The magic from the all geo

The magic from the universeGardening, hairdresser appointments, doctor's visits: Who aligns everyday activities with the course of the earth's satellite, lives better. Scientists think this claim is nonsense. Millions of people believe in them anyway

Table of Contents

– Survey results – All pure superstition? – The moon teaches patience – Edgar Wunder – And faith? – Karin Sams – Luisa Francia

One day with Johanna Paungger, and your whole life can seem like an accumulation of missed opportunities.

Yesterday, for example, a Monday, when the waxing moon crossed the constellation of Virgo, would have been a good day for cutting hair; before that, favorable days for a new start in one's career were already let pass unused.

The right phase of the moon is crucial

Johanna Paungger could have opened one's eyes to all these opportunities. She is sitting on the loggia of her house in Klosterneuburg, Austria, with the last foothills of the Alps behind her. Next door, a woman is resting motionless by the pool; this heat has been going on for days now. But what paralyzes Johanna Paungger is not the sun, but the moon.

magic from the all geo

For better or worse: For ten years, the Breidenbachs have been running their nursery according to the lunar calendar. Tomato seedlings, for example, come only on "fruit days" into the earth

It must explain. She chooses simple words, but it sounds like magic: Done at the right time, says Johanna Paungger, things go easily and effortlessly from the hand. On days like today however – it is a Tuesday, the waxing moon moves in the meantime through the zodiac sign of the Libra – one did not need to get up at all.

In detail: If she watered the flowers today, they would get lice. "Washing is inconvenient, ironing too, window cleaning too." Johanna Paungger lives consistently. Why should she make it difficult for herself when it can be done easily??

Ancient folk belief

She is the successful ambassador of an ancient folk belief: For decades, Johanna Paungger has been giving lectures about the moon and its influence on people's everyday lives. Together with her husband Thomas Poppe, she has written seven guidebooks. Building and renovating, diets and doctor's visits, gardening, personal hygiene and gymnastics – for everything in life there is a guarantee of success: the right phase of the moon.

The sales of the seven books prove how many people share this belief: according to the publisher, a total of more than ten million copies have already been sold in German-speaking countries, 2.5 million copies of the first guidebook "Vom richtigen Zeitpunkt" alone. The bestseller has been translated into 22 languages, including Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Greek, Japanese and Chinese.

The pair of specialists

The success of the Austrian authors suggests that the moon has not lost its magic to this day. On the contrary: Just in the world of the 21. At the beginning of the twentieth century, when science was trying to unravel the last secrets of life, the old belief in the power of the earth's satellite was reawakened. For years the esoteric shelves of the bookshops are overflowing with moon books in the style of Paungger and Poppe. In organic food stores, beer, bread and spring water are lined up – brewed, baked and bottled at full moon; and in almost every big city, doctors and hairdressers can be found who schedule their appointments according to the phases of the moon.

Survey results

In a survey conducted by GfK Marktforschung in 1999, one in ten Germans said that the position of the moon influences the onset and course of illnesses. Especially in the south of the republic, according to the findings, such views are widespread. In the U.S., as many as four out of five psychologists and two-thirds of all accident doctors believe the moon has a direct effect on human behavior.

There are stock traders who first consult the earth's satellite when buying and selling their papers. The moon is the time for sowing, harvesting and woodcutting; it is said to have a mystical effect on fertility and to clock female menstruation. Also the frequency of car accidents and brawls, suicides and births many believe governed by the moon, like ebb and flow. And one phase is always attributed special power: the full moon, during which Jack the Ripper murdered. Where love flares up. Where sleepwalkers climb roof ridges.

All pure superstition?

The magic from the all geo

Moon off, mouth open: Dentist Siegfried Bucherl only operates on his patients when the moon is in the wane – because bleeding is less likely to occur afterward. This is not scientifically proven. But his patients enjoy it more quickly, says Bucherl

Johanna Paungger's life was calibrated to the moon at an early age. Walchsee, Kaiserwinkl, in Tyrol. Cowbells and alpenglow. Here she is born in 1953. Her grandfather takes her to gather herbs, to repair paths, to chop wood… Everything in the rhythm of the moon, according to a custom that began sometime in 17. How Johanna Paungger took root in the Tyrolean mountain village in the nineteenth century.

When Johanna is 14, the grandfather dies. Not even a year later she set off for the big city, Munich. To "become a modern person, says Johanna Paungger today.

She has managed to live against the moon for three or four years. She also went to the dentist when the moon was waxing, to the hairdresser when it was convenient, ate this and that without regard to the position of the earth's satellite. Eventually, she just felt miserable, moved back to Austria to the countryside – and set up her daily life again according to the moon.

To find out what such an everyday life looks like, you only have to look around the household of the family of five: The rose trellis, which still has the price tag from the hardware store on it? Only with waning moon it is to be put into the earth "then it holds bombproof". The new garden house, where the steps are missing? On the last new moon the family interrupted the construction, now everything must rest for two weeks.

