Steiner explained gnomes, where they are and what one needs to perceive them:
States of consciousness can lie in all four forms of the physical plane while the body of such a being lies in the astral. We must think of the consciousness in the solid Earth, the body in the astral; or a being that has its consciousness in the water and its body in the astral; then such a being with its consciousness in the air and its body in the astral and one with its consciousness in fire and its body in the astral. Present-day man knows but little of such beings; in our time it is only through poetry that they are known. Miners (of minerals) however know such beings very well. A gnome is only visible to someone who can see on the astral plane, but miners frequently possess such an astral vision; they know that gnomes are realities. Thus, on our Earth there exist various forms of consciousness, and what the natural scientist today calls laws of nature are the thoughts of beings who think on the physical plane but have their bodies on the astral plane. When in physics we have to do with laws of nature we can say: these are the thoughts of a being who has its body on the astral plane. The forces of nature are creative beings and natural laws are their thoughts.
According to the BBC Swiss bankers are called ‘gnomes’; and those gnomes don’t inhabit mines. Gnomes are not (only) mine-dwellers or decorative pieces for the garden,
gnomes emerged from medieval fascination with the secrets of wealth, especially gold, buried underground and mined by mysterious beings. Goethe writes about them in his epic Faust – ambiguous characters creating wealth which others, depending on their morals, use for good or evil.
(Maybe that’s what they were doing in the mines, what Steiner was talking about? Stashing away gold? Mining gold? Were the mines gold mines? I wonder what’s buried under the Goetheanum!) Many years ago
[s]ome Zurich bankers took to answering the phone to British callers with “hello, gnome speaking”. Others retaliated mischievously by suggesting that trade union power – “the gnomes of Transport House” – rather than currency speculation, was weakening the British economy.
Swiss bankers lost influence over the years and
[g]nomes in modest, discreet buildings were dwarfed, so to speak, by the skyscrapers of the City of London, New York and, more recently, Dubai and Shanghai.
But they are still there, still holding enormous private and commercial fortunes. And Jurg Conzett, of the Zurich Money Museum, where they proudly display a Swiss gnome sculpture, says today’s bankers sometimes see the gnome label as “almost a noble title”.
A guy with a noble (?) purpose: being a waldorf school gnome. (Yes, true. But this one isn’t saying anything. He’s not even reciting poetry.)