NA PULE KAHIKO – Ancient Hawaiian Prayers
Kanaloa, god of the deep ocean, is one of the four great male gods in traditional Hawaiian religion. According to Gutmanis, Kanaloa is the ‘aumakua (guardian spirit) of the squid and octopus. He is also associated with the west (called the “much traveled road of Kanaloa”), with ocean winds, and with bananas. Additionally, he is often associated with healing.
Following are two prayers – preceded by explanations and followed with English transations – taken from NA PULE KAHIKO:
This prayer to Kanaloa is one used in treating a sick person. After putting the patient to bed without medicine, the treating kahuna [healer – TD] recites the following over the sick person:
E Kanaloa, ke akua ka hee!
Eia kau mai o (inoa)
E ka hee o kai uli,
Ka hee o ka lua one,
Ka hee i ka papa.
Ka hee pio!
Eia ka oukou mai, o (inoa)
He mai hoomoe ia no ka hee palaha.
O Kanaloa, god of the squid!
Here is your patient, (name)
O squid of the deep blue sea,
Squid the inhabits the coral reef,
Squid that burrows in the sand,
Squid that squirts water from its sack!
Here is a sick man for you to heal, (name)
A patient put to bed for treatment
by the squid the lies flat.
Toward morning a fisherman is sent out to catch a hee mahola, that is, an octopus which is lying on the sand, outside its hole, with its legs extended on the ocean floor. While letting down his hook and lure the fisherman prays as follows:
Eia ka leho,
He leho ula no ka heehoopai.
Eia ka kao, he laau,
He lama no ka hee-mahola, no ka hee-palaha.
E Kanaloa i ke Ku,
Kulia ke papa,
Kulia i ka papa hee!
Kulia ka hee o kai uli!
E ala, e Kanaloa!
Hoeu! hoala! e ala ka hee!
E ala ka hee-palaha! E ala ka hee-mahola!
Here is the cowry,
A red cowry to attract the squid to his death.
Here is the spear, a mere stick,
A spear of lama wood for the squid that lies flat.
O Kanaloa of the tabu nights,
Stand upright on the solid floor!
Stand upon the floor where lies the squid!
Stand up to take the squid of the deep sea!
Rise up, O Kanaloa!
Stir up! agitate! let the squid awake!
Let the squid that lies flat awake,
the squid that lies spread out.
– from NA PULE KAHIKO: ANCIENT HAWAIIAN PRAYERS, page 6