Hawaii stands for:
HA: breath = breath of life
WAI: water, it means also Mana (energy)
‘I: supreme = the creator of life
The Hawaiian culture is part of one of the world’s oldest and most deeply spiritual cultures. It has been shared by past generations for over a thousand years. In that culture, it is believed that health is a result of “Pono” or right living and that the loss of harmony and balance caused illness. Traditional Native Hawaiian practices were based on holistic healing in which the mind, body and spirit were viewed as one. Before a patient was treated, the Kahuna (master secret healers of old Hawaii) performed a ritual of Ho’Oponopono (making things right), a type of counseling to cleanse the mind and heart of negative thoughts and feelings.
The importance of a Kahuna:
In the native Hawaiian community, a Kahuna served all equally and with respect. The Kahuna was involved in every aspect of community life, healing mental, emotional, and physical illnesses as well as resolving broader disagreements. By mediating between the spiritual realms and the community, a Kahuna maintained a necessary balance of harmony. Healing took place in different ways, at different levels. A Kahuna could often recognize and dissolve potential problems before they occurred. If a disease did not respond to la’au lapa’au (herbal remedies), lomilomi (massage) or la’au kahea (healing chants), then that disease was considered to represent an imbalance in the community. Ho’oponopono (family healing) might be required.
From generations to generations:
Native Hawaiians navigated to the Hawaiian Islands, where they lived and flourished for centuries, carrying on the cultural traditions they brought with them and innovating new ones. Education was sacred. The kupuna (elderly) would seek an apprentice (mostly still a child) and would be sent to live and study with a Kahuna from as young as five years of age and they would spend upwards of fifteen to twenty years in training. During this time, they studied anatomy, learned how to diagnose disease, how to choose the right cures or medicines (especially medicinal plants) and learned sacred prayers.
The arrival of Western people and missionaries however, introduced laws in 1920 which forbid ancient native Hawaiian practices, dances (hula*), chants and language. The Hawaiian training had to happen secretly within the families.
It’s only been round 1970 that Lomilomi has even been taught outside of the family. Many Native Hawaiian customs have been protected and perpetuated and are still practiced today. Now, we have Lomilomi happening in many places throughout the world. Lomilomi encompasses many different ‘styles’, each unique to their geographical location and/or their family of origin.
There are primarily two styles of Lomilomi that have become well-known: the “Temple Style or Kahuna bodywork” and “Aunty Margaret’s Style”.
Aunty Margaret Machado (1916-2009), the first native Hawaiian to receive her massage licence, defined lomilomi as “the loving touch, a connection of heart, hands and soul with the source of all life”. In the ‘70s, she began to share her work, especially the spiritual teaching of Lomilomi, Ho’oponopono, healing chants.
Kahu Abraham Kawai’i (1940-2004) from the island of Kauai. He developed a style of Bodywork called romi kaparere, mostly known as Kahuna Bodywork or temple-style. It is this style of Lomilomi that became very popular in Europe.
The Hawaiian history is the same history as every culture throughout the globe. What Hawaiians are sharing is a model of healing with their own Hawaiian teachings.
They inspire others to also look back into their own indigenous practices and ignite the flame of remembering.
Today, the warm genuine Hawaiian hospitality through the spirit of Aloha teaches us lessons of peace, kindness, compassion and responsibility to future generations. These lessons are expressed through chant, music and cultural practices such as the Honi **
*Hula is much more than a dance, more than storytelling, hula is a practice through which Hawaiians connect with natural foundations and ancestral wisdom. **Honi: The Hawaiian Kiss. “The honi is a Polynesian greeting in which two people greet each other by pressing noses and inhaling at the same time. This is a very honorific as this represents the exchange of ha–the breath of life, and mana–spiritual power between two people.