Born at full moon

Born at full moonThe moon is mentioned in countless love songs, poems and romantic stories. Lovers meet, kiss and make love bathing in its light. Naturally a side effect is conception. So is it therefore true that more babies are born at full moon?

That the moon influences the female fertility cycle and birth charts has been rumoured for centuries, but is this fact or fiction? Many would argue the second, but there are studies that show links. Of course not all babies are born at full moon, in fact a lot of babies are born just before New Moon.

One such study (Guillon P, Guillon D, Lansac J, Soutoul JH, Bertrand P, Hornecker JP.  Births, fertility, rhythms and lunar cycle. A statistical study of 5,927,978 birthsJournal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. (Paris). 1986) looked at 5,927,978 French births occurring between the months of January 1968 and the 31st December 1974.

Using spectral analysis, it showed that there are different times during the week and year where spikes occur. During a week the lowest numbers of births occurred on Sundays and the largest on Tuesdays.

I think this has less to do with the moon cycle, but is due to cultural circumstances such as holidays and working pattern.  These days many couples are forced to or voluntarily select  Cesarian births and,unless it is an emergency, man-made inductions won’t be scheduled for the  week-end. They are more likely to be pushed to the following Monday resulting in a Monday to Tuesday night birth, boosting the birth statistics for Tuesday.

The annual spike showed that most births occurred during the months of April/May and recorded the lowest  deliveries  for September/October.  Again I would argue that this is a cultural rather than a lunar phenomena.  I suppose the summer holidays have a lot to answer for the spring births and the cold winter nights for the birth ebb in early autumn.

But once birth statistics were analysed in accordance with the lunar cycle, then the less than equal birth distribution showed no cultural correlation.

When scientists talked to busy midwives, doulas or experienced childbirth educators, most of them agreed with an increased birth rate at full moon, but saw another phenomena even more important and that was the change in barometric pressure from cold/warm or vice versa.

Another studies from Italy (Periti E, Biagiotti R.  Lunar phases and incidence of spontaneous deliveries. Our experience. Minerva Ginecol. 1994 Jul-Aug;46(7-8):429-33.) examined 1248 spontaneous full-term deliveries in relation to the presence of a full moon and it also showed that the birth link between the moon and birth data was stronger for mothers who had given birth before and probably had a less inhibited experience.

But then again there are lots of studies who show no obvious link, so I think that just looking at the moon phase is probably not the right answer. Although being a mum myself, I have given birth twice and guess when both my children were born? You guessed right, both were born exactly on the day of a full moon.

 

For more references please see the article I found on birthsource.com titled: Full Moon, Gravitational Pull and childbirth 

Conceive with the moon

Conceive with the moon

moon goddessLooking at the moon cycle can be very helpful if you are trying (or not trying) to conceive. All of you will be familiar with the normal female fertility cycle (also known as the biological cycle) where mid-cycle a woman ovulates and can conceive. This always occurs 14 days before the next period.

But then how does this explain that so many women  conceive outside this cycle – at ‘ technically not possible’ times?  There has to be more to it!

This was the question that plagued the Czech doctor Eugen Jonas in the 1950ies.  He was a psychologist and listened to many stories of  his female clients, who either suffered  from unwanted pregnancies or lack of conceiving.

He therefore decided to look more closely into the subject matter of female fertility. He  unearthed fragments from Ancient Greek and particular Babylonian texts, where doctors successfully calculated the optimum time for  conception and birth control using a method that overlapped the time of menstruation together with the path of the moon.  Combining these old texts with his own research data he realised that each woman has a time in their cycle where she was more easily aroused and ready to conceive. This cycle varied from woman to woman, as it was dependant on the time she was born. So for example a  woman  born on a  full moon day would always find  this time in the lunar cycle the easiest to conceive. He then named this second fertility cycle – the cosmobiological cycle.

Once both cycle overlap, they form a nearly  perfect birth control system which has a success rate of over 98%, higher than even the pill and completely natural.

So how does this work in practise?

