Inner Work for the Teacher

Finding Your Self

Exercises and Suggestions to Support the Inner Life of the Teacher

Torin M Finser



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Torin Finser has created a beautiful collection of insights, exercises, meditations and observations all focused on supporting the inner life of the teacher.  For, as Rudolf Steiner pointed out in so many ways, it is through precisely this sort of inner work and outer practice that it becomes possible for any of us to develop strength and enthusiasm for our work, particularly when our work is as demanding as modern day teaching.

This collection is a gem, and not, in my opinion, only for teachers.  I believe that almost anyone will find a wellspring on each page.  Teachers, parents, counselors, booksellers, counter clerks and more: all of us can help make the world a better, richer place and our own lives happier by practicing what is held in the pages of this little book.

Raising the Soul

Practical Exercises for Personal Development

Warren Lee Cohen



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Raising the Soul is a warm and engaging guide to 7 basic exercises (6 of which resemble closely the 6 Basic Exercises as described by Rudolf Steiner) developed over centuries and in many different cultures for the purpose of training ourselves toward moral equanimity, purposeful action and love.  William Cohen's explanations very clearly come from personal experience and a warm interest in helping others.  As such, reading Raising the Soul is like inviting a good friend into your home and having that friend prove to be very wise and very generous in sharing that wisdom.  It is truly a beautiful book without being in the least bit sentimental, and I think that anyone who is interested in self-development will find it becomes a lifelong companion.  I can't recommend it highly enough and am very grateful that William Lee Cohen wrote it.

The book is organized so that each chapter introduces a different soul capacity that can be developed in turn.  The headings include:

  • Review of the Day
  • Clear Thinking
  • Intention in Action
  • Balance in Feeling
  • Positive World View
  • Open Mind
  • Gratitude

In addition to Cohen's clear descriptions of the exercises, there are also chapters that answer many general questions"

  • Along the Way: Obstacles and Progress
  • Harmonizing Intentions
  • What Is the Soul?

The appendices offers a plan of action for integrating meditative activity into your life.

Seeking the Spirit

Study Material for One's Inner Way

Compiled by Helmut von Kügelgen

From the works of Rudolf Steiner and others



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The Little Series is filled with potent "seed-books," books whose contents are such that the reading of them places drops of wisdom and love into the human heart.  These drops are then shared through our lives with others who may know nothing of them, yet be fed by them nonetheless.

Such a book is Seeking the Spirit, a compilation of meditations and exercises from Rudolf Steiner that is accompanied by readings and thoughts from the great spiritual works of the world.  It is beautiful and glowing with love, a source of strength between two covers.

The Light of the "I"

Guidelines for Meditation

Georg Kühlewind



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This remarkable short guide to meditation is the fruit of many years of meditative experience as well as thirty years of teaching meditation. Through exercises and meditation sentences it delineates an accessible, systematic process of inner work by which a person can come to experience both the “I,” or Self, and the miraculous nature of that Light that, as inner Light, we call attention.
Beginning with simple meditation sentences that illuminate the role of attention in perception, the person wishing to take this path is led gradually to the reality and experience of form-free attention.

Kühlewind offers-step-by step guidance in concentration exercises, sentence meditations, visualizations (image or symbol meditations), and perceptual meditations for guidance on the path. He also offers advice and help with the difficulties and problems that can arise.

Each stage of the path—in itself and in relation to the whole sequence—is presented in a way to be understood through meditative thinking. Deepened in this way, it becomes, as well, a work of philosophy—but philosophy understood as a transformative way of life, an inner path.

Developing the Observing Eye

Teacher Observation and Assessment in Early Childhood Education

Cynthia Murphy-Lang


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Cynthia Murphy-Lang's experience as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher has taught her that a teacher's ability to observe and understand what he or she sees can be the key to providing children with an environment that truly supports their needs. In Developing the Observing Eye she shares techniques, guidelines and exercises to help teachers and parents train their own capacities to observe and understand.


An Outline for a Renewal of Waldorf Education

Rudolf Steiner's Method of Heart-Thinking and Its Central Role in the Waldorf School

Mark-Dominick Riccio, Ed.D.


