Category Archives: Mythology

Hōlanikū – A Return to Pō

[Disclaimer: not everything I write in this blog may be accurate to the places and the cultures depicted. This blog is not a resource for you to learn this information. This is only a narrative report of my personal experiences. I will do my best to accurately represent this information, however this can even be challenging to anyone for much is left to the interpretation of the person gathering and “reading” the information. I have very little to no background in Hawai’i ʻōlelo and the subsequent manifestations ( mele, hula, ʻōlelo no’eau, oli, mo’olelo, etc…) although I am a student of these and understand my own personal need to learn in order to expand my own knowledge and awareness. Because my knowledge is very limited in this context, I borrow heavily from my broader understanding of archetypal psychology and mythology. However these subjects too are relatively new and foreign to me.  One of the purposes of this blog is as a tool to help me apply the knowledge I am learning to my own story as a way to actualize it: to bring it to life! Thank you for reading!]

Return to the West. Entering Pō.

Every Journey Into Darkness is a return to greater awareness of self. Human existence is a profoundly existential experience; every human being is burdened, or gifted – depending on how you look at it – with a deeper sense of awareness of self. However, full consciousness is not handed to us. In our lifetime, we must seek it out. We must journey into the unknown, the uncharted territory, the shadow realm, and bring back with us our own awakening.

How does one do this? How do we know about that which is unknown? How can we embark on a journey in finding and obtaining our fullest potential? The answer, or rather the reward, is found only within the journey itself. Yet, as creatures who are but merely the latest continuation of the unraveling story of life, we may my find guidance  in all that came before us. These clues have been observed from people to people, generation to generation, preserved in stories which have been remembered through their cues from the environment that surrounds us: Earth, and the greater cosmos.

The story of the Human is a cyclical story embedded within the larger contextual story of life. Each of us human beings are an expression of this grand story. Our identity, our psyche, is but a representation of all which has come before, flowing forward and backward in time: spinning, spiraling. In a reality in which we as humans are perceiving our world, it is difficult to “see” the foundational forces that provide this “home” or “space” for us to even exist. This is why humanity is profoundly a existential experience: The physical world in which we are born into: the light, is only illuminating the creations, but we cannot see the source of these creations. For that, we must venture into the darkness…

I cannot deny my own acute awareness of a deep void that rests beyond my horizons. Its gravitational pull is strong, pulling me towards its edge. I both fear it immensely, and desire it tremendously. I fear it because it is unknown: as we all are naturally programmed in our genetic instinctual self-preservation to remain in a state of safety. But I desire it because I feel so contained and limited within this bubble of safety. What does it mean when your soul calls for you to expand, to risk everything?

I don’t have many answers, but I have found that when I respond to this calling, my perceived experience fills with meaning and purpose. Destiny comes forth and leads me on. Passion is ignited and lights my way.

I am about to return to a very special place. It’s name is Hōlanikū. It is both a place on this Earth, and a place in our psyche. I am returning here for work, both practical and spiritual. This place is an Atoll which is part of the largest protected preserve in the world, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and it rests at 28.3925° N, 178.2936° W. It also rests in the realm of . As the Atoll exists much further north and west of the main Hawaiian islands, it also then exists within the realm of darkness: the subconscious; the source. It exists beyond the horizon, in the West where the sun sets, and in the North. These are places within us and without us where life came from and life returns to. It is where our ancestors rest. It is the home of our kūpuna. Mai nā kūpuna mai. 

I am still trying to grasp the deeper significance of ancestral places and their imprinted wisdom on the geography of us people. I am merely a beginning student who has been honored to learn from our greatest Kumu, our greatest teachers. I do not take this lightly. I take it as a huge responsibility, a deeper purpose. And although It often feels like a great undertaking: to walk between the realms of the conscious and unconscious in such magnitudes, I have already seen what walking this path has given me. A greater sense of myself. A greater understanding of the mystery of life and a clearer vision of where we as a people are going…

If you choose to follow this blog, you will be diving along with me into my journey. I will attempt to post regularly beginning now and all the way through the six months on  Hōlanikū, as well as the return. If you would like further information about this place and the work that we do, please visit the Kure Atoll Conservancy page.  If you would like deeper information on this place, there are many resources for this. Check out Kekuewa Kikiloi work titled Rebirth of an Archipelago: Sustaining a Hawaiian Cultural Identity for People and Homeland as well as some of his other work: KŪKULU MANAMANA: RITUAL POWER AND RELIGIOUS EXPANSION IN HAWAIʻI THE ETHNO-HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY OF MOKUMANAMANA AND NIHOA ISLANDS:

Mahalo nui for your interest in my story!