Firstly  mark the start date of your last menstruation on your calendar and count 15 days on, this is the ovulation date. Mark this day with a cross. As sperm can last to up to 3 days and as ovulation does not happen always on day 15, I suggest you cross off 4 days before and 2 days after your calculated ovulation day.

So you should have crossed off day 10 to 17 after the first day of your menstruation, this is the biological cycle and this  is where the normal ‘natural birth control’ ends with a success rate of around 55%, so just following this cycle is a bit of a gamble.

The next step is to find out your cosmobiologcial date (the date within the moon cycle you were born).   I am sure you can research the day of your birth and add moon cycle to the search to find out the exact ‘moon date’  for example 3 days after New Moon, 6 days before Full Moon and so on.

Then check a current moon calendar and find which date in that cycle correlates with the moon phase date you are born. It may sound complicated, but once you know you are born on the 3rd day of the Waning Moon (so 3 days after Full Moon) you can just mark it on the LWTM life-style calendar for each month.

To make it easier here is an example:

Your first date of your last period was on the 1st January, so you would cross off 10th to 17th January. If you were born on a Full Moon (and that month it was on the 24th), then cross off the period between the 20th and the 25th Jan.

The crossed off days are the ones you can conceive, all other days should be safe.

Over time, these cycles slightly shift. This happens particularly if your own fertility cycle is either shorter or longer than the average moon cycle. There may even be times when both cycles overlap and this is an ideal opportunity for women to fall pregnant who previously found it hard to conceive.

 

 

 

 

 

Solar eclipses

Solar eclipses

Total lunar eclipseYou must have ‘lived behind the moon’ not to have been swooped up this month’s news about a total solar eclipse. This particular one happened on the 20th March 2015 and was mainly visible in the Northern parts of Europe, particularly Scotland, Norway and Iceland.

As you can see on this picture, the moon passes between sun and the earth. As the visible moon is larger than the visible sun, the sun is eclipsed by the moon and no direct sunlight is visible to us. This event does not last long, in fact this year the longest solar eclipse was visible in Scotland and its total time was 2 minutes and 47 seconds, so not an eternity.

Total eclipses are vary rare astronomical events. The last one was in 1999 and the next one will occur again on August 12th 2026.

So considering how rare these events are and how short a time they take, it is remarkably how they capture our imagination. In the past solar eclipses often were markers of important historical events. There aparantly was a solar eclipse when Jesus died and Mohammed was born and in more recent times the solar eclipse in 1919, when the sun light was blocked by the moon for a full 6 minutes and 51 seconds, scientists measured the bending of the light from the stars. These finding were instrumental in the explanation of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Find out more about historical significant solar eclipses  

 

 

 

 

Fire, Earth, Air and Water

Fire, Earth, Air and Water

220px-Empedokles_fragment_Physika_I_262–300

Fractions showing some of Empedocles original work

The concept of the four elements, together with the day qualities plays a big part in the Biodynamic calendar. So here is some information about the man who started it all. He was called Empedocles, a philosopher, physician and poet, who lived roughly between 495–435 B.C. in Agrigentum, then a Greek colony in Sicily. Most of his original works and scientific theories have now been lost, but his ideas still exist  through references  by Plato. They also feature prominently in Aristotle’s writings on physics and biology.

Empedocles wrote most of his observations and theories in verse and poetic language.  A few of these fragments are still with us today, including  parts of his  two most famous works entitled On Nature and Purifications. Only very recently some more of his verses were discovered on a papyrus roll from Egypt  which had been stored in the Strasbourg University library.

During his lifetime Empedocles dedicated much of his time observing  nature, the stars, the sun and the moon. He was one of the first scientists to state the theory that light travels at a finite speed, a concept that was only much later fully understood. His forward-thinking observations earned him the posthumous title of ‘father of the cosmogenic theory’, which deals with the origin of the cosmos and the universe.

The four elements: 

In On Nature, one of his most ambitious works, Empedocles introduces the hypothesis of the four elements – fire, earth, air and water. He describes them as the roots of all physical manifestations.   In his opinion these four unchangeable and indestructible forces occur naturally in equal amounts and shape our whole existence.

