Corn Moon

Cornfield at Night
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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 a couple of weeks earlier, at Lammastide. August was originally known as Sextilis by the ancient Romans, but was later renamed for Augustus (Octavian) Caesar.

This is a season of the beginning harvest. It's when corn and wheat are flourishing in the fields, and will soon be threshed. If you have a garden, it's probably blooming with tomatoes, onions, and herbs just waiting to be picked. Focus on this harvest aspect of August's full moon, and consider what things you have in your life, right now, that can be gathered, collected, and stored for later.

Correspondences

Fresh cob of ripe corn on green field at sunset
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Colors associated with the corn moon include yellow, red, and orange—after all, these are the tones you see in the cobs of a freshly plucked ear of corn. For gemstones, look to use tigers eye, carnelian, garnet, or red agate in your magical workings.

Trees connected to the corn moon include cedar and hazel. Carry a bit of cedar in your pocket when you're facing new challenges, to help boost your courage, and utilize hazel for magical workings related to good fortune. You can keep a hazelnut in your pocket to draw luck your way, or hang a bough of hazel branches above your door.

Some of the many deities of the corn moon season are Vulcan, whose festival, the Vulcanalia, falls each year on August 23. The Greek goddess Nemesis also had a festival held on this day. Mars was known as a god of war, but in some incarnations, is associated with the bounty of the grain harvest; offerings were made in his honor for a plentiful yield. Egyptian deities like Hathor and Thoth had a strong connection to this time of year, because they are so closely linked to the rich, fertile soil of the land surrounding the Nile delta.

For magical herbal correspondences this month, look at using rosemary, rue, basil, and chamomile in your workings. All of these should be flourishing in your garden right now, and you can harvest and dry them for future use.

Corn Moon Magic

Harvest Moon
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Harness some of the Corn Moon's fiery energy for your ritual and spell work. The nights are beginning to grow longer, but it's still warm out, so get outside when you can, and take advantage of the darkness while the weather is comfortable. For many of us, this is a time of high, potent magical energy—it's a time of gathering and preparation, allowing us to look ahead. We have harvested some of our crops, but many others are waiting to be collected.

This is a good month 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?

Try one or more of these to welcome the magic of the Corn Moon into your life:

  • You need to start thinking ahead and focus on the future. Do a ritual to banish any excess baggage from your life—get rid of things you don't need, relationships which are unfulfilling, and people who make you miserable.
  • Bake some bread—ideally, cornbread, but any grain product will do—and offer it up as a sacrifice to the spirits of your land and property.
  • As you gather plants from your garden, set aside the parts you might not be planning on eating, and use them for other purposes. Use stems and vegetable detritus as compost, save seeds for next year's planting process, and hang up roots, leaves, and stems to dry for later use.
  • Hold a harvest ritual to celebrate the beginning of the harvest season and the cycle of rebirth.
  • This is a great time of year to do some protection magic, as you gear up for the colder half of the year. In many magical traditions, workings are done during the harvest season to ensure protection of home, property, and people.
  • Make a straw man out of corn husks and other garden debris. Allow him to dry out, and then when Samhain rolls around, ask him to work as a guardian of your home. Alternately, you can save him until spring, and burn him as part of your Beltane rituals when you're planting new crops.