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Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner
Waldorf Founder and Occult Scientist

Rudolf Steiner, the founder and "guru" of Waldorf education was a clairvoyant occult scientist and mystic. Because everything in Waldorf is faithful to Steiner's work, it's important to learn more about him.

Disclaimer

Trying to describe Rudolf Steiner in a single web page is an irresponsible task. A single web page cannot do him justice. Steiner is a mosaic of ideas, beliefs and practices that are far too vast to be covered here. If compressing Steiner to a web page is irresponsible, describing him out of naivete (as is done here), is riskier yet.

Keep in mind, this is a relatively UNINFORMED view on Steiner, sometimes from questionable sources. This article contains several links to other web pages about Steiner. Remember: don't believe anything you read on the Internet, including at OpenWaldorf.com! The best way to understand Steiner is to read his own words for yourself in the Reading Room, the Steiner says page, and the pre-made Google searches that search the web. After you are more familiar with Steiner, and have formed your own opinion, your school can answer any questions you have about Steiner.

Before You Keep Reading!

This information is in no way a complete biographical sketch of Rudolf Steiner. Rather, it focuses on some of the more interesting aspects about Rudolf Steiner that you may not be aware of. Before you read this page, there are several "official" biographies on the web that you should check out:

Rudolf Steiner Biographies Online

Source Exerpt
Rudolf Steiner Archive "Rudolf Steiner is both a mystic and an occultist. ... he had the unmistakable sensation of occult powers which were working behind and through him for his guidance. He gave heed to this force and obeyed its admonitions, for he felt in profound accordance with it." more...
Waldorf School of the Peninsula "Born in Austria in 1861, Rudolf Steiner was endowed with innate clairvoyant faculties." more...

Anthroposophic Press

"The respectable, if often radical scholar, historian, scientist, writer, and philosopher began to emerge as an 'occultist.'" more...

anthroposophy.org

"Rudolf Steiner was born in Austria, and grew up with the clairvoyant certainty of a spiritual world." more...
Rudolf Steiner Archive "Foremost amongst his discoveries was his direct experience of the reality of the Christ, which soon took a central place in his whole teaching." more...
Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association "The young boy [Steiner] had a pronounced clairvoyant ability, but he soon learned that he could not speak of his experiences with anyone because they would ridicule his comments as superstitious. " more...
Goetheanum School of Spiritual Science "Mysticism in Modern Thought appears. His second lecture cycle held in the Theosophical Library in 1901/02 also appears, adapted to book form, under the title, Christianity as a Mystical Fact." more...
Orana School "...Steiner also 'complained' of being clairvoyant from early childhood, and by his early twenties had begun to develop his own philosophy of spiritual science, in which he sought to present a scientific, empirical approach to metaphysical considerations." more...
SkyLark Books "Steiner was already perceptually aware of the spiritual realms in childhood and even then was able to follow the human soul beyond physical death." more...
Steiner College "As a young man he was concerned with the question of how spiritual cognition, vision and experience can be achieved by the same rigorous scientific method that has brought about our extensive knowledge of the physical world acquired through the senses." more...
Steiner College "A conviction as to the reality of the inner life, "a soul space in man" as he called it, which manifested itself in some clairvoyant experiences and was strengthened by a delighted discovery of the world of pure ideas in geometry, gave the first promise of his future activity." more...
Mind Atlas "Steiner hypothesized that this spiritual world was perceptible through faculties which all people had, but which by adulthood had been left undeveloped."
Anthroposophical Society in America "Steiner himself as a child brought with him into the world a vestigial relic of the old clairvoyance, the old 'original' participation. Biographies and his own autobiography bear witness to it. And it is credibly reported of him that he took deliberate steps to eliminate it, not even rejecting the help of alcohol, in order to clear the decks for the new clairvoyance it was his destiny both to predict and to develop." more...
Concious Choice "Most mortals have a hard enough time just making it through the day without finding time to contemplate these spiritual subtleties. Rudolf Steiner, however, was blessed by clairvoyant vision from the age of nine when he first became aware of spiritual beings beyond the material plane." more...
Introduction to Christianity as Mystical Fact From about the turn of the century Steiner began to pursue this path with ever greater determination, and gradually developed the three forms of Higher Knowledge which he called Imagination: a higher seeing of the spiritual world in revealing images; Inspiration: a higher hearing of the spiritual world, through which it reveals its creative forces and its creative order; Intuition: the stage at which an intuitive penetration into the sphere of Spiritual Beings becomes possible.

