“Rudolf Steiner was forced to ask why it was that no one seemed to be able to hear what could be done to form a truly new society, a truly human society. He concluded that no one could hear him because the education people had been given left them unable to consider, and therefore unable to work with, anything not based in familiar routine.” — Robert F. Lathe and Nancy Parsons Whittaker in the introduction to THE SPIRIT OF THE WALDORF SCHOOL (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), p. xii.
By this account, the purpose of Waldorf education is to produce people who are able to “hear” Rudolf Steiner. In other words, the purpose is to break children free from the familiar world and accustom them to an alternate world, the world of mysticism and the occult. This is the world of Rudolf Steiner’s doctrines. The purpose of Waldorf education, then, is to produce people who are prepared to hear — or indeed embrace — Rudolf Steiner’s mystical and occult doctrines. This is the reason for the enormous emphasis that Waldorf schools place on myths, legends, fairy tales, and the like, along with their use of prayers and hymns, their advocacy of non-rational modes of thought such as imagination, and their general opposition to modern science and technology.
The degree to which Waldorf schools convey Steiner's doctrines to students varies, but in general the schools aim to shape individuals in such a way that, as adults, those individuals will be predisposed to "hear" — and embrace — Rudolf Steiner.
The Waldorf view of childhood is greatly complicated by Steiner's occult doctrines. Thus, for instance, Steiner was devoted to the number 3, which he considered magical.* Thus, he divided childhood into three sets of three elements, and he said children pass through three stages (each seven years long). To make this system coherent, he hammered together things that are actually quite different, as when he spoke of the "limb-metabolic system." (Consult any legitimate medical text. We have arms and legs, and we have a metabolism, but these are separate; there is no limb-metabolic system.) Nonetheless, Steiner is believed by typical Waldorf teachers. Here is how childhood is described by a leading advocate of Waldorf schooling:
"On the level of soul, [Steiner] describes the human being as a threefold being, one who thinks, feels, and wills. On the level of consciousness, these three forces manifest as wakefulness (thinking), dreaming (feeling), and deep sleep (willing). On the level of physiology, they utilize the three 'systems' of nerve-senses (thinking), rhythmic-circulatory (feeling), and limb-metabolic (willing). On the level of human development, these forces unfold in discrete seven-year periods: willing dominates the first seven years of life, feelings become accessible to the child in the second seven-year period, and independent thinking blossoms after age fourteen.” — Eugene Schwartz in the Foreword to a collection of Steiner’s lectures and remarks, THE RENEWAL OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 2001), p. 12.
A system is which everything seems to fit is appealing. But Steiner's system is unsupported by actual medical, psychological, or educational knowledge. It even violates mainstream theology. It is appealing mystical mumbo-jumbo. (And its appeal fades when we think about it, rationally, for more than a few moments.)
* "Three is the number of the Divinity revealing itself ... Seven is the number of perfection." — Rudolf Steiner. [See "Magic Numbers".]
Waldorf education, especially in the lower grades, includes extensive exposure to the Waldorf belief system, Anthroposophy. Much of this exposure comes in the form of stories that, to the uninitiated, may seem innocuous. Here, for instance, is a Waldorf account of the first day of Creation. It bears only a slight resemblance to any part of the Bible; it is fundamentally Anthroposophical.
“As God Father sat upon his throne, he called out seven words through heaven. The seven colors of the rainbow appeared and shone in seven circles around his throne ... Behind the rainbow, majestic fire angels lifted a great cloud curtain, revealing a hall of heaven that had never been seen before. In the hallway were thousands upon thousands of sleeping souls, countless as the stars in heaven ... The fire-angels lowered the curtail and opened the gate of heaven ... Light began to shine, to blaze and sparkle brightly. The darkness withdrew to the depths. Fire-angels stripped flames from their garments, and the new world grew warm. It bubbled and flamed and flashed. Thunder rumbled and rolled so loudly that the evil spirits in the deep huddled in fear. Above them the angels’ eyes, like a thousand suns, sparkled from the bright light of the first day of creation.” — AND THERE WAS LIGHT (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006), p. 13. The author, Jakob Streit, describes the purpose of his book: "This collection of stories and descriptions is the result of the author's work over a period of years introducing children in the lower grades to the world of the Old Testament ... If one succeeds in letting the reality of nature grow out of the divine, colorful background of a world creation, then awe, reverence, and love of nature can blossom ... It is hoped that [these stories] with touch the children's hearts and feelings...." [p. 109.]
