No, Mr Dugan, Steiner Waldorf schools are not cult schools.

Following the anthropopper’s last post, my attention was drawn to comments on the Waldorf Critics’ forum alleging cult-like behaviour in Steiner Waldorf schools. Such criticisms have been around for some time, of course. Several long-standing allegations of cult-like behaviour have come from Dan Dugan of the organisation PLANS (People for Legal and Non-Sectarian Schools) in the USA. Dan listed nine “cult-like characteristics of anthroposophy” on the Waldorf Critics’ website on February 9th 1999.

Just a year or so before that, my wife and I decided that we wanted to send our daughter to a Steiner Waldorf school. Our daughter had had a happy first year of school in the Reception class of our local state primary school. I remember her skipping down the road on her journey to school, eager to get there to meet her friends and enjoy the day. This changed, unfortunately, when she moved into Year 1 and the National Curriculum kicked in. We began to notice some distinct and disturbing changes in our daughter. She started to become clumsy and was often falling and bruising herself. This happy, outgoing child started to become pale and withdrawn. Most alarming of all, the spontaneous dancing and painting and drawing she had previously done just stopped.

At this point we decided we had to act. We went to visit various Steiner schools with our daughter where she met the teachers and the pupils in her age group and took part in sample lessons. Eventually she decided that she wanted to go to the Kings Langley school. Things moved fast from that point; our house went on the market in July and sold within one week for our asking price; we went on a frantic house search process and eventually found a house we liked and could just about afford. We moved in at the beginning of September 1998 and our daughter started at the Kings Langley school three days later.

Why did we want to send our daughter to a Steiner school, even though any rational assessment would show that we couldn’t afford the fees and that we faced the prospect of years of scrimping and saving and few, if any, holidays? There are so many reasons but here are just a few:

  • A truly child-centred curriculum that allows children to develop at their own pace and to have a proper childhood
  • A method that uses art and creativity to teach every subject
  • The main lesson system which allows subjects to be studied with both depth and breadth
  • A noticeable quality of warmth in the schools and friendly relations between staff and pupils but also mutual respect

I would like a school with such qualities to be available for every child who might benefit from it, especially for those whose parents can’t afford the fees of the independent schools. That is why I am so pleased for those parents who live within the catchment areas of the new publicly-funded Bristol, Exeter, Frome and Hereford Steiner Academy schools. I wish there were many more, throughout the country, to supplement the good work of the independent schools.

Dan Dugan’s own history with Waldorf schools is interesting and has been set out in some detail here. Dan describes himself as a “secular humanist” but his humanist values do not seem to prevent him from engaging in campaigns of misinformation, defamation and myth-making. In the USA, of course, with the separation of church and state, schools have a delicate balancing act to perform, which PLANS has sought to exploit by bringing legal cases against Waldorf schools – which PLANS have subsequently lost. In seeking to make his case that Steiner Waldorf schools are religious schools, Dan has listed what he calls their cult-like characteristics.

These alleged cult-like characteristics, as identified by Dan, are shown below in bold while my comments on these are shown in italics.

Cult-like characteristics of Anthroposophy include:

1. It clings to rejected knowledge. 
(The heart is not a pump, etc.)

Here’s an extract from an article on the AnthroMed Library website which deals with this question:

 “To any doctor trained in today’s medical schools, the idea that the heart may not be a pump would, at first sight, appear to be about as logical as suggesting that the sun rises in the West or that water flows uphill. So strongly is the pump concept ingrained in the collective psyche that even trying to think otherwise is more than most people can manage. Yet Rudolf Steiner, a man not given to unscientific or slipshod thinking, was quite clear on the matter and reiterated time and again that the heart is not a pump. “The blood drives the heart, not the heart the blood.”

This topic requires more space than is available here, but anyone wishing to find out more might wish to start with this article from the Journal of Anthroposophical Medicine. There is also a useful description of what is taught about the heart in Steiner Waldorf schools here.

A further interesting fact, which medical science is unable to explain, is that in embryological development, the blood starts circulating in the embryo before the heart organ has been created. In other words, blood circulation in the embryo pre-dates the heart.

2. It requires teachers to commit to the world-view for advancement in status. 
(college of teachers).

Many Steiner Waldorf schools do not have a head teacher or principal but are instead organised by a body of staff (mainly teachers but often including administrators) called the College of Teachers. The criteria for becoming a College member usually include a commitment to working meditatively on oneself, thus seeking an active connection between oneself and the spiritual worlds; on being on a continuous path of personal and professional development; and on taking an active part in the running of the school beyond one’s normal teaching or administrative duties. Becoming a member of College does not lead to any increase in status, nor to any increase in pay. What it does lead to is a deeper commitment to the work of the school and a fuller realisation of the seriousness and responsibility of the task of the educator.

3. Its core doctrines are not published. 
(First Class).

It is true that what are called the class lessons of the First Class of the School of Spiritual Science have not been published – although these can now be found online, published without support from the society. During the refounding of the Anthroposophical Society at Christmas 1923/24 as the General Anthroposophical Society, Rudolf Steiner also introduced the School of Spiritual Science, which was intended to have three classes, leading from one to the next. Owing to Steiner’s death in 1925, he was only able to provide lessons for the First Class. His intention was that there should not be any published texts of these lessons released for personal reading but that the content of the lessons should be passed on by word of mouth. It was also his intention that anyone who wished to belong to the school should be “a worthy representative of anthroposophy before the world.” The reason for this is that the lessons are steeped in esoteric knowledge and require much background preparation from the student. They are not to be read or talked about like stories from a newspaper, or thought about with our everyday kind of thinking. “One can accomplish nothing whatever in esoteric life if one does not know that in esoteric life truth – absolute truth – must prevail, and that we cannot merely speak of truth and still persist in taking these things in the way one would in the profane, external life.” So these texts are not for intellectual or casual reading, but require a certain cast of mind, as well as preparation and commitment, before engaging with them.

4. It is exclusive. 
(Only Anthroposophical knowledge of man leads to right education.)

It’s not obvious what Dan has in mind here – Steiner Waldorf schools of course teach all kinds of knowledge from many different sources, as does any school. Anthroposophy, on the other hand, is not taught to the children, nor is it necessary to be an anthroposophist before teaching in a Steiner Waldorf school. Clearly, the schools hope that anyone who comes to teach in a Waldorf setting will have an interest in anthroposophy and will want to find out more; but it is not a requirement and teachers do not have to sign up to any particular set of beliefs.

5. It guards revelation of “difficult” knowledge. 
(Prospective parents won’t be told about the role of Lucifer.)

When Dan Dugan wrote this list of cult-like characteristics in the late 1990s, it was probably a fair criticism to say that prospective parents were not told much about anthroposophy in many school prospectuses. I don’t believe this was for any sinister reason, but simply because it would be difficult to know where to begin with such a complex and extensive body of knowledge. However, in the light of criticisms from organisations like PLANS, school websites and prospectuses are nowadays much more likely to be more forthcoming about anthroposophy, and this is very much to be welcomed. Parents should of course do their own online research and reading about educational systems, as well as pay visits to the school and talk to other parents before committing their child to any particular school.

6. It is a closed system. 
(Almost all publications referenced are from Anthroposophical presses and periodicals, all writers refer to Steiner.)

Inasmuch as it applies to anthroposophy, this is probably a fair criticism. I think such a criticism might also apply to other specialist areas originated by a towering figure, eg Jungian psychology, in which new territory was being opened up by the founder. The passage of time will change this, as is already being seen within anthroposophy, where the contributions of people such Bernard Lievegoed, Otto Scharmer, Arthur Zajonc and other highly respected thinkers are building on Steiner’s foundations.

Inasmuch as it applies to Steiner Waldorf schools, the same situation applies, with Steiner’s educational ideas gradually being added to by other experienced educationalists. Steiner Waldorf schools have been to a certain extent insular in their relations with the wider educational world. There are reasons for this, of course, in that the Waldorf system deplores much of what it regards as the excessive pressures and unreasonable demands put upon children and schools by modern politicians; and does not see many of its own ideas understood or referred to in mainstream educational publications. Clearly, however, it is not ideal for the schools to be isolated from the educational culture of their countries and Steiner would undoubtedly have wished there to have been much more interaction between Waldorf and other school systems. I have written more about this here. In those countries (now including England) where Steiner Waldorf schools are able to receive public funding, there is much more of a sense that the schools are part of a pluralistic educational culture.