The moon teaches patience

The moon, so much is quickly clear, teaches patience. In the middle of the garden Johanna Paungger has planted a vegetable patch. Tomatoes, lettuce, rhubarb, hot peppers, peppers, lovage – everything is sown, transplanted and watered according to the moon. At first sight the plants look withered. The ground has dried out so hard from the hot summer that our shoes do not leave any imprints. "But I can harvest every day", says Johanna Paungger.

Her husband brings out a pot of tea, listens for a while, now and then picks out a sentence from the conversation and takes it into larger contexts. That is its job. At least that's how Thomas Poppe sees himself: as a translator of their world, which is so naturally governed by the moon.

magic from outer space geo

Cutting at a premium: Austrian timber construction entrepreneur Herbet Maier receives around 20 percent higher prices for roof trusses made of robust "moon wood. Beaten after old custom with certain moon positions in the winter

If Johanna Paungger and Thomas Poppe could consistently shape not only their daily lives but also those of the people around them, what would come out of it?? In general, people would work less on days like today, in phases of the waxing moon. With the waning moon, on the other hand, twelve, fourteen hours a day. With headache there would be yarrow tea instead of Aspirin. It was no longer necessary to use preservatives to keep food or cosmetics, but only to observe the rules of the moon in production and storage. Beautiful hair, supple skin, strong fingernails: no problem either, if you take care of yourself at the right time. And couples who are involuntarily childless would not have to confide in doctors, but would have to use only those phases of the moon that promise fertility. If only everything were so simple.

Edgar wonder

Edgar Wunder is the managing director of the Gesellschaft fur Anomalistik e.V. in Heidelberg. Ufos, poltergeists, dowsers: Whoever deals with such phenomena as a scientist should basically consider everything possible – otherwise he might as well leave it alone. And so Edgar Wunder has to listen to the most diverse theories about why man is ruled by the moon: The earth satellite changes the earthly magnetic field, for example, they say, thus also the living conditions of all organisms. Or: Shouldn't a celestial body that can move the sea also cause our body's water balance to fluctuate in the rhythm of the tides?? On the other hand: The force of the moon's gravity corresponds only to that value, by which the earth's gravity increases, if a person in a skyscraper rises ten meters downwards.

Edgar Wunder, however, is not someone who immediately looks for explanations. "That would mean", he says "to put the cart before the horse." First once a clear effect of the moon must be to be measured. "Then I can still think about how it comes about."

In search of such clear evidence, Wunder has combed through more than 600 studies in which scientists have explored possible connections between the position of the moon and people's experiences or behavior – be it admissions to mental hospitals, the number of epileptic seizures, drug use, suicides, accidents or emergency calls to the police and fire department. The result: All investigations ended either negatively or proved to be methodically questionable.

Often, for example, the periods studied were far too short: if, for example, the number of crimes is observed for only a single lunar cycle, an increase on the day of the full moon can very likely also be attributed to the corresponding day of the week.

Similar errors were also found by the American researchers Ivan Kelly, James Rotton and Roger Culver, when they critically reviewed more than 100 papers on the influence of the moon in a meta-study published in 1996: "The moon was full – and nothing happened", read the title and the result of the report. Not even the widespread suspicion that the full moon deprives countless people of sleep could be statistically proven.

Strange only: If serious scientific studies can measure no effect of the moon on humans, why does the contrary belief persist so stubbornly?

Desire for meaning

Researchers explain this contradiction mainly by a phenomenon called "addiction to meaning" could be called: Those who have spent a restless night, for example, look for reasons for this – and find an indication, if necessary, in the full moon. "Because the human brain is not a computer, As the anomalistic expert Wunder says, it only registers the cases in which the hypothesis, once established, is confirmed. The nights when there is no full moon and you still spend awake in bed are left out of the personal statistics.

The magic from the all geo

Between moon and marketing: Austrians Johanna Paungger and Thomas Poppe are the most successful ambassadors of the lunar faith community. You have written seven guidebooks and sold ten million copies of them

In addition, the thought of the power of the night lantern, once anchored in the head, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy – so that one does not sink into sleep at full moon precisely because one believes that one cannot do just this.

And the belief?

The belief that complications during surgical procedures are more frequent the closer the date is to the full moon – which is also what Johanna Paungger and Thomas Poppe claim – could be quite similar. The recovery phase, so the authors write, lasts longer then.

A team of researchers at Graz University Hospital has meticulously verified this claim, using the example of 15000 operations in which artificial joints were inserted. The researchers did not find the slightest indication that the position of the moon influenced the course of surgery and healing. To claim this only unsettles the patients and is therefore even an "act of questionable irresponsibility", according to the clinic team.

Is now really already the last word spoken? Or can one say to the researchers, yes, one must say to them, that the examined patients were probably under such strong medication that possible powers of the moon could not have come to bear at all?

