The Hawaiian Shamanic Tradition, Part I

The word shaman is derived from the Tungusic language of Siberia and is used as a convenient term by scientists and laymen to describe the practitioner of shamanism.In the Hawaiian language the term is kupua, a healer of relationships between mind and body, between people, between people and circumstances, between humans and nature, and between matter and spirit. Dr. Serge Kahili King has authored an excellent book on Hawaiian Shamanism, entitled Urban Shaman. Its' the source for the information presented here, as a brief overview of Hawaiian shamanism.

Dr. King begins by telling us that Hawaiian shamanism is a distinct form of shamanism. While all shamans are healers, the majority follow the "way of the warrior", while some shamanic traditions including the Hawaiian tradition follow "the way of the adventurer". The adventurer shaman is more likely to teach you how to harmonize your energy so that you remain calm and even become a source of healing for the other person. In contrast to the warrior's path, which is quite lonely, the adventurer's path is more social. The application of Hawaiian shamanism to our modern world is easily done for several reasons:

  • It is nonsectarian and pragmatic. Shamanism is a craft and not a religion.
  • It is easy to learn and apply, though certain skills may take a while to develop.
  • It can be practiced anywhere or anytime because Hawaiian shamans primarily worked with the mind and body alone. They didn't use dreams to induce altered states, nor masks to assume other forms or qualities.
  • The nature of shamanism is such that when you are healing others you are healing yourself, and while you are transforming the planet you are transforming yourself.

The beginnings of Hawaiian shamanism begins with the myths of Maui, magician, trickster, demigod, miracle worker, luck bringer. He was the most renowned in Polynesian myth. The female being of Polynesian lore was Hina, goddess of the moon and mother of Maui. Many centuries ago Hawaiian spiritual masters came to the same conclusions reached by others in various times and places: that there is an aspect of consciousness which operates covertly and indirectly (the subconscious), that there is an aspect of consciousness that functions openly and directly (the consciousness mind) and that there is a superconsciousness that encompasses both. These three consciousnesses form the whole of the human being. In Hawaiian these three conditions are called: Ku - the heart, body or subconscious, Lono - the mind or conscious mind, and Kane - the spirit or superconscious.

Kane, the spirit aspect, is also the source aspect of spiritual energy. Its primary function is creativity in the form of mental and physical expression. To explore your spiritual connection sit comfortably and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and be aware of your body. Now imagine and focus on it intensely, in a moment or so you may feel sensations of relaxation, pleasure, or energy. You have made a conscious contact with your Kane. At this point you may engage in a communication process with the experience. One of the best ways for communicating directly with you Kane is to say "thank you". Thank you for the good things that are and for the good that is coming Finish the exercise with a positive phrase that signifies to you a completion, I suggest: "So be it."

The Ku is that aspect of consciousness that contains our memories, helps us learn, remember, develop skills, and maintain the balance of the body. The essential aspect of memory is that it is stored in the body as a vibration or movement pattern. In my work I am constantly attempting to stimulate the vibration of the body to release the memories that will lead to a healing.

The mind aspect, Lono, is that part of you which is consciously aware of internal and external input. This includes all sensations, memories, thoughts, movement, and time. The Lono directs what we are focused on, which directs our attention and decisions. Intent is a kind of decision making that directs awareness as well as activity. You have the power to manage your Ku, through the Lono, which will bring tremendous effects on health, happiness, and success - either positively or negatively - it is up to you! Lastly, the primary tool of the Lono is imagination, which the development of is paramount to the shaman. For with the intended use of your imagination you can influence and direct your aspects and the world you are a part of.

written by Paul Sivert