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Steiner Says...

Since everything in Waldorf education is based on the Work of Rudolf Steiner, it's very important to know what Steiner says. In fact, you may hear the faculty and parents at your Waldorf school frequently use the phrase "Steiner Says" to illuminate key points about Waldorf education.

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You can use Google to search for any topic at the Rudolf Steiner Archive to see what Steiner says:

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This web page is a VERY LIMITED list of topics exploring what Steiner says about different subjects. Do not let these isolated quotes form the basis for your overall opinion of Rudolf Steiner! For a more comprehensive understanding of what Steiner says, search the Rudolf Steiner Archives for topics that interest you. Visit the OpenWaldorf Reading Room where you can find links to many full-text books by Rudolf Steiner online.

IMPORTANT: These quotes are taken out of context! You owe it to Steiner to click the Google searches yourself, and read the quotes in their original full context!

What did Steiner Say about...

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Steiner Says... (Search terms highlighted here and in full context at Google for your convenience.)
An means that teachers read this in Waldorf Teacher Training.
(about 19 pages)
"When people say that their ancestors' belief in gnomes, undines, sylphs, salamanders and the like was all nonsense, one would like to make a rather grotesque reply, and say: 'Well, go and ask the bees. They could inform you: the sylphs are no superstition to us; we know well enough what we owe to the sylphs.'" Read in full context

"It is the gnomes which, in a spiritual way, make good in the world what the lower orders of the animals up to the amphibians lack. This applies also to the fishes, which have only indications of the skeleton. These lower animal orders only become complete, as it were, through the fact that gnomes exist.” Read in full context

"The gnomes are really that element within the earth which represents the extra-terrestrial, because they must continually reject a growing together with the earthly; otherwise, as single beings, they would take on the forms of the amphibian world." Read in full context

"You see, because gnomes and undines exist, because there is a real world in which they live, the forces are present, which, proceeding from the lower man, do indeed give rise to parasites, but yet, at the same time, bring about in the upper man the metamorphosis of the products of excretion into the brain. It would be absolutely impossible for us to have a brain, if the world were not so ordered that gnomes and undines can exist." Read in full context

"The clairvoyant who wishes to make progress prepares his own apparatus for forming ideas so that it will work on a higher level in exactly the same way as that of a child is prepared to work in the world of the senses." Read in full context

"Whether we stop short at understanding only, or go on to strive after clairvoyance, depends upon the awakening or non-awakening of an inner craving for firsthand knowledge. If such a craving is there, we cannot but look for every opportunity to start on a real personal pilgrimage into supersensible worlds." Read in full context

"Even a non-clairvoyant can tell from behind whether someone is a choleric or a sanguine; one does not need to be a spiritual scientist for that." Read in full context

"We are now reaching a manifold and intricate realm that can be covered only by generalities. The indications here stem from clairvoyant investigation. They can be useful to anybody since they can be applied to many special situations." Read in full context

"It is therefore not in harmony with the facts, when many clairvoyants, or those acquainted with the nature of clairvoyance, assert that these things should not be mentioned at all to people who are not on the point of resolving to enter into the supersensible world." Read in full context

"In the consciousness of the clairvoyant one finds an image of the future stages of mankind. Moreover, the three subsequent conditions of consciousness are now already present in all men in germinal states; and clairvoyant research has means for indicating what will emerge from these germinal states." Read in full context

"In olden times, man had clairvoyant revelations and did not understand them. Today man must first understand, must exert to the utmost his intellectual power, must exert to the utmost his reason. If he so exerts it through that which lies before him in Spiritual Science, then mankind will again develop the power of receiving the Spiritual clairvoyantly." Read in full context

"We have attempted in the last few days to gain an understanding of the Christ-impulse on the basis of a clairvoyant study of the Akashic record, and to establish that impulse as an actual fact in the evolution of mankind. Moreover we referred only to those parts of the Gospels which appear to confirm the facts previously ascertained and verified by clairvoyant research." Read in full context

(about 271 pages)
"In my books Theosophy and An Outline of Occult Science, as well as in lesser writings of mine, the attempt has been made to prove reincarnation along such lines of reasoning as are characteristic of the modern doctrine of evolution in natural science." Read in full context

