“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,
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
AUGUST – CORN MOON
August is the eighth month of the year and name for Augustus Caesar. Its astrological sign is Leo the lion (July 22 – August 23), a fixed fire sign ruled by the Sun. In August we are surrounded by the power and glory of the Goddess. The fields of August bring forth bounty. In nature, yellow and gold dominate with corn, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, and goldenrod brightening the landscape. The month begins with Lammas, or Lughnasadh, the first of the harvest sabbats. Brains are honored now, and breads are always found on the Lammas table. Nowadays, attending a country fair is a pleasant way to observe the harvest season. Produce, canned foods, and baked goods are proudly displayed along with prize ribbons. In August you can occasionally feel the breath of autumn. There’s a coolness in the breeze, and a change in the angle of the sunlight, which reminds us summer is not endless. At twilight, the katydid begins scratching its late summer song. The ancient Romans held Diana’s feast on August 13. It was a time of feasting and enjoying the farmer’s bounty. Many Native Americans celebrate the corn harvest in August. This festival eventually gave August’s Full Moon its name, the Corn Moon. Magic for the Corn Moon may focus on health, fertility, or abundance.
The Corn Moon
In late August, we celebrate the beginning of the Corn Moon. This moon phase is also known as the Barley Moon, and carries on the associations of grain and rebirth that we saw back at Lammastide. August was originally known as Sextilis by the ancient Romans, but was later renamed for Augustus (Octavian) Caesar.
Colors: Yellow, red, orange
Gemstones: Tigers eye, carnelian, garnet, red agate
Trees: Cedar and hazel
Gods: Vulcan, Mars, Nemesis, Hecate, Hathor, Thoth
Herbs: Rosemary, basil, rue, chamomile
Harness some of the Corn Moon’s fiery energy for your ritual and spell work. This is a good time to focus on your spiritual and physical health. It’s the time to harvest what you can now to put aside for later use. What sacrifices can you make today that will benefit you further down the road?
Also Known As: Barley Moon
Using Corn in 7 Magical Ways
To use corn in magical workings, think of the symbolism of this hearty grain. Here are some ways you can use corn in ritual:
- Use corn in rituals involving growth and transformation. After all, a single kernel brings you a tall stalk full of (you guessed it!) more kernels! You can also associate it with self-sustainability and fertility, both of people and of the land.
- Ceres was the Roman goddess of grain, specifically corn, and of the harvest season. According to Roman legend, she was the one who taught mankind how to farm. She is associated with agricultural fertility and a bountiful harvest. Make her an offering, and she may well protect your crops from natural disasters such as flooding or blight.
- Create herbal sachets out of the husks, to use around the house, bringing in magic associated with various herbs.
- Make offerings to gods or goddesses of fertility. Depending on your tradition, different deities like different things, but in general, you can’t go wrong with offerings that are food, drink, or handmade items.
- Sprinkle corn around your ritual area to delineate sacred space. This is a great way to create an eco-friendly circle that you don’t have to clean up later – don’t worry, the birds and other local wildlife will take care of it!
- Make a corn doll to honor the deity of your tradition.
- Create a corn husk chain, with each link representing a magical goal. As you get closer to the goal, remove a link, and either burn it, bury it, or return it into your garden.
The Pagan Book of Days for the Month of August
August is named after the first Roman emperor, Augustus Caesar (23 September, 63 B.C.E. – 29 August, 14 C.E.). The tutelary goddess of August is Demeter or Ceres. According to legend, Demeter left Olympus, abode of the gods, to dwell on Earth. Her beneficent qualities and virtues are most apparent during this month of harvest. The Anglo Saxon name for it is another descriptive one: Weodmonath, “vegetation month.” The Frankish name is Aranmanoth, “corn ears month.” To modern Asatru, it is simply the month of Harvest. The full moon this month in the American backwoods tradition is the Sturgeon or Corn Moon. The first day of the month is the cross-quarter day festival of Lammas, the eighth station of the year. Many Pagans call it Lughnassadh, which is the unreformed Irish spelling of the modern Irish name, Lunasa. The Irish name for the day itself is La Lunasa. The ancient Pagan Irish Lughnassadh Assembly describes the themes associated with this festival:
Heaven, Earth, Sun, Moon and Sea,
Fruits of Earth and Sea-stuff,
Mouths, ears, eyes, possessions,
Feet, hands, warriors’ tongues.
Lammas is the first harvest of the traditional year, that of grain. This month is sacred to the god of wisdom, Lugh, tutelary deity of London, and Lyones, who is the Celtic parallel of the Norse Odin. The Celtic holly month Tinne ends on 4 August, to be followed by Coll, the hazel month. This is the time of gathering fruitfulness, figuratively in the use of words and divination, giving us creative power and energy. Its sacred color is brown, and its ruling being is the Irish demigod, Fionn MacCumhaill (often anglicized as Finn McCool). The goddess-calendar month of Kerea runs until 8 August, to be followed by the month of Hesperis. In Egypt the fixed Alexandrian calender has its New Year’s Eve on 29 August. This calendar was standardized in the year 30 B.C.E., beginning on this day with the month of Thoth, but it has subsequently succumbed to first the Julian and then the Islamic calendar.
The birthstone of August is the sardonyx, whose adage goes:
Wear a Sardonyx or for thee
No conjugal felicity.
Those August born without this stone
‘Tis said must live unloved, alone.
Country weather lore for August links it as follows: “As August, so next February.” Also, “A fog in August means a severe winter and plenty of snow.” The immediate weather concerns the forthcoming harvest, so of course, “Dry August and warm, doth harvest no harm.” A “green sky” above the sunset pressages a rainy morning. In this month, moon lore is important too. If a ring or halo appears around the moon, it foretells coming rain. The moon features in another traditional August weather rhyme:
Pale moon doth rain, red moon doth blow.
