TEUFELSKUNST Occult Art Blog
TEUFELSKUNST
Occult Art Blog

Gardening with the Moon, the Signs and the Planets (revision)

All plants grow towards the sun (helio- or phototropism) and use its light as energy source (photosynthesis). Hence the sun is the dominating factor in all plant life. However, the moon as the closest celestial body near to earth and its gravitational pull, especially on water molecules, influences plant development too, since plants are made up to 98% out of water. Plants are essentially structures or vessels built around water, which is required in all physiological processes.

The closer the moon is to the earth the stronger is its gravitational pull. This strongly affects water molecules, but also the earth’s solid surface. Every night the ground is literally lifted by the moon, yet this is hardly sensible. The sun too has a gravitional effect on earth. If sun, earth and moon align – either during a full or a new moon – this effect is even stronger and results in what is known as spring tide.

The moon hence also has an impact on the growth of plants. During the waxing phase the leaves develop stronger, whereas during the waning phase the growth is directed towards the roots. It is not clear how, but possibly this is due to gravitational changes.

The phenomenon that plants grow straight upwards, at an approximate 90° angle away from earth’s center, regardless of whether they grow on a straight plain or at the side of a hill, is called gravitropism. Better said, parts that grow above ground show a negative gravitropism whereas the roots show positive gravitropism, since they follow earth’s gravitational pull. This is directed mainly by the plant hormone auxin. (*see) Now, the moon’s gravitational pull interacts with earth’s own. During the full moon it gets stronger and thus may increase negative gravitropism in plants and support growth of leaves and stems, whereas during the waning moon it ceases and thus indirectly strengthens positive gravitropism, resulting in increased root growth. If and how the gravitational pull of moon and other celestial bodies influence gravitropism has yet to be studied in detail. But experience shows the following picture:

The observance of the moon and the sky has been employed by agricultural societies and gardeners ever since. However, when referring to a lunar phase or month, it must be clarified which moon is actually meant…

Some terminology….

  • synodic month – the time from one new moon to the next (as shown above) ~ 29d 12h 44m = 29,530 days
  • sidereal month – return to the same star or the time it takes for the moon to travel throught the zodiac signs (shorter than a synodic month) ~ 27d 7h 43m = 27,321 days
  • tropical month – depending on the vernal equinox this lunar month is slightly shorter than a sidereal lunar month and significantly shorter than a synodic lunation ~ 27d 7h 43m = 27,321 days
  • draconic month or nodal period – the return to the same lunar node ~ 27d 5h 5m = 27,212 days

The tropical month is of special relevance in farmer’s almanacs. As opposed to the synodic waning and waxing moon the focus lies here on the diurnal arc of the moon, which is the path the moon draws on the daytime sky. During the first half of a tropical month the moon’s arc is daily getting closer to the horizon line; the moon is “falling” or is nidsigend. During the second half, the moon’s arc is daily increasing and moving further away from the horizon line; the moon is “rising” or obsigend. Both periods last around 14 days. The nidsigent moon is symbolized by an upside down crescent, the obsigent moon is pictured by an upwards pointing crescent, which resembles a bowl.

Btw. the word tropical comes from Greek tropos = “turn”, the terms nidsigend and obsigend come from Alemannic dialect and mean ascending and descending.

Related names, coming from Hawaiian mythology, are “wet moon“, where the upwards pointing moon is likened to a bowl catching up falling rainwater during the winter, and “dry moon“, where the lunar sickle turns upright as summer is approaching and pours out the collected water in the form of summer rains. The wet moon is also pictured as a smile and is called “Cheshire moon” after the grinning cat from Alice in Wonderland. Notably, these names apply to the actual shape and orientation of the sickle moon, not to its culmination on the daytime sky.

According to folk saying, root growth is supported by the nidsigend moon and leaf growth by the obsigend moon. Hence, root vegetables and plants that grow mainly subterranean should be planted during the nidsigend moon. All other vegetables and plants that produce crops above ground should be planted during the obsigend moon. Further, the nidsigend moon is in general considered the favorable phase for planting and separating young plants, since it promotes rooting. The obsigend moon is the phase during which the plants grow in height.