7. It uses Jargon that redefines common terms. 
(Child development)

When Steiner Waldorf schools talk about child development and age-appropriate education, they have in mind the importance of not bringing any form of knowledge to a child before he or she is developmentally ready to receive and benefit from it. Rudolf Steiner has given the schools a model of child development which has been tried and tested now for over 90 years, and on the whole it works very well, because it accords completely with the actual nature of most children.

8. It maintains separation from the world by generating fear and loathing. 
(Denigrating public schools, “us vs them” attitude, paranoia)

I’ve not heard any reports of this from schools in the UK but there are certainly allegations of this nature made in the USA. If this has ever happened in any Steiner Waldorf school, it would certainly be deplorable and would be completely contrary to the intentions of Rudolf Steiner.

9. It suppresses critical dialogue, resulting in elaboration but no development of theory. 
(Consensus government, “like it or leave,” Shunning)

It is, of course, very difficult in any school if a parent or group of parents starts to create serious unrest in the parent body with vociferous complaints. In such cases, if the parents do not respond to offers of dialogue and discussion but continue to spread disharmony, then they may be asked to leave. The challenge for schools is to be as open as possible about anthroposophy before parents enrol their children; and then to provide plenty of opportunities through parents’ evenings, study groups and orientation days for any issues to be discussed before they become contentious and divisive. If the school attended by Dan’s son had been more open all those years ago, perhaps Dan would have realised in advance that it was not somewhere he would choose for his son’s education.


I am not an uncritical defender of Steiner Waldorf schools and I do recognise that on occasion, things can go wrong. Some schools seem to have an unfortunate knack for upsetting parents and then failing to deal properly with the consequences. The reasons for this can be many and complex and in my post on leadership & management issues in Steiner Waldorf schools, I’ve listed some of these. Improved teacher training, school management and customer care are required before these problems will start to disappear. But I also think that when Steiner Waldorf education works well, as it does for many thousands of children (including my own daughter), it’s one of the best, and most human, systems of education you can find.

I hope it is clear from what has been written above, and in my previous post on anthroposophy, that Steiner Waldorf schools cannot legitimately be described as being part of a cult, or cult-like. But it is also clear that Steiner Waldorf schools need to be as open and transparent as possible with parents about anthroposophy and the part it plays in the approach that teachers take to their teaching. I believe that most Steiner Waldorf schools today are more aware of these issues and that school brochures and websites are far less reticent about anthroposophy than used to be the case. It is not in the best interests of any school to have parents who do not support the Waldorf system or who feel that somehow the school has been less than straightforward with them about what lies behind the education. Well-informed and supportive parents, who understand what the teachers are trying to achieve and who are prepared to work with the school for the best outcomes for their children, are the bedrock of any school system, Steiner Waldorf or mainstream.

Further reading

There are several posts on this blog about Steiner Waldorf education, or which touch on aspects of it. For ease of reference, here are the links:

September 4th 2014 – Rudolf Steiner visits Margaret McMillan

September 11th 2014 – The internet, the critics and Steiner Waldorf schools

September 16th 2014 – Karma and the Steiner Waldorf teacher

September 27th 2014 – Why some atheists like anthroposophy

October 2nd 2014 – The issue that isn’t going away – leadership and management in Steiner Waldorf schools

October 4th 2014 – Different strokes for different folks

October 9th 2014 – A few thoughts on leadership and management issues in Steiner Waldorf schools

February 15th 2015 – “Every school could use these methods…”

December 1st 2015 – “A right good evening, the best of cheer…”

December 13th 2015 – Guest Post: Leadership & Organisational Structure in Steiner Waldorf schools


Filed under Anthroposophy, Dan Dugan/PLANS, Leadership in Steiner Waldorf Schools, Rudolf Steiner, Steiner Waldorf schools, Waldorf critics

49 responses to “No, Mr Dugan, Steiner Waldorf schools are not cult schools.

  1. Gemma

    If there is one thing I have learned in this life, it is that people who have a fixed opinion will not change it just because they are handed evidence that contradicts their view.

    That is to say, if a person is wedged in the intellectual soul where they relish their sympathies and abhor their antipathies, any evidence you provide them with will be seen as a threat to their “comfort zone” (if one may call it that).

    I will add that there are piles of data on the quality of student that emerge from the Waldorf schools, the most important studies are in Dutch or German since the schools form part of the state system. Thus many children go to such a school because it happens to be just around the corner. Nevertheless, the effect on the child is much the same.

    The other aspect to note is the crushing effect of a British mainstream school, with its interminable examinations at almost all ages. In Germany the Abitur, which happens at age 17-18, is usually taken in the same classroom as the children (young adults) have studied in – and are marked by their teachers, or at least internally. The effect of the British system – which I managed to escape until the onset of GCSEs – leads directly to people who need the comfort of their sympathies more than most.


  2. All righty then, Jeremy, I’ve duly notified Prime Minister Dugan of your Declaration of War!

    (My “shuttle diplomacy” continues! Yeeeee-Hawwwww!)


  3. Caryn Louise

    Yes, it has afforded an opportunity to study how Jesuitism operates. Besides the obvious facts i.e. the rejection to read or study Rudolf Steiner lectures hence the erroneous and gabbled message content. Besides this, the whole overall tone was delivered in such a manner aimed at ‘breaking the Will’ which of course is immoral and a serious offence.

    Anyone who has had encountered an conversation (if one may call it that) with Peter Staudemaier, Dan Dugan, Pete Karaiskos and others not excluding Tom, with their deliberate smear campaigns against Anthroposophy will recognize the same modus operandis.

    A question now needs to be asked: exactly how similar and connected is Jesuitism to fundamentalist groups?



    • Gemma

      the rejection to read or study Rudolf Steiner lectures

      I wonder who you got this idea from, and why. Can you tell me?

      I would also like to know what this has to do with Waldorf education… as I imagine Jeremy would appreciate us keeping to topic.

      Can you tell me why you are using the kind of smear campaign used against anthroposophy, to ‘smear’ me with your antipathies for Jesuits.

      But it is necessary to bring this conversation closer to the topic of the post. After all, the purpose of Anthroposophy as expressed in the Waldorf schools is to lessen the divide between sympathy and antipathy. This, in and of itself implies the perspective a child gains from knowing they are good at (say) maths but not drawing, and the child who struggles with maths will find drawing easy – and seeing this in the context of their class, can see their own place in broader society.

      The lack of such awareness is what leads directly to people harbouring antipathies.


      • People who don’t read Steiner’s written works or lectures are the very ones today that reject anthroposophy and its extension into Waldorf Education. That is why Caryn specifically refers to Peter Staudenmaier, Dan Dugan, Pete Karaiskos, Tom Mellett, as well as many others, and maybe you as well, as being those who would take issue with the idea of the Jesuit influence, which can equally be associated with the Freemason influence that combine to obstruct the advent of spiritual science as a necessary cultural-educational imperative today.

        Again, I can’t speak for Caryn’s ideology, but I know that many people today cannot accept the principles of spiritual science that have been extended into an educational pedagogy, as well as the renewal of medicine according to the original Hippocratic oath, and other curative methods, and yet, many others do. In other words, there is much more acceptance than rejection today when it comes to what we have and can expect for the future.

        Jeremy has noted a number of dismal assessments and opinions in this post, and yet, the positive proofs are continuing to overcome the likes of the Dan Dugan brigade. For example, even Debra Snell loved Waldorf for her child until financial difficulties closed her school. Then, she changed course. Why? I don’t know, yet it must have meant something to her. Maybe she will say something next.



      • Gemma

        People who don’t read Steiner’s written works or lectures are the very ones today that reject anthroposophy and its extension into Waldorf Education

        There is one aspect you miss – and missed in my comment too. Namely, that of antipathies. The people you mention do not like anything that they do not have sympathy for; now this may sound trivial, only there is a problem.

