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  The Planting Calendar Rhythms                                                             

Biodynamic agriculture works from two poles -- the cosmic and the earthly. Understanding and using the rhythms of the cosmos for sowing and planting in conjunction with the practice of soil fertility, makes organic farming truly work.      Peter Proctor

The Planting Calendar is about RHYTHMS - Cosmic solar & lunar/moon rhythms and Earth rhythms. It is an aid to our conscious and purposeful participation in these rhythms.

These are rhythms that sustain all life on Earth. Biodynamic farmers strive to bring life back into the soil, so that the food produced from this living soil has increased life force/vitality/nutrition, enhancing the quality of human life.

This can be accomplished when the rhythms of our farming activities are aligned with the natural Cosmic and Earth rhythms.

Human life, as well as animal and plant life, is strongly dependent on the rhythms of the Earth. As the Earth turns on its axis in the course of 24 hours, we have day and then night. As it travels in the course of 1 year around the sun we have the seasons - hot and cool.

Earth's Axis Seasons

Perhaps the most familiar is the rhythmic movement from New Moon to Full Moon that we witness each month.Moon Phases This is only 1 of numerous lunar or moon rhythms that astronomy scientists have mapped and can accurately calculate. The biodynamic farmer works primarily with 6 different moon rhythms that recur every 27-29 days.  The Planting Calendar indicates the important days for farming activities during these 6 different rhythmic cycles each month.

The 6 Moon Rhythms are:
Full-New Moon                       29.5 days
Moon opposite Saturn              27.3 days
Ascending-Descending Moon   27.3 days
Moon Nodes                            27.2 days
Perigee-Apogee                        27.5 days
Moon in Zodiac Constellations  27.3 days

New Moon - Full Moon
29.5 day rhythm
New MoonThis rhythm is easy to see. It begins at new moon, when the moon is close to the sun and almost invisible. As the moon moves away from the sun we see it more clearly, first as a slender very beautiful crescent in the sky - the new moon. Just over 7 days later it reaches first quarter, when the moon's disk is half bright, half dark. First quarter is followed by full moon which is about 12 times as bright as first quarter, then comes last quarter, when the other half is illuminated. After approx. 29.5 days the rhythm begins again.

Full MoonFarmer observations and scientific experiments over many centuries have identified noticable effects of the Full Moon on plant growth. Based on the Agriculture Lectures of Rudolf Steiner and subsequent scientific research, biodynamic agriculture recognizes the following New Moon and Full Moon influences:

 The element most affected by the moon energies is water (for example, the    sap in plants).

 In the 48 hours leading up to Full Moon there appears a distinct increase in    the moisture content of the earth. The growth forces of plants seem to be    enhanced.

 During the Full Moon period there is quick gemination of seeds, fast plant    growth, and a rapid re-growth of any cut, mown or pruned vegetation.

 There appears to be a quicker cell division and a tendency to elongation of    growth.

 Seed germination is fast but may be soft and prone to fungus attack,    particularly in warm conditions and high humidity.

 The influence of the Full Moon appears to provide favourable conditions for    the growth of fungus on all plants. This is related to the increase of moisture    and humidity.

 There is an increase in insect activity. Particularly slugs and snails, and    internal worm parasites in humans and animals.

 The Full Moon influence allows good absorption of liquid manures.

 Often there is a tendency for rain at Full Moon.

 Towards New Moon there is more activity underground in the soil and the    flow of sap in plants is less strong. Therefore, a good time for turning under    green manure and cutting hay.

Farming Activities during Full Moon - New Moon 

Moon Opposite Saturn
27.5 day rhythm
Blackboard Drawing of Saturn opposite MoonThis is when the Moon and Saturn are on opposite sides of the Earth and their respective forces are raying into the Earth from opposite directions. This occurs every 27.5 days. The Moon forces bring in the calcium processes which are connected to propagation and growth forms, while the Saturn forces bring in the silica processes, which are connected to the building up substance or bulk of the plant in root, leaf and fruit. The balancing effect of these two influences streaming into the Earth produces very strong plants from seed sown at this time. A strengthening effect is also observed when transplanting seedlings during Moon opposite Saturn. The spraying of BD 501 (Horn silica) at this time, has been found to strengthen plants to the extent that they can resist plant diseases and certain insect attacks.

Farming Activities during Moon Opposite Saturn 

Ascending & Descending Moon
27.3 day rhythm

The Moon's daily path across the sky as seen from the Earth is not always the same. Sometimes it is higher in the sky, sometimes lower. The Sun follows a similar ascending then descending rhythm as it moves through the Zodiac during each year. The Moon takes only 27.3 days to complete it's journey through the Zodiac constellations in an ascending and descending rhythm each month.

Ascending Moon

We see the Moon moving in an arc from East to West and when we see these arcs getting higher in the sky every day, the Moon is Ascending. When we see them getting lower every day the Moon is Descending.  As the Moon takes 27.3 days to complete this cycle, each ascending and descending period lasts about two weeks.

Rudolf Steiner speaks of the Earth as a living organism with an inhaling-exhaling breathing rhythm, similar to ours. He relates the ascending and descending moon periods to the inhaling and exhaling cycle of the Earth.

