Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hawaiian legend of sacred stones

I am enjoying a winter holiday of Kaua'i island, and just visited the Limahuli Valley Garden and Preserve where I met a powerful Hawaiian legend of sacred stones: The legend of Pohaku-o-Kane.  If you follow my blog on you will know that I have a deep relationship with stones that are teachers to me.

This beautiful story begins long before humans came to Kaua'i and tells of how three huge rocks, two brothers and a sister, were seeking a new home.  They rolled across the ocean floor and after visiting other islands they finally arrived at Kaua'i.  They were refreshed by the colors of land, ocean, sky and clouds as well as by the reef fish and the fresh water of Limahuli Stream.

The sister, O'o-a'a was enchanted by this location and decided to stay, soon falling asleep lulled by the sound of the waves and the warm sun.

The younger brother, Pohaku-loa stopped to rest in the shade of the hala trees and decided to stay beneath their rustling leaves, falling asleep in the cool breezes.

The older brother decided to continue on alone to the top of the mountain. Yet when he reached the cliff his strength failed and he faltered and fell time and time again.  Because he refused to give up the great god Kane came to investigate and asked why he was struggling so hard to reach the top.  The rock replied, "I want to be where I can watch the world below."

Kane pointed out that it didn't matter because surely he would also fall asleep like his sister and brother but the rock insisted that he would stay awake.  Kane determined that the rock would never give up trying to climb the mountain and so made a deal with him.  He would lift the older brother to the top of the mountain ridge and in return the rock would stay awake and watch and remember all that went on below him.  Kane then said, "When I come again, you must tell me what you have seen.  When you are ready to go the island will sink beneath the waters and the waves will climb up to you.  Then you and your brother and sister may begin to travel again.  Until then, watch and remember."

To this day Pohaku-o-Kane, which means Stone of Kane, sits wakeful on the mountain top, and all is well.  In order to honour this beautiful Hawaiian legend, I have not taken a picture of this sacred stone. Photography would freeze in time a small moment of the watching and remembering--that must instead keep flowing like the seas rise and fall and the trade winds sigh in the hala trees.