January 17, 2012. I had awoken to the blackness of a Winter morning. Strangely not feeling the end of the World approaching, but the beginning of time. The focus on love. Life. Redemption. Forgiveness. Aloha Kekahi I Kekahi. Love yourself. Love others. At Mauna ‘Ala, the Royal Mausoleum where our beloved Kings and Queens wait patiently for our Lāhui to awaken and fulfill their unfinished dreams. Everlasting Peace on Earth. Their loving patience and eternal hope in the darkened slumber of life. Seeking redemption for life’s failures in the spirit of the ‘opio. The children.
We gathered at the entrance. The sound of pu pierced the cool awakening of light calling all spirits in the area to come and bear witness to keep our hearts and intent focused and pure. There is no pretending in the spirit World when the very essence of your heart and soul is naked and without concealment.
The voice of chant called out for permission to enter the sanctified grounds. Quivering. Imperfect. Strained. With every painful acknowledgment of err in recitation, the promise of everlasting forgiveness from the Ali’i. No kāʻaweʻawe, the throat slowly strangled by the kaʻane, the strangling cord, for breaking the kapu of imperfection and suffering the descent into blackness. The end of life. We have come a long way. Knowing the price paid by the kupuna was heavy indeed. We are indeed greatful.
The silent procession. To the Kamehameha Tomb. Ho’okupu of oli. Lei. To the Kalakaua Tomb. Ho’okupu of oli. Lei. Prayer. Mele. Mana’o. The somber grey sky swept by the slow constant breeze quietly blowing away the kaumaha and ‘eha of a Nation. The dulcet tones of our National songs resonating from deep within the Tomb as part of the group gathered in the depths. Soft emotion laden voices wafting upward and carried by the constant breeze into the Heavens.
We descended in our turn. Gifting words. Mele. Humbling ourselves in the presence of our beloved Mo’i and Mo’i Wahine. All the Mana. The pantheon of Hawaiian leadership. All the ‘Ike Hawai’i. All the sacrifice. All the hope. All the forgiveness. All the Aloha pau’ole. Aloha Ke Akua. Tears fell. Messages came to certain of us who shared with the rest. More tears fells in a ho’okupu of waimaka, to cleanse the past with the wai pa’akai, the salt water of our hearts.
Our King and Queen. Their message. Have hope. Build Lāhui. Remember and honor the past but embrace the future. Forgive. Love each other. Love God. The time is now. Now. Not just for Hawai’i. For the World. Now.
We embraced. Shared our love with each other. Prepared to depart to many destinations and commitments for the day. ‘Opio from Kamehameha Schools arrived, part of one grade level. As they walked together to experience Mauna ‘Ala, their presence provided so much needed hope for us all. The legacy of Ke Ali’i Pauahi.
Then Ke Kula Kaiapuni `o Ānuenue arrived. The ‘opio. Haumana. Kumu. Makua. ‘Ohana. En Masse. In Malo, Kihei. Traditional clothing. As the large lauhala mats were spread out, they awaited at the entrance. Oli resounded and the hope of a Nation filed in slowly. In rows of kane, wahine, keiki and ‘opio. Their presence raised the Hawaiian Flag even higher as the same constant breeze, unrelenting that morning, the Hā of the kupuna i hala, blew the Hawaiian flag as high as it could reach. Mai nā kūpuna mai. Hā Ke Akua i ka lewa. The constant and unrelenting breeze. The constant and unrelenting Hawaiian spirit.
As the keiki and ‘opio gave their individual ho’okupu of hula and mele. It suddenly all made sense. We made promises earlier that morning. In the hallowed Tomb. E ho’omau. Holomua. Aloha Kekahi i Kekahi. Aloha Ke Akua. And here filed in the hope of our Nation. The fulfillment of those solemn and sacred promises. Mahalo Ke Akua. Mahalo e na kūpuna. Those of us who could stay, watched the different hula, recharging our spirit. Even Kahu Maioho replenished his gentle spirit with the sight of the beautiful ‘opio giving their love to the kupuna.
Then our eclectic group slowly dissipated to other destinations. Some reunited at the Palace to ‘aha again. Others to previous commitments. Others to their jobs. But the ‘ike to visit Kūkaniloko, the piko of O’ahu entered some minds and hearts and a hui decided to go to Kūkaniloko on Thursday morning. That ‘ike would prove to be divine guidance beyond any of our comprehension at the time.
I returned to work and my office to address a multitude of issues. It wasn’t long before I was informed that I had a visitor up front to see me. To my shock, and my secretary’s shock, it was Kanalani. The homeless woman I had been assisting for about two years. I hadn’t seen her in about six months. There she was. As I approached her, I noticed she looked more worn out and her skin more dried by the Sun. She had few bags and sat there blankly staring into space until I came up right upon her. She stood up. I hugged her and she was somewhat unaffected. She looked at me and asked me if I had seen a face like hers before. I said no…only her face, the last time I saw her.
She sat down and I sat next to her trying to find out where she had been. Had she been arrested? Was she still in Waikiki? Where had she been? I sensed a deep anger welling inside her encased and awash in emotion. She looked at me with her blue eyes set into her tan line laden leathery face, and said she can’t take it anymore. Did I know what they were doing to the land? Did I know? Then she asked me “What would Kamehameha do?" Tears welled up in her eyes as she stared into mine with her piercing blue windows.
Then she raised her hand and slapped my face. I was shocked. But then again I wasn’t. She seemed shocked. I didn’t flinch, but continued looking into her eyes as the stinging on my cheek subsided. Then as more tears cascaded from her face, she said, “You are the messenger. Deliver the message.” Then she awkwardly gathered up her bags and stood up and went to the elevators. I approached her and embraced her and told her “God be with you Kanalani.” She didn’t know how to react in her stiffness. The elevator arrived and just as quickly as she arrived, she was gone.
I had to process what happened. But for the fact that she often referred to herself as a child of Queen Lili’uokalani, she often channeled messages as well as bits of ‘ike Hawai’i that I found difficult, in my experiences with her, to have originated within her being. I often thought someone or something had perched on her, like akua noho, or haka mediums referred to by Mary Kawena Pukui. The fact that this occurred right after Mauna ‘Ala and on the anniversary of the overthrow, made me ponder deeply the meaning. Little did I know that the huaka’i planned for Kūkaniloko held all the meaning. I will share the mo’olelo of that indelible journey next…