is meditation.)” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 19, GA 93a.

Here’s a nice example of an Anthroposophist convincing himself and others to believe nonsense. (Technically, this is an argument to ignorance):

“Rudolf Steiner gives the name of Vitzlipochtli to a great initiate of the white path who succeeds in having a powerful black magician crucified at the same period of time when Christ Jesus was crucified on the Hill of Golgotha. This name, as it was transcribed in 1916 in Dornach where the lectures were given, is so close to that of the evil god of the Aztecs some 1300 years later that the two names must be regarded as the same. This evil god (Uitzlipochtli or Huitzlipochtli) required human sacrifices, which were accompanied by the tearing out of the hearts of the victims. Steiner gives a different name to the evil god and says nothing here of the heart, but insists that it was torn out; and he even adds that this continued to be true in the time of the Spanish Conquest at the beginning of the 16th century A.D., for which also all evidence of any kinds is lacking.

“It is by no means impossible that all Steiner's statements are perfectly correct, but that evidence is unavailable because of the maintenance of absolute secrecy in such dreadful mystery rites as these.” — Stewart C. Easton, foreword to INNER IMPULSES OF EVOLUTION (Anthroposophic Press, 1984), a collection of lectures by Rudolf Steiner, GA 171.

“Taotl was thus an ahrimanic distortion of the ‘Great Spirit’ — a mighty being and one who did not descend to physical incarnation. A great many men were initiated into the mysteries of Taotl but the initiation was of a completely ahrimanic character.

“...At this same time in Central America another man was born who was destined by birth to become a high initiate of Taotl. This man had in his previous earthly incarnations been initiated as described above and through the fact that he had many, many times repeated the procedure involving the excision of the stomach, which has been described to you and which there is no need to recapitulate, he had been gradually equipped with a lofty earthly and super-earthly knowledge. This was one of the greatest black magicians, if not the greatest ever to tread the earth; he possessed the greatest secrets that are to be acquired on this path. He was faced directly with a momentous decision as the year 30 A.D. approached, namely whether or not, as a single human individual, to become so powerful through continuous initiation that he would come to know a certain basic secret. Through knowledge of this secret he would have then been able to give such a shock and impetus to the coming evolution of man on earth that humanity in the fourth and fifth post-Atlantean epochs would have been thrown into terrible darkness, with the result that what the ahrimanic powers had striven for in these epochs could have come into existence.

“Then a conflict began between this super-magician and the being to whom a virgin birth was ascribed, and one finds from one's research that it lasted for three years. The being of the virgin birth bore a name that, when we try to transpose it into our speech approximates Vitzliputzli. He is a human person who, among all these beings who otherwise only moved about in spirit form and could only be perceived through atavistic clairvoyance, in actual fact became man, so the story goes, through his virgin birth. The three year conflict ended when Vitzliputzli was able to have the great magician crucified, and not only through the crucifixion to annihilate his body but also to place his soul under a ban, by this means rendering its activities powerless as well as its knowledge. Thus the knowledge assimilated by the great magician of Taotl was killed. In this way Vitzliputzli was able to win again for earthly life all those souls who, as indicated, had already received the urge to follow Lucifer and leave the earth. Through the mighty victory he had gained over the powerful black magician, Vitzliputzli was able to imbue men again with the desire for earthly existence and successive incarnations.” — Rudolf Steiner, INNER IMPULSES OF EVOLUTION (Anthroposophic Press, 1984), lecture 3, GA 171.

“[T]he Lemurian [i.e., a person on the lost continent of Lemuria] built without engineering knowledge on the basis of his faculty of imagination which acted with the sureness of a kind of instinct. Moreover, to a great extent, he had power over his own body. When it was necessary, he could increase the strength of his arm by a simple effort of the will. For example, he could lift enormous loads merely by using his will. If later the Atlantean [i.e., a person on the lost continent of Atlantis] was helped by his control of the life force, the Lemurian was helped by his mastery of the will. He was — the expression should not be misinterpreted — a born magician in all fields of lower human activities.

“...Toward the end of this [Lemurian] period, the buildings which served for the cultivation of ‘divine wisdom and divine art’ became more and more imposing and ornate. These institutions differed in every respect from what temples were later, for they were educational and scientific institutions at the same time. He who was found fit was here initiated into the science of the universal laws and into the handling of them. If the Lemurian was a born magician, this talent was here developed into art and insight. Only those could be admitted who, through all kinds of discipline, had acquired the ability to overcome themselves to the greatest extent. For all others what went on in these institutions was the deepest secret.” — Rudolf Steiner, COSMIC MEMORY (Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1959), chapter 5, GA 11.

“[T]he ancient wisdom that was misused in the Lemurian epoch and perished with the Lemurians; the wisdom that was then misused in the Atlantean epoch and brought about the destruction of Atlantis. What was it that was then among men? What was it, in reality? To say that the great wisdom then existing was misused, applied in practices of black magic and so forth, is a very abstract way of speaking and leads to no very definite idea ... Beings who had not completed their development on the Old Moon, but had evolved only the first six of their seven members, incorporated in men who otherwise would have been utterly primitive. The spiritual Beings who on the Old Moon were at a higher level than men but had not attained the apex of their development, took on these primitive human bodies and went to work with arts which far transcended all earthly knowledge. You can imagine what such Beings in human bodies were capable of accomplishing, — Beings who at a level higher than the human had developed the sixth member — the Life-Spirit — entered into these primitive, flexible, pliant bodies. And they became terrible magicians, dread magicians!” — Rudolf Steiner, SIGNIFICANT FACTS PERTAINING TO THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF THE MIDDLE OF THE XIXTH CENTURY (typescript, translation by D. S. Osmond, 1939), lecture 2, GA 254.

