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Norse, Anthony P.SOULS OF TERROR – A New Age Thriller [Paperback]

SOULS OF TERROR is a fast-paced, well-researched thriller with fascinating characters whose lives become strangely entwined as they unravel a frightening mystery. The surprising climax will leave you forever questioning the thin line between fact and fiction. In the beginning . . . A brilliant university student is brutally killed in New York as a young boy from an Oregon private school is whisked off to Switzerland. What is the connection and why is it so important to millions of people? Chris Thompson is ridden with guilt while searching for his son. Is young Michael the key to a deeply spiritual and terrifying mission? Michael’s attractive aunt Kate has a penchant for profanity and martial arts . . . and carries a heavy secret from her past. Dr. Paul Sung is an atheist and authority on the history of the New Age movement. His unfulfilling life in academia is about to change. Detective Mark Julian needs to solve a string of gruesome New York murders, so why was he sent to Europe? Karl Heisman and his Group of Forty-Eight are a covert sub-group of a spiritual movement known as Anthroposophy. Does their strange karma include links to Freemasonry and the dawning of a New Age? Are they racist terrorists or is there a method to their madness? And who was Rudolf Steiner?

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Coleman, RebeccaThe Kingdom of Childhood

The Kingdom of Childhood is the story of a boy and a woman: sixteen-year-old Zach Patterson, uprooted and struggling to reconcile his knowledge of his mother’s extramarital affair, and Judy McFarland, a Waldorf kindergarten teacher watching her family unravel before her eyes. Thrown together to organize a fundraiser for their failing private school and bonded by loneliness, they begin an affair that at first thrills, then corrupts each of them. Judy sees in Zach the elements of a young man she loved as a child, but what Zach does not realize is that their relationship is—for Judy—only the latest in a lifetime of disturbing secrets.

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Critical Works

Ahern, GeoffreySun at Midnight: The Rudolf Steiner Movement and Gnosis in the West [Paperback]

A revised and updated edition of the book, first published in the Eighties, that still remains the main critical work written from outside the movement. This engaging introduction to Anthroposophy is written from the unique point of view of the English-speaking outside world. Employing Anthroposophical and external sources alike, Ahern offers an unbiased look into one of the world’s most interesting mystical societies. Sun at Midnight guides the reader through Anthroposophy’s beginnings as an offshoot of Theosophy, the life of its founder, Rudolph Steiner, and the movement’s place in Western esoteric history while offering an accessible and incisive look into its deeper esoteric beliefs. Waldorf schools and bio-dynamics are woven together with the hardening of spirit into matter to create a fascinating image of Anthroposophy in all its facets.

“Ahern’s book is a general overview of the Steiner movement. He examines Steiner’s life, his cosmology and the influences that led to his supposedly Christian version of Gnosticism. Ahern also looks at Steiner spin-offs such as Biodynamic agriculture, Waldorf (Steiner) education, Camphill Homes and “Christian Community” churches, showing how they are all based on Steiner’s beliefs.” Creation Research Society Quarterly, Winter 2011
“Geoffrey Ahern’s ‘Sun at Midnight’ is a balanced and professional look at Rudolf Steiner and his cult ‘Anthroposophy.’ Among the thousands of books about Waldorf education and Anthroposophy, this is one of a very few written with an objective viewpoint from outside of the cult…Laced within Ahern’s comprehensive approach to this difficult subject are astute observations and wry comments such as ‘Anthroposophical science is not about applying “Occam’s razor”‘ in reference to Steiner’s elaborate pseudoscience…Anyone considering enrolling their child ina Waldorf School would do well to read Ahern’s book first, especially given the well-known lack of transparency of the Waldorf schools.” Dan Dugan, Secretary of PLANS, Inc., September 2011
“Ahern’s book is extremely informative – indeed, it is fascinating…SUN AT MIDNIGHT is inviting and accessible…nearly indispensable reading for anyone who wants a balanced, informative, and sensible…examination of Rudolf Steiner and his brainchildren.” Roger Rawlings, [more]

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Ulrich, HeinerRudolf Steiner

Heiner Ullrich, Rudolf Steiner (London: Continuum, 2008). Ullrich is a major figure in German educational studies and an expert on the history of pedagogical reform movements. He has published many works on Steiner, anthroposophy, and Waldorf schools, including some of the best critical studies of Waldorf pedagogy available. Most of his work is in German, but the 2008 book provides a good overview of his research, and it is mostly focused on Waldorf education. Though I have various disagreements with Ullrich’s arguments, I recommend the book highly to everybody looking for perceptive scholarship on Waldorf schooling and anthroposophy. [-P.S.]

