The Blessing of Water
Shamans all around the world share one very important fundamental belief, that the world we experience comes from our beliefs. Let's look at some Hawaiian beliefs about water. They value it greatly. Their word for wealth is waiwai, lots of water. Whomever was blessed to have lots of water was wealthy.
One of my first experiences of Hawaiians and water came on the island of Kauai. I was being taken to a temple site in a remote part of the island by two special Hawaiians. It was a magical place where nature could be heard like a symphony. When we approached an area they said was the remains of an altar, it started to rain. I looked up to them and the woman spoke. "We love the rain, whether it is a gentle sign of approval from the heavens like this one or a torrential rain, it is a blessing. We never curse the rain." Well, at that moment cursing the rain was the farthest thing from my mind, but I never forgot what she said. Each time I am in the presence of the gift of rain, I say mahalo (thank you). Even when I was in Trieste, when we walked from the hotel to the conference center in a very heavy, windy rain and I lost my most favorite hat, a French beret I had had for many years, probably into the sea! Even that rain was not cursed!
Another example of the sacredness of water can be found in a very ancient Hawaiian Shaman ritual for sharing water. This ritual starts be saying "we are one with the heavens, we are one with the earth, we are one with humanity, now let us share"...so even before blessing the water, our unity is recognized. Then the strength and healing power of the water is blessed. As the blessed water is shared, the giver says "love is the water of life" and the receiver says "forever."
Yet another proverb:
"Ola i ka Ha, ola i ka Wai, ola i ka 'i, Ha-wai-'i."
Hawaiians, it seems, named their homeland to include these life giving essentials, so their importance would never be forgotten.
Kawailehua is a song written by Kawaikapuokalani Hewett over 30 years ago and recorded by innumerable Hawaiian musicians. It's about the cycles of life as represented by water. Translated, the words of the song say: "The rain falls down carrying with it the lehua blossoms. (The blossoms fall onto mountain streams and travel downstream toward the ocean) The flowers come to the sea where they dance joyfully on the ocean. The rain is no stranger, it's been here in the ocean before, and as it returns it brings love. The song is told, oh heavenly one, the red waters that fragrant the earth."
So Hawaiians believe we are blessed that God created our water (Wai) to travel, from the mountains where the Ohia Lehua trees grow, down to the sea, thereby sharing it's life giving gifts to all along the way. Once Wai reaches the sea it joins all the waters of the ocean and rejoices to remember it is a part of the greater whole. And the cycle continues as Wai evaporates and seems to disappear, only to reappear as clouds, grow heavy and once again fall back to earth.
This blessed cycle of life of Wai is symbolic of another cycle, that of birth. The lehua blossoms are mostly red, so Wailehua could be red waters, or blood, blood that also nourishes the fetus, which, feeling nurtured and loved, dances playfully there.
Yet another cycle represented here is that of human emotions. Divine Love coming from God above travels easily and as it's shared, this love helps us to dance through life, it helps us remember who we are. We are no stranger to love, to our divine happy selves, to our unity. Like the water drops in the ocean, we are truly One!
Most Hawaiian songs written in the old style have multiple meanings, each giving the singer/dancer, as well as observer, inspirations on multiple levels. Many people have been healed simply in the listening.
As healers, we can take the essence of this story and create a symbolic reminder for a daily healing ritual, an anytime fixer or even an emergency life line. In the remembering, we are not alone, remembering, we have all the tools we need, remembering, our divine prototype can help us navigate any rough waters. Choosing a water symbol that inspires, like the rainbow water drop, we make friends with it.
For example, imagine holding it or observing it on an altar in a peaceful place. Talk to it as we would a friend, telling it how beautiful it is and how good it makes us feel. As we repeat this, it strengthens it's place in our memory and then becomes easy to retrieve in moments of need. Next, we could give the symbol a mission, like purifying earths water sources, or purifying the water in our bodies or purifying the thoughts in our minds. Since we have the rainbow colors in this symbol it might also be healing to include harmonizing as well as purifying, in the symbol's mission. Now each time we see or think of our symbol, the mission will be strengthened.
Susan Pa'iniu Floyd is an Alakai of Huna International living in Hawaii.