Waldorf-World Readings

(1963 - 2018)

One way to keep abreast of current thinking in the Waldorf community is to survey the publications promoted at Waldorf/Anthroposophical websites today.

Many such publications employ cautious terminology — they are essentially public relations efforts that obscure the Waldorf belief system. But some are less guarded. Some are quite revealing.

Here is a sampling of revealing Waldorf/Anthroposophical publications circulated today within Waldorf circles. A few are new publications; the rest are older texts still used by Rudolf Steiner's followers — now, in the early decades of the twenty-first century. I have reproduced the covers of the publications I list, along with the editorial descriptions appearing on the websites. (I have also interpolated a few explanatory notes and terms; these appear within brackets.)

— Roger Rawlings


Available through

Rudolf Steiner Press

in 2017:


The Mystery of the Double in the Age of the Internet

[based on works by] Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner Press

"Large temptations will emanate from these machine-animals, produced by people themselves, and it will be the task of a spiritual science [i.e., Anthroposophy] that explores the cosmos to ensure all these temptations do not exert any damaging influence on human beings."

In an increasingly digitised world, where both work and play are more and more taking place online and via screens, Rudolf Steiner’s dramatic statements from 1917 appear prophetic. Speaking of ‘intelligent machines’ that would appear in the future, Steiner presents a broad context that illustrates the multitude of challenges human beings will face. If humanity and the Earth are to continue to evolve together with the cosmos, and not be cut off from it entirely, we will need to work consciously and spiritually to create a counterweight to such phenomena.

In the lectures gathered here, edited with commentary and notes by Andreas Neider, Rudolf Steiner addresses a topic that he was never to speak of again: the secret of the ‘geographical’ or the ‘ahrimanic’ doppelgänger [i.e., the inner "double" associated with the demon Ahriman]. The human nervous system houses an entity that does not belong to its constitution, he states. This is an ahrimanic being which enters the body shortly before birth and leaves at death, providing the basis for all electrical currents that are needed to process and coordinate sense perceptions and react to them.

Based on his spiritual research [i.e., clairvoyance], Rudolf Steiner discusses this doppelgänger or ‘double’ in the wider context of historic occult events relating to ‘spirits of darkness’ [i.e., demons or evil gods]. Specific brotherhoods seek to keep such knowledge to themselves in order to exert power and spread materialism. But this knowledge is critical, says Steiner, if the geographical doppelgänger and its challenges are to be understood.

18 April 2016; Trans. S. L. Breslaw; Edited with Intro. by A. Neider (Selections, various GAs); RSP; 164pp; 21.5 x 13.5 cm; pb


[For more on the Double,

see "Double Trouble";

for more on the Waldorf attitude toward electronics,

see, e.g., "Spiders, Dragons and Foxes";

for more on Ahriman, see "Ahriman"

and "Evil Ones".]


Available through

Rudolf Steiner College

in 2017:



The Cosmic Christ Impulse

[by] René Querido

[Rudolf Steiner College Press]

Five lectures given at the

Annual Waldorf Teacher's Conference

in Spring Valley, NY in 1993

[Text from the website] My recollection of René Querido from the years when I worked at Rudolf Steiner College is that the topic of this book was actually the passion of his life. For whenever he was able to speak publicly or privately about the Cosmic Christ, especially as the living foundation of Waldorf Education, he lit up with an enthusiasm that both captivated and inspired whoever listened.

I believe you will find in these printed lectures the same energy and spirit many of us were fortunate to experience first hand – and learn a great deal about both Waldorf Education and esoteric Christianity as well.




[For more on the esoteric nature of Waldorf education,

see "Schools as Churches";

concerning the Anthroposophical conception of Christ

(whom Steiner identified as the Sun God),

see "Was He Christian?" and "Sun God".

(Anthroposophy is essentially pagan, not Christian.

See the entry for "pagan, paganism"

in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.)]


Available through


in 2017:


The Tao Impulse in Evolution

[by] T.H. Meyer

Temple Lodge Press

"The something that was considered a distant goal of the world and humanity, the highest element that human beings carried as a seed within them, and that would one day develop into a fully opened blossom from the innermost depths of human nature." — Rudolf Steiner

The recent explosion of spiritual teachings has offered countless paths to clairvoyant and metaphysical states of consciousness. This spiritual renaissance, including a renewed interest in Taoism, can be seen as a reflection of the modern individual's need to become aware of spiritual modes of perception and knowing. However, Meyer insists that many of these teachings lead to an ancient form of hazy, indistinct clairvoyance, in direct opposition to clear, rational but spiritualized thinking.

Between Goethe’s Taoism and Fritjof Capra’s Tao of Physics, Meyer guides the reader to the most modern form of Taoism, which is inherent in Rudolf Steiner’s work, particularly his Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path). Meyer traces the evolution of human consciousness, from the dreamy clairvoyance of ancient Atlantis to the modern ability for clear abstract thinking, and to humanity’s newly unfolding clairvoyant faculties.

82 pp.

5 1/4" x 8 1/4"



[For more on the Waldorf belief in clairvoyance,

see "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness",

"Exactly", and "Clairvoyance";

for more on Anthroposophical beliefs about

consciousness, see the entries for

"conditions of consciousness",

"evolution", and "evolution of consciousness"

in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]


Available through

Waldorf Publications

in 2017:

The Little Series



[Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America]

Edited by Helmut von Kügelgen. Originally entitled “Spiritual Gifts for the Educator,” the volumes in The Little Series are collections of verses and writings by Rudolf Steiner for the inner work of the teacher, through the day, through the year, through life. This volume focuses on the theme of working with those who have crossed the threshold of death. Partial contents:

◊ The Death of Young Children and Older People

◊ Early Death

◊ The High Priest's Prayer

◊ The Ascension of Christ after Death

◊ The Human Being between Two Worlds

◊ On Three Meetings with the Divine, and on Suicide

◊ Verses for Those Who Have Taken Their Own Lives

Pages 37 pages, saddle-stapled


[For more on Anthroposophical contact with the dead,

see, e.g., "Conclusion" and

"Steiner and the Warlord";

also see the entry for "the dead, communicating with"

in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]


Available through

Rudolf Steiner Press

in 2017:



[Based on works by] Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner Press

The heart of this volume comprises Rudolf Steiner’s commentary on the elemental forces that are responsible for our earthly nature as human beings – forces that influence us through our membership of a national or geographical group. When such elemental forces are not recognised and understood, he states, they cause conflict and chaos. However, Steiner indicates an important accompanying task that calls upon each human being to develop individuality, emancipating ourselves from the earthly influences underlying national and racial groups.

