Friday, March 30, 2012

Oahu Wonders


The third largest in the archipelago with an area of 600 sq. miles, O’ahu was born of two volcanoes. O’ahu was conquered in 1795 by Kamehameha the Great. This was an important battle for his campaign to unify the islands.

• Byodo-In Temple - Rimmed by 2000-foot cliffs, this Buddhist shrine is a replica of a 900 year-old Japanese temple that is home to a beautifully crafted 9 foot Buddha

• Ka’ena Point - The legendary “leaping place of souls.” After death, here is the point where the spirit leaps to the other world

• Kaneaki Heiau - temple dedicated to Lono, god of Harvest and Fertility

• Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens - 400 acre gardens at the foot of the steepled Koolau Mountains meaning “peaceful refuge”

Kauai Naturally


The oldest of the major Hawaiian Islands at 6 million years old. It is formed by a single volcano and believed to be the original island populated by Polynesians. It is the only island not conquered by Kamehameha the Great when he established the Hawaiian Kingdom. It is called the “Garden Isle.”

• Hanalei Valley - A National Wildlife Waterfowl Refuge

• Mehehune Fishpond - A 900-foot fishpond said to be the handiwork of mythical Hawaiian elves built in one night over 1,000 years ago

• Lihue Lutheran Church - Built in 1881 by German immigrants after their long voyage across the sea; this experience is reflected in the church’s architecture: the floor slants like the deck of the ship; the balcony is the Captain’s Bridge; the ceiling is like the bottom of the ship; the lights are the ship’s lanterns; and the pulpit is the Forecastle

• Hikinaakala Heiau - Translated as “rising of the sun,” it was at this temple, built around A.D. 1300, that the dawn was celebrated with prayers and chants

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Maui Marvels

I will be visiting Maui and here are some possible stops for me on the Island of Maui.

Aloha, Bob

The earliest inhabitants are thought to have arrived from the Marquegas around the 4th century AD. In 1795, Kamehameha I conquered Maui to unite the islands and established his royal seat there at Lahaina.

• Iao Valley - Means “supreme light” and is a place of pilgrimage for Maui warriors. It is one of the wettest places on earth, and a sacred place where 26 Hawaiian kings and queens are buried

• Haleakala - The world’s largest dormant volcano and the site where the god Maui held the sun hostage

• Halekii-Pihana Heiaus - Ancient temples of sacrifice and refuge built in 1240

• Pilanihale Heiau - Temple made out of lava rock with immense tiered walls and terraces, and the largest ancient place of worship in Polynesia

• Holy Ghost Church - Built in 1894 by Portuguese immigrants, it has an unusual octagonal design

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pono: The Sacred Spirit of Hawaii Travelogue

Hawai’i is an isolated archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean lying 2,500 miles from the nearest landmass. It consists of 8 islands covering 6,425 sq. miles. These islands are the tips of a large chain of volcanoes and were formed by volcanic eruptions. Early life on the isolated Hawaiian Islands evolved from wind-borne seeds and occasional birds that were blown off course by storms. As a result, the unspoiled island ecosystem consists of thousands of unique species that evolved by adapting to their new environment. Seafaring Polynesian explorers dared the 3,000 mile voyage to discover the Hawaiian Islands in 300 AD. The early Hawaiians established an advanced, spiritual culture. They built monumental heiaus (temples) and the largest irrigation systems in Polynesia. Life centered on the ‘ohana (extended family) of 250 to 300 people who were all vital to the whole.

Cultural values included aloha’aina (love of the land), laulima (cooperation), and pa’ahana (hard work). During the 12th and 13th centuries, new waves of Polynesian settlers came to Hawai’i, resulting in bloody invasions. They established a rigid class system with themselves as ali’i (chiefs) who regulated the lives of the commoners through the harshly enforced kapu system derived from the Tahitian term “taboo.” Ancient Hawai’i produced a wealth of oral literature and myth, which was passed down from generation to generation. By the 19th century, they used a 12-letter alphabet, the smallest in the world, developed by missionaries.

Hawaiian spirituality includes hakalau, which is an expanded sense of time that reflects a “gentle flow of water across a tranquil bay.” Life in Hawaii is the concept of the "old style" of when the time is right, according to the schedules of the mysticism of the universal knowing. Their clocks are the wind, weather and astrology. Hawaii can still evoke aloha ‘aina by recognizing a sacred landscape. ‘Aina refers to the rhythms of life that can nourish your body, mind, and spirit. Mo’olelo refers to the power of the old sacred stories. Hawaiian chants can connect one’s innermost being to their ancestor and the universe.

Hawaiian spirituality invites you to recognize yourself as Ho'omaka, a beginner, as one’s first step towards becoming Holo 'i mua, an accepted student of the old Hawaiian culture.

The countdown to Sacred Pause Hawaii Journey has begun. View daily posts and images as I travel through the Hawaiian Islands beginning in May. Aloha