Lunar calendar (astrology)

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The lunar calendar (also lunar and monthly rules or twelve-month rules , Latin regimina duodecim mensium ) is the combination of an astronomical lunar calendar with an interpretation system that is derived from early astronomy and iatroastrology and is still used today in astrology .

Lunars (from Latin luna , 'moon') as a text genre are defined according to Weißer as "short texts that relate to the 30 days (" lunations ") of a lunar month that counts from new moon to new moon (up to the end of the Middle Ages, for example, disease prognoses) offer and accordingly have a constant 30-part structure ”and can be assigned to the complex of lay astrology.

Precursors were lunar ominas in Mesopotamia and similar predictions in ancient Egypt. Lunar fortune texts, also called moon books, denote all texts in which future prognoses are related to the moon. Brévart divides the corresponding text types in Lunare , Zodiakalmondbücher , moon books after the 28 moon stations , planetary tracts , Magic Zodiakalmondbücher and special projections for the moon .

For centuries, certain lunar periods (waxing and waning, ascending and descending) have been taken into account in agricultural and forestry work. According to old tradition, certain work should always be done at the “right” time, as there are both “favorable” and “unfavorable” periods depending on the application.

Since around the 1980s, observance of this time quality has been gaining increasing popularity via the commercially available lunar or sowing calendars. These works are partly worked out in great detail with regard to the observation of the moon constellations . In the context of this new renaissance, these calendars are also used in other contexts beyond their original use.

Agricultural and forestry lunar calendar

The roots of the agrarian lunar calendar lie in medieval peasant calendars , which have been handed down for example in the centenary calendar from the middle 17th century. These were to calendar technically oriented old Lunar calendars.

The following lunar periods are - depending on popular belief or astrological school - relevant for plant growth :

  1. Phases of waxing and waning of the moon, the actual moon phases ( synodic moon rhythm )
  2. Different distance of the moon to the earth ( super moon and Lilith ) ( anomalistic moon rhythm )
  3. Ascending and descending moon , d. H. alternately north of the celestial equator - high - and south of the celestial equator - low ( tropical lunar rhythm )
  4. Moon positions in the signs of the zodiac ( sidereal moon rhythm )

Examples of alleged connections between astrological concepts and agriculture or forestry:

  • The harvest and storage of grain is said to take place when the moon is waning . The grain is then more durable and less susceptible to beetle and mold infestation. The sowing of standing crops (cereals) should however, when the moon is waxing result, and indeed preferably when the moon is in a fire sign stand (fruit characters). This enables rapid and safe emergence, rapid soil contact and thus reduced susceptibility to erosion . (Other sources refer to the ascending or descending moon in this context .)
  • It is said that wood that is felled in the first eight days after the December new moon in the zodiac sign Aquarius does not warp as lumber .

Different methods

Within the agrarian lunar belief, there are considerable inconsistencies in the methodology of correlating the zodiac signs and constellations with the sidereal month: On the one hand there are the experiences of Thun (2001), on the other hand there are studies that predominantly do not match the Thun's experimental results could understand. Spiess (1994) was unable to confirm Thun's sowing recommendations for lunar rhythms in his long-term experiments. He attributes this to the fact that Thun follows the constellations, while he himself - like Paungger & Poppe (1991) - follows the signs of the zodiac (“star signs”). However, there is currently a difference of around 30 degrees of arc between constellations and signs of the zodiac (see precession , cycle of precession ), which makes a time difference of an average of 2.3 days for the moon orbit.

So there are currently two contradicting prevailing approaches: Thun is based on Indian astrology (so-called "sidereal" zodiac), Paungger & Poppe on the other hand on the analogy principle of western astrologers and thus on the signs of the zodiac (so-called "tropical" zodiac).

An example from the 2001 lunar calendar: According to Paungger & Poppe, a waxing moon in Germany would be in the sign of Virgo from April 4, 8 p.m. to April 6, 11 p.m. (i.e. for a good two days), whereas after Thun it would still be in Leo during this time and would only enter the Jungfrau sign on April 6, 12 noon (based on Central European summer time). The recommended dates are up to three days apart.

