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 church — not a place I would associate with surprise gifts or ripe pears.
However, it was the season of abundance and anything was possible. Let’s not place limits on where and how the bounty of the season might find its way into our lap.
Can you feel the season turning?
Some of the changes may be subtle as you slowly slide from one season into the next. Others may be more dramatic.
Here in the southern hemisphere, we are sliding into autumn, Ngahuru, the season of seedtime and harvest, a celebration of bounty.
In the northern hemisphere you are sliding, maybe even leaping into spring. Bulbs are pushing through the earth, the sap is rising, maple syrup is flowing and the earth bounces with beauty. Here’s a link to my spring newsletter, in recognition of your season.
It sounds like such a polarity, doesn’t it, between our two hemispheres? Yet light and dark are coming into balance, like long lost friends who slowly approach with their hands outstretched, ready to embrace. At equinox on March 21, dark and light, night and day are equal.
And here in the southern hemisphere, Te Waru, the time of scarcity, is over. It is time for the second harvest, which is celebrated by Māori and Pākehā alike.
Ngahuru, autumn, is the season for the kumara harvest, that vital staple crop on which Māori depended. In European growing traditions, it’s time to bring in the grapes. Here in Aotearoa, it is also the berry season. In the photo above, you see an offering of blueberry juice that I made to friends at our last autumn equinox celebration.
It’s also a good time to harvest kawakawa, one of my favourite Māori medicine plants. In my years at the bach, I would talk to the plants, asking permission, and select the leaves carefully, before drying them in the sun. Here is my first jar from the last harvest, all ready to infuse and make into tea.
Celebrating Ngahuru and equinox
Here’s how you might like to prepare for a ritual celebration of Ngahuru and equinox.
Contemplate these questions:
1. What are you harvesting? You might like to start gathering vegetables and fruit, ready to create an altar that is bursting with goodness.
2. As you do so, gather symbols of your inner harvest as well. You probably worked very hard to produce it.
3. What are you thankful for in this season? For what bounty do you wish to offer up your gratitude?
4. Save seeds. As you gather autumn seeds from the best plants, you might like to contemplate which seeds you wish to perpetuate and grow from your inner harvest.
Enjoy your celebration in this season of stability and balance!
Ngāhuru was . . . ‘the longest and happiest month of the year.’
—Teone Tikao, Ngāi Tahu
Check out these books to guide you through the seasons of life:
To learn about the midlife crossing into an expanded and more integrated sense of self in your 50s and beyond.
To cultivate the art of renewal in your 60s and beyond, shifting into an energy source that is fuelled by passion, creativity, optimism and love.