Our kūpuna intricately divided land and sea, naming each division for activities done there, certain characteristics, or for things that swim, grow, or otherwise exist there. They did the same with the space around us, forming a complex 3D map. Highlighted here are two sets of divisions. The lani, or sky spaces, begin with the kumulani (horizon), upon which the paiakualani (walls of the sky) rest. Above that are other sky spaces including the lani paa, the track along which all celestial bodies travel. We can think of these lani as forming a dome shape over us, under which are the lewa or airspaces closer to humans. The lewa closest to earth is the lewa hoomakua, the space formed when we lift one foot off the ground. When we hang from a tree, we hang in the hakaalewa. Birds fly in the lewa nuu. The highest lewa is the lewa lani, the closest one to the lani. When we look into these lewa and lani today we observe the same incredible celestial phenomena that our kūpuna did, the same beings and elemental powers they acknowledged as their lifelines and guidance in maintaining a thriving society and culture here in Hawaiʻi. *Spellings and divisions of words are as they appear in the Hawaiian-language newspaper article by Samuel Kamakau. Additional sets of terms can be found in the writings of other authors.
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