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Within a Single Cigarette


My body was feeling uncomfortably tight after sitting on an uncomfortable couch inside an uncomfortable stagnant heat trapped in my house. I stepped outside to enjoy a cigarette and the cool night breeze.

An added bonus were the clear starry skies and my friendly black house cat who sat perched on the ledge of the stone steps leading up to the house. I sat beside her, lit the embers of tobacco and sucked in the smooth soothing smoke.

I looked down at that black cat who looked out down the street at all of the world that she could see. I followed her gaze and peered into her small world she roams at night and day, wondering at the simplicity of her thought, before arching my neck back to stare upon the stars.

Those stars. Those stars I know to be millions of light years away. Some billions. Those stars I know to be massive incandescent gases, some wobbling by effect of much smaller  planets orbiting them. I stared up at those stars and realized I could look at them from so far away, but did not have to live in a world where I wondered what they were.

I knew.

I could imagine with great accuracy what each of those stars actually looked like, because my species, human kind, dared to look beyond our own small world. We dared to look beyond the perseverance of our domain.

We dared to know more than was necessary just to survive.

But at what cost?

Every culture has looked up at the stars. Every person has looked up at the sun and wondered how its light shines upon our form and we are made in its image. Every parent has observed their children grow into their own, separate from them, internalized into the understanding of eternity at last.

Every culture has formed elaborate stories around their findings of the world; of the universe, of their own understanding for our existence – how we came to be, and where are we going.

The society is the father, bringing support and stability to the people. Structure, the backbone to the mechanisms of life. And the mother, she nurtures that life with constant love. And so we observe the grandest phenomenons of our universe take part in all aspects of life. Certain universal truths discovered independently and in different ways from culture to culture.

These truths become encoded into our stories, recordings of our existence; and thus our continued existence is testimony to our pursuit of immortality…. not as individuals, but as a species, as a creature of the earth, and since we cannot survive without the continued existence of our fellow creatures, then it no longer is just a pursuit of one single species.

No.

We are merely the ambassadors of the collective life of this planet. We have been selected (naturally mind you) to be “awakened” to our own self-realization of life, through the very complex and rare evolutionary and physical leap of certain random yet precise DNA mutations to persuade the advantage for a correct patterning of coding that allows our body’s to do what they do today:

observe beyond our present world and wander within the realms of past and future with ease and fluency.

And each culture that has come and gone and united and ripped apart, left behind memories of their greatest humanitarian accomplishments and saddest tragedies, searching for a sign of why we are the way we are.

Why we have been “chosen”.

And every collective identity of culture has struggled with this special feeling, this strange power. And every culture has constructed laws and morals and taboos to help contain this struggle as we, from one generation to the next, one era to the next, unravel the deep mysterious answer to our question: that in someway, this answer, this source for our existence, will somehow reveal to us our purpose and reason to continue on this path, an answer to why we should persevere through the pain and suffering all around us. That it is happening for a reason, that it is only a phase in our efforts to detangle from the confusion we were born into.

Humanity was born, and we were left on our own to find out why.

And now. Now, all these stories, these social codes upheld in every culture, these ways of living based on the necessity for survival, but also based on the pursuit for immortality – to transcend the primal realm of survival, to find a way out, into the bliss of eternity. That we will cheat death, not as an individual, not as a species, but as a representative of Earth.

A hero is born. The Gods await.

My cigarette ends in one last spindle of smoke rising to the heavens and swept away in the strengthening winds and I travel back down from the stars and see my cat still staring down the long road, caught and suspended in the present moment.

“we’re in this together” I say aloud to her as I reach to pet her warm, bony back.

she sinks into my touch and begins to purr as if to say, “Well then don’t fuck it up.”

