Indigenous Mind

Kihawahine (PDF)


Apela Colorado

The Kihawahine is the oldest Aumakua or spiritual helper in Polynesia. She is the life energy of fresh water. Her movement is symbolized, in tattoo and Kapa designs as a wave line punctuated with a period or dot in each dip of the wave.

Polynesian designs are symbolic rather than representational. They reveal the function or physics of the spiritual energy that the design evokes. The Kihawahine depicts the power of the knowledge of the integration of dualism (conception). She brings the spiritual and earthly realms together through the heart. In Christian tradition, her power is the Hieros Gamos or Mystical Union.

Her Kinolau or animal form is the lizard or Mo’o. Every island has a Mo’o, but only Maui has the Kihawahine. In Moku’ula, a 13 acred pond site situated at the base of the West Maui Mountains, a 36 foot black lizard appeared periodically with the cycles of the Moon. She became manifest through rituals and was last seen in the late 1800s. Thousands witnessed her appearance, including missionaries, sailors, and other Europeans who doubted her existence.

This Mo’o or Lizard took on the name of Kihawahine, or fresh water spirit, because the royal family of monarchical Hawai’i dedicated the spirit of a deceased princess to this Mo’o. From then on, the Lizard and the Princess were one, which is why the image of Ki’i has the form of a beautiful young woman. Moreover, only women can conceive.

Metaphorically, the Kihawahine in the pond is representative of the fetus in the womb, which is another reason that Polynesians revere her. Each vertebrae of the long lizard spine represents a generation. The tail is the ancient ancestors.

The Hawai’ian language also illustrates the significance of the Mo’o. a chat of one’s genealogy is a “mo’olelo”. A favored grandchild is the “Mo’opuna.”

The spiritual and cosmological power that this Ki’i, or image, represents is awesome and fierce. She holds the power of generations or of generating. The great warrior, King Kamehameha, could not conquer the Hawai’ian Islands until he obtained (improperly) the power of the Kihawahine. Using the Kiha, he took the image of her and placed it on his altar with his war God and married a woman from the Lizard Clan. Through this misuse of the sacred feminine, he succeeded in dominating the islands and overpowering the original earth and feminine spirituality. After becoming King over the islands, he went to the most powerful priests of the islands, those from Molokai. He asked them to lift the effects of what he had done with the Kiha. They refused and prophesized that because of his violation his line would die out which it did. the devastation generated by Kamahameha’s actions have had long term effects including the neglect and repression of the ways of the Kiha.

Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the pond site of the Kiha was held in such high regard that common people were not allowed on the small island at the west side of the pond. Dropping any kind of rubbish in the area was such a serious offense that one might pay with one’s life. After the European and American colonization of the islands, the last Kamehameha retreated from the capitol at Honolulu to the small island in the pond to renew. But as prophesized, it was the end of the dynasty. Yielding to political pressures, he returned to the city of Honolulu. The pond and Kiha were forgotten. About a hundred years ago, the sugar cane plantations covered the island and pond wiping out all traces of her. Lahaina, once referred to as the Venice of Hawai’i, became semi arid.

Today, facing global catastrophe, people are seeking ways to connect with and heal the deep wounds of patriarchy and geocide. Here on Maui we are remembering the beautiful, wonderful Kihawahine. We are working to restore the pond. At Pakala, our home and a Goddess Conference Ceremonial Site, Apela’s husband, Keola Sequeira, Kahuna Kalai Ki’i, or master wood carver and spiritual practitioner, has recreated the image of the Kihawahine, which has been held in the Berlin Museum since the late 1800s, for local ceremonial purposes. The Maui Goddess Conference is an historic event, the first of its kind to shed light upon and to rekindle the reverence for the Goddess Kihawahine.


Grooving with the Shadow (PDF)

The Indigenous Mind Concentration is based in antediluvian rock carvings, which embody and convey the mindset of the of the earth-based spirituality of our Ancestors. All spiritual indigenous people are schooled in these symbols, which are not actual symbols at all, Instead they are interactive essences who revel their wisdom when the time the person and the image match. The Dalai Lama explains:

“There is a great sort of interrelationship between the appropriateness of the time, the place,  and also ta person intimately related to it. All these factors must be taken into account. When suitable people remain there, the image remains. When there are no more suitable people there, the image also disappears.

I myself have one very little pebble, white quartz. There is one Tara in that pebble, very clear, very clear.”‘

Central to Indigenous Mind is the carving of the giant lizard, snake, or dragon because this image teaches the knowledge of the integration of dualism. To acquire the understanding of why and how this is true is an initatic experience. This means that all aspects of yourself will become engaged in an intensive, transformative learning experience.


