From the sacred words of the Kumulipo we learn not only of the birth of all life on earth but also of our role as humans in the story of creation. It is in this chant we are taught reverence for the Cetaceans (Palaoa), as it was the Palaoa who helped to sing or chant us into being and led the way for the coming of the time of Ao (Light), when man and the world as we know it today were brought into being. In the beginning of creation there exists only the infinite potential of all things yet born — there is no light. This is the deep darkness (the Po) and in this realm neither time nor space (Au) exists in the way we understand them today.
In the the Po, in the high heavens and in the deepest part of the sea all things remained yet unformed. The Earth is still churning. The stars, sun and moon are turning and forming as the earth become solidified as the firmament—Papa our Earth mother a foundation. The plants and animals begin forming next and man does not yet exist. It is in the time of Po that the Palaoa come into existence.The Palaoa enter in the second Wa (or epoch of creation). They are a part of the early creation process and are therefore of both a physical and divine consciousness. They are therefore able to exist both in the realm of Po and that of Ao, the darkness and the light.
The sacred words of the Kumulipo teach us further that the Palaoa play a special role in creation; it is they who helped to usher in the time of the Ao—when light comes into the world, when man is made manifest and opens his eyes. In the Ao, is when time, space and the physical world as we know it today takes form. So it is the Palaoa who helped usher this time and space into being and that is why they are revered as sacred beings by Native Hawaiians and other peoples of Polynesia.
The Kumulipo also teaches us about man’s role and responsibility as the life form that ignites the time of Ao. Man is not superior to other life forms but rather is dependent upon them and so his role is to live in balance and harmony with them as well as with the whole of creation as the chant continues to be chanted and creation continues to unfold. Unfortunately, man sometimes lives in a strange darkness where de-creation, or the unraveling of creation occurs, at his own hands. This darkness came upon the earth when man learned to kill, destroy and push life towards extinction. When a species becomes extinct the process of creation begins to unravel impacting all life, including mankind whose very existence is dependent upon those species, like the Palaoa, who helped bring mankind into being.
Man’s birthright does not include the right to invoke de-creation. That is why we believe the many great Palaoa are now returning to help us remember the time of our beginning, our role on earth, our responsibility to creation and life itself. We must remember our beginning and our responsibility to our ocean family, as well as all life, so the suffering can end and life can be restored to balance and harmony again.
CREDITS: The beautiful music playing, features Kumu Hula Auli`i Mitchell, and is courtesy of Kutira and Raphael from the CD “The Calling”. Please learn more about them here. While I am a primary source of the above `ike, I wish to acknowledge my Kumu and Kupuna, Auntie Kamakahukilani von Oelhoffen, and Auntie Rubilite Kawena Johnson–Kealoha Pisciotta.
Copyright 2019, Kealoha Pisciotta. All rights reserved.