Honouring Matariki

Honouring Matariki

  Photo: Anne Dean Ruffell   What does Matariki mean to you? Can you remember when you first saw Matariki? I can. But it was by another name. In my early twenties with the help of a little star book, I began to explore the night sky from the balcony of my...

Harvesting the kumara

Harvesting the kumara

I found this blog that I wrote nine years ago. It awakens memories of my years at Te Henga, the cycle of the kumara and the excitement of harvesting with the community. I thought you might enjoy it too.   The kumara garden lies hidden between the dunes and the...

Ancestors, Samhain and Matariki

Ancestors, Samhain and Matariki

  Every Sunday my Aunt Jessie would visit the graveyard. The graveyard lay on the other side of town, a little further out than our house, so it became a natural thing for me to join her at our gate and run alongside.   This is how I came to explore the...

Ritual for change

Ritual for change

    Do you resist letting go of a season once you have settled into it?   Here in Aotearoa New Zealand as autumn rains are followed by a chilly wind that rattles the dry leaves on the pathways, I am thinking of change. In the northern hemisphere as...

Seasons of life

Seasons of life

    I’m feeling moved. Last night I asked a simple question to visitors on my Facebook page: ‘When you think about being old, what are your three main concerns?’ I gave a list of eight to choose from. (You may view the post here). I wasn’t sure if anyone...

Equinox bounty

Equinox bounty

The woman sitting next to me at the concert pulled a paper bag out of her handbag. 'Would you like two pears from my tree?'    This was rather surprising, first as I knew her only slightly and hadn't seen her for two decades. Second, we were sitting on pews in a...

My friend the tree

My friend the tree

  Pōhutukawa love to stretch and yawn, to lean their limbs out into space, even as their roots remain firmly anchored in cliffs and solid ground. In the park where I walk, one such ancient tree has stretched a mighty limb out over the path. The bushy end of the...

First Fruits-Te Waru

First Fruits-Te Waru

  Here in Aotearoa after the expansion of summer, we are now facing contraction as the need to draw back into restrictions affects us all.   In uncertain times, the rhythms of nature bring comfort and teachings. Expansion and contraction are part of the...

Solstice Blessings 2021

    When you lose your footing May the earth hold you When your heart is aching May the waters soothe you When life feels overwhelming May the air lighten you When your thoughts are darkening May the fire illumine you.         Blessing...

On wings of spring

On wings of spring

  Their wings beat non-stop as they fly across the Pacific,   leaving behind the cold of Alaska and landing in Aotearoa New Zealand. Spring is the season for the return of the kuaka (godwits). They may now be seen on sandbanks and estuaries along the coast...

Voices of spring

Voices of spring

  Over the years that I’ve been writing these newsletters I’ve never had to think, ‘What shall I write?’   They always arrive easily. But this time I did find myself wondering, because my mind has been elsewhere during Auckland’s weeks of lockdown. I’ve...

How to awaken

How to awaken

    How do you awaken after a long slumber, or emerge from deep meditation?   How do you emerge from winter slowness, from the season of hibernation?   Slowly Meditation traditions teach that slow, conscious emergence from the depths allows time to...

Seasons Newsletter 2021: Do trees sleep?

Seasons Newsletter 2021: Do trees sleep?

  What do trees and grizzly bears have in common?    According to forester Peter Wohlleben, who wrote The Hidden Life of Trees, bears prepare for hibernation by eating and eating to grow fat and sustain themselves for months of sleep with no food. And would...

Why is Matariki significant?

Why is Matariki significant?

Mānawatia a Matariki!   Matariki has risen and it is time to celebrate. Welcome Matariki! Why has Matariki become so popular for both Pākehā and Māori, to the extent that in 2022 it will become a public holiday? Is the adoption of this festival just another...

Folding into Fallow

Folding into Fallow

    Do you ever allow yourself to lie fallow? — like the land after harvest, when its energies are spent? — when you know a growth spurt cannot be sustained and it’s time to rest, recover and regenerate? Fallow ground is land that has been ploughed and...

Time for the Sacred

Time for the Sacred

    How present is the sacred in your life?   ‘Oh but I don’t have enough time,’ you might protest. But here’s the secret. Bringing the sacred into your life is not about needing more time.   It’s about needing more awareness.   Awareness can...

Samhain Remembrance

Samhain Remembrance

    Outside the dark, noisy café, a woman sat on the pavement. ‘You’ve caught the sun,’ I said, as I stopped to talk.   'Yes’, ‘it’s sweet autumn’, she replied. I agreed. 'These fine days feel as if they could last forever.' ‘But they won’t’, the woman...

Equinox blessings 2021

Equinox blessings 2021

    Happy autumn equinox! And to you in the northern hemisphere, happy spring equinox!   At equinox, light and dark, day and night come into balance. At equinox, our two hemispheres of this planet come into balance. We are together, poised in this...

Harvesting Abundance

Harvesting Abundance

  Do you find that each season is resonant with memories?  Right now we are approaching autumn equinox (on March 20/21), a harvest celebration in praise of the generosity of Papatuanuka/The earth. This seasonal shift has stirred up a memory of another autumn when...

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