Monday, August 1, 2011

The Month of August

"Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn."

- Michelle L. Thieme, August's Crown-

Astrological Signs: Leo , July 23 - August 22
Virgo , August 23 - September 22

Welcome to the month of August.  It is hot and muggy and we’re feeling downright miserable with this heat.  After all, they don't call it the  Dog Days of Summer for no reason.  How well I remember those Dog Days of my youth. Polio was still around, and although the vaccine was in the works, it had not yet been released for public use. Our petrified parents would not let us go near the lake during the month of August for fear we would catch it.  All during the summer we were allowed swim in the lake, but never during the Dog Days of August. 

August is the eighth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian  calendars and one of seven months with a length of 31 days.  It was called Augustus by the Roman senate, in honor of Octavius Caesar, to whom they gave that title when they chose him Emperor of Rome. This  month celebrates  the bounty of Mother Nature and the harvest of grain.  Saxons called the month of August woedmonath, meaning the weed month, named after the fast-growing weeds,  and the Franks called it Aranmanoth or corn ears month.  

"In August, the large masses of berries, which, when in flower, had attracted many wild bees, gradually assumed their bright velvety crimson hue, and by their weight again bent down and broke their tender limbs."
-  Henry David Thoreau

August marks the end period of Summer growth, the ripening of grain. fruits, and vegetables.  To our ancestors who were in the fields from first light to nightfall, this was a month dedicated to long hours of hard work.  
People gathered on the hills to play games, eat and drink, and festivals celebrating the summer feast of  Lughnasa on August 1st included climbing hills to gather bilberries, which were eaten on the spot or saved to make pies and wine. The first sheaf of new wheat is cut , and the first loaf of the new harvest is baked and  taken to the local church where they were blessed and distributed amongst the parishioners while  Pagans celebrate by weaving corn doilies and offering the first loaves to their goddess. 

August is shared by the astrological signs of Leo the Lion and Virgo the Virgin, and is sacred to the following Pagan deities: Ceres, the Corn Mother, Demeter, John Barleycorn, Lugh, and all goddesses who preside over agriculture. The traditional birthstone amulets of August are the peridot and the sardonyx; and the sunflower and the marigold are the month’s traditional flowers.   Traditional herbs include the  following:  angelica, chamomile, fennel, Orange, Rue,  Heather, and   St. John's Wort. Colors for August are gold, yellow, amber, and green.

August is a time of gathering and celebration, a time to reflect and count up our achievements and focus on what still may be needed to produce.

August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a match flame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
A moment,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away."
- Elizabeth Maua Taylor, August


  1. I could never go swimming, because of polio scare. At least you got to learn how to swim.


  2. while you are sweltering in the last throes of summer.. I am shivering as winter has her last hoorah! but the warmth is coming.. the snowdrops are out & first jonquils too... my soul sighs with relief in more ways than one xo