Balancing extremes at First Fruits

by | Jan 31, 2024 | Seasons Newsletter | 2 comments


As the season changes and shifts on February 2, how do you balance extreme realities —


such as the inert face of the parched earth with the juiciness of ripe stone fruits and berries?

If you are in the northern hemisphere, read on, because extremes can also be felt in the transition from winter to spring).



 Living with extremes


How do you balance extreme dryness with the extreme wetness of floods; deprivation with abundance; despair with hope?

Or your fear of nature’s fierceness with your love of nature’s peacefulness?

How can you balance your despair at what is happening to our planet with a belief in the restorative power of nature and even of humanity?



Standing like a tree


In yoga, there’s a posture called the tree pose. In this pose you stand on one leg while bending the other and drawing the foot into your inner thigh. The challenge of this pose is to maintain balance.

According to my yoga teacher, the secret is to begin by strengthing the standing leg and its connection to the earth. That leg needs to remain grounded and steady to hold the pose. Then even on just one leg, you can raise your arms and place your palms together over your head, and enter into the serenity and stability of a tree.

Or, you can place one hand on a tree while standing alongside it, and feel yourself becoming grounded and tall.


Two seasonal realities


At First Fruits in Aoteaora New Zealand we hold two realities: Te Waru, the season of deprivation in the seasonal cycle of Te Ao Maori, and the fulfilment of the first harvest — Lugnasad — in the seasonal cycle of European agriculture.

Have you felt the fierce dryness of Te Waru this summer? Each year, you may have noticed how the summer heat is increasing.


What can be done?


You can maintain balance, not by shutting off distressing realities but by learning to hold them, along with the realities that sustain you. 

Both are needed



A ritual for First Fruits/Te Waru


Can you create a seasonal ritual that embraces both Te Waru and the juiciness of cherries, tomatoes, and nectarines? Here is one idea, but feel free to create your own.


*Set up an altar with a bowl or basket filled with symbols of first fruits abundance and an empty bowl/basket or other symbol of scarcity.

*Light a candle and contemplate each in turn.

*If you are in a group, share your inner abundance.

Share your inner scarcity and name what you need to fill that scarcity.

*Move something or several things from the abundance bowl to the empty bowl. Do this with awareness, naming aloud what you are choosing to give yourself. Sit quietly and write down your pledge to action.

*You may also like to pledge to give something from your abundance to those who are feeling empty in this season.

*Give thanks, and blow out the candle.



A blessing for you


May you stand like a green, healthy tree, rooted to the earth.

May you find balance between fear for the earth and love for the earth.

May the earth itself show you what to do, and what is your part.

From a place of balance, may right action flow.


Only when our feet learn once again how to walk in a sacred manner, and our hearts hear the real music of creation, can we bring the world back into balance.

—Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee


Find out more from my books on the seasons:

Celebrating the Southern Seasons

Dancing with the Seasons

Sun, Moon, and Stars


  1. Libby

    Thank you Juliet, The blessing you gave to us was just what I needed to hear. I live in Central Otago and it is so dry here. And yet the Mata Au Clutha and the Manuherikia flow strongly and bring me such joy and calm. and wetness if I need it.

    • Juliet Batten

      How wonderful that you have the rivers in that dry landscape, Libby. I’m so happy that you received the blessing. Thank you for sharing.


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