Under the firm but loving guidance of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of the volcanoes, a group of seventeen light workers embarked on the adventure of a life time. To connect with the Big Island of Hawaii, the aloha spirit of the islands and with Pele herself. We were also there to offer our love and healing to the island and to express appreciation to all that Hawaii and her gentle people offer the world; to give a little back to a place that gives so much to others.
And what an adventure it was…everyone returned home tanned and tired. We also returned home changed, some in more subtle and gentle ways, while others had huge, life changing break through experiences. We became ohana (family) with each other, as well as with the island. She truly opened her heart and lovingly embraced our little group.
New experiences and challenges had lovingly been placed along the path by the group facilitators, Bonnie and Brennan. These experiences ranged from hiking the lava deserts, rainforests and craters; kayaking the ocean; to snorkelling with dolphins, whales and manta rays in the wild. Each member of the group was challenged by different events, and each one of them also rose to the challenge in beautiful ways.
Although the word ALOHA is used as a greeting it is much more than hello, it is defined as love, kindness, humility, patience and unity. It is also said to contain the consciousness of the ancients placed upon the islands so long ago. Some (myself included) feel this is ancient Mu, the land of the Lumerians and this aloha energy has been there since that time. “A” (ah) is the first light of dawn, the spark of god/goddess father/mother. “Lo” is the symbol or sound of eternity. “Ha” is breath, the gift and blessing of life. So to say aloha is to remember the gift we have been given, our own inner greatness. “I greet the light within you, with the light within me”. Ref. “Pele’s Wish” Sondra Ray 2005
As we journeyed about the island, at each location we stopped and got quiet to connect with the aloha spirit of that particular part of the island. This was a two part exercise, one purpose was to find out what the island was offering to us, the other, and equally or more important, was what could we offer in return. I have noticed in my last couple of visits there, that there is a sadness about the land, which I have attributed to the large number of people (tourists) who come and take from the land with no thought of expressing appreciation or gratitude for that experience, creating an imbalance of taking but not giving back. The Big Island is very diverse and the feelings we experienced in various areas were notably different.
We hiked right down into the Kilauea Iki crater, part of the caldera on mount Kilauea, the currently active volcano. As we moved through the desolate barrenness of the lava sea in the crater, we stopped in an area on the smooth lava floor littered with large chunks of lava and many tiny pieces of olivine, also known as peridot, and connected with the island, the volcano and Pele. The experience was a feeling of raw power and the birth of creation.
Then just a few miles away, amidst the rainforest we hiked into the Thurston lava tube, and when we reached the end of the public area which is furnished with lights, we turned on our flashlights and moved deeper into the side of Kilauea. Upon reaching the end of the lava tube, we turned out all of our flashlights and stood in the total, absolute darkness several hundred yards into the earth. Wow, an almost unimaginable experience of still and quiet.
Then there was the hike over raw lava desert to reach the active flow, where new land is being birthed as the lava flows into the sea. The power and emotion associated with watching this is almost beyond description. A truly mesmerizing experience, I personally did not want to leave. And as we turned reluctantly away from this place, we then faced another two hour hike over the lava fields, however, this time it would be in the dark. I saw members of our group meet and overcome some of their greatest fears on this leg of the journey, as they stepped carefully over fissures where the red of lava could be seen below, the heat almost burning our skin; or jumped over other fissures that were too wide to just step across. We even had a wild boar greet us along the path as we entered the forested part of the path back to the vans.
Another very touching experience was our visit to the Place of Refuge. This was a place of absolute forgiveness and refuge in ancient Hawaiian traditions. I have been to visit it several times and each time, have received the message to just sit down and be, so I knew this was an important place to take the group. This was where we did a forgiveness mediation based upon Ho’oponopono, part of the practice of Hawaiian Huna. The word ho’oponopono, means to make right, times two, so this practice is an opportunity to make right with yourself as well as those around you with whom you may have hard feelings. We worked with the Hawaiian prayer Owan no ka “I” (“I” am the “I”) and received a beautiful welcome and blessing from a local spirit Hono Moku who thanked us for coming to his island and experiencing it on such a deep level.
Then there were the turtles, whales, dolphins and manta rays! We had a lot of up close and personal experiences, with the ocean creatures, particularly with the whales. Encountering mothers with young calves, seeing breeches, tail slaps, fin waves, and whale lights (the underwater reflection off their belly). A few of us even had the honour of being under water to experience that haunting song first hand. There is nothing like the sound of a whale song vibrating through your body, it touched my soul in a very deep place. Those who chose to brave swimming in the ocean at night got to experience the manta ray ballet; my, what beautiful and graceful creatures they are, and what a privilege to be able to interact with them in their environment. Each water encounter presented new challenges to various members of our group, and once again, the challenges were faced and surpassed with grace.
Yes, we also did traditional holiday things like shop, lie on the beach, play in the surf and eat fresh local fruit, vegetables, and fish, and once again, some were challenged by the strange food. There were a lot of awestruck moments over the ten days that we spent together on the Big Island as a very special ohana. We laughed together, cried together, meditated together and supported each other; and we were all changed for the better by the experience. Many thanks to the island for her warm hospitality, to Pele for her guidance, to Hono Moku for honouring us, and to each person who was brave enough to show up and take part in this adventure. It was certainly a privilege for my son Brennan and I, to be able to facilitate this experience. Mahalo!