Hawaiian temples are unlike any I have seen. They are dotted all over the island, and many of them are no more than a few “stones” lying around…others have more clearly visible structures made out of the local dark boulders.
This is where Hawaiians connected with the divine. We were privileged to visit one such special, hidden temple. This was one of the most sacred Heiau for Hula dancers, who, I am told later, “graduated to the dance company” if they swam from the nearby beach and climbed the rocks up to the temple. If they were not eaten by sharks or crashed on the rocks, this was a clear sign they can be admitted…
As we walked slowly up from the beach through the lush tropical forest a real sense of special occasion descended. Just before entering the temple we stopped and sang a chant, asking for guidance and “knowledge revelation” from above.
The Heiau has a hula platform called Ke Ahu a Laka (the altar of Laka) high above the ocean, with inner and outer stone walls. The atmosphere was indescribable. I had the strongest sense of 4 elements’ presence. The sun was just setting and you felt its warmth and gold rays, the FIRE, underneath the ocean was roaring and the depths and movements and waves were manifestation of emotions, memory and qualities of WATER, the AIR was just about everywhere ( it was a windy spot after all) and the EARTH underneath our feet felt so solid, the rock in the midst of immense body of water. What a place.
Everyone in our group brought a small offering to the gods, mostly flowers from our cacao ceremony on the beach earlier…and one by one, after meditation, we laid our offering to the temple cave making our prayers and a wish.
It was magical time and I am very grateful to our guides that they arranged this visit – not everyone is allowed entry here. Generation upon generation of Hawaiians gathered and worshiped at this temple, and you felt their presence, their tie to the past.