The influence of the moon on man seems to be like the Loch Ness monster: its existence cannot be proven, but at the same time it can hardly be refuted in a generally convincing way. And as long as this is not possible, the belief in the magical persists.

Karin Sams

Karin Sams, also known as "Ginger" because of her red hair called, sits in the garden and rolls a cigarette. The story she has to tell resembles in broad outlines those one hears from many who have started at some point to put the moon rules to the test for themselves personally.

About five years ago, Karin Sams began to take an interest in the subject. She had heard of relatives and acquaintances who aligned their lives with the moon. When she decided to follow their example, she and her husband had just started building their own house. She was not yet 30 years old, had thrown her parents' advice to the wind and decided to buy a prefabricated house. When the construction company filed for bankruptcy, the house in Abenberg, Franconia, was only half finished; moreover, it stood crookedly on an incorrectly calculated foundation. The credit line was almost exhausted -. Karin Sams pregnant with her second child. Perhaps this is what moments look like when one becomes susceptible to the thought that life could also be simpler.

Long hair at last

The magic from the all geo

Mane thanks to lion: For years, Karin Sams wanted long hair. But only since she only goes to the hairdresser when the waxing moon is in the constellation of Leo, her hair grows luxuriantly enough

Mrs. Sams had wanted long hair so badly. They never grew, she says – until she started going to the hairdresser on the days that the lunar calendar says are favorable. she decorated the dining room of her still unfinished house with photos. There are the children, Kevin and Nadine, and next to them her husband. Karin Sams has old pictures of herself tucked away deep in the back of the closet; on them she wears dull permed hair, chin-length.

Today it reaches almost to her hip. Those who have such experiences do not ask for plausibility and scientific verifiability. Instead, Karin Sams now also looks at the lunar calendar when she wants to care for her fingernails, clean the windows, do the laundry. "Even if it's only faith that moves mountains – the main thing is that it works."

Her mother sits down with a crumbled cake and an arm-thick zucchini pulled by the moon in her hand – she, too, is a convinced woman. When Karin Sam's husband comes home a little later, the group falls into silence for a moment. Does he also have a special relationship with the moon? Well, Mr. Sams says, he once got a telescope as a Christmas present.

Luisa Francia

Luisa Francia is, as she says herself, a witch – and therefore knows how to use the power of the moon. But if someone comes to her with the question of whether such a conviction is rational, she counters: "Is it rational to wage wars?? Is it rational to build nuclear power plants?"

Luisa Francia, filmmaker and author, has been organizing moon rituals for more than 20 years. When the moon is full, she and her Munich friends go to the mountains or even just to the nearest park, light a fire there, dance and sing wildly and nakedly and unbridled, lay stones in circles. "Women like me", says Luisa Francia "need these rituals to survive. The moon gives us energy." She even tries to reduce world-political tensions with it. Lately, she says, she has been devoting most of her time to the Middle East conflict.

All this seems crazy only when one goes through the notes at home – and there are only bare words, which have lost the cheerful tone of Luisa Francia.


She was addicted to the moon even as a child. When the moon was full, her mother remembers, Luisa would come running into the living room late at night, sit down on the floor and leaf through books or catalogs – in a deep sleep, her eyes wide open. She talked with spirits and does so until today, without slipping away from this world by it. Luisa Francia, with her loud laugh and the muscular arms and legs of a trained mountaineer, seems thoroughly worldly. "There have always been these two levels in my life. I talk with spirits and play with the spiritual energy of the moon, but I have to earn money and do my tax return like any other person."

The magic from the all geo

The power of the sphere: Luisa Francia leads a double life. As an ordinary taxpayer – and as a self-confessed witch who dances around a fire during a full moon in order to harness lunar energy

And still on this most earthly level the moon has a meaning for them. "Global industry, as well as culture and sports, are designed as if there always had to be a full moon: top performance, shining brightly, always on top, always on top. But it's not always a full moon, and maybe women understand that better because it's not always ovulation either. Everything comes and goes. Nothing remains. Not the beautiful, but not the lousy either."

Nature provides all that is needed

On Luisa Francia's balcony grows what seeds the wind has carried. This is another old folk belief: that nature, out of the blue, grows the medicinal herbs in the vicinity of a house that the occupant needs at that moment. Recently, a yellow flowering evening primrose has started to grow in the flower box: the oil from its seeds is said to relieve the symptoms of menopause.

Must be open to the wonders of nature, so that they come to you? The power of the moon, for example, is only revealed to those who are ready to receive it? Shortly after the meeting in Munich, Luisa Francia sends an e-mail. She forgot something else. Doing "wishing moon rituals" with girlfriends. As a "wishing moon the full moons of the "solid" are valid in the alpine region Constellations, i.e. of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Luisa Francia writes that whatever is burned as a wish on a piece of paper or spat into running water will be fulfilled by the next wishing moon. It all sounds so simple. But perhaps therein lies the magic.

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