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The practice of Moon Gardening - the timing of planting, tilling and harvesting crops by the phases and astrological position of the Moon - stretches far back into prehistory. Archaeologists working in the middle east and studying the oldest written texts found so far have confirmed that Moon Gardening has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Information contained in these texts strongly imply that the first calculations of lunar cycles were done (presumably for agricultural use) some 8000 years ago when the earth was still in the waning grip of the last Ice Age.
Prevalence of Moon Gardening
Sumerian gardening texts over 4500 years old detail the same basic rules for Moon Gardening that contemporary Moon Gardeners follow today. Even more interesting is the fact that cultures as diverse as the central highland Maya, mid-Pacific Hawaiians, medieval Chinese, the ancient Classical civilizations, the Highland Scots and the Eastern Cherokee all followed the same basic Moon Gardening rules and seem to have developed these rules independently of each other. It seems that something other than mere chance is going on.
Scientific basis for folklore?
Until the 20th century science as an institution dismissed Moon Gardening as folklore and superstition. But recent scientific discoveries have uncovered extremely subtle interactions between the earth, the moon and life on this planet that show that the old superstitions and folk lore have been right all along. Science is now discovering that a bewildering number of species, including our own, time their most essential activities by the Moon. See our related article, Animals and the Moon.
While science is still a very long way from confirming every belief about gardening by the Moon, enough has already been proven to have a scientific basis that the rest of the beliefs concerning moon gardening shouldn't be discarded out of hand. In short it's probably not wise to dismiss 6000+ years of accumulated moon lore we are currently unable to explain.
Our ancestors, going back all the way to last Ice Age, almost certainly timed their most important activities by the phases of the Moon. So our presence here, at least indirectly, is a result of the Moon's effect (or at least the belief in the Moon's effect) on human life. And while some might question the rationale for using this information in an age populated with microwaves, dot coms, and dominated by international agri-businesses, at the very least it keeps us in touch with our roots - knowing that our actions are part of a long, unbroken chain reaching back (at least) to the last Ice Age. And at best, giving 21st century, post-industrial Americans a living link and a role to play in the larger Cosmos. A thing we've been sadly lacking of late.
Copyright © 2004 Jim Jung