Again, the nidsigend and obsigend moon are not to be confused with the waning and waxing phase.

Taking things further, one would now observe the sign the moon is in and apply these to the different parts of the plant according to the elements, meaning earth signs for roots, water signs for leaves, air signs for flowers and fire signs for fruits and seeds. Eg root plants should be sown when the moon is nidsigend and in an earth sign, flowering plants such as sunflower would be best sown when the moon is nidsigend and in an air sign and so on.

To give an example, the planting times for August and September 2024 would look as follows:

Besides, the days when the moon meets one of it’s orbital nodes (when it crosses the ecliptic), should be avoided for any greater gardening activity and no seeds should be sown then. These lunar nodes are also known as head and tail of the dragon, whereby the head corresponds with the ascending = Northern node above and the tail with the descending = Southern node below the ecliptic.

Seeking out the best time for planting can become a challenge. The moon may be waning and in an earth sign (perfect for roots), but obsigend and thus not favorable for planting. So you wait until the moon is nidsigend and in an earth sign, but alas, the moon is waxing and in addition, the moon is in one of its nodes or draconic. It is said, that lunar nodes should be avoided for any gardening activity.

Luckily there are lunar calendars available online and in printed form. For further reading see the writings of Maria Thun, who has dedicated her life to gardening with the moon and the zodiac.

Take notes in a personal gardening diary, in which you write down your activity, day and time. Add the moon phase and sign and other aspects, which you can also look up and add later.

The microcosm of the plant mirrors the macrocosm of the universe in movement; as above so below.

Other factors that might impact the development of a plant may be constellations of sun, moon and the planets. This delving into an actual plant astrology since, apparently there is a correlation between the orbital period and the pattern that a planet draws when it circles around the sun and the growth pattern of plants and fruits. More precisely, both orbital period and plant growth follow Fibonacci sequences… (see first illustration)

For the nerd….

The orbital period is the time the planets need to return to their starting point when revolving around the sun. Plants mirror this movement pattern for example in the way in which their leaves are arranged around their stems. These patterns are also found in the way how the seeds are packed on sunflowers or pine cones. The succession in which planets orbit and leaves revolve around the stem follow infact the sequences that Fibonacci introduced to Western European mathematics.

Annual or short-lived and fast developing plants are influenced by the Moon and the sub-solar planets Mercury and Venus. They are sown in spring and brought outdoors after the last frosts. Some annual plants, ie poppies, can also be sown in late summer and then behave as biennials.

Biennial plants may be under the influence of Mars or slower revolving planets. They are best sown in July/summer – the warmest and brightest time of the year. They often produce a basal leaf rossette and long root during the first and a large stem, flowers and fruits during the second year.

Perennial plants can be grouped under Jupiter and Saturn, and under the latter especially shrubs and trees. They are best sown in autumn and often require cold periods ahead of germination. These slow growing plants often take 2-3 years before starting to flower and producing seeds.

Taking things even further, one could create a natal chart for all gardening activity or follow other rules for planetary magic such as are outlined in Picatrix. But rather than getting entangled in astrological theory, better tend to your garden and perhaps and foremost consult the plant devas themselves.

Least we forget…

Plants respond to the individual. Sometimes we are just not ready yet for certain plants and they may come to us at a later point – not when we think that we need them, but when we or perhaps also the creatures around us do. That is when a plant may suddenly occur in nature to us, even repeatedly, or when a seed, we have forgotten in a pot or flower bed suddenly germinates. The passionate gardener not only tends to the physiological needs of the plants (which are usually dealt with during day time) but also comes back to the garden at night, for feeding the devas, elves and gnomes that inhabit the soil, stones and vegetation. This way the plants help us reconnecting spiritually to our selves and beyond.

