Hawaii is not paradise. Nowhere with humans is paradise. A paradise is, to me, a place of perfection. Humans are not perfect. Therefore, Hawaii cannot be a paradise. If further proof is required, one may only look at their history. A history filled with tragedy. Blood stains the sands and the trees and the water, and it is very old blood. Forgotten, their tale is told in the silence and on the breeze. Even still, it is forgotten.
Let us start by describing the old Hawaiian religion. First, the beliefs of the indigenous people if Hawaii was largely polytheistic and animistic. They believed every object of consequence had a guardian or spirit attached to it. Thus, there were spirits coordinated to the sun, moon, sky, etc.
Among the plethora of gods in the Hawaiian pantheon, there are four main ones: Kū, Kāne, Lono, Kanaloa.
Kāne is considered the most important of the bunch. He represents procreation. He is also credited with the creation of the world and requires no sacrifices because he’s a nice guy.
Lono represents fertility, agriculture, rainfall, music and peace. He’s the guy you go to when you want a successful harvest and a relatively non-fatal storm season.
Kū is the god of war. Total jerk. Demands human sacrifice.
Kanaloa is basically Kāne’s compliment. If Kāne builds a canoe Kanaloa sails it. If Kāne governs the North, Kanaloa governs the south and so on.
From these four gods come many gods and goddesses and a number of spirits and family guardians. It’s a complicated list that, while interesting, has far too many irrelevant details.
There was a social hierarchy in Hawaii that let to problems. The kahuna was a group that included anyone who was considered educated or a ‘professional.’ Healers, philosophy and navigators are a few types of people considered kahuna.
To make sure all were of the kahuna class, a code of regulations called the Kapu was instituted into Hawaiian society. These rules were to separate the clean from the unclean. That doesn’t sound very positive, so you can tell where this story ends.
- The separation of men and women during mealtimes (a restriction known as ʻaikapu)
- Restrictions on the gathering and preparation of food
- Women separated from the community during their menses
- Restrictions on looking at, touching, or being in close proximity with chiefs and individuals of known spiritual power
- Restrictions on overfishing
Breaking any of these rules would result in death. If the offender was able to reach a refuge known as a Pu’uhonua, then a priest could absolve them and they’d be saved. If they didn’t reach Papa Church, then they’d be in deep doo-doo.