These great themes are framed by Rudolf Steiner’s pioneering research into the two major Northern folk-poems, the Kalevala and The Dream Song of Olaf Åsteson. The former tells of the elemental spirits who created the conditions for our earthly incarnation, whereas the Dream Song has to do with the drama of excarnation – the journey of the human soul after death. Linking these vast motifs is Steiner’s unique description of the mission and tasks of the Russian people and the contrast of their destiny to the North American people (who, he says, are ‘dominating the Earth for a brief period of increasing splendour’).

Steiner explains how elemental beings [gnomes, undines, sylphs, and fire spirits], responsible for the balance of land and sea, have created conditions where various peoples are enabled to develop their gifts and fulfil their destinies. Thus he speaks of Finland as the ancient conscience of Europe, Russia as the future bearer of the Christ-imbued Spirit Self, and the differing but complementary environments of Germany and Britain. Strikingly, he states that, ‘no souls on Earth love one another more than those living in Central Europe and those living in the British Isles’.

Rudolf Steiner also speaks of the necessary work of luciferic and ahrimanic beings [minions of Lucifer and Ahriman] that collaborate to enable the solid spatial forms of our physical bodies. Likewise, they influence our etheric and astral bodies, facilitating thinking, feeling and will to be imbued with life and consciousness.

14 November 2016; Trans. S. Blaxland-de Lange (7 lectures & 6 addresses; various cities, Apr.–Jun. 1912-14, CW 158); RSP; 288pp; 23.5 x 15.5 cm; pb


[For more on elemental beings,

see "Neutered Nature",

"Gnomes" and "Beings".]


Available through

Online Waldorf Library

in 2017:



Volume 2

Edited by Joan Almon

Waldorf Kindergarten Association of North America

Contents include:

◊ Stages of Development in Early Childhood

[◊ Kindergarten Education with Mixed-Age Groups]*

◊ The Significance of Imitation and Example for the Development of the Will

◊ Kindergarten Readiness

◊ The Birth of the Etheric [i.e., the Etheric Body]

[◊ Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy]*

◊ Childhood Illnesses

[◊ How Can We Find a Connection to the World of the Angels?]*

[◊ Continuing the Work of the Hierarchies [i.e., gods] in the Age of the Etheric Christ [i.e., the Sun God in the etheric realm]]*

◊ Religion and the Young Child

◊ How Can We Work with the Karma of the Young Child?

[◊ Working with the Angels, the Archangels, and the Archai]*

◊ Walking and the Incarnation of Destiny [i.e., Karma]

◊ The Wonder of Acquiring Speech

◊ more.

Note: some of these articles are reproduced in various volumes of the Gateways Series.

Publication date: 29-04-1993

Number of pages: 128

Rating: 5 Stars


[For more on the inner nature of Waldorf schooling,

see, e.g., "Here's the Answer"

and "Schools as Churches";

for more on the stages of childhood development

and the etheric body, see "Incarnation";

for more on Anthroposophical beliefs about karma,

see "Karma" and "Reincarnation";

concerning the will, see "Will".]

* These chapter headings were omitted from the table of contents posted by the Library.


Available through

Waldorf Publications

in 2017:


The Young Child and the Spiritual World

Edited by Susan Howard

Waldorf Early Childhood Association

Working with the Angels is clearly the result of intense, deep, sustained love: the love of each article’s author for children and the world; the love of those responsible for publishing each article in its turn over the years; the love of the current editors in gathering all these remarkable insights and experiences together in one place; and, of course, the love of the angels for us.

This is a collection that is almost palpably alive with love and with love’s possibilities. And with that, I’m going to let the contents speak for themselves:

Working with the Angels

◊ Working with the Angels, Archangels and Archai – Helmut von Kügelgen

◊ Conversation about Angels and Human Beings – Helmut von Kügelgen

◊ Finding a Connection to the World of the Angels – Helmut von Kügelgen

◊ The Meaning of Angels in Education and Self-Education – Michaela Glöckler, M.D.

The Destiny of the Child in Our Times

◊ Working with the Karma of the Young Child – Margaret Meyerkort

◊ Walking and the Incarnation of Destiny – Joan Almon

◊ Continuing the Work of the Hierarchies [i.e., the Gods] – Werner Glas

◊ Early Childhood and the Consciousness Soul – Joan Almon

◊ Threshold Experiences of Children and Adults – Helmut von Kügelgen

◊ Religion of the Young Child – Elizabeth Moore-Haas

The Gateway of Birth – the Sistine Madonna

◊ Raphael’s Sistine Madonna – Is It Approriate in the Kindergarten? – René Querido

◊ The Sistine Madonna in the Waldorf Kindergarten – Joan Almon

◊ The Sistine Madonna – Symbol of the Eternal in Humanity – Rudolf Steiner

The Gateway of Death – Working with Death in the Kindergarten

◊ After-Death Care in the Home – Beth Knox

◊ Helping Children in a Time of Trouble – Nancy Foster

◊ Helping Our Children and Loved Ones at the Threshold of Death – Nancy Jewel Poer

◊ A Festival for a Threshold Crossing – Patricia Owens

◊ Birth into the Spiritual World – Nancy Blanning

◊ A Story for Mia – Louise de Forest

◊ Grandma’s Dream – Sheila Rubin

◊ For Anastasia and Her Dear Grandmother – Cynthia Aldinger

The Inner Path

◊ Self-Development as a Basis for the Relationship Between the Child and the Adult – Michaela Glöckler, M.D.

◊ Through the Eye of the Needle – Felicitas Vogt

◊ The Path of Inner Schooling – Jorgen Smit

◊ The Spiritual Foundations of Waldorf Education – Michaela Glöckler, M.D.

Compiled from articles published in the Newsletter of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association

WECAN Publications


127 pages

8.5 x 11 inches


[For more on the Waldorf conception of Angels

— the lowest of nine ranks of gods,

also called Sons of Twilight or Lunar Pitris —

see "Polytheism";

also see the entries for "Angels" and "hierarchies"

in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]


Available through

Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore

in 2017:



Sophia and the New Star Wisdom

by Robert Powell


"Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven." — Matthew 24 : 30

What exactly do these words mean? The deeper significance of these biblical words is explored in this book, which is concerned with a new wisdom of the stars in the light of Divine Sophia, and which is intended as a help at the present time. For now humanity is called upon to be extremely wakeful in the period leading up to the end of the Mayan calendar in the year 2012 [!]. The forces of light are acting all the time, however, leaving us free. It is up to us to choose consciously to connect with the forces of light, to 'link hands' with them, in the spirit of serving the higher goals of humanity's evolution. The great archetype is the Son of Man, whose every step was — and is — aligned with the Divine Will expressed through the planets as they move against the background of the fixed stars. Exploring the profundity of this archetype, the possibility emerges that we can learn to consciously align our will with the Divine Will expressed in the heavens.

The purpose of this book is to remind us of the great heavenly archetype underlying our existence here on Earth, and thus help us in our daily lives. The various themes explored are intended to alert us to and help us find the guidance and inspiration to stand and act in the right way in the coming period of time — to allow the beings who 'live in the stars' to say what we need to know for our life on the Earth.

