If you were to look at a New Zealand calendar, there’s a good chance you would see 18 June marked as Matariki ~ 18 June being the official start of Aotearoa’s New Year. I have written previously about Matariki, the traditional Maori New Year and its connection to the star cluster, Pleiades, as well as its connection to my life. You can find the post at this link.
This New Year, instead of a re-hash of my own limited knowledge of Matariki, I invite you to join me over at Juliet Batten’s blog, http://www.julietbatten.co.nz/musing-on-matariki/ , where you can see the wonder of one of New Zealand’s own seasonal events through a different pair of eyes. Juliet is the author of ‘Celebrating the Southern Seasons, Rituals for Aotearoa’. In her book, she writes with wisdom and clarity about our inherited ( Pakeha ) festivals, and how we can attune them to the seasons of New Zealand, and the traditional observances of the Maori calendar.
Despite Juliet’s clear instructions on locating Matariki in our southern skies ( “start with Orion, move diagonally down to the left, past Taurus and look low” ), I have failed to do so: mostly because I am functionally illiterate when it comes to reading the stars, but also because, this year, the weather has, so far, been distinctly unhelpful. Like this, in fact, ~soggy ~
with both night and day cloaking themselves in the same dark, dense, water-logged fabric.
Now, whilst I may be failing at star-craft and Pleiades-tracking, I have spotted the return of another visitor, this Matariki. It’s none other than SOFIA, the ultra sophisticated and ultra modern star-gazer, from afar.
Sofia, a stratospheric observatory, is a joint venture between Nasa and the German Aerospace Centre and will be based in Christchurch until July 24th. There will be 18 missions during the six-week deployment, each lasting ten hours. Although the main focus this year is Pluto, I am sure the crew on Sofia will get some fine glimpses of the Pleiades.
This is a photo I took of Sofia during her visit in July 2013. My old post on Sofia can be found on this link. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/2408/#comments
If it weren’t for the dripping state of the landscape,
I would have been out getting you a new photo of Sofia. But, as it is, I prefer being indoors,
salivating over gazing at the stars of my kitchen laboratory:
Tarte Tatin ( the first I have made );
Apricot and Feijoa Cobbler;
Piping hot pumpkin soup;
Hmmm……looking at my kitchen creations, does anyone else get the impression that I am hungry for the sun? Thank goodness, the solstice and the rebirth of the sun are nigh. 🙂
Happy New Year. 😀