Sun at Midnight: The Rudolf Steiner Movement and Gnosis in the West

By Geoffrey Ahern

The standard critical work on the Anthroposophical movement, this penetrating study of Rudolf Steiner’s esoteric legacy is an invaluable guide.

ISBN: 9780227172933


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, Rudolf 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.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 280

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Geoffrey Ahern is Fellow of the Centre for Leadership Studies of the University of Exeter. His areas of research involve the functioning of organisations, communities and the inner city. He studied law at Oxford University and gained a PhD in sociology of religion at London School of Economics. The author’s publications include the previous edition of Sun at Midnight and Inner City God, co-authored with Grace Davie.



Part I. The Development of the Rudolf Steiner Movement
1. ‘Must I Remain Silent?’: A Life of Rudolf Steiner
2. The Establishment of the Movement
3. How the Movement is Organised

Part II. Thought & Deed in Anthroposophy
4. Meditations and Applications
5. Man Today, Karma and the Macrocosm
6. The Evolution of the Macrocosm

Part III. Gnosis in the West, or the Western ‘Esoteric Tradition’
7. From Gnosticism to Rosicrucianism
8. Modernity and Gnosis

Part IV. Different Perspectives
9. Interpretive Visions
10. Western Orthodoxy, Mysticism and Gnosis

Appendix: Some Ways In


Endorsements and Reviews

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 the cult … Laced with 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 children in a 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.

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, at

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.
Bruce G. Armstrong, in the Creation Research Society Quarterly (Winter 2011)