(AS IT WERE)
Here is a collection of images that may shine light
on Anthroposophy and Waldorf schooling.
Some of these images are my renderings of drawings
Steiner himself made to accompany his lectures.
The captions summarize, very briefly, salient points
about Anthroposophy and Steiner's doctrines.
(My artristic abilities are limited, as you will immediately see.
Copyright considerations force me to use my own crude sketches.
Please focus on the meaning of these images,
not my glaring lack of skill.)
The philosophy underlying Waldorf education, Anthroposophy (the word misleadingly means human wisdom), glorifies humanity. We are wondrous, upward-evolving spiritual beings, central to all of creation, beloved of the gods. This is a grand and attractive vision. We can all feel its tug on our hearts and souls. But can humanity actually fulfill its potential by following Steiner's lead? He concocted a blend of occultism, myth, gnostic religion, and fantasy. The path to wisdom cannot run through such a welter of fallacies. If we are to realize our better nature, fulfilling our best potential, surely we must face reality squarely and build on truth, not illusion.
The worldwide headquarters for Anthroposophy is the Goetheanum, located in Dornach, Switzerland. It is, in essence, a cathedral: Among other telling features, it has colored glass windows, a large pipe organ, and an imposing statue of Christ, Lucifer, and Ahriman (the Zoroastrian devil).
This is the statue. The standing figure is Christ. The other figures are Lucifer, Ahriman, and an elemental being or nature spirit. Anthroposophy is a form of occultism that derives in part from various major religions (Christianity, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism...), and also from mysticism, magic, astrology, mythology, and the like.
Anthroposophy is a polytheistic creed. The universe teems with gods who occupy higher worlds. Steiner claimed to know these worlds thanks to clairvoyance. (Indeed, all of Anthroposophy hinges on clairvoyance — which science tells us does not exist. At Waldorf schools, students are nudged toward clairvoyance through emphasis on imagination.) This image represents, in vague fashion, ranks of gods as described by Steiner.
Human beings have four bodies, three of which are invisible. Or so the Waldorf belief system says. At night, our astral bodies (red) and our spiritual egos (purple) leave Earth and journey to the spirit worlds. In the morning, they rejoin our etheric bodies (yellow) and our physical bodies. Or so the Waldorf belief system says. Not all Waldorf teachers are true-believing Anthroposophists, but many are. Steiner said that Waldorf teachers need to follow Anthroposophy, and he said "Anthroposophy will be in the school."
Our current Earthly lives are just the most recent of our many, many incarnations. We are evolving from a lowly condition to divinity. We will ultimately become God the Father. Our evolution occurs through the processes of reincarnation and karma. Along the way, we pass through various forms, differing racial identities, and alternating genders. Or so the Waldorf belief system says.
So far during the course of our evolution, we have lived "on" Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon. We now live on Present Earth. We will next proceed to Future Jupiter, then Future Venus, and after that Future Vulcan. These are incarnations of the solar system, during which we rise to progressively higher forms of consciousness. Thus, the stages we move through are often call Conditions of Consciousness. (Most of us climb higher and higher, Steiner taught — but some individuals degenerate instead, falling to lower and lower levels until, in extreme cases, they fall out of evolution altogether.)
The power of the stars (astrology) has great importance in the Waldorf belief system. At Waldorf schools, many activities seek to attune students to cosmic forces. Here you see four basic eurythmy positions and their associated astrological signs. Eurythmy (a sort of spiritual dance) is often a required activity for all students at a Waldorf school.
Here you see the influence of the zodiac on various parts of the human body, according to the Waldorf belief system.Astrology lurks just below the surface at a typical Waldorf school. In seeking to educate the "whole child," Waldorf education theoretically engages all the forces of the starry heavens and the multitudinous gods residing there.
Steiner's clairvoyance allowed him to perceive many wonderful truths, such as this: The Earth was once a giant animal that, sadly, died.* Or so the Waldorf belief system says. Waldorf students may or may not be told about such things — Waldorf teachers face the problem of deciding how much Anthroposophical "truth" to reveal to students and their parents. If Anthroposophical doctrines are not laid out for students in so many words, efforts will probably be made nonetheless to foster occult attitudes, concepts, and receptivity among the students.
* Steiner often contradicted himself. Thus, despite desribing how the Earth has "died," he often said that the Earth is actually still alive — it breathes in and out as the seasons roll 'round.
