August Barley Moon
* Also known as: Corn Moon, Green Corn Moon, Corn silk Moon, Maize Moon, Grain Moon, Wheat Moon, Moon of the Fields, Ripen Moon, First Acorns Moon, Fruit Moon, Berry Moon, Blackberry Moon, Mulberry, Moon, Black Cherries Moon, Wine Moon, Wort Moon, Yellow Flower Moon, Heat Moon, Drying Moon, Dog Days Moon, Dispute Moon, Lightning Moon, joyful Moon, Nesting Moon, Sturgeon Moon
* Colors: gold, tan, yellow, red, and orange
* Scents: Frankincense, heliotrope
* Gemstones: Tigers eye, cat’s eye, carnelian, garnet, jasper, red agate
Trees: Holly, Hazel, Cedar, Alder
* Gods: Gods of agriculture and grain, Tammuz and Ishtar, Attis and Cybele, Adonis, Aphrodite and Persephone, Demeter, Ceres, Freya, Brighid, Lugh, Llew Llaw, Blodeuwedd, John Barleycorn, Vulcan, Mars, Nemesis, Hecate, Hathor, Thoth, Ganesha
* Herbs: Elderberry, Fennel, Savory, Southernwood, Valerian Rosemary, basil, rue, chamomile, angelica, bay, orange, St. John’s Wort, Sunflower, Marigold, Bindweed, Morning glory, cattails
* Foods: Grains such as: wheat, corn, millet, rye, barley, oats, breads, sourdough bread,, “stone, fruit,” peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, berries such as black berries, elderberries, jam, first veggies such as: tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, zucchini, beer, whiskey
* Animals: Grasshoppers, dragonflies, may flies, crane, birds of prey, eagle falcon, lion, phoenix, sphinx, dragon
* Element: Fire
Now, we enter the month of August, the eighth month of the Gregorian calendar, originally called Sextillis by the Romans. The name was later changed to Augustus in honor of Caesar Augustus. August is traditionally the most dry, arid and hot of all the Summer months. Now, is the time when you can really feel the effects of the waning Sun’s energy. Instead of life giving, and warm, He is brutal and drains you of any vitality. He calls the fields and his people to mature and to begin looking toward the dark, cold days ahead. At this time of year, you can begin to notice the waning light and the chill in the air at night. Autumn is now fast approaching and it is a good time of year to plan for the Winter months ahead. Make home improvements and repairs, clean carpets, hang new drapes, buy new sheets, and warmer blankets. Go over your Winter wardrobe and decide what you would like to keep, what you’ll need and what you’d like to donate. Take advantage of case lot sales of canned veggies and boxed foods, take advantage also of the, “Back to School Sales,” Pick up office supplies while they are cheap, and take advantage of end of season clearances, also look for new Fall clothes, treat yourself and feel like a kid again. Going along with the Back to School theme, August is a perfect time to pick up a few books and to begin studying a new subject. It is a good time for oaths regarding studying new subjects and paths.
Now, is also a good time to look over your life and to see what you have accomplished throughout the year. What you have planted, tended and harvested, it is also a good time to think about what you would like to let go of. It is also a good time to count your blessing, to send out prayers of Thanksgiving and to start a gratitude journal.
August is a good month to squeeze out as much Summer as possible out of the remaining season. Plan a trip, go camping, hike to the higher elevations; get out of the Summer heat and the Summer smog. Visit an amusement park or water park. Be appreciative of water and it quenching effects on both you and the land.
Augusts’ Moon goes by many names, most of them relating to the harvest, whether it is the harvest of grains such as: wheat, corn, millet, rye, barley, oats, or “stone,” fruits such as : peaches, cherries, apricots, plums, or berries such as: blackberry , mulberry and Elderberry. August is both a time of hard work and bounty. It is a time to enjoy the fruits of the season the fruits of your labor. If you have a garden enjoy its bounty, eat from its bounty and enjoy what has actually been grown by your hands. If you do not have a garden make it a point to support farmers’ markets and to eat locally and what is actually in season in your area. Not only will the food taste wonderful, but it will be fresh, full of nutrients and foster a connection with you to the land and to the season. Make fresh salsa by chopping tomatoes, peppers, onions up finely and add olive oil, lemon or lime juice to taste. Host a BBQ, invite family and friends and just enjoy the Sun’s the heat and each other. Host a garden swap, have the neighbors bring over the bounty of their garden to trade from some of yours. Bake bread, start a sourdough starter or make yogurt. Brew beer and wine. Preserve your harvest by making jams, jellies, and preserves, pickle, can, host a canning party, teach this valuable skill and share what you made. Dry herbs in Augusts' heat; make teas, and herbal preparations that you will need during the Winter months. Weave wheat, make corn dollies and floral wreathes.