Chapters include:

Toward a New Wisdom of the Stars;

The Zodiac;

Christ and the Zodiac;

The Start of the New Millennium;

The Sophianic Millennium;

The Sign of the Son of Man in Heaven;

Appendix: The Divine Mother.

Robert Powell is an internationally known lecturer, author, eurythmist, and movement therapist. He is founder of the Choreocosmos School of Cosmic and Sacred Dance, co-founder of the Sophia Foundation of North America, and adjunct faculty at Wisdom University. He received his doctorate for his thesis on the History of the Zodiac. His published works include: The Sophia Teachings, a six-tape series, as well as the following books: Divine Sophia-Holy Wisdom, The Most Holy Trinosophia and the Revelation of the Divine Feminine, The Sophia Teachings, Chronicle of the Living Christ, Christian Hermetic Astrology, The Christ Mystery, and the yearly Christian Star Calendar.

Robert teaches the cosmic dances of the planets and signs of the zodiac and facilitates sacred celebrations dedicated to the Divine Feminine. He offers workshops in Europe and North America, and leads pilgrimages to the world's sacred sites

Paperback; 124 pages

[~1999 Powell's THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN, second edition (Sophia Foundation Press), was published in 2007.]

[For more on Waldorf astrology,

see "Astrology" and "Star Power";

for more on the Waldorf view of Christ,

see "Was He Christian?";

for more on Sophia, see "Goddess".]


Listed at

Rudolf Steiner Press

in 2017:



The Waldorf School Approach

[by] Roy Wilkinson

Sophia Books, Rudolf Steiner Press

In this clear and concise work Roy Wilkinson gives an overview of Steiner education and its spiritual background, showing how the development of the whole human being is its aim, rather than simply the dispensing of knowledge. He demonstrates how the inner needs of the child can be nourished through a choice of subjects and a method of presentation which accords with the objective developmental stages of the human being.

SB; 144pp; pb


[Note: As of early 2017, this book was out of print. However, at that time — spring, 2017 — the book was promoted as an essential text by the education authorities as the Goetheanum, the worldwide Anthroposophical headquarters [], and it was available through Amazon and secondhand bookstores. Here are the books recommended by the Goetheanum in the category "General Introduction to Steiner Waldorf Education"]:

◊ Barnes, H., Howard, A., Davy, D. and Leichter, H.J., An Introduction to Waldorf Education, Mercury Press.

◊ Blunt, R., Waldorf Education, Theory and Practice, Novalis Press.

◊ Carlgren, F., Education Towards Freedom. Rudolf Steiner Education A Survey of the Work of Waldorf Schools throughout the World, Lanthorn Press.

◊ Childs, G., Steiner Education in Theory and Practice, Floris Books.

◊ Clouder, C. and Rawson, M., Waldorf Education, Floris Books.

◊ Edmunds, F., Rudolf Steiner Education, The Waldorf School, RSP.

◊ Mattke, H. J. and Zick, S., Waldorf Education World-Wide, Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore, Rudolf Steiner Library & AWSNA Publications.

◊ Margulies, P., Learning to Learn. Interviews with Graduates of Waldorf Schools, Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore.

◊ Nobel, A., Educating Through Art, Floris Books.

◊ Waldorf Education Worldwide, The Development of Waldorf Education including Anthroposophical Curative Education and social Therapy, Published by Friends of the Art of Education (Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners)

◊ Wiechert, Christof: The Waldorf School. An Introduction. Verlag am Goetheanum. 2015.

◊ Wilkinson, R., Commonsense Schooling, Robinswood Press.

◊ Wilkinson, R., The Spiritual Basis of Steiner Education, Sophia Books [emphasis added].

[For other works by Waldorf teacher Roy WIlkinson,

see, e.g., "Common Sense",

"Fairy Tales", and "Old Testatment".

For more on the Goetheanum,

see "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]


Listed at

Rudolf Steiner Press

in 2017:


The Michael School Meditative Path in Nineteen Steps

[based on works by] Rudolf Steiner


[In Anthroposophical belief, Michael is the Archangel of the Sun — he is the warrior god who fights on behalf of Christ, the Sun God. The Michael School is Anthroposophy itself — it is the esoteric belief system that provides the spiritual basis for Waldorf education. The first class is a gathering of Anthroposophical insiders — initiates — who meet at the Goetheanum to study and develop Anthroposophy.]

"Initiation is precisely this: that we are able to see from the other side of the threshold. There, seeing is not just looking but is also reading. We read the spiritual deeds of spiritual beings who have brought everything into existence. And if we read long enough in this silence, if we put our heart and soul into this reading, we begin to hear in the spirit, and then the gods speak to us. And when the gods speak to us we are within the spiritual world." — Rudolf Steiner (April 25, 1924)

The mantras of the Michael School are, in the truest sense of the word, a path for modern human beings — and indeed not just for our time between birth and death, but even more so for the time after death in the spiritual world. In that world, every soul that has crossed the threshold will experience beings and events that it can comprehend only if it has learned something on Earth about the beings there and processes that take place between them. In his eighteenth lesson Rudolf Steiner said:

"People who have heard this in esoteric schools on Earth will go through the gate of death and will hear these words again sounding in harmony together—in the esoteric schools here and during the life between death and a new birth there. They will understand what rings forth. Or, people will be dull and unwilling to respond to what the esoteric schools, prepared by general Anthroposophy, have to say. They’ll fail to perceive what can be heard through initiation science from the realms of the heights. They pass through the gate of death. There they hear what they should have already heard while here on Earth...but they do not understand it. These words of power—when the gods speak to one another—sound to them like an unintelligible clanging, mere cosmic noise."

These words alone, heard in real earnestness, should be enough to dispel any reservations about spreading the teaching of the Michael School. This content does not belong only to those who are closely connected with Anthroposophy and its movement; every seeking human being should be able to find them as a path through life on Earth and after death.


Preface to the First English Edition by T. H. Meyer

Introduction to the Third German Edition by T. H. Meyer

The Nineteen Lessons of the Michael School

Passages Omitted from the Text

Mantras of the Michael School in English and German

Appendix: "The Meditative Path of the Michael School Today" by T. H. Meyer

Rudolf Steiner and the Time Spirit Michael

The Suprasensory Michael School

The Earthly Michael School and the Role of Ita Wegman

The Role of Ludwig Polzer-Hoditz

Who is the Guardian of the Threshold?

The Structure and Levels of the Nineteen Lessons

The Form Language of the Michael Sign


About the Frontispiece

Rudolf Steiner’s Blackboard Drawings

March 2017; Trans by Jannebeth Röell, Paul V. O'Leary and James Lee; Edited by T. H. Meyer; SB; Illus: 11 colour; 430pp; 23 x 15 cm; hb


[For more on Anthroposophical

mantras, meditations, prayers, etc.

