Biodynamic planting originated from a series of lectures by the German philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Steiner's biodynamic agriculture asserts that plants are formed by cyclic forces of life that include earth, light, warmth and water. These cycles are said to correspond to the Earth's "breathing rhythms" that reflect phases of the moon and constellations of the zodiac. They determine the best times for planting.
Biodynamic agriculture holds that Earth breathes. Breathing in activates Earth forces; breathing out activates the light energy. Planting is ordinarily best done when Earth is breathing out.Earth breathes in during cool seasons and breathes out during hot seasons. Earth breathes in when the moon is descending and breathes out when it is ascending. Earth breathes in during the late afternoon and evening; it breathes out at sunrise.
New and Full Moon
The moon goes from new to full every 29.5 days. Seeds are believed to germinate quickly if they are planted within 48 hours of a full moon.
Moon Opposite Saturn
The moon is opposite Saturn every 27.3 days. When the moon is opposite Saturn, the calcium processes in plants are said to strengthen; seeds sown at this time will produce strong plants.
Ascending and Descending Moon
The ascending and descending moon also takes 27.3 days to move through the signs of the zodiac. Seeds should be planted when the moon is ascending and the earth breaths out, forcing growth forces below the soil into the roots.
The moon crosses the path of the sun twice each month at points called nodes, the only times and places that eclipses can occur. The moon crossing in front of the sun negates the beneficial influence of the sun. Seeds should not be planted on node days.
Perigee and Apogee
The moon moves around earth in an ellipse that takes 27.5 days; the perigee is when the moon is closest to the earth; the apogee is when its farthermost point. Planting should be avoided during an perigee or apogee; these are stressful times. Planting potatoes is an exception. Potato plants will yield more potatoes if they are planted during apogee and larger potatoes if they are planted at perigee.
Moon and Constellations
The moon takes 27.3 days to pass in front of all 12 constellations in the zodiac. The moon takes from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 days to pass in front of these constellations because some are larger than others. Each constellation is favorable for planting different types of plants; biodynamic planting calendars list different plants and their corresponding favorable constellations.