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Tales From the Night Rainbow (Page 6)
By Pali Jae Lee and Koko Willis
Manawa Mau Loa Aku: Eternal Time
In the early days. that is, before the Tahitian ali'i came to these shores, our powers were great. Our koa bowls were full of light and we could do all things. There were no laws of life or death in those days. That form of rule came with the ali'i. Our only law, if you want to call it that, was that all are one. Anything said to hurt another would hurt you also. You cannot strike your brother without it also striking your parents and your 'aumakua, so it was best to strike no one.
In those days, it was commonplace for people to lie down, and their mind go elsewhere to check out weather conditions, to see a loved one far away, to fly with the birds - or to find the answer to a problem too hard for the mind in body. This is still carried on to some degree, but far less. Now it is usually done only by a few, who have kept the light.
In those days. and after the ali'i came too, we could think people home. We sent messages to them wherever they might be and have them come home if we needed them. They always got the message and came home. The 'aumakua would protect them. We would keep them in our mind, always safe, always well. We didn't worry. We knew they were cared for. The 'aumakua could do many things for us like that, that we could not do for ourselves. It was a good arrangement, having part of the family here in school, the other part watching over us, and guiding us.
Our time was not of a clock. It was of the day, and of the night, cycles of the moon and the time of certain stars in the morning or evening. We had divisions of time, but nothing as rigid as a clock. Yesterday, today and tomorrow were one. We had been here before, we would be here again. We were here for a reason - to learn. Sometimes we had to come back many times to learn the lessons being taught. Sometimes we learned fast and could continue our journey on the other side, and guard and watch over the family in body.
There were many lessons to learn. One that seemed hardest for all to learn was that force of mind and force of the fist are never in the same body. The energy will go to only one.
It took time for me, as a child, to understand that the people who gathered at an 'aha aina or 'aha were only half of the family. The more important part, our ancestors, shared these meetings with us, listened to our problems and did what they could to assist us with our difficulties. Help was given to us in many ways. Our spirit family - who knew the way of the light so well, and knew the power and the problem of the stones - they blessed us, surrounded us with light, their love, and gave us dreams to help us understand and to learn, watched us fall on our faces, helped us up. and started us on the pathway of light again, and again, and again.
Everyone in the 'Ohana had a high degree of dream understanding. From the time a child began to talk, his dreams were discussed with him. He was shown through his dreams errors, and how to correct them. He learned of things past and things future, of body conditions that needed correcting, and warning signals of illness. Some dreams gave clues as to what a child would become when he became an adult, and names of all children came from dreams. No child was ever named without the spirit family being part of the naming process. The parent, a grandparent or an elder of the family would have a dream, and the child was known, and his name given.
We were taught four different dream levels. One was the physical - pertaining to all aspects of the physical body. The second related to members of the 'Ohana and help needed, or warnings. Third were the mental dreams. In these, learning took place. Schooling begun during waking hours often continued in these dreams. The fourth level was the spirit dreams. On this level people leave the body during sleep and travel, in those who were advanced in dreams of this sort, they walked to the other side of the rainbow and talked with their spirit family if there was need of it.
The Hawaiian people have always believed in many lives - in a continuing river of life. A life that flowed in and out of the earth plane, learning something new each time, always moving forward. Never being put back for mistakes, but given a time to think things through and then continuing on, correcting errors and making new beginnings. There was no word for "sin". We had to invent one after we were told we were sinful.
This was a great difference between the Hawaiian beliefs and the beliefs of the foreign people who came to teach the Bible. They believed there was no river, no flow to life. It was a once or never trip. They meant well. They tried hard. They spoke love, they taught love, but they didn't know love. They taught "thou shall not" - and they were angry with us all the time for having fun and for the laughter and joy in our lives. They were not allowed joy. Salvation came to them only through misery. The Hawaiian gods were far more kind, for they loved happiness and joy as much as they loved sun and rain. They loved bodies the way they were made, glistening with sweat or with water from the ocean. They saw what we were, and it was good. The foreign God wanted every man, woman and child covered up and hid from themselves and each other. He was ashamed of his children. This is what the missionaries believed. I am not sure they were always right.
Jesus was a lover. He taught love. All the stories they told about Him were about love. He taught the same things we taught our children - don't kick unless you expect to be kicked back. Don't say mean things, for words hurt worse than stones. Love the old ones, love your parents, love your sisters and brothers. Love the babies. The more love you give, the more you will receive back into your life.