— including those used in Waldorf schools —

see, e.g., "Power Words" and "Prayers".]


From the Waldorf Watch News page

(September, 2017):

Currently featured at the Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore:

(Wynstones Press, 2014)

Discovering the Zodiac

in the

Raphael Madonna Series, by Brian Gray

This book explores Raphael's paintings of the Madonna that express secret truths. Rudolf Steiner described the healing effects of Raphael's Madonnas in August 1908, and between 1908 and 1911 he directed Dr. Felix Peipers to arrange fifteen images as a therapeutic meditation for patients suffering from emotional disturbances. Sometimes called the Raphael Madonna Series, these fifteen pictures invite our active contemplation. Each image can awaken inner pictures that lift us into communion with realms beyond the physical world, stirring our feelings of wonder and reverence and opening our souls to divine mysteries.

[downloaded 9-16-2017]


A new book scheduled to be released by SteinerBooks in October, 2017:


(SteinerBooks, 2017)

From the description posted by SteinerBooks:

Karsten Massei — who is exceptionally sensitive to the invisible beings of life [1] that surround us always and everywhere — offers a gentle but powerful call, from those beings themselves, to discard superstition [2] and begin to awake to the reality of life.

As beings of the living Earth, we have certain responsibilities, too long neglected. The Earth is not an abstraction — a dead “rock” hurtling through space — but a living being. [3] The elemental beings, who are intimately, intrinsically connected to the living Earth and to the living human race, suffer from our indifference, egoism, and ignorance of life, but they have much to teach us and patiently await our attention.

“Know your environment!” It can begin with this book.


    1. The World of the Elemental Beings

    2. Nature Spirits

    3. Gates to the Elemental Beings

    4. Elemental Beings and Human Beings

    5. Caring for the Earth

    6. Verses of Blessing [4]

[downloaded 9-20-2017]

Waldorf Watch Response:

Here we are, in the 21st century, and Anthroposophists continue to believe the fantastical, mystical, occult teachings of Rudolf Steiner. [See, e.g., "Today 4" and "Today 5".]

There may be little harm in Anthroposophists' delusions — except when Anthroposophists work as teachers in Waldorf schools, where they may lure children into the same set of delusions.

Footnotes Supplied by Roger Rawlings:

[1] According to Anthroposophical belief, elemental beings (also called nature spirits) are invisible presences that reside within the four elements of nature. Gnomes reside in earth, sylphs in air, undines in water, and "salamanders" or fire spirits reside in fire. [See "Neutered Nature".]

[2] Anthroposophists turn this word inside out. Whereas most rational people today would consider Anthroposophy to be superstitious [see "Superstition"], Anthroposophists argue that modern science is a superstition. Thus, they dismiss the ideas that the Earth is "a dead 'rock'." They want to see spirit everywhere, including in material substances. So the do see spirit everywhere (even if this means mistaking dreams for reality).

[3] Steiner generally taught that the Earth is a living being that breathes and has emotions.

“‘Just think children, our Earth feels and experiences everything that happens within it ... [I]t has feelings like you have, and can be angry or happy like you.’” — Rudolf Steiner, DISCUSSIONS WITH TEACHERS (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 132.

Sometimes, however, Steiner said that the Earth was once alive but has since died. Anthroposophists often tend to overlook this second Steiner teaching, which is less pleasing to them.

[4] The "verses" used by Anthroposophists — and those used in Waldorf schools — are often prayers written by Rudolf Steiner. [See "Prayers".] Anthroposophy is, at root, a religion [see "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"], and Waldorf schools generally work to promote this religion [see "Schools as Churches"].


From the Waldorf Watch News

(October, 2017):

Currently being promoted by SteinerBooks:


Broadening Science through Anthroposophy

Vol. 1,

The World of the Ethers

(Temple Lodge, 2017)

Promotional material:

Ernst Marti devoted his life to researching the “etheric realm” — a subtle area between the physical and spiritual. Taking the numerous statements and references by Rudolf Steiner as his starting point, Marti develops our understanding of the etheric world in various fields ...

The Etheric explores the fourfold realm of the ethers. Giving an overview of their cosmic origins in the evolution of the Earth, Dr. Marti shows how the ethers work in the phenomena of warmth, light, sound, and organic life. He brings contemporary understanding and insight to the classical elements of fire, air, water, and earth as the media through which ethericity manifests and works in the world. Four physical forces are also explored that, as opposites of the ethers, have a constant tendency to break down and annul what life-giving ether creates. Dr. Marti then studies the shadow aspects of the ethers connected to what he terms the “sub-natural” forces of electricity, magnetism, and nuclear force.

Given that the author was unable to complete this book during his lifetime, his student and colleague Irmgard Rossmann edited the final version in the spirit of her teacher. It is published in two volumes, with this first release focusing on the world of the ethers and the second on the world of formative forces.

Related Titles

◊ Learning to Experience the Etheric World : Empathy, the After-Image and a New Social Ethic

◊ Cultivating Inner Radiance and the Body of Immortality : Awakening the Soul through Modern Etheric Movement

◊ Cognitive Yoga : Making Yourself a New Etheric Body and Individuality

Related Titles by Subject:

◊ Anthroposophy: Esoteric Studies and Esoteric: General



Currently being promoted by SteinerBooks

(but not available until next month):


(Lindisfarne Books, 2017)

Promotional material:

Journal for Star Wisdom 2018 includes articles of interest concerning star wisdom (Astrosophy), as well as a guide to the correspondences between stellar configurations during the life of Christ and those of today. This guide comprises a complete sidereal ephemeris and aspectarian, geocentric and heliocentric, for each day throughout the year ...

According to Rudolf Steiner, every step taken by Christ during his ministry between the baptism in the Jordan and the resurrection was in harmony with — and an expression of — the cosmos. Journal for Star Wisdom is concerned with these heavenly correspondences during the life of Christ and is intended to help provide a foundation for cosmic Christianity, the cosmic dimension of Christianity. It is this dimension that, by and large, has been missing until now from Christianity and its the two-thousand-year history.

Readers can begin on this path by contemplating the movements of the Sun, Moon, and planets against the background of the zodiacal constellations (sidereal signs) ...

In connection with the Second Coming, there is in this year’s journal an article by Robert Powell concerning the Apocalypse code and the year 2018 — a year during which a new relationship between the angels and humanity is beginning ...

[T]he monthly commentaries, supported by Julie Humphreys’ astronomical previews for each month, are provided by Claudia McLaren Lainson, offering an opportunity to connect spiritually with the stellar configurations during the pivotal year of 2018. This direct interaction between the human being on Earth and the angels and other heavenly beings [i.e., gods] connected with the stars is intended to help the reader toward developing the capacity to receive the wisdom-filled teachings of the angelic hierarchies [i.e., ranks of gods].

