Plant Medicine: Trusting the Essence of La’au

Have you ever learned to trust nature in a way that changed your life?

Today, modern practices of all sorts are finding new strength in traditional wisdom. plant medicine hawaiian healing Ancient peoples have used the essence of plant medicine in healing practices for thousands of years, and modern therapies are rediscovering the power and versatility of this medicine in the use of essential oils. At Ho’omana Spa Maui, our spa treatments are rooted in traditional healing practices, so aromatherapy and topical oils always play a major role in healing and rejuvenating our guests. We spray our Herbal Mists during spa treatments to create calming and revitalizing sensory experiences, which get their aroma from blends of organic plant-based essential oils and hydrosols. Our Body Butters and Body Polishes are infused with essential oils that permeate the skin. By massaging oils into the skin, heat and increased circulation allow the body to absorb oils more deeply. plant medicine hawaiian healing

In one particular treatment, though, we use essential oils in a way that is still gaining traction in the modern world: using oils for cleansing. That treatment is our Hawaiian Mini-Facial.

This 30-minute experience captures the coming-together of ancient and modern that is happening today around the world. After exfoliating with revitalizing papaya and aloe, we apply an antioxidant masque made from soothing tropical plants like ‘awa and kona red coffee berries. Finally, we complete the treatment by cleansing the skin with a rich blend of oils that softens the skin with natural plant-based healing properties – its essences. Hawaiians have always held plants and plant medicine, la’aulapa’au, at the center of healing practices and rituals. In ancient Hawaiian culture, these sacred tools have been used for cleansing mind, body and soul for thousands of years. In today’s cosmetic landscape, cleansing with oils topically seems to be counterintuitive. That’s because so many modern cosmetic products claim to fight oily skin by drying out the oils that occur naturally in our skin, or by exfoliating them away. However, these methods actually strip your skin of the oils it needs to stay hydrated and purified, causing it to create more oils, faster. plant medicine hawaiian healing The body tells us that like dissolves like – That is, oils dissolve oils. By using natural oils to dissolve the oils from your face, you’re replacing the dirty, excreted oils with nourishing, healing ones.

An essential oil, derived from a plant, holds the essential characteristics of that plant.

Created through various distillation processes, plants are transformed into super-potent liquid versions of themselves into essential oils, generating plant-based hydrosols as a by product. Both essential oils and hydrosols carry the medicinal properties of the plants that they came from. They hold the plant’s aroma in an ultra-concentrated form.

They hold the plant’s essence – and its mana.

In ancient Hawaiian culture, plants were held sacred, providing sustenance, healing, cleansing and spiritual clearing for the people. Hawaiians believe that people are one with the earth and not separate from it – that the land, the ‘aina, is a spiritual life force that protects us and cares for us from a high place. When we choose to understand and honor the profound essence of every living thing that surrounds us, we can then experience the abundance of nature in its fullness. We can connect the divine wisdom within to the earth and it's high vibration. When we trust in the essence of la’au, the plant kingdom, we can cleanse and heal mind, body and soul.

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April 25, 2016 No Comments

Canoe Plants for Hawaiian Healing

Tens of thousands of years ago, brave Polynesians followed the stars to the islands of Hawaii by canoe. With them, they carried roots, cuttings and seeds of their most precious plants, which would provide food, materials for clothing and shelter – life itself.

Coconut – niu – and ‘awa are two of the most treasured plants in Hawaiian culture.

coconut maui spa They are considered to be body forms of our ancestor, Kane. Niu symbolizes the head or po'o of Kane and Awa the backbone or kua of Kane. Both are used for healing and in ceremony, and both niu and ‘awa helped early Hawaiians in life-sustaining ways. ‘Awa, a shrub from the pepper family with heart-shaped leaves, was widely used in traditional Hawaiian culture in a variety of prayer rituals and medicinal remedies. The plant assists in opening communication channels, helps relieve pain and relax muscles. It also stimulates and refreshes the body. awa maui In Hawaiian culture, drinking ‘awa is an offering of gratitude to the divine, and traditionally ‘apu ‘awa – special cups made from coconut shells – are used in ceremony. Sometimes the water from coconut is mixed with ‘awa for drinking, for it’s seen as the purest water. awa maui Beyond the nourishing benefits of coconut, niu provided ancient Hawaiians with shade, material for baskets, mats, clothing and fans. Coconut meat, from nuts of different maturities, was eaten cooked and raw, prepared in various ways to provide sweet and savory dishes packed with nutrients. Coconut meat was also chewed after the ingestion of a bitter or otherwise displeasing medicine. When ancient Polynesians began their first treks across the ocean to the Hawaiian archipelago, they carried precious cargo that would sustain them for thousands of years to come. They, as did ancient Hawaiians, understood the life-giving force of plants, and our duty – our kuleana – is to be stewards of the land. With our exhaled breath, CO2 is transformed into the sustenance we breath by the plants around us. Our clothing and shelter – from plants. Our earliest musical instruments – from plants. They nourish us, and we care for them.

