Ancient Calendar: June 14th, 2010

It is MONDAY!!!! And I am ready to bust. Sorry but I have to shout about it before I can type up my calendar stuff….

Wyntress Nyght’s Supernatural Crack by ME ME ME–C.H. Scarlett– releases TODAY!!!! ALONG WITH Magnolia Heat–A Gay Fiction, Noble Romance by Keta Diablo!!!

I am in total worship of Noble Romance Publishing right now. Someone build them a temple and bring on the sexy (but willing) slaves!

Please, please, please click on my link and check out my blurb and cover!!! I am sooooooooooo proud of this book. Ok, ok, *deep breathes* I am done shouting now. Just can’t help myself. Release day feels like hit- the- lottery days…only the excitement is more in my head, rather than in those around me. *winks*

NOW, let’s look at what the Ancients were doing way back in the day.

And it would have been a busy one indeed…tons going on (like in my life). First, we start off with the Norse, who are seriously catching my interest here as of late. The day, according to their traditions, was sacred to Vidar, who happened to be one of Odin’s sons. Now, no god is boring in the Norse pantheon, and Vidar is no different. He stands for two very important things to any tough Viking Warrior–the ability to move about without being detected and getting even! Yep, it was all about revenge, and you know our Vikings dig that. According to Norse beliefs, when Ragnarok falls over the face of the world, the world Fenris will escape its leash and will eat Odin. Don’t fear because prophecy says that it will be Vidar whom slays the terrible wolf and will then rule the world in place of his father. Now how cool is that? Like father…like son.


It was said that today the nine Muses were born. And that tradition wouls have been celebrated by our Ancient Ancesters. In case you didn;t know, the muses were the daughters of Zeus…

Calliope, Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, and Urania. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADIES!!!


And last but not least, mark your calendars because the Runic Half month of Dag begins on this day. Dag, being the runic symbol of light, good health, prosperity, and the wind up of the year.

Gardening with the Moon – Moon as Lens

“Planting by the Moon” is quite well known but, in biodynamics, we use more than the phases of the moon. Biodynamics is using a set of eight preparations (the BD preps) made from vegetable/herbal, animal and mineral compounds to enhance the soil and the plants.

Biodyamics is about working in harmony with nature rather than trying to force nature to conform to some human idea. It’s about learning more of how she works – after all she’s been at it a lot longer than there’s been humans around. The Agricultural Revolution took place in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East about 10,000 years ago, spread outwards from there into Europe. Mid/South Americas dawn of agriculture probably about 5,000 years ago. China/Japan are thought to be the earliest known agriculturalists at 19,000 years ago (approx). This is a mere spit in the ocean to the length of time the Earth has existed.

Moon as Lens

In BD is that we see the moon as a lens, focusing the energies of each of the twelve constellations onto the Earth each month as she passes in front of them each month.

Using the moon as a lens this way, to focus the energy of each constellation she passes in front of during her 28 day period, is why we call it a “Star Calendar” … because it’s about focusing the energy of the stars.

Without the star calendar we wouldn’t know when to apply the preparations.

The star calendar can appear confusing at first. And some biodynamic practitioners can get so wordy about astrological thingamajigs that it can boil one’s brain. You really don’t need to boil your brain to do biodynamics, it isn’t that hard and Steiner certainly never intended it to be! However, there are a few things to get your head around first so we’ll try to go slowly through them and make things as obvious as possible. You probably have some idea already as we’ve been talking about parts of the plant and what you want to enhance.

You use the star calendar to help with …

  • applying the preparations
  • sowing – all seeds you start in pots, and/or soak in water as well as those you sow directly into the ground
  • planting – including planting out annual and herbaceous plants either bought in from garden centres or grown on by you from seed or plugs; planting shrubs and trees from a nursery or plant centre; and planting out your vegetables after germinating them in pots
  • cultivation – weeding, thinning, pruning, feeding, etc
  • harvest – cutting flowers, picking fruit and vegetables

As I said, the Biodynamic Star Calendar works with more than just the Moon but it is the Moon that focuses the energy. This is because she travels around the Earth once every 28-29 days and, in so doing, she passes in front of each of the constellations – see the diagram above.

As she passes in front of each constellation, the moon focuses the energy from the stars in that constellation onto the Earth. This gives the days when best to work with each part of the plant as each constellation carries the energy relevant to that part …

















In the star calendar each day has the moon in front of one of these constellations and so is called a Root, Leaf, Flower or Fruit day.

There are several calendars people tend to use in the UK. My own preference is for Maria Thun’s as I find it the easiest to use, her approach is entirely practical and based on over fifty years of scientific observation.

Maria Thun is one of the people who does the astronomy for the Star Calendar. She began building the calendar in the 1950s by carrying out experiments to attempt to establish a connection between the growth of plants and the movements of the stars. Her first experiment was to sow a plot of radishes every day for an entire growing season and observe the performance of each sowing. She discovered four very noticeable differences in the plots. Some produced larger roots, others larger leaves, others again produced more flowers and the fourth group went more quickly to seed. This was the beginning of the Star Calendar. She has subsequently done, and continues to do, a massive amount of scientific research into biodynamic growing and updates the calendar each year with her latest findings.

The biodynamic associations in other countries all produce their own calendars which give the times as they are in those places. This makes them easier to use that translating GMT into your local time.

There are many moon rhythms, something like over a hundred, it’s a very complicated pattern that hasn’t been anything like fully explored as yet. There is so much we can find out over the coming years.

Elen Sentier
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …
writer artist gardener shaman
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Gardening with the Moon: North & South – Hemispheres

As above so below is a watch-phrase for all esotericists … it works for biodynamic gardeners too … well sort of !!!