"Certain characteristics we can attribute to heredity; on the other hand, as a person develops from childhood on, we can see unfolding out of the center of his being something that must be the fruit of preceding lives, something he could never have inherited from his ancestors. We come to know the law of reincarnation, of the succession of earthly lives and this is but a special case of an all-encompassing cosmic law." Read in full context

In the same way, therefore, that the physical human form is again and again a repetition, a reincarnation of a being of the human species, so too the spiritual man must be a reincarnation of the same spiritual man, since, as spiritual man, each individual is, in fact, his own species. Read in full context

"Just as we try to understand a child's soul with regard to its outer life conditions by examining the child's surroundings, so must we ask what the environment of the higher self is. Spiritual science gives us insight into the worlds in which our higher self lives by its accounts of the evolution of Saturn and all its secrets, of the Moon and Earth evolution, of reincarnation and karma, of devachan and kamaloka, and so on. This is the only way we can learn about our higher self, about that self that extends beyond the physical plane." Read in full context

"We intend to follow up this direction and show how the laws of reincarnation and karma, seen from this point of view, are a natural-scientific necessity." Read in full context

"It is said that Christianity knows nothing of this teaching of reincarnation. But actually in the John Gospel there is a clear indication that when he spoke intimately with his disciples, Jesus taught reincarnation." Read in full context

"And when we reflect about these things, an idea that is beautiful and true comes to us of what Spiritual Science will be able to do for the evolution of humanity, and of the enrichment which human life in all its forms will receive through knowledge of the laws on Reincarnation and Karma." Read in full context

"After initial acquaintance with some of the basic teachings of anthroposophy such as reincarnation and karma — the teaching that the human soul has in the past been incarnated repeatedly in a physical body and will continue to return in future incarnations, and the teaching of karma, of compensatory justice — most people will ask how one can comprehend these teachings and how one can acquire an understanding of these on one's own. ... The golden rule is this, “Live your life as if reincarnation and karma were truths and they will become truths for you." Read in full context

"When we, in Anthroposophy, teach reincarnation to-day, we are fully conscious, in the light of the Whitsun festival, that reincarnation is a Christian truth which can be made known exoterically to-day to a humanity which has become more mature, but which could not be made known to the immature souls of the first Christian centuries." Read in full context


(about 554 pages)
The task of mankind in the first Post-Atlantean epoch was different, it was different again in the second, and so on down to our fifth Post-Atlantean epoch." Read in full context

"But those concepts which have been built up in past times in the sphere of psychology — the science of the soul — out of the old knowledge of the fourth Post-Atlantean period, have become more or less devoid of content to-day: they have become mere words. Anyone who takes up psychology or anything to do with psychological concepts will find that there is no longer any real content in the books on the subject." Read in full context

"Our logic, knowledge of nature, technology and so forth, grow from a foundation which was laid in Atlantis. If, for instance, an engineer could transform his combining faculty backward, something would result which was in the power of the Atlantean. ...The esthetic sense of the Greeks is built up on the basis of directly acting forces which among the Atlanteans were manifested in a magnificent breeding of plant and animal forms." Read in full context

"The vehicles of the Atlanteans, which floated a short distance above the ground travelled at a height lower than that of the mountain ranges of the Atlantean period, and they had steering mechanisms by the aid of which they could rise above these mountain ranges." Read in full context

(about 194 pages)
"You will have to take over children for their education and instruction — children who will have received already (as you must remember) the education, or mis-education given them by their parents. Indeed our intentions will only be fully accomplished when we, as humanity, will have reached the stage where parents, too, will understand that special tasks are set for mankind to-day, even for the first years of the child's education. But when we receive the children into the school we shall still be able to make up for many things which have been done wrongly, or left undone, in the first years of the child's life." Read in full context

"It is an established fact that, as a general rule, although not always, we meet in the middle period of our lives, as a result of karmic guidance, the very people who were once our parents. It is unlikely that we meet in early childhood the persons who were once our parents. This happens during the middle of life. This may appear as a strange fact, but this is the way it is. ... In reversing this relationship, we discover another remarkable fact. The very people with whom we have been associated in our early childhood, such as parents, sisters and brothers, playmates and other companions, as a rule are the very people whom we have met in the previous or one of our previous incarnations around our thirtieth year. These people frequently appear as our parents, sisters or brothers in the present incarnation." Read in full context

