by Gary P Caton, 2018 Celestial Planting Calendar
At the heart of the Celestial Planting Calendar’s methodology, and indeed the biodynamic movement as a whole, is the pioneering material delivered in 1924 by Rudolf Steiner in a series of lectures known as the Agriculture Course. In the very first lecture, Steiner tells us that: “In deed and in truth, with the forces that come from the Moon on days of the Full Moon, something colossal is taking place on Earth.”
The most obvious effect of the Moon on the Earth is the tides, and in fact at times of alignment between Earth, Sun and Moon, known technically as “syzygy” and commonly as New and Full Moons, the tides are more pronounced. The tides which accompany a New or Full Moon are known as “spring tides,” referring to their “springing forth” or more pronounced effect. The most pronounced tides of all come when the New or Full Moon occurs near lunar perigee, as the Moon is in the part of its orbit closest to Earth (peri means “close” and gee refers to Earth). These most pronounced tides are known as perigean spring tides.
The SuperMoon phenomenon is directly related to these perigean spring tides. SuperMoon is simply a popular name for what astronomers call a perigee-syzygy – a New or Full Moon closely coinciding with lunar perigee. Astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term SuperMoon back in September 1979, in an article for Dell Horoscope magazine in which Nolle made an accurate prediction for a spectacular storm which did indeed occur and became known as Hurricane David. Nolle asserted that the SuperMoon is “a strong signal of geophysical disturbances – tidal surges in Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and crust that correspond to severe storms, unusually high tides, and moderate to severe seismic activity, including volcanic eruptions as well as earthquakes.” Nolle gave a 6-day window (3 days before and after syzygy) for these events and cited numerous other examples.
If Steiner tells us that a normal Full Moon has colossal effects on Earth, then it simply makes good common sense that a New or Full Moon also occurring at perigee, closest approach to Earth, would have an even more pronounced effect. And we can indeed see these effects in the perigean spring tides. And just as Steiner tells us that the forces of the Full Moon work through water, we can see in the historical record numerous examples of storms that grow to monstrous proportions when accompanied by a SuperMoon. In terms of biodynamics, it seems the effects of even a simple lunar perigee are a bit too pronounced for planting and harvesting times. This is why you see the times around lunar perigee blocked out as unfavorable each month in the Celestial Planting Calendar. Given the correspondence of drastic natural events with Supermoons, it seems these times are even more unfavorable than simple perigee. Starting in December 2017, there are three SuperMoons in row, with the Full Moon in January being the most powerful. Looking at the columns on the left of the Celestial Planting Calendar, we see that lunar perigee and Full Moon both occur on January 1. Not only this, but the Moon is near a declinational extreme with respect to the celestial equator, that is, the Moon moves from ascending to descending only a couple hours after the Full Moon. This means that this Full Moon will also be very high in the sky.
Every so often we have a SuperMoon which is extreme, even in terms of this already extreme phenomenon. The Full Moon and perigee align most closely in periods of about 413 days (one year and 48 days). The January 1 Supermoon is one of these extreme SuperMoons, as it will be several thousand kilometers closer to Earth than the “average” SuperMoon. The last SuperMoon that was this close to Earth was on November 14, 2016. I managed to take the accompanying photo of it. What a sight to see!
I did some research regarding extreme weather in mid-November 2016, and I found it was an extremely warm and dry month, bringing severe drought conditions to large and multiple parts of North America. This is very interesting considering this was the closest SuperMoon in 68 years and it was in the constellation Aries, part of the fire/warmth trigon. More research into the constellation placements of SuperMoons might be warranted. In a brief perusal of the historical highlights, I did notice a few notable hurricanes occurring near SuperMoons in Aquarius. If there is indeed any kind of “trigon effect,” then we would expect high winds to be the driving force of any extreme weather around January 1, as the SuperMoon is in Gemini, part of the Air trigon.
The second Full Moon of January is also a total Lunar Eclipse. This eclipse occurs in the early morning in North America and the Blood Moon Phase (caused by sunlight refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere) will only be visible at moonset and from the Central Time Zone. Eclipses are also notorious for unusual and extreme events, both astrophysical and sociocultural. These can happen anywhere in the world.
While we won’t always see extreme events at every SuperMoon or eclipse, it still might be a good idea to make reasonable preparations for extreme weather conditions at these times, especially if one is traveling or lives in areas where extreme weather is likely. Having an emergency plan and supplies are good common sense. And if the SuperMoons do nothing else than give us beautiful sights to gaze at or remind us to refresh and update our emergency plans, there is nothing wrong with that.
Gary P. Caton - Astronomer, Writer, Forecaster
Growing up in a rural setting outside Leesburg, Virginia, Gary developed passions for gardening and farming early in life and has lived on working farms.
In 1993 Gary was initiated into the planetary mysteries by seeing alignments in a dream. His deep love of nature fuels his enthusiasm for stargazing and astrophotography. Gary claims it has been a true joy combining his lifelong passion for learning with the tasks of completing the calculations and contributing to the forecasts for this calendar. Based on more than two decades of experience, he incorporates several new elements into this text, including consideration of the sextile aspect and a look at the deeper mysteries of the retrograde loops of Venus and Mars.