A hui hou by Martyn Kahekili Carruthers
To Aunt Mona Kahele and Papa Henry Auwae: beloved kupuna,
and to all my kupuna who helped me bring down the sun
me ke aloha nui.
E Ku … E Lono … E Kane … E Kanaloa
Polynesia … a vast expanse of islands scattered across the Pacific ocean … home to the greatest voyagers and navigators of the ancient world. Long before Western ships dared to venture far from land, the old Polynesians navigated between the distant islands of their ocean world.
The Polynesians also navigated the natural forces of their cosmos. They believed that the gods (akua) spiritual beings (awaiku) and the spirits of their ancestors (‘aumakua) could control the elements of nature – and they honored their most important ancestors as gods.
Ho’opuka e ka la ma ka hikina
Ka ua kahe hele no kumu kahe …
In ancient times, many temples were built to honor the Polynesian gods. Called marae in the South Pacific and heiau in Hawaii, these temples were built to communicate with the gods – and to harness their power. The first and mightiest god was often called I’o … a primeval creator.
Names of the gods differed – Tangaroa and Rongo of Maori New Zealand became Kanaloa and Lono in Hawaii. The primeval natural and supernatural energies were more important than their names.
Pa ka makani na ue ka lau oka niu
Ha’a ka pua kou wali i ke kua …
Ancient Hawaiians called the trade wind makani – the life-giving spirit of air. For millennia this elemental wind helped shape the islands of Hawaii, and later the emotional and spiritual lives of Hawaiian people. This wind helped the early Polynesian voyagers cross the Pacific ocean in their ocean-going canoes. The makani brought the god Lono, the god of fertility and healing, and supported the aloha culture. The wind is also called Ha. Aloha means with breath; aloha is generally translated as “love“.
The makani wind brought another Lono – Captain Cook – and the haole hordes that followed him.
Western visitors to Hawaii are often called haole (pronounced ha-owlee) by native Hawaiians. This word has been used for pale-skinned foreigners since Captain Cook arrived at Kealakekua Bay over two centuries ago. To be haole is to be part of the cultural arrogance, prejudice and ethnocentric opportunism of those who brought disease, devastation and death to the aloha culture.
It is not a compliment. Haole means without breath and without life. To a native Hawaiian, a haole has minimal contact with family, culture and soul. Haole rarely honor or can even name their ancestors. Haole cannot appreciate the beauty and dignity of Hawaiian people. Haole only appreciate opportunities.
The missionaries rejected old traditions that sustained Polynesians for millennia. Haole landowners, most often the children of missionaries, called the old gods demons and labeled their restorative power as witchcraft. To live in balance with nature became somehow wrong … somehow bad … somehow evil.
Old ways became illegal under haole law, but were too lively to die. They became huna, hidden, for 200 years, in remote villages and upland farms. Distorted stories about the old ways are marketed and sold by haole writers. Many Hawaiians were embarrassed by their ancestors, and deny or distort the histories about the old days. Only recently have the keepers of balance, the kahuna, risked sharing their knowledge again. Hawaiian spirituality slowly recovering from the return of Lono.
Hawaiian spirituality includes chants that blend with the wind in the trees and the rhythm of the ocean waves to offer experiences of the underlying spirit of Polynesia. Hawaiian spirituality draws mana (power) from Kane in the clouds, from Kanaloa in the ocean and from Ku in the wild places. Pele, the impulsive goddess of the volcano, can be gentle and loving, as serene as her hapu’u fern forests and kukui tree groves. Yet Pele’s red lava and shaking earth demand respect. Listen for Pele’s chants rumbling and echoing in caverns below Hawaii Volcano Park.
Table of Contents
Aloha – E Kolo Mai
The missionaries … encountered a basically spiritual culture. The Hawaiians worshipped and prayed much. There was the rhythm of household prayer each morning and each evening. On the Big Island the male head of the household prayed twice daily, made an offering, took the ipu o Lono (gourd of god Lono) filled with food into the center of the men’s eating house (hale mua), prayed again, then sucked the ‘awa root attached to the gourd (as drinking from Lono). Prayer (pule) was woven into each step of canoe making, fishing, and farming with specified kapu days of the lunar calendar. Many Hawaiians had their own ancestor gods in addition to the assorted gods and goddesses of varying ranks. (From a Pacific School of Religion class)
Following the arrival of the Christian missionaries, a time of great plagues began, from common Western diseases to which the native Hawaiians had no resistance. White authorities declared that pre-Christian spirituality and traditions were witchcraft and Hawaiian people could be imprisoned and punished for following them.