Related Titles

◊ Chronicle of the Living Christ : The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ : Foundations of Cosmic Christianity

◊ Christ and the Maya Calendar : 2012 and the Coming of the Antichrist

◊ Christ and Sophia : Anthroposophic Meditations on the Old Testament, New Testament, and Apocalypse

◊ The Clockwise House System : A True Foundation for Sidereal and Tropical Astrology

◊ Gautama Buddha's Successor : A Force for Good in Our Time

◊ The Mystery of Sophia : Bearer of the New Culture: The Rose of the World

◊ Journal for Star Wisdom 2017

Related Titles by Subject

◊ Anthroposophy: Astronomy & Star Wisdom

◊ Esoteric: Esoteric Studies

◊ Religion: Esoteric Christianity



Currently offered at the Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore

as a "Teacher Resource" for members of Waldorf faculties:


The Fundamental Spiritual Exercises of Rudolf Steiner

(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000)

"We can find an authentic modern way of working on the chakras [incorporeal psychic organs] in the exercises created by Rudolf Steiner, who, on the basis of a new kind of thinking process, recast certain yoga exercises in a form consistent with the modern and even future stages of (spiritual) development. In this way he fulfilled a small and little known branch of yoga meditative practice, the Gayatri-Sadhana, the goal of which was prophetic, for it was focused on the reversed Kundalini (awakening the energy of all seven chakras from top down instead of the usual upward method) in a way that had become possible only at this much later historical time."

— from the preface

[downloaded 10-8-2017]


From the Waldorf Watch News

(December, 2017):

Christmas is different in the Anthroposophical universe. Here is a new book, now available from the Rudolf Steiner Press:


And the Birth of Jesus

(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2017)

From the publisher:

...In this freshly-collated anthology of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, complemented with illuminating commentary by editor Margaret Jonas, we are offered solutions to the riddles surrounding Jesus’s birth and the seemingly conflicting accounts within Christian scripture. Could there have been two different births – in other words, two infants, both named Jesus, born to two sets of parents?

From the mystery of the birth, we are led to a study of the three wise men – who are mentioned in only one of the four Gospel accounts. Who were they, what was their teaching, and what was the meaning of the star they followed? And, why did they offer gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus? THE THREE WISE MEN offers solutions to the enigma of the identity and spiritual backgrounds of these magisterial figures and also provides suggestions as to their possible future roles in the drama of human development....

[downloaded 12/5/2017]

Waldorf Watch Response:

Steiner did, indeed, teach there there were two Jesuses. [See the item, below, from Dec.1: "WALDORF, CHRISTMAS, & GNOMES".] Perhaps the important point to grasp, now, is that Steiner's follower's still believe him on this point (as on virtually all other points). Thus, we find statements such as the following, coming out of Anthroposophical circles in recent years:

◊ "Rudolf Steiner casts a clarifying light on the diverse and irreconcilable contradictions between the accounts given in the four Gospels of the life and teachings of Jesus. If the information in the Gospels is related not to one but to two different Jesus children, many contradictions in the story disappear ... The Jesus child mentioned in the Gospel of St Matthew descends from the royal line of King Solomon, whereas the Jesus child in the Gospel of St Luke descends from Nathan the priest ... [T]he two Jesus children merged at a certain stage, to create the body in which Christ [i.e., the Sun God] could incarnate...." — Henk van Oort, ANTHROPOSOPHY A-Z (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2011), p. 63.

◊ "Nathan Jesus [was] an immaculate and pure soul whose one and only physical incarnation was as Jesus of Nazareth ... Solomon Jesus...was a reincarnation of Zoroaster. In turn, Zoroaster was a reincarnation of Zarathustra ... He was a bodhisattva [an enlightened being], who...helped prepare humanity for the subsequent descent into incarnation of Ahura Mazda, the cosmic Sun Spirit...Christ." — Robert Powell, JOURNAL FOR STAR WISDOM 2016 (SteinerBooks, 2015), pp. 233-234.

◊ "The two [Jesus] children were very different ... The Solomon Jesus was clever in a worldly sense...the Nathan boy was untalented in the intellectual sense but blessed with an unusual kindness of heart ... The Zarathustra individuality who had lived in the body of the Solomon Jesus transferred [his essence] to the Nathan boy and became, so to speak, the ego of this person. The new ego then worked within this physical frame [i.e., the body of the Nathan Jesus] to make it capable of receiving the Being of Christ. The relinquished body of the Solomon Jesus died soon thereafter...." — Roy Wilkinson, RUDOLF STEINER: An Introduction to his Spiritual World-view, Anthroposophy (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2005), pp. 232-233.

As for the three wise men, otherwise known as the three kings or the three Magi, what was their "wisdom"? In a word, astrology. Let's consult Steiner himself on these occult matters:

◊ “[T]he old, real, and genuine Astrology expresses itself in the destinies of men.” — Rudolf Steiner, ROSICRUCIANISM AND MODERN INITIATION (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1965), lecture 3, GA 233a.

◊ “For as what man is today stands written in the heavenly spaces in the writing of the constellations of the stars, so stands written there too what is yet to happen with him. This is the ground of true astrology. You will see at once, from what we have been considering, that you really only need to know occultism and you have at the same time the root principle of astrology.” — Rudolf Steiner, MAN IN THE LIGHT OF OCCULTISM, THEOSOPHY AND PHILOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1964), lecture 9, GA 137.

◊ "The story of the three Kings or Magi points to the existence of an ancient lore of the stars, an ancient knowledge of the secrets of the worlds of stars in which the secrets of happenings in the world of men were also revealed. This ancient lore of the stars was very different from our modern astronomical science ... What plays with a higher significance into man's inner life from beyond space and time, but into the world of space and time, was read by an ancient star-lore from the courses and movements of the stars, and it was this star-wisdom that formed the essential content of the science belonging to an earlier epoch. Men sought in the stars for explanations of what was happening on the earth." — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1967), I, Christmas, lecture 5, GA 203.

Christmas is different in the Anthroposophical universe. We will doubtless return to this point as Christmas approaches.


From the Waldorf Watch News

(March, 2018):





(Mercury Press, 2003)

Anthroposophical lingo from a more or less typical Anthroposophical publication:

"Rudolf Steiner speaks of a pendulum motion in connection with the Jupiterian tone and tin-radiation. Just as the tone sets the wave of resonance vibrating, so that the soul element shines out like shimmering Sun-warmth on water — 'For beatific world-grasping' — just as the ego lives in light on waves of warmth, all the forms of organs are waves of resonance in the fluid element over the permanent light-wave of the sculpturing nerves. And all the organs are repetitions like vortices; they oscillate wavelike. All the sculpturing of form in Man proceeds from the sculpturing nerves in the head, 'so that the waves proceed continuously from the head-system, bringing form into being.' (Rudolf Steiner, Spiritual Relations in the Human Organism, GA 218) Spiritual formative power opposes itself as Jupiterian dynamics to matters, as this yields itself to patterns of resonance."

