This past Saturday, Uncle Glen and Chris of Marae Haa Koa led us on a learning excursion to sacred sites in Waianae. We met that morning at beautiful, dolphin-filled Poka`i Bay, with a group of almost fifty people (such a great turnout) and started the excursion with pule (prayer) and a brief introduction of Marae Haa Koa and their earth religion. We were given ko`a (coral) to signify our place in the world and our individual contribution that enables the group to work. Coral, is the first born in the Kumulipo (creation chant). From the birth of coral, other life forms follow. In the ocean's ecosystem, it is the coral that is the foundation at the very bottom of the food chain. Take away the humble coral and everything in the ocean dies. We may each be just one person but without each of us there is no "we", every one has a contribution to make and when we give of ourselves, we serve the well-being of the collective, ensuring harmony, ensuring life.
Poka`i Bay and the surrounding area was once taken over by the military and the bay was to be their boat harbor, which is why there is a break-wall still standing to this day. The homes of native Hawaiian families once stood just a couple hundred feet from the waters, but decades ago they were kicked out to be overtaken by the military. Their homes were bulldozed and homes for the military were erected there instead. The only home that still stands to this day from before that hewa time is the family home of Uncle Glen, who at the age of 16 went around the neighborhood gathering signatures to save it. Poka`i Bay holds much history, although not always known by that name. The area was once called Malaea, which is recognized by the pohaku Hina (white sea stone of Hina, distinguished by its white appearance) that stands in the shade at the nearby park. Where that memorial stands was once a school in more ancient times, where Astronomy, Geography, and other sciences were studied by our ancestors.
Past that place, heading out towards the open sea, there at the end of the cliff is where Kaneilio stands. Kaneilio temple is the perfect viewpoint to stand at and look back inland where the various mountain peaks will be found to be in alignment with the rising of the sun at the solstices and equinoxes. Kaneilio temple itself was built in alignment with the Orion and Canis Major constellations. Kaneilio is the female creator dog who protects travelers of land and sea and this specific point in Waianae is a definite prime point for navigators in more ancient times to use. Also, from there you can view Mauna Lahilahi, also a sacred place, as well as Pu`u Kea`au near Makua Valley where it is said there is a temple or building of some kind that is still standing (at least partially), built by the Menehune of old Hawaii.
This past weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to listen to a presentation on the spiritual tradition of Kanenuiakea at the Oahu Holistic & Metaphysical Expo. The presentation was so truthful, so direct and honest, so powerfully filled with Mana (powerful life force energy). I found myself entranced by the level of truth that was spoken, never have I seen or heard anyone in my life speak about things that I personally believe in so openly and what astounded me most was that this belief system came from within my own aina (homeland), my own people. Beliefs and ideas of interconnection I had actually thought I was an anomaly in accepting was believed, lived and perpetuated by these presenters, the men of Marae Haa Koa. It was almost like this unprecedented homecoming type of experience that really held me in this state of awe and fierce pride in connection. I've never felt so in alignment with any other belief system as this one, it was if and is that I have simply been remembering what has all along been a part of my true essence.
The presentation wove together the stories and histories of faraway places with those native to Hawaii, finding similarities and connections in traditions and linguistics that point to a web of interconnection so obvious and profound, it blends what might at first seem as very different viewpoints but what can be pointed out as in fact various puzzle pieces of the same whole. If just noticed and connected, an ultimate truth would be revealed by simply widening your perspective lens. I was so moved by the level of ike (knowledge) shared, it is hard to express.
Presenters were Christopher Oliveira and Glen Kila, who reestablished the organization Koa Ike. Koa Ike is a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve the values, beliefs, traditions and history of our aboriginal Hawaiian culture, and perpetuate this wisdom through educating the community and cross-cultural sharing with other faiths and peoples from around the world. Their mission is brought to life by Marae Haa Koa, their learning center, which provides educational classes, field trips, workshops, researches and preserves genealogical data and actively works to preserve and restore sacred cultural sites as well as maintaining the health of our aina.
Below I will try my best to summarize the presentation but do note that there was so much information, my note-taking could barely keep up. I highly recommend reaching out to Marae Haa Koa if you feel as strongly as I do about their belief system and values and proactive approach to maintaining a solid spiritual connection to Kane (God).
I Am Kawehi. 27 years of life on this earth, steadily growing, rising and blossoming like a lotus birthing through the mud, upwards into crystal waters and then to rest atop in open air as the firey sun alights my form. I wander. I imagine. I expand and seek to understand. I see. I AM.