WALDORF WATCH


W e l c o m e


This website is being rebuilt. It will be a mess for a while,

but it will remain open while the work progresses.


“Our highest endeavor must be to develop

free human beings who are able, of themselves,

to impart purpose and direction to their lives.”

— statement attributed to Rudolf Steiner





Hello.


This website deals with

◊ Waldorf schools,

also known as Steiner schools;

◊ Rudolf Steiner, the "clairvoyant" who

established the first of these schools;


and


◊ Anthroposophy, the bizarre religion

promoted by the schools.





There are approximately 1,200 Waldorf schools in the world today. Proponents of Waldorf education boast that theirs is the fastest-growing independent school movement in the world. Great numbers of children attend Waldorf schools — where they are often subjected to covert religious indoctrination.

The underlying purpose of Waldorf schools is to spread the religion created by Rudolf Steiner: Anthroposophy. [See the entry for "Anthroposophy" in The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.]

Despite the religious nature of Waldorf education, efforts are increasing — in the United States and elsewhere — to secure taxpayer support for Waldorf schools.

Humanity faces bigger problems than the proliferation of Waldorf schools and the spread of Rudolf Steiner's mystical doctrines. Nonetheless, anyone who prizes rationality and abhors the clandestine indoctrination of children should find the Waldorf movement troubling.



My name is Roger Rawlings. I attended a Waldorf school from second grade through high school. My mother was secretary to the headmaster at that school. Because I was in the school for so long, and because I occasionally questioned the headmaster, I gained some insights into the Waldorf movement's secret agenda. More to the point, in recent years I have conducted an extensive study of Anthroposophy and Waldorf education. This website is the result.



There is nothing for sale at this site; there are no advertisements; I do not solicit anyone's financial support. I am not looking for money or applause. My purpose is simple: It is to tell you the truth about Waldorf schools.



Many Waldorf schools have proudly displayed the quotation that you see at the top of this page, implying that it summarizes their educational approach. The quotation certainly sounds good. Undoubtedly many Waldorf teachers and administrators take such statements seriously.

But what does the quotation really mean, in the context of Waldorf education? Explaining fully will take some time — in a sense, the rest of this website is devoted to providing a highly detailed explanation.

But for now, for starters, here is a glimpse:

The belief system underlying Waldorf schools is an occult religion that involves doctrines of evolution and reincarnation. Human beings evolve upward as they gain “knowledge of higher worlds” — that is, knowledge of the spiritual worlds above the ordinary plane of existence. To gain this knowledge firsthand, people must develop clairvoyance. Preparation for clairvoyance involves such things as heightened imagination and dream consciousness.

Waldorf schools aim to assist children on the path toward knowledge of the higher worlds. To this end, Waldorf teachers serve as missionaries or priests. [1] However, they generally do so secretively, believing that they possess "mystery wisdom" that other people cannot appreciate. According to Steiner, "outsiders" who should be told as little as possible include the parents of Waldorf students.

Anthroposophical doctrine teaches that humans are born and reborn on Earth many times as they reincarnate. Moreover, each person is born multiple times during each earthly life, as her/his various invisible bodies emerge (the etheric body, the astral body, and the ego body). [2] Waldorf teachers try to help their students incarnate properly, so that the children may fulfill their karmas and evolve to higher levels of spiritual attainment. Humans who evolve normally will stay abreast of the entire solar system as it evolves and reincarnates in ever loftier forms (Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan). [3]

Returning to the quotation, above: There is only one correct “purpose and direction” in life: It is the spiritual evolutionary path laid out by Steiner. Individuals are encouraged to move upward on this path as “free human beings.” According to Steiner, freedom is the birthright of all real human beings (things are different for "abnormal" people who are not really human). According to Steiner, true freedom means willingly submitting to the intentions of the many good gods who stand over mankind. Of course, we also need to resist the evil gods, Steiner said. In practice, becoming truly free means giving up your liberty and accepting Steiner’s religious teachings. [4]

That’s it, in brief. I know it sounds bizarre, but that’s what Waldorf schools are all about: promoting the mystical doctrines of Anthroposophy.

