Celestial cycles | Term used in astronomy referring to the motion of celestial bodies such as the Sun and other stars, the Moon, and the planets as seen from Earth. Peter Proctor (1997, p114) highlights six lunar rhythms (in this order) that biodynamic market gardeners, farmers and wine-growers should take account of:

– Synodic Moon (waxing and waning or Full/New Moon)

Moon-Saturn oppositions (when the Moon and Saturn are 180º to each other)

– ascending and descending Moon (height the Moon reaches in the sky)

– Apogee & Perigee Moon (the varying distance between the Moon and Earth, a cycle which also contributes to so-called Super Moons).

– Nodal Moon (Moon’s passage across the ecliptic plane).

sidereal Moon (Moon’s position relative to star constellations lying along the zodiac, creating so-called ‘fruit days’, ‘root days’, ‘leaf days’ and ‘flower days’, as popularised by Maria Thun

General principles: During New Moon, Descending moon periods, and lunar perigee the Moon’s influence is strong, creating a ‘winter-like’ mood. Plants are said to display an inward contraction. Life forces flow downwards, the roots are active below ground, and sap flow above ground is weakened. In contrast during Full Moon, Ascending moon periods and lunar apogee the Moon’s influence is weaker, enabling a ‘summer-like’ mood. Life forces flow upwards into the plant, the sap is active and so the the upper part of plant is active, displaying an outward expansion (active shoot and leaf growth).

See also: Solar cycles.


Peter Proctor with Gillian Cole, Grasp the Nettle (New Zealand, 1997).