Wiccan Moon Gardening

Whether it was the Babylonians timing their harvests by the sign the Moon traveled through, or the farmers of Eastern Europe watching each moon phase for the best time to plant, our celestial companion has always been a divine indicator of the seasons for growth. My Irish Grandfather always read his Farmer’s Almanac to see when the moon was in Cancer or Libra to time the planting of flowers and vegetables–he placed great trust in the power of the Moon over his crops, and was rewarded each month with a healthy and bountiful harvest.
The Moon’s magnetic force pulls all that contains water: the tides of our oceans, the blood and fluids of our bodies, and the vital essences of all plantlife–such influence can be seen quite clearly in the growth of plants.
All crops that produce their yield above ground should be planted during the Waxing (New to Full) Moon: the first week is especially good for crops that have their seeds on the outside, such as asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, celery and spinach. The second week (between the 1st quarter and the Full Moon) is best for crops that produce seeds on the inside, like peppers, tomatoes, peaches, cucumbers and melons.

During the waning Moon (Full to New Moon) plant root crops such as potatoes, peanuts, carrots and onions. *Do not* plant on the day of the New Moon or Full Moon. 

Dew has been used in charms and spells for many centuries; its mysterious origins (as something which appears even on a clear, dry night, and disappears quickly in the morning) has made it a magical symbol. It was used as a remedy for many ills, especially as a lotion for sore eyes and for skin diseases and itches. Even into the nineteenth century it was sometimes rubbed into sickly children to strengthen them, and was also considered to heal gout and strengthen the sight (the latter property being far greater if the dew was gathered from the leaves of fennel). 

Dew gathered on May Day was considered to be the most potent, undoubtedly arising from the connotations of fertility and love which were associated with the Beltane festival. Washing in May dew, or rolling oneself in it, was considered to protect against evil and bring good luck throughout the upcoming year. A tale is told of two witches in Scotland who were observed collecting May dew with a hair-tether; the tether was taken from them and hung in a cow-byre, and the cows thereafter gave enormous quantities of milk until the tether was removed and burnt. In Europe, cattle were anointed with May dew on May Day to protect them from overlooking, faeries and evil spells throughout the year. 

The most common use of dew, however, was in beauty charms and as a cosmetic. Throughout the centuries women have gone out early on May Day to bathe their faces in dew, a lovely old custom which was supposed to ensure both beauty and good luck for twelve months. If a girl gathered dew very early in any morning, and preferably from under an oak tree, and washed her face in it, she would be beautiful for the year to come.
Dew Weather Lore: If a warm sunny day is followed by a heavy dew, fine weather is likely the next day also. 

Lore and charms associated with the Moon could fill entire books, and indeed have. From earliest times the Moon has been worshiped, associated with various goddesses, and considered to have some power over the lives and dealings of humans. 

It is considered bad luck to point at the Moon, as it shows a certain disrespect. Instead, when the new Moon is seen for the first time it should be respectfully greeted with a bow or curtsey in its direction, and if wearing a hat in the Moon’s presence, it should be doffed for a moment. Bowing three or nine times, wishing during the process, was also done. In fishing villages children would recite a charm to keep their sailing fathers safe: ‘I see the Moon and the Moon seas me, God bless the sailors on the sea’.
It has always been customary to turn over silver in one’s pocket upon first seeing the new Moon, as this means there will be plenty of money during the coming month, and many people still do this today for luck. In some districts a special coin was carried and turned over three times when the new Moon was seen. To be without any coins to turn over, however, is unlucky. 

The waxing and waning of the Moon has given rise to many beliefs about the timing of events. It was formerly believed that animals should not be slaughtered while the Moon was waning, as the meat would shrink more during curing and cooking. Anything cut during the waning Moon will not grow again, or will grow abnormally slowly, so corns were often pared at this time, and hair which was meant to stay short would be cut. A child born under a waning Moon was purported to be weak or unlucky all its life, and animals born during the Moon’s wane would not thrive as well as those born under the waxing Moon. Marriages celebrated under a waning Moon were deemed to be unhappy and possibly barren, no doubt stemming from the ancient connection between the Moon and fertility. On the other hand, the waxing Moon was far more fortunate. Hair trimmed during the waxing Moon will grow thick and lovely; eggs set under a hen then will not go bad, and seeds planted during a waxing Moon will thrive. 

