On the island of Hawaii, Big Island, there is one of the largest temples in Hawaii. It’s called Pu’u Kohola. Every year, in Kawaihae, people from all of the islands gather to commemorate the prophecy of Kamehameha uniting the islands with a battle re-enactment.
Warriors from the families of the islands come together in their malo, their traditional garments. They wield traditional weaponry and re-create the scene. With chant and protocol they welcome in a procession of the royal court in full regalia.
Of course, the Lomi Lomi tent is usually full with a line of people. I happened to be working in this tent in 2012.
That year, a boy came in. During the fighting, he had done a back flip and landed poorly on his ankle. All the Lomi practitioners couldn’t wait to work on that ankle.
As he was sitting at lunchtime, and I was sitting close to him, Spirit showed me a picture. As I looked at the ankle, I saw a crack.
What spirit was showing me was a fracture.
I knew that he shouldn’t get Lomi because when there is a fracture, if you Lomi, or massage the area, a blood clot or hematoma could break free. This could be damaging to the heart or the brain.
I went up and asked him how he was doing.
I said, “I think maybe you shouldn’t get any Lomi.”
He said, “Yeah, I’ve been feeling like I shouldn’t get any Lomi.”
I said, “It could be dangerous to Lomi, but one thing that we could do is we could make a poultice.” This was used from ancient times. The Hawaiian word for poultice is halalo poi. A compress of pounded herbs is used to pack a wound and then the area is wrapped with leaves.
When we place a poultice, we use intention to send it deep downwards into the area. Especially if the injury is closed as in a fracture.
The boy agreed to let us put the poultice on. One thing to always remember when you’re working with herbal medicine is to Mahalo. Thank the spirit of the plant and our Great Spirit, for infusing the plant medicine with mana, energetic life force.
At the seashore, I gathered noni leaf and noni fruit. This superfood is packed with healing enzymes and anti-inflammatories. I gathered pohuehue, a beach morning glory traditionally used for healing wounds and broken bones. I took some pa’a kai– sea salt – that had dried in the crevices and craters of the rocks around the shoreline. Finally, I gathered some alae– highly mineralized red earth.
I took a stone with a round base and found a flat stone creating my own mortar and pestle. As I pounded the medicine, I said “E Komo Mai Ke Akua Hā”– asking Divine Spirit to come and breath life and Divine blessing into the medicine. Finally, I placed the poultice over the area where I saw the fracture and wrapped Ti leaf around the ankle.
I made enough halalo po’i for him to use for the next few days. We prayed over his leg.
Sure enough, when he went home to his physician, they found a fracture.
That day, I believe the Spirit showed me how to support in another way, besides Lomi. Our prayers and herbal medicine have always been a part of the practice.
We can gather medicine of the land that is all around us. Ask the plant what it wants to be used for. Administer the medicine, allowing the plants, our brothers and sisters of the land to also be of service and infuse mana into the healing practice.
Envision the person who needs healing. Take a deep breath and listen for guidance.
If you find that lomi is not what is needed, go out in nature to gather. Ask the plants of the land which ones would like to be used for healing. Gather nearest to the newest shoot but leave the new shoot so that the plant can continue to grow.
Gather in odd numbers and give the first of each plant used as offering to Ke Akua and the ancestors.
As you gather, mahalo the plant for giving of it’s essence.
As you pound the herbs together, say, E komi maui Ke Akua Hā and breath divine breath into the medicine.
Are you willing to try this gathering practice? Have a question about it? Leave me a note in the comments below: