As First Fruits arrives, I am aware of how much ripening is taking place in nature. This is the season when I enjoy luscious tastings of apricots, nectarines, plums and blueberries.
It feels wondrous that the sun’s warmth can be stored in such a juicy form. I feel I’m tasting nature’s generosity.
The polarities exist too
Yet it is also a time of scarcity. For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, the cold still bites and growth is frozen. It is the time of First Light/Imbolc/Brigid, when the sun is returning, but not yet fully felt. You might like to click this link to read my blog post about First Light.
Even here in Aotearoa New Zealand, amidst all the abundance, scarcity is present.
In the picture above you may have noticed that one of the bowls is overflowing with bounty, while the other is empty. Scarcity goes hand in hand with First Fruits, Lammas and Lugnasad. How is that so?
In Europe, the grain was ripe and from the first cutting, loaves of bread were brought into sacred space, to be blessed and tasted.
In Aotearoa, however, the kumara was still in the ground, as it needed a longer time to grow. And so Maori had to conserve what they had, while waiting for the harvest. ‘Te Waru’ is their name for the eighth lunar month, a name that was linked with scarcity.
How do these contrasts affect our celebrations at First Fruits?
Here are two options
1. Create a celebration of abundance, enjoying the fullness of the first harvest and the generosity of the fruiting. Offer up thanks and gratitude for all that is ripening, outer and inner.
2. Create a celebration where, after giving thanks for what is fruiting and full in your life, you also turn your attention to the empty bowl or basket. You remember how for many, this is a time of hunger. You offer ‘bread’ (i.e. money) to the empty bowl or basket, with a pledge to send it to those in need.
A final thought
If you are celebrating in nature, you might also like to consider where the earth might need your help, and write a letter to the earth, with a promise or pledge. You can hide it at the base of a tree, under some bushes, or in the ground.
For it is in giving that we receive.
This blog post is an excerpt from my Seasons Newsletter. To receive the Seasons Newsletter, you may sign up on the home page of this website and receive a free audio meditation.