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Moon's effects drafts...

The lunar calendar is an ancient method of tracking time, organized around the cycle of the Moon. There have always been implications on various fields, such as agriculture, and therefore vineyards, fishing, hunt, but also everyday activities – your hairdresser certainly knows of it…

des fleurs qui semblent attirer par la lune

Since the 14th century BC, the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar cycle; Hebrew, Romans and Babylonians will follow this approach. The transition to a luni-solar calendar or even solar calendar will come step by step, for a more precise synchronization between time and the seasons. Nowadays, the solar system is more and more known and the Moon’s movements occurring in it allow us to read our environment’s daily life in a rich and singular way.

Let’s talk growth and degrowth

The Moon’s synodic rhythm, or lunation, is the time necessary for the Moon to get to the same relative phase compared to the Earth and the Sun.

In other words, the waxing/waning Moon’s cycle corresponds to the increase and the decrease of the illuminated surface of the Moon visible from Earth. The synodic lunar revolution takes 29 days, 12 hours, and 44 minutes.
the Earth and the Moon's cycle in its orbit to understand the synodic cycle
The Moon's synodic rhythm or lunation

It begins at the New Moon, but seen from Earth, it’s not illuminated at the time, thus not visible. It becomes more and more seeable as the waxing phase goes on, until Full Moon, before the waning phase, until reaching its original position of New Moon again. According to Maria Thun* and Rudolf Steiner’s** work, this rhythm isn’t the most influential on plants’ culture. However, the 2 to 5 days before New Moon favor seedling growth, as well as the development of cryptogamic diseases and slugs’ development. It’s time for us to use our infusions and macerations to protect us from mildew…

Will it be waxing or waning?

The tropical rhythm is the timelapse between two moments when the Moon is at the vernal point - Sun’s position for the spring equinox; this revolution lasts 27 days, 7 hours and 43 minutes.

graphic explaining the moon's tropical cycle when it is rising to explain its effects on the nature of the Haut-Médoc region
Tropical rhythm in the waxing Moon
And, just like the Sun during its annual cycle, which is waxing from 21st December to 21st June then waning for the other 6 months, the Moon will be higher and higher in the sky, seen from Earth, during its waxing phase the first days – and 16 hours 13 minutes – then lower and lower during its waning phase; respectively lunar spring and lunar autumn.
graph explaining the tropical cycle of the moon when it is descending to explain its effects on the nature of Haut-Médoc
Tropical rhythm in the waning Moon

But what do gardeners say? During the Moon’s waxing phase, the rise of sap is stronger, and the plant fills its aerial parts with sap and strength. This is when we pick grafts, sow, harvest leaf vegetables and fruits which will be juicy as can be, and cut the flowers to make gorgeous and lasting bouquets. In our vines, it’s time to prepare our Franc de Pied vines! During the waning Moon phase, we plant, spread, replant, we mow and prune because plants’ recovery is easier, rooting is being done deep, wounds heal better… Let’s prune and complant our fields!

Watch out for disturbance

The Moon revolves around the Earth following an elliptical orbit; thus, the Earth-Moon distance varies between 356 000km and 406 700km. This revolution, called anomalistic, lasts 27 days, 13 hours and 18 minutes. At the perigee, the Moon is closest to Earth, and its action on plants is stronger. Too strong? At the apogee, plants tend to devitalize. Favorable to edible grain plants? The lunar orbit’s plan isn’t the same as Earth’s orbit around the Sun, also known as the ecliptic plan.

graph showing some lunar disturbances - node, apogee, perigee - which have an effect on La Nature du Haut-Médoc.
Some disturbances of the Moon

And when the latter is crossed by the Moon during its rotation around Earth, we talk about lunar nodes, waxing when it crosses from the Southern celestial hemisphere to the Northern hemisphere, and waxing if it comes from the Northern hemisphere. This draconic rhythm causes many energetic disturbances! As for lunar eclipses, they are special cases of a lunar node coupled with a full Moon. So, nodes, perigee, apogee or eclipse, rest! So many appointments to do nothing! Including in the vines.

Head in the stars

The sidereal rhythm is the timelapse between two transits of the Moon at a given point defined in relation to the stars. Its duration is very close from the tropic rhythm’s (0,00008 days of difference) but differs from synodic revolution because, when the Moon orbits around the Earth, Earth itself has moved compared to the Sun. The Moon becomes late in relation to the Sun in the terrestrial sky. The sidereal period thus gives a more stable representation of objects’ real movements in space, without considering the effects of Earth’s orbit.

During this period, the Moon will pass in front of all the constellations of the Zodiac.

The latter have a long history that goes back to Ancient Greece and Rome. The first hints of the use of constellations in the sky’s observation go back to Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Greek civilizations. The word zodiac takes its roots from Greek and literally means “circle of animals”. This division into 12 parts associated with the constellations described by Eratosthenes, Hipparchus or Ptolemies (IIIrd and IInd century BC) was passed on through the centuries, influencing ulterior cultures and forming the basis of what we nowadays recognize as the constellations of the zodiac.

The 13 constellations of the zodiac in front of which the moon, earth and sun are positioned in time to illustrate the effects on the vines and the nature of the Haut-Médoc

There are 13! Ophiuchus, also known as the Latin name of Serpentarius, is a constellation “crossed” by the Sun from November 29th until December 18th. It’s a 13th constellation, already identified by the time of Ancient Greece and Rome but excluded from the zodiac constellations (maybe for practical reasons by arbitrarily dividing the Celestial Belt in 12 equal parts of 30°, making it 360° in total, or maybe because it doesn’t contain very visible stars).

