Cultivation and the stars
Think the health and vibrancy of plants aren’t affected by the stars? Tell that to gardeners who’ve been growing outdoors for millennia using the sun.
My own cultivation schedule was strongly guided by lunar cycles, and the biodynamic guys take it one step further by taking the purported forces of all the planets and constellations into consideration when planting. Everyone who plants rests on this continuum, whether they want to admit to it or not.
Just so you know, I’m pretty much a sun-and-moon guy, and I have never grown biodynamically. However, I also like to think holistically when it comes to the products we make and consume. No matter what sort of product you’re putting in your body, you want to ensure that attention to detail and care was paid to its creation. Ever heard the story about Van Halen and their infamous “no brown M&M’s” rider? That was used as an indicator that the venue sweated the details during the installation of their demanding lighting, sound, and pyrotechnical specs. The more details you dial in, the better your product will be. A plant needs many inputs in order to thrive. Some you can see; others you can’t. Once I learned that Medicine Box began to flourish.
Over the moon with cannabis
However, I wasn’t always like this. Back when I was growing indoors, I paid zero attention to lunar cycles. That came later, once my mentor Michael Hollister came into the picture. From him, I learned about the moon and its effect on groundwater and soil. Just as the moon pulls upon the tides, it also summons up water to nourish the soil. Hollister used this information to organize his outdoor growing season. It looks something like this:
Traditionally, seeds are germinated around this time so that they can be in the ground by June 1st. Michael always popped his seeds during the new moon, in keeping with his beliefs on groundwater and gravitational pull.
Plants in “veg” state go in the ground. Michael usually did this between the full moon and new moon cycles — the waxing period. June also hosts the Summer Solstice this year, when the sun is at its highest, and plants grow rapidly. The Summer Solstice is also a good time to assess experiments and business opportunities.
Late July signals the harvest period for many of the light-deprivation greenhouses. Obviously, they’re a bit more manipulative with nature’s cycles, but they do end up following their own all the same.
Growers begin seeing flowers on their plants.
Michael’s favorite time to harvest, as he believed the terpenes were at their peak. Michael, in fact, would harvest at night, during the full moon, because the moon’s gravitational pull would siphon all the plant’s energies towards the flowers. In sunlight hours, the energy goes to the roots. In addition, Michael would gather partners together to go over any outstanding issues in business or friendship, or as he called them, “dropped stitches.
Once I started planting in accordance with this schedule I felt more closely synchronized with the life cycle of the plant I was raising. The astrologers I’ve met definitely pick up on that, finding easy confirmation within their own systems. We asked apothecary and energy healing practitioner Antoinette Chirinos to expand upon it:
“Working with the phases of the moon to cultivate is such a magical thing to do. It will not only tune your plants with her energy but will do the same for you. Knowing the best times to plant and harvest is honoring Mother Earth and her gifts. As you honor her, she will honor you. The energy you will receive from your harvest goodies will tune in with the energy needed in your physical and spiritual body.
You can taste the difference in how nutritious your food tastes and feel your energy rising when you work in accordance with nature. Respecting every cycle and working as a co-creator to our planet is part of our responsibility on this earth.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Across the universe
From there, hardcore astrological farmers, such as the biodynamic guys, will look towards the other planets, splitting them between calcium planets, which are the closer planets of Venus, the moon, and Mercury, and the silica planets of Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter. The moon takes on a role not only as a gravitational magnet but a magnifier of the constellations’ powers onto the plants. In other words, if the moon happens to be resting in a particular constellation at the time of planting, that constellation’s specific characteristics will focus on the plant. Because of this, biodynamic farmers like Peter Kearney instructs people to pay close attention to these signs when planting or composting. Leafy plants like cabbage, for instance, correspond with water signs, and harvesting such plants on leaf/water days will help it store longer.
As it turns out, I end up agreeing strongly with the astrologer types on issues of authenticity and anti-industrialism in farming. “Often with industrial farming, we completely forget about natural cycles, and today with indoor growing, we’re simply concerned about the output of the plant and grow them out of their alignment with their astrological assignment,” spirit consciousness guide Manex Ibar tells me. “ Of course, the closer you are to the plant’s original place on earth and growing it in harmony with the cycles of its nature (meaning at the proper time of seeding and harvesting through the cycles of astrology) the better.”
While astrological cultivation will never be accepted in mainstream agriculture, it does remind us that plants are living entities, just like you and me, and they act and interact with the rhizosphere and atmosphere in their own unique way. And while astrology may have been created by humans, the universe certainly wasn’t. Rather, the universe created the US, and everything from a dinosaur’s footprint to the cosmic radio wave background impresses its effects upon everything we do, animal, vegetable, and mineral alike. If you’re reaching for peak performance, you better get right with your surroundings and stock up your Medicine Box accordingly. Works for us.