The teachings behind the Waldorf movement are full of violence. Steiner described many wars that have been fought, are being fought, and will be fought between the forces of virtue and the forces of evil.

Here is a partial rundown.

“Our gaze, which must of course be full of understanding for human karma, is now deflected from the destiny of men to the destiny of gods. For when we contemplate the horrors of war, the guilt and ugliness of war in their connection with death-dealing elemental catastrophes, we are watching the battle waged by the good gods against the evil gods — in two directions evil. We gaze beyond the life of men into the life of gods, beholding the life of gods as the background of human life. We watch this life of gods — not with dry, theoretical thoughts, but with our hearts, with deep, inner participation; we watch it in its connection with the individual karma of men on earth because we see human destiny inwoven with the destiny of gods.

“When we contemplate these things, the world lying behind human life has for the first time drawn really near to us. For something is then revealed which cannot but stir the very fibres of our hearts. It becomes clear to us that the destiny of men lies embedded in the destiny of the gods, and that in a certain sense the gods yearn for what they have to take in hand for men while their own battle is being waged. And in making such conceptions our own we are led again to what is brought into the world through the Mysteries — as it was brought, too, in the days of the old clairvoyance.” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS: Esoteric Studies, Vol. 2 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1974), lecture 16, GA 236.

“Mammon is not only the god of money. He is much more the leader of all vile black powers. And his hordes attack not only human souls, but also the physical bodies of humans in order to gnaw away at them and ruin them. People speak of bacteria a lot more today not because they know more about them, but because bacteria have taken on a very special form today. And in the future they will get the upper hand in a terrifying way. When that black age approaches, then fraternal war will rage in a gruesome way, and poor human bodies will waste away, terribly afflicted by diseases and plagues. The stigma of sin will be impressed on human bodies visible to everyone."  — Rudolf Steiner, ESOTERIC LESSONS 1904-1909 (Steiner Books, 2007), pp. 232-233.

[SteinerBooks, 2007.]

"[I]n November of the year 1879 there occurred on the astral plane something very similar to a birth ... The rulership of Gabriel was replaced by another archangel, under whose leadership we now stand, the archangel Michael. He is the radiant sun that esoteric wisdom lets shine forth on a small band of people [can you guess who Steiner means?] ... [S]imultaneously with Michael a dark god has entered into his rulership: the god Mammon. For esotericism, Mammon is not only the god of money. He is much more the leader of all vile black powers. And his hordes attack not only human souls, but also the physical bodies of humans in order to gnaw away at them and ruin them. People speak of bacteria a lot more today not because they know more about them, but because bacteria have taken on a very special form today. And in the future they will get the upper hand in a terrifying way. When that black age approaches, then fraternal war will rage in a gruesome way, and poor human bodies will waste away, terribly afflicted by diseases and plagues. The stigma of sin will be impressed on human bodies visible to everyone."  — Ibid., pp. 232-233.

“Mighty flames of fire destroyed ancient Lemuria, and mighty floods ancient Atlantis. Our civilisation will also perish, through the war of all against all. This is what we must face. Our fifth root-race will perish, because egoism will reach its highest pitch. But at the same time, a small group of men will develop the power of Budhi, of the Life-Spirit, through the force of thought, in order to carry over Budhi into the new civilisation. Everything that is productive in the striving human being will grow stronger and stronger, until his personality reaches the summit of freedom. At present, every individual must discover in himself a kind of guiding spirit in the soul's inner depths: — This is Budhi, the power of the Life spirit. Were we to approach the future by taking up the cultural impulses as in earlier epochs, we should face the disintegration of humanity.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Adept School of the Past” (ANTHROPOSOPHIC NEWS SHEET, NO. 31/32, 1941), GA 97.

“My dear friends, the anthroposophist should absorb this into his awareness, should be clear that he is already called upon to prepare the spirituality which will spread and grow increasingly until this culminates when the true anthroposophists return, and also unite with others, at the end of the twentieth century. The sincere anthroposophist should cultivate an awareness that today we need to have clear vision of the battle between Ahriman and [the archangel] Michael, and to participate in it.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE KARMA OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2009), p. 118.

"Today it is clear that we live in the midst of a tremendous spiritual battle for the future of civilization. Materialistic thinking and technology are leading towards the destruction of the environment and a degeneration in the quality of human life. However, many individuals are working for a new spiritual understanding [Anthroposophy]." — Back cover, Richard Seddon's THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND: From the Work of Rudolf Steiner (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1993).

