As summer's swan song, the Zodiac sign of Leo (23 July - 22 August) oversees the transition between the warmer months and the onset of autumn. This sign has its own tapestry of symbols and stories, which we will explore in detail, discovering more about August's birthstone, birth flowers, and birth trees.
The powerful peridot, is forged deep beneath the earth and surfaced by erupting volcanoes. Carrying with it an aura of healing and protection, it is said to shield the wearer from nightmares, acting as a talisman against night's darkness. In fact, in Ancient Egypt times, the peridot was even believed to ward off evil spirits and bestow blessings upon those who wore it.
For Christianity, the peridot symbolises purity and spiritual renewal, with the vibrant greens of the stone said to echo the new growth and transformation of nature. In Cologne Cathedral, the 192-carat peridot that adorns the Shrine of the Three Holy Kings is believed to offer up divine protection to pilgrims seeking spiritual solace in the cathedral's hallowed halls.
Birth Flowers: Gladiolus & Poppy
The word Gladiolus is derived from the Latin 'gladius' meaning sword. Throughout Roman history, Gladioli or 'sword flowers' were gifted at celebrations and victory parades. Closely associated with gladiators too, these flowers were said to symbolise strength, determination, and valour in battle. Standing tall, the 'sword' of the gladiolus also represents infatuation and the piercing of your lover's heart, and is often gifted as a romantic gesture.
As a flower with a range of colours, the poppy speaks its own symbolic language. While it is more commonly associated with remembrance and World War I, the red poppy was in fact originally seen as a symbol of passion in the Victorian era, with the white poppy more closely linked with the idea of consolation and eternal rest.
Birth Tree: Hazel
The hazel tree stands as a guardian of wisdom, dating as far back as Norse mythology. The Celts thought of the tree as a source of cosmic guidance; its nuts were said to hold great knowledge and were eagerly sought after. In Druidic traditions, wooden wands were fashioned from hazel trees and used in divination and healing, and in Norse folklore the tree was closely associated with the goddess, Freyja, who was a symbol of love and fertility.