For further info on plants, seeds and gardening please visit my garden blog at https://pflanzenkunst.wordpress.com

May 3, 2024

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds, Garden

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Seed Boxes 2024

The first 5 seed boxes have been shipped during the vernal equinox week! It’s been a hell of a work again and took longer than last time from start to finish. Extras inlcuded are some rare Echinacea ‘Green Twister’, darkred climbing monkshood, different ‘slate black’ lenten roses, Caucasian mandrake, some lovely low growing foxglove called ‘silverfox’ and big fat mandrake seeds harvested by my German friend @bussardflug Further this year’s box comes with seeds for growing your own fragrant sweet grass (Hierochloe odorata) and the endangered white sage (Salvia apiana).

This year’s seed box is different! The boxes are pyrographed on all sides, with a variation of the Sigillum Major (Greater Seed Sowing Sigil) on the lid and devils and lunar planting symbols on the sides. The bottom is pyrographed again with the Sigillum Minor (Lesser Seed Sowing Sigil).

I have now started on the next 5 boxes… there’s exactly one box left for pre-order. 🙂

The preview shows the plain pyrographed boxes. In the next step these are stained with dark oak on the corpus and dark green to light oak color on the lid.

They are filled again with the annual seed harvest, gathered from my own witch plants, as well as seeds sourced from trusted nuseries and herbalists. The full list:

  • Aquilegia atrata
  • Aconitum napellus
  • Aconitum hemsleyanum ‘Red Wine’ (rare!)
  • Atropa belladonna
  • Datura ferox (rare!)
  • Datura innoxia
  • Datura metel var. Fastuosa ‘Black Currant Swirl’
  • Datura metel var. Fastuosa ‘Golden Queen Triple’ (rare!)
  • Datura stramonium
  • Digitalis purpurea ssp. heywoodii ‘Silverfox’ (rare!)
  • Helleborus foetidus
  • Helleborus x orientalis, dark color mix (rare!)
  • Hyoscyamus niger
  • Mandragora caulescens (rare!)
  • Mandragora officinarum (rare!)
  • Nicotiana tabacum
  • Papaver somniferum ‘Black Peony’
  • Solanum dulcamara
  • Angelica archangelica
  • Artemisia absinthium
  • Circaea lutetiana
  • Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Twister’ (rare!)
  • Foeniculum vulgare ‘Bronce’
  • Helianthus annuus ‘Black Magic’
  • Hierochloe odorata
  • Hypericum androsaemum
  • Rudbeckia occidentalis ‘Green Wizzard’
  • Ruta graveolens
  • Salvia apiana
  • Symphytum officinale
  • Tropaeolum minus ‘Black Velvet’
  • Valeriana officinalis
  • Verbena officinalis

Below are some examples of plants and flowers I have grown successfully from seed and which are included in this year’s seed box:

Update: the pre-order for the second batch of boxes is sold out. When I have finished these I will announce the next five boxes.

April 1, 2024

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“Dead Astronaut” is aLive

It’s wonderful to be receiving such feedback! Remember last year`s mandrake post about “Alien Monstress” and “Crippled Astronaut”? Well, who would have guessed that! First photo shows a recent post by obviously blessed and knowledgable David ‘Mr. Mandrake’ Simmons. Second photo is of the same root about a year ago and third is of my ink portrait, now framed and adorning D. Simmon’s wall. Thanks David!

In memoriam H.H. Ewers

July 17, 2023

Posted In: Ritual, Garden, Pflanzenkunst, Mandrake Project, Herbs & Seeds, Art

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New “Flower Devils”

Or better said, postcards with new “Flower Devils” can now be ordered from me! The new cards feature newly captured impressions from the summer 2018 as well as some of my earliest photographs in this series, including the auspicious “Henbane Devil” on black henbane flower, which initiated and from which the series got its name.

“Henbane Devil”

In German folklore, witches and even the devil himself were believed to take on the shape of bumblebees. A bumblebee-wax candle was lit in church, if a witch was burnt at the stake. Evil people were cursed with having to return as a bumblebee after death. The sub-earthen drone sound of a bumblebee signaled the presence of the dead. Instead of consecrated wavers, bumblebees were allegedly served at black masses. Bumblebees were also superstitiously feared as carriers of sickness and ritually buried to drive out plague. On the other hand, a dead bumblebee worn in the pocket, was believed to ensure the purse would always be filled with money. And he, who managed to secretly steal the bumblebee’s honey, was destined to find a huge treasure. Hence bumblebees were both viewed as good and bad omens.