        Most people have no perspective on their own sympathies. What is more, one can only arrive at a perspective by appreciating one’s own antipathies. In my comment above, I showed how this comes about in the Waldorf child through the interaction of a class of children, all of whom have their strengths and weaknesses. It is a rare child who is weak in everything, and the special schools (Schubart schools) were created with this situation in mind.

        In a school that emphasizes academic achievement alone, how can a child appreciate the social skills of a fellow pupil? If art itself is marked by intellectual quality alone – that is to say, the sympathies of the teacher or the organization they work for – how can a truly talented artist find self-acceptance and pride in their work if the school continually marks it down because it does not fit the school’s fixed ideas of what art is? Leave alone a child who, like me, had leanings towards science rather than art?

        The very thing these opponents need is the very thing they are opposing! What is this but Ahriman alive in their thoughts and deeds?

        However, dealing with Ahriman in oneself is to deal with one’s own antipathies, and draw them into some kind of context. Furthermore, a Jesuit will have no more ability to work with their antipathies than most other people for the simple reason that they are simply unaware of the fact that the things they are so apalled by are the very things that live within them as antipathies!

        Reading lectures might lead one to discern such things; but it is practice that brings such things to consciousness. Hence my stand that practicing the verses and other anthroposophical activities stands heads and shoulders above the lectures.

        So be very, very careful when you see people speaking ill of each other, or think that they might be thinking ill of someone else. It might be that your own antipathies are rearing their ugly little heads – and the real point is this: how would you know?

        What is more, I could not write this without having recognized and worked with my own antipathies… so please, be very careful and read my comments with the care with which they were written. Because it is more than likely that some of you are reading your own antipathy, rather than the things I actually wrote.


  4. Steve Hale


    I like your article very much, and it shows how much a Waldorf education can mean to a child who first feels disenchanted and bewildered from a public school education. I myself had to suffer this as a little boy of just five years of age, who was suddenly sent to a public elementary school here in Tacoma. I was very much like your child, but had no other opportunity but to accept the established school curriculum/environment. There were no Waldorf schools in 1955, and it was so until 1995 before Tacoma, Washington got its first Steiner school. By then, I was 45 years old.

    So, here is what happened. Between Kindergarten and age six, I received an initiation, which enabled me to enter the world of three dimensions, i.e., the so-called “first love”, and then I was able to acquaint with first grade and so on. If I had been able to attend a Waldorf school, then the Kingdoms of Childhood would have been retained in some measure, and clairvoyance retained. We are all born with the clairvoyant perception of the higher worlds which we have lived in before birth.

    Now, the Dugan article is old, from 2005, and while it relates some important background information, which I knew nothing about, it also fails to consider Mr. Dugan today. I have talked a great deal with Dan over the last four years, and he is a very human person, albeit very sincere as well. Thus, the article from Robert Mays is old in some respects and needs the further facts of today, wherein Dan Dugan is seen as a nice guy who believes in what he believes, and has had to listen to Steve Hale a lot. So, the article here:

    needs the advice of the contemporary viewpoint, which wants to appeal to Dan, and has even gotten further with him in my experience. He has to listen to Steve Hale today, and he knows it. We got very close to some kind of resolution, and then he banned me for harassing a member who proclaimed that I was a holocaust denier. That ended our association.

    Yet, he knows why I did it. I had to write in offense to such a charge, and that could hardly be considered harassment. In truth, it was the other way around. Just ask Peter Staudenmaier, who Dan Dugan makes his claim today.



    • Thank you, Steve. Dan Dugan will of course be welcome to respond on this blog, should he wish to update Robert Mays’ information from 2005, or even to comment on anything in the post. Although Dan’s “nine cult characteristics” were first listed in 1999, they are still out there on the internet and they are still influencing many people who may not know anything else about Steiner Waldorf education – which of course is why I want to put an alternative point of view on record.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Steve Hale


        I doubt very much that Dan Dugan will ever deign to respond to you. First of all, he is Irish, which means he hates the British, i.e., you, and then he has many more years of spouting hatred against the very system that he willingly sent his child to, which likely was more in favor of a personal decision related to education. Alas, he is now where he is, and has conveyed a post which helps make it clear that he is where he is.

        He looks for every pothole he can find; at least in America.



      • David Clark

        Hi Jeremy. From experience, I reckon Dan relies and rests on the internet.


    • Gemma

      Steve Hale,

      I had to write in offense to such a charge, and that could hardly be considered harassment. In truth, it was the other way around.

      So, where is the perspective for each other’s viewpoint here? That one person considered a well reasoned statement to be “harassment” only means that they are seeing their own antipathies in the things they read.

      Which was the point of my last comment: how would such a person know that they were seeing their own antipathies, when to them, it was perfectly clear that it was the other who was being offensive and was making harassing remarks?

      How can one convince a person that you are not being offensive, when all you can say to them – however nicely written – is taken to be offensive?

      Deal with this in real life and you will discover just how cunning Ahriman truly is, and just how easy it is to fall into his trap of thinking that it’s always everybody else!

      The first step is to think “is this me, or is this them”? When a person’s perceptions have become sensitive enough, then will come a time when they can literally feel that they are projecting onto the other.


      • Steve Hale

        In my experience, neither Gemma or Jeremy have ever taken on the Waldorf Critics directly over time. So, they can surmise what they want, and speculate what would be the better attitude to take, with Dan Dugan, or harassing remarks. Indeed, antipathies far outweigh sympathies in these interactions, but the effort was always made to see the empathy that attempts to strike the balance. One can always look on from the sidelines, and most were lurkers back at that time, and said nothing. In short, it is a matter of taking on the folks themselves, and leave out the speculations. That forms the reality which can be expressed in truth rather than the comfortable theory, which is wasted here, but thanks for the perspective, Gemma. It is good to see the abstract as well. Likely though, it can’t be pigeon-holed that easily. You’d have to be there working with it, and you weren’t. That is what matters.



      • Gemma

        The truth is this: you are wasting your time trying to convince the Waldorf Critics.

        After all, they are criticising the very thing they need. Believe me, no matter how you try, whatever angle you use, you will eventually fall foul of one of their antipathies. I’ve worked with this kind of thing for long enough – and in no few languages and cultures – to know how Ahriman works, and he works through intolerance.

        You might as well roust out their intolerance first and see if that person has the inner strength to deal with it. The rare ones do, and it is well worth the time and trouble to find them because their friendship will be profound.

        Why dance around intolerance as if it wasn’t there? Look at the response I had the other day, when someone couldn’t understand me. As a result they saw their antipathies spread out before them. Of course, this couldn’t be their fault, could it? So it was I who must have been on medication.


      • Steve Hale

        I have spent a great deal of time talking to the Waldorf Critics over the last four years, who are equally critics of anthroposophy. It was always my intention to deal with the facts, which equally concerned the issues faced by parents who had problems with their respective schools. Usually it was the parent, like Dan Dugan and Pete Karaiskos, who had the major issue with the school, with little to no mention of how much their child enjoyed being a Waldorf student. So, I was able to do this with empathy, otherwise I would have been buried by the extreme antipathy that this group of critics has toward Steiner and his various works.

        For example, racism is largely the main subject that circulates continuously around the WC group, and how convinced they are that race is taught in Waldorf, with specific emphasis that the European blood line is superior to other cultures, which are on the way out, and so forth. No amount of level-headed thinking can get them to see the error in this belief, as they are convinced that all schools overtly or covertly teach these racial ideas to students. Teachers are supposedly trained expressly to convey anthroposophy to students in some form. I talked with various authorities, such as AWSNA about this, and they deny that anthroposophy is taught. But to relay that to the Critics only means that AWSNA is lying, as with everything else that the various schools say. I finally had to abandon any further investigating because it was useless. The antipathy, which is vehement hatred, is a terminal condition with these people.

        But only an empathic position could have enabled the effort. Seeing both sides, and there was much more sympathy at one time, but those folks got driven off eventually, leaving what you see today in the few vocal critics left.