This concept was not entirely new. The Babylonians had already gods personified as the cosmic elements: the sea (water), the earth (earth), the sky/sun (fire) and the wind (air). But Empedocles was the first person to treat these elements not as gods, but as components  of the universe.

In fact Empedocles only described the forces, but never actually used the term ‘elements’, which is a phrase invented by Plato. But the name ‘the four elements’ stayed and is still in use today — more than 2000 years later.

Empedocles and Plato may have put the ‘four elements’ on the map, but others since have taken this concept and have added additional qualities. For example Aristotle related the four elements to physical conditions:

Fire – is primarily hot and secondarily dry
Air – is primarily cold and secondarily wet
Water – is primarily wet and secondarily cold
Earth – is primarily dry and secondarily hot

Later Hippocrates used the four elements to describe the unexplained functions occuring in the human body and called them the four humours.  He called the four humours:

Yellow bile (fire), black bile (earth), blood (air) and phlegm (water)

Since the discovery of hormones the humours have become obsolete, but they played a vital parts in any medical intervention until the 19th century.

Love and Strife- the law of attraction and separation 

The four elements were static forces, but life as we know it is very changeable. So Empedocles introduced the principle of love (attraction)  and strife  (separation), a sort of Ancient Greek yin and yang.

Love and Strife are attractive and repulsive forces. They wax and wane their influence, but neither of them can wholly disappear from the influence of the other. Like there is no day without night and no heat without cold, everything works in proportion to each other.

The man Empedocles empedocles

During his life-time Empedocles was a charismatic and eccentric figure. Like the mathematician Pythagoras, Empedocles believed that the human soul can be reincarnated into animals and even plants. He believed that we all are part of nature and the cosmic movements and not a separate entity. Life is a spiral of wisdom and those who learnt the secrets of life, will reach the highest cycle of reincarnation and will be able to rest in a state of eternal happiness.

According to Diogenes Laertius, Empedocles died by throwing himself into the active volcano of the Mount Etna in Sicily. Legend has it that he tried to be more than a man and wanted to return as a god.

His dramatic death has inspired many works of fiction, particularly among the Romantic writers of the 18th and 19th century, a time when people were fascinated with the traditions of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The German author Friedrich Hoelderlin wrote ‘Tod des Empedokles’ (Death of Empedocles) and probably my favourite piece on this subject is Matthew Arnold’s poem called ‘Empedocles on Etna’, first published in 1852.

To the elements it came from
Everything will return.

Our bodies to earth,
Our blood to water,
Heat to fire,
Breath to air.

Here is how the elements correspond to the phases of the moon:

Element Air  – Waxing Moon – time to network and to create projects/tasks
Element Fire – Full Moon – time to present, sell and celebrate
Element Earth – Waning Moon – time to put the hard craft in and turn ideas into action
Element Water – New Moon – evaluate your work. Where can you improve?   Which direction do you want to travel in?  What are your core values and what do you want to do with your life?
Use our handy LWTM Life goal planner to help you find the answers.

Winter solstice

Winter solstice

stonehenge-in-the-winterThe winter solstice is the shortest day of the annual sun cycle. Nowadays this event passes by without any thought or celebration, as with electric lighting and heating the length of day light is no longer of any importance. When it gets dark, a switch of a button will bring the lights back on. But a few thousand years ago and  no light switch in sight, the winter solstice had a tremendous impact on people and their activities.

Archaeological sites such as  Newgrange in Ireland and Stonehenge in the UK, bare witness how important these ever shortening or lengthening sunrises/sunsets were.
The winter solstice was a time of great celebration before the really ‘cold days’ arrived. Most of the cattle would now be slaughtered, as it was difficult to feed them through the cold winter. The side effect was that is was the time when food and especially meat was around in plentiful amounts.

The barley, harvested earlier in the year and made into beer, was now properly fermented and the beer vessels needed emptying before they would go off.  Any fruit and vegetables which had not been already cooked, fermented and changed into a form that would store, was also ready to be eaten up.