Also, you should check out the various bios at the Rudolf Steiner Archive. It may also help to view this timeline or this other timeline of Steiner's life. Finally, you can find additional Rudolf Steiner biographies at Google: Biography "Rudolf Steiner".

Read these biographies first, and then return to this page at OpenWaldorf.com for more info on Steiner.

A Jack-of-All-Trades Occult Scientist

Google
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"Rudolf Steiner"

Rudolf Steiner's interests and talents touched a huge variety of disciplines and practice, including (but not limited to) philosophy, science, education, art, agriculture, medicine, and social revival. Steiner synthesized all of these interests through the lens of Anthroposophy, his philosophy and life's work.

Science

Although Waldorf often describes Rudolf Steiner as a scientist, you won't find him in lists of famous scientists on the web like this one or this one. Steiner is rarely mentioned as a significant contributor to the body of scientific knowledge, and is by no means essential to modern science. Even those familiar with Steiner are somewhat surprised on the rare occasion he is mentioned in a mainstream scientific context. However, there are some anthroposophists who believe that Rudolf Steiner is the reincarnation of Aristotle, which, if true, would increase his status as a seminal scientist considerably.

Steiner's relative insignificance to the greater scientific community should not necessarily undercut his role as a serious scientist. He is considered to be one of history's greatest experts on Atlantology, the study of the lost continent of Atlantis. He also pioneered the use of mistletoe to treat cancer.

Interestingly enough, when you read what Rudolf Steiner has to say about modern science, he sometimes doesn't think much of modern science. Steiner is quick to point out when modern science supports one of his theories, but he often disagrees with modern science as either incorrect, misguided, or marginally relevant.

Questions for Parent's Night or School Tour

Steiner's Science

  1. What is Rudolf Steiner's greatest scientific contribution that I would have heard of? Is he an essential part of scientific canon to most scientists?
  2. What motivated Steiner in his scientific endeavors?
  3. What is the relationship between Steiner's science and Anthroposophy? Are they the same thing? How does Waldorf distinguish between Steiner's practical science, and his occult science?
  4. What is the difference between Anthroposophy and "Spiritual Science?"
  5. What do you think of Anthroposophists who claim Rudolf Steiner was the reincarnation of Aristotle?
  6. Is there anything Steiner says that disagrees with generally accepted modern science? Who do you think is right, Steiner, or modern science?
  7. Is it OK if I teach my child something that differs from Waldorf science at home?

You can print out the Master Checklist for parents, and bring it with you to school.

Agriculture & Bio-Dynamic Farming

Architecture

Google
Image Search

Goetheanum

Steiner's greatest contribution to Architecture is the Goetheanum. You can learn more about the Goetheanum at GreatBuildings.com.

Rudolf Steiner's Clairvoyant Ability

Rudolf Steiner claimed to be clairvoyant, and his clairvoyance is of great importance to Anthroposophy. Most of the ideas in Anthroposophy, the foundation for Waldorf education, were based on the higher knowledge of Steiner's clairvoyant revelations. You owe it to Steiner himself to read what he has to say about clairvoyance in his own lectures and writings using this pre-made search at Google: clairvoyant site:elib.com.

While at first this may sound unusual, Rudolf Steiner is not alone in the claim to be clairvoyant. Many famous people have claimed to be clairoyant, including a presidential candidate of Kazakhstan, author Elizibeth Allende's grandmother, and even "Miss Cleo." An interesting historical footnote is that Mark Twain's mother believed he was clairvoyant. Interestingly enough, while Steiner's "spiritual science," anthroposophy, is supposed to help people develop clairoyant abilities, no anthroposophist today claims to have this ability.

While it may be unexpected to hear of Steiner's claims of clairvoyance, it's important to understand this point, and how it relates to Waldorf education. Don't forget to respect the opinions of others and keep an open mind. Before you dismiss the notion of clairvoyance, you owe it to Waldorf and yourself to learn more about what Rudolf Steiner's ability means to Waldorf.

OpenWaldorf Poll
Was Rudolf Steiner clairvoyant?
Of course! His visions of Atlantis and gnomes are just a few compelling examples!
Are you kidding? Steiner didn't have any special abilties.
Maybe. You never know what's out there in the spiritual realms.
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Here are some questions you can ask to better understand Steiner's clairvoyance, and its role in Waldorf education. Since these are difficult questions, the best time to ask them is at parent's night or on the school tour, when you are likely to have the best access to the most experienced Waldorf teachers and parents.