— Steiner follower Hedwig Erasmy, COSMIC AND HUMAN EVOLUTION - As Reflected in Rudolf Steiner’s Poem Twelve Moods (Mercury Press, 2003), p. 60.

Waldorf Watch Response:

Waldorf schools usually acknowledge that they base their work on Anthroposophy. But, they hasten to assure us, they don't teach Anthroposophy to the students.

How reassuring do you find this? Consider an analogy. Imagine a school that says it bases all its methods on voodoo — but, the school assures us, it does not teach voodoo to the students.

How reassured would you be? Would you send your child there?

Believe it or not, the passage quoted above from an Anthroposophical book is more or less typical of Anthroposophical discourse. It may be a bit more bonkers than some Anthroposophical statements, but it is actually less bonkers than many others. If you doubt this, you can survey numerous passages from Anthroposophical texts at

"Waldorf Wisdom"

"Who Says?"

"Waldorf Now"


"Today 2"

"Today 3"

"Today 4"

"Today 5"

"Today 6"

"Today 7"


"Today 8"

Another productive approach is simply to open any Anthroposophical book, selected at random, and begin reading any random page. Believe it or not, that's how I chose the passage quoted above.* COSMIC AND HUMAN EVOLUTION actually contains many passages that are far denser with mystical jargon than the one I quoted. To check this, you get ahold of a copy and read away. (The book is available from its publisher: Mercury Press.)

The point, here, is not to criticize Hedwig Erasmy or her writing style. The point is to grasp, as fully as possible, what it means when Waldorf schools base their work on Anthroposophy. It means they base their work on the sort of thinking found in COSMIC AND HUMAN EVOLUTION and many other occult Anthroposophical tomes.

By the way, do Waldorf schools teach Anthroposophy to the students? Actually, they do. They teach it indirectly, for the most part. They teach it covertly, for the most part. But, despite their denials, they usually find ways to teach it.

See, e.g.,

"Sneaking It In"

"Spiritual Agenda"

"Soul School"

"Schools as Churches"



* Of course, whether or not you sample random excerpts from Anthroposophical texts, you should read the texts in full, start to finish. Only in this way will you get full exposure to Anthroposophical thinking. Terms and propositions that were utterly strange out of context ("tin-radiation," for instance) may then become clearer. But what will mainly become clearer is how utterly strange, mystical, and detached from ordinary reality Anthroposophical thinking really is. Only if you can affirm the Anthroposophical perspective, seen whole and undisguised, should you contemplate associating yourself with Anthroposophical institutions, such as Waldorf schools.


From the Waldorf Watch News

(May, 2018):




Waldorf faculties tend to have an extraordinarily exaggerated view of their own importance. They think Waldorf schools are crucial to the continued evolution of humankind. They are, in this sense, on a messianic mission. [See "Mission".]

The following, written by a Waldorf teacher, is from a Waldorf text published in the 21st century. I have added some explanatory footnotes.

"A Waldorf school is more than just another independent school that provides a developmental education. [1] It is an organization that seeks to allow the spiritual impulses of our time [2] to manifest on earth in order to transform society [3] ... Steiner described the founding of [the first] Waldorf School as a ceremony within the Cosmic Order [4] ... [T]he founding of every subsequent Waldorf school also has cosmic significance ... [W]e may celebrate the founding of a Waldorf school because it strives to bring the soul-spiritual [5] into the realm of human life.” — Roberto Trostli, “On Earth as It Is in Heaven”, Research Bulletin, Vol. 16 (Waldorf Research Institute, Fall 2011), pp. 21-24.

Waldorf schools are important to the "Cosmic Order." The founding of every new Waldorf school is a cause for celebration because of the spiritual significance of the Waldorf movement. Waldorf schools serve the will of the gods — they enable "spiritual impulses" from on high to be enacted upon the Earth.

Rudolf Steiner taught that humanity is evolving from an extremely primordial condition to ultimate apotheosis. We will become gods. Indeed, we will become the highest gods. And Waldorf schools serve to promote this evolution.

Anthroposophists believe that we have evolved as the solar system has incarnated and reincarnated over and over. The gods have overseen this process, and it has been for our benefit. The first incarnation of the solar system — the first stage of our evolution — was a period called Old Saturn. This was followed by periods called Old Sun and Old Moon. We now live at an evolutionary stage called Present Earth (we live on the physical planet Earth during a period of cosmic evolution in which the other planets of the solar system also exist as separate worlds). When this stage ends, the solar system will next incarnate in a form called Future Jupiter, which will be followed by Future Venus, and then Future Vulcan. [See "Future Stages" and "Vulcan".]

[This is a portion of a chart from THE TEMPLE LEGEND,

a collection of Steiner lectures (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 357; color added.]

The main thing that has happened during this evolution, Steiner taught, is that we have risen to higher and higher states of consciousness. During Old Saturn, we were essentially comatose. During Old Sun, we reached a consciousness similar to deep sleep, and during Old Moon, we rose to a consciousness akin to light dreaming sleep. Now, during Present Earth, we have ordinary waking consciousness. During Future Jupiter, we will attain perfected imagination — a form of clairvoyance, "Jupiter consciousness". During Future Venus, we will attain a higher stage of clairvoyance, perfected inspiration — "Venus consciousness." And during Future Vulcan, we will attain a still higher stage of clairvoyance, perfected intuition — "Vulcan consciousness."

Waldorf schools here and now play a crucial role in all this (or so the devout members of Waldorf faculties believe). Waldorf schools here and now emphasize imagination, inspiration, and intuition among the students because they are laying the foundation for humanity's attainment of higher levels of these mental stages on Jupiter, Venus, and Vulcan. The sort of imagination fostered in Waldorf schools is not a stage of perfected clairvoyance; it is — generally speaking — just imagination. But it is meant to foster in children a consciousness that will lead to clairvoyance eventually, if not in this life then in a future life, and if not during Present Earth then during Future Jupiter. The same holds for inspiration and intuition. Waldorf schools emphasize these because they are supposedly linked to clairvoyance.

Not every Waldorf teacher believes all this. Not every Waldorf teacher is a devout Anthroposophist. But for the true-believing followers of Rudolf Steiner who work in Waldorf schools, these beliefs are virtually gospel truths.

This is why the founding of new Waldorf schools should be celebrated.

Or not.

Waldorf Watch Footnotes:

[1] Waldorf education is "developmental" because it is keyed to the incarnation of a series of invisible bodies — the etheric body at age seven, the astral body at age 14, and the "I" at age 21. The arrival of these bodies marks the developmental stages of childhood, according to Anthroposophical teachings. [See "Incarnation".]