There are also different views in the literature about the extent of the signs of the zodiac (equidistant model, constellation limits), or about the quality and assessment of the different periods of the moon.


Since the tides fluctuate in the same rhythm as the phases of the moon, there is a reliable correlation between the phases of the moon and the rhythms of marine life influenced by the tides . There is no reliable confirmation of a possible influence of the anomalous moon rhythm (distance of the moon to the earth ) and the tropical (ascending and descending moon). Investigations on phenological calendars allow a correlation with the synodic events in the course of the year, but are not significant . The influences of climatic and meteorological factors are much more pronounced.

In a study between 1732 and 1736 Duhamel du Monceau refuted the thesis that wood felled in the waning moon was more durable than that felled during other phases of the moon. Even Hermann Knuchel did not come to a different conclusion in large-scale experiments in the 1920s. In general, it can be said that studies of forest engineering aspects of tree populations in the Alpine region and other forests that are less influenced by modern forest technology are of significantly greater significance. (See also the article moon wood ).

Other uses of the lunar calendar

In addition to the original use of the lunar calendar and monthly regimes (Latin regimen duodecim mensium ) in the agricultural, dietetic and medical fields, today astrologically oriented lunar calendars are used in different areas of life: When should hair and nails be cut, or when is the best date for business decisions, Celebrations or magical rituals ?

This use in the socio-cultural context can be found in the border area between esotericism and pseudoscience , fashion and superstition . As part of cosmobiological contraception , the lunar calendar is used to supposedly determine the fertile days of women. The different systems of interpretation that are used in lunar calendars leave a wide scope for contradicting, personally colored and mostly unscientific, refuted statements.


  • Gottfried Briemle: The Difference Between Zodiac Signs and Constellations. In: Oberösterreichischer Volkskalender 2002. Verlag Oberösterr. Bauernbund, Linz, 2002, pp. 71–78.
  • Gundolf Keil : The Graz Early Middle High German monthly rules and their source. In: Gundolf Keil, Rainer Rudolf, Wolfram Schmitt, Hans Josef Vermeer (eds.): Specialist literature of the Middle Ages. Festschrift Gerhard Eis. Metzler, Stuttgart 1968, pp. 131-146.
  • Gundolf Keil: A Latin version of Master Alexander's monthly rules. Bavarian health rules from the end of the 14th century. In: East Bavarian border marks. Volume 4, 19160, pp. 123-138. Also in: Medicine in the Medieval Occident. Edited by Gerhard Baader and Gundolf Keil, Darmstadt 1982 (= Paths of Research. Volume 363), pp. 228-259.
  • Agi Lindgren: An old Swedish version of 'Master Alexander's Monthly Rules'. In: “gelêrter der arzeniê, ouch apotêker”. Contributions to the history of science. Festschrift for the 70th birthday of Willem F. Daems. Edited by Gundolf Keil, Horst Wellm Verlag, Pattensen / Hanover 1982 (= Würzburg medical-historical research. Volume 24), ISBN 3-921456-35-5 , pp. 201–321.
  • J. Paungger , T. Poppe: From the right time. The application of the lunar calendar in daily life. Hugendubel-Verlag, Munich, 1993.
  • Ortrun Riha : The 'Utrecht Monthly Rules': Investigations into the history of the text. In: Würzburger medical historical reports 3, 1985, pp. 61–76.
  • H. Spiess: Chronobiological investigations with special consideration of lunar rhythms in biodynamic crop production. In: Schr. R. f. Biodynamic research. Volume 3, Darmstadt 1994.
  • M. Thun, MK Thun: sowing days . M. Thun-Verlag, Biedenkopf, 2001.
  • K.-P. Endres, W. Schad: Biology of the moon. Lunar cycle and rhythms of life . S. Hirzel Verlag, Stuttgart / Leipzig, 1997.
  • Christoph Weißer: The disease lunar from a medical point of view. A contribution to the iatromathematical-astrological specialist literature of the Middle Ages. In: Sudhoff's archive. Volume 65, 1981, pp. 390-400.
  • Christoph Weißer: Studies on the medieval disease lunar. A contribution to the history of lay astrological prose. (Medical dissertation Würzburg). Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1982 (= Würzburg medical historical research. Volume 21).
  • H. Groschwitz: moon times. On the genesis and practice of modern lunar calendars . Waxmann-Verlag, Münster 2008 (= Regensburger Schriften zur Volkskunde / Comparative Cultural Studies, 18).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Karin Häfner: Studies on the Middle Low German twelve-month rules (Medical Dissertation Würzburg). Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1975 (= Würzburg medical historical research. Volume 3).
  2. ^ Gundolf Keil : monthly rules (twelve month rules, regimina duodecim mensium). In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil, Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1003 f.
  3. Christoph Weißer: Illness Lunar. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 804.
  4. Christoph Weißer: Lunar. In: Encyclopedia of Medical History. 2005, p. 870 f.
  5. Christoph Weißer: Lunar. In: Author's Lexicon . 2nd ed., Volume 5, Col. 1054-1062.
  6. Francis B. Brévart: Moon divination texts. In: Author's Lexicon . 2nd Edition. Volume 6, Col. 674-681.
  7. ^ Frank-Dieter Groenke: The early medieval Latin monthly calendars: text - translation - commentary. Medical dissertation Berlin 1986.
  8. Hans-Rudolf Fehlmann: Dietary monthly rules in a "Handbook of Medicine" from the middle of the 15th century. In: Orbis pictus. Cultural and pharmaceutical historical studies. Festschrift Wolfgang-Hagen Hein. Edited by Werner Dressendörfer and Wolf-Dieter Müller-Jahncke, Frankfurt am Main 1985, pp. 103–117.
  9. Ortrun Riha: The dietary regulations of the medieval monthly rules. In: light of nature. Medicine in specialist literature and poetry. Festschrift for Gundolf Keil on the occasion of his 60th birthday (= Göppingen work on German studies. No. 585). Kümmerle, Göppingen 1994, ISBN 3-87452-829-4 , pp. 339-364.
  10. Ortrun Riha: 'Master Alexander's Monthly Rules'. Investigations into a late medieval regime duodecim mensium with critical text output. Pattensen, now Würzburg 1985 (= Würzburg medical historical research , 30) ISBN 3-921456-41-X .
  11. Christoph Weißer: On the compilation technique of late medieval lunar authors. Attempting an analysis using the example of the collective unar from the Augsburg manuscript 2 ° Cod. 67. In: Dominik Groß and Monika Reininger (eds.): Medicine in history, philology and ethnology: Festschrift for Gundolf Keil. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2003, pp. 177–186
  12. Christoph Weißer: Medieval disease prognosis: Two previously unpublished Darmstadt lunar texts. An interim report on the state of research. In: Würzburg specialist prose studies. Contributions to medieval medicine, pharmacy and class history from the Würzburg Medical History Institute, [Festschrift] Michael Holler on his 60th birthday. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1995 (= Würzburg medical-historical research , 38), ISBN 3-8260-1113-9 , pp. 79–97.
  13. ^ Karl Sudhoff : Medical monthly rules for bloodletting, cupping, bathing, use of medicines and selection of food and drinks from a Parisian manuscript of the 14th century. In: Sudhoff's archive. Volume 2, 1909, pp. 136-139.
  14. ^ Gundolf Keil: Kassel monthly rules. In: Author's Lexicon . 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Col. 1050 f. (to a collective zodialogium from the 2nd half of the 14th century).
  15. Johanna Maria van Winter: Middelnederlandse voedings- en gezondheidsregels per maand en per seizoen: leererde raadgevingen voor een ongeleerd publiek. In: Geneeskunde in nederlandstalige teksten tot 1600. Koninklijke Academie voor Geneeskunde van België, Brussels 2012 (2013), ISBN 978-90-75273-29-8 , pp. 169-218.