In the first article I talked about the rising and falling arcs of the Moon. These are the arcs she makes as she travels across the sky each night, for the first half of the month her arc rises higher and higher each night, for the second half it goes lower and lower. I said it’s a journey like that of the sun but where the sun takes the whole year to do its stuff the Moon only needs 28 days (a moon-th, month).

And … when it’s winter here in Britain it’s summer down there in Australia.

What’s down for me here is up for them there J. And that applies to the Moon’s rising and falling arcs too. So my sowing and planting time is Australia’s time to harvest and work with the parts of the plant above the ground.

  • This means that the sowing/planting times reverse depending on which hemisphere you’re in.

Through this period – 13 to 24 June – in the NORTHERN hemisphere – that’s all of us above the Equator, in Europe, Asia and North America – the Moon will be descending through the constellations of …

`abcde … that’s Twins, Crab, Lion, Virgin, Scales and Scorpion.

Each day, for us, the Moon’s arc gets lower and lower in the sky. This descending arc is when plants take root more easily, seeds spring to life better, transplanting plants, trees and shrubs is easier on the plants.

For you guys in the SOUTHERN hemisphere – that’s everyone below the equator, in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, South America and parts of South-East Asia – the Moon is still going to be in front of the same constellations I said above, but will actually be making a rising arc. So you will all be doing your stuff with the parts of the plant above the ground while I’m working on the root and soil stuff.

This reversal means it’s really sensible to get a Star Calendar that refers to the hemisphere (at least) where you live. It’s far less confusing until you get the principles under your belt and into your auto-pilot.

Elen Sentier
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …
writer artist gardener shaman
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Gardening with the Moon: Moon Cycles

No, really, the title’s not a new form of green transport J, it’s part of the basic way biodynamics works, and it helps to explain why this column with is fortnightly (bi-monthly). I work with the cycles of the Moon.

Biodynamics – apart from being a very long word – is about juicing-up your already good organic practice with the help of 8 animal/vegetable/mineral preparations.

To use these most effectively it’s best to work with the cycles of the Earth, Moon and the 12 constellations that circle us and have been used since humans first saw them in the sky. The old stone circles of Britain were partly used as agricultural calendars, showing the seasons by means of alignments between the stone and the stars, including the Sun which is also a star, and the Moon which reflects sunlight onto the Earth during the hours of darkness. We no longer have to know how to work the old stone circles to get our calendars straight as we have paper books and even on-line star calendars to help us. The first to produce a modern star calendar, from her own experiential research, was Maria Thun. I still find her calendar the best and easiest to use but all the biodynamic associations around the world produce calendars done to fit the time zone they are in – I’ve put up a list of web sites in References.

So … Maria Thun does the astronomy and puts together the Star Calendar. What for? So that we can use those 8 preparations in time and tune with the Earth, the solar system and the Constellations. The light-energy of constellations is reflected and amplified to the Earth by  the Moon. She acts as a lens, focusing the star-energy onto the Earth for the 2-4 days she is in front of that constellation – between the Earth and the constellation.

The Moon’s Arcs

The Moon rises higher and higher in the sky each day for the first approx 14 days of her cycle, rising from her nadir to her zenith. She then takes the next 14 days to rises lower and lower in the sky each day, going from her zenith to her nadir.

  • It’s the Moon’s rising and falling arcs that make a big difference to the plants not how much of her we can see from the Earth at any point in the month.
    • As the arcs get higher so she draws the energy upwards, out of the Earth, pulling the growing juices up through the soil, leaves, flowers and fruits. You can see this from the way the sap rises at this time of the month. Our ancestors knew it, we still have the phrase “the sap is rising” meaning the upper part of the plant fills with sap and vitality. They called it “moon riding high” in the old almanacs.
    • As the arcs get lower so the Moon draws the energy down through the plant and into the soil. You can tell this from the way the sap doesn’t rise so well but plants take root readily and settle well into the ground so it’s good for sowing, plating and transplanting. Our ancestors called it “moon riding low” in the old almanacs.

Think of it like the sun. At midwinter the sun crawls up over the horizon, eventually, at a late dawn, travels in a very low arc from south-east to sink again at an early sunset in the south-west. It doesn’t make it all the way from due east to due west, which is part of why the days are so short. And the sun doesn’t rise very high in the sky even at midday, that’s why we have that beautiful, low, slanting winter light, so much less strong than it is in summer.

From midsummer to midwinter the sun’s arc gets lower and lower in the sky so, at midday in midsummer it’s way up there right overhead, but at midwinter it’s hardly halfway up the sky. From midwinter to midsummer the sun’s arc goes up and up.

The moon does the same sort of journey as the sun but, instead of taking 6 months, she does it in 2 weeks. After all, she does have a lot less far to go, around the Earth, than the Earth does around the sun J.

I expect you’re beginning to guess that as the Moon draws the energy down into the soil it’s a good time to sow seeds, plant and transplant, cultivate the parts of the plant below the soil, like the roots. And as she draws the energy upwards it’s a god to time to work on the parts of the plant above the soil, like the leaves, flowers and fruits. Yup … that’s the beginnings of it. Maria Thun thought about this and tried it out in experiments, she began working on it in the 1950s so she’s got half a century of experience to draw on. She’s still working on it all now, along with her son, and refining her ideas.

Basically, these fortnightly rising and falling arcs give us our planting times, the basis within which we apply the preparations and do our gardening work – as far as possible. The darn things aren’t written in stone, the sun won’t fall out of the sky if you can’t manage it some of the time. I’ll be giving hints and tips how to work it when life doesn’t follow the plot, how to do your best in spit of everything J.

This column will follow the planting times, the Moon’s cycle of rising and falling arcs, so I’ll be writing at or just before the beginning of each planting cycle.

Elen Sentier
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …
writer artist gardener shaman
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