HAWAII - A Shamanic Adventure.
By Heather Price, 29.09.09. ©
What an incredible adventure I had yesterday while in Hawaii – climbing a part of Mauna Kea mountain to stand on top of a 420 foot high water fall. Sounds grand – and it was. To get there my companions and I drove to a place opposite the waterfall – and walked around the back on a hidden path on to a private property that apparently belonged to a ‘friend of a friend’. The path we eventually found our selves on was on the edge of a cliff with a 420 foot drop. We were only 8 inches from the ledge all the way!
The day before my fabulous, aw-inspiring journey I had met two young men in a coffee shop – Nick (22) and Mike (23). They were with three other, older men (Roderick (designer), Iain (engineer), and Robbie (property developer and local Volcano – Big Island of Hawaii - resident), and - well if you knew me – you know it is not unusual for me to meet people of like mind this way. We got talking (after a lot of hesitation to obey the inner voice that told me to "look up") – and turns out they were building a tree house holiday cottage up the road from where I was staying. After about half an hour of getting to know each other, they invited me to come to a party they were having that night, and off course I graciously accepted. The tree-house team were renting the house next door which belongs to a vulcanologist and is amazing. Filled with soft, dark brown leather lounges and antiques, with deep turquoise green walls inside and out and earth red rugs; it felt like it was emerging out of the earth, particularly as it had a wild garden with uncut grass surrounding it.
The tree house on the neighbouring property is placed high in the tree tops and you cannot even notice it from the road, it fits so well into its surrounding landscape. Roderick has been building tree houses for a living in around the world for over twenty years. The people who own the land and tree house (Gail and Robert) are building it as a honey moon get away. When I saw it the outside of the tree house and it’s basic internal structure were completed. The interior is yet to come and will be made out of black bamboo railings and roof tiling with stained glass windows. Roderick, a tree house visionary and designer, and gifted musician and artist, took me up through the rooms to the top and we were literally standing inside a beautiful tree canopy with a distant view to the ocean on a clear day.
All Roderick’s tree houses are made of at least 98% recycled material – and are fully self sustainable, gentle and caring approach to living on this beloved earth. The three levels of the tree house were essentially made out of timber salvaged from an old school. The old, wide redwood boards have been stripped back and other materials such as bamboo are being used for the roof and rails. The tree house has a huge Jacuzzi at front – essential for honeymooners in Hawaii.
Anyway – I cooked a big plate of fritters which they called potato cakes and some other name that I have forgotten that they are known by in the United States – and went along to the party. We ended up in the tree house with minor’s torches on hats and Robert, the owner, played sexy flamingo music on his guitar. Roderick asked me to bless the house, or I volunteered at least when it became apparent that that was what we had gathered for. I have blessed many houses, but none quite like this – it was truly lovely, and an experience I shall never forget. There were ten of us at first - then two more (the man who owns a local pizza restaurant and his wife) turned up with their puppy dog. So there we were all sitting around in the dark in the top of the trees laughing and talking and listening to music and all taking turns to stop the friendly pooch, whose name escapes me, from toppling down the steep ladder or over the rail-less balcony – it was very cool, but not as cool as what was to come the following day.
During the curse of the evening Nick, a casual labourer, budding shaman with base archetype of ‘Shyman’, and the youngest of the team, asked me if I would like to stand on top of 420 foot waterfall – and of course I said yes. Nick and his good buddy from school-days and fellow traveller Mike, who appears to relate more naturally to the other extreme archetype ‘Showman’ though not in a flash way, picked me up in their little gold Honda the next morning and off we went.
I had had a long conversation with Mike the day before at the Lava Rock Café which had begun with him recognising and identifying the prayers beads that I was wearing. It was one of those moments that you just knew was going to happen because on my way out to Hawaii I had said to myself that I hoped no one asked me the history of my prayer beads because I didn’t know it. I had been give them by my older sister, Jenny, a few years earlier when I was really ill and needed extra support, and I was currently using them to say and ancient Vedic chant to the moon to bring balance into my rather turbulent chart. Every morning I would begin the day by chanting 105 times to the moon God, Lord Shandra, and then 105 times to whom I refer to as Grandmother moon – taking in both masculine and feminine aspects to cover all contingencies. More than anything it was a form of self discipline that I have needed to instil for a long time around daily formal meditative practice. It has been most fulfilling and I absolutely love my prayer beads which are made form nine different coloured and types of crystals. I knew they came from the Middle East – but that was about all. Meeting Mike was most fortuitous as he knew all about them and when he told me their history I was once again in awe of the way the universe works and how everything is in divine order.
It turns out that my beautiful prayer beads were made specifically for what I was using them for. They are Nava Ratna Mala beads – a nine planet prayer necklace, from India. Mike was able to identify each crystal and the planet associated to them so I really felt blessed to have met someone who was not going to only ask me what the beads were – but who would tell me when I was unable, ashamedly, to tell him. The fact that Mike is only 23 years of age and has studied and is proficient in Vedic astrology and crystology was only the beginning of what I was to discover about him in the next twenty four hours.
Several weeks ago, when I attempted to fine tune my travel plans, I simply had to give in to the fact that I was to stay in the one place on Big Island Hawaii for ten days. I had tried to make plans to book into other places after the Hawaiian Shaman Intensive course with Serge Kahili King that I was attending was completed. After my attempts failed I finally gave in to the fact that something bigger than me was at work and I had a hidden adventure to look forward to so eventually I firmly entrenched myself into the small village of Volcano for the duration of my stay. When Nick invited me to go to the Akaka falls with him, I suspected that mysterious adventure was about to reveal itself – and of course it did.
