APOGEE-PERIGEE, a celestial cycle concerning the distance between the Moon & Earth. The cycle lasts 27.55 days or a ‘lunar’ month, the time it takes the Moon to return to exactly the same position relative to Earth on its orbit around it. However, rather than orbiting Earth in a perfect circle, the Moon does a boomerang-style ellipse (the Earth’s yearly orbit around the Sun is also slightly elliptical). This means the Moon is nearer Earth at certain times (perigee) but farther away (apogee) from it at others, an anomaly which means the apogee-perigee Moon-Earth cycle is also known as the ‘anomalistic’ month.

APOGEE | The Moon’s furthest point from Earth or apogee is said to bring a ‘summer’ mood because the Moon’s ‘watery’ effect is weakest (tides are weaker). Some Biodynamic gardeners believe Apogee Moon is the best time to sow potatoes (better storage potential), but other root or leaf crops like carrots or lettuce sown then are said to risk shooting up and running to seed (bolting) too quickly (inner dryness). The apogee moon’s “summer” influences are said to make it a good time to harvest fruit crops like tomatoes, aubergines or apples for more concentrated, less ‘watery’ flavours, and to cut mature pumpkins ready for drying outside.

PERIGEE | When the Moon is closest to Earth at perigee two things can happen. Tides are especially strong, and there is an increased likelihood of a lunar landing. Neil Armstrong’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission team saved 26,000 miles (42,000km) of spaceflight by flying to the Moon at perigee. Perigee Moon is said to invoke a “winter” or “watery” mood, by inhibiting the Sun’s relationship with Earth. This may have adverse effects: increased fungal disease pressure, poor seed germination (in sown crops), reduced crop quality (high crop weight but ‘watery’ crops with diminished flavour, storing & ageing potential).

SUPER MOONS | When Perigee and Full Moon coincide – once every 14 or 15 months – so-called Super Moons can occur, meaning the Moon appears ‘big’ (full) as well as being physically close. Ploughing during this supposed ‘watery’ lunar double whammy might needlessly set fungus disease spores in motion (although see below).

APOGEE & PERIGEE AT NEW MOON AND FULL MOON | Research by Agnes Fyfe on the sap of mistletoe, hellebore and iris suggested the Full Moon is in fact weaker at Perigee (nearest to the earth) than at Apogee (farthest away). The power of the New Moon in these positions is the opposite – strong at Perigee and weak at Apogee. Fyfe’s research suggests Perigee and Apogee Moons exert a mediating effect on Full and New Moon. See John Soper (1996, p10-11)

APOGEE, PERIGEE, FRUIT DAYS AND ROOT DAYS | Celestial sowing and planting calendars show how the Moon spends less time in front whichever star constellation it ia passing in front of along the zodiac at Perigee than it does when passing in front of the same constellation at Apogee. This is because the Moon’s elliptical orbit causes its ‘speed’ (as seen from Earth anyway) through the twelve star constellations along the ecliptic plane to vary. Thus a ‘Fruit Day’ period under Archer or a ‘Root Day’ period under Bull for example will always be shorter when coinciding with lunar Perigee than at lunar Apogee.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

John Soper, Bio-Dynamic Gardening, revised by Barbara Saunders-Davis and K Castelliz (Souvenir Press, 1996), p10-11.