Waldorf schools usually claim to be nonsectarian and nondenominational. Yet Waldorf students are told religious story after religious story. These stories create and reinforce the spiritual atmosphere in Waldorf classrooms — an atmosphere that is distinctly Anthroposophical. Despite superficial resemblances, the religion in Waldorf schools should not be mistaken for Christianity. It is Anthroposophy, not Christianity. [See "Was He Christian?" and "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]
◊ "God Father" may appear to be God as depicted in the Old Testament Jehovah — but in Anthroposophy, Jehovah is a rather minor god, not the One and Only Lord of Creation. [See “Genesis".] The name "God Father" echoes the term "God the Father” — but in Anthroposophy, God the Father is the god of Saturn, not a member of the One and Only Christian God. [See "The Father”.] "God Father" also echoes "All Father," the designation of Odin, the highest Norse god. [See "The Gods".] Steiner indicated the Odin certainly exists.
◊ Seven words, seven colors, seven circles… In Anthroposophy, seven is a magic number; Steiner called it the number of perfection. [See "Magic Numbers".] Here, Waldorf students are introduced to the importance of the number seven as well as the spiritually potent effect of language — "he called out seven words."
◊ In Anthroposophical doctrine, fire angels or "Fire Spirits" are gods two levels above man, and they played a major role in the Creation. [See the entry for "Fire Spirits" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia; cf. the entry for "fire spirits".]
◊ To minds steeped in Norse mythology, the term "hall of heaven” will likely evoke thoughts of Valhalla, the hall in Asgard, land of the gods. [See "The Gods".] Both halls are populated by souls — overseen by a pantheon of gods — awaiting their summons onto the field of action.
◊ The hall contains human souls waiting to be incarnated. In this story, we see the gods check on the sleeping souls, then setting about the task of creating a world for them to inhabit. Consistent with Anthroposophical doctrines, the Creation is described as a cooperative act of numerous gods. [See the entry for "creation of heaven and earth" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.] Anthroposophy is polytheistic [see "Polytheism"] , and incarnation (as part of the process of reincarnation) is a basic tenet. ["Incarnation" and "Reincarnation"].
◊ Streit’s account starts with an apparently monotheistic perspective, but it quickly shifts to a more polytheistic view. Note that the more active spirits, here, are the Fire Angels, not God Father. In Anthroposophy, the highest form of divinity is the Godhead, which is amorphous and inherent, not active in and of itself. [See "God".]
◊ According to Waldorf belief, evil beings are consigned to the Abyss — the deep chasm separating Earth from the higher worlds. There is no Hell, as such, in Anthroposophy, but the Abyss and other places of perdition are identified. [See "Hell" and "Higher Worlds”.]
◊ Waldorf education certainly aims to instill reverence, but whether nature is to be revered is less certain. Steiner described nature as the abode of invisible "nature spirits" such as gnomes or goblins. These are amoral beings who often display at least mild hostility to humankind. [See "Neutered Nature".]
This story, like many of the others told to young Waldorf students, presents Anthroposophical concepts in a seemingly acceptable form. Young children may absorb these concepts and be heavily influenced by them for the rest of their lives. Indeed, this is the purpose of such stories told in Waldorf schools.
Young students in Waldorf schools are exposed to many Anthroposophical beliefs. Much of this exposure comes in the form of stories that, to the uninitiated, may seem innocuous. The following is a Waldorf account of the seventh day of Creation:
“When everything had been created, God Father looked upon His work and saw that it was good. He gave the angels dominion over the new creation. The Elohim ruled over the sun and the sunlight, the moon and stars. The Cherubim held power over lightning and thunder. The rocks, the water, the air and the fire — all were given their rulers.” — AND THERE WAS LIGHT (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006), p. 29.
This narrative nudges young children toward accepting various Anthroposophical concepts, at least in a generalized form.
◊ In Anthroposophy, angels are gods. There are many gods and many ranks of gods. The Elohim are gods four levels above man, while the Cherubim are gods eight levels above man. [See “Polytheism”.] (In Judeo-Christian mystical tradition, "Elohim" is a name for God; in Anthroposophy, the Elohim are many separate gods. Also in Judeo-Christian mystical tradition, "Cherubim" are high-ranking angels; in Anthroposophy, they are gods.)
◊ Astrology plays a large role in the Waldorf belief system, with gods dwelling on planets and stars (Jehovah, for instance, is a Moon god, Christ is the Sun God, Lucifer hails from Venus, and so forth). Here we see gods, the Elohim, being given dominion over stars and planets. [See “Planetary Spirits”.]
