I'm a total noob to biodynamics so please bare with me.
I just got the 2016 North American Maria Thun Biodynamic Calendar and I'm trying very hard to make sense of it. I have a few questions I was hoping y'all could help me out with.
1) Page 16 reads that it's a good time to sow seeds when the moon is ascending or descending. Wouldn't this mean it's a good time to sow seeds just about any time?
2) On the very bottom of each of the month's calendars, there's the position of the planets in the zodiac, with the date of entry into a new constellation. Take January 2016 for example. Am I reading it right if I say, "Capricorn will move into Sagitarius on January 10th"? Also, since there is a retrograde and direct motion, how do I actually say that correctly? I mean, if I were reading this to someone, what would be the proper way to read this entire line? Can someone help me both say this correctly and understand what's going on here?
3) I've been studying the first 16 pages intensively since I got the calendar, since this whole entire thing is new to me. And I'm trying very hard to understand it all. While I've memorized the planet symbols, the astrological symbols for the constellations, and all the other notations in the calendar, I am pretty sure I can 'read' the calendar (meaning, say stuff) correctly. However, I'm not sure I really understand what it is that I'm reading. Do you know what I mean? I don't see the bigger picture in all this (yet). I was hoping someone could help me understand what I'm learning about here.
4) I obtained a copy of the 2015 calendar, and if I'm reading it right tomorrow and Friday are great time to sow seeds. Would someone kindly confirm this? I'm trying very hard to do my gardening tasks based on the timing of this calendar so I want to make sure I'm getting this right.
Thanks to everyone for your continued and very helpful support.
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
posted 5 years ago
First off, if it's perplexing, don't let it be. The most important thing is good farming practices. This calendar is designed to help emphasize favorable times. But Maria Thun herself says: all plants must go through all phases: root, leaf, flower, fruit -- so dogmatically tending almost any exclusively on one type of day is the very sort of fanaticism that it is designed to help prevent.
1) The "ascending" and "descending" have to do with the etheric formative forces and their direction. Translated into english this means: descending is a downward growth, ascending is upward growth. During the descending phase, sap moves to the roots; during the ascending phase, sap moves to the leaves. You would transplant seedlings out during a "descending" phase -- to stimulate rapid root development. On the other hand, if you were taking cuttings from a fig tree, you might want to take it while the sap was up in the tree (ascending), just before it switches to a downward (descending) movement. If a cutting were taken while the sap were in the roots, the little branch might not have enough vital force to form its own roots.
Every day the same thing happens. You'll notice that leaves on lettuce are "perkier" in the morning and wilt during the day? There are little cycles like the bigger ones all year. Winter is a deep inhaling time, Summer is a strong exhaling time.
2) I'm pretty sure you are reading the bottom part wrong. I don't have my 2016 calendar yet, but it's a typo if it actually says Capricorn moves into Sagittarius. Otherwise, you are misreading that section. I would, simply, ignore this section for now. If you look at the 2015 and ask again, I can better answer. I'm pretty sure you should read that "PLANET X is in ZODIAC A". The description on the opposite page of the position of the planets will shed some light, I think.
3) The most favorable times for germination are 48 hours before the Full Moon IF AND ONLY IF the seeds are kept moist. The most favorable ("fertile") signs are Earth (Root) and Water (Leaf) times, in general. Earth is cold/dry, Water is cold/wet. Air (Flower) and Fire (Fruit/Seed) times are times of warmth -- more favorable for aromatics and seeds. Fruit times are favorable for saving seeds, because it helps them dry out and last longer. Alan Chadwick would refer to Air and Fire as "stable" signs and Earth and Water as "unstable" times. Think of "stable" as rigid or fixed, where as "unstable" is chaotic, sensitive, and ready to transform. There are exceptions. Maria Thun says that it is best to start Tomatoes on Fruit days and only tend them on Fruit days. Again, no absolutes here.
But in general: a Fruit trine shifts the day from what it would have been (Flower or Root) and suddenly you have a brief flash of Fruit. I don't find Trines to be extraordinary, though some people have found evidence. Other people have found none at all for Trines. In general, I think the most powerful Trines will be ones that are on the same kind of day. For example: a Fruit Trine when the Moon is already in a Fruit sign. Even more intense might be both when the Sun too is in a Fruit sign. Virtually infinite combinations.
So your suggestion of October 23rd, 2015 as a good time to start seeds? Depends on what seeds, I guess. Some indications are that Root days are fine for all plants, since they all need to get that root out quickly at first. Others say Root or Leaf. But there are always exceptions. The Ascending phase might help draw water up to the seed, but it's hard to say. There's a lot of research scattered around if you look
I would start with all the colored parts first, and then work outwards. Next, I would learn what makes the "Blackout" times bad. If you can see your night sky, you might start looking at the bold elements under the "Planetary Aspects" column, which are visible to the naked eye.
I would focus first on the Ascending/Descending times. It is more important (to me) that a plant gets put out in the EVENING of the day, and after that during the DESCENDING phase, and then I might think about the right "day" (such as Fruit for eggplant) and after that WANING moon. A nice way to look at the calendar, for transplanting, is to look for especially favorable times where multiple moments overlap. You will almost NEVER have ideal moments. Once you get your head around some of the astrological bits, it can become ever more complicated. But it should never feel onerous! Imagine them all as overlapping colors, or as tones harmonizing in a chord. "Blackout" times are a clash, where it is best not to tend plants unless absolutely necessary. Animals are not the same because they are not so influenced by outer forces, you can still work with animals.
Don't try to understand it all! It's better to practice the obvious parts and then you'll get a better feel of it. Let it wash over you. The practice of doing what little you understand will give you a living understanding of what in the world is going on on those pages. I didn't have a clue either at first! And, if I'm honest, I didn't for a couple years. Now I can read it all and I've even started using some of the invisible planetary aspects for biodynamic sprays. I personally think, from what I've read and my own experience, that it is more important to use the preparations wisely and make good compost than it is to use the calendar at all (heresy?).
For example: on "Fruit" days, you'd tend your fruiting plants: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, etc. On "Root" days you'd tend your tuberous plants: potatoes, beets, carrots, radishes. On "Flower" days, you'd tend flowers and harvest herbs. On "Leaf" days you'd tend anything you want to have leafier growth: lettuce, kale, chard, etc. But you would not want to tend tomatoes on Leaf days, since tomatoes will tend to get blight from excessively watery growth.
Perhaps think of the calendar as a way to organize your time so that you are never emphasizing any one thing over another. If your time is evenly distributed, you'll also have a more balanced diet.
Feel free to ask me questions directly if you want. This is a big part of what we do these days!
First, THANK YOU for the exceptional response! You presented really good, applicable info, and shed light on a topic that is tough for me to wrap my head around. So, thank you for the great information.
I'll order The Biodynamic Year this week. I'm very curious to look more into this subject.
As far as biodynamic preps, I feel like I'm just there yet. I mean, I'd like to incorporate them into my garden but I have no idea what to do even. I've read up on them and I know i can purchase them and I'm just now getting started with my fall gardening chores (sowing seeds, prepping soil, refreshing mulch, etc). I feel like now is a good time to add some preps but because of my inexperience with it all and lack of understanding, I'm thinking I may wait to try anything.
That said, I do plan on sowing more seeds today and tomorrow - which I now believe are ideal times to do such things.
I'm sure I'll have more questions as I continue my learning. Feel free to pass along any info, wisdom, or experiences you think might help someone at this stage or learning. If you have a blog or website, please pass that along as well! I'd love to see examples and writings of people currently using these preps in their spaces.
I cannot thank you enough for the terrific response. I am absolutely sure I'll be contacting you with more questions.