Human beings are characterized by the possession of an "I" — a spiritual ego, a spark of divinity that makes each of us unique. But, according to Steiner, we also participate in "group souls" — souls that are shared by all members of a family, nation, race, etc. Moreover, according to Steiner, in the distant past our group souls predominated, they were our defining characteristic. This picture depicts the four group souls of that period, the eagle, lion, bull, and "human" group souls. The development and intermingling of these souls led eventually to the variegated but more advanced humanity of today. Or so Steiner said.
The Sun and Moon were once inside the Earth, back in the days before many humans migrated to other planets, according to the Waldorf belief system. The Moon gave the Earth its motherly qualities. Today animals carry these Moon forces within themselves. (If you don't see how some of these illustrations clarify Steiner's doctrines, that's just part of the experience of studying Steiner: His words and his drawings were often far from crystal-clear.)
In Anthroposophy, there are good gods and evil gods. Lucifer, whom you see here, is a problematic spirit. He has given humanity gifts, Anthroposophists believe, but he has also fought against our proper evolution. For instance, he and the demon Ahriman caused mankind to divide into multiple races, some of which are lower than others. (The white race, according to Steiner, is tops.)
Anthroposophists accept the account of mankind's past and future as "revealed" by Rudolf Steiner using his claimed power of exact clairvoyance. The resulting historical narrative differs markedly from the record charted by mainstream scholars. Here are some significant historical milestones (past and future), according to at least some Anthroposophical authorities. (If you have only recently begun to study and/or question Anthroposophy and Waldorf education, much of the terminology below may be strange to you. For definitions and explications, see "The Semi-Steiner Dictionary" and "The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia".) According to the beliefs promulgated by Steiner and his accolytes, this is the "reality" within which Waldorf schools function.
The prehistoric events described by Steiner are difficult or impossible to date in terms of time as we now know it. Note, also, that some of the final prehistoric events overlap early stages of the subsequent historical period.
◊ In what is to us an unknowable mystery, the Beginning occurs as a free act of divine will
◊ Before space or time as we can conceive them exist, in other "places" and "times" the various gods begin their evolutions
◊ The solar system comes into existence for the first time; it does so in a form occultly denominated Old Saturn (this is our first "condition of consciousness," otherwise called a "planetary condition"); no physical planets as we now know them exist; phenomena are largely undifferentiated and incorporeal; we exist at a level akin to minerals as we now know them; our proto-human consciousness is akin to coma; the beings we now know as Archai (Principalities, Zeitgeists, Original Forces...) evolve to reach their human stage; higher beings — other gods — evolve still higher
◊ After dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Old Sun; we exist at a level akin to plants as we now know them; our consciousness is akin to deep sleep; Spirits of Wisdom (gods six levels beyond ourselves) yield their life-substance, which will become our etheric bodies; the beings we now know as Archangels (Spirits of Fire, Agnishvattas, Solar Pitris...) evolve to their human stage; higher beings — other gods — evolve still higher
◊ After another dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Old Moon; we exist at a level akin to animals as we now know them; our consciousness is akin to dreaming; Spirits of Motion (gods five levels beyond us) yield their astral substance, which will become our astral bodies; the beings we now know as Angels (Sons of Twilight, Sons of Life, Lunar Pitris...) evolve to their human stage; higher beings — other gods — evolve still higher
◊ After yet another dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Present Earth (our fourth condition of consciousness); we evolve to reach our human stage, and our consciousness develops to the level of ordinary waking awareness; "physical reality" develops; we move toward extreme separation from the spirit realm; the planets and other members of the solar system as we know them now gradually develop; the beings who had been human during Old Moon evolve to become gods of the lowest rank; higher gods evolve still higher
◊ The first great epoch of Present Earth, occultly denominated the Polarian Epoch, occurs; the Sun and Moon are still united with the planet Earth; we have incorporeal, gossamer bodies
◊ The Sun separates from the planet Earth, and the second great epoch of Present Earth — the Hyperborean Epoch — occurs; we have airy bodies
◊ The Lemurian Epoch occurs — we dwell on the continent of Lemuria; the Moon separates from the planet Earth; we have iridescent, soft, animal-like bodies; many human souls leave the Earth for other planets; Lemuria is eventually destroyed by human wickedness
◊ The Atlantean Epoch occurs — we dwell on the continent of Atlantis; we develop the physical body, which will evolve to become the human form as we now know it; human souls that left for other planets return to Earth
Some of the following events, described by Steiner, overlap some of the later phases of the prehistoric period, and some may overlap one another. Steiner gave clear dates in some instances, but not in others.