As for the strange reference to people who aren't really human, you should know that for every Steiner quotation that sounds attractive, there are others that are the reverse. Here's one: Telling Waldorf teachers to conceal his doctrines from outsiders, Steiner said, "Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings [i.e., some people are subhuman]." [5] A world of sorrow can be found in such statements.

Don’t take my word for any of this. To penetrate to the truth about Waldorf education, scrutinize the quotations I provide throughout this website — the words spoken and written by Rudolf Steiner and his followers. Read as much of this material as you wish; buy and read some Anthroposophical publications; visit other websites; and then draw your own conclusions.


[1] See "Schools as Churches". Not all Waldorf teachers are fully committed to, or fully understand, the Waldorf mission. Newly hired teachers may undergo a gradual process of indoctrination, a process that some may resist while others succumb. See the section titled "The Indoctrination of Teachers" on the page "Indoctrination".

[2] For more about these invisible bodies, see "Incarnation".

[3] To pursue Steiner's cosmic narrative a bit further, see the section titled "The Creed" on the page "Here's the Answer".

[4] For more about the Anthroposophical conception of freedom, see "Freedom". For more about the many gods of Anthroposophy, see "Polytheism".

[5] Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 650. Note that Steiner said this during a Waldorf faculty meeting. [See "Faculty Meetings" and "Secrets".] Steiner explained that many people who are not human are actually demons in disguise.



I have pointed out some problems with the quotation shown at the top of this page. Here is one more problem. Many proponents of Waldorf education have attributed the quotation to Rudolf Steiner, and some Waldorf schools have given it prominence in their promotional materials. But the statement actually was made by someone else: The words were written by Steiner's second wife, Marie Steiner. You will find the statement on p. 27 of THE NEW ART OF EDUCATION (Philosophical-Anthroposophical Publishing, 1928) — introduction by Marie Steiner.

I mention this because it reflects a difficulty confronting anyone who sets out to investigate Waldorf education. Much of the "information" Waldorf proponents provide to inquisitive outsiders tends to be incomplete, misleading, or false. Sometimes, the deception caused by such misinformation is minor. But in other cases, the deception can be crucial, fundamentally concealing the true nature of Waldorf beliefs and practices. Indeed, one of the chief complaints made against Waldorf schools is that they deceive students' parents about Rudolf Steiner, his teachings, and the real nature of Waldorf schooling. [See "Secrets", "Our Experience", "Cautionary Tales", and "Summing Up".]

(I might add that since I first began publicizing the misattribution of the quotation in question, a number of Waldorf schools have corrected themselves on this point. This is commendable, and it suggests that criticism of Waldorf practices may yield beneficial results. But it doesn't change the underlying issue. You should be skeptical of most pro-Waldorf paeans, especially those coming from within the Waldorf movement itself.)



Rudolf Steiner claimed to be clairvoyant.

Many of his followers — including many Waldorf teachers —

make the same claim for themselves.

The problem is that clairvoyance is a delusion; it doesn't exist.


This knocks the props out from under Waldorf education.

If Waldorf education is based on Anthroposophy (and it is),

and if Anthroposophy depends on clairvoyance (and it does),

and if no one is truly clairvoyant (and no one is),

then there is no valid basis for Waldorf education.


To look into these issues, see "Clairvoyance",

"Exactly", and "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".



Waldorf schools and Anthroposophy — these do not, by any means, constitute the biggest problems facing humanity. And yet Waldorf Watch is a large website, devoting a great deal of attention to issues most people have never heard of. Why have I spent so much time on these issues?

Near the core of most human problems, including the largest, lie twin evils: ignorance and superstition. If humanity is to make progress — if, indeed, it is to survive — we need to attack these deep sources of error.

The strategy I have adopted is to attack ignorance and superstition in a single corner of human existence, a corner I happen to know well: the corner occupied by Waldorf schools and Anthroposophy. If I can comprehensively shine the light of reason into that dark corner, the condition of humanity might improve by at least that much. And if other people undertake similar work in the corners they know well, perhaps the light of reason will strengthen and expand until it suffuses human existence in general. And then the solutions to even our biggest problems will be within reach.

