By Grace Aheron.
This piece was developed during the first Bartimaeus Institute Online Cohort (2015-2016), aka “The Feminary.” These pieces will eventually be published in a Women’s Breviary collection. For more information regarding the Feminary go here.
80 million years ago, the earth opened up in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, liquid land bubbling up through the ocean to cool into a jade island chain. Through the intricate folding of land, sea, wind, and the breath of creation, life came to the islands and flourished in the rich volcanic soil. A few hundred years after the death of Christ, using only the stars and the sea to navigate in their outrigger canoes, master navigators from the West crossed thousands of miles of water to find paradise. In the Kumulipo, the creation chant sacred to native people in the Islands of Hawai’i, the story tells of the intimate linkage between people, the gods, the earth, and plants and animal indigenous to that place. Veneration of the `aumakua (ancestors) and gods weaves the story of present-day Hawaiians into the fabric of history— it is impossible to speak of the origin of native people without telling the origin of the sacred land that provided life. An extensive portion of the Kumulipo is dedicated to enumerating the lineage of the monarchs and royal family of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, and, fittingly, the chant was first translated into English by the kingdom’s first, last, and only sovereign queen, Liliu’okalani. Continue reading