The Month of August is a month of contrast it is not only just on the cusp of Summer and Autumn but is also on the cusp of intense, dry heat and unpredictable and strong storms. Usually these storms blow in quickly, accompanied by howling winds that kick up dusk and lightning that streaks across, the sky. These storms sometimes have large raindrops and sometimes bring with them hail. These storms can be destructive and scary or they can be silent and beautiful as the lightning, Sky God, fertilizes the Earth Goddess below. It is for this reason that this Moon is sometimes called the Lightning Moon.
Another name for this Moon is the Sturgeon Moon for the Native American tribes fishing the sturgeon, large fish of the Great Lakes, most easily caught at this time.
It is in August where we are presented with the opportunity and challenge to understand the meaning and sanctity of the grain, of the corn. For this mere seed, holds within its shell the secrets of all life, and the secrets of man’s history. the grain whether represented as a Goddess, such as the Barely Mother, Corn Mother, Demeter, Persephone, Ceres, Ishtar, Isis, Freya, or Cybele or by the God resurrected such as Tammuz, Adonis, Attis, Osiris, John Barleycorn or others it is an important lesson for all.
The grain is a mere seed from an older plant, it stays in suspended animation during the Winter’s months, when the perfect combination, of light, warmth, and moisture reaches it and it breaks through its shell. Up through the fertile Earth it pushes seeking Air, seeking light, it emerges and begins growing. Soon it is green, tall and dances in the breeze, and is showered by heavy storms. It flowers, and goes to seed, the seeds ripen, the plants begin to die and turn golden. They are cut down, harvested by man, the grain is threshed, winnowed and ground into flour, eaten as porridge, brewed into beer or whiskey. Every seed that fell nestles back into the fertile Earth, every seed eaten by birds or animals travels to populate a new area. In Spring the seed will be resown and it will rise again. Each seed, each grain, connected eternally to its ancestors, it was born of a previous generation, who also went through the life cycle that it will now embark upon.
This cycle reflects our own lives, our own journey from conception, birth childhood, adolescence, and maturity, to mother and fatherhood, to middle age, old age and death. We too will be planted deep within the Earth, we too will nourish, and make room for future generations, and we too will be born again.
The cultivation of grains started a revolution in human society; some say it created human societies as we know it. It leads us from small hunter gathering communities, to large cultivating communities. Like the grain sprouting from the soil so sprouted cities, so sprouted the philosophies, arts, sciences, technology and advanced thoughts. Societies grew and changed and class systems developed, Instead of living off the land we owned the land and forced it to produce. The wealthy man was he who owned the most land and had the most laborers and slaves to farm it. Thus we created class systems and lost our connection to the land. We did not see the growth of the grain, it appeared magickally on our plate, though the toll of others, we understand naught how it was produced, and the hard work it took. Grain even became a staple of the poor and was despised, refined and so changed that one could not recognize it. Grain is a gift from the Gods; and many mythologies say that agriculture was taught it us by the Gods. Grains it can be stored so that man does not starve during the Winter months. It provides carbohydrates and protein for the hard working man to burn; it is a sacrifice and a sacrament and should be honored by all. Grain is our Mother, our ancestors, ourselves
To celebrate this connection to the Grain and to life itself bake loaves in human forms, as you partake, know that this bread is a representation of the body of the fertile Earth Mother, and a representation of the resurrected Grain God. Grain is a complete representation of the year and of the life cycle or nature and of man. To break bread is also an ancient simple ritual of community. The simple act of generously sharing food with another person builds bonds and fosters community.
You may also wish to sprout fresh grain seeds to include in your ritual bread, or make “Gardens of Adonis.” In some Mediterranean countries woman would give offerings of small clay pot or dish filled with sprouted grain seeds either to the sea or later they would leave these dishes at churches.
There are many holidays in the month of August among them Lammas the first harvest festival, the Egyptian New year celebration, the Brauronia the Feast of Artemis. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is celebrated at this time; worshippers celebrate the ascent of Mother Mary into heaven. At this time people ask Mary protect the harvest, during the last crucial days before it is gathered in. Offerings of flowers, cakes, seashell and the first of your harvest were given to this Goddess. In Elche, Spain an elaborate three day drama of the Assumption is acted out.