That is my hope, in any case. It is — if i may be excused for using the word — my faith.


The pages here at Waldorf Watch are various and, I hope, stimulating. If you don't find value in any section of a particular page, scroll down and you'll soon come to something else, often written by yours truly but fairly often written by someone else. Waldorf-critical authors represented on the site include Geoffrey Ahern, Dan Dugan, Pete Karaiskos, Grégoire Perra, Ian Robinson, Margaret Sachs, Debra Snell, Peter Staudenmaier, and Diana Winters. Anthroposophists and advocates of Waldorf education quoted on this site include Clopper Almon, Christopher Bamford, Hermann von Baravalle, Henry Barnes, Stewart C. Easton, John Fentress Gardner, A. C. Harwood, Margaret Jonas, Ronald E. Koetzsch, Charles Kovacs, Robert A. McDermott, Sergei O. Prokofieff, Richard Ramsbotham, Eugene Schwartz, Richard Seddon, Andrew J. Welburn, Roy Wilkinson, Lawrence Williams, Franz E. Winkler — and, of course, Rudolf Steiner himself.


Rudolf Steiner summarized his teachings in a book

that has been published under such titles as

AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE

and, in a more recent translation,

AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE.


[Anthroposophic Press, 1997.]


In essence, the book lays out the core doctrines of Anthroposophy,

the worldview that underlies Waldorf education.


Defenders of Waldorf education sometimes argue that Steiner's occult or esoteric teachings no longer hold a prominent place in Waldorf belief or practice. But this is untrue. Below is a photo of a class for aspiring Waldorf teachers held recently at Rudolf Steiner College, a Waldorf teacher-training institution in the USA.



Note the book on the student's desk: It is AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE. Also note the portrait of Steiner on the wall, along with two interior shots of the original Anthroposophical headquarters building. Consider, too, the zodiacal signs visible on the blackboard — astrology is important in Anthroposophy.

Training to become a Waldorf teacher is virtually indistinguishable from training to become an Anthroposophist: It entails immersion in Rudolf Steiner's metaphysics. The basic requirement for right-thinking Waldorf teachers is to embrace Anthroposophy. Steiner said so: "As Waldorf teachers, we must be true anthroposophists in the deepest sense of the word in our innermost feeling.” [1] In the years since Steiner's death, Waldorf authorities have continued to make the same point. For instance: "Waldorf teachers must be anthroposophists first and teachers second." [2]

Non-Anthroposophists sometimes take jobs in Waldorf schools, including teaching positions. But unless these outsiders submit to Anthroposophical guidance offered by senior Waldorf teachers (which generally demands full acceptance of Anthroposophy sooner or later), their tenure may not be long.

For more on all this, see "Teacher Training", "Waldorf Now", "Who Says?", and the section "The Indoctrination of Teachers" on the page "Indoctrination".


[1] Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 118.

[2] Waldorf teacher Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 166.



For a quick overview of Anthroposophy

and its reflection in Waldorf schooling,

you might take a look at "Manifestations".


To delve into the central issue dealt with at this site,

the nature of Waldorf education, see "Here's the Answer".


To consider the religious underpinnings

of the Waldorf movement,

see "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"


For a portrait of the man who created Waldorf education

and who is still the guiding light of the Waldorf movement

— Rudolf Steiner — see "What a Guy".


To explore the standard Waldorf curriculum, Waldorf methods,

and other elements of the Waldorf approach,

see "The Waldorf Curriculum", "Methods",

"Sneaking It In", and "Soul School".


To review the text that, according to Waldorf authorities,

most fully accounts for the Waldorf approach,

see "Oh Humanity".



The word "occult," which I use several times on this page, is potentially both frightening and confusing. Steiner himself often used this word (in his native German, "Okkult"), applying it to his own work. He meant that his teachings deal in dark or hidden (secret or mysterious) wisdom that is possessed by only a few spiritual savants such as himself. [See "Occultism" and "Inside Scoop".]