Hawaiian spirituality was altered by the missionaries, yet even now many Hawaiians bless ceremonies with both Hawaiian chants and Christian prayers. So much has been totally lost – and cannot be recovered – yet some spirit of old Hawaii lives on.
Hawaiian spirituality includes hakalau – an expanded sense of time that reflects a “gentle flow of water across a tranquil bay“, as Kanahele wrote in Ku Kanaka. Haole visitors may not appreciate that life in Hawaii happens “when the time is right“, a sense of life that disrespects haole schedules and clocks.
Can you appreciate the kokua – the gifts of the gods? Can you aloha ‘aina – can you love the land? Come talk with us by the old Hikiau heiau on Kealakekua Bay, come walk with us through an aromatic forest of kahili ginger in Waipio valley, come meditate with us under hapu’u fern trees deep within a Ka’u volcano crater.
Hawaii can still evoke aloha ‘aina; even in haole visitors who cannot recognize a sacred landscape. ‘Aina refers to rhythms of life that can nourish your body, mind and spirit – if you accept these gifts.
Mo’olelo refers to the old power of the sacred stories. Hawaiian chants, perhaps in a grove of kukui trees, or on a black sand beach, accompany the wind and waves. These chants can connect your innermost being to your family – to your ancestors – to the elements – to the cosmos. Compare these experiences of Hawaiian spirituality with the abstractions of haole religious word-games. Are you ready to share your aloha – are you ready to share your breath with us as you learn the old chants?
Sacred chants release their mana in the breath that forms the sounds. Hawaiians could apo, they could catch the insights and experiences of connection. The Hawaiians were careful witnesses to the flow of power and they avoided insulting the ancestor-gods – the source of blessings.
Our ancestors did not die, their spirits walk amongst us and guide us, if we but listen. Our ancestors communicate through dreams, or the beauty of clouds. They can take form in the elements of wind or rain, or in rock or in fire. Why not dance and sing and express gratitude for their wisdom and beauty?
The old ways were interrupted by ha’ole law in 1827. They became illegal. Kahuna Daddy Bray was arrested in Honolulu for chanting in a public place in 1964. Only in 1979 did the Native American Religious Freedoms Act require the state of Hawaii to remove all laws prohibiting the practice of huna, which took a further ten years. Yet, as the rape of the planet continues and essential resources dwindle, those who remember the past may yet survive the future.
The Kumulipo, a sacred Hawaiian chant, tells a story of creation from chaos. The Kumulipo teaches the evolution of light and life – from darkness came a living earth in which our ancestors’ spirits could take form. The Kumulipo includes abundant descriptions of aumakua – protective family spirits or guardian angels. Hawaiian spirituality honors and protects the animals and plants described in the Kumulipo.
O ka lipolipo, o ka lipolipo
Po wale ho ‘i hanau ka po
From depths of darkness, deep darkness
Of night alone did night give birth
(* 20 second, 330 kB excerpt from Ho`oluana (1991) by Makaha Sons of Ni’iau)
‘Ohana refers to both family and community. According to the Kumulipo, the universe is one family; created and related in ‘ohana. Ohana describes family and spiritual connectedness – more valued by native Hawaiians than by most haole visitors. From ‘oha, the roots of the taro plant, and na, or balance; ‘ohana describes a community where relationship responsibilities balance personal goals.
Many native Hawaiian families preserve their old proverbs and chants, their blessings and names; and their huna or secrets. But these diamonds from the sacred past are distorted by two centuries of haole exploitation. Hawaiian spirituality includes a cry for pono – a desire for justice following two hundred years of suffering under haole invaders. Yet ho’oponopono (creating justice) is a Hawaiian blessing – a gift of harmony – a gift of Soul – for those willing to accept the responsibilities of love and life.