  5. Jeremy,

    Our respective experiences as Waldorf parents with a daughter are so strikingly anti-parallel that I decided to copy the relevant passages from your blog and make simple “mutatis mutandis” substitutions in brackets to let you know that I myself could easily have written the following:

    Our daughter had had a happy first year of school [1988] in the [Kindergarten] class of our local [Austin Waldorf] school. I remember her skipping down the road on her journey to school, eager to get there to meet her friends and enjoy the day. This changed, unfortunately, when she moved into Year 1 and the [Waldorf] Curriculum kicked in. We began to notice some distinct and disturbing changes in our daughter. [ . . . ]
    At this point we decided we had to act. We went to visit [the local public school] with our daughter where she met the teachers and the pupils in her age group and took part in sample lessons. Eventually she decided that she wanted to go to the [local public] school.


    Now let me set the context and fill in some details. Our daughter Amelia was born in 1983 in the community around Rudolf Steiner College (RSC) in Sacramento, CA. Her mother Jennifer is a lawyer by profession and in 1980 was hired by RSC President Rene Querido to be the Registrar at the college.

    But Jennifer and I had met in 1978 in Austin, Texas and married there in 1979, so it was not surprising that we eventually returned to our karmic roots in Austin in 1986 with our new child. In the late 70’s I was actually involved with the “conception” of the AWS but not its “birth” in 1980. So it was natral that we would send Amelia to AWS when she came of Kindergarten age in 1988. She has a wonderful teacher and all of us today are still grateful to Miss Lynnette for that beautiful Waldorfian year.

    However, once Amelia crossed the Rainbow Bridge to 1st grade, everything went south. The First Grade teacher was a disaster and eventually had to be replaced because the school was facing a potent insurrection from so many of the 1st grade parents. (I liked the teacher and she eventually found her proper karmic niche as a Waldorf teacher — but only at the high school level. She was just not meant to be with the younger kids.)

    We finally pulled Amelia out of the AWS because she said she wanted to go to public school with her best friend Ariel. After a short but rough period of adjustment, Amelia blossomed at public school and never looked back at Waldorf. At present, she is early in her career as a veterinarian at a large animal hospital in San Antonio and in a month I shall be flying there to attend her son Eric’s 1st birthday party – as well as meeting her friend Ariel’s new son of age 8 months. Quite the karma there, n’est-ce-pas?

    As you might well imagine, Jeremy, this experience had a profound effect on my relationship to anthroposophy. Indeed, it inspired me to make the first use of a spiritual exercise from Rudolf Steiner, one that Rene Querido has presciently given me in 1984 when he, as First Class Reader, sponsored me into First Class and perceived that it was the most suitable exercise for me to cultivate. He was right.

    It is the subsidiary exercise known as the “Falling Church Steeple,” one that Gemma had recently asked me to elaborate on. I’ll do so another time, but suffice it to say that I first practiced it in 1990, renewed it a second time in 1998 and for a third time in 2006.

    When I return home from my grandson’s 1st birthday party next month, I shall also be celebrating my 40th year as an Anthroposophist. (Ides of March 1976). And you all know what that anniversary means! Yes, I am finally ready to go public as an anthroposophical spiritual teacher. It’s the law! — according to the Rosicrucians, so watch out, folks, I’ve given you a month’s notice! And Jeremy, your Anthropopper blog may very well be my launching pad.

    Thaddeus Thomasius
    (the good Judas Priest)


    • Thank you for sharing your experiences, Tom. It can happen, of course, that a school and a child don’t seem to be right for one another. The Kings Langley School worked well for my daughter and the Austin Waldorf School didn’t work so well for your daughter – these things happen, and I’m glad your daughter found a school that suited her. But the point of my post was that SW schools are not cult schools and I notice that you didn’t seek to allege that they are.


      • Jeremy,

        Why do you assume that I consider Waldorf schools to be cult schools? Of course they are not cult schools, in the same way I consider that the Roman Catholic schools I attended in NYC were also not cult schools.

        In fact, I was forever disabused of the notion that Waldorf schools were cult schools in 1981 when I was teaching high school physics at the Garden City, LI, NY Waldorf School and they also hired a new English/Writing teacher, a Mr. Ellis, who only heard of Waldorf and Steiner for the first time in his life during his job interview with the Faculty Chairman!

        In later Faculty Lounge conversations, it was a source of much bemusement when myself and Joe Proskauer, the biology teacher, would educate Mr. Ellis about Steiner and Anthroposophy. He would ask: “Have I joined a cult?” And Joe and I would answer: “Not at the high school level, but lower school is another story.”

        The point Joe and I were making is that the cult-like aspects of Anthroposophy are much more prominent in teachers attracted to the lower school, especially those drawn to teach at the early childhood level. By contrast, the HS teachers in general could care less about Steiner and anthroposophy.

        Thus do I draw a distinction between the Waldorf schools, which are NOT cult schools, and the Anthroposophical Society and Movement which has many cult-like characterisitics.

        Indeed, when I took the Cultic Index survey for anthroposophy, I scored a 6.2 out of 10, indicating that I consider anthroposophy to be mildly cult-like. (The Fulcrum or neutral score is 5.0. A CI less than 5 means NOT a cult, while a CI above 5 tests positive, as it were, for the cult-like nature of anthroposophy.)



        • Well, Tom, we’re making progress! You have now gone on record as affirming that Steiner Waldorf schools are not cult schools. Let’s hope that this does not lead to charges of apostasy being levelled against you by the good people on the WC list. 🙂

          However, to keep up this progress, you still need to do a little work on your belief that anthroposophy is a cult. Going through my comments on the 15 characteristics of cults, which ones do you disagree with?

          By the way, I agree with you that the Lower School class teachers are more likely to be anthropops than the Upper School subject teachers. I think that the reason for this is the shortage of subject teachers, particularly in Maths and Science subjects, so schools will gladly accept anyone who is available. Waldorf-trained maths and science teachers are almost as rare as hen’s teeth.

          Best wishes,



      • Gemma

        Jeremy, whilst it is on record, what effect is this going to have?

        In the world we live in, isn’t it more important to find those people who have not built up so many preconceptions about Waldorf education. With such people, one can speak with them about its strengths, rather than defend its weaknesses against people who act like social parasites? People who will attack every weakness and will dig into every little clause like some journalist who needs prurient headlines? People who indulge themselves in this because it sates their own twisted outlook on life?

        You know from your studies of the plant, that to see off a bug, you need to strengthen the soil. The bugs will go away of their own accord because the plant is distasteful to them! With humans it’s not so easy, but the principle still stands.

        It is a great pity that more attention was not given to the Schools in the early twenties. And if I might say so, cleanse that poisoned money from the insurance companies by transforming it into gift money, thus supporting a cause that has done more for anthroposophy than even bio-dynamic farming has? Imagine that at the time, when darkness was spreading across Europe thanks to twisted Anglo-Saxon minds, that the nascent School movement got a financial boost that would have established a great many more. Or at least sustained those that were there.

        The world wouldn’t be a very different place, but there would be more people with a true perspective of where they fit into their society, and the world at large.


      • Steve Hale

        Tom admits to having a brief High School career as a physics teacher at Garden State in 1981, which could hardly be a full Waldorf Teacher training course, i.e., Rudolf Steiner College, and likely was due to the demand for subject teachers at the HS level. He also replicated this when he taught at Highland Hall in 2004. In either case, he didn’t last very long.

        Now, if he had been fully trained in anthroposophical science in a full Waldorf teacher-training curriculum, he might be still teaching today, rather than espousing his anecdotes about the past, which he glorifies in, obviously. I asked him once recently why as a Waldorf teacher he didn’t defend his own profession, and he said it was just a job to make money for as long as it lasted. That said a lot to me.



      • Gemma

        Steve Hale,

        the most important part of teaching is to listen to the children. You don’t need a full waldorf training – or anything else – to do this because it is a natural human ability.

        Whilst a knowledge of the Anthroposophical foundations of science is necessary, I know of few who truly understand light in the way Goethe perceived it. If they were, they would be aware of the single perception that will show that someone they speak with has the capacity to grasp the full consequences of Goethe’s thoughts.


      • Steve,

        I never did tell you the story of how strongly Rene Querido influenced my teaching stint at Highland Hall. Now I will. (And Jeremy, you will be quite intrigued by the very last line I write about it.)

