The relationship between the upbringing of the child and health later in life

For the reasons mentioned, I would like to call the education of the child until the change of teeth “formative education,” because everything is directed toward forming the child’s body, soul, and spirit for all of earthly life. One only has to look carefully at this process of formation. I have quoted the example of an angry father. In the gesture of a passionate temperament, the child perceives inherent moral or immoral qualities. These affect the child so that they enter the physical constitution. It may happen that a fifty-year-old person begins to develop cataracts in the eyes and needs an operation. 

These things are accepted and seen only from the present medical perspective. It looks as if there is a cataract, and this is the way to treat it, and there the matter ends; the preceding course of life is not considered. If one were ready to do that, it would be found that a cataract can often be traced back to the inner shocks experienced by the young child of an angry father.In such cases, what is at work in the moral and religious sphere of the environment spreads its influence into the bodily realm, right down to the vascular system, eventually leading to health or illness. 

This often surfaces only later in life, and the doctor then makes a diagnosis based on current circumstances. In reality, we are led back to the fact that, for example, gout or rheumatism at the age of fifty or sixty can be linked to an attitude of carelessness, untidiness, or disharmony that ruled the environment of such a patient during childhood. These circumstances were absorbed by the child and entered the organic sphere.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 394a – WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY II – XII. Educational Issues II – London, 30 August 1924


Full Moon of Aquarius – Art of Carol Herzer


Cultivation of creative fantasy brings serenity of soul, inner harmony, and contentment

For a sound emotional life, we have the fine word ingenuity. * [Sinnigkeit, the gift or capacity of inventive or creative fantasy.] Being creatively fanciful means that something ingenious occurs to one. Children ought to play in such a way that the fantasy is stimulated, that the spontaneous activity of their souls is stimulated, so that they have to reflect about their play. They ought not to arrange building blocks according to patterns: this merely develops pedantry, not creative fantasy. We are developing creative fantasy when we let children do all sorts of things in sand, when we take them into the woods and let them form little baskets out of burs, and then stimulate them to make other things of burs stuck together. Things which cause a certain inventive talent to expand nourish creative fantasy. Strange as it may seem, such cultivation of creative fantasy brings serenity of soul, inner harmony, and contentment.

Moreover, when we go for a walk with a child, it is good to leave him free to do whatever he will, provided he does not behave too badly. And, when the child does anything, we should show our pleasure, our participation and interest; we should not be unresponsive or lacking in interest in what the child produces out of his own inner nature. Even when instructing a child, we should connect what we teach him with the forms and processes of nature. When children reach an older stage, we should not then occupy them with riddles or puzzles taken from newspapers; this leads only to pedantry. On the contrary, observation of nature offers us the opposite of what is afforded by the press for the cultivation of the emotional life. A serene heart, a harmonious life of feeling, determines not only mental health but also bodily health, even though long stretches of time may intervene between cause and effect.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – ESOTERIC CHRISTIANITY AND THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ – VI. Jeshu ben Pandira II – Leipzig, 5 November 1911


Moon Cycles – Art of Carol Herzer

Weakness of will

Since people have been for a long time without any true fundamental principles of education, there are many persons in the world now who did not pass through their youth in the right way. If humanity does not determine to direct what is most important of all, the education of youth, according to Spiritual Science, a race will arise with ever weaker wills — and this not in a merely external sense. This takes a deep hold of the life of the human being. Ask a number of people how they came into their present occupations. You may be sure that most of them will answer: ‘Well, we don’t know; we have in some way been pushed into this situation.’ This feeling that one has been pushed into something, has been driven into it, this feeling of discontent, is also a sign of weakness of will.

Now, when this weakness of will is brought about in the manner described, still other results follow from this for the human soul, especially when the weakness of will is evoked in such a way that states of anxiety, of fear, of despair are produced at a youthful age. It will be increasingly necessary for human beings to have a fundamental understanding of the higher laws in order to overcome states of despair, for it is precisely despair which is to be expected when we do not proceed in accordance with knowledge of the spirit.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 130 – ESOTERIC CHRISTIANITY AND THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ – VI. Jeshu ben Pandira II – Leipzig, 5 November 1911


Parcival door Liane Collot d’Herbois

Schools must again teach people something of value

Schools must again teach people something of value. Today, much importance is placed on learning the skills required for making machines. Nothing can be said against this from the standpoint of spiritual science because it is quite worthwhile. 

But the skills needed to cope among human beings are neglected. An abstract social science, ignorant of man’s needs, was invented and this is taught instead. Above all, one must study man as we have done here, but unhappily what I told you is not taught. Look back on your own school days! Where is something like this taught today? That is what our age lacks. Teaching men the things they learn today is about as good for them as feeding them rocks instead of bread. Maybe the stomach of a goose can take rocks but that of a human being cannot! To do so would ruin the digestive system, and when you teach men what is being taught today, you actually ruin their heads. 

You know that the arm becomes weak if it is unused, and the head also becomes weak if it is not used in the right way. While the head was developing in the mother, it received forces from the stars. If it is told nothing about them, if it entertains no thoughts of them, it grows weak, just as muscles do when they are not exercised. If the child learns nothing of the real world, it remains weak. 

The worst thing about conditions today is that people have weak heads and do not understand anything about one another. They separate themselves according to social standing and do not speak to those of other classes. This is like training a man to become an athlete while neglecting his biceps. If, in educating men, I leave their heads weak, they will not know the very thing that matters most. This is how things stand.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 348 – Health and Illness: II: Illnesses Occurring in the Different Periods of Life – Dornach, October 24, 1922

Translated by Maria St. Goar


Previously posted on 3 September 2021

A requirement for every teacher of anthroposophy

I consider it a requirement for every anthroposophy teacher to represent only as much of the teaching as he can justify to the best of his conscience. That is, I require every anthroposophical teacher to say only that of which he has direct knowledge, an immediate knowing. Not one word should be spoken of these higher worlds by the spiritual teacher if he cannot discover it himself, precisely with the same right as no one can speak about chemistry who has not studied it. That is why I shall say only what I can say with absolute certainty in lectures. No one can paint the astral world as a whole; it is richer in content and more voluminous than our physical world. I admit that even the spiritual researcher can be mistaken in details, just as one can be mistaken in the physical world if, for example, one wants to determine the height of a mountain. But just as little as such a mistake in detail can be a reason to deny the physical world, just as little can there be cause for a person to deny the reality of the astral world because of a mistake in a detail.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 88 – Über die astrale Welt und das Devachan – Berlin, 28 October 1903 (page 32)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger