About the Power of Timing
Maybe you heard here for the first time from the fact that the moon has a profound impact on our lives. We would like to give an introduction about the relationships and interactions between moon phases, stand in the zodiac and many processes of everyday life so here. You will then better understand what our books can give you.
The Five Impulse Powers of the Moon - Past and Present
For thousands of years man lived largely in harmony with the manifold rhythms of nature in order to ensure his survival. He observed with eyes wide open and bowed to necessity, at first without even asking about its causes. Eskimos, for example, live under the severest environmental conditions imaginable, in the midst of eternal ice. Their language contains many different words for snow and ice, because they have learned to distinguish many different states of “frozen water”. The inhospitable climatic conditions compelled them to do so.
Only two of these many varieties of ice and snow are suitable for building the igloos they live in.
It was not just the state of things that human beings observed closely, but also the interrelationship between that state and the actual moment of observation—the time of day, month, and year, the position of the sun, moon, and stars. Many archaeologically significant buildings from ancient times testify to the important status that our forefathers attached to the precise observation of heavenly bodies and the calculation of their paths. Nor was this just out of a dispassionate scientific curiosity, but instead because by these means they were able to derive the greatest possible benefits. The calendars that they worked out according to the course of the moon and the sun served to predict certain forces—impulses that have an effect on nature, man, and beast only at certain times and that recur at regular intervals. In particular they were able to predict those forces that, keeping pace with the course of the moon, exert an influence on all living things, and that contribute to the success and failure of hunt and harvest, storage, and healing.
Thus it was that the naturalist Charles Darwin in his classic work The Descent of Man only reported one of the discoveries that had been vouchsafed to countless generations before him and that had been of great benefit to them: “Man is subject, like other mammals, birds, and even insects, to that mysterious law, which causes certain normal processes, such as gestation, as well as the maturation and duration of various diseases, to follow lunar periods.” Sharpened senses, alertness, perceptive- ness, and exact observation of nature made of our forefathers “masters of the art of lunar timing.”
• that numerous natural phenomena—the tides, birth, meteorological events, women’s menstrual cycle, and much more—are related to the movements of the moon
• that the behavior of many animals depends on the position of the moon; that birds, for example, always gather their
nest material at particular times, so that the nests dry out rapidly after a fall of rain
• that the effect and success of countless activities—such as cutting wood, cooking, eating, cutting hair, gardening, put- ting down fertilizer, doing laundry, using medicines, surgical operations—are subject to rhythms in nature
• that sometimes operations and doses of medicine administered on certain days can be helpful, while on other days they can be useless or even harmful—often regardless of the medication’s amount and quality or the skill of the doctor
• that plants and their components are exposed to different energies from day to day—a knowledge of which is crucial for successful cultivation, tending, and harvesting of the crops—and that herbs gathered at certain times contain incomparably more active agents than at others.
In a word: the success of an endeavor depends not only on the availability of the necessary skills and resources, but also decisively on the timing of the action.
Of course our ancestors desired to pass on their knowledge and experience to their children. To do this it was necessary to give the observed influences handy, easily understandable names and to frame them in a plausible system that would describe the forces and predict future influences. A very special clock had to be invented.
The sun, moon, and stars naturally suggested themselves as an external framework, as the “hands and dial” of this clock, for a very simple reason: the essence of rhythm is repetition. If, for example, one observes that the most favorable time for sowing a particular plant lasts for exactly two to three days each month, and that the moon is always passing through the same stars at the time, then the idea occurs to group these stars into a “picture” and give the constellation a plausible name that typifies the quality of the influence in question. This constellation then becomes a figure on the clock-face of the firmament.
In broad terms, our forefathers isolated twelve impulses, each possessing a different quality and coloring. To the stars through which the sun passes (in the course of a year)—and the moon (in the course of a month)—they gave twelve different names.
Thus the twelve constellations of the zodiac came into being:
Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces.
Man had created a “star clock,” from which he could read the prevailing influences, and through which he could work out what helpful and hindering influences the future held in store for his intentions. Many calendars in the past were based on the course of the moon because the forces indicated by the position of the moon in the zodiac are of far greater importance in our daily lives than the position of the sun. You are no doubt aware that even today many of our holidays depend on the position of the moon. Easter, for instance, since about the end of the 2nd century AD has been celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century the knowledge of nature’s special rhythms lapsed into oblivion almost over- night—perhaps because any kind of systematization contains within it a sort of soporific drug. If my watch tells me it’s twelve o’clock, there’s no longer any need for me to observe the sun. If my car is being led along by a GPS, the terms “North” and “South” lose their meaning. When the direct perception of the impulses and forces governing a day is no longer taken into consideration, then the rules and laws rooted within them rap- idly lose their force.
However, the main reason why this knowledge was abandoned is because modern technology and medicine promised us “faster” solutions for all the problems of daily life. In a very short time they managed to create in us the illusion that they were actually able to fulfill this promise. Almost at a stroke, the observation of and respect for natural rhythms seemed to have become superfluous. Ultimately the knowledge lived on only in a few isolated areas and only in bits and pieces, as we were able to learn from tens of thousands of letters.
The young farmers, foresters, and gardeners of modern times laughed at their parents and grandparents, spoke of superstition and began to rely almost entirely on the extravagant use of machines and instruments, fertilizers and pesticides. They believed they could ignore their parents’ knowledge of correct timing, and for a long while mounting yields seemed to justify this belief. Thus they lost their contact with nature and began, at first unconsciously, to contribute to the destruction of the environment, always supported by an industry that understood how to maintain their confidence in its ability to solve every problem. Today there is hardly anyone left who can close his eyes to the high price that we have had to pay for disregarding the rhythms and laws of nature: yields are sinking and pests are having a field day, because the soil is being exploited without being allowed to protect and regenerate itself; the use of pesticides has increased many times within a few decades without any appreciable success. The quality and health value of the harvested produce convey a very plain message.
The progress of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry has seduced the medical profession into the firm belief that they can disregard with impunity the cyclic flow and wholeness of life.
The rapid removal of pain and other symptoms was enough to count as “successful therapy;” research into causes and preventive measures, and the patience and willingness for a true eye-to- eye relationship with the patient receded into the background. Moreover, using modern scientific methods, the knowledge of lunar rhythms may indeed be susceptible to proof, but scarcely to explanation; the question as to “why” must remain unanswered for the time being: in the linear thinking of most scientists this is a legitimate reason to ignore it altogether.
And all of us who so lightly turn our backs on the knowledge of these rhythms do so because on the one hand we have elevated short-term comfort to the highest good, at the expense of rea- son and moderation. We believe we can outstrip everything, including nature, and in the process we outstrip ourselves. In the infernal tempo of our age we rush frantically from past to future. The present moment, the only point at which life actually occurs, is utterly lost.
“The citizen is increasingly dependent on services over which he is unable to exert any influence and on experts who advise and prescribe how he is to live. His normal, inborn faculties are smothered in this welter of instructions and advice; he remains as sub- ordinate and bereft of autonomy as a child, and is permitted— is expected—to remain so. He has no confidence in himself, in the future or in the self-regulating power of life.”
—Ricarda Winterswyl, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, April 20th, 1991
On the other hand, we ignore these rhythms for the simplest of possible reasons: we don’t know about them. Perhaps you are one of the pioneers who are trying to reconquer this knowledge, slowly, unhurriedly, little by little. For it is by no means too late to revive this ancient art. It is merely waiting for people who don’t make excuses that “on your own you can’t achieve
anything.” Even if at the present time there are so many indications that the individual can have no influence on the recovery of our environment, every single action counts, no matter how small. Sometimes it can count for much more than grand gestures and grand words.
All the rules and laws presented in our books have their roots exclusively in personal experience. There is nothing that derives from hearsay, nothing based on assumptions or convictions. There are certainly many other rhythms and influencing factors in nature, such as those relating to human biorhythms, to sunspot activity, to cosmic and earth radiations and so on. However, our books restrict themselves mainly to five different “states” of the moon:
New Moon Waxing Moon Full Moon Waning Moon
Position of the Moon in a Sign of the Zodiac
Whether the moon and the constellation it occupies in the heavens exercise a direct influence, or whether, as previously suggested, the current positions of the moon and stars merely function like the hands of a clock, is a question that has yet to be answered conclusively.
The forces and their effects on humans, animals, and plants— completely irrespective of what causes them—can be proven any time through experience. Research into causes will have to content itself with speculation, opinion, and conviction for the time being. A certain terminology has gained acceptance, such as: “The sign Capricorn affects the knee” or “The full moon influences the psyche.” For the sake of simplicity we have adhered to such forms of expression in our work.
The New Moon
If the moon lies (as seen from the earth) between the earth and the sun, then the side turned toward us is completely in darkness. It can then hardly be made out, and on the earth New Moon prevails (also known in olden times as the “dead moon”).
It is important to note that at new moon the moon stands in front of the same backdrop of stars and hence in the same zodiac sign as the sun. This is easily understood when one con- siders that the moon at this time is at its nearest to the sun; and thus the sun, moon, and an observer on earth almost form a single line. And so for instance in March the new moon is always in the sign of Pisces, in August it is always in Leo, and so on.
It is useful to bear this rule in mind when trying to work out roughly which zodiac sign the moon is currently in. Remember that the moon always stays for two or three days in a particular sign. So by the next full moon after the new moon in March, the moon has covered exactly half the zodiac and is thus six signs further on; according to this, fourteen days later the moon will have to be in the sign of Virgo or Libra. This principle can be applied to every other month in the year.
In calendars the new moon is usually depicted as a black disc. During this short period special impulses affect humans, animals, and plants. Anyone, for example, who fasts for a day dur- ing this period, will be able to prevent many illnesses, because the detoxifying power of the body is at its peak. If someone wishes to throw bad habits overboard, then this day is more suitable as a starting point than almost any other. Diseased trees will be able to recover after being cut back on this day. The earth begins to breathe in.
The impulses of the new moon days are not as strongly and directly perceptible as those of the full moon, because the switchover and reorientation of the forces from waning to waxing moon is not so violent as is the case in the reverse situation at full moon.
The Waxing Moon
Everything that is to be supplied to the body—that builds it up and strengthens it—works twice as well for a period of two weeks. The more the moon waxes, the more unfavorable are the prospects for healing wounds and operations. The more towards full moon the stronger the influence. For example, even with the same amount of detergent, the laundry does not become as clean as it does when the moon is on the wane. More children come into the world when the moon is waxing and when it is full.
The Full Moon
In the few hours of full moon a clearly perceptible force likewise makes itself felt on earth among humans, animals, and plants; however, the change in direction of the moon impulses from waxing to waning is felt more strongly than the change-over at
new moon. “Moon-struck” people walk in their sleep, wounds bleed more profusely than at other times; medicinal herbs gathered on this day develop greater powers; trees cut back at this time could die; police stations increase their manpower because they regularly face a rise in violent crime and accidents; midwives are called in for an emergency shift.
The Waning Moon
Once again our forefathers deserve the credit for the discovery of special influences during this period: operations are more successful than at other times; almost all work about the house goes more smoothly; even someone who eats too much at this time will not put on weight so quickly. Many jobs in the garden and out of doors are either favored at this time (such as sow- ing and planting root vegetables), or else they turn out rather unfavorably (for instance grafting fruit trees).
The Moon in the Zodiac
The twelve different forces that are associated with the position of the moon in the zodiac can only seldom be perceived as directly as the force felt at full moon. However, the influence on plants, animals, and humans is clearly recognizable, particularly the effects on the body and health, or in the garden and on the farm (crop yields, weed control, fertilizing). For example, the moon in Virgo (whose element is earth) is regarded in the plant kingdom as a “root day.” Measures taken to enhance root growth during these two or three days are more effective and successful than on other days.
Particularly in the field of medicine, the knowledge of the connection between the position of the moon and the course of illnesses used to be conscientiously observed. Hippocrates, the mentor of all physicians, knew about the lunar forces and instructed his pupils unequivocally: “Anyone who practices medicine without taking into consideration the movement of the stars is a fool.” And again: “Do not operate on parts of the body that are governed by the sign through which the moon is passing.”
In human beings the moon’s position in the zodiac at a given time exercises specific influences on regions and organs of the body. One commonly speaks of each bodily zone being “governed” by a particular sign of the zodiac. You will be able to gather the exact connections from the table summary at the end of this chapter.
Those of our ancestors skilled in the art of medicine discovered the following principles:
Anything that is done to benefit that part of the body governed by the sign through which the moon is currently passing is more effective than on other days—with the exception of surgical operations.
Anything that puts a special burden or strain on that part of the body governed by the sign through which the moon is currently moving is more harmful than on other days.
Surgical operations on the organ or body part in question should be avoided during these days if at all possible. Emergency operations are subject to a higher law.
If the moon is waxing as it passes through the sign, then all measures taken to supply nutrition and strengthen the region of the body governed by the sign are more effective than when the moon is on the wane. If it is waning, then all measures taken to detoxify and relieve the organ in question are more successful than when the moon is waxing.
Surgical operations only seem to be an exception to this rule. While they ultimately serve the wellbeing of the organ, at the moment of the operation and in the period that follows immediately after, the effect is to strain the organ.
If for instance the moon is in Leo, which would have an unfavorable effect on a heart operation, this negative effect will be amplified if the moon is also waxing at the time (as is the case from February to August). On the other hand, a remedy to strengthen the heart administered in a sign with ascending force when the moon is waxing is more effective than the same remedy applied when the moon is waning in a sign with descending force.
We leave it to the pioneers among our readers, in particular the physicians and health practitioners, to study the following rhythms and draw the appropriate conclusions.
Today there are once again health practitioners, many of whom we know personally, who have built up experience with these rhythms. Even protracted illnesses may be relieved using this method and a slight shift of attitude. Observation and patience are called for here.
However, one of the most important rules is this: carry out surgical operations whenever possible when the moon is waning (except of course emergency surgeries). This doesn’t yet fit smoothly into hospital procedures, but that’s not so important. The importance of hand washing before surgery also took many years to be fully accepted, and: Today there are already quite a few hospitals adhering to this knowledge, whenever the patient desires it.
The Lunar Calendar - The Only Tool
From countless letters from all over the world (our books have been translated into twenty-six languages to date) we have discovered what interests our readers in connection with these calendars and what experience they have had with them over the years. We are now able to pass this experience on to you.
The lunar calendar in use in Johanna’s family was and is calculated according to the position of the moon in the zodiac. All the useful experience that we pass on in our books—in the domain of medicine and medicinal herbs and ecologically sound building, in gardening, agriculture, and forestry—is based on this calendar. We have frequently received queries because some regional lunar calendars exhibit slight differences from ours. You need not worry about this. Most of these differences arise because many lunar calendars have been calculated by astrologers or astronomers according to their own principles, without any regard for lunar rhythms, which are for the most part unknown to them. If you have any doubt about the validity of a particular calendar, simply experiment with both calendars until you can be certain.
The times of the new and full moon have been left out, since these vary from one time-zone to another. For some activities, however, it is important to know the exact times of the phases of the moon and these can be found in most conventional calendars.
Anyone who studies astronomy and is able to identify the individual constellations of the zodiac in the night sky will discover that the “actual” position of the sun and moon differs from that given in the calendar. However, you can place your trust in the calendar. Certain deviations in the course of sun, moon, and stars over a 28,000-year cycle are responsible for this.
For this reason valid lunar calendars for thousands of years have not been calculated according to the actual position of the sun, but from the vernal equinox, when day and night are the same length, on about March 21. The basis of these calculations is very complex; and this is not the place to decipher the precise relationships. We would therefore refer you to the abundant astronomical literature on the subject.
Perhaps the discrepancy between the actual position of the moon and the position given in the calendar can indicate the causal relationship of the lunar rhythms; for it should be clear from this that the stellar constellation itself, thousands of mil- lions of light years away, has nothing to do with our recognizing and exploiting the twelve impulses. It is not that the stars exert a force, but instead that a force exists that may be calculated with the aid of the stars.
May we offer a suggestion: a researcher wishing to fathom the reciprocal relationship between the moon’s position and the quality of the impulse should look out for resonance phenomena arising from the revolutions and oscillations around the sun of the moon, earth, and planets—as if he were studying a multi-dimensional musical instrument that produced twelve clearly distinguishable tones.
It is possible to calculate to the minute the shift from one zodiac sign to the next; but calendar-makers today, as in all previous ages, give only the position of the moon in the zodiac for whole days, and for good reasons pay no attention to over-exact methods of measurement. The influences indicated by the moon’s position in the zodiac overlap and merge, particularly when the calendar shows a sign three days in a row. Then the force of the neighboring sign can still be felt on the first or can already be felt on the third day. God does not work in such a petty way that he compels us to cut our hair (successfully) only before eleven in the morning, while after that he causes hair that has been trimmed to fall out. He has ordered nature in such a way that, for every suitable time that is missed or spoiled by the weather, sufficient alternatives are available in order to achieve results that are nearly as good. When we are talking about an operation for which the patient is able to specify the date, then he should simply look out for the waning moon and steer clear of the zodiac sign that governs the particular body part in question.
In any case, people who have grown up with the lunar calendar and watch out for the right moment for their activities often no longer need to consult the calendar, because there are numerous signals in nature that indicate the change from one sign to another, once one has begun to pay attention to them: the penetrating light on air-days (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius), the active circulation during Leo, the differences in the way windows steam up on water-days and air-days, the slight headache when Aries arrives, the digestibility of a fatty meal during Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius, and much more. People with “intuitive” gifts or “green thumbs” are often unconsciously guided by all these signals, which show us the most sensible way to proceed.
Nature does not allow itself to be forced into a rigid system and governed according to a set of handy formulae, even if that is what our laziness constantly cries out for. We consider that to be one of its most beautiful and life-giving qualities. The lunar calendar is a valuable aid—no less, but no more either. It is not intended as a substitute for your personal awareness and experience. On the contrary: it can serve as a key to the enlargement of your awareness. Out of this experience a force can grow that will be useful in all areas of your life.
And finally, a note for readers in the southern hemisphere: All the rules concerning lunar and natural rhythms have the same validity for you—from South America to South Africa to Australia to New Zealand.
Slight exceptions are principally connected with the fact that the seasons are reversed where you are. Our winter is high summer for you, and when in your temperate latitudes the leaves are falling, we are being wafted by spring breezes. This difference is particularly important in gardening, agriculture, and forestry—for instance when deciding the right time for felling timber. This should be done mainly when the sap is at rest—in temperate or cold regions between June 21 and July 6, or in tropical regions during the period of greatest heat and aridity. With a little experimentation all the guidelines in our work can effortlessly be transposed to the southern hemisphere with its reversed sequence of seasons.
However, perhaps the most relevant difference for you is the external form of the waxing and waning moon in the sky. In the northern hemisphere the moon waxes from right to left, in the southern hemisphere from left to right. Since probably 90 percent of our readers live in the northern hemisphere, we have depicted the symbols for the waxing and waning moon as they are to be observed in the northern hemisphere—the exact reverse of what you see. To make matters simpler, look at it this way: when we talk about the “waning” moon we mean the period between full moon and new moon—regardless of the form manifested in the sky or depicted in the calendar. When we talk about the “waxing” moon we mean the period between new moon and full moon—regardless of its form in the sky or in the calendar.
Your experience will open the door
A microscope is not the instrument to capture the beauty and value of flowers and herbs. Only your heart and your intuition and your personal experience can do that. So that you can grow in these powers – that is what we are working for.
It is good if the passing of time
does not appear as something
that consumes us
but as something that completes us.
(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)