A Message from Those Who Came Before Us: The Traditional Knowledge Ph.D. Program (PDF)

A Message from Those Who Come Before Us-The Traditional

Knowledge Ph. D, Program
A Reriqt W ANd, $unbo, $dan, and CWno
luly 28 dnd 29, 1999, Lohalna, Maul, Howall
Lumr Eclipe

Shtdents beforc you, gmduotes of the Tmdltloml Knowledge doctoml prcgmm,
1 993-2000, took a few ddys to relled on thelr expedence ln remembe ng
lndlgenous Mind. They reardd these thoughts os a gift fot you,

tlow Ty$o Drogo,,s Darl€, lqcth* ll7c Wuty of Opposldon

Pturrls of futsnbmtre

9 Parodoxtcal ond frustrottng lt we W to direct lt. lf I wont to sqeam, the
scream doesn’t come,

Q I hugh ond begln to cry.

@ TKN (dnd RfW died at the Shddows Residency Lodge durlng the student
“evoluotlon.” At that moment the P?ogram begon to llve. Esther Plnold, the
taditlondl Collfornld Mlwok heoler, acknowledged us students ond sold she
would teoch lr€r songs to us. Thls wds the flrst time sl/€ hod ever shored such
deep cultuml woys wfth o gtoup of multkulfirrol outslden! Was the “death,”
Eminotlon of our progrum, belng rcleosed W the UnlyeBW
odministmtion? lerminatlon dldn’t formally hoppen tor nearly a year ord
we dldn’t stop untll we grdduoted three yeors ldteL We did thts wlth no
progmm ond no funds. We ml*d our own monles and t E Eldds orrd AFlo
kept working with us, We become rcal as lnltlotes in tdbal mlnd.

Ngltt M@arr(,tt or MegE of dE Mosk

9 W” ho”” ,o di” ,o begln. Watk thtough the dorkness wlth new eyes to see
through to the lighl tn my tomer, western, woy of thlnking, going bock ot
lnto the da ness mode me wont to tun awdy ln fear. But the dd*ness hos o
messge for us to leam. lt we refuse to entq tll€ darkEss, tl/€ Shodotv
rctams each tlrne with more feor becouse we hove lost to lt, run oway from
it, before. Now we need to took bocl lnto ll to tind the tight, which ls the
stofting pointl As on indlvlduol this process opplles. That’s how students
onived. fhe dorkness tfrs to be through me. how t om, We teel the
indivlduolistk thinklng. t perceiye the whote (how opposites can lntegrdte,
the individual and whob of self/othen).

to self drrd ofiers in the dd*n6,’,s and thl beyond

Q We five our tives in d sepomte wdy (from Ancestors, our mothedond, etc.)
becouse we don’t want to embmce the dor*ness wherc everything is one. t
see thdt cen@r of pd@ ln n f krdmlng.

tlow Do We tk,ow we An ln alld Dgrtnrss?

9 Ln”, g”, ,y *oy, it teels llke t dm losing everything becouse t can’t see!
We must be prcpatd fot the bucket drcPplng on ow heodl ‘ t can’t Mleve
l’m hovlng so much bad luckl”

@ ndmifirg ny aarkness, i.e,, I remember thinking, ‘t don’t know if I
would llke to work wlth Apeld,’ ls whot creotes the orynlng.

@ Eoch person ls o mask ond ls o port of o gredter mosk belng tormed ,
9 There is tremendous fmr ond worry. frylng to see in the dd*ness we
nouce other sets of eyes looung back! That’s what mokes us wont to run
owoy in feor!

How Dow. k owwhdtwe HowLan,,Edttlcl,,conofDorLrl€st?

@ Don’t know when and how it changed but we dre brought to a new
consciousn*s through choos. tf you’fe not afrod you con cone ctose to

9 We hove to exwrience the opposlte energies ot doy and night, dark dnd
tlghl Westem mtlonat and rctlgious thought stresses the Light and crcates

@ Gays ore bom with the awo dtogons together. slowty heterosexuots hove
to rcallze thot being whole requlres both quolities loined. yet the boundory
doesn’t exlst. lt’s o pomdox. We don’t know how to weove the awo dmgons
together, TKN teaches us, 1.e,, dt tll€ beglnnlng of our Prcgrdm, we chosd

dwoy the whlte students but they kePt tollowing us. The more we ron the
more they chosed!