◊ ~ 48,000 BCE - Krita Yuga, the "golden age," begins: human beings live essentially in harmonic union with the spirit realm
◊ ~ 28,000 BCE - Treta Yuga, the "silver age," begins: still a glorious time, but human ties to the spirit realm weaken
◊ ~ 13,000 BCE - Dvapara Yuga, the "bronze age," begins: human spiritual vision is dimmed, ties to the physical world increase
◊ ~ 7,500 BCE - Atlantis is destroyed by human wickedness; the Post-Atlantean Epoch is prepared
◊ ~ 7,227-5,067 BCE - The Ancient Indian cultural epoch occurs; mankind develops the etheric body
◊ 5,067-2,907 BCE - The Ancient Persian cultural epoch occurs; mankind develops the astral body
◊ ~ 3,000 BCE - Kali Yuga, the "dark age," begins: men directly experience only the physical realm
◊ ~ 2,500 BCE (i.e., during the third millennium BCE) - Lucifer incarnates in the East
◊ 2,907-747 BCE - The Egypto-Chaldean cultural epoch occurs; mankind develops the sentient soul
◊ 747 BCE - 1413 CE - The Greco-Roman cultural epoch occurs; mankind develops the intellectual soul; rational thought becomes possible
◊ ~ 30 CE - the Sun God, Christ, incarnates on Earth for three years; this is the Turning Point of Time, the event that makes correct future human evolution possible; at the end of three years, Christ's human body is crucified and his blood flows into the Earth
◊ 1413 CE - The fifth post-Atlantean cultural epoch (sometimes called the Anglo-Germanic Age) begins, ushering in the modern world; mankind develops the consciousness soul
◊ ~ 1471 CE - The Archangel Gabriel becomes Time Archangel for the next ~ 350 years
◊ 1605 CE - Buddha incarnates on Mars; he achieves crucifixion there
◊ 1841 CE - The Archangel Michael becomes the Spirit of the Age for the next ~ 2,160-2,450 years
◊ 1861 CE - Rudolf Steiner is born
◊ 1879 CE - Michael defeats Ahrimanic powers in the spirit realm, and he ejects them; he becomes Time Archangel for the next ~ 350 years; Rudolf Steiner meets the man who will give him his first of two occult initiations; later he meets "M" who gives him his second
◊ 1899 CE - Kali Yuga, the "dark age," ends as Rudolf Steiner begins his occult teachings
◊ 1913 CE - Rudolf Steiner breaks with Theosophy and establishes Anthroposophy; Germany's Christ-like position balancing the Luciferic East and Ahrimanic West is brought to crisis as world war threatens
◊ 1914 CE - The Great War, or World War I, begins; it will end calamitously for Germany
◊ 1919-1924 CE - Rudolf Steiner oversees Anthroposophical initiatives in education, medicine, agriculture, religion, etc.
◊ 1925 CE - Rudolf Steiner dies
◊ 1930 CE - Christ begins manifesting in the etheric realm — this is the Second Coming
◊ ~ 1998 CE - Sorat, the Antichrist, emerges
◊ ~ 2000 CE - Christ becomes Lord of Karma
◊ ~ 2250 CE (i.e., during the third millennium CE) - Ahriman incarnates in the West
◊ ~ 2300-2400 CE - Mechanization and materialism create demons that war against the human spirit
◊ ~ 2900 CE - Thinking with the materialistic brain becomes impossible; astrological forces become universally recognized
◊ 3573 CE - The sixth post-Atlantean cultural epoch — the Russian Age — begins; Aquarius is dominant; spiritual knowledge is affirmed
◊ ~ 4500 CE - The truths of Anthroposophy become instinctively obvious; yet Christ's true band remains small
◊ 5733 CE - The final cultural epoch, the American Age, begins; hideous monsters of automation spread across the Earth; all previous trends move toward a climax
◊ ~ 7000 CE - The Moon reunites with the planet Earth
◊ ~ 7900 CE - The War of All Against All brings the Post-Atantean Epoch to its end; survivors transition to the sixth great epoch of Present Earth, when the seals of the Apocalypse are opened
◊ ~~~ The seventh and final great epoch of Present Earth occurs; over a period of ~ 40,000 years, physical reality is abolished, absorbed into human substance; natural law becomes coterminous with moral law; the trumpets of doom sound
History in any normal sense — occurring on or near the planet Earth within the evolutionary stage called Present Earth — is over. Subsequent events occur in other conditions of consciousness.
