“In our time the path to spiritual science is sought by many. It is sought in many ways, and many dangerous and even despicable practices are attempted. It is for this reason that they who claim to know something of the truth in these matters place before others the possibility of learning something of esoteric training. … It is necessary that something of the truth should become known, in order to prevent error causing great harm. … Without patience no genuine results can be attained. … No one is of use as an esoteric student or will attain results of real value who has not learned to wait in the highest and best sense of the word.” ~Rudolf Steiner
Steiner wrote this about 100 years ago, but it is even more true today than it was in his time. The spiritual seekers of today are either those who were never really part of an organized church or religion, but feel a presence of something greater and seek it out, or those who have realized that the conventional churches are not really making them spiritual and and seeking something more, something higher. There might also be considered a third group made up of those who simply get involved in something because it’s a fad, it’s something their friends are doing. That last group are not actually spiritual seekers at all and of no particular importance to us. It is the other two groups that matter.
The second sentence of the quote is something few stop to think of. Not everyone talking about the spiritual means the same thing and not every spiritual school teaches the same thing. I think that in Steiner’s day nearly all of these schools or groups were at least teaching something they thought was true. Today, we have schools popping up that have no real desire to help people awaken their dormant spiritual faculties, but only to relieve them of their money. Obviously, such schools should be avoided if you seriously want to grow spiritually.
The other problem Steiner points out is that some of these practices can be dangerous. Actually, all spiritual practice is dangerous to some degree, but some more than others. I believe what he is warning about is the silly idea that all spirits are the same, all spirits are good-guys, and all spirit are very knowledgeable.
There are people who want to talk to the spirits of dead relatives , usually with the idea that they know much more now that they are dead. There are plenty of psychic mediums who will help you do this, or at least seem to do this, but there are two problems with it: Usually you are not actually speaking to the spirit of your relative and second, even dead your relatives are not all-knowing. In most cases, though, the psychic is actually making up the whole thing, or is communicating with some low-level demons having fun, not your dead relatives.
Another problem is that of spiritual schools who teach things like traveling on the astral plane and communicating with the beings found on that level. This is another case of thinking all spirits are the same. Actually, the spirits on this level are all demons, devils, creatures of darkness. This is the forth dimension and you will get no spiritual growth here, only enslavement.
The legitimate spiritual schools and spiritual teachers will have you communicate with beings on the fifth dimension; angels and Beings of Light. Those beings are those ones who can help you, who want to help you, not enslave or destroy you.
So how do you know the real spiritual school from the false? One simple rule of thumb is if they teach that all spirits are the same. That is like Valdemort telling Harry Potter, “There is no good or evil, only power”. Another is if they tell you all paths are the same and no path is better than another. You would never accept such silliness if you asked someone how to get from one town to another, why would it be true for the greatest quest of all. But you do not have to give up or despair if you find you have gotten on a false path, just get off and seek the true path. And listen to your intuition, not your ego when it comes to making spiritual choices.