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Washington, PeterMadame Blavatsky’s Baboon: A History of the Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America.

A good history of how Anthroposophy came to be. Blavatsky, Besant, Krishnamurti, Steiner, Gurdjieff, Ouspensky; tales of all the characters. Well-researched and fun to read. New York: Schocken Books, 1995.

[Book jacket illustration; the face in the lower left corner is Annie Besant; the cartoon is of Darwin; the face on the globe is Rudolf Steiner. -dD-]

The New Age is not so new. Peter Washingingon traces it back to ideas that entered our cultural bloodstream just before the dawn of the twnetieth century, when a mysterious renegade Russian aristocrat named Madame Blavatsky appeared in America. Darwin was wrong, she claimed. Man was not descended from apes but from spirit beings. As a reminder, she kept a stuffed baboon in her parlor dressed in wing collar, tail-coat, and spectacles, and holding a copy of The Origin of Species in its hand.

Theosophy, the movement Madame Blavatsky founded, spawned competing gurus and sects which in the course of the century evolved into the New Age. Here is the incredible story of Rudolf Steiner and his breakaway anthroposophy, of the tyrannical and mysterious Gurdjieff with his Path, of Ouspensky, the rebel Gurdjieffian, and of Krishnamurti — a future “world leader” spotted in India as a boy by the pederast and grand panjandrum of Theosophy, Bishop (self-appointed, of his own church!) C. W. Ledbetter.

These gurus and the alternative religions they founded had a powerful appeal particularly for women, who found in them a role denied them by conventional religions. They also attracted some of the most influential intellects of the age — Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Frank Lloyd Wright, Katherine Mansfield, Aldous Huxley, and Christopher Isherwood — all searching for an alternative to Western materialism and notions of spirituality. Needless to say, these movements also attracted a host of colorful adventurers, uncertified lunatics, wealthy and lonely spinsters, charlatans, and lost souls.

Well-researched, thought-provoking, and often hilarious, Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon provides a fascinating and helpful perspective on the hopes and fears of our own day as well as those of a century ago.

PETER WASHINGTON lives in London, where he is the general editor of Everyman’s Library. Author of a number of books of intellectual history, he is a professor of English and European Literature at Middlesex University and a reviewer and critic for The London Evening Standard and The Independent.

Jacket Illustration by David Kahl
Jacket Design by Marjorie AndersonShocken Books, New York2/95 Printed in the U.S.A. (C) 1995 Random House, Inc.

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Oberman, IdaThe Waldorf Movement in Education from European Cradle to American Crucible, 1919-2008 (Lewiston: Mellen, 2008)

The most valuable part of this book is oberman’s study of the history of the Waldorf schools in Germany during the Nazi period. This hundred- page section comprises a quarter of the book. It’s ironic that Douglas Sloane’s foreword repeats some of the same myths that oberman refutes in the book itself. Her interviews with several eyewitnesses add previously unknown details. She acknowledges that the history published by the Waldorf movement is “hard to substantiate.” The different ways several schools dealt with National Socialist pressure are detailed. Berlin and Hamburg-Altona closed rather than compromise. Stuttgart made every attempt to compromise. Dresden and Hanover embraced National Socialism. On the issue of whether Jewish teachers were fired or, as Waldorf spokesperson Detlef Hardorp argued on waldorf-critics in March, 2008, left voluntarily to save the schools, oberman says they were “dismissed.” [-P.S.]

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Olav HammerClaiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age

This academic study examines the core issue of conflict between Steiner’s Anthroposophy and the real world. Epistemology is the study of knowledge; how is reliable knowledge obtained? Hammer holds Anthroposophy’s feet to the fire of modern philosophy.

