What they believe

Want to know more about death and reincarnation or how to become clairvoyant – Steiner style?

Parents hoping to send their child to a new free school will be interested to find out exactly what the anthroposophists who have designed the curriculum and the “mission” of such a school believe – not always easy unless you have the stomach to read some of Steiner’s esoteric writings and lectures… most people don’t.

There are several recent videos online from the Rudolf Steiner College presented by Brian Gray, Program Director of the Foundations in Anthroposophical Studies and a trained Waldorf teacher. According to his bio

His research includes the realms of Star Wisdom, Cosmology, Sacred Architecture and Esoteric Christianity. He has lectured on Introduction to Astrosophy: Star Wisdom, The Human Being and the Stars, Natal Star Charts, Seven Soul Types, Inner Work: How to Know Higher Worlds.

He is praised in the comments for explaining anthroposophy so clearly, and indeed he is methodical and straight forward; trouble is, none of it is valid for anyone outside.

One of the presentations describes life, death and reincarnation, according to anthroposophy. Mr Gray is very certain about all the information he offers, and presents it as fact. As he says at the beginning, Rudolf Steiner said all this, so it must be true.

Some of the details about all the different types of “bodies” that humans comprise are very complicated, so they are listed in coloured chalk on the blackboard, for our convenience. I have picked out a few gems from the lecture;

3 ½ days after death the etheric body expands back and joins the cosmic ether.”

Enjoyments of the sense world have to be purged.

After the three death experiences the soul begins to seek new parents to incarnate again. You come back with a new physical, astral and etheric body.

In our lives the new experiences will be transformed experiences from a previous life.

Is this the same creed that Trevor Mepham, the head of Frome Steiner Academy espouses? Oh yes, it is. As someone familiar with the school of spiritual science, he knows about it all. Yet when asked by a BBC reporter whether Steiner believed in reincarnation. He replied “I wouldn’t say he [Steiner] believed in reincarnation”. Yup, that’s Steiner openness for you.

Another presentation from Mr Gray is entitled 6 Basic Exercises. (These are spiritual exercises, you understand – Steiner followers don’t set much store by physical exercise).

 

He goes through in order the kind of thing Steiner teachers are expected to do in order to develop spiritually towards calirvoyance as he explains Rudolf Steiner did.

The first one, objectivity, is designed to “Give strength to the soul after we birth to the higher self”

The second enables us to “Seek truth beauty and goodness in every situation of life” – is that why bullying in school doesn’t look the same to anthros as it does to other people?

Number 5 is open mindedness (how many times have we been told by Steiner commenters here that we should be more “open minded”?) but not in the way most people might think; it means open to believing any unlikely possibility anyone tells you, such as gnomes are real. As Gray puts it “Maybe things that have not happened before are happening now”. Spooky.

The ideas depicted in these videos are not harmful in themselves, and other sects have equally unusual tenets but remember, this is what Steiner teachers are learning, and this is what they wish to impart to our children, in a subtle way, without telling us. These beliefs are the reason Steiner schools exist; so that they can fill childrens’ heads with anthropsophiclal nonsense to help them “incarnate” better next time.

In a rather sad comment under the “exercises” video a former Waldorf student says there some parts of anthroposophy he still doesn’t understand asks Gray for more information. He doesn’t get a reply.

 

 

 

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14 comments

  1. Steve

    very interesting article, Helen.

    Grégoire Perra had something to say about clairvoyance and Rudolf Steiner: “Anthroposophy suggests that you will become clairvoyant, that you will become an “initiate”, if you practise the exercises outlined by Rudolf Steiner in his book, “The Initiation”. I have practised them. I’ve known people who practised them for 30, 40, 50, 60 years, etc. None of them have become clairvoyant! And it’s not because there was a lack of people who tried out these exercises.” (from our translation: http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/France-Masks.html )

    • Helen

      Yes, I read that blogpost by Gregoire Perra. He of course was indoctrinated from an early age when he started at Steiner school as a child, through to teaching in a Steiner school and becoming an anthroposophist, so it is understandable that he thought he should do the meditation etc.
      I do not really understand how people coming to it as adults could fall for this kind of thing. Maybe it’s a form of self-help, trying to transform yourself. Gray does say it can help you cope with difficult situations, eg seeing the good in every situation life throws at you.
      I feel really sorry for that Steiner student asking for more information, trying to make sense of what he has been taught at school about “the nature of humanity”, when in fact it is all a jumble of nonsense.
      He asks “When someone is asleep, do the Sentient, Mind and Consciousness soul depart from the Mineral, Etheric and Astral/Soul body? Does not the Astral/Soul body remain united with the Mineral and Etheric bodies during sleep?”
      C’mon Gray, tell him. You answered the other questions, but not these.

      • Steve

        Has he answered questions after that one? Because you’re right, it seems an important one to answer. How do we manage with so many souls crammed in a single body?

        Getting people when they’re vulnerable is the usual MO of any indoctrinating cult/sect/religion. That and of course, getting them while they’re young.

        • Helen

          yes, and he’s thanked everyone for their compliments. Here’s the link
          Oh bother it didn’t work, but if you search for 6 basic exercises on youtube it should come up with the comments.

          • Steve

            Saw them. Brian must be travelling in other astral planes at the moment: his last comment was 11 months ago, and that poor chap asked him a question 6 months ago. Maybe when he returns from the Seventh Realm, Brian will be able to deal with this matter…

      • humanisthousewife

        In regards to how people coming to it as adults can fall for it, I once asked the manager of the steiner place I worked at why she believed it all. Her answer was stupidly long and airy fairy, but what it boiled down to was that she “couldn’t believe that humans cam be created just by two people having sex, that a whole personality can not come from just the physical creation of life, so what steiner says HAS to be true, there can be no other way”. An interesting answer and I didn’t really have a come back that she would of listened to with an open mind!

        • Jim

          I think that vague feeling of “there must be more to us than that” underlies a lot of religious and supernatural belief. It reminds me of the end of Blade Runner where the dying android is incredulous that all his experiences should be lost like tears in the rain. And I suppose if that’s what drives you it doesn’t matter just how batty the beliefs you choose are.
          To be fair I also think the wish for some sort of persistence is a fairly basic human trait, but one better realised through the sort of society and culture we build.

        • Helen

          “I once asked the manager of the steiner place I worked at why she believed it all.”
          I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when you asked that question – it probably doesn’t happen very often! But her answer Is such a cop-out and that’s one of the reasons I find the teaching of it to children so distasteful; it’s telling them not to enquire or to look to science, but to resort to fantasy for explanations.

          • humanisthousewife

            Was definitely an interesting conversation! I asked it at one of the “training days” when I was really quite frustrated at my time being so wasted. I really wanted to have a sensible discussion but it’s just impossible with them. If you can anything against it or try to make them.see a different view you just get “the stare” or told “you wouldn’t understand, you need more training”. In the end you just give up.

  2. Nick Nakorn

    I’ve tried watching the videos, honest, but they’re such a load of bollocks I felt my life slipping away as every second passed – much like reading the same mountains of drivel on in the Steiner archives. I did at least persevere with that until it felt as if I was continually banging my head against a rock. Life is too short for such nonsense.

    • Jim

      What I find weird is the disconnect between the total nonsense being spoken and the seriousness and seeming normality of the way in which it is said. It’s like those sketches that John Bird and John Fortune used to do where one of them would spout political or economic madness in all seriousness while the other became ever more incredulous. Except we knew that was intended to be funny.

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