The other new cards are:

“Belladonna Devil” et al – large earth bumblebee entering a deadly nightshade flower, common carder bees on comfrey and viper’s bugloss flowers, wasps mating on our white lavender, bee inside crocus flower after a long winter


Impressions from recent trip to Crete – symbol laden honey bee among the ruins of the Minoan palace in Malia, a small wasp nest on prickly pear, protected sea daffodil flower with Mediterranean sea in the background


Last but not least, cards with unfolding flower of the “Black Devil” datura, blue Aconite and green Henbane “Dragon” and – upon request – myself among the green “devils” in our garden.

October 2, 2018

Posted In: Garden, Prints

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Autumn Fire, October New Moon & Belladonna Harvest

Deadly Nightshade HarvestIn my part of the world the past new moon occured close to the midnight hour and when the moon was just entering into the sign of Scorpio. In addition friends and followers in Eastern Asia and most of North America could simultaneously witness a beautiful partial solar eclipse. An astrologically and magically interesting time, some would already hold their Samhain celebrations on this night, closing another circle, saying farewell to the old and inaugurating a new year. It is the beginning of a liminal time, when the veil between the world of the living and the other side thinnens. It is believed the souls of the deceased – both beloved or malign, familiar or nameless – come to visit and contact the living, in dream or even physically. Temperatures are dropping, you see your breath in the cold air. The trees are yet aflame in autumn colors but will soon turn barren. Winter is just around the corner.

I felt it sooner this year than usual, perhaps owed to the early arrival of summer, autumn and winter are coming earlier as well. And it feels like its going to be a cold one. I experienced some dark days and nights, where I turned inside and contemplated, what has been done and what can and will be done. I got inspired and wrote these lines:

Autumn Fire

I feel the change of season
this autumn fire
the nights getting longer
the impending darkness
this cold breath down my neck.

But I am aflame and
burning with passsion
to a degree that it
almost consumes me.

Memories and dreams
the future and the past
they are merging
in a round-dance of autumn leaves
in the yellow light of street lamps
or in the dim grayness of
one drizzly September day.

I am day dreaming
and the world around me becomes
like the surface of a pond
into which I dip my finger
and suddenly the whole picture
starts to ripple and disperse
and the voices of people talking to me are muted
and I hear something else.

Silence.

The veil is thinning.

I am dreaming of reconciliation.

I hear from a lot of people this year has been their worst by far. Some say they felt a strong negative Saturn influence in their life. Things being stolen or lost, relationships breaking apart, unexpected changes for the worse and in some instances also suicide attempts. There was a lot happening around me and for all I know there is little in life to rely on. Believes and faith, relationships and worldly values are questioned and challenged. And the idea that from loss and pain still something good or even better arises, may infact not always hold true. Yet the quality of conversations improves, deepens. Superficialties don’t suffice any longer. And I still feel lucky. I do have my self, my work, and spirits and friends to turn to. Even if they may be struggeling themsselves; as long as there is a shared will to continue and work towards better times – not sit and wait – there is reason for hope.

What really helps me during times, when there is apparently nothing positive at all, is the feedback I receive from you, my customers and followers. It does indeed mean a great deal to me. It is one reason why I’m doing what I’m doing and why I continue this project. Feedback such as this:

Having received one of your plant sigil card sets, I wanted to thank you for your work and express my gratitude in having received one. It is a beautifully crafted work, with an obvious spine of honesty, experience and exploration. A profound expression of the green, from the veils of the divine. – JR/O.

Thank you and all who write me messages, comment, like and fave! Thanks to over 2000 followers on facebook and 500 on tumblr, thanks to my watchers on deviantArt and elsewhere! Thanks to the loud and silent supporters and the imps and gnomes and wizzards doing ‘magic’ in the background and spreading the word! You know who you are.