“Since the central movement texts of anthroposophy are the writings of Rudolf Steiner, his views are authoritative. Nevertheless, both Steiner and his exegetes have emphasized that it is entirely feasible for others to reach the same results and verify his statements. …anthroposophical literature presents detailed methods of obtaining the requisite spiritual experience. However, there are, in fact, two counteracting strategies at work. First, no follower of Steiner has ever been deemed by the various local anthroposophical societies to have attained the same mastery of the methods of spiritual exploration. Secondly, specific elements in the path towards a knowledge of the ‘higher worlds’ are expressly aimed at making experience conform to dogma” [p. 340]

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Henry, Mary E.School Cultures: Universes of Meaning in Private Schools.

A Cultural Anthropology thesis comparing two schools, academic and Waldorf. Good research, uninspired academic style. Skip chapter two, “A Symbolist and Postmodern Theory of Culture.”

“Just how well Waldorf students “do” in comparison with other schools is unclear. Few statistics or even qualitative reports are available, because the testing notion is antithetical to Waldorf ideals, and research on Waldorf schools that is not merely promotional writing is rare.” (p. 80)

(A Washington State University thesis.) Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corp. 1993.

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Hirsch, E.D., Jr.The Schools We Need: Why We Don’t Have Them

Hirsch supports his arguments with research results. At the end he has a glossary that deconstructs all the popular buzzwords of education. The buzzwords of Waldorf are found here. “Prospective teachers and members of the general public are bemused, bullied, and sometimes infected by seductive rhetorical flourishes like ‘child-centered schooling’ or bullying ones like the dismissive words ‘drill and kill.’ These terms and phrases pretend to more soundness, humaneness, substance, and scientific authority than they in fact possess.” New York: Doubleday, 1996.

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Imelman, J.D., and P.B.H. van HoekHoe vrij is de Vrije School?: een analyse van de antroposofische pedagogiek.

Nijkerk, Netherlands: Uitgeverij Intro, 1983.

Singer, Margaret ThalerCults in Our Midst

The country’s leading authority on cults, Margaret Thaler Singer, calls on her nearly fifty years of expertise to write the definitive book on cults. Written with author and former cult member Janja Lalich, Singer’s first book is a shocking exposé that reveals what cults are and how they work. Cults in Our Midst offers vital information on how to help people escape cult entrapments and recover from the experience. This compelling book debunks commonly held myths and answers perplexing questions about cults. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995.

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Critical Works in German

Aktion Kinder des Holocaust

Guido und Michael GrandtWaldorf Connection: Rudolf Steiner und die Anthroposophen

Written on the back cover:
Die Anthroposophie genießt weithin den Ruf, eine tolerante, hochgeistige Weltanschauung zu sein; die Waldorfpädagogik wird von vielen Eltern als Kreativität und Selbstwertgefühl fördernde Alternative zum Unterricht in einer Regelshule angesehen.  Zu Unrecht meinen die Journalisten Guido und Michael Grandt.
Die Autoren (deren Schwarzbuch Anthroposophie 1997 vom Markt geklagt wurde) vergleichen Anspruch und Wirklichkeit der Waldorf Connection anhand der Öffentlichkeitsarbeit der Anthroposophen, der Rezeption der Lehren Rudolf Steiners und anhand von Theorie und Praxis der Waldorfpädagogik.  Sie dokumentieren die okkulten und rassistischen Anteile an der Weltanschauung Steiners und gehen der Frage nach, inwiefern diese noch heute in der Anthroposophie nachwirken.  Sie setzen sich ausführlich mit dem pädagogischen Konzept und dem Unterricht der Waldorfshulen auseinander und erörtern den Einfluß der Anschauungen des »Meisters”.

Taschenbuch – 365 Seiten – 2., korr. Aufl. (1999) Alibri, Aschaffenburg

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Anthroposophical Works

Exemplary publications from the hundreds available from the cult of Rudolf Steiner

Querido, RenéThe Esoteric Background of Waldorf Education: The Cosmic Christ Impulse

This book is based on the spiritual understanding of the cosmic Christ impulse and its relevance to our time. The author provides us with practical suggestions for the inner life of the teacher as well as insights into the structure of the curriculum. He addresses the questions of one’s relationship to the cosmic Christ, how to relate to our colleagues, and what the consequences are of these relationships for the students in our care. The author also invites the reader to a practice of the Foundation Stone Meditation.

Available from Rudolf Steiner College Press:

Blunt, RichardWaldorf Education: Theory and Practice

This master’s thesis is dry and academic, but it gives the most comprehensive survey of Waldorf pedagogy available. The Anthroposophical doctrine behind almost every aspect of the system is given in detail. A must for serious scholars.