[2] In Waldorf belief, these impulses are summarized in Anthroposophy.

[3] Anthroposophy seeks to remake all human institutions; it is a revolutionary movement. [See, e.g., "Threefolding".]

[4] I.e., a divine cosmic event, overseen by the gods.

[5] Anthroposophists believe that humans have both souls (spiritual identities during a single incarnation) and spirits (immortal spiritual identities).

— R.R.


From the Waldorf Watch News

(May, 2018):




[Waldorf Publications, 2015]

Defenders of Waldorf education sometimes admit (a bit shamefacedly) that Waldorf originally arose from the bonzo supernatural preachments of Rudolf Steiner. But that was long ago, they say. Waldorf thinking nowadays is bonzo-free, they assure us.

We must take such assurances with salt.

The thinking behind Waldorf schools today remains bonzo, and it remains rooted in Steiner’s preachments.

Here’s an example. This is material from a book that was published recently, in the 21st century, by a Waldorf educational organization.

The book is AN EXPLORATION INTO THE DESTINY OF THE WALDORF SCHOOL MOVEMENT. The author is Waldorf teacher Fran Lutters. The publisher is Waldorf Publications, at the Research Institute for Waldorf Education. The copyright is held by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). The date of publication is 2011. The book was reprinted in 2015.

(The material I will quote is a little hard to follow. It is bonzo, after all. I will add some footnotes that may help you navigate through it.)

…The Lord of world karma is Christ [1] … [T]here are not only good spiritual beings [2], those who serve the Lord of world karma; there are also evil ones who oppose Him … The hosts of the Good are led by the prince of the archangels, Michael [3], and those of Evil [are led] by Ahriman/Satan [4]….

…[Rudolf] Steiner…may be called the great teacher of karma and reincarnation [5].…

When we want to find the origin of [the karma of the Waldorf School] we must go back to the 8th and 9th centuries, the time of Charlemagne [6] … Charlemagne founded the first schools in his realm, and…he learned to read and write himself.… [7]

[Charlemagne’s grandfather] Charibert de Laon…may be called the spiritual leader of the 8th century … Many of the deep insights into the world of the stars, of nature and the seasons possessed by the Druids [8]…were [known to] Charibert de Laon … [H]e connected these insights [with knowledge] about the Sun God, who had made his abode in a son of humanity [9]….

[C]osmic Christianity [10] was taught in the Hibernian (Irish) mystery temples [11] … The Hibernian mysteries…taught knowledge of divine hierarchies [12] … [T]he Hibernian mystery centers [13] taught the wisdom on the ancient mysteries and of the Gnosis [14]….

All Gnostic schools and ancient mysteries were eradicated by Rome in the 4th century … [But in] the 8th century world karma had matured to the point that this knowledge could be revealed to humanity … Charibert de Laon was one of those who were able to receive this revelation….


Lutters proceeds to explain that Waldorf schools are modern successors to the mystery centers of yore, especially the Hibernian mystery centers. He says that Rudolf Steiner made this evident in lectures he delivered to teachers at the first Waldorf school. [15]

The lectures [Steiner delivered on] August 22 and 23, 1919, look like a renewal of the Hibernian mysteries within modern pedagogical striving … It is as if in these lectures we are permitted to tread the path of the Hibernian mysteries again, but now as Waldorf teachers … That which was once sought in the great Hibernian mysteries…finds its renewal in Waldorf school pedagogy…. [16]


So there you have it. This is what Waldorf schools are. This is what the karma of Waldorf education is. "That which was once sought in the great Hibernian mysteries…finds it renewal in Waldorf school pedagogy."

This is what a Waldorf teacher tells us, anyway. He tells us this in a Waldorf publication released by Waldorf authorities in the 21st century.

Waldorf Watch Footnotes:

[1] According to Steiner, Christ is the Sun God. [See "Sun God”.] Christ now presides over the forces of karma, so that he may free us from karma in the future. [See the entry for “Lord of Karma” in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia. ]

[2] These are, primarily, gods. Steiner taught that there are nine ranks of gods. [See “Polytheism”.]

[3] According to Steiner, Michael — the Archangel of the Sun — is a warrior god who fights on behalf of Christ, the Sun God. [See “Michael”.]

[4] Ahriman is the chief devil of Zoroastrianism. The god of darkness, Ahriman is the opponent of the Sun God. [See “Ahriman”.] In Zoroastrianism, the Sun God is known as Ahura Mazda.

[5] Steiner’s followers consider him to have been one of the greatest spiritual masters in all of human history. [See, e.g., “Guru”.] Many of Steiner’s teachings center on Christ, and thus they bear a resemblance to Christianity. Yet in many ways, Steiner's teachings — which constitute the core of Anthroposophy — are fundamentally incompatible with the New Testament. Thus, for instance, Anthroposophy is polytheistic, and it emphasizes such unbliblical doctrines as karma and reincarnation. [See “Karma” and “Reincarnation”.]

[6] Charlemagne (742-814) was king of the Franks and, later, leader of the Holy Roman Empire.

[7] I.e., Charlemagne was an educational innovator. As such, he set the example for subsequent educational innovators (such as Rudolf Steiner).

[8] These were priest/magicians of the Celtic religion, a pagan faith that flourished in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Their teachings included such things as astrology (“deep insights into the world of the stars”), which have been incorporated into the Waldorf belief system. [See, e.g., "Astrology".]

[9] I.e., he knew that the Sun God had incarnated in the body of a human (Jesus).

[10] “Cosmic” Christianity is the religion centered on the Sun God who incarnated on Earth; it is polytheistic and gnostic.

[11] I.e., it was taught by the Druids. Steiner taught that there have been three major streams of spiritual wisdom: a northern stream, an eastern stream, and a western stream. The “Hibernian mystery temples” were centers of secret spiritual wisdom of the western stream. Also called the “Arthurian” stream (for King Arthur), the western or Hibernian stream was epitomized by esoteric Celtic lore.

[12] I.e., gods. (In Anthroposophy, the nine ranks of gods are subdivided into three major groupings called “hierarchies”.)

[13] I.e., the Hibernian mystery temples and other centers of secret spiritual knowledge in Hibernian lands.

[14] I.e., secret Christian or semi-Christian spiritual knowledge. [See “Gnosis”.]

[15] These lectures provide the rationale for Waldorf education. [See “Oh Humanity”.]

[16] Lutters modestly qualifies his assertions, here ("look like", "as if"). He defers to Rudolf Steiner, so he does not assert his conclusion dogmatically. But he is clear about his conclusion ("That which was once sought in the great Hibernian mysteries…finds it renewal in Waldorf school pedagogy").

— R.R.


