August was renamed for Augustus Caesar, the Roman emperor because many of his great achievements occurred in this month - originally, it was known by the Latin Sextilis (meaning 'sixth'). It is the fifth of seven Gregorian months, with 31 days. August's birthstone is the peridot and its traditional flowers are the gladiolus and the poppy. August always begins on the same day of the week as February in leap years. In the Southern Hemisphere, August is the third month of winter.
Today is the Greater Sabbat of Imbolc in the Southern Hemisphere (the Greater Sabbat of Lammas in the Northern Hemisphere).
In ancient Egypt, the cow-headed goddess Hathor was honoured on this day by an annual festival known as Breaking the Nile. The festival, which was also dedicated to all water and river goddesses, celebrated the rising of the fertile waters of the River Nile.
In ancient Greece, the annual mourning ceremony called Adonia was held on this date in honour of the dying hero-god Adonis.
The Eve of the Festival of Venus was celebrated annually on this date by the ancient Romans. On this night, the goddess of love and beauty was honoured and invoked with prayers, love songs, libations, and passionate lovemaking. It was also a time for all forms of love magick and marriage divinations.
On this date, many Wiccans celebrate the annual Feast of the Fire Spirits. Dried mandrake root or yarrow are cast into fires as offerings to the Salamanders.
On this date, the Pagan festival of Hecate is traditionally held at moonrise. Hecate, the goddess of darkness and protectress of all Witches, is a personification of the Moon and the dark side of the female principle.
Festival of Vesta. The ancient Roman goddess of the hearth was honoured annually on this date in ancient times. Many modern Witches light six red candles and cast herbs into hearth fires on this day to honour Vesta and to receive her blessings for family and home.
Festival of Diana. Every year on this date, the goddess of chastity, hunting, and the moon was honoured by the ancient Romans.
The Volcanalia festival was celebrated annually on this date in ancient Rome. It was dedicated to Vulcan, the god of volcanoes.
Each year on this date in Athens, the ancient Greeks celebrated a festival dedicated to Nemesis, the goddess who presided over the fate of all men and women.
On this date in 1934, Wiccan author and founder of the Seax-Wica trad Raymond Buckland was born in London, England.
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