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The Bat

Calling it a fishing village does not really reveal its true identity. Yes, the village sustained itself through fishing, but the primary purpose of the village was as a gathering place for practitioners, students and teachers of the healing arts. It dated back some 600 years when magic was a way of life. The village was deserted when we arrived and only the sound of the wind and the surf broke the silence that surrounded us.

As we walked the pathways that crisscrossed the ancient village, I could feel the power, the great mana[i], of the site. Soon we arrived at a ledge that overlooked the ocean, which the Hawaiians refer to as grandmother, and decided that it was a good spot to meditate, to pray.

Time passed; images came and went in my mind as the veil between the worlds became thinner and thinner. After a period of time, I was back in the present hearing the surf and feeling the hot breath of Kāne,[ii] the sun, on the side of my face. As my eyes opened slowly, adjusting themselves to the light and to this reality, a sense of peace and happiness settled on me as if a mantle of lehua[iii] blossoms were a part of my soul. 

A few minutes passed in silence as the wind gently rocked us. “Pretty awesome, eh,” said my friend who was sitting on my right a few feet away.

“It sure is,” replied Jamie who was sitting on my left. “I could live here with no problem.”

A few minutes passed in silence. And then I turned to my friend and said, “There is something I need to ask you. There is a ceremony that I would like to perform for these islands and your ancestors. It’s called a ‘burning.’ It’s an honoring and blessing to the land, the sea and your people. It’s also called ‘feeding the spirits’—the ancestors, the ones that have passed-over, the unknown-forgotten ones. ”

“You do this for my people?”

“Of course I would. I’d be privileged to,” I replied. “However, there is one condition.”

“A condition?”

“Yes, once the day of the burning is determined, it can not be changed, no matter what happens—earthquakes, eruptions—the burning must be done.”

“No problem, Jim.” 

“Good then Saturday, we’ll do the burning.”

As I was beginning to explain in detail the burning—a bat flew towards us, circled around us and then disappeared. This was in bright sunshine and during a time of day when bats usually do not appear. Our Hawaiian friend was amazed and excited by the appearance of the bat and said, “This is a great sign Jim. Nothing will stand in our way. We will be able to flow around any obstacles, physical or otherwise just like a bat does!” Time would reveal that this was just the beginning of the magic that was destined to happen.

After this special appearance by the bat, we bid farewell to the village and drove to our last stop of the day. We were headed to one of the sacrificial temples, a heiau luakini, of these isles—Mo’okini Heiau. It was situated not too far from the fishing village, and it also, over-looked the ocean. Even though it had been built as a temple honoring Io, the creator god of these islands, it had been changed into one that worshipped Kunuiakea, Great-Ku-of-the-heavenly-expanse—the war god. It was here where human sacrifice was practiced.

[i] Divine power – Life force

[ii]Akua (god/goddess/supernatural spirit) are the impersonal deities of the Hawaiian people. They may also be a Hawaiian’s ‘aumakua or guardian spirit. Akua exhibit not only divine traits and supernatural qualities, but much like Greek mythology, the Hawaiians’ gods and goddesses express human frailties. The four major akua are Kāne, Lono, and Kanaloa. Akua can also take different material forms such as an owl, shark, stone, a fireball or even an old woman such as the form sometimes taken by Pele—the volcano goddess. Kāne is associated with sunlight.

[iii] The official flower of the Big Island that originates from an evergreen tree of the myrtle family and is sacred to Pele, the volcano goddess, and Laka, the goddess of dance