If you didn’t get to read my last post, The Path to Hoʻoponopono, please do so if only for the disclaimer about my actions while on the Big Island.
Anyway, I’d received a handful of messages about what I was to do during my time on the Big Island, but didn’t have real clarity. That said, I knew as soon as we got to the airport for our departure that someone — Na Wahine or my Spirit Team or someone — was happy that I was embarking on this adventure when I found a beautiful hairpin on the ground, seemingly waiting for me. I picked it up with the intent to return to the person who dropped it, but I knew it my heart it was a gift. (We looked for the person who might have dropped it.)
We arrived on Wednesday morning (April 4) and took the day to do some exploring as we drove from one side of the island to the other, where we’d be staying at Kekoa’s family’s house in Hilo. No specific messages. I tried to do some online research and read more of the book that came with the Mana Cards. Nothing jumped out at me.
Thursday, April 5. Lahi and I decided to make fascinators in preparation for the Merrie Monarch Festival. We ventured into the backyard and harvested different kinds of ferns and a few wild orchids. Mine is the one on the right, with the kupukupu ferns. We decided not to wear them, however, for the first night of competition — Miss Aloha Hula. Instead, I wore the hairpin that I’d found at the airport, and it wasn’t lost on me that the only hula kahiko (traditional) performances that night for the Hawaiian deities were about Hiʻiaka, Pele and Haumea. Here’s what they said about Haumea.
Friday, April 6 was a pretty chill day. Lahi and I did some random reading about the land of Mu and how menehune are supposed to have originated there. Went to the hula kahiko competition of the Merrie Monarch Festival — my favorite night. Wore the flower hairpins we made. Some powerful pieces, but no messages. We decided that Saturday would be our day to make hoʻokupu (offerings). Aw man, I better figure out where I need to go and why and for whom!
Saturday, April 7. I wake up and decide again to do online research about moʻo wahine — and came across this story about how the most powerful moʻo wahine, Kihawahine, once waged war against the Goddess Pele (see battles 8, 9 and 10 on the page), bringing with her all the moʻo to the volcano to fight. In the end, Kihawahine fled to a fishpond in Hilo called Lokoaka (aka Lokowaka). This fishpond was just down the street from where we were staying. After reading this story, I knew exactly what I was there to do.
I was there to act as a facilitator for the hoʻoponopono process between Madame Pele and Kihawahine. Hoʻoponopono is the Hawaiian method of ending conflict and bringing closure and forgiveness between multiple parties. It is the process that Titus told me I should learn while I was on Hawaii Island from Aunty Mary or Aunty Margaret’s disciples — but that message he delivered wasn’t about learning it, but doing it.
Hoʻoponopono is often facilitated by a member of the family or trusted third party. In this case, I was all of the above.
- I was there at the behest of Na Wahine — grandmother to all female Hawaiian deities.
- I was there as the “sister” to Kihawahine, as a daughter of Dragons, and as a representative of the moʻo.
- I was there with a book that had in it a small chant that is specific to hoʻoponopono. A book that was gifted to me by my sister because Haumea, mother to Pele, told her to get it for me.
And so, I set about making hoʻokupu for the two Goddesses in conflict. Lahi taught me how to properly gather ti leaf and build the offering. I made two: one for each deity. Both the same, not offering either one more than the other.
In the hoʻokupu were some mountain apples from Kekoa’s family’s yard and a single strand of my hair. In Hawaiian culture, one’s hair and fingernails are considered powerful carriers of mana (energy/Spirit) and people were careful about who was able to get their hands on those things — you didn’t want your mana in the wrong hands. So by my placing a single strand of hair in each offering, I was truly putting a bit of myself into facilitating this closure and healing.
I took apart the flower hairpin I’d made and adorned the two offerings. I guess it wasn’t a coincidence that I’d used the kupukupu ferns — it’s the same kupu from hoʻokupu.
And off we went to the volcano.
An Offering for Pele
Lahi had her own offering to make and knew where she wanted to do it, and since I didn’t know specifically where I was supposed to be going to talk to Pele, I figured I’d follow her path and see if Na Wahine or Haumea gave me some guidance.
We walked along the Sulfur Banks Trail and eventually came to a spot where steam from vents on either side of the trail came together, defying the wind that was blowing in neither of those directions. This “coming together” of steam was where I stopped and made my hoʻokupu. I put my hand on the volcanic earth and told Pele who I was and why I was there — at the request of Na Wahine and Haumea, as a representative of moʻo, to facilitate hoʻoponopono between she and Kihawahine. I chanted a short chant from the Mana Cards book, made my offering and took my leave.
Unsurprisingly, Lahi made her offering at the same spot.
An Offering for Kihawahine
After hiking back and a quick lunch, we headed to Lokowaka Pond. I found that there was a small fishpond near the ocean and a huge fishpond full of Native Hawaiian birds a bit further away and felt in my heart that the huge pond was my destination — which required me to cross the freeway, and climb down over the embankment into marshy ground that had No Trespassing signs everywhere. Kids, don’t do this at home.
I was drawn to an area near the water’s edge and was met with an affirmative message when a huge fish leaped out of the water in front of me, and then seemingly remained in the water in front of me as if waiting. I made my way as close to the water’s edge as possible — and realized that I wasn’t on land, but on wetland grass growing directly out of the water — that I had smashed down and was precariously keeping me from falling into the pond. At the point where the “coming together” of land (grass) and water was on the brink of no longer supporting my weight, I made my offering, again placing my hand on the earth (wet grass), explaining the circumstances, and chanting from the Mana Cards book.
And then I carefully climbed out of the marsh, crossed the freeway and returned to everyone who had been waiting for me in the car.
The hoʻokupu to Pele and Kihawahine had been made, but as often is the case, I wasn’t sure if I’d done things correctly or if there was more to be done.
Silence from the Spirit Team and other deities.
Our last day on the island was Monday, April 9. Our plan was to slowly drive back to the west side of the island, stopping at all the coffee farms along the way, with a special visit for me to Puʻuhonua Honua O Hōnaunau, the City of Refuge. This sacred site was a place people ran to for sanctuary, often fleeing from certain death. Those who reached the Puʻuhonua were absolved of their crimes. Forgiven. And allowed to live out their days.
I hadn’t been there since my 4th Grade Elementary School trip the Big Island — now 25 years ago.
So as I walked around the beautiful (and hot and muggy) place, silently giving thanks to all the people whose crimes had been absolved and also asking for forgiveness for my own missteps, I realized that I was suddenly alone. I went searching for my party and found them all standing in front of a small pond where there was a large aukuʻu, a black-crowned night heron, standing on a rock. Both Lahi and Kekoa turned to me and said, “he’s been waiting for you” and left me alone with him.
This isn’t my first time seeing an aukuʻu during my spiritual journey. The last time I saw one in person was during my trip to see the moʻo wahine Meheanu.
So I sat down and talked with the aukuʻu, letting him know what I had done during my trip– trying to facilitate the hoʻoponopono process between Pele and Kihawahine. I asked him to please tell my story to whomever he’s been telling.
I knew that his being there was a sign that I’d done well (enough) and he was there to bear witness to my actions.
And as I finished talking to him, we both stood up and left. Sorry to the lady who was coming up behind me with her camera to get a shot of the beautiful, Native Hawaiian bird!
And with that, my duty was done.
I’m not sure that my offerings really brought about resolution between the goddesses. My guess is no. But I think it perhaps can be a catalyst for the conversation.
What did we do after that? More coffee farm tastings and then the short flight home. Goodbye, Hawaii Island. I’m sure I’ll be back soon.