        Given the locale is Los Angeles, it wasn’t a dark and stormy night when Tuesday June 22 moved into Wednesday June 23, 2004, but it certainly was a long sleepless night for me because I was wrestling anxiously with a momentous and life-changing decision to make.

        That day was the deadline for all teachers at Highland Hall to inform the school administration that they would be back teaching in the coming school year. Or not.

        I had completed my first year teaching all the physics main lessons in the HS as well as 3 ongoing math courses at the 11th and 12th made levels. But I felt it was really “not a good fit” for me and I was ready to quit. Of course, I was equally ready to stay, so what I needed was someone or something to provide me with the fabled “tipping point.”

        By 7 AM, I was dragging myself together, preparing for the intensive Faculty Meetings that last for a full week when school is out for the summer. By 7:15, I had decided that I would NOT sign the contract for next year and felt some solace that I had finally made a decision.

        But then around 7:25, the phone rang. “Who is calling me this early?” I thought, “Must be bad news.” I answered and it was an Anthroposophist I knew in Nashville, TN where I had lived for 5 years before trekking to the West Coast in June, 2003.

        Barbara sounded quite sad and serious. She said: “I know how close you are to Rene Querido. I just got the news this morning that he passed away in the night.”

        Needless to say, I went to school that day and signed the contract to teach for another year. As it turned out, I did have the destiny to quit HH, but not in 2004. I had to put in another year — which I of course dedicated to Rene.

        Oh, one more thing. WHERE did Rene Querido die?

        In Bristol, England.


    • Gemma

      This illustrates perhaps the only reason why three parallel classes in a school might have positive outcomes.

      But then, the wealth of teachers in a society – like Germany – who have large and well established Waldorf Schools in most large cities, means that the culture of Waldorf education has deeper roots. It means a young teacher has far more resources to draw on, than one who is in a remote place, away from other schools with a small community of teachers.

      As to the church steeple, I am most interested in those people who have practiced the verses for seveal years. It’s only after a very long time that the imagery really starts to show its effects. What’s more, these results are surprisingly consistent; only on paper, these results will have the appearance of being rather abstract to those who haven’t practiced the them. Which only means it’s easier to dismiss; but then, in a direct corollary, if someone hasn’t experienced the full effects of ‘Waldorfing’ how are they going to know what it’s about?

      This is Ahriman, after all: when people demean the very thing they need most.


    • Steve Hale

      Tom wrote:

      “When I return home from my grandson’s 1st birthday party next month, I shall also be celebrating my 40th year as an Anthroposophist. (Ides of March 1976). And you all know what that anniversary means! Yes, I am finally ready to go public as an anthroposophical spiritual teacher. It’s the law! — according to the Rosicrucians”

      It is at the age of forty that an initiate first becomes qualified to speak of spiritual truths. Thus, in Rudolf Steiner, the year of 1900 was very important as the transitional year into purely occult discourses. As often mentioned, this is why we can show a fulcrum between the pre-1900 work, which was always strongly working towards the spiritual outcome, and especially seen with the Goethe works, and the year 1900, which began with further efforts to explain the philosophies of Schelling and Hegel, and than led to the theosophical group hosted by the Count and Countess Brockdorff of Berlin, wherein Steiner was first given his opportunity to speak in a purely esoteric manner.

      This represents the forty-year clause, and concerns actual age, and not fermentation 🙂



      • Steve Hale

        Rudolf Steiner took pains to describe what he was doing in 1900, and why he left his rather comfortable domain in furthering Schelling and Hegel, which would eventually become his book, “Riddles of Philosophy”. In a letter to Marie von Sievers from 9 January 1905, he reiterates how much he would have kept it philosophical and literary, except for the demand of his Master to meet his higher calling. Thus began Anthroposophical Spiritual Science. Here is the fundamental reference point:

        He was thirty-nine years old in 1900, which is the beginning of what becomes age forty in the next year, and forty-one in the next; thus, in 1902 is when the German Section of the Theosophical Society first began. It was always anthroposophical from the beginning, no matter what scholars today think.



      • Steve,

        Thank you very much for your 40 year “fermentation clarification.” I notice you do not rule out the possibility that my ahrimanic mockery of the “age 40 rule” could easily indicate my incipient status as the long-awaited Incarnation of Ahriman destined to occur in the early part of the Third Millennium.

        I owe you at least the courtesy of telling you here and now before I go world-wide, and surely you must admit that my candidacy for this imminent incarnation is far more plausible than the one given to us 10 years ago by Joel A. Wendt: to wit: Karl Rove.

        Thaddeus Thomasius Ahrimanius


      • Steve Hale

        Imminent incarnation; you mean you’ve only been preparing these last forty years? The last 20 years, since 1996, have been very ahrimanic, no doubt. No one disagrees with that. You are already worldwide on that account. But the actual incarnation of Ahriman has got to be a powerful figurehead, likely someone with huge amounts of capital and the independence to literally demand the office of President of the United States. America has that person already configured for the Ahrimanic incarnation. This was discussed previously, off topic, but relevant now to your assertions, Thaddeus-Judas.



      • Steve,

        Isn’t it a bit short-sighted of you to focus exclusively on the past decades of my present life and neglect to elaborate on my “past life pedigree,” as it were, which, when surveyed, surely must qualify me for some status in furthering the destiny of Ahriman to incarnate in this Millennium, if not being His Nibs Hisself?

        I call attention to the sequence of 3 incarnations of a certain human entelechy as first told to me by Rene Querido at Rudolf Steiner College in 1980.

        Rene was teaching our Waldorf Teacher Training class about the significance of Manichaeism for Anthroposophy. He spoke of the apostle Judas Iscariot and how the Great Betrayer’s next incarnation was St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), who grappled with the teachings of Mani (216-276) and then reincarnates a millennium later as Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).

        I now call attention to a certain play production, financed in some part by the Anthroposophical Society in America in 1989. Notice the anthroposophical — not to mention ahrimanic — significance of the major story line, which is the present day reincarnation as twins of Leonardo da Vinci and Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the latter’s most significant past life being Haroun al Rashid (763-809)

        Newsletter of the Anthroposophical Society in America:
        Spring 1990 issue
        Cosmic Eggs And Quantum Bacon Premieres In Austin, Texas

        Threshold Theater, with the assistance of a grant from the Midwest Regional Council, produced Tom Mellett’s play Cosmic Eggs and Quantum Bacon at the University of Texas at Austin in November, 1989. [ . . .] The plot involves Sir Francis Bacon and Leonardo da Vinci trying to reincarnate as twins in Austin, Texas. Inevitably, there are complications, requiring the discarnate twins to consult with God and the husband, with Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.

        Thaddeus Thomasius
        the good Judas Priest


      • Tom,

        Back in January, I had the opportunity to touch-base again with Bradford Riley on his own blog, and it related to what you now say about the Judas incarnations. Whatever Rene Querido told you back in 1980 can be contrasted with my own experience that same year, i.e., the Event of 1980. In short, Judas Iscariot, who was formerly Judas Maccabeus as his first betrayal, reincarnated in order to take the 30 pieces of silver, and then reincarnated a third time in the fourth century, but not as Augustine of Hippo. No, his third betrayal was much more profound. Here is the text account of my discourse with Bradford from January:

        “Yes, of course, but what if it can be shown that the unnamed third incarnation and betrayal of Judas Iscariot was not as St. Augustine of Hippo, but rather a Roman emperor? Further research would indicate that Steiner’s implication of a third betrayal of Judas, after Maccabeus, which brought down the last of the very ancient mysteries, i.e., a Mithras worship-center in Antioch, Syria, and then as Judas Iscariot of the thirty pieces of silver paid by Caiaphas of the Jews, was not the saintly Augustine, who once saw Manichaeism in his future, and eventually turned to the Christ, but rather, Constantine I, who eschewed initiation, but saw in Christianity the means to build a new Roman Empire; not for the fruits of the Spirit, but for his own power.

        His fundamental betrayal, and I would encourage the scholars of anthroposophy to give this some well-thought consideration, is transferring the authority of Rome to a new location, which was named, Constantinople in his honor, and which provided the means to relocate the Palladium, which had been promised to be returned to Troy as a resurrection, but instead went to Constantinople.