Earlier on this page, I reproduced the cover of the book AN OUTLINE OF ESOTERIC SCIENCE. Most editions of this crucial Steiner text have been published under more striking titles: either 1) AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE, or 2) OCCULT SCIENCE — AN OUTLINE. Thus, for instance, in 2009 Rudolf Steiner Press released the edition shown below:


Anyone who really wants to understand Rudolf Steiner's teachings should tackle this dense tome in one edition or another, under one title or another. For a guided tour through the text, a tour in which I try to state plainly what Steiner often states obscurely, see "Everything". To look through a companion volume in which Steiner describes techniques his followers should use in their efforts to learn about the higher worlds, see "Knowing the Worlds".




NAVIGATION

To find your way around Waldorf Watch, you can click on the links in the sidebar near the top of this page, on the left. This will take you to various lead articles on the site ("Here's the Answer", "He Went to Waldorf", "Steiner's Blunders", and so on).

The best way to begin most inquiries is to consult The Brief Waldorf / Steiner Encyclopedia.

You can also consult the site's Table of Contents ("What's Where") and the site's Index ("Where?").

When you begin exploring the site, you will find multiple links on every page that will take you to other pages. You can chart your own journey around and through the site.

Here's one more option, a preliminary list of topics you may want to investigate. Clicking on the links will take you to the pages indicated.

Ahriman

Ahriman

Angels

Polytheism

Anthroposophical Headquarters

Is Anthroposophy a Religion?

Anthroposophical Medicine

Steiner's Quackery

Anthroposophy

Everything

Is Anthroposophy a Religion?

Knowing Higher Worlds

Waldorf Wisdom

Square One

Arts-Intensive Curriculum

Magical Arts

Astral body

Incarnation

Astrology

Astrology

Atlantis

Atlantis

The Bible

Old Testament

Sermon

Was He Christian?

Biodynamic Gardening

Biodynamics

Brain

Steiner's Specific

Christ

Sun God

Clairvoyance

Clairvoyance

Exactly

Class Teacher

Methods

Computers

Spiders, Dragons and Foxes

Conditions of Consciousness

Matters of Form

Planets

Cultural Epochs

Epochs

Education

Waldorf Curriculum

Holistic Education

Methods

Advice for Teachers

Faculty Meetings

Waldorf Wisdom

Ego

Ego

Elemental Beings

Beings

Neutered Nature

Epochs

Epochs

Etheric body

Incarnation

Eurythmy

Eurythmy

Magical Arts

Evolution

Evolution, Anyone?

Festivals

Magical Arts

Freedom

Freedom

Future Jupiter

Future Stages

Future Venus

Future Stages

Future Vulcan

Future Stages

Gnomes

Gnomes

Gods

Polytheism

Goetheanum

Is Anthroposophy a Religion?

Great Epochs

Epochs

Guardian(s) of the Threshold

Guardians

Gurus

Guru

Head, Heart and Hands

Holistic Education

Hierarchies

Polytheism

Higher Worlds

Higher Worlds

Knowing the Worlds

Holistic Education

Holistic Education

Holy Grail

Grail

Human Stage of Evolution

Steiner Static

"I"

Incarnation

Ego

Imagination

Thinking Cap

Incarnation

Incarnation

Initiation

Inside Scoop

Intellect

Steiner's Specific

Jesus

Was He Christian?

Jupiter (and Future Jupiter)

Future Stages

Karma

Karma

Lazure

Ex-Teacher 2

Lemuria

Lemuria

Lucifer

Lucifer

Main Lesson

Waldorf Curriculum

Mars

Mars

Michael

Michael

Moon (and Old Moon)

Old Moon, Etc.

Lunacy

Morning Verses

Prayers

Music

Magical Arts

Mysteries

Knowing the Worlds

Mystery Plays

Plays

Myths

Oh My Word

Nature Spirits

Beings

Neutered Nature

Norse Myths

The Gods

Occult Science

Everything

Occultism

Occultism

Old Moon

Old Moon, Etc.

