TABLE OF CONTENTS
This website is being rebuilt. It will be a mess for a while,
but it will remain open while the work progresses.
Here is a directory to the pages at Waldorf Watch and its associated sites. At the end of the directory, you will find some general explanatory notes, including "A Question of Quotes".
The essays at Waldorf Watch were written over a period of years. There is some overlap, some repetition, and some minor inconsistency among them. I wrote most of these essays, but other critics of Waldorf schooling are also represented — including Dan Dugan, Pete Karaiskos, Grégoire Perra, Ian Robinson, Margaret Sachs, Debra Snell, Peter Staudenmaier, and Diana Winters. Read as much as you like; skim or skip over whatever you find redundant or dull. I think you'll find that, overall, the essays present a clear explanation of Waldorf schooling and the thinking that lies behind it.
— Roger Rawlings
Home page, with statement of objectives
1. WALDORF EDUCATION: AN OVERVIEW
HERE'S THE ANSWER - What Waldorf schools are all about
THE UPSIDE - Best foot forward
SPIRITUAL AGENDA - Waldorf's goals
SCHOOLS AS CHURCHES - Waldorf's reality
INTO THE WORLD - Does Waldorf Work?
SNEAKING IT IN - How they teach it
CAUTIONARY TALES - Words of warning
OH HUMANITY - The key to Waldorf
THE WALDORF TEACHER'S CONSCIOUSNESS - "Clairvoyance"
INCARNATION - Developing our invisible bodies
SOUL SCHOOL - Trying to seem sensible
GLORY - That Waldorf glow
MY LIFE AMONG THEM, Part 1 - By a former student and teacher
SQUARE ONE, Part 1 - From the beginning, again
MANIFESTATIONS - A pictorial overview
TROLLS? - Any here?
TEMPLATE - Design of the site
2. WALDORF SCHOOLS TODAY
WALDORF NOW - Bringing the inquiry up to date
TODAY - Waldorf schools in the 21st Century
TODAY 2 - What they're saying
TODAY 3 - More
TODAY 4 - What they're reading
TODAY 5 - What they're saying (cont.)
TODAY 6 - Readings (2018...)
TODAY 7 - More, and more, and...
TODAY 8 - Still more, and still more, and...
WALDORF WATCH NEWS - Stop the presses
WEIRD WALDORF - A brief look at purposes
NUTSHELL - A brief summary
SIX FACTS ABOUT STEINER EDUCATION - A guide for students and parents
ANTHROPOPERY - Steiner's theory of everything, briefly
SECRETS - Some of what you aren’t supposed to know
FAILURE - To survive or not, to teach or not
REPORT CARD - Debating and evaluating Waldorf education
3. CONSIDERATIONS FOR PARENTS
ADVICE FOR PARENTS - For those considering enrolling their kids
CLUES - Detailed pointers on evaluating a Waldorf school
THE WORLD OF WALDORF - Reverence, wonder, and straining for them
OUR BRUSH WITH RUDOLF STEINER - One family's story [external link]
SLAPS - Classroom discipline and...
THE GOOD (?) PARTS - Some positive elements, but also...
HELP! - A parent's cry
HELP 2 - Another
HELP 3 - Court case
HELP 4 - A father asks for guidance
HELP 5 - Looking at a Parent Handbook
HELP 6 - Unjustly assailed
WHO GETS HURT - Inquiring into Waldorf “success”
COMPLAINTS - Reviews and rants
HUMOURESQUE - The “temperaments” in Waldorf schools
NON-WALDORF WALDORFS - Can a Waldorf school cleanse itself?