◊ According to Waldorf belief, various gods extend their powers through natural phenomena on Earth. Here we find the four classical elements ("rocks, the water, the air and the fire") identified and "given their rulers." In addition, according to Anthroposophy, “nature spirits” or "elemental beings" are present in nature. These are invisible presences lower than gods: Gnomes reside in the ground ("rocks"), undines in the water, sylphs in the air, and salamanders in fire. [See “Neutered Nature”.] According to Waldorf belief, such beings really exist, and Waldorf students are told many tales about them. (Gnomes are especially present in Waldorf schools; gnome dolls and figurines can be found in many Waldorf classrooms.)
Comparing the Anthroposophical version of Creation with the Biblical version shows significant differences. Children who are told the sorts of stories found in AND THERE WAS LIGHT are not being given orthodox Bible stories. Here are the ending verses in Genesis 1 and the beginning verses in Genesis 2, telling of the sixth and seventh days of Creation. Note that the gods mentioned in the Anthroposophical version (Elohim, Cherubim) are not mentioned here; also, according to the Bible, dominion is given not to the gods and/or nature spirits, but to man. And, certainly, according to the Bible, there is one God, one Creator; the Bible is not polytheistic.
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
30 "And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the sixth day.
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
— THE HOLY BIBLE, New International Version.
A web of mythic tales is woven around young Waldorf students. Some of these stories are ostensibly Biblical, but actually they inculcate Anthroposophical doctrines, which often run counter to the Bible. A Waldorf educator gives this explanation of the Waldorf version of Creation:
"The Biblical story of the creation is couched in magnificent language which everyone can appreciate. To understand what is implied is not so easy. Fortunately, Rudolf Steiner has given an account of evolution from the spiritual scientific aspect and this, though complicated, clarifies the matter considerably. He describes three so-called planetary conditions of the earth. The first is a huge globe of heat, a manifestation of spiritual beings, in which our whole solar system was included as an undifferentiated mass. There was a development from the heat element into a sort of gaseous substance and light. At a third stage there was a condensation to liquid ...
“'In the beginning'
"This refers to the beginning of Earth evolution...an interweaving of the elemental substances of heat, gas and liquid which are really the embodiment or means of expression of spiritual beings.
"The word in the original Hebrew is Elohim. It is a plural and Elohim are high ranking [sic] spiritual beings, called in Greek the Exusiai, or by other [i.e., Anthroposophical] designation, Spirits of Form. God as a collective term is justified in so far [sic] as the Elohim work as a group, combining their individual talents with the aim of creating man." — Roy Wilkinson, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT STORIES (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2001), pp. 10-11.
The Waldorf meaning of the Creation story is radically unlike anything you will hear in a synagogue, church, or mosque.
◊ "Spiritual science," in Waldorf belief, is Anthroposophy, the occult system created by Rudolf Steiner. It is also sometimes called occult science or esoteric science.
◊ A key concept in Anthroposophy — one generally not near the hearts of anyone who takes the Bible literally — is evolution.
◊ Evolution as described by Steiner has no connection to the biological process traced by modern science. Steiner taught that we have evolved through "planetary conditions" or "planetary stages" — we began on Old Saturn ("a huge globe of heat"), progressed to the Old Sun (gas and light), and then to the Old Moon (liquid), before coming to Present Earth, the fourth of our planetary stages. Each of the planetary stages encompasses the entire solar system, including the Earth as it exists during that period.
◊ Our evolution is overseen by numerous "spiritual beings" or gods, who have a divine plan for our development to higher and higher forms.
◊ "In the beginning..." Wilkinson explains that this phrase in the Bible refers not to the real beginning of the universe but to the beginning of our current, fourth planetary stage — life on Earth in its present incarnation.
◊ The most shocking part of the Waldorf version of creation entails God. In Waldorf belief, God is not Jehovah, God Almighty, the Creator, or Allah. “God” is a committee of high-ranking spiritual beings. Anthroposophists see the Old Testament as a set of stories about the activities of numerous gods of varying ranks. Here, Wilkinson says that the gods called Spirits of Form (aka Elohim or Exusiai) were instrumental in creating us.
