The peak of the summer, August is a month for relaxation and reflection before the autumn months arrive, a last glorious taste of warmth.

August was originally called sextilis, because it occurred as the sixth month in the old Roman calendar. Later, it was renamed to honor the first Roman Emperor Augustus, who led the empire to many triumphs and ended civil war. To the Anglo Saxons, August was known as arnmonath, the month of the harvest (the arn).

Corn glows in golden waves in the fields, accented by the surrounding brilliance of the month’s floral hues: deep red leaves, whites, yellows, an expanse of marigolds, poppies, and foxgloves. Sweet, ripe fruits add their intoxicating aromas to the summer’s final bouquet: juicy peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums.

Oceans bustle with a rainbow of aquatic and plant life. Seahorses can be spotted weaving through the seagrasses of warm waters.

The month’s birthstone is the peridot, a bright green stone of warm energy used for healing and protection.

August’s astrological signs are Leo (until the 22nd) and Virgo (from the 23rd on). Leo is a fire element, the fifth sign of the zodiac characterized by natural abundance, the sun, and liveliness. Leos are ambitious and full of pride, as represented by the royal King of the Beasts, the lion. Virgo, the virgin, the last sign to occur before the autumnal equinox, symbolizes the harvest, work, and attention to detail. Virgos are dedicated, intuitive, organized, and conscientious.

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Written by Christopher Janigian