On this starry, cold winter’s night in Australia, with the moon nearly full I joined The Celebrant School in New Zealand to participate in an online ceremony for Matariki.
In New Zealand, the appearance of Matariki (the Pleiades) marks the start of the Māori New Year and is a time to reflect on the past year, celebrate the present, and create a vision for the year ahead—remembrance, joy and peace.
Juliet Batten guided us through Matariki—a Ritual of Reverence and Respect to foster a “meaningful experience of this significant seasonal event, to connect with the different elements of nature, as signalled by each of the stars in the Matariki constellation and honour the connection to our indigenous roots across different cultures and ancestries”*
It was a slow, gentle and meditative reflection on each of the nine stars of Matariki. We lit a candle at the start of the ceremony and then connected with various elements as we held a flower, leaf or fruit from the garden in our hands, before placing them into a ceremonial bowl. I was able to collect rosemary, basil, chilli, salvia, amaranth and alyssum to make my offering.
Throughout the ceremony, which took nearly an hour, I felt a deep sense of honouring and connection to earth, the sky, water, plants, animals, birds, the ancestors, community… the stars… and Grace.
At present, I am working on a series of 9 poems in a form called 9X9X9. 9 syllables in 9 lines in 9 stanzas. My mentor, Mark Tredinnick had guided me through this form in his program, What the Light Tells, earlier this year. Just recently he pointed me towards the Novena’s—a Christian prayer that is offered over nine days.
I decided to start writing my own personal Novena starting on my birthday, the 9th July. I am on day 4 of 9 verse so it seemed timely and providential to be sharing in this 9 star ritual of Matariki today. I”m sure the stars will make it into my poetry today.
*Quote from The Celebrant School.