ACADEMIC STANDARDS AT WALDORF - A problem since the first Waldorf school
SPOTLIGHT ON ANTHROPOSOPHY - An overview [external link]
4. THE WALDORF APPROACH
THE WALDORF CURRICULUM - The standard Waldorf program
METHODS - How they try to do it
CORE PRINCIPLES - Seven of them
TEACHER TRAINING - How they get that way
THINKING CAP - Irrational modes of “thought”
OH MY WORD - English and history
THE GODS - Norse myths
MAGICAL ARTS - And festivals
LESSON BOOKS - Created by students
MYSTIC MATH - Surprising calculations
STEINER'S “SCIENCE" - Antiscientific
IS ANTHROPOSOPHY SCIENCE? - No [external link]
SPIDERS, DRAGONS AND FOXES - Fearsome technology
OH MY STARS - Astronomy
FACULTY MEETINGS - Among themselves
FOUNDATIONS - Fundamentals, I
UNDERPINNINGS - Fundamentals, II
BASEMENT - Fundamentals. III
DISCUSSIONS - Between Steiner and Waldorf teachers
ADVICE FOR TEACHERS - "Practical" tips from Steiner
5. A FORMER WALDORF STUDENT
I WENT TO WALDORF - A report on life as a Waldorf student
UNENLIGHTENED - A far longer version of "I Went to Waldorf", including:
WALDORF'S PURPOSE - "Unenlightened - Part 2"
LIGHT AND DARK - "Unenlightened - Part 3"
WALDORF'S IMPACT - "Unenlightened - Part 4"
"SPIRITUAL SCIENCE" - "Unenlightened - Part 5"
CLAIRVOYANT VISION - "Unenlightened - Part 6"
COMPASSION AND ITS ABSENCE - "Unenlightened - Part 7"
6. FORMER WALDORF TEACHERS, ET AL
HE WENT TO WALDORF - A student, teacher, believer — who left
EX-TEACHER 2 - Another firsthand account
EX-TEACHER 3 - A third firsthand account
EX-TEACHER 4 - A long, astrological tale — told briefly
EX-TEACHER 5 - Leaving Waldorf, finding something better
EX-TEACHER 6 - The real skinny
EX-TEACHER 7 - The child vs. the cause
SPIRITUAL CANCER - Contamination and corruption
LOOKING INTO IT - Teachers as priests
HIS EDUCATION - A wayward Anthroposophist
DISTRESS - Reeling away from Christchurch
DORM DAD - His reply
DAY AND NIGHT - Focus on Steiner schools
SHE TOOK THE TRAINING - A big year coming
HE TOOK THE TRAINING - A square peg
BIGGEST BETRAYAL - Parent and teacher
HEALTHY HAVEN? - Founding member
SATANIC CULT? - After 10 years...
WHATS YOUR VIEW - Run!
WHY SHE QUIT - You will be lied to...
MISTREATING KIDS LOVINGLY - A chat between friends
FAREWELL, WÜRTTEMBERG - And to its Waldorf school
A TEACHER'S SON - Now a critic
DEEP IN THE HEART - She hits the trail
7. IN THEIR OWN WORDS
SAY WHAT? - Selected quotations; includes "Anthroposophy at Waldorf"
SAY WHAT TOO - More from Steiner
WHO SAYS? - Other than Rudolf
SAYS WHO? - "Who Says" continued
STEINER STATIC - Nonsense in the air
STATIC TOO - More
STEINER’S BILE - Perhaps the worst statements Steiner made
WISE WORDS - More revelations; includes "Last Words" and "Reading Steiner"
TOP TEN JOKES - Some of his silliest statements
WALDORF WISDOM - Not
8. THE WORST SIDE
STEINER’S RACISM - Deep in Anthroposophy
EMBEDDED RACISM - Enduring problems
UNIVERSAL - A lecture that exculpates?
FORBIDDEN - One of Steiner's suppressed lectures
ALSO FORBIDDEN - Another
ATLANTIS AND THE ARYANS - Legends embraced by Steiner
SYMPATHIZERS? - Ties to Nazism? Allegations and denials
EVOLUTION, ANYONE? - Steiner’s strange version
WHITE GUYS - Anthroposophical racism, recapped
9. WALDORF AND RELIGION
IS ANTHROPOSOPHY A RELIGION? - Despite denials, yes
GNOSIS - Anthroposophy and hidden knowledge
WAS HE CHRISTIAN? - Comparing Steiner's teachings with Christ's
STEINER'S FIFTH GOSPEL - The hidden story
ROSY CROSS - Anthroposophy and Rosicrucianism
GOD - Steiner's strange ideas about the Lord
GODDESS - Earth Goddess; Anthropo-Sophia
SERVING THE GODS - What Waldorf faculties aim for
PRAYERS - About those "morning verses"
WALDORF WORSHIP - Teachers as priests
FAITH - The religion of Anthroposophy in the classroom
BEAT - Turning students into disciples
CHOOSING - Why? Or why not?