Nick insisted I wear shoes that could get wet and that had a good grip – so Roderick kindly leant me his water walking sneakers ( I am certain they have another more glamorous name but that is what they were) that fit like a glove and were perfect for the occasion as it turned out. Me being me, I packed two other pairs of shoes just in case, along with a picnic lunch and my shaman’s bundle of goodies to make an essence. My back pack was very heavy to say the least but I didn’t have to worry as Nick kindly offered to carry it for me.
Nick and Mike picked me up the next morning right on time – 10am – and we set out in Nick’s little gold Honda that didn’t have a muffler and with a fan in the engine that made a very loud noise out of the blue every now and then. With windows down and focused attention (these young men were very serious most of the time but I just couldn’t stay serious for long as I was having so much fun) we set out towards Hilo and our adventure. The amazing thing about human nature – in its simplest and most humble form – is that it is so easily gratified and while I was silently and outwardly giving thanks that these young people would want to include me in their outing, they were silently and outwardly thanking me for accompanying them on what they saw I as an opportunity to learn more abut shamanic path and practice. I am wise enough to know there is no hierarchy in shamanic practice, and recognised these young men as wise elders in their own right and knew I would learn as much as I was to teach that day.
When we left the main track and climbed through a barbed wire fence – all I could see was 6 foot high grass – I have no idea how they found the path – but we then walked for about 7 minutes through really thick vegetation until we suddenly came to a cliff and an old metal ladder that lead to a ledge 15 feet below where you could get cool, fresh drinking water directly from the mountain (though the fellas wisely put a iodine tablet in their flasks to make sure it was safe to drink). There appeared to be no clear path to follow, but Nick and Mike confidently found a hidden trail along which I could hear water all around me – this path was literally on the edge of the mountain and one wrong move and you would slide 400 feet down to the bottom. On the left side of the natural stone path with bark and branches in between, was red muddy water that was sometimes two feet or more deep. We all carried staffs to guide us – thank goodness. This was my idea and we were all pretty chuffed with how well they worked.
Anyway – needless to say I was concentrating hard - and somehow missed a cue – and instead of my left foot finding firm ground my leg fell down to my thigh in a muddy hole, jarring my back rather suddenly. However, I didn’t panic – rather, I went with the fall and then sprung out again and did my “nothing happened chant”, ignoring my back which began to ache This is a technique taught to me by Serge Kahili King where you convince your sub-conscious mind after an accident that nothing really happened and you imagine the event as if it had gone well – your subconscious/record keeping part of your mind doesn’t know the difference between real memories and imagined ones and gives energy and power to the ones your conscious mind chooses to focus on. Soon my mind-body believed me that nothing had happened and all pain left.
In the middle of the journey – which took another 20 minutes on this path – climbing trees and steep ledges – I felt incredibly blessed to be having such an adventure and thanked Nick for trusting I could do this, despite knowing I was older than his mother and not knowing how fit I may or may not be. He replied that he had no doubt I could do it from just meeting me. I felt very proud of myself for being so fit and courageous and felt very grateful to have such a wonderful opportunity.
Anyway – we finally got to the end – and well – it was more that worth it to say the least. There we were on top of the huge waterfall with great magnificent rocks all around us and a great guardian rock watching over us – and deep, dark, cool and seemingly bottomless swimming holes to explore. The boys bravely dived into a deep pool with water rapidly flowing through it and swam to the edge of the waterfall. Not me however, I had had enough adventures for the day and found a shallow one I could sit in and stayed there – it was perfect. I unpacked our picnic and we ate more of my fritters and home made biscuits from the markets and fruit and swapped stories. Now, by this time, as had I, you have probably gathered these young men are not just the normal young men you encounter any day of the week in any cafe – they are incredibly wise and courageous beings who have chosen to come back to share their wisdom, and who know more than I do about a lot of things. Nick is amazingly intuitive and has a vast knowledge of crystals, as does Mike who is among other things, a budding Vedic astrologist and about to study ayurvedic massage and healing. As they were keen to learn, I taught them how to make a nature essence – and to take a shamanic journey to another world to gather information relevant to today. Although they had not known how to either of these things before, hey did both easily and loved it. Afterwards, I asked them to look around and notice if they could see anything different in the place we sat. Nick pointed out what we could all now see – the bottom of the pools were now miraculously clear and visible where as before they were dark and murky. (Just as miraculous, my left big toe had been almost totally black for three months from something I had dropped on it – and when I got home I noticed while in the bath that most of the blackness had disappeared!).
We had had a wonderful time and the journey back happened easily and effortlessly without any sense of danger. On our way home, we swapped more information about each other and synchronistically it turns out Nick and Mike are both originally from Iowa – which is the same place one of my fellow Huna students lives and works. Barbara has a healing centre where teachers come from all over the world to teach natural healing - so a story is building – and opportunities for us all.
When we arrived back home I shared the essence we had made with Nick and Mike and we continued to search for an appropriate name for it. Although sad in parting, we are staying in touch on the internet – a great contemporary tool for travelling between worlds. I have no doubt we will take more shamanic adventures together in the future.