As spring arrives, cheerful and warm, we are surrounded and blessed by new blooms and growth. The bees awaken, ready to pollenate. And as for us, something inside awakens, too.

maui spring Spring is the season for renewal, for nourishment, for life. Just as the earliest Polynesians to arrive on the ‘aina of the Hawaiian Islands, carrying nature’s bounty, so does spring arrive with the sustenance of life. As you take a moment to reflect on the power of plants to provide for us, nourish us, and complete the cycles of life that nature intends, what is it that astounds you most? How do plants inspire your health and well-being? Share your reflections in the comments.

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March 18, 2016 No Comments

Auntie Mahi Poe Poe’s Last Prayer for Ram Dass

Auntie Mahi Poe Poe offered this prayer for Ram Dass on November 3, 2004.   

We call on the great ones!

We call on the Maha Akua. May your Soul be given to all of those in time that have taught you, that have brought you to the land of palm trees and the sea. May the Aina caress you and heal the world. May you hear and send the message of HIS SOUL.

May your teachings be well kept as an Historical.

May you always remember those that came before you and will come after you. May you live in good health May the trail of kindness walk with you. May those that comfort you be enlightened by your teachings who can only do Honor to you if refracted what you have taught us. It is hard for this mirror, but to you I give Honor this night for He, an American that became an Indian to reunite the children of the soul again. They will use the envelopes of the Wind to carry you on the Wind. May you teach us tonight to those that sit here and to those that have come to seek your truth and knowledge.

May you always exercise the peace and wisdom from the teachers that you have learned. Many blessings on to you, my brother.

May you comfort the hearts of the lone and all the children that comfort you. May the Maha Rajas and all those that have come before Bless you and hold your close to their hearts. May Krishna bless your heart for you are a disciple who walks in his light. May you bring goodness to the world out of so much chaos. And we, who are soulmates in a time since the world first begand and those that can see the stars again se our Ancestors that enlighten our minds. Peace be with you. Krishna be with you and to our land of AKUA (Gods). May they follow you all the days of your life.

May Maui’s peace comfort you at night.

May the Akua help your stomach and your eyes to keep doing good to all those that promise to partake of the knowledge. Great is the Joy when one has learned so much in just one body. From our land we say Mahalo to you for your love and your teachings.

May you continue to see the Rainbows all the days of your life.

May your disciples respond to your teachings by learning and growing into the ONE Great spirit that lives in us all. Great is the man who walks in the humble light. Great is the mouth that seeks knowledge and kindness all the days of his life. Aloha my brother and to all that attend you ,may they receive great joy and happiness walking in your light as you journey on to all the different places of the world to be calling.

I will see you again in another time, in another place, where souls can sit and pray among the mountains and continue the streams of our God.

Mahalo nui loa hau'oli.   Now, there is a documentary on the life and spirit of Ram Dass, Fierce Grace. Watch the trailer below. Watch Auntie Mahi below. "When we forgive, we still see the imperfections of life... When we sit at the mercy's seat, we do not criticize the imperfections of life."

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March 17, 2016 No Comments

Oli: Hawaiian Chants for Wisdom, Well-Being and Preservation

For thousands of years until the 1820s, Hawaiians relied on story-telling for remembering – for wisdom-keeping. Before the missionaries applied a Latin-based alphabet to the Hawaiian language, Hawaiians passed down stories of history and myth from generation to generation through song, hula and chants – oli. hula kahiki Through oli the Hawaiians recorded information – births and deaths, tales of love and triumph, genealogy – and preserved prayers. Hawaiians of every social rank, from the maka’aiana – common people – to the royal ali’i, composed poetic chants, an ancient tradition that is unique to Hawaiian culture. Depending on who heard a chant and how they interpreted its double meanings (koana), the oli beautifully depicted events and people through imagery and themes in many different ways. This use of koana proved especially significant when the missionaries arrived in Hawai’i and tried to end the practice of oli and hula. ancient hula Because of koana, Hawaiians were able to compose rich chants that seemed plain but carried deeper meanings amongst one another – a practice that allowed Hawaiians to share their most intimate thoughts and emotions. There are different types of chants that are performed in various styles, from fast and rhythmic to soft and drawn-out. They are beautiful, sorrowful, joyful, proud. Oli carries a great spiritual energy, mana, and connects us to our ancestors, allowing us to see the world through their eyes and bring their values into our modern lives.

In our lomi lomi healing retreats, oli plays a significant role in connecting us with one another, with our practice, and with our ancestors.
In ancient times, lomi lomi practitioners learned to speak with the spirit within each plant or stone. From the ‘aina we request assistance with our healing work, approaching injury and disdain from a holistic healing perspective rooted in the wisdom of our ancestors and in Aloha. Healing chants and prayers offer us today a technique for connecting to our inner wisdom and becoming receptive to intuitive guidance, so that we can bring alignment to the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional levels of the person we seek to heal.
This chant is about life, health and well-being.
E Ola Kakou” expresses that we are life, we are vitality, and when we come together with our knowledge in Aloha, we are united in divine guidance.
Aloha from Northern Edge Algonquin on Vimeo
E ola kakou E ike kakou E ola na kini e E ike ka lokahi e Aloha e Aloha e Aloha e
What emotions does this chant evoke for you?
Tell us about your experiences with oli, whether in practicing healing chants or in listening to them, in the comments below.

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February 19, 2016 No Comments

Welcome, Baby Kahelelani

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February 12, 2016 No Comments
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