 

 

 

The Mythology in You: Where Our Stories Come From

It seems that nearly every six months I go through some kind of transition in life, be it moving to a new place, the end of one job, the start of another… My life is always in constant flux. That’s my story. A kind of Hero’s Journey where the Hero finds himself detached from the normal social judgments and instead is leaping and bounding within the morals of his own art. For me, that art is seeking the source of all things. And there are two fundamental locations for this source: Our personal dreams, and our Society’s Mythologies. Have a read, have a watch:

“Do you ever notice how our stories of both ancient and modern take on a fantastical quality? The fantastical quality, or, “themes” of our stories, originate from a source many many eons ago. And these fantastical themes or qualities of stories told by storytellers are actually inspired by our dreams. And our dreams, some might argue, are inspired by the internal psyche or the internal struggle.

Mythologies or stories are really just a projection of what is going on internally; inside of the human. They represent the psychological realm, the non-physical home of life. And so the physical world then just becomes a playing field, a playground for us to act out this internal struggle.

And so mythologies are told to us in this physical world, they are universal to each individual struggle, which are the dreams. So stories or mythologies then become some kind of guidebook to whats happening internally and it is our very dreams, our internal world, that somehow feeds the mythologies of our external world. There’s this reciprocity going on between our dreams feeding our mythologies and our mythologies guiding our dreams. Which means that your dreams are the accumulation of mythologies of the past. And that means that humanity, and life as we know it, is just a huge drama playing itself out since the beginning of time. And although your mortal body will die as the physical being we know it, your story, your inner-psyche, will live on.

Your inner psyche will live on as the food for the mythologies that will guide the next era. Just as your dreams and mythologies of today were fed by the eras that came before us. So although you in this physical state are an individual, your inner psyche is just a story that has been re-telling itself, continuously.

That is why cultures all around the world use storytelling as a means for healing, because it brings significance to an inwards suffering. You hear a story and you say, ‘huh, that sounds like what i’m going through,’ and your psyche identifies with the story and then it brings meaning to your suffering, and then the story that your psyche has identified with becomes a kind of map for you to overcome your suffering. And ultimately the goal is not to overcome your suffering, but to embrace it and see it for what it is. And by doing that, you are participating in the unfolding of the universe!

That’s my Story!”

Rest

My brain feels like a boiled egg. I could only sleep in about an hour. The sun has risen, but Hilo remains quiet and asleep. It’s a three day weekend, and the hard workers of the Big Island lay in their beds weighted by the consuming hours of  past labors.

My stomach feels messy from all the pizza I ate yesterday, and that’s certainly the same reason my head is sloshing with low frequency pains. I wake up not feeling all that into myself. It comes and goes like the seasons, like the rains, like the planets circling nearby.

It’s a privilege to be an existentialist. The freedom of my pondering thoughts is directly related to the abundance of opportunity at my finger tips. Even as my head slams with yesterday’s regrets, I swim in the notions of why I exist.

The Hilo rain this morning drifts in from the ocean in soft waves. I shuffle around the quiet of the house, make my coffee, and hang upside down on my roommate’s inversion table, trying to release the tension coiled around my spinal column. I contemplate what I’ll try and do today, trying to brush away impending thoughts to be present in the relaxing and restorative day off I have ahead. I just finished another enduring week of work with my summer gig: a team leader for a small group of up and coming young adults passionate about their home land of Hawai’i. Each week we visit a different site of managed reserve land in which any various conservation project is being implemented through whatever funding has been allocated for that place.

We as a team have been working hard, and I’ve been given the great gift of total trust in leading this group of 17 and 18 year olds – an age in life I remember all too well. An age, in some ways, I myself am still afraid to let go of. That turning point. That severance. Excited to be my own person, but deathly afraid of what sacrifices must be made. Safety. Innocence. Comfort.

The rain thickens and drowns out any sounds of civilization from the city as the Hilo town begins to wake up. I dreamt of Mauna Kea last night and wanting its spiritual solitude, but all my waking life seemed to be up there with me.

The summer has come into its fullest and all seems busy with activity during these longer days. My family feels distant along the pacific coast of America, and I cringe with homesickness during these soft gentle mornings as I lay outside of their proximity. A normal routine of emotions spill in and I allow them to fill before flushing them back out.

The house cat comes bounding in with the heavy rain on her silky black fur. She cries outside my door and awaits my response, smelling the particles of dust and debris on the floor around my doorway. She stands at the threshold of my room, uncertain if she will enter, or let me be, licking and drying her dampened paws.