◊ Wilkinson's discussion of the word "Elohim" is, at best, debatable. Here is a truer account: "Though Elohim is plural in form, it is understood in the singular sense. Thus, in Genesis the words, 'In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth,' Elohim is monotheistic in connotation, though its grammatical structure seems polytheistic. The Israelites probably borrowed the Canaanite plural noun Elohim and made it singular in meaning in their cultic practices and theological reflections." [ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA.] Thus, while Wilkinson argues that "Elohim" connotes a polytheistic universe, in fact the Bible is monotheistic.
◊ The Spirits of Form are equivalent to the angelic order called Powers. See, e.g., Rudolf Steiner, EXCURSUS ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1937), lecture 4, GA 124.
COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT STORIES is intended for the guidance of Waldorf teachers. Wilkinson explains the "real" meaning of the Creation story for his fellow Waldorf teachers. Those teachers, in turn, will seek to convey this meaning — to one degree or another, explicitly or implicitly — to their students.
The stories Waldorf teachers tell their students are often designed to instill Anthroposophical beliefs. Here is the meaning of the Waldorf account of Lucifer’s fall and, subsequently, mankind’s fall. Waldorf teachers would use different words when addressing young children, but these are the sorts of words they use when discussing such things among themselves.
"There had been certain beings in the spiritual world who had failed in their normal progress and they had become self-willed. They are known as the Luciferic beings [i.e., Lucifer and his minions]. Ever since man has been endowed with astrality, i.e., the possibility of having feelings, passions, desires [sic: interpolation by Wilkinson], he was open to Luciferic influence. For their own purposes these beings made man aware of himself earlier than planned by the creators [sic: multiple gods]. They awakened his senses (opened his eyes) [sic: interpolation by Wilkinson] and he began to lose consciousness of the divine in favor of the terrestrial. By becoming conscious of himself in the world of the senses [i.e., in the physical world], he acquired the ability to choose freely between good and evil." — Roy Wilkinson, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT STORIES (Rudolf Steiner College Press, 2001), pp. 17-18.
Here are some of the Anthroposophical doctrines Waldorf students are exposed to it this narrative. Some can be reconciled with the Bible; others cannot.
◊ Sin, in the Waldorf view, involves the failure to evolve properly. [See “Sin”.] Thus, those spirits who allied themselves with Lucifer “failed in their normal progress.” [See “Abnormal”.]
◊ Evolving in the wrong direction means asserting your own will rather than following the divine plan of the gods. This is what Lucifer and his minions have done — they became “self-willed.”
◊ In Anthroposophical belief, Lucifer is one of the main demons who threaten humanity's own proper evolution. The other is Ahriman. [See “Lucifer” and “Ahriman”.]
◊ As humans have evolved to higher, more spiritually capable levels (we became “endowed with astrality”), we have developed our own capacities for inner existence (“having feelings, passions, desires...”), which has opened us to being influenced by Lucifer.
◊ Lucifer and his minions pushed us to evolve too quickly in one way, derailing the plan of the gods by making us too self-aware (they “made man aware of himself earlier than planned by the creators”).
◊ We became earthly, physical, “terrestrial,” which distanced us from the spirit realm.
◊ This was good, in a sense — we developed the possibility of free choice (we could “choose freely between good and evil"), so in this sense Lucifer helped us. But the potential cost of Lucifer's influence is extremely threatening: We are increasingly cut off from the intentions of the good gods who created us (we are not doing what was “planned by the creators”).
We should note that Wilkinson’s explanations of Anthroposophical doctrine are sometimes questionable; nonetheless, they represent a view from inside the ranks of Waldorf teachers.
Here is what happened to Adam and Eve when they were expelled from paradise, according to Anthroposophy:
"Michael [an archangel] accompanied Adam and Eve to the earth. In the evening, it grew cold. Shaking with cold, Adam and Eve built a small hut out of bushes and made garments of leaves ... Adam and Eve could no longer hear the heavenly music or the angels' voices ... Michael came to Adam and Eve to comfort them. 'You have not lost heaven completely. Pray to God. Then the thread of light, which binds your souls to heaven, will not tear. At night this thread draws you toward the heavenly light." — Jakob Streit, AND THERE WAS LIGHT (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006), p. 34.
◊ In the Bible, the fall of mankind meant we were cast out of the Garden of Eden. But according to Waldorf belief, mankind's fall meant leaving the spiritual worlds and descending to Earth. (Steiner taught that before life on Earth we passed through evolutionary stages "on" Saturn, the Sun, and the Moon. Along the way, although evolving, we became progressively less spiritual and more physical. Likewise, individual humans are born on Earth after descending from the spirit worlds where they lived before birth.)
