Article

Hawaiian HallMuseum Entrance
Ki'i Ka-lai Po-ha-ku
Hawaiian Petroglyphs
by Waiapoholio

Symbols are used by man to communicate beliefs on both a physical and spiritual level. The ki'i ka-lai po-ha-ku (stone carved image), or petroglyph, was used by ancient civilizations as a symbolic form of communication. The native language of an indigenous culture holds the key to unlocking the meanings of these symbolic messages. The Hawaiian language contains both literal and figurative meanings. Many words are expressed poetically in me-le (songs), o-li (chants), pu-le (prayers), and o-le-lo no'e-au (proverbs). The ancient Hawaiians were also highly skilled at playing word games, and sometimes a person's life was waged in the contest.

The priest believed that the inner world of ideas, memories, knowledge, and emotions is interconnected with the outer world of physical substance, material form, actions, and skilled experience. The priest believed that by directing our will, or active energy force, towards an idea, or goal, and focusing our attention with strong desire upon an image, we manifest an intentional outcome through the dynamic flowing of energy, producing a change in physical reality. By repeatedly affirming words and willfully focusing the active energy force on the engraved images in stone, the priest empowered the stone images to alter the outcome of reality. We are each directly involved in the meaningful creative process of our present lives and future.

The petroglyph of Ka-maka-nui-'ahai-Lono is located on the "Big Island" of Hawai'i at a place called 'A-nae-ho'o-ma-lu. The connotative meanings associated with the place name correspond to the diagnostic priest and his student. This is a sacred place where the priest made his prayer and created images for his patient. The priest would "ka-nae-nae o-la" (the word 'a-nae is a possible contraction for ka-nae-nae o-la, and means to chant a eulogy for restoration of life), and he would chant words of protection, "hoo-ma-lu" (to shield) a person from harm or illness. The healing priest would diagnosis sickness, administer to wounds and broken bones, prescribe herbs to restore the health of the sick, and procure wellness for his patient.

Some of the possible ways in which the priest would utilize the stone-carved images for his patient are:

ManaMana (power) imparted to the sick to restore vitality and energy.

Pi'oPi'o (reflect), or center, on positive thoughts and feelings for wellness.

Po'aiPo'ai (surrounded in love) encircled with the embracing warmth of sincere emotions.

Pu'umanaPu'u-mana (branching knot) represents each of us in the web of life and interconnected to the One and All.