"It is easy to arrive at a mistaken distinction between what we have brought from earlier incarnations and what we have inherited from our parents and forbears. When we reincarnate we do not come haphazard to such and such parents or to such and such a country. There is operating here a motive allied to our innermost being." Read in full context

black race
(about 57 pages)
"The Initiates -- and so too the Three Magi -- were endowed with Manas. They bring gold, frankincense and myrrh as their offerings. And why are their skins of three colours: white, yellow and black? One is European -- his skin is white; one is Indian -- his skin is yellow; one is African -his skin is black. This indicates the connection with the so-called Root Races. The remaining survivors of the Lemurian race are black; those of the Atlantean race are yellow; and the representatives of the Fifth Root Race, the Post-Atlantean or Aryan race, are white." Read in full context
(about 18 pages)
"One spiral of the sign of Cancer indicates the end of the Atlantean culture; the other, the beginning of the Aryan culture. Our ancestors thus perceived in the heavens the outward sign for the rise of the new Aryan culture." Read in full context

"...there are seven great epochs of Aryan civilisation in which the laws of evolution slowly come to expression." Read in full context

"IN THIS CHAPTER we shall learn about the transition of the fourth, the Atlantean root race, into the fifth, the Aryan, to which contemporary civilized mankind belongs." Read in full context

advent spiral
(about 4 pages)
"Whenever an important event occurs in the world, whenever one stage of evolution is superseded by another thereby bringing something new into the world, two such spiral movements intertwine. One spiral of the sign of Cancer indicates the end of the Atlantean culture; the other, the beginning of the Aryan culture. Our ancestors thus perceived in the heavens the outward sign for the rise of the new Aryan culture." Read in full context
black skin
(about 2 pages)
"Everything which gives the Ethiopian race its special characteristics comes from the fact that the Mercury forces seethe and surge in the glandular system of this people. What modifies the universal human form into the special form of the Ethiopian race with black skin and wooly hair and so on, is the result of their activity. This modification of the common human form comes therefor from these forces." Read in full context
(about 2 pages)

" we can translate the legend with which I ended my lecture yesterday from the negro version into that of modem civilization. Yesterday I had to narrate this legend from what may be called the negro point of view..." Read in full context

"If we now more closely characterise the spot which in our recent statements we placed in Africa, by saying, that through the co-operation of the normal Spirits of Form with the abnormal ones centred in Mercury, the negro race came into existence, we are then, from an occult standpoint, quite correct in describing what appears in the black race, as the `Mercury race'." Read in full context

(about 738 pages)
"Since Anthroposophy provides such good material for ‘interest’, and is such a good medium for ‘experiences’, people are helpless and without power of resistance when they meet it."
"modern science"
(about 246 pages)
"Our studies of the last few days will have made it clear to you that it is altogether impossible to look upon the configuration of the spatial Universe and its movements in the way that is adopted by modern science." Read in full context

"At first one is amazed at such a comment as the following, which comes from scientists upon whom these truths dawn: 'The old mythologies have more physiology in them than modern science has.' I can understand the shock and surprise; but the remark has its deep core of truth." Read in full context

"A true understanding of modern science, not the dilettante understanding to be found even in University Professors, but understanding that is free from abstract theorising and materialistic conjectures, standing firmly upon the basis of facts and not going beyond them, can find from science itself the proofs of the spiritual truths of Rosicrucianism." Read in full context

"Now what the Moon forces thus do for man essentially depends upon the fact that the Moon is not the mere physical body of which modern science tells its tales, but is permeated everywhere by spirituality. The Moon itself in fact contains a multitude of spiritual beings." Read in full context

"A thoroughly unprejudiced investigation of that which is essential in the processes of Nature convinces us of the mistake we make when we give ourselves up to the great illusion of modern science: Effects are the result of their causes. It is not so." Read in full context

"Spiritual science seeks to enlarge our horizon in regard to the true nature of man and to make us see a little more than what we are able to see through the generally accepted form of modern science. It wishes to draw our attention to epochs of human evolution which lie far back in time, for instance, to the Atlantean epoch, and to show us what man was like upon Atlantis; then it also seeks to point out to us the true nature of the evolutionary processes in which the human being is really involved." Read in full context

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