Wars and battles are waged repeatedly in the spirit realm Steiner describes. 

“Events in which humanity is now caught up...are more significant than is often realized today. I have sought to show that momentous occurrences in the spiritual world form the background to these events. I have also spoken of the profoundly significant battle which took place in the spiritual regions of the world between the early 1840s and the autumn of 1879. This was one of the battles which occur repeatedly in world and human evolution and are customarily represented by the image of Michael or St George fighting the dragon. Michael won one such victory over the dragon on behalf of the spiritual worlds in 1879. At that time the spirits of darkness who worked against the Michaelic impulses were cast down from the spiritual realm into the human realms. As I said, from that time onwards they have been active in the feeling, will and mind impulses of human beings. Present-day events can therefore only be understood if one turns the inner eye to the spiritual powers which are now moving among us.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FALL OF THE SPIRITS OF DARKNESS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1993), lecture 13, GA 177.

“[T]hese things cannot happen in the world without the most violent struggle. White mankind is still on the path of absorbing spirit more deeply into its essence. Yellow mankind is on the path of preserving the [prior] period when the spirit was kept away from the body, when the spirit could only be sought outside of the physical human being. But the result will have to be that the transition from the fifth cultural epoch [i.e., the present] to the sixth cultural epoch cannot happen differently than as a violent fight between white mankind and colored mankind in the most varied areas. And world history will consist of those events that will lead to these battles between white and colored mankind, until the great fight between white and colored mankind has been brought about. Future events are frequently reflected in previous events. You see, we stand before something so colossal that, if we regard it through the diverse perceptions of spiritual science, we will in the future recognize it as a necessary occurrence.” — Rudolf Steiner, DIE GEISTIGEN HINTERGRÜNDE DES ERSTEN WELTKRIEGES {The Spiritual Background of the First World War} (Dornach: Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1974), GA 174b, p. 38, translated by Roger Rawlings, 2010.

It might be well to pause here a moment. The war that is currently being wage is not, probably, the War of All Against All. Nor is it the coming racial apocalypse, nor is that apocalypse the War of All Against All. Probably. Steiner said that the War of All Against All might occur at the end of the twentieth century, but unless I slept through it, it didn’t happen then. There is, however, a war going on now: the one between Michael and Ahriman. The racial war will rage at the end of our current cultural epoch, the fifth, Steiner said — around 3573 AD, give or take [see, e.g. "Oriphiel"]. The War of All Against All [see "All vs. All"] will erupt at the end of the seventh cultural epoch, which will also be the end of the fifth great epoch. The date of that horrendous conflict is approx. 7900 AD.

“The attainment of selflessness alone will enable humanity to be kept from the brink of destruction. The downfall of our present epoch will be caused by lack of morality. The Lemurian epoch was destroyed by fire, the Atlantean by water; our epoch and its civilisation will be destroyed by the War of All against All, by evil. Human beings will destroy each other in mutual strife. And the terrible thing — more desperately tragic than other catastrophes — will be that the blame will lie with human beings themselves.

"A tiny handful of men will make good and thus insure their survival in the sixth epoch of civilisation. This tiny handful will have attained selflessness. The others will develop every imaginable skill and subtlety in the manipulation and use of the physical forces of nature, but without the essential degree of selflessness.

“In the seventh epoch of civilisation, this War of All against All will break out in the most terrible form. Great and mighty forces will be let loose by the discoveries, turning the whole earth-globe into a kind of [self-functioning] live electric mass. In a way that cannot be discussed, the tiny handful will be protected and preserved.” — Rudolf Steiner, “The Work of Secret Societies in the World” (transcript, Rudolf Steiner Archive), GA 93.

“Evil, says Dr. Steiner...that is deliberate opposition to the Gods, could not begin among the Hierarchies at any higher level than the Angels, who were at their human stage in old Moon evolution when the ‘war in Heaven’ first began. Evil appears among the children of men, and at the very earliest among the Angels who are next above man.’ — George Adams Kaufmann, SOULS OF THE NATIONS (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1938), lecture 5.

