30 Ways to Make August an Enchanting Month.
"When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and like a dream of beauty glides away."
- Sarah Helen Power Whitman
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August marks the end of summer. This last golden month of summer is often bittersweet. It’s typically a beautiful month for me, as 1st of August is one of my favorite holidays and my birthday falls in the middle of the month. It can also be a wonderfully autumnal month at times. It is also the last month of summer holiday before the school year begins in September.
I see August as an in-between time. The height of summer has passed, yet my favorite season (autumn) hasn’t quite arrived. It’s a time to plant seeds and make plans. It can also be a less magical time of year for me, but this year I’m determined to make August an enchanting month. Here are my 30 ways to make August an Enchanting Month.
1. Celebrate the ancient first harvest festival, Lughnasadh. I have some suggestions for making this celebration special in my blog post here.
2. Make it a priority to slow down and appreciate these last dog days of summer. Try to be present and enjoy all the things you personally love about summer. If you aren’t a big summer person, try to find things you do like about this season.
3. Watch as many sunsets as possible. See how many you can watch. Keep a visual or written diary of all of these sunsets, perhaps one entry for every day this month. It could be a series of photographs, a written description, a colored pencil sketch.
4. Get outside somewhere in nature at night to catch fireflies. Then let them go. Say farewell until next year.
5. Make an August playlist. Choose songs that seem to express the mood of August. Listen to it every day.
6. Go to a U-pick farm to harvest seasonal fruits and veggies.
7. Dress up in your fanciest summer outfit and add a big sunhat. Enjoy the feel of the sun against your (sunscreen protected) skin.
8. Make some special ice lollies (popsicles) using fancy ingredients, such as adding fresh herbs and edible flowers.
9. August is Leo season, so follow in the big hearted lion’s footsteps and do something from a place of love. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, knit scarves and hats to be donated for those in need over the winter, surprise a friend by treating them to a special lunch, or anything else that comes to mind.
10. Don’t forget to treat yourself. Dye your hair that outrageous color, go on that holiday you’ve been saving for, have that solitary time you desperately need.
11. Read a magical book! My two recent favorites are The Festival of Vision and Fire by my friend Logan Miehl and The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris. The first book is full of faeries, magic and Celtic folklore. The second is more magical realism and is the fourth book in the Chocolat series. The main character, Vianne Rocher is one of my favorite characters ever!
12. Cook a delicious meal using in season, local foods. Set the table in a special way, light candles, and make it a magical mealtime.
13. Pick a huge bouquet of wildflowers, or treat yourself to a store bought bouquet. Breathe in the heavenly scent, feast your eyes on the gorgeous colors and shapes.
14. Seek some local activity to attend. Perhaps there’s a Shakespeare in the park performance where you live, or a local festival, outdoor music event, or a tour of the local art galleries. Choose something that delights you, and make sure you make it to the event.
15. Go swimming! If you can’t swim, try to at least get in the water, preferably out in nature somewhere. Perhaps there’s a beach nearby, or a lake, stream, pond, etc.
16. Enjoy a summer thunderstorm if you get the chance. Go play in the rain. Splash in puddles, run, laugh, be grateful for rain.
17. Get some fresh grapes and freeze some. This is a delightful, fancy summertime treat. Grapes are perfect mini popsicles.
18. Make a flower crown and wear it!
19. To get in the mood for autumn and back-to-school, throw a Harry Potter themed party! You could have a HP movie marathon too!
20. Create a nature mandala using little nature treasures you gather on a walk.
21. Keep a nature journal. Record sketches, observations, stories.
22. Write a story or poem dedicated to August. If you don’t like to write, you could create a collage about August.
23. Engage in shin rin yoku, or forest bathing. Spend time walking slowly in a woodland or somewhere else in nature.
24. Forage for wild foods. Blackberries are just starting to ripen where I live. Wild blueberries can be found too.
25. Make sun tea using fresh herbs.
26. Even if you aren’t typically an early riser, plan ahead so you can wake up to see the sunrise and hear the birds’ dawn chorus. Make a flask of tea, and sit on a hillside or on the hood of your car if you have to drive to a nature spot.
27. Journal about all the things you want to create in the autumn.
28. Meet a friend for brunch with champagne. Don’t wait for a special occasion, create one!
29. Tend to your garden, or indoor plants. Start planning for autumn.
30. Spend some time gazing at the moon and dreaming.
Celebrating Lughnasadh. Tips for making Lughnasadh an Enchanting celebration.
Many of us who live in harmony with nature and the seasons choose to celebrate festivals from the Old Ways. August 1st is the first harvest festival of the year, and is still celebrated in many places around the world. Many farmers still acknowledge this festival in some small way, even if they do not remember its roots.
In Pagan communities, this festival is generally called Lughnasadh. Some people prefer to call it by the name it was given when Christianity began to overtake Paganism, Lammas. Whatever your religious/spiritual views, it’s really lovely to acknowledge the changing of the seasons and express gratitude for Mother Earth and all the food she provides for us.
Here are some ways in which you can connect with nature and celebrate this first harvest festival of the year and begin to welcome the coming autumn season.
1. Throw a zero waste picnic. Ask each guest to bring their own plate, cup, bowl, and flatware. Share food made from seasonal, local produce. Ideas: Roasted corn on the cob, baby pumpkins, courgettes, watermelon, blackberries.
2. Light a bonfire and burn bay leaf wishes. Take a moment to express your gratitude for all this delicious food, for summer warmth, to think about all the wonderful things you did over the long summer days.
3. Create a nature table/altar with all of the food you harvested. If you don’t have access to a garden, try to get locally grown produce to put on your altar.
4. Create a nature mandala with lots of orange and yellow flowers to represent the sun.
5. Invite friends round for a midnight celebration to say farewell to summer and welcome the darker days. Place candles in jars and decorate your outdoor space for an added bit of magic. If you are lucky, you might even spot the last fireflies of the season.
6. Take a ritual bath with golden flowers and anoint yourself with essential oils of your choice.
7. Sit in a quiet place and meditate to meet the being that embodies the height of summer and warmth for you (The sun God Lugh, a solar deity, etc).
8. Plan an outing to a U-pick farm to gather any seasonal produce you desire. Then have a party and share this food with your loved ones.
9. Journal to describe what you are ready to release as you say farewell to summer and what you wish to accomplish during the autumn months.
I hope these ideas have sparked a plan for celebrating Lughnasadh! Your celebration can be simple or elaborate. Do what feels right for you. Happy harvest!
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