As the Makahiki season comes to a close, we must ask ourselves: How are we going to move forward with intention?
Makahiki is a celebration of the bounty of the land and a commitment to peace. In ancient times during the Makahiki season, Hawaiians participated in spiritual cleansings, made offerings and outlawed war; they celebrated with song and hula, sports, and by being in community; finally, they would set adrift a canoe full of offerings as a gift to Lono. Today, Hawaiians continue to celebrate with ancient games and festivals. Like many ancient traditions, however, the spirit of Makahiki must find its place in a modern world. I am grateful to see that our ancestors’ rituals are coming alive today, in more ways than one.
Ten years ago, Aunty Mahi expressed a vision of Hawaiians marching together with shining torches around the island of Maui.
They would start in Lahaina, she told us, and the march would signify the beginning of Hawaiians coming together. In 2009, Aunty’s vision came to life, and Hawaiians gathered at Moku’ula to march for enlightenment and unity in a torch-lit journey. The 193-mile Ka’apuni brought hundreds of native Hawaiians together six years ago, and this week, Hawaiians are coming together to march once again. As they make their way around the island, carrying torches and the weight of their ancestors, welcomed by ohana from each of Maui’s twelve moku, marchers are lighting the way for a brighter future. Ke’eaumoku Kapu of Kaua’ula Valley, west Maui taro farmer, cultural advocate and founder of the Ka’apuni in 2009, announced that by marching together, organizers aim to achieve unity amongst one another, amongst the moku and all the people within them. As torchbearers continue their journey, stops along the way prove to be unifying and enlightening as intended. Day 2 of the march, walkers lent a visit to Kupuhua—a heiau very dear to us here at Ho’omana Spa Maui. Twice a year, our lomi lomi students journey to Kupuhua Heiau in Honolua Valley to care take the land. We are warmed to learn that the marchers’ visit to Kupuhua, wherein they helped clear the land, was also rich with conversation. Their presence and participation led to discussions about regular upkeep of this sacred space, and because of this, John and Josephine Carty, keepers of the temple, have decided to begin taking steps toward opening up the land to the public. Adapting to modern times is a challenge for every indigenous culture, but one that presents not only hardship but also great possibilities. As we move forward each day, we are empowered to move with mindfulness and intention for the kind of world we are creating. These bearers of light are moving forward with a great intention of unity. It is not the role of Hawaiians to live in the past, nor should we aspire to grow without our roots. Moving forward with intention means gathering the wisdom of our ancestors and bringing it into a world that is ever evolving and yet evermore defined by the richness of our past. How are you going to move forward with intention? Share your ideas and, like the torches carried around the island, they will light the way for a brighter future.