        This is the third betrayal of Judas, as Emperor Constantine the Great. By setting up a new headquarters, he found the means to keep the Palladium within Roman rule. George W. Bush would find the same means to instigate a war with Iraq in 2003, which has escalated since then to the very place where the Palladium still lies buried, and now completely obscured by the relevance of history.

        What seems most relevant to me is how Caiaphas had this plot to destroy the Messiah, Who had evidently proven His existence by way of the various testimony obtained by the Pharisees, and duly written down by the scribes over the three years described in the four Gospel accounts. This writing must have amounted to a large degree of evidence that the person of Jesus of Nazareth was actually taken seriously as being the One that the various Hebrew Prophets had foretold would come to save the world, and not just one nation.

        Yet, Judas knew who he was betraying, and went to Caiaphas for the money, and this is the same kind of betrayal that snuffed out the Mithras mystery that is now revered in the Jewish celebration of the Winter feast of the Dedication, i.e., Hanukka..

        What matters is the question of, “where did the testimony of the existence of Christ on earth go”? We live today with a populace that still conjectures if a Christ-Jesus really existed, and that is because all of that testimony must have been buried or destroyed in order to achieve the aims of the plot of Caiaphas.

        Scholars are proud and convinced to say that only a quarto-page exists that possibly conveys that a Jesus, or Christ actually might have existed on earth. Yet, according to the gospels themselves, in which scribes accompanied the Pharisees in order to write down the testimony of Christ, which must have been submitted to the Sanhedrin, there must have been at least hundreds of pages of this writing.

        Yet, none of it exists today as an outer-external and objective record. I say it is because of the plot of Caiaphas, which was to crucify the duly recognized Messiah for the good of a particular nation, and not the world.

        This is accounted for in the Gospel of St. John, and why no written record still exists from the standpoint of the Jews. Their goal was to crucify the One Who was for all mankind for the sake of a mere nation, which still upholds its special pedigree to the world, i.e., being the first and only chosen ones of God.

        And so it goes. Judas helped that cause and then passed into the Roman Empire as a significant figure. He would go on to extort Christianity as a mere motive of power for his empire. This seems rather plain to me, and would evolve to see its consequences in the era of Anglo-Americanism. Steiner even forecasted it in the lecture from December 14, 1919, when he said that by 1950 it would be known who ruled the world.

        He also talks of those here in America who must fight it, and foster the new spirit of our age; a difficult task, indeed.

        We have recently reiterated some old facts, and given a new identity to the conjecture on Judas’ unnamed third incarnation, which is described in the second lecture of Steiner’s, The Gospel of St. Mark, GA 139, from September 1912.

        Recent research, which takes into consideration not only Augustine of Hippo, but also Julian the Apostate, and especially Constantine, who won the victory over Maxentius in 312 AD, helps in ascertaining that Constantine did see the Cross of Christ in a dream, which led to victory, but that it also saw the forming of a betrayal to true Christianity, in favor of a mere outer-external form, and exemplified in the first Nicene Council of 325 AD, when the Athanasius formulation of the Trinity was certified and accepted by Constantine. In 330 AD, Constantine chose to transfer Roman headquarters to a place which became Constantinople, and is now known as, Istanbul, Turkey. A great deal of the third betrayal of Judas can be discerned from this fact alone.

        Thus, whatever sentiments we have for Judas in the scheme of modern-day essay must be assessed in relation to the facts, which are:

        1) Judas was previously Judas Maccabeus of the infamous Maccabean Revolt, c, 165 BC.
        2) Judas as Iscariot, the only non-Galilean disciple of Christ, betrayed the Christ even as the Last Supper was taking place. He left to go look for Caiaphas, while the remaining eleven heard the Gospel of Christ to His Disciples, as accounted in detail in chapters 14-17 of the Gospel of St. John.
        3) Judas reincarnated in the fully Roman world, while the Apostles of Christ were traveling through the sphere of Venus in the afterlife, and streaming down “Venus Wisdom” to the early fathers of the various religious faiths. In fact, faith would become instrumental in saving the Intellectual Soul for its full development.

        So, while Judas must be on his way to redemption, considering how primal his influence in spiritual-evolutionary history is shown to be, we still must wonder how far he has come in this quest for redemption and self-realization. In today’s world, where Anthroposophical Spiritual Science seeks to further its progress, based on Rudolf Steiner’s great work from 1900 to 1925, we have seen various “Judas figures” come along to still try to undermine and betray this very work.

        If so, then Judas is making progress for the very reason that he aligns with the Christ-centered nature of Spiritual Science.



      • Caryn Louise

        Ahriman is not a super-sensible being but a sub-sensible entity. We need to be candid about this and recognise the way ahriman gains entry into the human being is through technology, specifically the internet where human beings interact. It would make use of the malevolent elements in technology (created by human beings themselves) for gaining a foothold with unscrupulous behavior.

        We see how this may come about with ahriman as a ‘prowling lion’ seeks to enter the subconscious of the human being.


        (see Polarities in the Evolution of Mankind pg 41)


      • Gemma

        Ahriman is nothing if not a paradox. He can appear as a sub-earthly being, which today, he is; but he was once a Cherub, a member of the heavenly choir.

        Ahriman is also a part of creation, he has his part to play – the problem is that as with all things evil, he wishes to have more. Now it just happens to be our job to make sure that Ahriman does do his job properly; and we can only do this by consciously playing our part in creation.

        Which is where I bring this rambling thread back on topic, because the beginnings of such a consciousness can be established in the Waldorf School. Because the consciousness we must fight for in taming the Ahriman in ourselves is the very thing that will give one one’s true direction in life.

        I will add that this goes against most of what is spoken of in our society today, because all it seeks is comfort… which we need, but shouldn’t be indulging in.

        PS Perhaps Tom and Caryn could join Steve’s group, then they could chat about everything that’s off topic here.


  6. Steve Hale

    Peter Staudenmaier has a recent post which involves what it means to be an anthroposophist, wherein the so-called “anti-realist” position of Rudolf Steiner meets the academic attitude wherein even Christian Clement is left forlorn. Christian suffers the dilemma of metaphor as spiritual reality, just as Peter sees reality in terms of the external world, which Steiner saw as illusion.

    Now, this all goes back to an earlier post in which Steiner first talked about the external world in his seminal philosophical work, PoF, and where he distinguishes it from the material world itself. Please look to see if Staudenmaier, the academic, can see the careful distinction between matter and its illusion.

    The external world is the illusion, and will never be made real. Spirit and Its Matter are Real, and why the external world is the educational intermedium between Spirit and Reality. Spiritual Science exists to make this clear, even for the academics who live within the illusion itself, like Staudenmaier.

    The forming of the Eighth Sphere is the cause.



    • Caryn Louise

      Experiencing the outer world of the senses we have truth but no knowledge. Experiencing inwardly in an abstract mystical way we have merely knowledge and no truth, for we are under an illusion concerning the basic phenomenon of inner life; inward experience being the flickering flames of material processes.

      Polarities in the Evolution of Mankind, Page 81


      • Steve Hale

        Caryn, this is a very good summation. Steiner elaborates more closely in PoF as well about what the external world actually is. This is how he somehow gets the label of being an anti-realist by Staudi, and called a mystic by Clement. As well, how much of spiritual science is meant to be taken as metaphor rather than literal actuality? Steiner was much more inclined to evoke pictures, and even draw them in order to create image-consciousness, rather than use a metaphor in describing the substance of Truth and Knowledge.


      • Caryn Louise

        Thanks for the Judas history Steve, it is well thought out and a worthy study.

        Whatever happens here on earth has its corresponding counterpart in the spiritual worlds. In the writings of the stars is expressed the kind of connection that exists between what happens here, and what happened (to speak from the earthly point of view) some time ago in the spiritual world. (Reflection of Karma, vol3, lecture 3)



  7. Steve Hale

    Caryn wrote:

    Ahriman is not a super-sensible being but a sub-sensible entity. We need to be candid about this and recognise the way ahriman gains entry into the human being is through technology, …..”