Mark Riccio discovered a small supply of this book - we will offer it so long as our limited supply lasts, grateful for its return


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Mark Riccio's book is a masterful presentation not only of the heart of Waldorf Education, but of ways of nurturing the heart-opening approach of this educations such that it - and those who teach it - spring to life, creative and loving in the here and now. Heart-Thinking, an articulation of Steiner's cognitive approach, when done with open eyes, a smiling face, and a warm heart leads the thinker through successive levels of understanding, each culminating in a flowering metamorphosis transforming into the next level. So, too, Riccio's 100 page gem of a book - to engage in his understanding, to try out his exercises (which are fun - no long faces here!), is to find oneself at a point of transformation - and the choice (the only real choice) is to embrace life more fully, open your heart, and move on to the next level.

As Riccio tells us, the heart of Waldorf Education takes the students (and their teachers!) on such a journey of heart-opening transformation as it teaches them the things they need to know to become part of the family of humanity.

The seed of revolution (or, more correctly, evolution) that is this book lies in the suggestion, the hope, of the author (and myself) that teachers and staff at Waldorf Schools embrace the challenge of developing their own capacities of Heart-Thinking (and in my mind, this applies without modification to homeschooling co-ops and parents). Were this to occur, it would transform the education offered into something that fills all of society with a new life - and nurtures rather than drains those who provide it and support it.

I have great hopes that many will embrace these proposals, this way of learning to love without blindness. Not just our children, but all of us, will thrive on the effort.

A Primer for Spiritually Thinking Educators

A New Organic-Living Translation of Rudolf Steiner's Original Essay, Education of the Child with Study Material

Mark Riccio

Spiral Bound


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Here at last is what many have been asking for - a workbook that moves step-by-step along the path outlined in A Study Guide to Rudolf Steiner's Heart-Thinking. Anyone following it with the liveliness of thought offered by the author will, I predict, find themselves in the adventurous realm of continuous discovery about both the world and themselves.

Mark Riccio offers up an excellent overview (i.e., how to proceed) and then begins with his own translation of Steiner's essay The Education of the Child. In doing so, he has reshaped the title to indicate that all educators (not just those in Waldorf settings) are invited to partake, as was Steiner's intent. In my mind, he also indirectly points to the fact that everyone is at one moment or another an educator and that anyone who wishes can draw from the well of its inspiration.

His process is one of diving into the words to arrive at the thought they surround, then to retrieve that thought from the depths of its dwelling place and bring it back into our world as living insight and inspiration. What you'll discover is nothing less than sheer joy.

For groups or individuals, this is a pathway from the head to the heart and out into the world. Enjoy!

Spiritual Insights

From the Work of Rudolf Steiner Volume 1 of The Little Series

Compiled by Helmut von Kügelgen

Translated with permission of the author's estate by the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN)


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In general, I am not a fan of excerpts, but this little book is so outstanding that I'm happily setting aside my usual preferences. Helmut von Kügelgen has gathered together meditations, exercises, thoughts by Rudolf Steiner that are so powerfully alive that the book itself practically vibrates with the excitement of imminent discovery. I think it would be possible to work with this book for years without exhausting your interest or plumbing its full depths.

The author's loved Waldorf Education, and especially the kindergarten very much - as he gathered these meditations and exercises, the thought in his mind and heart was always that the book would be service to teachers bringing this education to the coming generations. A very beautiful book!

Working with the Dead

Volume 2 of The Little Series

Gathered from the Writings of Rudolf Steiner by Helmut von Kügelgen

Translated with permission of the author's estate by the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN)


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This is a beautiful book and a fitting companion to Volume 1 (Spiritual Insights) of WECAN's Little Series. Joan Almon's Preface to Working with the Dead really says it all:

Since the following passages were written, Helmut von Kügelgen crossed the threshold of death. On 25 February, 1998, at age 81, he experienced his birth into the spirit lands he loved so dearly. Less than a year before, at the Whitsun kindergarten conference, he spoke to us with passion ringing in his voice and said, "The spirit is not over there. It is here!" During those days he shared this realization with us several times. He spoke in the spirit of the Gospels which say, "Look not for the realm of the spirit outside yourselves, for it is among you." But he also spoke as if the veil which usually separates the spiritual world from the earthly had grown thin and translucent for him. The spiritual was now ever-present for him. Over the years we had watched his body grow frailer while his spirit grew stronger. he had prepared himself well for his journey into the spiritual world.

