Alahula: The Hawaiian Word of The Week
A path she knows how to travel
Aloha mai e nā hoa heluhelu! Here we are again for more of the story of Haumea (Papa) & Wākea. Last week we saw how Haumea saved her kāne i ka ʻili (husband) by opening the ʻulu tree so that the two of them could disappear inside, an act that earned her a new form to add to her many manifestations and showed the great mana that she possessed. Now that we have seen the origins of her ʻulu tree form, Kamehaʻikana, let’s hoʻomau (continue) and find out what happens…
Hoʻomau ʻia aku (continued): Haumea and Wākea come out the other side of the ʻulu tree into an area in Waikahalulu. They follow the river up into Kilohana to return home. There they meet with Kaliʻu and his family, who have done just as Haumea instructed and come up to Kilohana for safety. She tells Kaliʻu that very few of them should remain at their home there and that Lalohana (between Lanihuli and Palikū) is a better place for the majority of them to go. She instructs them to set up permanent residence there, to farm, and to learn the various arts of war, as they will be needed in the near future (kaʻa lāʻau, ʻōʻō maka ihe, pololū and hākōkō for the men, and hoʻohei ʻīkoi, lua and maka ihe for the women).
Haumea also says that she is going to plant a certain tree there named Kalauokekahuli, whose flowers, Kanikawī and Kanikawā, will help women in childbirth. She calls this her “lāʻau hoʻohānau keiki” (her tree/medicine for birthing children). [To all the pale keiki (midwives) out there, any of you know more about these pua āiwaiwa (marvelous flowers)? Leave a comment below if you do! E ola ka pale keiki Hawaiʻi!!!]
At this point Kaliʻu is burning with curiosity about the name of this extraordinary woman, as she has still not told him. So he asks her and she responds by saying that Haumea is her name, a name belonging to a body with multiple forms, but that her inoa kupuna (ancestral name) is Papa (“ka papa unoa awaawaa kua, a kuku ooi hoi”). She explains that all the pali she enumerated in her chant over the ʻawa are her kūpuna, the foremost of them being Palikū, the “poʻo” of her genealogy. [*At this point in the story, Poepoe gives the genealogical chant of Haumea that we opened our series with. One of the lines of this chant says “ʻO Haumea nui a ke āiwaiwa.” “Great Haumea of the incomprehensibly divine” is one possible approximation of this phrase, but many are possible. However you translate it, she is certainly an amazing and fantastic being, an ancestress of great mana and renown.]
Meanwhile, the messenger sent to Kumuhonua tells him of the mysterious disappearance of their captive. As soon as the chief hears this, his head hangs down and he groans in frustration. He says that the only woman who this could be is Haumea and that her husband Wākea was the captive. He says that if it is indeed these two, the land will be filled with the dust of battle (“e alahula ana ka ʻāina i ke ehu a ke kaua”), a battle that would result in gains for them and losses for him.
Knowing that war was inevitable, Kumuhonua sent messengers all over the island to tell the people to prepare and to be ready to receive the call to go. When people heard the news, they were both anxious and alarmed. Whilst preparing themselves for battle, they wondered which aliʻi it was who had rebelled that such a war should be afoot.
Kumuhonua also sought the assistance of his most skilled priests, seers, readers of omens, men skilled in the alignment and building of structures, prophets, orators, and all skilled experts of the island to come and meet with him. He asked that they share any knowledge they had or could glean about the extraordinary woman who had made off with the captive. Haumea knew these eyes and minds were prying at her, so she released the power of her dual nature and cast a darkness that they could not see through. Try as they might, they couldn’t get anything, and that is when Kumuhonua told these experts they were a bunch who merely groped in the dark (he poʻe hāhā pōʻele).
Then one day, a certain kahuna came before Kumuhonua and gave his prophecy about how the war would go and exactly what would happen…But you gotta come back next week to find out what he said!!!
E ola ka ʻōlelo o ka ʻāina!