If you look out at night into the dark clear August skies you will notice a very bright star, the brightest star in the sky, shining brilliantly in a white or bluish hue, sometimes it is also seen with a red glow, and many times it seems to twinkle, this star is known as Sirius, the Dog Star. Sirius is located in the constellation Canis Majora the Great Dog, in the bridge of the Milky Way. Sirius is not a single star but a binary star system consisting of Sirius A, a star three times the mass of our Sun and 1.8 times our sun’s diameter and over ten times as bright as our Sun; and Sirius B a “white dwarf,” star invisible to the naked eye. Sirius B though dim is very dense packing the whole density of our Sun into a size of a globe only 4 times the diameter of Earth. The Sirius star system is around 200 to 300 million years old. Sirius is only about 8 ½ light years away from Earth. It is the fifth nearest star to Earth. It is a very unique system, around every 50 years Sirius A and B’s orbits very close to each other, creating huge magnetic storms between them. As they approach each other, the stars begin to spin faster and faster and their tidal forces become stronger and stronger, finally resulting in a flip-flopping where Sirius A and B change places. This flip flopping has been known to influence Earth inhabitants in huge upheavals, most notably in 1944 when we were in the throes of World war 2, and in 1993 when the Berlin wall fell and the Cold war finally officially ended.
Sirius has been known by many people’s throughout human history and different civilizations. Many cultures have been observing this star for centuries and knew facts like that it was a binary star and that the two stars changed places, things that mankind have only recently observed through the invention of high powered telescopes.
Sirius gains its named from the ancient Greek word for “searing,” or “scorching,” and its reappearance in the sky after its 70 day disappearance due to it its conjunction with the sun, in which the sun’s rays blocked out its light where known as the, “Dog days,” of summer a phrase we still use now. The Dog days are the hottest, driest and most miserable moments in summer. Sirius’s influence was known not only to bring extra heat to the Earth but to make people “hot headed,” as well, it was known to inflame people’s tempers, and was a time of arguments and disputes, as well as welting crops.
The ancient Assyrians regarded it similarly and called it “Dog of the Sun,” or “Star Dog of the Sun.” And it ancient Chaldea, present day Iraq it was known as “the Dog Star that leads.” The Polynesians marked it as the beginning of Winter and Sirius was considered an important star for navigating the Pacific ocean. In the ancient Vedas Sirius was known as the, “Chieftain’s Star,” and in other Hindu writings, it is referred to as “Sutra,” “the Rain God,” or the “Rain Star.”
In Chinese astronomy Sirius is known as the “Celestial Wolf. In many North American tribes Sirius was associated with dogs. The Blackfoot called it “Dog face,” the Cherokee paired Sirius with Antares as a dig-star guardian of either end of the “Path of Souls.” The Pawnee knew it as “Wolf Star.” Or “Coyote Star.” The intuit tribe called it the “Moon Dog.”
Sirius was called Lokabreena (“the Burning of Loki” or “Loki’s Brand) by the Norse This refers to an incident where Loki, the trickster God cut off Sif’s long golden hair as part of a prank. Thor her husband was no enraged that he wanted to kill the trickster but Loki had a plan and was able to persuade the dwarves to make some magickal hair for Sif. This hair once it touched her head would grow just life Sif’s. It is thought that Sif’s hair represents the grain that is grown and cut and regrown every year. Her husband Thor is a thunder god and brings fertilizing rain to the Earth. Loki is described not only as a trickster but a god of wildfire and heat and is directly associated with Sirius’s intense heat, which causes the ripening of the grain.
To the ancient Egyptians Sirius was essentially important and a cause for celebration. Not only did Sirius’s rising signal that the yearly flooding of the Nile was drawing near, but it also was their New Year’s celebration. For the 70 days when Sirius would disappear from the sky the Egyptians would not bury the dead as Sirius was seen as a doorway to the afterlife and when it disappeared the doorway was considered closed. Sirius was known by the name of “Sothis or Sopdet,” “the Water Bringer,” “the Star of Isis,” It was said that Isis revives the Niles just as she revives Osiris, that’s he gives birth to Horus as she gives birth to the Nile.
August is also the month in which the Perseids meteor shower occurs. Usually, this is around August 17-24. At its peak you can expect around 50-100 meteors per hours. Its peak time is just after midnight. The Perseids meteor is the oldest meteor shower that has been recorded by mankind. It has been observed for around 2000 years, with its earliest recording of its existence in China around 36 A.D. The meteors from the Perseids are coming from the comet Swift-Turtle. Every year the Earth passes through the debris cloud of this comet and is bombarded with meteors. The Persieds meteor shower appears to radiate from the constellation of Perseus, named after the Greek hero of the same name. Perseids is known to have defeated Medusa, constructed the Atlas Mountains, and delivered Andromeda from a sea monster. Because of this the Perseid meteors are called the “Children of Perseus.” They are also called the “Tears of Saint Lawrence,” after the anniversary of his martyrdom.
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