◊ After dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Future Jupiter (our fifth condition of consciousness); we become divine, attaining a rank equivalent to today's Angels (Sons of Twilight, Sons of Life, Lunar Pitris... i.e., gods of the lowest rank); our consciousness rises to the level of perfected imagination ("Jupiter consciousness")
◊ After dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Future Venus; we reach a rank equivalent to today's Archangels (Spirits of Fire, Agnishvattas, Solar Pitris...); our consciousness rises to the level of perfected inspiration ("Venus consciousness"); a moon of perdition separates and becomes the dwelling place of remaining evildoers
◊ After dissolution, the solar system reincarnates as Future Vulcan; we reach a rank equivalent to today's Archai (Time Spirits, Primeval Forces, Spirits of Selfhood...); our consciousness rises to the level of perfected intuition ("Vulcan consciousness")
◊ Five more cosmic reincarnations lie beyond, but no description is possible; comprising the Tenth Hierarchy, we gradually evolve to become God the Father
[For these matters, I have used various Anthroposophical sources, including S. C. Easton's MAN AND THE WORLD IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY, R. Seddon's THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH AS FORESEEN BY RUDOLF STEINER, and R. Steiner's OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE, THE TRUE NATURE OF THE SECOND COMING, etc. Bear in mind that Steiner and his followers have not been wholly clear or consistent on many of the subjects outlined here, so many details are, at best, tentative, and lists incorporating other events and dates may be drawn up.]
— Roger Rawlings
This is a sufficient preview, I imagine.
Please bear in mind that I do not believe
the Steiner doctrines I have outlined —
I'm just a messenger.
We will look into all these matters
(and, as the saying goes, much, much more)
on other pages here at Waldorf Watch.
A garden in Atlantis? In Lemuria? On Vulcan?
No, none of these — although Steiner said
all these realms existed or will exist.
The sketches on this page are by myself (R.R.),
created in 2009 & 2010, based on Anthroposophical sources.
I apologize for my limitations as draftsman and artist.
The sources I used are the following,
starting with the first image above
and proceeding to the last:
Upward-reaching figure: GOETHEANUM (Philosophical-Anthroposophical Press, 1961), p. 26,
Exterior of the Goetheanum: Rudolf Steiner, ARCHITECTURE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 184,
Statue of Christ, Ahriman, and Lucifer: John Fletcher, ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 54,
Impression of edities: Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 235,
The four human bodies: Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 102,
Impression of reincarnation: Rudolf Steiner, REINCARNATION AND KARMA (Steiner Books, 1992) - sketch based on descriptions.
The solar system incarnate: Rudolf Steiner, FROM SUNSPOTS TO STRAWBERRIES (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), p. 20,
Four eurythmic gestures: Rudolf Steiner, EURYTHMY AS VISIBLE SPEECH (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1984), p. 159,
Astrology and the parts of our physical body: Roy Wilkinson, THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF STEINER EDUCATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 47,
Conditions on Earth so long ago: Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 69,
Four group souls: Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 51,
Sun and Moon within the Earth: Rudolf Steiner, FROM CRYSTALS TO CROCODILES (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2002), p. 130,
Lucifer: John Fletcher, ART INSPIRED BY RUDOLF STEINER (Mercury Arts Publications, 1987), p. 54.
Blue and yellow Waldorf abstraction: Ibid., p. 112 — from a mural painted in a Waldorf school by Walther Roggenkamp.
Dream flower: wholly my own.
I have struggled a little, trying to decide how much effort to put into the illustrations I create for Waldorf Watch. My intention is simply to represent Anthroposophical artwork as well as I can without committing unwarranted time and labor to the process.
This leaves the question, are my illustrations accurate — that is, do they give a fair representation of Anthroposophical artistry and the beliefs represented by such artistry? You should check me on this as on all other matters. My aim, throughout, has been to be fair and truthful while clarifying teachings that can often seem opaque if not impenetrable. Whether I have succeeded is, of course, for you to decide.
As one indication, here is an Anthroposophical illustration that I used as the basis for one of the sketches I presented earlier on this page. You can reach your own conclusions about the accuracy, fairness, and informativeness of my copy.
[Rudolf Steiner, FROM COMETS TO COCAINE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 51.]