Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kaniakapupu revisited

Actually when I began my adventure I had not meant to go to Kaniakapupu again, but rather to go to another site across Nu’uanu Valley. I followed the map I had been given and found the approximate location of the pre-Hawaiian stone site that I had been told about. Unfortunately,the underbrush was so thick at the roadside (and I had been warned of the presence of feral pigs) that I was loathe to go into the brush and bushwhack alone. Instead I drove a little farther up the valley and across to the other side to see if I could find the trail opening for Kaniakapupu again. With a little scouring, I found the opening in the bamboo and asked the spirits if I could please enter. There is a definite trail, and it wasn’t long until I came upon the pipe lying across the trail and I knew I was in the right spot. I followed the second trail and went directly to the site. There were leis on the marker, along with fruit and some shells left as offerings. I smiled when I saw the shells—Kaniakapupu means “singing shell”.

I wandered around, not so much paying attention to the crumbling structure, for I had already explored it the last time I was there. This time I wandered out into the forest as far as different trails took me—looking for the perimeter of the site. My understanding was that it was built on or near an old heiau site. Instead, what caught my attention this time was rocks.

This rock was definitely put upright by human hands. It was nestled in the fork of a very large tree—and had been there for quite some time. It was off to the side and behind the stone house site. From my readings, I realized that I was looking at a definite “male” image.

This rock may have had a crescent carved on it—or perhaps it was a natural hole in the rock. I couldn’t tell for sure. The crescent shape was one found on the Ali’i’s feathered capes, one of the goddess Hina, the moon. The dark hole beside it was quite deep in the rock, again I couldn’t tell if it was a natural hole in the rock or if it had been gouged out. Interesting….

This rock stared at me as I passed by, and called to me to come back and take its picture. When I looked at it though the camera lens, it seemed to me I saw two eyes looking back at me. The rocks were alive, speaking to me softly, as rocks do.

As I left the site and walked back down to the main path, I came upon a large group of people cutting bamboo. Since this is watershed land, I wanted to question their right to harvest bamboo, which they were obviously doing. But a solitary hiker does not question a group of people, many of whom had very sharp machetes, so I walked quickly through the logging operation, careful to not have bamboo fall upon my head, and got the hell away from them. To ease my mind, I said to myself, ‘It’s bamboo. It’ll grow back.”

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kalai pahoa

This is one of the Hawaiian poison gods. The story is that a sliver of wood from any of the poison gods, dropped in your food, would bring death. What surprised me about this particular image was the mo'o (lizards) tattooed on his face. Praying someone to death, and helping the process out with sprinkling the food with poison was one way to get rid of your enemy. The poison came from a special grove of trees on the island of Molokai. One of the sacred queens, Kalaniakauiokikilo, who had been taken captive by Kamehameha after the battle of Iao and ridiculed for years, finally took poison rather than live under his reign anymore.