10. CLAIRVOYANCE AND DELUSION
CLAIRVOYANCE - The missing basis
INSIDE SCOOP - Occult initiation in Anthroposophy
WHY? - Oh why? Oh why? Oh why?
FOOLING - Ourselves
DOPAMINE - Getting happy
EXACTLY - "Exact" clairvoyance
ESP - Case closed?
JVH - Delusional or fraudulent?
DECEPTION - Being fooled
11. THE WALDORF WORLDVIEW
EVERYTHING - Steiner’s central text
PREHISTORY 101 - His sci-fi-like narrative; continued in:
KNOWING THE WORLDS - How to, he said
LOVE AND THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN - Promoting love, sort of
BAD, BADDER, BADDEST - Terrible trio
VIOLENCE - Turmoil in a "kindly" vision
THE GOOD WARS - America, Germany, and Waldorf
THE ANCIENTS - Mistaking ignorance for wisdom
DOUBLE TROUBLE - Occult conspiracy theories
THE WHITE LODGE - Back-room maneuvers
12. DANGEROUS DISCONNECTIONS
STEINER’S BLUNDERS - Errors, fallacies, falsehoods...
STEINER’S QUACKERY - Anthroposophical medicine
WHAT WE ARE - Human nature, he said
THE CENTER- Macrocosms, microcosms; big and small
NEUTERED NATURE - Waldorf's view of the natural world
BIODYNAMICS - Quack agriculture: astrology and magic
OH MAN - Laying it out clearly
OVERHEAD - Vulcan, the Zodiac, Mars, etc.
THE PLANETS - our solar system or "universe"
FANTASY FLIGHTS - Waldorf escapism
13. RUDOLF STEINER
WHAT A GUY - Steiner through his followers’ eyes
GURU - Steiner as leader
THROUGH HIS EYES - Steiner's visions
STEINER'S SPECIFIC - What he prescribed, and why (?)
STEINER AND THE WARLORD - Embracing of an architect of destruction
ENEMIES - Steiner and his followers, beleaguered
ALL V. ALL - The coming, epoch-ending war
GALLERY - What he might have done
14. PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER
SUMMING UP - A look back, plus
TRUTH - Mystical thinking, realistic thinking; continued in:
OUR EXPERIENCE - Reports and advices
COMING UNDONE - More
MOMS - Talking it over
POPS - Had enough?
EXTREMITY - Crossing many lines
THE WALDORF SCANDAL - The near-collapse of a Waldorf school
MY SAD, SAD STORY - Deprogramming myself after Waldorf
YOURS TRULY - Who the heck am I?
HORROR AND HOPE - Doom and deliverance
CONCLUSION - Short and sweet
SO? - Can you trust me?
15. SUPPLEMENTAL PAGES
To see a listing of the supplemental pages,
click on this link:
The overall design of Waldorf Watch
is presented at
For concise, direct answers to questions about Waldorf schools,
An attempt to simulate a characteristic style of Anthroposophical art,
a style often seen in Waldorf schools. Artwork in the schools
is often far superior to this, but aesthetics are largely beside the point.
Anthroposophical art is meant to evoke and embody spiritual powers and beings —
it is not art for art's sake, but art for occultism's sake.
◊ While I take Rudolf Steiner seriously, I often laugh at his doctrines. Much of what he taught is preposterous. But be forewarned: Some of his doctrines are quite hateful and thus not at all laughable. And the harm Steiner's educational doctrines can inflict on innocent young children is serious indeed.
◊ My primary focus is on Waldorf schools. Many people find these schools attractive, at least initially. Waldorfs are often small, cozy, and beautiful. They can seem like safe refuges in a fearful world. However, any schools that abide by Steiner’s teachings are necessarily devoted to occultism, specifically Anthroposophy — although they often disguise this devotion. Understanding what goes on in such schools requires peering beneath the surface. Waldorf Watch aims to enable such peering.
