Occult Science for Teachers

Sometimes on Steiner- friendly websites there will be suggested Rudolph Steiner titles to read. As previously mentioned, there is a large selection.

Glimpsing the titles of just one or two of these would give an enormous clue as to the nature of the writing, and may well be enough to put most people off. I guess for a parent who is curious about some of the goings on at school, and perhaps not receiving a straight answer from staff, there may be an incentive to take a deep breath and plunge in.

However, one book which does not appear on recommended reading lists for parents is “Occult Science”. Presumably this could be seen as too much for a parent to handle.

Teachers however, are recommended to read this gem. It is considered useful for teachers, when needing advice about “Rückschau”. Its approximate translation is “reverse review” or “daily rewind”, according to the Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers.

(In most English schools this is known as a lesson evaluation.)

”Unfortunately there seems to be no elegant alternative in English to the German word [rückschau], so we will continue to use the latter as a technical term”, says the compiler, Kevin Avison.

He suggests making a Rückschau of the morning lesson so that “…events…can be placed into the lap of one’s angel before sleep with a prayer towards the wisdom (and possibly repentance) of the following morning.”

I suppose some parents (the ones drawn to anthroposophy – there will be some…) may be reassured by the thought of teachers having their own personal angel and using it. Some may be alarmed.




  1. Helen

    In case anyone wonders whether the compiler is being facetious about the angels in this book, I can assure you, he is perfectly serious.
    We haven’t even got started on the elemental beings in anthroposophy yet, either.

  2. Jim

    You may have noticed the letter in today’s Guardian from Alexander Gifford of the Gloucester Theatre Company in response to a recent article claiming “love and happiness” had disappeared from education. He claimed that they could still be found in, yes you guessed it, Steiner schools. A quick look at the theatre’s web site reveals its current production is – “The Trial of the Soul” by one Rudolf Steiner.
    I haven’t followed up all the links but the GTC seems to be involved with Camphill and something called the Asha Centre which also appears to have a Steiner influence, at the very least in terms of biodynamics. I really don’t want to turn into a conspiracy theorist. Maybe these are perfectly decent people doing good work with only a few of the more harmless trappings of the Steiner cult.

  3. Helen

    Thanks Jim, How did I miss that – I sat down and read the paper with my coffee this morning.
    I see the play you mention is described as “bizarre but gripping”…..as with all things Steiner, you have to suspend your disbelief!
    The play was performed at the Lansdown Hall, formerly the Space (nearly made it onto my list) which used to be a great Arts venue, but is now managed by a “charitable organisation” and has become a stage for anthroposophical and associated events. When you google it, Ruskin Mill comes up.
    The Asha centre has the most lyrical description of biodynamics I have ever read – their fruit and veg looks very much like mine, however.

  4. Jim

    While we’re talking theatre here’s a tale from some years back. We attended a performance of Oedipus Rex in Stroud moving between several locations but ending up at what is now Lansdown hall. Although rather too ritualistic is was actually quite good. I knew little about the Steiners in those days. At a critical moment Oedipus cries out “I will be avenged!” . Unfortunately what came out was “I vill be awengied” , recalling Rik Mayall ‘s German baddie in Black Adder.
    We of course collapsed in helpless giggles. At which point we learned that humour is not a Steiner strong point.

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