First Fruits

by | Feb 1, 2018 | Seasons Newsletter, Uncategorized | 8 comments



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.


Te Waru

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.
—Saint Francis


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.


  1. Penny

    As always, your post enlightens me and compels me to action, Juliet. There are many ways in which to give aide to others and to our good earth. Thank you for this gentle, meaningful reminder. I did notice the empty bowl. How lovely this photo is. Thank you.

    • Juliet Batten

      Penny, there are some themes that are present in any season, and I’m glad you noticed the empty bowl. You will glad to welcome in spring before long. Thank you.

  2. Hilary

    Hi Juliet – we’re starting to see the products of the earth for Spring .. it will be lovely seeing a different part of the world burst forth with goodies. Enjoy the fruits as they ripen – cheers Hilary

    • Juliet Batten

      Hilary, it must be nice to see the signs of spring at last. Thank you.

  3. Nadezda

    I love celebrating my first harvest as well, Juliet. Especially of first tomato or first plate of currant.
    Now my garden is covered with snow and I only can hear the rustling sound of snow when I walk there.

    • Juliet Batten

      Nadezda, oh yes, that first tomato! I’ve just picked mine. It always seems so mysterious to me that a garden is hidden under snow. I’m sure that new life is gathering there, in your northern garden. Thank you.

  4. Denise Poyner

    Hi Juliet
    Metaphorically, I think even in every day life there can be bowls that are full to overflowing and bowls that are empty.

    Just now, I see myself intentionally turning a started idea for a trip to Wellington later this month to a much more complete state having now organised a cattery and shuttle bookings from home to the airport and back. In a sense I am ready for my trip. I would consider the bowl to be almost full.

    Then emptily sitting on the floor is a canvas, 5 magnolia leaves placed in a wheel, and several tubes of paint waiting to be applied. I haven’t stepped into that yet. I look forward to filling that with whatever colours and strokes come from me onto the canvas.

    I shall give thanks and marvel at the fulfillment I feel from life lived well.

    • Juliet Batten

      Denise, I love the idea that there is always a full bowl and an empty bowl. You give such a beautiful example of this. The empty canvas sounds very enticing. Thank you so much.


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