“Myths are stories containing great truths, which great initiates have related to men. The Trojan War, for instance, is the narrative of the battle waged between the third and the fourth sub-race of the fifth root-race. The representative of the former is Laocoon, priest of an ancient priest-kingdom, who was at the same time a king. The representative of the latter is Odysseus, the personification of cunning and of the force of thinking which developed within the fourth subrace.” — Rudolf Steiner, RICHARD WAGNER IN THE LIGHT OF ANTHROPOSOPHY (General Anthroposophical Society, 1937), lecture 1, GA 92.

“[T]he Hierarchies belonging to Saturn, Sun, Moon and Earth drew Ahriman into Earth-evolution but restricted his claims for domination in that his forces were used to serve the purposes of evolution. In a sense, Ahriman was forced into the stream of Earth-evolution. Without him the Gods would not have been able to introduce intellectuality into humanity, but if the edge of his dominion had not been broken by the Deed of Christ, Ahriman would have intellectualised the whole Earth inwardly and materialised it outwardly. The Mystery of Golgotha is to be regarded not merely as an inner, mystical experience, but as an external event which must not, however, be presented in the same light as other events recorded in history. The Ahrimanic impulse entered into earthly evolution and at the same time — in a certain sense — was overcome.

“And so, as a result of the Mystery of Golgotha, we have to think of a war between Gods, and this also formed part of the esoteric teachings communicated by Christ to His initiated pupils after the Resurrection. In describing this early, esoteric Christianity it must be recalled that in ancient times human beings were aware of their connection with the Divine worlds, with the worlds of the Gods. They knew of these worlds through revelations. But concerning death they could receive no communication, because in the worlds of the Gods there was no death. Moreover for human beings themselves there was no death in the real sense, for they knew only of the onward-flowing life of soul-and-spirit as revealed to them in the sacred institutions of the Mysteries. Gradually, however, the significance of death began to dawn upon human consciousness. It was possible for men to acquire the strength to wait for Christ Who was the victor over death. — Such is the inner aspect of the process of evolution.” — Rudolf Steiner, “Exoteric and Esoteric Christianity” (Anthroposophical Publishing Co., 1948), a lecture, GA 211.

Steiner's attitude toward war and violence 

is a matter of some debate.

Here is an exchange from the waldorf-critics list


> Instead of a pacifist, as the current generation wants to see Steiner,  it is interesting to note that he was in fact a warmonger.

"I think that is a basically accurate characterization, and it is indeed entirely at odds with current perceptions of Steiner, especially among English-speaking anthroposophists. Within much of the latter day anthroposophical milieu, it is virtually an article of faith that Steiner opposed World War I. They simply have no idea what Steiner actually did and said during the war. Steiner ridiculed pacifism; see e.g. his extremely caustic remarks from March 1916 in Diegeistigen Hintergründe des Ersten Weltkrieges, pp. 173-74. But many of his followers are absolutely convinced that he was opposed to the war, oblivious to his vehement support for the Central Powers."

"[O]ur earth is a battlefield; it is the scene of two opposing powers: right and left. The one, the white power on the right, after the earth has reached a certain degree of material, physical density, strives to spiritualise it once again. The other power, the left or black power, strives to make the earth ever denser and denser, like the moon. Thus, after a period of time, the earth could become the physical expression for the good powers, or the physical expression for the evil. It becomes the physical expression for the good powers through man uniting himself with the spirits working for unification, in that he seeks the ego in the community. It belongs to the function of the earth to differentiate itself physically to an ever greater degree. Now it is possible for the separate parts to go their own way, for each part to form an ego. This is the black path. The white path is the one which strives for what is common, which forms an ego in community. Were we to burrow more and more deeply into ourselves, to sink ourselves into our own ego organisation, to desire always more and more for ourselves, the final result would be that we should strive to separate ourselves from one another. If on the other hand we draw closer, so that a common spirit inspires us, so that a centre is formed between us, in our midst, then we are drawn together, then we are united. To be a black magician means to develop more and more the spirit of separateness. There are black adepts who are on the way to acquire certain forces of the earth for themselves. Were the circle of their pupils to become so strong that this should prove possible, then the earth would be on the path leading to destruction." — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 20, GA 93a.

— Compiled by Roger Rawlings

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


Charlie Hebdo : necessary impertinence

democracy : Steiner on

freedom : a shoal on which Anthroposophy founders

freedom (static) : same shoal

threefolding : reforming society


Woodrow : WIlson