I have been called to write about Hawaii today. The Hawaiian phrase, ‘Mana’o’, means to think, consider or ‘thought/idea’. Two key events have triggered mana’o within me, both close to my heart. Over the past week, protectors of the land have been blocking access to Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii. The other subject is the passing of Beth Chapman, wife to Dawne ‘Dog’ Chapman, residence of Oahu. I may split these subjects into two or more blog posts, as there is so much to write about on each. I feel the need to go deep into the mana’o in order to bring through the messages. I have also had some spiritual connection which warrants a blog post of its own!
“The five volcanoes of Hawaii are revered as sacred mountains; and Mauna Kea’s summit, the highest, is the most sacred. For this reason, a kapu (ancient Hawaiian law) restricted visitor rights to high-ranking aliʻi. Hawaiians associated elements of their natural environment with particular deities. In Hawaiian mythology, the summit of Mauna Kea was seen as the “region of the gods”, a place where benevolent spirits reside. Poliʻahu, deity of snow, also resides there. In Hawaiian, Mauna Kea is a shortened form of Mauna a Wakea which denotes the mountain’s connection to the sky father Wakea, however, the English translation of Mauna Kea is “white mountain” in reference to its seasonally snow-capped summit.” -wikipeadia.
There are currently thirteen working telescopes near the summit of Mauna Kea. The Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory is an organisation made up of various international groups, all invested in construction of a 30 meter telescope on Mauna Kia. Construction was due to begin on 15th July 2019. The telescope has been designed to see further into space than previously possible. The TIO applied to build the telescope on Mauna Kea, deeming the geographical conditions to be ideal for the project. Kanaka Maoli people are ‘true’ Hawaiians, native people and people who have embodied the beautiful culture passed down by their ancestors for generations. Kanaka Maoli understand that we are of the earth and have deep respect for the spirit that resides on Mauna Kea. They have been called ‘protesters’ in the news but their actions are much deeper than a display of objection to the media. Kanaka Maoli take spirituality very seriously. They most likely feel as akin with the goddess, Poliʻahu (the snow goddess of Mauna Kea) as you or I feel with our families. By blocking access to the TMT area, they stand up for their Goddess, their culture, what they believe to be ‘pono’ (right) and they pay respect to the aina/(sacred) land. Many of the group are wise elders, who remember generations gone before and how their country was taken from them by American government. Despite the injustice, they continue to act with “Kapu Aloha” – peace and nonviolence. At present, there have been 33 arrests to remove those blocking access to Mauna Kea.
Early this week, I came to notice the ‘protest’ while browsing instagram. I follow Hawaii news accounts that usually post pictures of beautiful beaches but this event seemed to take priority. While interested, I wasn’t familiar with Mauna Kea or the fact that the TMT construction was imminent. At the time, the news was just breaking and slightly noted in my mind. The day after, I felt a call to do a Hawaiian Mana card reading on my facebook page. I shuffled and cut the deck to reveal a card that I had not come across before, ‘Poliʻahu’! In the video, you see my naivety, I struggle to pronounce her name! Unaware of the connection between the snow goddess and the situation happening at the time at the summit of Mauna Kea. I noted the meaning of the card as an example of how I and the viewers could approach conflict. You see, Poli’ahu is a goddess that calms. In legend, she was known to calm the angry fire of Pele (Fire goddess who resides at the summit of Kilauea, the volcano that erupted last year). On the day I did the card reading, it was full moon with a partial lunar eclipse. I took the message of her card and passed it to the viewers, “In the face of conflict, stand strong in calmness. Let your calm energy simply cool the fire of anger, volatility or craziness.” I loved the idea of simply using peace and calm to cool down conflict. Something so gentle and it made perfect sense.
The next day, I took a little more interest in the ‘protest’ and began following some of the hashtags #protectMaunaKea #TMT #protectsacredsites #savesacredsites #wearestillhere #wearemaunakea. Imagine my surprise to see, #Poliʻahu! It dawned on me, This momentous event, an event that will go down in History concerns Poliʻahu and her mountain, Mauna Kea. I feel touched. Before that day, I had no knowledge of Mauna Kea or Poli’ahu. Could that card of come up at a more poignant time? She showed herself to me in the mana card reading at a time that needs eyes on the situation, to pass on information about the situation, for mana’o. So I write here. I write to spread awareness of the problem out there, that the Kia’i (caretakers) are managing with ‘Kapu Aloha’. How can you argue with the deep wisdom, humanity and beauty of these people? They have everything right in their approach.
To see from the Hawaiian point of view,
- The state of Hawaii was once its own country. It was taken over by the USA illegally.
- Once taken, the new power suppressed the natives, took their land and tried to wipe out the culture, language and way of life.
- Hawaiians understand that they are of nature and respect the land and deities.
- Power from other countries abuse their land for monetary gain.
For these reasons and others, the Kanaka Maoli have a passion to defend, protect and stand up for their land. Is it any surprise that they object to the TMO? They aren’t objecting to a telescope as such, in fact many have explained that they respect scientists and the wonderful advances that could be made by looking into the heavens. The same Kia’i explain that they call for respect for Mauna Kea and spirituality. They would be happy to work in harmony and find a balance and form a bridge where spirituality and science can work together. The problem is with the scientists in charge and their inability to work with the people who respect the land. They simply take power, money talks and they do not regard the Hawaiian ways.
Since Sunday, the protest has grown. It began with people chaining themselves to cattle grates to block access to the mountain. Each day more and more Hawaiians have showed up to protest peacefully, with love and aloha. Over two thousand are presently there if you check out the videos on Facebook, it’s nothing like the type of protest people in Europe would expect. There is peace and an uplifted vibe. Wise elders perform hula and mele (story telling song). Something the watching world can learn so much from. Aloha Hawaii xxx
Stay tuned, I have so much more to write about on this topic.