Seasons Newsletter: Three questions for Matariki

by | Jul 11, 2023 | Uncategorized | 2 comments




Mānawatia a Matariki!


This year, the second national Matariki holiday takes place on July 14th.

You may have already gathered the profound significance in te ao Maori of the return of these stars, the home of the ancestors. You may also have understood the connection of each star to an element of nature.

And today I’m wondering, What does Matariki mean to you?



Beginning with loss

I find myself in a new place with Matariki this year.

Over the last 12 months, so much has been lost for so many. Our country has been devastated by floods and other extreme climate events. Many people are experiencing hardship, and are worried about survival.

I too have lost or relinquished many things as I made a move to a new place. Old identities have been shed, along with many certainties.


What does Matariki have to offer?

Or, to put the question more broadly, what does the winter new year, marked by Puanga, Winter Solstice, and Matariki have to offer?

You may like to think of it as a new start, a rebirthing of the spirit, a renewal.



A cairn for the new year

I found myself making a cairn on a local beach a few days ago. The rocks were of sandstone, and so it turned out to be a rather crumbly cairn. It seemed to reflect the instability of many things.

At first, I was bothered by this. Then I remembered that when things break down, space opens up for something new.

As I worked, I thought of burdens, which maybe will crumble into hope with the new year.

I imagined those who have died over the past twelve months turning into stars as Matariki reappears, and this being a time to lift our eyes to the stars, to uplift our hearts.

In this season of chill, winds, and wetness I thought of the returning sun, and how the sun will soon take us into First Light, a time of glimmerings and whispers of early spring.

And then three questions arose.


I offer them to you now, in the form of a ritual.


A ritual to prepare for Matariki

1. Take a journal or notebook into a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Light a candle. Breathe gently, bringing your awareness within, and discover stillness.
2. Write down each question in turn, and with it your answer.
3. When you feel complete, if you are with a friend, group, or family share your responses. It can be comforting to do this, and uplifting.



Three questions for the new year


* What does it mean to you, that in both European and Maori traditions, the new year starts in winter?

* What lies in your heart that was lost and seeks to be found or renewed?

* Who are your dearest ancestors, whose wisdom is needed in your life right now? Can you connect with them and listen to what they have to tell you?

Take your time to reflect and write. Allow yourself to drop from your mind into your heart, and let the answers come.

If you are with a friend, group, or family, you may like to share your responses when you feel complete.



May the Matariki new year bring brightness and renewal into your world.

New Year’s blessings,



PS About the photo at the top

The title image is from a homage to Matariki that I co-created with my 14-year-old granddaughter. We unanimously chose the triangle shape — ‘because it’s part of a star’. Mira added the stone chips border to represent ‘the many stars in the sky’.

I created a sun in the middle from Totaranui golden sand because I always feel the connection between winter solstice and Matariki. In an intuitive moment, I put my finger in the centre and felt a spiral whirling out.

We liked the idea of the seven middle-sized shells to represent the seven stars of Matariki.

“It needs something in the corners,’ I said, and Mira produced the twisted shell centres. They looked like pointers and were perfect.

What a joy it is to be co-creating with this young one, who has been learning about rituals since she was very small. She appears many times in my book ‘Sun, Moon, and Stars‘, along with her younger sister.



You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars . . .

—Thomas Traherne, 17th century English poet

For guidance in aligning with the season you are in, my Seasons books are there to help you:

Celebrating the Southern Seasons

Dancing with the Seasons

Sun, Moon, and Stars


  1. carolyn walker

    Really enjoyed reading your thoughts above, and yes it has a big first half of the year on loss

    • Juliet Batten

      Thank you Carolyn, and wishing you well after half a year of loss.


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