Forgiveness is essential to most haole religions – but do you know how to forgive? If you avoid forgiveness you carry a burden of anger, sadness and guilt – and you invite disease and suffering into your life. If you forgive by forgetting – you invite the same lesson again. If you forgive with spiritual ego – you sabotage intimacy. The kala of Huna Kalani means to wash in sunlight – to clarify with love – to speak your truth – to listen carefully – to strive to understand – and to take appropriate action.
“Ho’oponopono may well be one of the soundest methods to restore and maintain good family relationships that any society has ever devised” Dr Haertig (psychiatrist and co-worker of kupuna Mary Kawena Pukui), in Nana I Ke Kumu (Look to the Source)
After ho’oponopono comes ho’omanamana – creating power. In rituals for gathering mana or life force, ho’omanamana evokes and controls the raw elements of nature. The essence of rock and flame, of sea and wind, and a mysterious fifth element can be accumulated. These magical elements can be used during moe uhane – during dreams of the spirit – in lucid dreams that change reality. The old Hawaiian magic of ho’omanamana is sometimes revered as healing – and sometimes feared as sorcery.
The elements of Hawaiian spirituality are the elements of nature. Ride the winds at Ka Lae that blow over a door to Milu – the underworld – a place of shadows where the dead go to forget and to be forgotten. Meditate deep within a lava cave and commune with the testy mo’o. Brave the surf at Waipio after a jungle walk along the old Ali’i‘ Trail. Witness red lava from the active crater of Pu’u O’o and feel the heat of Pele. Use the four to find the fifth – and connect to the universe.
We should be guardians; to tend, to take what we need, but not to take all.
Integrate your mind and body, and commune with the spirits of your ancestors – your aumakua. Learn to live in hakalau (kahuna consciousness) and surf the waves of dreamtime which change reality. Meet your ancestors in Milu and let your awaiku guide you through non-ordinary realities, as you explore the undying Hawaiian cosmology. Huna Kalani can help you heal your body, mind and spirit. True to the old aloha culture – Hawaiian spirituality can help you heal your relationships so that you can heal your life.
Hawaiian spirituality invites you to recognize yourself as malihini, a beginner, for whom each revealed truth is a surprise. This can be your first step towards becoming haumana iniki, an accepted student of the old Hawaiian culture. Do you wish to progress to alaka’i … a pathfinder?
The makani is gently blowing, as you read this, creating waves in Kealakekua Bay. Wild dolphins often jump as the sun sets, and the scents of coconut and flowers mingle with ocean salt. The sacred statues at the old temples at Honaunau are casting long shadows. When will the time be right for you to share your aloha and join us in ‘ohana? We wait for you. E komo mai. Welcome back.
Hawaiian spirituality and mysticism can help you connect
with your body, with your family and with the world.
Mahalo for your interest. A hui ho.
Can you help us recover Hawaiian spirituality? We wish to return this wisdom to the world. We seek people who wish to bring back this ancient magic.
E komo mai. Welcome.
We teach in many countries – usually in natural places.
We bring this wisdom to the world under the name of Huna Kalani.
Do you want to heal your life? We wish to bring back this ancient magic.
Would you enjoy experiential introductions to old Hawaiian mysticism and healing? You can experience the beauty and power of Huna Kalani in a series of workshops that can expand your perception of reality. Hawaiian mysticism and magic refer to technologies that few understand. Within this old healing magic are some of the roots of the systemic magic that we also teach.
Hawaiian Mysticism: Ho’oponopono & Ho’omanamana
|Huna Introduction||Huna Elements||Huna Dreamtime||Return to source||Huna in Hawaii|
|Ohana, aloha and ho’omanaHo’oponopono, kala and Hawaiian healing
Hawaiian prosperity chant
|Honua, Ha, Ahi & WaiEle’ele eke and Hawaiian healing
Hawaiian chant for controlling water element
|Moe uhaneDreams that change reality
Hawaiian Dreamtime chant
|I’o and CreationAumakua, akua and la’au kahea
Hawaiian cleansing chant
|Visit special and sacred places in the Kona, Kohala and Kau districts of Hawaii.Ho’omanamana
|Aumakua initiation||Kumulipo initiation||Hakalau initiation||Awaiku initiation||Milu initiation|