    Ahriman, as well as Lucifer, and Asuras, are all supersensible beings that have been held-over for the Earth evolution. They do so by intervening prematurely one stage earlier than normal, i.e., Lucifer in the Lemurian epoch, Ahriman in the Atlantean epoch, and Asuras in our present Fifth epoch. In this way they each gain a measure of controlling influence that has the effect of making us free human beings.

    As well, they do so from the sub-earthly domains where electricity, magnetism, and pure atomic-destructive force reside. See the diagram at the end of this lecture:

    “As the residue of the Moon-evolution we have our present moon which circles around the Earth. Similarly there will be a residue of the Earth which will circle around Jupiter. Then these residues will gradually dissolve into the universal ether. On Venus there will no longer be any residue. Venus will manifest, to begin with, as pure Warmth, then it will become Light and then pass over into the spiritual world. The residue left behind by the Earth will be like a corpse. This is a path along which man must not accompany the Earth, for he would thereby be exposed to dreadful torments. But there are Beings who accompany this corpse, since they themselves will by that means develop to a higher stage.”

    Reflected as sub-physical world:
    Astral World the province of Lucifer
    Lower Devachan the province of Ahriman
    Higher Devachan the province of the Asuras


    • Caryn Louise

      Transformation of the unconscious — half conscious — into conscious soul-life proceeds according to laws inherent in historical evolution. To prevent the result of this transformation from being deviated in an Ahrimanic direction the supersensible world must be grasped by man in a free act of will. (GA35)

      Memory and habit have been described as transformations, metamorphoses of the spiritual experiences of earlier times. But what emerges for the first time in the physical world is the relation of our ideas with the facts in the external world. The facts and objects are around us and we make images of them in our conceptions and ideas. The agreement of the images in our thought with the facts or objects or events, we then call physical truth.

      When we speak of physical truth, this implies that our conceptions fit the facts of the physical plane. In order that this truth-relationship may arise, it is absolutely necessary to live in a physical body and perceive things in the outer world through the physical body. It would be nonsense to imagine that such a relationship to truth could have existed during the epoch of the Old Moon evolution. It is an acquisition of earthly life. It is only because we live in a physical body that this agreement between ideas and external facts can arise at all. But here Ahriman’s field of action is opened up for him. In what sense is it thus opened up before him?

      From what has been said we can perceive the interplay between the spiritual and the physical world. Ahriman has his own good task in the spiritual world and must, furthermore, send forces from there into the physical world. But he must not enter the physical world! The fact that this realm is denied him makes it possible for ideas we acquire in the physical body to fit the facts in the outer world.

      If Ahriman introduces into earthly life activities in which he was engaged during the Old Moon period of evolution, he upsets the agreement of our ideas with the outside facts. He should, if I may be allowed to use the expression, ‘keep his fingers off’ the realm in which man makes his ideas harmonise with the outside facts. But this is precisely what Ahriman does not do. If he did, there would be no lying in the world! (GA0170)


      • “Man needs the relation to the purely earthly for the unfolding of the Spiritual Soul. Thus in the most recent times there has arisen a strong tendency to realise in all things, and even in the life of action, this element into which man must enter for his evolution. Entering the purely earthly element, he strikes upon the Ahrimanic realm. With his own being he must now acquire a right relation to the Ahrimanic.

        But in the age of Technical Science, the possibility of finding a true relationship to the Ahrimanic civilisation has escaped man. He must find the strength, the inner force of knowledge, in order not to be overcome by Ahriman in this technical civilisation. He must understand Sub-Nature for what it really is. This he can only do if he rises, in spiritual knowledge, at least as far into extra-earthly Super-Nature as he has descended, in technical Sciences, into Sub-Nature. The age requires a knowledge transcending Nature, because in its inner life it must come to grips with a life-content which has sunk far beneath Nature — a life-content whose influence is perilous. Needless to say, there can be no question here of advocating a return to earlier states of civilisation. The point is that man shall find the way to bring the conditions of modern civilisation into their true relationship-to himself and to the Cosmos.”

        183. In the age of Natural Science, since about the middle of the nineteenth century, the civilised activities of mankind are gradually sliding downward, not only into the lowest regions of Nature, but even beneath Nature. Technical Science and Industry become Sub-Nature.

        Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts – From Nature to Sub-Nature (GA26)


      • Gemma

        The age requires a knowledge transcending Nature, because in its inner life it must come to grips with a life-content which has sunk far beneath Nature — a life-content whose influence is perilous.

        It is all well and good to make references to lectures; the question for today’s readership is how can one know if one has sunk ‘beneath nature’ or not?

        Nor is this something one can deal with by thinking alone, for thinking is directly related to one’s imagination and thus one can imagine oneself being correct. Nor is it something one can learn from a lecture, for this applies directly to the life we lead and the individual circumstances this challenges us with.

        … after all, we live in the age of the consciousness soul and this issue of not knowing should stand at the centre of our activities.

        As Rudolf Steiner states: the results of our not engaging in these practices – that is to say, the life-content sinking beneath nature without our knowing – will be perilous. Put better, we are seeing the results unfolding around us today.

        Caryn, thankyou.


      • Steve Hale

        “It is all well and good to make references to lectures; the question for today’s readership is how can one know if one has sunk ‘beneath nature’ or not?”

        It is quite easy to see that all but the most simple of cultures has succumbed to the technological materialism of today. We work to achieve a pension by giving 98% of our life-force and its thriving energy over maybe 40 years to Ahriman in order that one day we can look back on a life in which we slaved as a non-creative machine for Ahriman, the unrighteous prince of this world, who could have been vanquished for all time if the Son of Man had been glorified on the Cross instead of the Son of God. That is a true fact, which few know, and maybe one day it will be brought to light. When Judas took the morsel and dipped, then Satan/Ahriman entered and he was told to go out into the night and do what he must do quickly. What also occurred simultaneously with this event at the Last Supper, was that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Man, was glorified at that moment; right there at the Table where just before, Christ had washed the feet of His Own disciples.

        And that is why Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane three times to “remove this Cup from me”. It was because the Body had received the Sun-Forces of the Christ as accounted in seven specific miracle events in which the Etheric, Astral, and Physical Body of Jesus received the Power of Christ. But because Jesus received his glorification at the Last Supper, rather than on the Cross, which would have served to defeat Ahriman for all time, it was necessary to pray for the passing of “The Cup” to Christ Himself, and wherein the Son of God would die the death on the Cross of Golgotha in order to save humanity by overcoming Death itself.

        Thus, while Ahriman has remained an increasingly significant part of our lives for nearly 2,000 years, and the results seen most evidentially today with the technologies that have humans sinking below the horizontal line of subject-object distinctions into the sub-earthly, which is working to steal consciousness for the Eighth Sphere, we also have a future due to the sacrifice of Christ on Golgotha. This is the difference between the Son of Man and the Son of God. Only a God could have solved the problem of death.

        Solving the problem of Ahriman is our own doing, and challenge. Today we see the Ahrimanic influence in its most insidious form, in which clever technologies, always tapping the sub-earthly forces beheld by Lucifer, Ahriman, and Asuras, are being groomed especially for the consumer applicant. Anyone with consciousness and conscience can see the result. We live at a time in which anti-social forces of the prevailing individualism need to be overcome, and yet the technical science that Steiner was referring to in his last essay and leading thoughts, c. 4/12/1925, has become true. Citing the lecture only serves to force the issue.

        Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear can experience the reality that Steiner wrote and spoke about. Quoting him only helps make it possible to have real-time discussions in living form.


      • Gemma

        Steve Hale,

        I am sure that you considered it your duty – if not your right – when you decided to assume the authority to deal with Caryn on my behalf?

        Now in Rudolf Steiner’s lectures there are few mentions of this situation, leave alone of what it is like to feel such a crossing of boundaries. That he left for those diligent pupils who took the time and effort to allow these things to unfold in their own souls through the activities Rudolf Steiner spoke of. The first major occurrence on this path will be the meeting of the Lesser Guardian.

        Well, the very social activities that a Waldorf child will have developed will help to put this occurrence into perspective, and thus enable them to make good use of this happening. My own meeting taught me a very great deal, and is described on my public blog under the title “Sitting At The Back Of A Bus”.