“[T]he faculty of thought in its pure form began to evolve in the souls of the men of Europe. So long as they adhered rigidly to an inwardly pure, inwardly austere activity of thinking of which Scholasticism affords a splendid example their development was thoroughly in harmony with the aims of the spiritual world. They were preparing for something that must be achieved in our present age and in the immediate future. But this purity was not everywhere maintained. Eastwards of the great wall of which I have spoken, the urge had arisen to drag down the forces of the Pleroma [i.e., transcendent world] to the earthly world and apply them in an earthly, Ahrimanic form of magic. And Westwards of this wall, the urge towards rationalistic thought and towards a purely intellectual grasp of the earthly world mingled with the element of lust in material existence. In other words, a Luciferic impulse gradually insinuated itself into the working of the faculty of pure reason now dawning in the human mind." — Rudolf Steiner, “Gnostic Doctrines and Supersensible Influences in Europe” (ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 6, No. 3, Anthroposophical Publishing Company, 1931), GA 225.

“There are the most varied types of [secret] societies. One type, much in evidence in the West and taking all kinds of forms, includes organizations which practise ceremonial magic. Ceremonial magic can, of course, be good magic, but we are speaking now of those societies which do not practise ceremonial magic for the good of mankind in general, but for the good of certain groups of people, or certain specific aims which are not general human aims.

“...Certain kinds of ceremonial magic have definite effects on the human physical body ... 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.

“Imagine certain secret societies carrying on a form of ceremonial magic directed towards its grey or black aspects. Imagine they influence their members in a way that affects even their physical body, even the delicate vibrations and weavings of their physical body, so that something spiritual flows into this physical body.

“What is the consequence? The consequence is that something now comes about which was suitable in earlier periods of human evolution but is no longer permissible today ... [I]t becomes possible for the dead, as well as other spirits, to influence the members of a circle created by ceremonial magic ... When we speak words, when we give a speech, these dead souls work in us because we have been prepared by sharing in these acts of ceremonial magic.

“It is one thing if somebody who simply participates honestly in the cultural processes of our time gives a speech in parliament or writes a newspaper article. But it is something entirely different if a person who belongs to a circle of ceremonial magic, and is thus strengthened by the power urges of some who have died, gives a speech in parliament or writes an article for a newspaper. The latter exercises an immensely greater degree of influence in the direction of his wishes than would be the case if he did not have this backing. This is one side of the matter.

“The other side is that those who enter the circle of certain societies practising ceremonial magic are securing for themselves a power that reaches beyond death, a kind of ahrimanic immortality. For these people this is their main concern. 

“... [A]s a rule these societies are organized in such a way that the ceremonial magic they practise influences only those who are unaware of the implications, merely desiring to make contact with the spiritual world by means of symbolic ceremonies. There are many such people. And those who have this desire are by no means necessarily the worst. They are accepted as members of the circle of ceremonial magic among whom there are then a few who simply use the rest of the members as instruments. Therefore one should beware of all secret societies administered by so-called higher grades whose aims are kept hidden from the lower grades. These administrative grades usually comprise those who have been initiated to a stage at which they only have a vague idea of what I have just been explaining to you. They comprise those who are to work positively in connection with certain goals and aims which are then realized by the wider group of those who have been merely inveigled into the circle of ceremonial magic. Everything these people do is done in such a way that it leads in the direction required by the higher grades but is strengthened by the forces which come from ceremonial magic.

“Those who know how huge a number of such societies exist in the West can begin to gain an idea of what immensely effective tools such societies of ceremonial magic can be for certain far-reaching plans for the world. As you have seen, the chief aim is to prolong into our time a way of proceeding in which the spiritual world works into the sense-perceptible, physical world in a manner that was right in earlier times. For our times, however, the right procedure is for human beings to go towards the dead and meet them half-way. In the mood we have just been discussing, however, a path is sought which was appropriate in earlier, atavistic times but which today is brought about through the medium of ceremonial magic.

“...When we understand how the living testaments of these societies — not written testaments left over for those still alive, but testaments which are forces going beyond death — when we understand how these work and are preserved, which is something that ought not to happen, then we understand something of the magical power wielded by such societies which often enables them to impress the stamp of truthfulness on to something untrue. And indeed, one of their important magical functions is to spread untruth in the world in such a way that it gives the effect of being the truth. For in this working of the ‘untruth in what is true’ lies one of the mighty strengths of evil. This strength of evil is then put to considerable use in all kinds of quarters.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KARMA OF UNTRUTHFULNESS, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992), lecture 21, GA 174.

[R. R. photo.]

— Compiled by Roger Rawlings

To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, 
use the underlined links, below.


divining : dowsing and delusion

magic : for real

magic numbers : numerology or thereabouts


occult lodges : the good and the bad

occultism : throughout

seances : and mediums

signs : and symbols

superstition : for real