◊ In Waldorf belief, Christ is the Sun God and Michael is the Archangel of the Sun. Michael has special responsibility for helping to oversee human evolution, so he accompanied us to Earth.
◊ Descending to Earth means being cut off from the spirit worlds ("Adam and Eve could no longer hear the heavenly music or the angels' voices") — but our exile is not absolute. According to Steiner, when we sleep at night, we ascend again into the higher worlds (our astral bodies and our "I"s make this trip, while our physical and etheric bodies stay below). This is what Michael tells Adam and Eve to comfort them: At night, the thread leading back into the heavens “draws you toward the heavenly light." Or, in Steiner’s own words,
"[T]he astral body...is outside the human being at night ... [Also] the I. This is how we are at night. We are two people in the night." — Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 102.
Waldorf students are usually not taught Steiner's words, but they are introduced — usually indirectly — to Steiner's doctrines.
“The spiritual world is always around us, and we can work more consciously if we note the transition as we move from the earthly world to the spiritual world and vice versa. Thus at night we can say as we enter sleep, ‘Now I am entering the spiritual world,’ and in the morning as we awaken, we can say, ‘Now I am entering the earthly world.’” — Helmut von Kügelgen, essay #1 in WORKING WITH THE ANGELS (Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America 2004), p. 3.
Here we glimpse the central error of Anthroposophical thought. Anthroposophists think that when they go to sleep, they are entering the spiritual world, and they tell themselves that the experiences they have then are more significant than the experiences they have when they are awake. The truth is somewhat different. When people fall asleep, they are asleep, and the experiences they have then — dreams — have no real meaning at all.
Anthroposophists make the same mistake about their waking experiences, mistaking their fantasies and delusions for clairvoyant wisdom. In general, Anthroposophists think that they often enter or at least perceive the spiritual world. They are mistaken, but this error forms the core of their ideology.
"[At Waldorf schools, there is a] fundamental polarity between teacher and parents. ... [T]he role of the teachers [is] to take primary responsibility for the incarnation of the child* ... [T]he teacher is the king or queen of their classroom.” The role of the parents is to ask themselves “What can I do for [the school].” Parents help “incarnate the school” by becoming “the financial pillar.”
When teachers take their role to extremes, “it becomes ‘Luciferic,’ tending toward dogmatism, pride, and exclusivity.” When parents overstep their bounds, their activity “becomes ‘Ahrimanic,’ and can be characterized by attempts to control, power-plays, and manipulation.” — Robert Schiappacasse, essay #1 in ADMINISTRATIVE EXPLORATIONS: Essays on Business Practices within Waldorf Schools (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2000), pp. 6-8.
* According to Waldorf belief, children incarnate three invisible bodies; Waldorf teachers work to supervise this process. [See “Incarnation”.]
Parents are often pleased that the Waldorf curriculum includes so many Bible stories. They usually do not realize that these stories are twisted out of shape and used to inculcate occult Anthroposophical doctrines. Here is an example:
“The Old Testament story of Cain and Abel reveals the transition from Lemuria to Atlantis ... Cain and Abel do not represent individuals of that time, but rather, they represent humanity at the beginning of Atlantis. Cain, the first born son of Adam and Eve, is the last born of the Lemurian age and the first born of the Atlantean age ... As Cain’s heritage is from before the Fall, he is not aware of the difference between good and evil, but as the world begins to absorb the contrast of good and evil, Cain become capable of doing evil, and ‘Cain attacked his brother Abel and murdered him’ (Gen. 4:8).” — EveLynn B. Debusschere, THE REVELATION OF EVOLUTIONARY EVENTS (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 1997), pp. 22-24.
◊ Anthroposophists believe that before the current epoch, humans lived on two lost continents, first Lemuria and then Atlantis.
◊ In Waldorf belief, many of the individuals in the Bible are actually composite portraits of humanity at various stages of spiritual evolution.
◊ Quoting the Bible, the author tries to make her extremely unbiblical narrative seem consistent with orthodox teachings.
◊ Steiner taught that the general trend of evolution is toward spiritual betterment, but he also said that the universe teems with evil beings and even evil gods.
“[W]e are watching the battle waged by the good gods against the evil gods....” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS, Vol. II (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), p. 251.
The freedom that Anthroposophy claims to foster actually boils down to just one choice: choosing between good and evil.
Atlantis, Lemuria, evolution, multiple gods — this is not the Bible that Jews and Christians revere and that Muslims acknowledge.
