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Aloha Magazine - Tiki, Hawaii

Ancient Hawaiian Tiki Gods!

From fire volcanos to powerful surf, ancient Hawaiians filled their amazing land with tiki gods. The carved wooden tikis peering through the rainforest, mystic caves along the coast and great tiki god temples of sacrifice were located in Hawaiian tiki villages. They were worshipped through human sacrifice, chants, for wealth, death and love. Ancient Hawaii was a mythic land with freighting tiki masked warriors appearing from jungles and many unique and interesting gods and legends.

The Four Major Tiki Gods - Ku, Kanaloa, Kane, and Lono

Ku – Ancient Tiki God of War
In Hawaiian mythology, Ku is one of the four great gods. He was the husband of the goddess Hina. His name suggests a complementary dualism as the word "ku" in the Hawaiian language means "standing up" while one meaning of "hina" is "fallen down". Ku is worshipped under many names, including Ku-ka-ili-moku, the "Seizer of Land" (a feather-god, the guardian of Kamehameha). Rituals included human sacrifice, which was not part of the worship of the other gods. Ku, Kane, and Lono caused light to shine in upon the world. They are uncreated gods who have existed from eternity..

Lono – Ancient Tiki God of Fertility and Peace
Lono, in Hawaiian mythology, is a fertility and music god who descended to Earth on a rainbow to marry Laka. In agricultural and planting traditions, Lono was identified with rain and food plants. He was one of the four gods who existed before the world was created. Lono was also the god of peace. In his honor, the great annual festival of the Makahiki was held. During this period (from October through February), all unnecessary work and war was kapu (taboo).

Kane– Ancient Tiki God of Light and Life
Hawaiian mythology describes Kane Milohai as the father of the tiki gods Ka-moho-ali'i, Pele (whom he exiled to Hawaii), Kapo, Namaka and Hi'iaka by Haumea. He created the sky, earth and upper heaven and gave Kumu-Honua the garden. He owned a tiny seashell that, when placed on the ocean's waves, turned into a huge sailboat. The user of the boat had merely to state his destination and the boat took him there. In agricultural and planting traditions, Kane was identified with the sun. The word Kane alone means "man". As a creative force, Kane was the heavenly father of all men. As he was the father of all living things, he was a symbol of life in nature.

Kanaloa – Ancient Tiki God the Sea
Kanaloa is one of the four great gods of Hawaiian mythology. He is the local form of a Polynesian deity generally connected with the sea. In the traditions of Ancient Hawaii, Kanaloa is symbolized by the squid, and is typically associated with Kane in legends and chants where they are portrayed as complementary powers. For example, Kane was called upon during the building of a canoe and Kanaloa during the sailing of it. Kane governed the northern edge of the ecliptic while Kanaloa manned the southern; Kanaloa points to hidden springs, and Kane then taps them out. In this way, they represent a divine duality of wild and taming forces.

Minor Tiki Gods and Legends

Kauhuhu - The Shark God of Molokai
Kauhuhu lives in a cave on the side of a high ocean cliff that is protected by two ancient Hawaiian dragons. He arrives to his cave by riding the eighth wave in a set of giant waves.. He devoured any man who saw him and his dragons killed anyone who entered his cave.
After this day the bay was known as Aikanaka, meaning "man-eater", and everyone learned a great respect for the power of clouds in the peaks above their village. Everyone that heard the story also learned great respect for the power of the Shark God, Kauhuhu.

Kaupe - The Cannibal Dog Man
In ancient Hawaii, there was a class of people called Olohe who were hairless and often specialized in wrestling and bone breaking. Unfortunately, they were also known to be cannibals and robbers. Their leader was Kaupe and he had the power to turn into a giant dog. He used these powers to stalk and kill men until his death. Now, he hunts hawaiians as a ghost dog.

In Hawaiian legend, Nightmarchers are the ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors. On certain nights, they are said to come forth from their burial sites to march out, weapons in hand, to past battles or to other sacred places. Anyone living near their path may hear chanting and marching, and must go inside to avoid notice. They might appear during the day if coming to escort a dying relative to the spirit world. Anyone looking upon or seen by the marchers will die unless a relative is within the marcher's ranks- some people maintain the idea that if you lie face down on the ground they will not see you.

Nanaue - The Shark Man
Once a shark king noticed a beautiful princess on a Hawaiian beach. He approached her in the form of a great human chief and they fell in love. They were married and she became pregnant. However, on the night before she gave birth to her son, Nanaue, the Shark King departed. He warned her to never let the boy eat meat and returned to the sea. When the boy was born the princess noticed a slit on his back, she kept it covered and hid it from the village. One day the boy ate meat and developed a ravenous taste for it. From then on he would follow people to the beach when they went swimming. He would turn into the form of a giant shark and eat them as they returned to the shore. However, after many died, the village became suspicious and tore Nanaue's shirt off revealing the large shark mouth on his back. The high chief ordered that a great oven be built. Everyone dug a pit and placed stones in it. They attempted to put the Shark Man into the oven, but he turned into shark form, snapping the ropes that bound him. Nanaue flopped, tumbled down a hill into a river that flowed from the Waipio Falls. The warriors of the valley ran along the side of the river, throwing spears and stones at the giant shark, but none dared to enter. Before they could get their nets, Nanaue swam into the sea.


Copyright 2016 Aloha Magazine / wb@alohamagazine.com

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