And though it is true that this is often a lonely path we do take inspiration from another, consciously or unconsciously. I like to think that the same spirits contact us individually and sometimes they whisper the same and other times different things into our ears. Tuesday I thought about harvesting Belladonna under the waning moon. But the night was cold and rainy and there was no sharp shining crescent sickle to be seen that would have called for harvest. Thursday I read of Harold Roth‘s plan to harvest Belladonna under the new moon. I first thought no, lets leave them for another month or wait for next year’s Walpurgis. But then I gave it a second thought, went outside short before midnight and the conditions were just right.

Deadly Nightshade 'soulpainting'The midnight hour was the hour of Venus and the dark moon had just entered Scorpio. A fitting constellation for working with the poisonous (scorpio) green (venus), and the darker aspects of the goddess (black moon), of whom the Belladonna is evocative. The Deadly Nightshade also has connections to the Germanic myths of the Wild Hunt, especially the Valkyries, daughters of heaven and earth (Wotan and Erda), who accompany the souls of the warriors that died in battle, to their final destination in Valhalla, which is reflected in the German name “Walkerbeere”. The Wild Hunt is said to begin with Samhain and culminates during the Winter Solstice and following nights. My first abstract vision of the plant’s essence shows her infront of a dark stormy sky with flashes of lightning and blood is raining from black clouds.

I took two roots, grown in pots, and both about 3 years old. The plants have flowered ready and the lasts berries are also ripe. In fact the stems are already slowly dying back and new green sprouts come from the root base. So it was indeed good timing. Especially since the following nights were even colder and the green parts don’t survive freezing. It makes sense that the time around Samhain is traditionally the time for the last harvest, which is then put up in the home for drying.

I also encountered a surprise when digging up the second plant as it had grown a long tap-root. It wouldn’t take an end and I actually could not unearth it wholly. I had to dig much deeper to get to the end of the part still stuck in the ground and it turned out that entire thing was indeed over 40 cm long!

I removed the soil manually, then cleaned them in rainwater and put them on the harvest altar, together with previously harvested roots. I lit beeswax candles and offered libation. I noticed a spicy smell and, though I used gloves, felt actually a bit benumbed from the fumes. I learned that the alkaloids concentrate in the root during autumn and winter. It may well be possible these two roots have a higher potency. They are now drying slowly and I plan to later make fetishes with them that tie together visullay the mentioned astrological and magical aspects. Below are a few pictures to show you their raw beauty:

In September I had already gathered leaves and sprigs, which I put between newspaper pages for drying. What do you read in there? It’s been a Belladonna year for sure!

IMG_7617+ copy2Yet there are plenty of other herbs (and for that matter also seeds!) and so I find myself again running around the house and garden, collecting, sorting and processing all sorts of green harvest. It will still be a giant task to take photos of everything and make it available for ordering. I am also working on a larger herbal commissions, which includes labeling and filling custom bottles for a client.

At least I am ready now with rearranging our front garden (more about this later) and next is the raised bed. So lots to do this week until the official Samhain date. And I still have a very special interview in the making, as well as news concerning my contributions to the third Pillars Periodical Journal! But all in good time. 🙂

IMG_7979 copy+So long, after so much deadly nightshade here is now another plant, which embodies the month of October: the Chinese Aconite (Aconitum carmichaelii), or Herbst-Eisenhut, as it is called in German, is the last of the aconites to flower and brightens up the October month with its lush blue-violett inflorescences. It’s poisonous as hell too and another name for aconite was in fact Scorpio. The aconite, as the ‘king of poisons’ is in different ways to be seen as a counterpart to the belladonna or ‘queen of poisons’, who’s atropine is the physiological antidote in aconite poisoning. Now I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing the test. However I do like to grow them besides each other, for higher inspiration and guidance. In fact, I do have quite a few aconite and belladonna seedlings to plant out yet… Yep, lots do! 🙂

October 26, 2014

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds, Garden, Art, Feast Days, Ritual

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Summer in the Garden II: Followup

Summer is coming to an end and yet I did not even share half of the photos I’ve taken during the past three months. So I sat down with a glass of red wine and made this summary of summer garden impressions for you. Click through the gallery to find a commentary on each motif and feel free to comment!

September 6, 2014

Posted In: Garden, Herbs & Seeds

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