Hoʻokalakupua: The Hawaiian Word of The Week
Magic around every corner
Aloha hou mai kākou e ka poʻe puni moʻolelo – Greeting to all of us, companions who love stories. As promised we are jumping back into the story of Kamehaʻikana, the wondrous ʻulu tree form of Haumea, ka wahine hoʻopāhaʻohaʻo i kona kino, the shape-shifting woman, ka wahine hoʻokalakupua o uka o Kilohana, the woman of the uplands of Kilohana who accomplishes amazing feats. Why Kilohana? That is where Poepoe tells us that she and Wākea lived.
The story goes that one day Papa (Haumea here) and Wākea were together at their mountain home in Kilohana (between Kalihi uka and Koʻolau). Haumea looks down at Heʻeia Kea and Mōkapu and becomes ʻono for “nā lau limu a me nā hua ʻalamihi o ia mau ʻaekai” – the seaweeds and ʻalamihi crab meat of those shores. So she goes down to collect these delicacies for their next meal. As she is going about her work, she begins to see signs in the sky above her home that tell her something is wrong. She races back only to find that her kāne, Wākea, is gone.
It turns out that while she was gone, Wākea, also thinking of their next meal, went to harvest some wild maiʻa (bananas) in the forest near their home. Some underlings of the ruling chief, Kumuhonua, see Wākea and accuse him of stealing the chief’s bananas. Wākea scoffs at the idea that wild bananas belong to anyone and says Kumuhonua isn’t a chief, but a mere commoner (“ʻAʻole ia he aliʻi. He hū wale nō ia.”) He is immediately bound and taken to the chief’s executioner.
Haumea doesn’t know all this yet, though. She leaves immediately for the lowlands in search of her kāne or knowledge of his whereabouts, but not before hastily gathering herself some kāhiko – some finery of the forest (“ka maile, ka lehua, ka palapalai a me nā lau ʻē aʻe he nui o kāna hāpuku ʻana mai.”). I mean what kind of akua wahine rolls without flowers and ferns? It’s just part of maintaining appearances when you are a wahine hoʻokalakupua.
She goes down into Kapālama and on to Pūehuehu, where she meets up with a man named Kaliʻu who is tending to his crops. He greets her warmly and shares the latest news: a kanaka uʻi (handsome guy) has been taken by the chief’s men and will burn in the imu fire that very day. As anyone of great wisdom does, Haumea decides that a bit of divination is in order.
She tells Kaliʻu to fetch the ʻawa he has, along with a kānoa (a bowl for mixing). There is no running water where Kaliʻu lives and the people of that area must wait for rain squalls to give the earth drink. Since there can be no mixing of ʻawa without the precious wai a Kāne (water of Kāne), Haumea does a series of prayers, charges up a magical rock and throws it into the earth to open a spring and a large pool close to the home of Kaliʻu.
Kaliʻu fetches water from this new spring and comes back reeling at power of this woman. He mixes the ʻawa, fills the ʻapu and hands it to Haumea just as she requested (Hana ihola nō hoʻi o Kaliʻu i ua ʻawa nei a kū i ka ʻapu; hāʻawi akula i ka wahine hoʻokalakupua me ka ʻōlelo ʻana aku: “Eia mai ka ʻapu!”). Haumea then puts forth a beautiful prayer, asking that she be given insight as to whether her husband is still alive. Here is her prayer:
- Here is ʻawa, o god
- Sustenance for you, o god
- Sustenance for the multitudes, the legions, the many many gods
- The god of the long night
- The host of gods, numerous and cooperative gods
- From the east to the west
- From the rising of the sun to its setting
- From the windward shores to the leeward shores
- From the heavens to the earth
- From the zenith to the horizon
- Meet, all, together, here is the food, the victuals
- Here is ʻawa
- ʻAwa that sees the good and the bad
- A good omen, a bad omen
- Life, death
- Let the life of the man be revealed
- The great life, the long life
- Of you, o god
- My love lives
- Lives long
- It is finished, the prayer is freed
When Haumea looks down she can see the ʻawa rising slightly, standing higher on the right side of the cup. She then hands the cup to Kaliʻu saying, “Our god shows that the man we are desiring to see is alive. (“I nānā iho ka hana o ua ʻo Haumea i ka pūnohu o ka ʻawa, ua kū i ka ʻākau o ka ʻapu. A laila, hāʻawi maila ʻo ia i ua ʻapu nei iā Kaliʻu, me ka ʻōlelo ʻana mai, “Ke hōʻike mai nei ke akua o kākou, ua ola ke kanaka a kāua e makeʻe aku nei.”)
E hoʻi mai! Come back next week for the next installment of this story of the wahine hoʻokalakupua as she continues of her journey to find her beloved.
E ola ka ʻōlelo o ka ʻāina!