This booklet, along with the others he so lovingly compiled in the "Little Series," is being made available to the English speaking world both in memory of his service on the earth and in recognition of his continued activity in the spiritual worlds. The work such a soul performs on behalf of humanity does not come to an end with so-called death. It continues on, and we are privileged to work with him - and with the legions of others who are active on the other side of the threshold. We can be grateful that in this booklet Helmut von Kügelgen compiled such riches from the work of Rudolf Steiner to show us the way to work with those who have died to the earth but who are born into the spiritual.

Joan Almon Easter, 2000

I would like to add that Helmut von Kügelgen gathered these excerpts specifically with the work of the Waldorf teacher in mind. He included a personal letter to teachers, mothers, fathers and colleagues in the kindergarten by way of introducing the pedagogical intent of Working with the Dead.


From the Work of Rudolf Steiner
Volume 7 in the Original Little Series

Compiled by
Helmut von Kügelgen


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To our eye, Helmut von Kügelgen has succeeded in putting between two modest covers the deepest, most useful and most beautiful thoughts, essays, imaginations, verses and observations of Rudolf Steiner on the subject of Michaelmas and the Archangel Michael. This is a heart-opening, invigorating anthology.

Sample Contents:

  • How to Use This Booklet
  • Anthroposophy and the Human Gemüt
  • Michael's Battle with the Dragon
  • Twelve Verses from the Calendar of the Soul
  • Michaelmas Verse
  • The Michael Festival in the Course of the Year
  • Enthusiasm and the Consciousness o fthe Waldorf Teacher
  • Healthy and Ill instead of True and False
  • The Fine Weaving of the Spiritual in the Material
  • The Battle of Michael Described for the Waldorf Teacher
  • Truth-Wrought Pictures of Michael and the Growth of Human Freedom
  • Michael-Imagination
  • On the Genesis of Evil
  • Threefolding and the Michael Festival of the Future
  • Easter and Michaelmas
  • Trust in Spirit Bring Michael-Strength
  • Michael's Ascent to Time Spirit and His Battle with the Dragon
  • The Art of Education: Bulding the Vehicle in which Michael Will Ride into Our Civilization
  • On the Being of Michael - His Gaze - Rejection of Nationalism
  • The Message of Michael
  • The Equilibrium Between Lucifer and Ahriman through Christ
  • A Picture of Equilibrium
  • On the Mystery of Michael
  • From the New Testament

St. Martin

#10 of the Little Series


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Deepen your understanding of the human heart as expressed through St. Martin.  This lovely little book offers legends, history, insights into the life and meaning of St. Martin.  With its contents in your heart, your next November 11 Lantern Walk will be a source of richness and renewal.  Truly a beautiful book.

Gazing into the Eyes of the Future

The Enactment of Saint Nicholas in the Waldorf School

David Tresemer

with contributions from Doal Samson and David Mitchell

Softbound booklet


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David Tresemer has given us a beautiful and thoughtful consideration of the Festival of St. Nicholas as it is enacted in Waldorf schools. I've always loved this festival and have seen how much it means to the children (of all ages) when it is enacted for them with sincerity and understanding. It is as thought the original gift of St. Nicholas were passed along to all of them, imbuing the walnuts and fruit with the gold that is love. In this little book, Tresemer captures it all.

The Table of Contents:

  • Gazing into the Eyes of the Future
  • The Light in the Eyes
  • The History of Saint Nicholas
  • Responses of the Various Grades
  • St. Nicholas in High School and the Gift of Fruit and Nuts
  • Rupert, the Dark Side, and the Demonstration of Karma
  • A Final Comment from Nicholas
  • The Teacher's Perspective by Donald Samson
  • Nicholas and Rupert - a Story Told by David Mitchell

Christmas - Volume 3 of the Little Series

From the work of Rudolf Steiner

Compiled by Helmut von Kügelgen



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These little books created by Helmut von Kügelgen are just amazing - each and every one of them was compiled with an eye toward the soul needs of teachers. The outcome is that each and every one of them carries within it such warmth, such heart-opening goodness, such hope and love, that they meet not just the needs of teachers, but of all of us.

Christmas is densely packed with meditations on the meaning of the seasons, the Gospel stories of Christmas, prayers and verses of resounding simplicity and richness, even a St. Nicolas celebration for children by von Kügelgen makes an appearance.