The word ‘lunacy’ derives from the Moon, which was once believed to cause madness. Sleeping in moonlight was once said to be dangerous because it led to lunacy, blindness or some other serious disorder.
Warts could be cured by blowing on them nine times at the full Moon. Another wart remedy was to catch the rays of the Moon in a metal bowl (preferably silver) and go through the movements of ‘washing’ one’s hands in the rays while saying: 

‘I wash my hands in this thy dish
Oh man in the Moon, do grant my wish
And come and take away this’. 

Moon Weather Lore: When the Moon is circled by a misty ring, it means rain to come. If the circle is large, it will rain very soon. Several concentric circles means a long period of wet weather.
In winter months, a clear moon means frost is on the way.
A bright clear yellow moon rising in a cloudless sky means fine weather to come. 

There was once a wide belief that cutting or burning ferns brought rain, and in some districts this also applied to heather. Other rain-bringing methods included sprinkling water on stones whilst reciting a charm, or tossing a little flour into a spring and stirring with a hazel-rod. In medieval times images of the saints were often dipped into water during a drought. 

Children’s charms to drive away rain are still common today, the most famous being ‘Rain, rain, go away, come again another day’. A variant on this charm offers to bribe the rain to go: 

‘Rain, rain, go away
Come again tomorrow day
When I brew and when I bake
I’ll give you a little cake’. 

Rainwater was believed to have healing properties when it fell on particular days, especially Ascension day, or rain that fell at any time during the month of June. The water must be collected after falling directly from the sky; rain which ran off leaves or off the roof was useless. A Welsh belief was that babies bathed in rainwater talked earlier than others, and that money washed in rainwater would never be stolen. 

Rain Weather Lore: Rain which falls from a fairly clear sky is likely to continue falling in short bursts for some time.
If it rains in the very early morning, the weather may clear up by the afternoon – ‘Rain before seven, shine by eleven’. 

The rainbow has had many meanings in many cultures, the main similarity being that it is always connected with deities. In the Christian Bible the rainbow was set in the sky as God’s pledge that there would never again be a great flood. In Burma the rainbow is a dangerous spirit; in India it is a bow from which divine arrows are fired. In Norse mythology the rainbow is the bridge that Odin built from Midgard, the home of men, to Asgard where the gods lived, and the souls of the worthy dead passed along the rainbow. In ancient Rome the rainbow was the many-colored robe of Isis, attendant to Juno. 

It is lucky to see a rainbow, and to wish when it is first seen, but unlucky to point directly at it, which will lead to bad luck or at least to the return of the rain. In Ireland, anyone who found the place where the rainbow touches the ground would find a pot of gold at its foot – something my brother and I tried to do several times as children!
A rainbow in the morning means further rain during the day, but a rainbow appearing late in the day means the rain is gone for the rest of that day. Small broken pieces of rainbow appearing on a cloudy sky are sometimes called Weather-galls, and signify storms and blustery weather.
Rainbow Weather Lore: If a rainbow fades very quickly, good weather is on the way.
A rainbow generally means that the rainy period is about to end. 

In many traditions and cultures stars are thought to be the souls of either unborn souls, or those who had passed away. In some cultures a shooting star foretells a birth, and is said to be the soul racing to animate the newborn baby, while in other places the shooting star foretells a death, or a soul released from purgatory. In some Native American traditions the Milky Way was considered a soul-road, where souls traveled on their journey after death, and that the brightest stars were campfires by which they rested on their travels.
It is unlucky to point at a star, or to try to count them. However, making a wish on the first star of evening will ensure its fulfillment, especially if the wisher repeats the old rhyme: 

‘Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
Wish I may, wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight’. 

A wish made while a shooting star is seen in the sky will be granted if it is made very quickly; an old French cure for pimples was to pass a cloth over them while a shooting star fell.
Star Weather Lore: If the stars look larger and brighter than usual, and very flickery, rain or a storm may be on the way.
If faint stars have disappeared and cannot be seen at all, the wind is about to rise. 

