The Hawaiian Lunar Calendar Moon Phases
The Spiritual Significance of the Hawaiian Lunar Calendar & Ancient Kahuna Practices
The old Hawaiian calendar represented a 29 ½ – day synodic lunar cycle of the moon. Each lunar month consisted of 29 and sometimes 30 recurring nightly phases of the moon. There is much written about the lunar calendar as an important guide to planting and as an ocean tide chart for fisherman. Few people are aware since there is little written about how the traditional Kahuna valued the lunar calendar as a vital spiritual guide. Many of Hawaii’s kahuna (Hawaiian priests) utilized the lunar phases for spiritual healing practices and shamanic divination rituals. It dictated the kapu (taboo) periods for spiritual worship and the times for conducting special religious rites and services. Since the time of its creation, the Hawaiian lunar calendar has continued to provide an important spiritual and celestial link that enables Native Hawaiians to connect to the heart and soul of their ancient Polynesian past. Present here are highlights of the traditional spiritual significance of the lunar calendar to the ancient Hawaiian people. Please visit often as we share additional information.
Ka Mahinahina o Hilo (Hilo’s Pale Moon Light) manifests a spirit energy that is initially weak and primal in nature. Therefore, the night of Hilo was not perceived by the kahuna as a desirable time for conducting certain types of ho`omana (religious healing ceremonies).
On the kapu night of Hoaka, many early Hawaiians believed that departed souls were able to reveal their eerie presence on earth by ili ke aka (casting their shadow) on the living. Hoaka is referred to by kahuna as the night of the “phantom moon.”
The appearance of the Kū Kahi moon was an “ominous” sign that often caused fear and trepidation especially among the ka po’e kolohe (the lawless). According to ancient Hawaiian tradition, on this day, adult lawe hala (law breakers) were selected and offered as human sacrifices in elaborate ceremonial rituals that were performed in luakini heiau (temples) to propitiate the god Kū.
The Kū Lua moon manifests spiritual energies representative of opposite and contrary forces that co-exist compatibly within the duality of the natural world. Therefore, on this day, one should avoid situations that can create divisiveness, dissension and disagreements. On the night of Kū Lua when in doubt or indecisive, perhaps, it may be best to kanalua (abstain).
The Kū-kolu moon emits a spiritual energy that is essential for facilitating the systemic flow of mana (the ethereal vital force) that unites the unihipili (subconscious), mana`o (conscious) and ‘aumākua (higher conscious) triune selves. Therefore, during the night of Kū Kolu: E hele a kahawai. (Go with the flow.)
The night of Kū Pau spiritually celebrates the “fulfillment ” of a divine purpose. It reflects the traditional Hawaiian concept that there is a right time for every beginning and every ending. On this particular night, it is best not to dilly-dally! “E pau ka hana ia ‘oe.” (Finish what you are doing).
‘Ole Kū Kahi, Kū Lua, Kū Kolu, Kū Pau
Eia kākou i na ‘Ole. (Here we are in the ‘Ole nights). The ‘Ole nights were a time that the early Hawaiians traditionally considered as inauspicious or unlucky. These nights were NOT perceived as favorable for any type of meaningful kahuna magic.
“E huna ‘oe i ka mea huna, mai ha’i, o lohea ‘ia auane’i, hewa kahi po`e.” (“Conceal that which is secret, do not tell, lest it be heard, and some people be offended.”) In keeping with the spiritual intent of the Huna moon, kahuna kaula (seers) and soothsayers traditionally abstained from revealing supernatural visions, divine revelations and prophetic messages received during this particular phase of the Hawaiian lunar month.
“Aia ho’i! Ka punohu ula a Kāne, Ke Akua ala i ke kai.” (“Behold! The sacred red mist of Kāne, the God rises on the sea.”) Mohalu was traditionally observed as a taboo night to Kāne, the Creator. It was spiritually designated as a time for reverence and solemnity. Kahuna considered the lunar energy of the Mohalu moon very good for healing.
Like the hallowed night of Mohalu, Hua was formerly designated as a time for worship, prayer and ritual. Consecrated to Lono, (Hawaiian god of fertility), it was also observed as a taboo period that included prescribed ceremonial rites, religious restrictions and prohibitions.
The night of the Akua moon was traditionally observed as an opportunity for communing with the gods. On this particular day, early Hawaiian families traditionally made ceremonial ho`okupu (gift offerings) and special prayer requests to seek the blessings of their Akua (Gods) and their `aumakua (ancestral spiritual deities).
The night of Hoku manifests a lunar energy that stimulates “spiritual vitality.” Kahuna considered it very conducive to spiritual divination. The early Hawaiians welcomed Hoku as a propitious day that brought traditional blessings of good luck, health and prosperity.
Derived from the root words mahea meaning “where” and lani which translates as “heavenly,” Mahealani literally means to locate “spiritually.” It was the traditional night when kahuna called upon ancestral spirits to help search for and locate mahea (where) misplaced personal possessions or lost and hidden items may be found.
Like teardrops that fall in sorrow and mourning, Kulu`s spiritual lunar energy was considered to be fluid in nature and transitional in spirit. It was traditionally equated with a period of descent, decline, failure and the possibility of future doom and gloom. Astrologically, the Kulu phase of the moon was not considered a good day for playing the odds or tempting fate.
More to Come…