but it also means to cherish and respect the spirit of the land. Malama ‘aina also treasures the stories the land carries over millennia of time.
Our wonderful Ho’omana Lomi Ohana (family) has been caretaking beautiful taro patches in the sacred valley of Wailua Nui on the East side of island for the last decade. Many of you reading this post have had the opportunity to malama ‘aina in this heavenly place over the years. We love clearing the lo’i kalo (taro patch), harvesting, or best of all LOMIing the ‘aina with our bare feet to prepare for planting huli (new shoots).
In our most recent visit this month, one of our students shared with me he felt watched over by the spirits of the land. Beginning with the journey into the valley, including the entire time we were there he felt their presence.
It reminded me of a story shared by the owner of one of the patches we cleared that day.
Uncle’s family has been in this valley practicing their ancient planting ways for more than 1000 years. After raising his family and retiring, Uncle felt called to return to the family land to reopen the family lo’i kalo that had become over grown. The first day he tried to open the upper terrace, a swarm of bees sent him running down the valley. He saw this as a message from the ancestors to tread with clear intention and mindfulness.
The next time Uncle journeyed up the valley, he began to hear rhythmic beats of ancient drums. Immediately, he stripped down to his bare skin and prostrated himself. He crawled on his belly to the upper terrace with reverence and humility. The drumbeats ceased and Uncle began his kuleana (responsibility) of caretaking. He now has several lo’i with 3 terraces planted in various stages of growth.
To think that this elderly man, whose family has worked the land over centuries of time, felt to pay homage in such a humble manor is both moving and inspiring!
Ancient Hawaiians did not believe that one should have ownership over that land. Instead, we were created to be stewards. As stewards, we nurture our relationship to and with the land. In turn, our needs will always be cared for by that land and it’s elements.
Have you had a spiritual experience connected to the earth? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. If you are ready to connect with the spirits and stories of the land, get grounded and Malama ‘aina with me in the taro patch on May 21st. Call Reception to RSVP (808)573-8256.
5 thoughts on “Malama ‘aina: Respect the Land”
Mahalo for all the ways you Malama Kati.
There is a place near my home that contains powerful spiritual earth energy. Native American tribes have used the area as shelter for thousands of years. It is a deep, rocky canyon with a beautiful stream that runs the length of the canyon beneath a canopy of Palm and Willow trees.
I visit this place as often as possible, to connect with and give thanks for the divine connection I feel when surrounded by this setting and the flowing waters.
One day I came to the Canyons to seek help and pray for guidance about a very painful emotional issue I was going through. I asked for help in my feelings of being scared about life; feeling as though I had no courage at all to face the challenges and events that other people seemed to deal with all the time.
I had taken my shoes off and walked into the stream and was standing on a large rock in the middle of the water.
As I stood there, silently asking for some sort of help, ready to cry out in anguish, I looked down and saw, slowly coming up from the side of the stone, a massive Tarantula. It was the size of my outstretched hand. It slowly walked toward my bare feet, which were wet from the stream water, and it climbed up onto my foot and began to drink the droplets of water off the top of my foot. I felt no fear at all; no reason to be afraid or move away. I knew this was Spirit showing me that I had courage in ways that others might not.
This was the most profound experience of connection with Earth energy I have ever had, and it changed my life and my perspective on the concepts of being brave and having courage, and of the amazing gifts that Spirit will give if only asked..
Aloha Brian, Thank you for your heart felt sharing. We each have our gifts to embody in life and it sounds like courage is definitely one of yours. I am not sure that I would have been in such a peaceful state with a tarantula that close. Thank you for sharing your connection.
I am off island in May, otherwise I would love to participate with you. Another time awaits this glorious event!
Thank you, Jeana, for the love that you share as only you can in your dedication to beauty on so many levels!
When the time is right for you, we welcome people to come out and experience what it feels like to practice the traditions that the ancestors did. Being in the lo’i kalo always brings awe and wonder as to the peaceful, grounded lifestyle that sustained generations. Next trip will be the first week of September during our Fall immersion. Hope to see you there!!!