Llewellyn’s Moon Sign Book (Published Annually since 1905)
“My moon sign book is . . . really a unique book. It helps you figure out, you know, if you want to cut your hair at a certain time to increase growth or decrease growth. . . . We use it for advertising and even, you know, you can know when to cut the timber like I’ve done that before . . . I mean, it’s just an incredible amount of information. . . . They’ll have you look at the aspects where the planets are and what moon sign it’s in. And also if it’s a good day for you, there is either a big U, a big F or a little u or a little f and sometimes nothing. So you know when you pick . . . for traveling you would want to pick a good sign for you where it was a big F, so you would have a favorable day.” —Jane Post
The first author of this almanac was a man named Llewellyn George, who became a well-regarded name in the world of astrology. It is more extensive than the previously discussed almanacs, chockfull of astrological wisdom and astronomical information, and is published by Llewellyn Publications out of Woodbury, Minnesota. Its contents are based on the tropical zodiac system, and it features extensive information about doing just about anything. The subtitle “Plan Your Life by the Cycles of the Moon” explains precisely what it provides guidance on. It features a weekly almanac section with the exact times for each moon sign and the activities that match each one, as well as space to take notes. It also contains many articles and explanations for astrological phenomena such as when the moon is “void of course” during transitions between each of the twelve signs, and states “Plans or decisions made now often do not pan out.” The book also features information on when planets are in retrograde, with Mercury being one that “rules thought and communication, so it is advisable not to sign important papers, initiate important business or legal work, or make crucial decisions during these times.”6 Its “Good Timing” monthly tables are quite extensive, and it offers even more guidance in the section on choosing the best time for activities (which are much more wide-ranging than covered in the almanacs previously discussed.) Weather forecasts in Llewellyn’s Moon Sign Book cover the US, which is broken into eight zones. The predictions are given for each quarter of the moon’s cycle (or each week) in the year.
The Biodynamic Almanac/Calendar
“Biodynamics originated in Germany and it’s very precisely laid out for you. And so, in a way that doesn’t aid you in learning or understanding how these connections were made when you go by the calendar, because you just look at the calendar—oh, it’s a flower sign, can’t plant. You know, it’s all determined for you . . . The detail on a calendar that they get into, it’s pretty intense . . . One of the benefits . . . is that the calendar is just packed full of information. It’s gotten me to understand the fluid nature of the Zodiac and the stars in the sky and appreciate new constellations and understand and see them.” —Susana Lein
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was a famous Austrian scientist, philosopher, and thinker, who developed a belief system termed Anthroposophy or Spiritual Science, which viewed the earth as a living being, under many great cosmic forces.7
After being asked to do a course about his approach focused on agriculture, in 1924, he gave a series of eight famous lectures. These lectures are summarized in the book Agriculture, whose English translation was published in 1993. Steiner’s lectures would become the basis for biodynamics, which provided a counter to the prevailing mechanistic and empirical approach to agriculture. Reading Steiner’s work can be quite challenging, but it is clear that the belief system emphasizes interactions between the sun/earth/moon and other planets, with the moon’s influence being mediated through water.
Maria Thun (1922–2012) spent decades, starting in the 1940s, testing out Steiner’s theories. She directed and took part in trials with her husband Walter (and other biodynamic farmers in her region) to test everything related to agriculture: planting dates, harvesting dates, dates for creation and application of composts and biodynamic preparations, etc. She studied astronomy as she conducted this work, which allowed her to look for correlation with cosmic phenomena. Her studies resulted in a system of planting based on the zodiac, with each of the twelve constellations designated as having one of the following affinities: root, leaf, flower, or fruit. Her system was based on the constellational zodiac, so the time period associated with each sign varies by quite a bit and overlaps very little with astrological calendars.8 She also discovered that the moon’s perigee and nodes have negative effects. This work became the basis of the biodynamic calendar.
There are two main printed sources for this calendar. They follow the same general principles just laid out (in terms of which signs favor leaf, fruit, root, flower), but vary some in their calculations and the specifics of unfavorable times. The Maria Thun Biodynamic Almanac is available in 27 languages, attesting to its widespread use.9 TheStella Natura biodynamic calendar is another one based on Thun’s work, and is the one routinely used by Susana Lein.10
Each of these have monthly pages that list the times (to the hour) for each constellation as well as solar, lunar, and planetary aspects. There are no universally bad or barren signs in this system, those periods are instead dictated by eclipses, nodes, perigee, etc. and are shown as unfavorable times, scattered throughout each month. Both present daily information in graphical form for easy interpretation. Both sources also include diagrams in the back that depict the constellations of the zodiac as well as those just outside of it. For the Maria Thun Biodynamic Almanac, monthly diagrams are included that show the moon’s celestial placement each day of the year, as if the moon is riding a wave on the horizon. In the Stella Natura calendar there is one diagram for the year with placement of the sun indicated for the solstices and equinoxes.