The missionaries didn't always listen to the things Jesus said. The rules they made and lived by did not come from Jesus. They did not come from the Bible. The rules came from their own minds and hearts. They worked very hard at being Christians. It was a religion of laws and rules more strict than our own kanawai (laws) had been. I am sure their God loved them for all the misery they endured.
I too loved Jesus so I let the Hitchcocks dunk me and I became one of "their flock". I helped build the church at Kalua'aha. I tried to live like they wanted me to live. Many times I could not understand but they were older than I, they were the teachers - I was the student. I respected them. I covered my body. I did not drink of the 'awa root. I didn't play in the surf on Sabbath but sat listening to sermons all day. I gave up many things that to me were pleasurable. I did not understand many of their laws, but I kept my questions to myself. Only once I asked a question. I wanted to know about the wives of Jesus - how many he had, what happened to them and how many children he had. Everyone was shocked. They said He had no wives at all. He was pure.
Pure is full of energy - not being full of stones. I did not see what that had to do with how many wives he had. Who cared for this man? Who went with him on his journeys and prepared his food? Who put his mats down for him at the end of a long day and massaged his tired muscles? Was this, then, the job of the disciples?
When Father Damien came riding along on his donkey and wanted to talk to us. we were happy to see him. We fed him and gave him a place to rest. I told him I already knew about Jesus and loved him very much. That made him very happy. The next time he came, he sprinkled people and blessed them and I had him sprinkle and bless me. It was a wonderful day. We were all very happy. Father Damien wanted to build a hale pule (a house of prayer). We promised to help him build such a house. We had houses for our gods, so we agreed he should have a house for his god too.
Father Damien was a quiet man who never yelled at us, or seemed to get angry at us. He asked us questions about why we believed certain things. We loved him. We all wanted him to stay with us, but he always got on his donkey and rode away. He explained that Jesus never had a home or a bed, and, like Jesus, he would travel from place to place telling people about the love our heavenly father had for us. Watching him I learned about Jesus. They both were alone. No one took care of them. They had no 'Ohana.
One day the teachers at the school and church at Kalua'aha heard that Father Damien had been coming to visit us, and that we were building a hale pule for him. Several of our family who had been "sprinkled" were summoned to Kalua'aha at once. The fathers and mothers at the Mission Station were very angry with us. They said he was not of love, but of darkness. They said his long coat covered a tail, and his hat covered horns. We were all very shocked. We walked home slowly talking about this problem. Maka weliweli had taught me truth was always the same - yesterday, today and tomorrow. What had been truth hundreds of years ago would still be true hundreds of years in the future. Now, I was being told things that confused me. They all carried the Bible Book. They all told stories of God's love and Jesus. They all believed in prayer houses and meeting on the Sabbath and keeping the day holy, Yet - one now said the other was not of light, but of darkness. By the time we reached home our decision was made. When Father Damien came, we would just lift up the dress (coat) and check his bottom. We would remove his hat and look for horns. If there was no tail, if there were no horns, we would know that he was of the light and we would continue to build for him his hale pule.
When Father Damien came the next time, there was great excitement, for even the youngest children had heard, and were anxious to see what was beneath the robe he wore. Before we had a chance to explain to him what had happened, the children rushed forward and pulled up his robe and thoroughly checked out his buttocks. They were nice and firm, and quite normal. We were all satisfied. The stone belonged to those who would have us believe in such nonsense, and the matter was closed. Father Damien had a congregation.
The matter of the time was one that was never resolved between us and the priests of either the Catholic or Protestant faith. To them everything was so very urgent. They were always in a hurry. I often wondered why they did not take time to enjoy anything along the way. We continued to do things when the omens were correct, and wait when they were not. It would be foolish to carry rocks from a certain beach to build a church, then have a big rain come and wash them all back to the beach again. When the rocks wanted to be a part of that church, when the sky and sea and surf were in accord that these were the rocks (or coral or ohia logs) to go toward the building of something, we would know. In the meantime, we had our daily chores to do.
To the Hawaiian heart there was the Ao (day) in which we did all manner of toil, for ourselves, our family, our neighbor, our old and our young. When the day ended, so did all work. No nail was pounded, no floor was swept, no hair cut, no dishes washed. With the setting of the sun, all work was finished until it rose again. Po (night) was spent in rest, visiting, remembering days of old, story telling; chanting and singing; in sharing time with our spirit family and in setting things straight around our own family circle. It was a time for joy and a time for love. It was the part of time that would ever be eternal.
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