August from a witch...by Tansy Firedragon
August sees us celebrate Lughnasadh or Lammas – the celebration of the first harvest. Now is the time when the plants start to provide us with ripe fruit or seeds for future crops.
Although the weather is still warm and sunny (hopefully) towards the end of August you might start to sense the very beginnings of autumn in the air. The Sun God is entering old age and loses some of his strength each day as the nights grow longer and the days shorten.
August is a time to be thankful for what we have and what we are given. To harvest we must cut down the plants that we have tended and grown, we mourn for the spirit of the grain and honour them because they give us what we need to live.
We call upon the Mother of the Harvest to help with difficult decisions or hard tasks that we have to perform, we ask for her strength to face our fears. She gives us the strength to do what is right even if it is difficult.
If you put things into motion at the summer solstice then now is the time for you to reap what you have sown.
August is a good time for hand fasting and craft fairs, breaking bread with friends, creating corn dollies, dancing, feasting, celebrating the summer and generally enjoying the abundance that Mother Nature provides for us.
It is a good time of the year to work with magic for prosperity, generosity, success, good fortune, abundance and completion of those projects that have been hanging around and maybe a bit of ‘paying it forward’ too. As the sun is growing weaker it is also a good time to work with grounding and sun energy meditations gathering up the energy and using them in your workings.
To celebrate build a bonfire and have an all night party outside with lots of singing, dancing and feasting. I especially like the feasting part…
Make homemade bread, dishes with potatoes, corn, summer squashes, berries, apples, rice, pears, grains, wine and beer – probably not all in the same pot though…
Make salt dough wreaths to decorate your home.
Salt Dough Ingredients:
1 Cup of flour (8oz/225g)
½ Cup of Salt (4oz/112g)
½ Cup of cold water (4floz/100ml)
Combine the salt and flour then add the water until the dough becomes elastic then knead the dough (if it's too sticky, add more flour).
Once it's a good consistency, make your decorations either using cookie cutters for smaller ones or plait the dough and twist into a wreath – be creative! Bake the ornaments on a really low oven setting for 3-4 hours. Once they've cooled, paint them with designs and symbols, and seal with clear varnish. If you're planning to hang them, poke a hole through the ornament BEFORE baking them. Then after you've varnished them, run a ribbon or thread through the hole. You can also add a teaspoon of cinnamon and/or some glitter into the mixture too.
If you have access to any woods then take a walk and see if you can find any twigs that could be used to making divination/dowsing rods and wands.
Gather in your herbs to dry them to keep for use over the winter.
Boost the protection in your home by making witches bottles, witches ladders and protection pouches.
If you decorate your altar or home for this season you might use sun images, oak, sunflowers, and lilies, maize/corn cobs, seashells, fresh flowers, fire images, sun dials, and cornucopias, stalks of grain, cauldrons and witches ladders.
If you want to work with deities that are associated with August you could investigate Consus, Isis (apparently her birthday was 12th August), Ops, Danu, Portunus, Salus, Spes, Vertumnus, Jupiter, Venus, Volturnus, Vulcan, Maia, Hora, Lugh, Tailtiu, Demeter, Ceres, Adonis, Attis, Dagon, Mercury, Neper, Parvati, Pomona, Tammuz or any of the deities associated with the harvest.
Totem animal energies that are particularly associated with this month are salmon, bear, horse, fish, mouse, griffin, basilisk, roosters, calves, centaurs, phoenix and any animals that you associate with harvest time.
Veggies that are in season during August: Globe artichokes, aubergines, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, French beans, garlic, kohl rabi, leeks, lettuce, onions, pak choi, peas, peppers, chillies, potatoes, pumpkin, squash, radish, rocket, runner beans, sorrel, spinach, sweet corn, tomatoes, turnips and watercress.
If you fancy a bit of foraging during August (please make sure you have identified the plants correctly before eating!) you might find chickweed, fat hen, marsh samphire, nettles, sorrel, watercress, wild rocket, chives, horseradish, wild fennel, mushrooms and hazelnuts.
If you like working with the energy of crystals then for August you could try aventurine, citrine, peridot, sardonyx, cat’s eye, golden topaz, obsidian, moss agate, rhodochrosite, quartz, carnelian and any of the crystals that have the lovely colours of the harvest – reds, oranges, yellows and gold.
Making loose incense or an essential oil blend to help you connect with the month of August might include heather, frankincense, sunflower, hollyhock, oak, rose petals, rosemary, chamomile, eucalyptus, passionflower and sandalwood.
Make the most of the summer days, celebrate that we are lucky to have what we do and spend time with friends and families outside – give thanks.
Originally published in The Mystik Way magazine