“[S]ince his death his thought has become isolated, and little mention is made of him outside publications by his followers. The fact that this is the first formal and comprehensive analysis of his educational thought reveals the neglect that has been shown towards him, despite the world-wide expansion of the Waldorf Schools Movement…The main reason for the isolation of Steiner’s thought appears to be its complex and unorthodox foundations, which this analysis has attempted to organise and clarify…”

Cape Town, South Africa: Novalis Press.

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Childs, GilbertSteiner Education: in theory and practice.

A straightforward description of the system with thorough explanations of the Anthroposophical roots of Waldorf practices. Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1991

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Cusick, LoisWaldorf Parenting Handbook: Useful Information on Child Development and Education from Anthroposophical Sources.

“There are four temperaments because, physically, the human body is made up of four forms of matter, and each begets its own soul-mood, or temperament. … Life is a force not visible unless one has acquired clairvoyance by spiritual training, in which case it can be seen as the aura.” (pp. 18-19)

Waldorf-trained teachers actually handed this book out to charter school parents in Nevada City, CA. Fair Oaks, CA: Rudolf Steiner College/St. George Publications.

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Dumke, KlausAIDS the deadly seed: An anthropological and epidemiological investigtion of a modern epidemic and its significance.

“[T]he world of the micro-organisms can be seen as a -counter world- to the formed world of the [four] realms of nature. The external, formless forces in which the micro-organisms are embedded have a dissolving effect on the mineral world (protozoa), a liberating effect on the large quantity of compounds fixed by the plant world (bacteria), and a toxic effect on the inner world of animals and human beings (viruses). This shows unicellular organisms, bacteria and viruses to be the invisible, material agents of supersensory effects whose origin requires investigation by the science of the spirit.” (p. 120)

This little book gives a comprehensive introduction to Anthroposophical “Goethean Science,” from flawed epistemology through biological pseudoscience, and all the way down to the cosmic missions of the Jews and the Germans! Rudolf Steiner Press.

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McDermott, Robert A., EditorThe Essential Steiner: Basic Writings of Rudolf Steiner.

A good way to get a quick survey of Steiner’s work, with helpful peripherals including a chronology and extensive recommended reading lists but no index. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1984.

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Schwartz, Eugene.The Waldorf Teacher’s Survival Guide.

“In the modern path of self-development that Steiner traces, there are three stages of “knowing.” The first is Imagination, wherein we perceive a world of pictures that are lawful and meaningful. The second stage is Inspiration, in which we perceive the forces that lie behind the pictures, and that went into their creation. The third stage is Intuition. In this stage we encounter the beings who wielded the forces which created the pictures.” (p. 28)

Thanks to the increasing acceptance of Anthroposophy, this formerly private-circulation booklet is now available to the public. Schwartz tells how to stage-manage parent evenings to get parents to act like children, and how Waldorf teachers work under the guardianship of Lucifer. Fair Oaks, CA: Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1992.

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Steiner, RudolfFirst Scientific Lecture-Course (Light -Course): Ten Lectures given at Stuttgart 23rd December 1919 to 3rd January 1920.

“Yet as the faculty to apprehend the spiritual aspect of the World first had to be rekindled and awakened in our time — a slow and gradual process — it must have signified a very great sacrifice and a severe hindrance for this universal spirit to bring the spiritual truths from infinite horizons into the narrower range of outlook of his contemporaries. This sacrifice he did not shun. Even into the anxiously constraining walls of earth 20th-century scientific thinking he brought the light of spiritual knowledge, and we who have received this cannot find adequate words in which to thank him.” (from the foreword)

This booklet will dispel any notion that Steiner was either a scientist or a good teacher. Trans. George Adams. Forest Row, East Sussex, U.K.: Steiner Schools Fellowship Publications, 1987.

Wilkinson, RoyThe Interpretation of Fairy Tales.

“However, higher powers are at hand. The huntsman is there as the wise power of destiny. The scissors are signs of his awakened consciousness.
“Red Riding Hood is saved. So is her grandmother who is refreshed by the bread and wine. It is an act of Holy Communion.” (p. 19)

Wilkinson can be counted on to demonstrate how narrow the Steiner-dominated mind can be. A teacher training handbook. Fair Oaks, CA: Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1993.