From the Waldorf Watch News

(May, 2018):




From a book by a pair of Waldorf teachers, aiming to explain Waldorf education to a general audience:

Perhaps one of the most important tasks of education in our times is to establish a healthy relationship with nature ... Merely knowing that nature needs to be respected is not enough. This knowledge must permeate our will ... The Steiner Waldorf method of teaching is itself ecological ... Children are very sensitive to the atmosphere of place, a damp, dark hollow in the earth, a wide stretch of shining wet sand, a snowy forest. They do not remember the outer detail and can scarcely describe it, but they know how it felt. Whenever children have an intense experience of natural phenomena, say a cold wind, a frightening dog, stinging nettles, a moon hiding behind the clouds, what lives on in their memories are complex vivid pictures bound up with the child's own feelings and reactions. Such pictures are common to the language of fairy tales in which the natural world often takes personified form, with elemental beings inhabiting the different realms of earth, air, water, and so on. Here, too, we hear of the whispering wind, the laughing waters of the stream, the wise old owl ... To be told on these special occasions when the sky is filled with sunlight and rain that the fairies are baking, explains nothing in adult terms but [for the child] creates an indelible mood of magic. To be told that the rainbow is caused by light refracting through raindrops is neither plausible to a child nor particularly inspiring.

— Christopher Clouder and Martyn Rawson, WALDORF EDUCATION - Rudolf Steiner's ideas in practice (Floris Books, 1998), pp. 83-90.

Waldorf Watch Response:

Advocates of Waldorf education expend considerable energy attempting to make the Waldorf approach seem sensible. They offer sweeping statements about the mindset of children; they paint vivid word pictures; they latch onto contemporary buzz words; they tone down or sidestep the actual content of Rudolf Steiner's educational dicta. When they succeed, they produce texts that, at least on first reading, cause few alarm bells to ring. The quotation above is not a bad example of sensible-seeming pro-Waldorf prose.

But a second, closer reading may indeed set off peals of alarm.

Consider what Clouder and Rawson wind up saying. Don't tell young children the truth about rainbows (or other natural phenomena). Tell them pretty falsehoods that will create a mood of magic. Give the kids vaguely memorable but emotively powerful mental pictures, such as those produced by fairy tales.

Don't tell the truth. Tell fairy tales instead. "The fairies are baking."

This is an utterly shocking educational approach. And, of course, I have oversimplified, misrepresenting Clouder and Rawson, at least a little. Waldorf education does not actually oppose the truth — it is based on a mystical, fantastical conception of the truth, a conception in which telling kids fairy tales amounts to telling them the real, magical, transcendent truth.

In describing nature as it appears in fairy tales, Clouder and Rawson say that "the natural world often takes personified form" in fairy tales. Thus, the "realms of earth, air, water, and so on" are represented in fairy tales by "elemental beings." In other words, the creatures in fairy tales — fairies, gnomes, and the like — are merely fictional representations of real natural processes. Ultimately, the "mood of magic" produced by apparent fantasies (the fairies are baking) leads children to a genuine appreciation of the real natural world.

This may sound very nearly reasonable. But if I was unfair to Clouder and Rawson, above, they are being unfair to us, here. They are practicing a certain sleight of hand on us. Their book is about "Rudolf Steiner's ideas in practice" — Steiner's preachments as put into practice in Waldorf schools. Well, what did Steiner actually say about these matters?

Steiner did not say that elemental beings are mere fictional representations. He said that elemental beings (otherwise called nature spirits or fairies) are real. He said that elemental beings actually exist. He said gnomes really dwell deep in the ground, undines really exist within water, and so on. They are real. [See "Neutered Nature" and "Beings".]

And what did Steiner say about nature? He said that nature is the outward expression of the elemental beings. Clouder and Rawson turn things around when they suggest that the elemental beings merely represent nature. In fact, according to Steiner, nature represents the elementals. And nature consists of four fundamental "elements" (earth, air, fire, and water) because these are the outward garb the four basic types of elemental beings (gnomes, sylphs, fire spirits, and undines) [See the entries for these terms in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

And what did Steiner say about fairy tales? He said fairy tales are true. He said fairy tales present the true clairvoyant visions ancient peoples attained and then reported in story form. [See "Fairy Tales".]

This is the "magic" that Waldorf education seeks to evoke for young children. It is the clairvoyant, spiritual truth as conceived in the Waldorf worldview. According to this way of thinking, rainbows really are produced by fairies high above who are weaving their magic. This is how the universe really works, from a Steiner/Waldorf point of view.

Steiner did not deny that, at a prosaic level, talking about sunlight being refracted by raindrops may make sense. He said that older children should be exposed to the concepts of prosaic, physical science. But these older kids should come to such concepts carrying in their hearts a mood of magic, a mood deeply internalized during their earliest Waldorf years, when they were immersed in fairy tales and myths and fables. Students should, in a sense, never really wake up from the fantasies of childhood — because these fantasies are ultimately true, Steiner said. [See, e.g., "Thinking Cap" and "Steiner's Blunders".]

Occasionally Steiner's followers write more candidly than Clouder and Rawson did in the quotation we have been considering. Here is a statement that appears on the back cover of NATURE SPIRITS, a collection of Steiner lectures published by the Rudolf Steiner Press in 2000:

“In ancient times, when people had a natural spiritual vision [i.e., clairvoyance], human beings communed with nature spirits. These spirits — which are also known as 'elemental beings' — became known as fairies and gnomes ... It is Rudolf Steiner's contention, based on knowledge attained through his own highly-trained clairvoyance, that this aspect of traditional 'folk wisdom' is based on spiritual reality ... Without developing [a] new relationship to these beings, humanity will not be able to bridge the gulf that separates it from the spiritual world. For the nature spirits can be of great assistance to use in this goal, acting as 'emissaries of higher divine spiritual beings' [i.e., the gods].”

This is the "reality," the "truth," that Waldorf education is ultimately meant to serve. This is the ethos in which it is wrong to tell young children that rainbows are produced by sunlight refracting through raindrops; this is the ethos in which it is better, and truer, to tell the kids that "the fairies are baking."

In a real education, young children would be helped to see how wonderful nature really is. They would be helped to appreciate that sunlight and raindrops combining to produce brilliant colors in the sky is an exciting, comprehensible phenomenon. They would receive real information that would help them to love reality. But this is not the goal of Waldorf education. Waldorf is built on falsehoods involving clairvoyance, elemental beings, a pagan panoply of gods, and other fabrications. These are what what students receive when they are exposed "to Rudolf Steiner's ideas in practice." The fairies are baking.

— R.R.


A note about URL's (Web addresses) and links to them: These may become outdated. Owners of websites may remove pages, change their locations, etc. I work to maintain the URL's and links at my own websites, but I cannot control what happens elsewhere. If any URL's or links I present here prove to be outdated, I apologize. They were all current when I wrote the various essays at my sites, and perhaps with a little Internet sleuthing you may be able to find materials that otherwise seem to have vanished.