◊ Especially important passages crop up in more than one essay. I don't expect anyone to read every essay here, so to make sure that various pivotal items reach as many readers as possible, I have stated some arguments, and cited some quotations, in multiple places on the site. If you come upon something you’ve read before, please just skip ahead.
◊ Throughout, I provide links to other sources of information. As time passes, some of these links may become outdated. I will update them if I can, but if you try to use a link that proves to be a dud, searching the Internet by keyword may take you where you want to go.
◊ Here and there, I have included sketches I have made. Many of these are renderings of illustrations found in Anthroposophical books. Some photographs I've taken over the years are also scattered around the site. I apologize for my poor artistic efforts (all of which are identified by my initials, R.R.) — I use my own sketches and photographs only when no other, better works are available for reproduction here.
Please excuse any typos at this site. I hope they are few and insignificant. I’ll correct them all when I find them.
A QUESTION OF QUOTES
When quoting Steiner and others, I often omit extraneous and repetitive phrases, which I replace with ellipsis marks. I take care, however, not to alter any author's meaning. The best way to check me is to consult the texts from which I quote. I almost always provide citations.
Here is an example. In my long essay "Unenlightened", I use the following quotation to show that Steiner differentiated between the soul and the spirit: “The soul must not be impelled, through the body, to lusts and passions ... The spirit, however, must not stand as a slave-driver over the soul, dominating it with laws and commandments....” [Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 96.]
Here is a more complete version of the same passage, in which I include all words I previously omitted, and for context I include the sentences that appear immediately before and after the passage:
“The body must be so ennobled and purified that its organs are impelled to nothing that is not in the service of the soul and spirit. The soul must not be impelled, through the body, to lusts and passions which are antagonistic to pure and noble thought. The spirit, however, must not stand as a slave-driver over the soul, dominating it with laws and commandments; the soul must rather learn to follow these laws and duties out of its own free inclination. The student must not feel duty to be an oppressive power to which he unwillingly submits, but rather something which he performs out of love.”
Remember that my purpose was to establish that Steiner differentiates between the soul and the spirit. Including the additional sentences and phrases does not alter that differentiation; it merely makes the quotation longer while raising extraneous issues. That Steiner speaks of love, for instance, may be to his credit, but it does not change the distinction between spirit and soul. Thus, the clipped form of the quotation is accurate and more to the point.
The issue of context is complex. The passage I’ve quoted comes from within a long paragraph. The only way to absolutely avoid taking such passages out of context would be to reprint entire paragraphs or perhaps entire chapters. But clearly that would be impractical and — in some cases — illegal due to copyright laws. The test you should apply is whether a quotation would mean something fundamentally different if taken within a larger context. In the example I've given, neither the omission of some words nor the absence of the larger context alters the point at issue, which is that Steiner distinguished between spirit and soul.
Another note on this topic: In omitting phrases and sentences, I may seem to be ducking some issues. You can check me on this, as well. I can’t deal with every issue simultaneously, but I do not intentionally ignore any subjects that are important to an understanding of Waldorf education or Anthroposophy. Thus, I deal with Steinerian “love” in the such essays as "Love and the Universal Human", “Underpinnings”, and “Was He Christian?” Similarly, I deal with Steiner’s conception of thought (a subject introduced by the phrase “pure and noble thought”) in various essays including "Thinking", “Thinking Cap”, and “Steiner’s Specific”. For a discussion of Steiner’s doctrines about the human constitution (“the body must be so ennobled and purified that its organs...”), see “Steiner’s Quackery”, “What We’re Made Of”, and "Our Parts". For more on Steiner’s conception of freedom (which boils down to voluntary acceptance of laws and commandments), see "Freedom", “Nutshell”, and “Steiner Static”.
I should also explain, briefly, that I generally format all quotations, long and short, alike. I place them within quotation marks. This violates a common practice, which is to omit quotation marks from long quotations, indenting these passages instead, and setting the indented material in smaller type. My purpose has been to ensure that all quotations are immediately recognizable as such, and that they are readily legible on computer screens.
— Roger Rawlings