        Most people have too much revulsion for what they beheld in this meeting with their lesser guardian for it to have any significant impact on their lives. It is then that they speak in abstractions, for they can only cross that unseen boundary without knowing that they did so. What is more, Mr Hale, this is what you did yourself, to overstep that very boundary when you were in the presence of people who you considered not to be as strong or as capable as you are? You assumed you had the authority over them.

        Yet, as mentioned, you were clearly unaware of having done so.

        Quoting lectures will not help anybody understand the things they have done for which the motive lies in their subconscious, which leads directly to an overstepping of the very boundary you spoke of!

        A Waldorf schooling will instil capabilities in the child that reading ten thousand lectures never will; practicing the exercises will achieve this object too, only it is a conscious process. It is also painfully slow. However, those who have not dealt with their lesser guardian in a positive manner will not see the value in such activities. Ahriman is nothing if not cunning, and has both sides covered. It is on this account that his doings appear simplistic and abstracted from reality to those who cannot see the process that underlies the events.

        Only Ahriman is consistent and predictable.

        This is our one weapon against him: we can imagine a way to side-step that predictability, for He cannot. Not only that, but this predictability allows us to step ahead of him and prepare our own lives to accept the situation in full consciousness. Should we wish to.

        Again, whilst the lectures of Rudolf Steiner are enlightening, they will not help one to work with the challenges of one’s own guardian. By the way, my private blog is for those who do. They are the ones who are engaged in transforming the challenges raised by their lesser guardian.

        PS Am I now the only commenter to mention Waldorf Schools and their effects in the comments?


  8. Caryn Louise

    The double edged sword of computers.

    It can be sensed how it is necessary for our development though. We learn to distinguish more through intuition and without seeing the person we get to know people’s characters and personalities, it is like their signatures in a way! We get to sense what attracts us and what repulses us. We are also are acquired to learn discernment in what is good and what is bad. It is actually like the Old Saturn stage of development where here was a flicker of light, there was a flicker of light, the atmosphere had a disagreeable taste or an agreeable taste, a certain region gave an impression of coldness and another region gave an impression of warmth.

    Our fifth-age truly is the development of the consciousness soul. During our last Greco-Roman age human relationships were based on a far more personal contact and the connection with nature was far more in tune. The developing mind soul lived in heart-feeling so when two people met there was a natural recall with each other.

    Our age is the age of isolation, seclusion and impersonal relationships which belongs to the development of the consciousness soul. Our solitary age started with the art of printing, when we read we are living completely within ourselves. People approach one another on far more impersonal grounds and the tendency for people to withdraw into themselves is a natural tendency in this age. The individual is a solitary traveler in the world. Hence the difficulty of getting to know one another, especially of establishing confidence, without the transition period of formal acquaintanceship.

    This is the hallmark of the consciousness soul and it can be seen how, although moderation and balance is needed, computers are part of this development. It is sharpening our senses for times to come when we will need to distinguish our feelings and sensations, our thoughts and our willing far more acutely.

    There is a spiritual truth happening in our fifth-age impersonal development:

    “The significance of all this becomes clearer if we give due weight to the spiritual-scientific truth that in the present age we are not thrown together by chance with other people. That the path of life brings us into contact with certain people and not with others depends upon the working out of individual karma. For we have entered upon a period of human evolution which brings man’s preceding karmic developments to a culminating point.

    Think how much less karma had been accumulated in the earlier periods of earth evolution! With every incarnation fresh karma is made. At first, people had to meet under totally new conditions, with the possibility of forming fresh connections. But through repeated earth-lives we have gradually reached a point at which, as a general rule, we do not meet anyone with whom in former incarnations we have not shared this or that experience. And these experiences bring us into contact again with those who shared them. We meet other people as it would appear by chance but in reality because in former incarnations we had already met, and on the strength of this are brought together again.

    Now the self-contained consciousness soul can only develop — and its development is destined to take place in our time — when less importance is attached to what takes place at present between one person and another than to what works inwardly in solitude as the result of former incarnations.”
    Social Understanding, Liberty of Thought, Knowledge of the Spirit (GA168)

    Gemma love, I am sorry I was horrible to you.



    • Caryn, I like this post very much, as it gives a very good eye-view of the present situation in the realm of the Internet relations. I myself had no one to talk to except my brother for many years about anthroposophy in the physical, and then the Internet opened up at a point where I met Tom Mellett in late 1998, when he started his “Steiner 98” forum. This proved to be my introduction to talking openly about anthroposophy in the greater world network, albeit with Tom’s definite comedic and ironic demur.

      You are very correct that we live in an age wherein the anti-social element exists, and is even becoming stronger with the technology apps which help keep the individual isolated and alone amongst the so-called “social-media industrial complex”. Just look at how the younger generation interacts with a “palm reader”, while hardly acknowledging the live beings existing around them! It is becoming a world phenomenon, and will most likely achieve the isolationism that helps support whatever Soradt seeks to achieve in today’s increasingly decrepit world situation.

      Now, leaving that alone for a bit, we need to consider how you treated Gemma in earlier comments, and indeed, horribly. Yet, you make light of it. In definite respects, Caryn. “sorry love”, doesn’t cut it. Calling someone a Jesuit, and then asking whether they are on medication, is abusive. An explanation from you would be appropriate, and worth the effort.

      I find Gemma a very worthy person in these exchanges, and her blog demonstrates an individual of great creative power. She extols a kind of natural anthroposophy, which we have seen before, and needs to be embraced without the frictions, which easily come from her for some reason. I tried to join her thought-line and still do, as she graces this forum of the Anthropopper, which is likely one of the very last places where we can talk openly and cordially.

      I hope and trust that Jeremy’s stats are increasing. I feel that they are.



    • Gemma

      Steve Hale,
      Caryn apologized and that is enough; as far as I am concerned, it does ‘cut it’ and that element of this thread is now closed.

      If you wish to bring up this issue with Caryn on your own behalf, that is for you to decide; but you cannot do so on my account.


      • Steve Hale

        Personally, I don’t buy it, although by all means you can. As indicated, when charges are imposed then answers are forthcoming. Take it or leave it. Empty apologies are easy, and easily accepted, obviously.

        Now this thread is ended, and moving right along!


  9. Caryn Louise

    Grandad Taddy 🙂 please tell us about Rene Querido – often I hear you and Steve mention him.



    • Tom has mentioned that he felt he “wasn’t a good fit” after one year of teaching physics and math at Highland Hall High School in the 2003-2004 school year. And he was ready to quit just thinking about attending the intensive week-long Faculty Meetings in the summer of 2004. After five years in Nashville, Tennessee, from 1998 to 2003, teaching Physics lab at the University of Tennessee, Nashville, Tom apparently got a very nice offer to come to California, and teach physics at Highland Hall Waldorf School. Who could pass up such an offer?

      Rene Querido died the very day that Tom had to make his decision to either stay and renew his contract to teach at Highland Hall, or quit. He chose, based on the legacy of his mentor, RMQ, to stay and teach the 2004-2005 school year.

      Tom and I have talked for many years, going back to 1998, although I doubt he remembers those conversations and why I joined ‘Steiner 98’, and he has definitely moved to the oppositional side after 2005. This is what is most important. Why has Tom Mellett abandoned the science of the spirit, in which he has taught Waldorf principles at two schools, and has even remained faithful to them in spirit? In my experience over the last five years, Tom has never downgraded Waldorf education, even as his cohorts on WC routinely do. He has kept the faith therein, and has only chosen to dismiss Steiner’s spiritual science as nonsensical, pseudo-science, in order to accord with his new master, Peter Staudenmaier. the academic.

      This is why I often state to Tom that his former mentor, Rene Querido, must be rolling in his grave over what his student is now doing, and yet, in truth, RMQ can only be roiling from the world beyond the grave. He must be toasting Tom for continuing to take such an interest in a profession that he despises, even as the Physics lab in Nashville seemed such a dead-end. I bet that physics lab looks pretty good today. It is no different than the choice that brought our Tom to a prominent, albeit, former position in serving the interests of Rudolf Steiner.



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