Breathing In = earth forces active
Breathing Out = light energy active

Yearly Planetary Breath           Monthly Planetary Breath
Cool Season -- Earth breathes in       Desc Moon -- Earth breathes in
Hot Season -- Earth breathes out       Asc Moon -- Earth breathes out
Daily Planetary Breath
Late afternoon/evening (sunset) dew falling -- Earth breathes in
Early morning (sunrise) dew rising -- Earth breathes out

The ascending period is much like the warm or hot season of the year, the Earth breaths out. We see this as an outpouring of growth activity above the soil surface. Growth forces and saps flow upwards more strongly and fill the plant with vitality. Although germination takes place below the ground, it also takes part in this upward striving. This is the time to spray BD preparation 501 (Horn silica).

The descending period on the other hand is related to the activity below the soil surface and can be compared with the cool or cold season of the year. The Earth breathes in and draws growth forces back down below the soil surface. The lower parts of the plant, especially the roots, are activated. This is the time for cultivation, composting, planting and making cuttings. It is also the time to apply BD preparation 500 (Horn manure).

Farming Activities during Ascending & Descending Moon 

The Moon Nodes
27.2 days rhythm

As it ascends and descends, the Moon crosses the path of the Sun (the ecliptic). The crossing points are called nodes, and are the only places and times where eclipses can occur.

Moon Nodes

The Moon makes one complete nodal cycle every 27.2 days, so there is a node approximately every 14 days, which is two nodes every month. Astronomers can calculate the exact time the nodes will occur. These times are given in the Planting Calendar. The influence of the nodes lasts for approximately 6 hours before and after the exact time of crossing.

The Moon while crossing in front of the Sun will negate the Sun's beneficient influence for this brief period. This negative influence works into soil being freshly cultivated at the time of the node. Therefore biodynamic farmers do not cultivate the soil, sow any seeds, transplant, prune trees or shrubs, or do any other agricultural or horticultural work on the Node Day. The effect is similar to that of an eclipse of the Sun by the Moon.

Farming Activities during the Moon Nodes 

Apogee & Perigee
27.5 days rhythm

Moon's Orbit

The Moon moves around the Earth in an ellipse, as seen in the picture above taken in 2005, completing one full orbit every 27.5 days. The Moon's nearest point to the Earth on this ellipse is the Perigee and the furthermost point is the Apogee.

At Perigee, the time when the Moon is closest to the Earth, it will bring greater moisture to the Earth and a tendency towards fungus growth and insect attack. This is especially so when Perigee occurs near Full Moon, which is also the bringer of moisture.

Researchers and farmers have found that Apogee appears to be a good time to plant potatoes, as there seems to be a multiplicity of form (meaning more potatoes), where as at Perigee there are fewer potatoes but bigger.

There is one Perigee and one Apogee every month. Astronomy scientists can calculate the exact time of both.  These dates and timings are given in the Planting Calendar. Apogee and Perigee times bring a stress period and seed sowing should be avoided 12 hours on either side of these times (except potatoes!).

Farming Activities during Apogee & Perigee 

Moon in Zodiac Constellations
27.3 days rhythm

The Zodiac is a belt of fixed stars which are in groupings we call constellations. This belt of stars lies behind the ecliptic path of the Sun. All the planets, and the Moon, move in front of the zodiac constellations. In the star maps below the blue dotted line represents the ecliptic path of the Sun over a period of 1 year. The constellations in green are the 12 zodiac constellations.

The corresponding constellation names are as follows:
Aquarius  (Waterman)          =  Kumbha                Leo  (Lion)         =  Simha
Capricorn  (Mountain Goat) =  Makara                 Cancer  (Crab)   =  Karkata
Sagittarius  (Archer)             =  Dhanush                Gemini  (Twins)  =  Mithuna
Scorpio  (Scorpion)             =  Vrischika                Taurus  (Bull)    =  Vrishaba
Libra  (Scales)                     =  Tula                        Aries  (Ram)     =  Mesha
Virgo  (Virgin)                     =  Kanya                     Pisces  (Fishes) =  Mina

Zodiac 1

Zodiac 2

Here we are concerned with the Moon, which passes quickly in front of all 12 zodiac constellations in just 27.3 days. Because the zodiac constellations are of different sizes, the Moon stands in front of each for a shorter or longer time, approx. between 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 days. Rudolf Steiner taught that every zodiac constellation radiates certain favourable conditions to the plants, which the Moon will focus as it passes in front of each constellation. The influences of the constellations are passed on, reflected by the Moon, through the 4 classical elements of nature - warmth/fire, light/air, water and earth in the following groupings.

The Elements

The influences of the particular constellation are brought into the soil through cultivation of the soil at the appropriate time, and also by spraying BD 501 (Horn silica) at the appropriate time. The germinating seed also receives these influences, so if it is desired to promote a certain influence, such as more leaves in a cabbage head or more kernels on a corn cob, then the biodynamic farmer cultivates and sows the seed during the favourable constellation period. Astronomy scientists can calculate the exact time the Moon passes through each constellation. These times are given in the Planting Calendar.

Farming Activities during Constellations 

Studing the Planets

The mechanics may appear complex
but the premise is simple.
This planet,
and everything on it,
is an integral part
of both the solar system and the cosmos:
every last blade of grass
is affected by the whole.


For an introduction to the Symbols click on this link.

You know what the day's Rhythm is but can't remember what farming activities are best on that day - click here.

You want to sow seed, or harvest, or cultivate, etc. but can't remember which is the recommended Rhythm for that particular activity -- click here.



BDAI Secretariat
c/o EcoPro, Aurosarjan Complex, Auroshilpam , Auroville - 605 101, Tamil Nadu, India
E-mail: or Secretary at  Tel: (0)9443137112