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Article


Whispers Of Aloha
by Lois Stokes, photos by Earl Stokes

as published in Inspiration Vol. 12 March/April 2005

String FigureKoko Our story is a simple one. We are artists of the spirit who stand with the tropic sun over our heads, in the middle of the ocean, on the beautiful and healing island of Kaua'i. We work with residents and visitors from around the world in bringing back to awareness the ancient art of string figures.

The art of string figures is found in many cultures of the world. You may have played "Cat's Cradle" as a child. In Hawai'i it is known as "Hei" and there are over 115 recorded patterns.

Stories and chants often accompany the movement of the hands as the storyteller uses a simple loop of string to teach, heal and create.

We were not there when the first string figures were made. But the spirit of the kaula /string lives on and it has become our passion to share its magic with the "children" of today.

We live in a time when the children of the world are turning their attention toward fear, unhappiness, doubt and stress.

We are asking them to redirect their attention and through the making of String Figures keep their focus on love, trust and harmony. The making of these patterns keeps their mind on the present moment and not on their worries and fears.

String Figure Kalalea In each life rain does fall but through the sunlight we see the rainbow of hope. The rainbow colors representing "the honoring of diversity" and the circle of string "celebrating our unity." The changing pictures in the string represent that any pattern in our life can be changed. That the movement of the left hand and the movement of the right hand activates the harmony of mind, body and spirit.

We ask the children to whisper aloha. Aloha to the trees, Aloha to the birds, Aloha to the flowers, Aloha to the butterflies. With each Aloha they weave a knot in the rainbow loop of string and create a bracelet that they can wear to help them remember what they want to see grow in their lives.

When they release their "Whispers of Aloha" to the wind pulling the knots apart and returning to a simple loop of string, they are ready to make a string figure called "nine eyes" or as we have named it, The Aloha String Figure pule lehua.

Pule means prayer in Hawaiian and Lehua is a beautiful red blossom that grows in the mountains of Koke'e. On another level we see it as a prayer flower. We tell the story of how the stem of a flower pushes out of the mud and forms a bud. When the rain falls and the sun shines the flower opens up into a beautiful blossom.

String Figure Pulelehua Pulelehua is also the word for butterfly, a symbol of transformation. Today it symbolically focuses on the restoration of harmony. We tell the children that every time they make this string figure or see a butterfly to "kiss a wish" of peace and to whisper aloha.

Help to "Spread a little Aloha around the world". Join us in making string figures and whispering "Aloha." Visit our website stringfigure.com to learn how to make the Bracelet of Rainbow Blessings and The Aloha String Figure.

Lois and Earl Stokes can be reached at 808 826 9878, stokes@lava.net. They have distributed over 22,000 rainbow strings in the past 5 years and continue to share string figures with schools, libraries and the community. Look for their DVD Hei Hawaiian String Figures coming out this Spring. Web of Life International is a project of Aloha International.



Whispers Of Aloha


A simple loop of rainbow string
Spreads aloha around the world
Hands moving in harmony
Weaving patterns of peace
Sculpting whispers of aloha

The world needs healing
Change the pattern
Change the rhythm of the thought
Creating new forms of reality
Sculpting whispers of aloha

The power to make change
Lie within movements of the hand
Within movement of thought patterns
Staying in the present moment
Sculpting whispers of aloha


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