During the few hours of sunlight people did their work and once the sunset had arrived, it was time to get together and be merry. That is the reason why all  pagan festivals, certainly the autumn and winter ones, always started during early evening.  In most European countries a reminder of these celebrations is Christmas, which is always celebrated on the 24th December once it gets dark. One reason may be that the candles illuminating the Christmas tree are certainly more effective when it is dark than during daylight. But the main reason is that Christmas’ celebratory custom is derived from the festival of the rebirth of the sun and as a pagan festival would have certainly been celebrated during the evening.

Below is an article that explains why the coldest days lie after the winter solstice and not before it. Why the coldest days are still to come? 

 

Biodynamic versus conventional growing

Biodynamic versus conventional growing

In the early 1920ies the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner was approached     by a number of concerned farmers who saw that in just a few years of using artificial fertiliser the soil was getting so depleted that they feared for the future of their land. Faced with this dilemma, Rudolf Steiner prepared a series of lectures that would become the foundations of the Biodynamic planting movement.

‘Biodynamic growing’ has now become a fashionable term, but what does it actually mean?

I would say, Biodynamics is more than just growing food, it is a philosophy or a way of life.  Conventional farming methods are all about as much profit can be had,  growing the most amount of food in the smallest space and shortest time. In order to do that, sacrifices have to be made. These come in the form of depleted soils, unnaturally forced or grown produce. Just think of the tomatoes or strawberries grown in rock wool with a bit of fertiliser and water, the thought alone just makes my stomach turn. Food grown in the way also tastes bland and uninspiring. But of course if you only eat this type of food then you would not notice the difference. But grow a few tomatoes in good soil on your window sill and taste the difference!

The Biodynamic way of growing food starts already with the soil. There is no rock wool, just rich, fertile soil that is not seen as a commodity, but as a precious material that produces great food.

The most precious ingredient in a healthy soil is humus. This is the part of the topsoil where all the nutrients lie. It is a complex process how nature turns leaves and other organic matter into compost and humus. The humus layer helps the soil to retain moisture and oxygen. It also helps the plants to grow by a way of ion-exchange. In short, humus is the soil’s ‘life-force’ and without it the soil is just a dead material where plants rest in.

Rudolf Steiner toolittle gardenerk particular interest in the soil and humus layer. He ordered compost preparations to be made out of plants such as nettle, yarrow, dandelion or valerian. These preparations were added to the soil and acted as a kind of soil tonic. In nature these plants are the natural healers and often grow next to fields and flowers. But today they are just seen as garden weeds. But by completely getting rid of them their vital contribution to keep your garden soil healthy is lost.  So today’s Biodynamic famers and gardeners add these preparations to the soil to enrich the humus layer. Additionally they plant with the seasons, the water tables and the most controversial part of it – in accordance to the lunar phases.

In conventional agriculture animals are totally excluded from the food production process or are even destroyed by pesticides. In the Biodynamic model animals are actively invited in as part of the growing process. Ladybirds are introduced to kill the aphids, bees to pollinate the crop and earthworms to turn the soil. Cow manure and horns are used as part of the fertilisation process. Of course pests do occur and they are kept at bay with nets or by planting herbs and other (for them) bad smelling plants.

The land is not seen as a short-term commodity, but as a precious ground for growing food that has to be preserved for many generations to come. Sadly some studies claim that over the last century around 60%! of the world’s humus has been lost. The result is more frequent flooding, as it is the humus layer in the soil that can absorb a large amount of water in a very quick time and hold it there as a reserve for the dry days further down the line.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not advocating to go back to the dark ages and of course a growing population brings with it pressure on food resources. But all I am hoping we are getting away from a farming model that only looks at profits and have no regards whatsoever for the soil and its long-term health. I also would like to see animals and ultimately humans again as part of the growing process. We all need to wake up and reconnect again with what we eat. Let’s make all sure that what is farmed is done so in a humanely and sustainable way, not just for us, but for all species here on earth.

P.S. The WWF has just published a study where it claimed that between 1970 and 2010 50% of wildlife has vanished over this time span. Many species such as the River Dolphin have now become extinct.