Here is a "Bible story" of the kind used in Waldorf schools to inculcate Anthroposophical doctrines.
"[A]n angel of God led Adam into a cave. The angel showed Adam a book in which the seventy-two Signs of Light were written. All the wisdom of the world was written in the book. The angel taught Adam to read the signs in the book and said, 'Before you die, you must give this book to a man whose soul is filled with the light of God, so that the wisdom of the angels may continue to shine on earth' ... The Book of Life was not written on parchment; it was Light written in Light." — Jakob Streit, AND THERE WAS LIGHT (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2006), p. 45.
◊ In the Book of Revelation, the "Book of Life" is the record kept by God, listing the names of the saved. Some references to such a book may also be inferred from passages in the Old Testament. But the book in this story is different. This Book contains "all the wisdom of the world," and it is "Light written in Light." (In Waldorf belief, there is a transcendent encyclopedia of all knowledge written on a akasha, a universal light or ether. This Book is the Akashic Record, and it can be read by great clairvoyants such as Rudolf Steiner. See "Akasha".)
◊ The story tells of the Book being passed on to a successor of Adam, a man who has divine wisdom. This savant would be an Initiate, a wise leader who possesses spiritual knowledge hidden from others. Anthroposophy is built on the belief in initiation. Rudolf Steiner is viewed as one of the greatest initiates. [See "Guru".]
◊ In Anthroposophy (a word meaning human wisdom), wisdom is all-important. As a gnostic faith, Anthroposophy teaches that salvation comes not through faith or good works (even though these are important), but through the possession of secret divine wisdom. Here, children are told of "the wisdom of the angels" which must be preserved and spread among men. [See "Gnosis".]
◊ The wondrous book contains "signs." Waldorf belief contains many references to mystic signs and runes. One Steiner text is called OCCULT SIGNS AND SYMBOLS. Here, Waldorf students are introduced to such ideas. [See "Signs".]
◊ Seventy-two is a magical number, in Waldorf belief. Steiner taught that there are 72 planetary gods,* and the average human life is 72 years, and we breathe about 72 times a minute, and so forth — so everything makes sense, in an occult way. And these are the sort of lessons Waldorf schools instill through unbiblical "Bible" stories.
* Steiner attributed this tenet to Iamblichus. See the lecture "Spiritual Wisdom in the Early Christian Centuries", GA 213.
According to the Steiner belief system, elemental beings or nature spirits — creatures such a gnomes and fairies — really exist. These invisible sprites receive nourishment from the kindly thoughts of the human beings who believe in them.
“But for centuries elemental beings have been receiving less and less ... Human beings [today] neglect them with the consequence that they turn to another world, the realm of death ruled by [the demon] Ahriman ... Human beings [must] once again give them what they need. Then they will be able to help human beings again. This fact is of such importance that Rudolf Steiner spoke of it ... [Homemaking is] especially well suited to what the elemental beings seek ... Cleaning vegetables is not exactly a popular activity. Yet just this leads one directly into the elemental world. If a carrot is scraped and rubbed, a potato peeled or washed, elemental beings are freed.” — Manfred Schmidt-Brabant, THE SPIRITUAL TASKS OF THE HOMEMAKER (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2008), pp. 37-39.
“An awareness of reincarnation and karma is essential if Christianity is to be alive in the present and future. Even everyday practical life and our social contacts become at one and the same time decidedly more ‘Christian’ and more ‘human’ if we have not only a theoretical knowledge of reincarnation and karma but our heart forces live with it.” — Pietro Archiati, REINCARNATION IN MODERN LIFE (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1997), p. vii.
Reincarnation and karma are essential components of Rudolf Steiner's revised form of gnostic Christianity. But these concepts violate the central orthodox Christian doctrine that we live one life on Earth after which we go to our reward or punishment. In Christianity, Jesus Christ is our Savior; in Anthroposophy, Christ is our Prototype who showed us the sort of human being we should evolve to become. Eventually, we can become Christ’s equal, Steiner taught. From a mainstream Christian perspective, this is heresy. The Biblical Christ is one of the three Persons of God Almighty — He stands infinitely above us. Anthroposophists believe that we can rise to Christ’s level — and even higher. Looking far into the future, Steiner pronounced the ultimate heresy:
“[W]e shall have gradually achieved the transformation of our own being into what is called in Christianity ‘the Father.’” — Rudolf Steiner, THE LORD’S PRAYER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2007), p. 17.