In 1917, a man named Max Freedom Long arrived on the big island of Hawaii. He was 27 years old, born in Colorado. He went to Hawaii as a teacher, having gained an associate of arts degree in Los Angeles. Max lived on the islands up until the mid 1930’s. At first he taught but later opened a photography store. He married an English lady named Jane, who was the proprietor of a hotel in Honolulu.
During his time on the islands, Max had observed magical happenings among Hawaiians and specifically kahunas. Sacred knowledge was only passed from kahuna to apprentice and not being indigenous, Max was not able to gain the ancient wisdom from the people of the islands. When he relocated to Orange county, CA in 1931, he began to draw up some theories about ancient practices from many parts of the world.
Max circulated newsletters and published books on a subject he called ‘Huna’. He ‘borrowed’ the word from Hawaiian language as Huna translates to ‘hiding’ or ‘secret’. Although Max used his experience of life in Hawaii as inspiration, the theory of Huna is his invention. His use of the word did not refer to a specific practice or ritual but, a theory of the underlying assumptions that spiritual practices could be based on.
The experiences and publishing of Max Freedom Long paved the way for extensions to his coining of the word Huna. Over the 20th century, followers have contributed to its evolution. The most commonly recognised adaptation is the set of principles as detailed by Serge King.
- KE (ee-kay) – The world is what you think it is.
- KALA – There are no limits.
- MAKIA (mah-kee-ah) – Energy flows where attention goes.
- MANAWA (man-ah-wah) – Now is the moment of power.
- ALOHA – To love is to be happy with (someone or something).
- MANA – All power comes from within.
- PONO – Effectiveness is the measure of truth.
Serge teaches an interesting system of shamanic techniques. I have explored his work myself and the benefits have merit. However, his version of Huna is not rooted in ancient Hawaiian culture. I see similarities between his teaching and other forms of shamanism, the difference being that Serges work is presented as a Hawaiian practice.
On a closing note, Huna is a beneficial practice to explore and I have noted transformation in my life from using the techniques. I encourage you to try it for your self if you feel inclined. In the interest of respect for Hawaiian people and their culture, I only ask that we recognise that Huna is not a part of sacred Hawaiian wisdom. Although Huna is helpful for so many people outside of Hawaii, the people of the islands deserve to have their authentic heritage recognised. Please join me in setting that intention. I use this word with great respect for Hawaii, Mahalo xx