Next week I head out to the historical Kuamo’o Battle field and burial grounds of Pili Kauwela in South Kona. A place of heavy energy I am told. A place with memories of the deaths of not only many people, but a whole philosophy and religion: the Kapu system.

I do not know what next week will bring in its entirety for me or my team, but I anticipate the immersion into a place that will tell a story of an important lesson on humanity.

 

 

 

The Mythological Pastry

The days roll over each other like buttery layers of a croissant, congealed into weeks and months, together like flaking goodness of sweet and fat fused just perfectly imperfect by the blazing oven of creation.

I sat outside the Laundry Express on one of these particularly buttery days trying to use the space between loads as an opportunity for pastry reflection. Three weeks ago I lay curled up on the floor boards of my tent confronting the delicate edge between life and death, not necessarily suicidal per se, but certainly not filled with the will of life either. And now I’m sitting with my legs crossed down town with damp feet, with one sultry croissant in my hand, wondering how I picked myself up and  began to rediscover the source of life; my source for life. The journey to that source certainly is not over, most likely has just begun, but enough time and events and experiences have passed that I can split open that croissant and feel the soft steamy innards against my taste buds and salivate over the digestion of this little package of experience.
My newly acquainted friend slides through the sliding doors of the laundry center and sits down next to me on the firm plastic bench outside. A waft of detergent scent follows her out, mixing and dissipating with the ethanol infused vehicle emissions from a herd of cars passing by us in circles hoping to find an open spot in the parking lot. Laundry Express is one of the most popular destinations in Hilo.

I barely know this women. I just met her that morning. She just moved into the vacant tent up at our place the night before. We  shared coffee and bananas and pineapple for breakfast and somehow with the help of the buzz of caffeine and my nervous energy upon having a new junglemate, we found ourselves knee deep in one of those conversations that is real hard to find a way out of. Philosophical. Political. Moral. Spiritual. It was messy.

But at the end of it we discovered both of us were in need of washing clothes and my was I relieved to find that out cause I was dead out of clean clothes with a couple more job interviews coming up and no way of getting my heap of possessive attire to town. But she had a car. A Cadillac. I think it was my first time in a Cadillac.

And sitting there on the firm plastic bench surrounded by fumes we also both discovered our passion for writing. She had come to Hawaii originally to hunker down and finally complete a book she’d been writing for 5 years, a collection of over 2,500 pages by now. A bit of a nightmare, if you ask me. I didn’t tell her so, but I did tell her how I so admired her for attempting to write a book, and even such an epic as that. I myself, I said to her, could really only handle writing little blogs, but wished that some day I’d write a book. Something that involves Mars perhaps.

When I asked for the premise of her book she asked if I knew what ‘M Theory’ or “String Theory’ is. I said I had heard of it and she went on to explain the 11 dimensions our universe is made up of and that her book is essentially 11 different stories all intermingled in a structure much like that of this ‘M Theory’.

I got all excited because it reminded me of how classic tales and ancient stories were told in a convoluted ‘more than meets the eye’ type of circular ‘ring theory’ way in which a hidden message could be found in the depths of the structure of how the story itself is told. One of my favorite examples of this is George Lucas’s creation of StarWars which is arguably the greatest modernization of myth to date (you can see what that’s all about here).

And her struggle to complete this story of her’s that seemingly turned into some kind of monstrous monstrosity with its massive accumulation of pages upon pages, weighing down on her pushing her ever so slightly further away from obtaining the ultimate goal of completion reminded me a bit of what my life was feeling like; this life in which I felt this enormity of potential pulsating from every cell and fiber of my being and trying so hard to work on the small things in my life so that I could realize that potential and become this greatness, this grandiose grandness I’ve always felt but could never find… in me.

She said, “I’ve been here for just about a year now and my book has made no progress. And it’s funny, because you know just 8 days ago I was just about ready to give up, and not just on the book, but my life. I couldn’t stop crying. For days, I just cried. And here I am now. I just bought a car and moved to a new place and am picking myself up and I’m okay with where I’m at and in fact I feel like somehow I’ve let go of control a bit and am allowing things to just happen, allowing my days to unfold, just as this book is unfolding. I do my best writing when I don’t really think about what I’m writing. It just comes out, layer upon layer.”

“Like a croissant.”

“What?”

I point to the glazed flakes of what remained of my croissant sprinkled across my lap. “A croissant.”

“Oh. Yea. I guess.”