White moon doth neither rain nor snow.
Of course, the likelihood of snow in August is almost nil.
––The Pagan Book of Days, A Guide to the Festivals, Traditions, and Sacred Days of the Year
Correspondences for the Month of August
NATURE SPIRITS: dryads
HERBS: chamomile, St Johns wort, bay, angelica, fennel, rue, orange
COLORS: Gold and Yellow
FLOWERS: Sunflower, marigold
SCENTS: Frankincense, heliotrope
STONES: Cat’s eye, carnelian, jasper, fire agate
TREES: Hazel, alder, cedar
ANIMALS: lion, phoenix, sphinx and the dragon
BIRDS: crane, falcon, eagle
DEITIES: Ganesha, Thoth, Hathor, Diana, Hectate, Nemesis
POWER/ADVICE: Energies should be put into harvesting, gathering vitality and health, also friendships.
Symbols for the Month of August
The Goddesses of August
Tekhi, Ishtar, Ceres, Lakshmi, Hesperus, Tonantzin
August’s Sign of the Zodiac
Leo (the Lion): August 1 – August 22
Virgo (the Virgin): August 23 – August 31
August’s Celtic Tree Astrology
Tinne – Holly (July 8 – August 4)
Coll – Hazel (August 5 – September 1)
August’s Runic Half Months
Thorn (July 29 – August 12)
As (August 13 – August 28)
Rad (August 29 – September 12)
August’s Birth Flowers
Gladiolus and the poppy
Pagan Calendar for August 2016
- 1: Lammas or Lughnasadh
- 1: Imbolc (Southern Hemisphere)
- 1: Birthday of medium Edward Kelley, 1555
- 4: Celtic Tree Month of Holly ends
- 5: Celtic Tree Month of Hazel begins
- 13: Roman Festival of Pomona
- 15: Birthday of Charles Leland, folklorist and author, 1824
- 18: Full Moon — Corn Moon at 5:29 am
- 20: Birthday of author Ann Moura in 1947
- 23: Roman Festival of Vulcanalia
- 31: Birthday of author Raymond Buckland
Protecting Your Home In The Month Of August & The Rest of the Year
This ritual is a wonderfully simple and effective way to bless your home, but here are some other ways in which you can magically protect and bless the place where you live:
Blow bubbles. I know it sounds mad, but what an enjoyable way to bless your home and get the little ones involved too! Pour the bubble mixture into a pretty bowl and, holding your hand over it, ask for it to be blessed with happiness and goodness. Then go outside and blow those blessings all around your home. (Just make sure you do it before you wash your windows. Mr. Hedgewitch once got a bit cross at all the bubble splatters across his clean panes. Not much happiness there!)
Float balloons. This method of home blessing is great fun for the kids. Blow up balloons and float them up to touch the roof of the house to get your blessings up as far as you can. Be imaginative!
Sweep away negativity. Use a broom that is reserved for just this task. A bundle of twigs tied with some cleansing herbs makes a great energy-clearing broom. Go around the house in a clockwise motion, sweeping out every room. End at the front door and sweep the negativity out with the words: “Be gone!”
Create a protective boundary. Sprinkle the perimeter of your home with salt to enclose it in a protective circle. Ask that no negativity cross this boundary. You can also bury jasmine incense sticks at the four corners of your property for blessings and protection. Use herbs here too. Strong-smelling herbs are the best for dealing with negativity, so sage, pine, and mint are all great to use. Combine them with peace-giving herbs like lavender, hops, or chamomile to create a peaceful boundary.
Bless the threshold. Focus some time on the entrance to your home. Your front door carries everything from outside over the threshold, so bless and protect it well. A pot of basil grown at the front door is a great way to do this. And wipe the door handle with lavender oil to touch everyone symbolically who enters with peace.
Inscribe your blessing. Take a small dish of oil— any will do, but I like to use olive oil— and place your hand over it, asking that it be filled with the power of blessings. Then visit every window and door in your home and, with your finger dipped in the oil, inscribe a protective symbol on each. You can use a flame, a pentacle, a sun, a flower, or anything that represents blessings to you. This also works well when performed with herbal tea. Try chamomile for peace, lemon for cleansing, etc.
Beat the boundary. This comes from an old British custom in which communities came together and beat the ground around the boundaries of the village with willow sticks that they called wands— and we know all about them, don’t we! This was done to ensure that the village was blessed, and to drive out any negativity for the coming year. So grab a willow stick if you can— your broom will work just as well— and beat the ground around your home, saying:
Blessings in and evil out,
Protection gained, there is no doubt!
Leave offerings. The spirits of your home and hearth need to be remembered too. Leave offerings of honey, cream, or cake to the Fae of your home and garden, thanking them for their presence in your household and asking them to bestow blessings upon it. Remember, they won’t consume what you leave, but they will feast on the essence. So keep your offerings fresh and light a candle occasionally to honor them.
Hang blessings. Make some little sachets with herbs and flowers to hang in your home. Basil is a wonderful herb to use for love and protection, but tailor your mix to what you want it to do. Keep your home in your mind as your create each sachet. Tie them with ribbons whose colors are associated with your spell and say the words: “So mote it be!” as you hang each one. You can also hang crystals in the windows to bounce their rainbow light around each room.
—Hedgewitch Book of Days: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for the Magical Year
We walk the path of the Old Gods
From this moment forth
We will not walk alone
Together, we will worship
Together, we will practice our Craft
Together, we will learn and grow
We vow to work, from this day forward
In perfect love and perfect trust
According to the free will of all
And for the good of all
Creating only beauty
Singing in harmony
Our song upon the Earth
Love is the law and love is the bond
In the name of the Goddess and the God
So do we vow, and so mote it be.
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