Erratic seasons

by | Nov 28, 2018 | Seasons Newsletter, Uncategorized | 12 comments


Erratic seasons, they can turn around and bite you just when you thought you could breathe a sigh of relief at the unfurling of leaves, buds, and your pain.


A growth spurt is followed by a blasting storm and promise is killed on the twig, dashed from the branch or torn from the bud.

Not linear, not even circular, but spiralling, twisting and turning is this season where spring struggles to let go of its adolescent grip on the mothering summer. But according to the law of nature: the next season always wins.

You will know this if you are in the northern hemisphere as well, where autumn’s seductive powers cannot waylay winter for long.




I’ve been waiting for the moment when this frisky, erratic spring finally surrenders into the loving arms of summer.


And it’s happening (yes, despite the cold & wet)

Trees, heaving a sigh of relief at no longer having to work so hard pumping sap up from their roots, have now exuded leafy canopies that spread wide. The air is becoming more still. Sunny days linger a little longer. Birds fly to a water trough to drink: finches, tui, a rosella and a pipiwharauroa.

The crater of my favourite small volcanic cone is awash with buttercups, a yellow sea moving in a gentle breeze.

The November trumpets of amaryllis, that this year bloomed three weeks early, are drooping and finished.

My friendly maple tree spreads a generous carpet of shade.

Students flop, their exams finished for the year.


And then comes Christmas

Do you dread the pressure of Christmas and the wind up of stress that precedes it?


How can you manage the pressure?

Do you have any scope for downplaying Christmas and giving some attention to summer solstice instead? (Some people even shift Christmas to June, winter solstice, the season where it originated.)


After all, even though the calendar year is speeding up, nature is actually slowing down and opening into a relaxed season.


You can choose whether to go with acceleration or slowing. The advantage of tuning into nature is that you can find encouragement in discovering a more relaxed pathway into summer.



What helps?

I’ve found it helpful to start preparing early. For many years my family held Christmas at winter solstice in June, but when the grandchildren arrived this became more difficult. Even so, the family has agreed to keep presents and food simple and minimal.

I start gathering some gifts in November, because I finish my working year in mid December . That’s when I escape to the bach for some peace and quiet before Christmas.




My son and the two younger children often join me out there at this time, and we create a summer solstice ritual together. They go back to town just before Christmas and I join the whole family on Christmas day, travelling in the quiet of the morning.

I love preparing for summer solstice in the slow rhythm of the west coast. As part of my preparation I make a mandala out of natural materials. It usually takes up to two weeks as I sift and sort, refine and refocus, and eventually create the right image.

The right image may look simple, but it carries the fruit of much contemplation. My hope is that when you look at it, you will feel grounded and centred, that it will bring you into connection with yourself and even become a focus for meditation.


Blessings and peace,


While I enjoy the friendship of the seasons I trust that nothing
can make life a burden to me.
—Henry David Thoreau


Summer Mandala card sets


I have put together the best of my summer mandalas from previous years, plus the new one for 2018, and packaged them in identical sets of 4 cards.

For NZ orders: $20 plus $1.20 p&p for up to two sets, and $3 for 3 sets (Postage is free if you are ordering a book)

To order, contact me by email or through the contact form on this website, including your address & I’ll send you my bank details for a direct credit.


  1. Hilary

    Hi Juliet – the cards look lovely. Life is having its ups and downs here … the blog after the weekend will tell you more – but I’m fortunate I do look on the positive side of life … take care and enjoy the children and grandchildren and then your peace at the bach over the Solstice … and welcome summer as it truly comes along – cheers Hilary

    • Juliet Batten

      Hilary, thank you for your lovely comment. I wish you resilience and may you always keep finding the positive.

  2. Amanda Henderson

    The traffic is already in a state of pre-Christmas madness, as far as I can tell. As usual I hope to get through the season as quietly as possible. It sounds as though you and your family have found a good balance in your celebrations.

    • Juliet Batten

      Oh yes, the traffic has already got very busy here in Auckland too. Wishing you peaceful times amidst it all Mandy.

  3. Hilary Foged

    How true the erratic season! On Saturday, out at Piha, watching the rain and wind batter the trees and snap some branches then Sunday was so glorious and many many people walking and enjoying the beach and sunshine! I spent the morning tidying the garden and feeling the oneness of sunshine, peacefulness and good companionship.

    • Juliet Batten

      What contrasts Hilary! And what a relief to get that one fine day. Thank you.

  4. Penny O'Neill

    Juliet, your cards are lovely.

    I am amazed that you can grow amaryllis in your soil. It will not grow here, however, we can grow them inside come winter. As yours is fading back, mine is shooting up with some buds swelling on my countertop. 🙂

    I love the Advent season, here in December, as it slows me down and keeps me focussed. I choose to take Christmas out slowly. We traditionally wait until December 6, which is today as I write this. I will bring out a few things today and in the days to come. I like to let the season open up slowly, much like my Amaryllis.

    • Juliet Batten

      Penny, thank you. I’m glad you like the cards. I’m going to save the seeds from my amaryllis now that several big fat pods have formed. How lovely to think of yours with swelling buds, an amaryllis rhythm across the world! Have a gentle Advent and approach to Christmas.

  5. Penny M Geddis

    Ah Juliet, your words are calming to me, even read so late by me. We’re currently in a process of upheaval and I’ve not been happy about it. We’re about to downsize from a beautiful, comforting old house and lush garden to a place with no garden and a smart meter too. I’m trying to be brave – I need to be somewhere where I can get fitter again (ie, not on a hill) and my wife needs somewhere a bit cheaper to live, but at the moment I’m feeling fragile when usually this is my favourite season. The solace I take is that I will be closer to walk to the ocean, and perhaps maybe, just maybe this is just one step in the ridding process to come from Summer Solstice onward (our wedding anniversary, AND the date we’re officially moved), on our journey to own a tiny house somewhere. Perhaps seeing what I don’t want will help me to define what I do want? I certainly hope so.

    • Juliet Batten

      Penny, that sounds like a big upheaval. I wish you many wonderful ocean walks to come, and enjoyment of the larger landscape, with your smaller house a good base for you. Keep breathing and let the solstice take you into abundance. There is always good that comes from change, even though we don’t see it until we’ve truly let go of the past.

      • Penny M Geddis

        Thanks for your lovely advice – lucky for us, the place didn’t work out – it just felt so wrong to us and wasn’t very clean either, so we pulled out and luckily our landlady has let us stay. This really is a sanctuary for the soul where we currently are. Brightest Blessings for Midsummer xxx

        • Juliet Batten

          Back in sanctuary then Penny. You sound much happier! Have a wonderful solstice there.


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