Old Saturn

Old Saturn

Old Sun

Old Sun

Organs of Clairvoyance

Thinking Cap

Encyclopedia, N-O

Painting

Magical Arts

Parents

Advice for Parents

Clues

Planetary Conditions

Matters of Form

Planets

Planets

Polytheism

Polytheism

Prayers

Prayers

Present Earth

Present Earth

Progressive Education

Waldorf Now

Ex-Teacher 3

Racism

Races

Steiner's Racism

Reincarnation

Reincarnation

Religion

Is Anthroposophy a Religion?

Here's the Answer

Rhythm

Methods

Encyclopedia, R

Rosicrucianism

Rosy Cross

Saturn (and Old Saturn)

Old Saturn

Science

Science

Steiner's "Science"

Seven-Year Stages

Most Significant

Shaded Drawing

Encyclopedia, S-Sn

Soul World

Higher Worlds

Spirit-Soul

Encyclopedia, So-Sp

Spirit World

Higher Worlds

Spiritual Exercises

Knowing the Worlds

Power Words

Spiritual Science

Everything

Knowing The Worlds

Steiner, Rudolf

What a Guy

Everything

Through His Eyes

Say What?

Steiner Schools [see Waldorf Schools]

Steiner-Waldorf Schools [see Waldorf Schools]

Sun (and Old Sun)

Old Sun

Sun God

Sun God

Supersensible

Encyclopedia, Sq-Sy

Technology

Spiders, Dragons and Foxes

Teeth, Change Of

Incarnation

Television

Clues

Temperaments

Temperaments

Thinking

Thinking

Threefolding

Threefolding

Vaccination

Steiner's Quackery

Veil Painting

Encyclopedia, T-V

Venus (and Future Venus)

Future Stages

Vulcan (and Future Vulcan)

Vulcan

Future Stages

Waldorf Parents

Faculty Meetings

Our Experience

Coming Undone

Moms

Pops

Waldorf Schools

Here's the Answer

Waldorf Wisdom

Waldorf Curriculum

Methods

Schools as Churches

Square One

Incarnation

Sneaking It In

Soul School

Spiritual Agenda

Waldorf Now

Today

Faculty Meetings

Teacher Training

Academic Standards at Waldorf

Waldorf Students

Soul School

Mistreating Kids Lovingly

Most Significant

Incarnation

Indoctrination

Sneaking It In

Lesson Books

Who Gets Hurt

He Went to Waldorf

I Went to Waldorf

The World of Waldorf

Beat

Waldorf Teachers

Teacher Training

W. Teacher's Consciousness

Advice for Teachers

Faculty Meetings

Serving the Gods

Discussions

Foundations

Underpinnings

Today

Who Says?

Square One

Waldorf Wisdom

Out in the Open

War of All Against All

All v. All

Wet-on-Wet Painting

Magical Arts

Whole Child

Holistic Education

Zodiac

Zodiac

P.S.

Steiner taught his followers that they are on a holy, messianic mission to save humanity and, indeed, to save the entire created universe. Thus, many Anthroposophists today feel that they are justified in resorting to almost any strategems to advance their mission. On occasion, this leads them to shade the truth, hide the truth, and deny the truth. Occasionally they also twist the truth, making deceitful statements about anyone they see as standing in their path.

Quite understandably, my criticisms of Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy, and Waldorf education are upsetting to Steiner's followers. Various attacks have been aimed at me as a result. Those attacks are unimportant. The occasional true statements made about me in such attacks are unimportant; the many false statements made about me are equally unimportant. I am unimportant. (Some time ago, I decided not to respond to even the harshest attacks. Ad hominems are inherently pointless. I suggest that we turn our attention instead to what actually matters.)

What matters is the truth about Waldorf education and the occult fantasies on which it is founded. I have striven to present the truth on every page of this website. Check this claim. I have included extensive documentation throughout the site, making it easy for you to see what sources of information I have used. So check up on the work you find here, and then determine the truth for yourself.

— Roger Rawlings