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Essentially, the `aumakua is an ancestor that has died and come back in a different form An `aumakua usually communicates with, helps, inspires and guides members of the family
Note: A pueo, or owl may be the `aumakua for a particular family but it does not mean that all pueo are guardians for that family One particular pueo is an `aumakua for that family, providing that the `aumakua is properly taken care of through offerings and prayer
`Aumakua are spirits the kanaka maoli believe dwell in a physical form. They are known to take on the forms of animals, plants and other natural phenomena The `aumakua are members of the clan An `aumakua is considered to be a “spiritual go between” – passing prayers on to the akua Man is to ho`omana (worship) and hānai (feed) the `aumakua and to behave in a way that will not anger the `aumakua Kanaka responsible to feed the `aumakua through prayer and offerings of sacrifices: pigs, chickens, dogs, fish, and young kalo leaves, `awa In caring for the `aumakua, a family must not eat or harm the animal form their `aumakua takes. For example, if the `aumakua has a manō (shark form, the family must not eat or harm sharks. This shows respect for the `aumakua. `Aumakua serves as a guardian. Helps in times of trouble and gives inspiration and strength in times of need. Brought warnings of coming misfortune and deliverance from immediate danger. `Aumakua could also punish for misdeeds. Illness – ie: if a person took something he shouldn’t have, his `aumakua could cause swelling and pain in his hand or a sore foot could be a result of going somewhere you wasn’t supposed to One way to bring certain retribution was to eat the physical form Accounts tell of people becoming violently ill or dying as a result Things like greed, jealousy and dishonesty could strain family relationships and bring about punishment from the `aumākua of one’s `aumakua. If some sort of misbehavior offended the `aumakua, it was up to the family to make amends It is through our `aumakua that we sustain a practical connection with our ancestors
To some `ohana, it is okay to speak openly about `aumākua with family members. Information about a family’s `aumākua can be very personal, so it is shared only with family. However, some are okay with sharing and talking about `aumākua with anyone. It is their choice to discuss and share in this way. Other families may be uncomfortable with the subject. They may prefer not to talk about it at all. When asking about topics such as ʻaumakua, one must remember not to be mahaʻoi. That is, do not be rude or disrespectful. Do not ask too much about things that don't concern you. There is a right time and place for questions. If a kupuna feels the time is right, he may answer your questions. If the time is not right, there will be no answer.
`AUMAKUA (singular)`AUMĀKUA( plural)
`Aumakua• 1. nvt. Family or personal gods, deified ancestors who might assume the shape of sharks (all islands except Kauaʻi), owls (as at Mānoa, Oahu and Kaʻū and Puna, Hawaiʻi), hawks (Hawaiʻi), ʻelepaio, ʻiwi, mudhens, octopuses, eels, mice, rats, dogs, caterpillars, rocks, cowries, clouds, or plants. A symbiotic relationship existed; mortals did not harm or eat ʻaumākua (they fed sharks), and ʻaumākua warned and reprimanded mortals in dreams, visions, and calls. (Beckwith, 1970, pp. 124–43, 559; Nānā 38.) Fig.., a trustworthy person.
ORIGINS OF `AUMĀ KUA• One of the first ways `aumakua were said to originate was by the mating of akua and kanaka• When a child was born unto this union, the akua became an ancestor to a human line• He took on a dual role and became an `aumakua to his descendants
`ŌLELO NO`EAU• `Ano lani, `ano honua A heavenly nature, an earthly nature Said of some `aumakua who make themselves visible to loved ones by assuming an earthlly form, such as fish, fowl or animal, yet retain the nature of a god.
TRADITIONAL FORMS OF `AUMĀ KUA• Fishes• Birds• Other animals• Plant life• Rocks
RELATIONSHIP WITH `AUMĀ KUA• `Aumākua are our link to Pō• `Aumākua are `ohana• Personal connection between kanaka and nā akua• Reciprocal relationship
COMMUNICATION WITH `AUMĀ KUA• Communicate in different ways – Dreams – Speak directly to their relatives – Sign or omen
NĀ `AUMĀ KUA Nā `Aumākua mai ka lā hiki a ka lā kau Mai ka ho`oku`i a ka hālāwaiNā `Aumākua iā Kahina kua iā Kahina alo Iā ka`a `ākau i ka lani `O Kiha i ka lani `Owē i ka lani Nūnulu i ka lani, kāholo i ka lani Eia nā pulapula ` oukou `o _____ E mālama `oukou iā mākou E ulu i ka lani, e ulu i ka honua E ulu i ka pae `āina o Hawai`i E hō mai i ka `ike E hō mai i ka ikaika E hō mai i ke akamai E hō mai i ka maopopo pono E hō mai i ka `ike pāpālua E hō mai i ka mana
NĀ `AUMĀ KUA: TRANSLATION Ancestors from the rising to the setting sun From the zenith to the horizon Ancestors who stand at our back and front You who stand at our right hand A breathing in the heavens An utterance in the heavens A clear, ringing voice in the heavens A voice reverberating in the heavens Here are your descendants, __________ Safeguard usThat we may flourish in the heavens, that we may flourish on the earth That we may flourish in the Hawaiian islands Grant us knowledge Grant us strength Grant us intelligence Grant us understanding Grant us insight Grant us power
`AUMĀ KUA: A FINAL NOTE• `Aumākua can be a sensitive topic to some `ohana.• Respect the privacy of others, even within your own `ohana.• Understand that what is okay in one `ohana may not be okay for another.
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