Questions for Parent's Night or School Tour

Rudolf Steiner's Clairvoyance

  1. Did Rudolf Steiner have any important or unique abilities?
  2. Are there any teachers or parents in this school who believe Rudolf Steiner's claim to be clairvoyant? Do they believe his clairvoyant visions are true? Do you believe Steiner was clairvoyant?
  3. Is the fact that Rudolf Steiner was clairvoyant an important thing about him?
  4. Where is this discussed in the school literature? How is it introduced to parents? Where can I find out more about it?
  5. How do Steiner's clairvoyant revelelations inform Waldorf education? Could Waldorf exist as it does today without Steiner's clairvoyant knowledge?
  6. When do Steiner's clairvoyant visions contradict generally accepted knowledge? How is this resolved at Waldorf?
  7. Does the philosophy of Waldorf accept all of Steiner's clairvoyant visions as true? Is there any of Steiner's clairvoyant knowledge that Waldorf disagrees with?
  8. Is it OK if our family does not believe that Rudolf Steiner had clairvoyant powers?

You can print out the Master Checklist for parents, and bring it with you to school.

Once you have more information, it's up to you to decide how you feel about Steiner's claims. What's most important is that you make an informed decision about his clairvoyant abilities, and how they inform Waldorf education.

Rudolph Steiner's Worldview

Gnomes

Rudof Steiner believed in gnomes. For example, Rudolf Steiner believed that gnomes are real creatures active in our world, and not just mythical creatures. You can read what Steiner says about Gnomes on the web.

Atlantis

Rudolf Steiner says Atlantis actually existed. In fact, Rudolf Steiner is a key figure in Atlantology, the study of the mythical continent of Atlantis. His opinions on Atlantis are also a key component of Anthroposophy, the foundation of Waldorf Education. Despite the limited historical record, and despite his own acknowledgement that external science has little to say about this topic, Rudolf Steiner has a lot to say about Atlantis. This wealth of knowledge is possible because Steiner's ideas about Atlantis are not based on material, or even literary evidence, but rather on clairvoyant knowledge. For example, Steiner says:

The early Atlanteans had no use for a solid skeleton, and as the physical body was soft it was also pliable. This is something which clairvoyant consciousness can see as having actually existed, outrageous as it may seem to the present materialistic consciousness.

Rudolf Steiner, "Universe, Earth and Man", Lecture 6

The best introduction to what Steiner says about Atlantis is to read his essay "Our Atlanean Ancestors," part of a collection called Cosmic Memory - Prehistory of Earth and Man. In this essay, you can also read about "Lemurians," ancestors of Atlantis who Steiner says "lived in a region which has disappeared, ...south of contemporary Asia." Steiner says Atlanteans were ancestors of modern people, but were different from modern humans in dramatic ways.

Opinions that Atlantis really existed are not exclusive to Steiner. To explore this topic for yourself, you may want to study Atlantology on the web, or read the only book focused on Lemuria that has been published (other than Steiners'.)

You also might want to ask the following questions about Atlantis and Waldorf at your Parent's Night or School Tour:

Questions for Parent's Night or School Tour

Waldorf and Atlantis

  1. What do teachers read about the lost city of Atlantis in the Waldorf Teacher Training?
  2. How is this material handled in the training? Do teachers learn about Atlantis? Is it treated as fact?
  3. How did Steiner know what vehicles were like in Atlantis?
  4. How do teachers apply their training on Atlantis in Waldorf the classroom? If it is not applied in the Waldorf classroom, why is it taught in Waldorf teacher training?
  5. Does Anthroposophy make sense without the assumption that Atlantis and Atlanteans really existed?
  6. Is it OK if our family does not believe in Atlantis?

You can print out the Master Checklist for parents, and bring it with you to school.

More on Steiner's Worldview

Was Steiner a Prophet?

While Anthroposophists rarely call Rudolf Steiner a prophet, most Anthroposophists are fiercely dedicated to Rudolf Steiner. Most Anthroposophists insist that there is no such thing as Anthroposophical dogma. They are quick to remind us that Steiner said "Don't take what I say as truth."

That said, all people are different, and the same goes for Anthroposophists. It's up to you to get to know the faculty and parents individually, rather than assume anything about them just because they happen to self-identify as Anthroposophist.

Instead, you can easily guage how serious someone is about Steiner with one simple question:

Questions for Parent's Night or School Tour

Rudolf Steiner's Authority at Waldorf

  1. Is there anything that Steiner says that you disagree with?

You can print out the Master Checklist for parents, and bring it with you to school.

If the answer is "no," or their only disagreements are minor, that individual most likely highly regards Steiner's authority at Waldorf.

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