@ A Mohonk ,tudrnt obseved that we hdve to dcknowledge the exlstence
of the whtte wortd in us os individuols ond communlUes.

9 The Luo, Hawalian mortiol orts, taachet movement in datkness, survival
skills, Luo con be o stdfilng Nnt to help us exPlorc ln ou own traditions.
Q coing into the do*ness we acquire a charge or energy that others con
feel or see. Even tolking about the Prccess reledses energy qnd vltdllzes,*


Q th” bigg.r, .irroke you con moke is trying to fix it! lt will blow uP in
your foce if you fight it, .RElAXl

Q Th” lorn, ,onrot be curtoiled; the Prccess connot be controlted, l/vrrutoity
used to soy, ‘Make yoursell smoll. Even cutt up in a little ball when it comes
neot. Don’t run from it. You might be surprised at whdt you frnd oul”

9 fi you admit your bod feetings, they tift.
Q saying lt out loud helps,,.e.g., t hote him right now!

@ Mr, uokua mid that we often think so block ond whlte but there is groy
in between, d lot of shddes.

@ Knowing the stages of loss, grief; having them detined os you dre going
through them is paradoxkal and ironic.’.it doesn’t change anythlng excePt
that you can name the stoge you’re lnl

@ Even if you con see it, you’re not going to find a woy out of it. Untit you
ore out of it.

Q ft’, funry ho* good you con see ofter! Friends’ Ptoblems seem so

@ fn” s*Aot pon wos thot I was toklng on olt of his emotions. He was
trying to get me to do it so he didn’t have to. He was tylng to make me fel
tlte hurt so he cdn run arcund dnd feel hdpry.

@ con’t us” -tio*l mlnd. Totklng doesn’t work. tn the dorkness, you feel
ond must open to ond use othet senses. The consequences of athmpting to
use the mtlonal mlnd to n anage chdos? The fl’l,t yeot everyone got slck!

Q We hove nottced thdt the dork journey is the power of money, sexuottty,
ond tmrrttornotlon.

@ Sitence ls a key, Sllence ls wherc we meet, not tonguage. The silence is the
Mtnd of lndlwnous People. lt unlus dlve6e cuttures.
MB o,i Cfilr,6 of Wolnq lh,ougl, lhc Urrtagud

@ fm mot” ,omtottobte ln the dartness.

@ Less tikely to be controlled by fedt, anger, elrl-.

@ We get an mergaic chorge to us; when we gct together, Ignltlon!

@ Peopte can see this energy ond ore drawn towords it.

Q Woking through the ddrkness honors our oncestors becouse thot’s where
tlrey ore, ln the obsutity ot the Fst our htstory.
Q n go back to the Wst, to remember, Mr. Makua toys, oWe rccelve the
$d,test glft of the oncestots, which is the preent. That’s why they coll it a

@ w” n*n rt h rhe paln; we brlng llfe fowdrd.

@ ft’, o prrodor. ln chaos, we lough ond cry dt one momen- Betorc we
dldn’t allow contradictions and amblgulties to coexist Now we can, ond lt’s
why we an cone bock! (frcm the underworld)
9 I coutdn’t see the me.,nlng or the creative prccess becouse lt was ln
dd*nessl This ls oduolly d protectlon,

9 ft was meant to be thot way or we wouldn’t hove the dorkness to light
message of the TKN procus.

9 A Spirit roming to live in s body must exryrience the density ond dorkness
of material form; it’s the only way to affive.

@ Embodiment of the whole is entering ddtkness; thetefore, wotk through it.
Accept lt,
9 TH, is th” pror”s, to ground the western Mind,

Q’This trip through the dorkness has been the curriculum; is the curriculum.
When we live it the cu lculum becomes usl Now we can pdss it on,


How do we know this is on occutote rcpresentqtion of a crestive process? There
are trdditlonal stoties that pertoin, such os, the Raven Breaks Ught Olingit). ln
one ve6ion, told by Chief Danowak (circo 1982), the people livlng in dorkness
refuse to shorc with the Greot Creotor Roven who punishes them by breaking
light on them. All the belngs dre ftightened qnd run to hide. Those who jump
into the water become sea creotures-wholes, etc. Those who flee into the woods
take on vadous onimol forms. They all become separute beings who see theb

lgnltion of the lndlgcnous Mlnd

Thls is the mystery of the rcrnembrance Process-thot llfe renews, lt is a messdge
of freedom, power, ond Wce.

Whole Mlnd