The tenderness and depth of Christmas is of a nature that extends well beyond a time of year -- as, in fact, the original Christmas has done.


  • How to Work with This Booklet
  • The Four Different Accounts of Christmas in the Gospels
  • Universal Verse for the Earth
  • The Gospel of St. John
  • The Christmas Conference 1923/1924
  • Christmas Verse
  • Verses from the Calendar of the Soul
  • The Etheric Body as a Reflection of the Universe
  • Wisdom, Power and Love
  • In Praise of Love
  • The Armour of God - Verse by Angelus Silesius
  • Universal Verse for Our Earth
  • Freedom and Peaceful Collaboration
  • Isis, Sophia and Maria Unified in Love through the Child
  • Forces of Child and Forces of Eternity
  • The Birth of Christ in the Human Soul
  • The Christ-Impulse throughout History
  • Peace on Earth
  • Summer and Winter/New Year's Eve and the Holy Nights
  • Verses by Angelus Silesius
  • The First Gift
  • The Nicholas Messenger
  • Apocalyptic Advent Gospel - Gospel Texts for Advent, Christmas time, Epiphany and Beyond

Christmas Plays from Oberufer

Paradise Play|Shepherds Play|Kings Play

Edited by Hélène Jacquet



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This isn't exactly "inner work," but the faculty and staff of many Waldorf schools do perform these plays as gifts to their community. They are my favorite festival tradition in the Waldorf movement - do enjoy!

For hundreds of years, ordinary people in the small Austrian village of Oberufer on the Danube gathered in the local tavern at Christmastime to perform these plays for their neighbors. With their roots lost in medieval times, the plays gradually evolved to incorporate a unique blend of folk humor and profound reverence in their celebration of the birth of Jesus.

The Paradise Play, acting as a preface, presents the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, but with the promise of future salvation through Christ. The Shepherds Play portrays the birth of Jesus in a stable, where he is sought out by a group of shepherds. The Kings Play depicts the visit of three wise kings to the birthplace of the King of Humanity, as well as the murderous attempts by Herod to thwart Jesus' mission.

This revised edition of the plays—suitable for both amateur and professional players—offers a clear layout of the texts, greatly elaborated makeup and director’s indications, stage and lighting directions, and detailed costume designs.

Includes eight pages of color illustrations.

Love - Volume 9 of the Little Series

From the Work of Rudolf Steiner
Volume 9 in the Original Little Series
Compiled by
Helmut von Kügelgen



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To read this powerful little book is to enter a space of quiet, calm reassurance; of peaceful strength. Just what all of us need to walk through our lives with warmth and uprightness. Thank you, again, Herr von Kügelgen!


  • Words for teachers
  • We found a path
  • Ideas - Vessels wrought from love
  • Love born from understanding
  • Michael and the love for the outer world
  • Truth wrought words
  • Harmonious cooperation is grace
  • Love and trust - Moral impulses for the future
  • Devotion to the outer world is love
  • Love and harmony - Couldn't it be so?
  • Spatial barriers separate and protect us
  • Where I direct my gaze
  • To be free means to be able to die - To be able to love means to be able to live
  • Love - Memory - Freedom
  • The third realm of evil
  • The teacher's prayer and a leaven in social life
  • Memory and Love
  • Spiritual freedom and love of the deed

The Steps toward Knowledge which the Seeker for Spirit Must Take

For Waldorf Teachers

Jørgen Smit

With an Introduction on the Soul Hygiene of the Teacher by David Mitchell

Softbound booklet


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Notes by the editor on a lecture given at a world congress of Waldorf schools in Stuttgart. Mr. Smit clearly and sensitively outlines the task of the teacher as a student of Anthroposophy. Smit's are some of the deepest considerations of the inner life of the teacher and its effect on students that are in print in English. Highly recommended.

Soul Calendar and the Lemniscate

Essays and a New Translation

Barbara Betteridge



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Barbara Betteridge devoted much of her life to an exploration of Steiner's Calendar of the Soul in relationship to a lemniscatory understanding of the cycle of the year. It was our privilege to know Barbara during much of this time, and to work with her in small ways as she translated the Soul Calendar into English.

I can't begin to tell how important her resetting of the verses of the Soul Calender as four points on the yearly lemniscate has become to me over the years. From my perspective, it was one of the most eye- and heart-opening revelations of life's journey. Rather than working with polar counterpoint, as in the setting of the Pusch translation, Barbara's perspective reveals each verse (each week of the experienced year) as one of four posts supporting a living aspect of the cycle of the year.