The zodiac, according to the standard definition, represents the sky’s strap seen from Earth, where the Sun, the Moon and the solar system’s other planets move, each with its own speed, axis, distance… This strap occupies approximately 8° on both sides of the ecliptic, and it contains an area of stars, motionless in relation to each other; linked for some of these stars by imaginary lines, 12 more or less strange animals have been identified: Aries, Lion, Sagittarius, Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn, Gemini, Libra, Aquarius, Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces are also the signs we find in astrology, stemming from the ancient tradition to divide the sky into 12 zones of 30 degrees each; in astronomy, the constellations visible in the sky are all of different sizes.

Just like the plant is composed of 4 elements, the root, the leaf, the flower and the fruit, the 12 zodiacal regions are each linked to one of the 4 elements considered since Ancient Rome to be the fundamental components of the universe, being earth, water, air and fire; they thus form 4 impulse groups of the same nature, regularly distributed all around the Earth.

These impulses act in a specific way on a determined part of the plant. More precisely, it’s the passage of the Moon in front of the constellation which highly stimulates its element. It exercises its influence on the Earth, plants, animals…

Table showing the connection between constellations, element, weather and plant organ
Connection between constellations, element, weather and plant organ

The Element Earth acts on the buried part of the plant: the root. When the Moon is in front of a constellation related to the Earth element, it’s time to sow, plant… more specifically root plants such as carrots, potatoes and other vegetables growing in the ground. At the vineyard, and when the sheep aren’t in the vines anymore, it’s time to mow between and under the vine rows; grass grows back slower.

It’s the leaf which is the most closely link to the Element of Water. It spreads like water and changes under external influences. It’s time to care about leaf plants. Your spinach and lettuces will be all the crunchier and tastier. In the vines, we take care of cane we raise the wires to guide them better, and we braid to control the growth.

The Element of Air isn’t only useful to the formation and the functioning of vegetal organs but also causes their refining. It expresses itself in the flowers’ fragrances, their beauty, their lightness. The flower plants are to favor during the constellations linked to Air and picking flowers to dry them will allow them to conserve their colors’ brightness for longer. The flower days can be chosen to work on the enhancement of the soil’s fertility, by for instance adding compost or organic amendments. Will our sheep agree for this?

The Element of Fire provides to the plant the warmth needed for fruits and seeds maturation for an eventual reproduction. For a better yield and nice juicy productions, sow, plant, take care of and harvest your tomatoes, squashes, bell peppers… and all your fruit plants. It will thus be the best time to harvest the grapes, but also taste to find all the fruits’ taste and components.

The lunar calendar, rooted in many cultures’ traditions and spirituality offers an alternative time frame which brings a new look on the wine grower’s calendar. So many activities in our sky! The harvest should happen on a fruit day, with the Moon waxing, far from Full Moon, but also from perigees, apogees, or nodes… and with no rain! Not to mention the planets’ positions or the tides’ forces which may be the subject of another op-ed piece from La Vie de Château… It is true that reality sometimes reclaims the upper hand, and the choice depends on its priorities and convictions. And its advantages aren’t always supported by scientific evidence, even though several experiences are being conducted here and there. In any case, the moon and its implications on vinesthe connection of the lunar calendar with the natural cycles and our whole environment gives us ideas of new experimentations… Nature dictates its laws, of course, and our goal is to follow it as close as possible. All the knowledge and experiments are interesting to get a better understanding and always better accompany nature.

A few tips:

To spot a waxing or waning Moon, choose a reference - the top of a tree, a building’s roof… - which positions it the Moon on a certain day. The next day, at the same time, will it be higher – waxing – or lower – waning – compared to the reference?
A tip for navigating the waxing and waning Moon
If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, when you look at the Moon, if you can dram a “p” with the Moon’s crescent it’s waxing, if it’s a “d” then it’s waning.
To better understand this op-ed piece, all information here is taken from a Northern hemisphere perspective. To spot a waxing or waning Moon from the Southern hemisphere, it’s the opposite of what was just said a few lines before. From the Southern hemisphere, for the waxing Moon, it’s the “d”, and for the waning Moon, it’s the “p”. Your job to find a mnemotechnical way to remember it. After all, the Sun stays approximately at the same place!


*Maria Thun (26.6.1922-9.2.2012) was a Germanfarmer and researcher, known for her work in the fields of biodynamical agriculture and lunar cycles’ influence on agricultural activities. She elaborated the “Biodynamic Calendar”, which provides specific recommendations
about opportune days for different agricultural activities. Her research and publications contributed to improve the understanding of potential cosmic influences on agricultural processes. 

**Rudolf Steiner (27.2.1861-30.3.1925) was a
philosophe, educator, artist, and Austrian occultist, first and foremost known to have founded anthroposophy and the Waldorf pedagogy. His life and his work cover various fields, from mystical philosophy to education, from agriculture to anthroposophical medicine. He formulated the principles of biodynamical
agriculture, based on a spiritual understanding of cosmic forces which influence plants’ growth. These principles include the use of specific preparations and the respect of lunar cycles. 

Sources: Calendrier biodynamique (MABD), Calendrier lunaire de Michel Gros, Jardinez avec la Lune (Rustica Editions),,,,,,,,,


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Sabastian Luke
Sabastian Luke
24 de mai.


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