Storms have usually been considered an omen of divine wrath, and in most cultures a person struck and killed by lightning was thought to have been directly struck down by a deity. In ancient Rome a person killed this way was hastily buried without extensive mourning rites, and it was also frowned upon to rebuild any home struck by lightning. 

In Britain in past centuries, a storm was usually considered the work of the devil; witches were also often accused of raising storms and at witch trials accusations were often made of deliberate attempts to damage property or sink ships by raising a storm. Some wise-women and cunning-men sold knotted threads to sailors which were supposed to have the power of the wind bound into them; one knot would be untied to release a wind until the sailor had as much as he needed. 

Some people still cover all the mirrors in their house during a thunderstorm; it used to also be believed that windows and doors should be left open so that if the thunder got into the house, it could get out without having to damage anything. A comforting superstition states that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but since many high buildings have been struck repeatedly, it is also untrue.
An old rhyme speaks of which tree is least likely to attract a lightning strike, and therefore should be sheltered under if caught outside during a storm: 

‘Beware of the oak, it draws the stroke,
Avoid the ash, it courts the flash,
Creep under a thorn, it will save you from harm’. 

A winter thunderstorm was once thought to be an omen of death for a great man.
Storm Weather Lore: ‘Thunder in spring rain will bring’.
Thunder in the evening often means several days of wet, sultry weather. 

The sun has been worshiped as a symbol of life itself in many cultures since the dawn of humanity. The bonfires that our ancestors lit at Midsummer, Beltane and Samhain were intended as rituals to encourage and strengthen the sun on its journey throughout the year. 

In common with most other heavenly bodies and phenomena, it is unlucky to point at the sun, and in Hungary if a girl threw house dust from the broom towards the sun, it was said that she would never marry. It is a fortunate omen to be born at sunrise, and also considered to be lucky for a bride if sunlight surrounds her: ‘Happy is the bride the sun shines on’. 

An eclipse of the sun was feared by primitive peoples, who worried that the source of light, warmth and light was being devoured forever. From this arose the idea that an eclipse heralded a prominent death or a great disaster such as war, plague or famine. It was believed to be unlucky to view an eclipse directly (as well as bad for the sight). 

Sun Weather Lore: When the sun appears hazy with a thin, watery light, bad weather is on the way. However, if it looks like a large bright ball as it rises, that day will be fair and warm.
A bank of heavy dark clouds at sunset indicates that the next day may be stormy. A ring around the sun during rainy weather indicates a period of sunny weather and clear skies to come.
If the sun comes out while it’s raining, the showery weather will continue for a few more days.
A red sunrise means rain, but a red sunset means fine weather the next day. Three old sayings: 

‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight
Red sky at morning, shepherds take warning’
‘If red the sun begins his race, be sure the rain will fall apace,
If the sun goes pale to bed, ’twill rain tomorrow, it is said’.
‘Evening red and morning grey sets the traveler on his way,
Evening grey and morning red brings the rain upon his head’. 

The Moon travels through each one of the Zodiac signs about once a month–she stays in one sign about 2 1/2 days before moving on to the next one. As you can see from the table below, there are different tasks assigned to each Sign according to it’s planetary influences. This is a very ancient system, and I, for one, can attest to it’s accuracy. Factoring in other issues, such as what planting Zone you are in, how much you water or fertilize your plants, and weather conditions, the chart below will add an extra measure of success to your gardening techniques. 

The Simplest Rule For Moon Planting…
The moon planting rule says to plant crops that produce above the ground during the increasing light of the moon (from new moon to full moon) and to plant crops that produce below the ground during the decreasing light of the moon (from full moon to new moon). 

New Moon To Full Moon: Sow, Transplant, bud and graft.
Full Moon To New Moon: Plow, Cultivate, weed and reap.
New Moon To First Quarter: Good for Planting above-ground crops with outside seeds,flowering annuals.
First Quarter To Full Moon: Good for planting above ground crops with inside seeds.
Full Moon To Last Quarter: Good for planting root crops, bulbs, biennials, and perennials.
Last Quarter To New Moon: Do Not Plant At All! But begin compost heaps and worm farms. Remove noxious growth, weeds and pests. Harvest.


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