Anthroposophical medicine – mistletoe, anyone?

The promotion of anthroposophical medicine to parents in Waldorf schools has been written about here

Open Waldorf says it is an independent site with no affiliation, and it is up to everyone to read and decide for themselves what to believe.

Here is why the British Humanists object to anthroposophical medicine;

In Stroud Anthroposophical medicine is practiced at the St Luke’s Medical Centre in Cainscross Road. They have a website detailing the range of anthroposophical therapies they offer.

The Centre is partly NHS funded.

I wrote to the NHS last year and asked, under the Freedom of information Act, how it is decided which treatments are funded by the NHS. The reply was that there is no way of telling which are NHS funded and which are not.

On their website St Lukes admit that Rudolf Steiner was not a medical doctor. They provide some information about why anthroposophical medicine is considered necessary there. The practice refers to non-anthroposophical  medicine as “allopathic”. This is a pejorative term which is not recognised by conventional medics.

One feature of anthrosophical medicine is the belief that mistletoe can cure cancer, here is an article in the BMJ.

And here is an article about why vaccination is considered a bad thing in anthroposophy.

This is what Steiner said in “Manifestations of Karma lecture 8” according to Open Waldorf.

We also understand why, among the best minds of our period, there exists a kind of aversion to vaccination… This would constitute the indispensable counterpart without which we are performing only half our task. We are merely accomplishing something to which the person in question will himself have to produce a counterpart in a later incarnation. If we destroy the susceptibility to smallpox, we are concentrating only on the external side of karmic activity.

The Health Protection agency regards Steiner Schools, along with travellers, as unvaccinated communities, according to it’s National guidelines on Measles.



  1. MarkH

    The Steiner school I was briefly associated with ran a weekend course on “home nursing” for parents. This turned out to be based on anthroposophical medicine, though of course wasn’t advertised as such. If a school claims not to teach or promote anthroposophy, they may not be telling the whole truth.

  2. eyesbeingopened

    Wow, St Lukes are very open about their use of anthrosophical medicine, unlike Wynstones website who don’t mention it at all. It reads like a string of total nonsense. Looking into this in detail is very interesting and I am shocked by a lot of it to be honest. This is from someone who only found out about your campaign through the Steiner Free Schools mailing list, which I happily signed up to thinking the school was progressive, child-centred and based on Scandinavian principles. I now realise I really didn’t know anything at all about Steiner education until now

    • Helen

      I am glad you found the blog. The most important thing is that parents are informed before they enrol their child, about what is really happening in Steiner schools. Then they may make an informed decision.
      Steiner schools have the same policies all over the world, and the problems are the same everywhere too. It is only now that people are sharing experiences and realising that they do not have to be isolated.
      The excuses about Anthroposophy not being “taught” are still being used, and I see our local Steiner Free School Initiative is no exception.
      Yes, parents may interpret Anthroposophy as they wish, but it is how the staff interprets it that matters to the children at school, and this is influenced by the SWSF. (See a previous post – “We do not endorse…”).

      • eyesbeingopened

        Is there some kind of global hierarchy, or are Steiner schools more like individual things? Just wondering if there are ‘rules’ about things and Steiner schools have to be a certain way, is the information being disseminated from somewhere in particular or is it just small groups of people deciding they agree with the teachings of Steiner? I suppose I am imagining some kind of living Steiner figure, a bit like the Pope for catholics. Reading that back it looks silly, I hope you get what I mean

  3. Helen

    Hi again,
    Yes there is a global hierarchy and at the top of the tree is the headquarters of the Anthroposophical Society, the Goetheanum at Dornach in Switzerland.
    Here is their website
    Every time I see that picture I think the structure is about to take off, like some kind of spaceship.
    Then the SWSF (Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship) mentioned above. Parents can make what they will of what is said on the SWSF website, but I recommend using other sources too. (Did I mention the Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers yet…?!)
    If a school is not affiliated to SWSF, it may say it is “based on Steiner”.
    As for the Steiner “Pope” – I like that image. My feeling is that it doesn’t matter to Anthroposophists that Steiner is dead, he is still their Pope.

    • Chris

      If you look at the Field Centre above Ruskin Mill, and you are as paranoid as I am, you may see some similarity with the Goetheanum. See The original design had a circular basement with a circular bench around the wall, all around a pool of water. The water from the roof ran into the edges of the sun sphere, down the (para-masonic?) pillars into the moon sphere and thence into the pool. From there it percolated into the Ruskin Valley – oops I mean the Horsley Valley – and spread life and fertility etc etc. Perhaps the basement was for the misraim service ? See (I believe that the reality of funding may have put paid to the basement!)

      • Helen

        Yes the similarity with the Goetheanum struck me too.
        – I see the synopsis for the book you linked to says “The “Masonic” phase in Rudolf Steiner’s life and work passed, but it remains transformed and alive in many ways in Anthroposophy as he handed it down to us today.” And
        “In time, Mystica Aeterna became the “Cognitive Cultic Section” (also called the “Misraim Service”) of the Esoteric School of the German Section of the Theosophical Society; this is the subject of this book.”
        (For anyone who didn’t know,Steiner was the head of this section, as detailed in “Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon”)

  4. MarkH

    For an ex-insider’s view on how the worldwide Anthroposophical network functions read Gregoire Perra, in particular section III of

    On the educational side, there is a Pedagogical Section based at the Goetheanum. The curriculum book referred to in the BHA article above has the following in its cover pages: “This document has been produced on behalf of the Pedagogical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland in co-operation with the Steiner Schools Fellowship Publications.” To take up the Catholic analogy, it’s almost as though the Vatican had commissioned and endorsed a specific set of curriculum guidelines for all subjects in all Catholic schools!

    The Pedagogical Section also organises the regular Hague Circle conference for Steiner teachers, attracting over 1000 attendees from all over the world (so this isn’t some small, niche gathering). See for a flavour of that event.

    Within the UK, the SWSF act as the sponsor for the state funded Steiner academies (Hereford and the new free schools) and will have a representative on their board of governors. The SWSF also tend to send along somebody to attend AGMs etc at the private Steiner schools, although they may not formally have a member among the trustees.

    • eyesbeingopened

      It’s fascinating. the whole thing is much, much weirder than I thought. I bet lots of other people are in the same boat as me – just thinking it’s ok and trusting the government to know and not go round funding such oddness. Frightening really! Although from an atheist perspective Christianity and other religions could be seen as just as odd…

      • Helen

        “…Christianity and other religions could be seen as just as odd…” – Yes, I agree, just as odd in some ways. But at least with other religious schools parents know what they have chosen for their child, and how the creed is being presented.

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