It is with a wonderful thing to see her work in print and to be able to share it with you. May you find what I found here.

Calendar of the Soul - Mann translation

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Christopher and Lisolotte Mann



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Rudolf Steiner wrote the 52 verses of The Calendar of the Soul as content for meditation aimed at helping people to awaken to the life cycles and purposes of the Earth and nature. Each verse reflects the life of the natural world at a particular point in the cycle of the year - the reflection is seen in the mirror of the human soul. My own experience of these verses is that they act as illuminating light on what I am both witnessing outwardly and experiencing inwardly. I have always found that each verse moves me toward greater participation in the seasons of the World.

If you have been curious about this particular meditation, or have been wanting to begin a meditation practice for yourself, I can highly recommend the content of The Calendar of the Soul as being rich in experience and fruitful in outcome. I am actually very, very grateful for the time I have spent with these verses.

Because everyone responds to the various translations in very personal ways - they all have weaknesses and strengths when compared with the German originals, I will simply offer the St. John's Tide verse from each version and let you decide which is just right for you right now.

The world's fair shining glory
Compels me from the depths of soul
To let my being's God-given powers
Soar out into the Universe -
Abandoning my Self,
And trusting only, seek myself
In light of worlds and warmth of worlds.

Calendar of the Soul - Pusch Translation

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Ruth and Hans Pusch



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As my comments in the Mann translation also hold good for this translation, I'll simply let you read the St. John's Tide verse from this version:

The radiant beauty of the world
Compels my inmost soul to free
God-given powers of my nature
That they may soar into the cosmos,
To take wing from myself
And trustingly to seek myself
In cosmic light and cosmic warmth.

The Illustrated Calendar of the Soul

Meditations for the yearly cycle with fifty-two pictures by Anne Stockton

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by John B Thomson

Hardbound with bound ribbon bookmark


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In addition to my comments found with the Mann translation, I'd like to add that this special little volume holds a treasure of visual meditative material - the paintings, some of them tremendously beautiful, themselves offer abundant insights and reflections of the cycle of the year. My own approach would be to sometimes use only the pictures as my content, sometimes only the verses. I can even see developing a visual/written word rhythm throughout the week - and I can imagine the fruitfulness of this approach to be great. As you can surmise, I have not yet tried this (I only just discovered the book), but I do intend to work with it -- and am very eager to do so.

Here is John Thomson's translation of the St. John's Tide verse:

The shining beauty of the world
Compels me to set free from depths of soul
My life's God-given powers
To wing their way in the worlds,
And to forsake myself
And, filled with trust, seek still myself
In the light and warmth of worlds.


bringing Christ into your life

Jörgen Smit



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In this concise and down-to-earth book, Jörgen Smit removes much of the mystique surrounding meditation by guiding the reader along the path of meditative knowledge as developed by Rudolf Steiner. He shows how we can fruitfully build up meditative images, how we can gain control over our thoughts and our will by various straightforward and practical exercises, and how to balance meditative work with work on themes from our own biography in order to avoid a one-sided egotism that can occur as a result of intensive inner work.

Simple. Direct. Useful. If you've been looking for a clear pathway into an enlivened inner life, this is a great place to begin.

Reading the Face

Understanding a Person's Character through Physiognomy

Norbert Glas, MD



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As a boy traveling to school by streetcar, Norbert Glas often passed the time by studying the faces of his fellow passengers, pondering the significance of the shapes and contours of their noses, eyes, and mouths. Later in life, after becoming a medical doctor and a student of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science, Glas gained greater insight into the mysteries of human physiognomy.

In Reading the Face, the first translation into English of his seminal work, Glas begins by defining the three parts of the human face and explaining the importance of their relative proportions. A face that is more pronounced in any of these areas tends to indicate certain personality traits and specific physiological characteristics. People with a strong mouth and chin, for example, tend to have a strong will and an active, driven, and assertive nature. With the help of many photos and drawings, Glas presents the physiognomy of three basic types and analyzes the specifics of the head, forehead, ears, eyes, mouth, and nose.

Reading the Face will be valuable to doctors, teachers, and anyone who wants to better understand, accept, and love others.