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THE ANCIENT Weapons, Tikis AND Society OF Hawaii

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Kahuna Truths

3 Amazing Hawaiian Truths: Glimmering White Towers, Human Sacrifice, Awa of the Lizard Kahuna and Crazy King Liholiho

Ancient Hawaii has many unique, amazing and startling stories to tell. The Polynesians that settled Hawaii were isolated by a vast expanse of ocean since a time when Europe was shrouded in the dark ages, they diverged from the mainstream and created their own innovative, exotic society. Explore their lizard kahuna, wild king, and strange tiki rituals.


Kahuna King
Hawaiian King 1819-1823


1. Glimmering White Towers and Human Sacrifice

Upon discovering Hawaii, Captain James Cook was stunned to see from his deck that the hills above Hawaii filled with giant white towers. They raised above the canopy on the wooded island slopes shimmering mysteriously. In his considerable explorations throughout the Pacific he had never seen anything quite like it and had no idea what to make of it. When he finaly set foot upon land he requested that the kahuna take him to one of the towers. About a half mile in land he arrived at one, it stood on a raised stone platform and was constructed of wood covered with kapa cloth. This particular tower stood 50 feet, but he could see much taller ones in the distance. The kahuna then showed him a long hut adorned with tiki idols where chiefs were barried and another grave site where four skulls lay. These graves marked where the bodies of those sacrificed lay, confirming human sacrifice was practiced in the Hawaiian Islands. The truth was that sacrifice was not uncommon. War captives and those that broke a kapu (taboos) were brutaly sacrificed. Methods ranged from strangulation to bone breaking and removal of intestines. Significant events like the dedication of a war temple to the tiki war god Ku were considered appropriate times for sacrifices. The practice of human sacrifice presisted until the collapse of the kapu system after the death of King Kamehameha.

2. Awa, Hallucinogen of the Magic Lizard Kahuna

Ancient Hawaiian Kahuna (Tiki God Priests) drank a narcotic drink called “awa”. This potent drink was derived from the Kava plant by chewing it then spitting it out and draining it. Hawaiian kahuna taking low doses experienced mild numbness, feelings of calm and clear thinking. Large doses caused those taking awa to slip into deep slumber, but does not cause a hangover. Captain Cook met an old kahuna who he described as having rough, thick lizard like scaly skin and red eyes. This is a dermatological effect caused by long term usage, Kava contains lactones that bind to skin proteins forming antigens which then lead to the allergic response. Luckily for those in Polynesia who still use awa, these effects are resolved with discontinuation or reduction of consumption, but long term use caused the magic kahunas of ancient Hawaii to have rough scales.

3. The Beloved, Crazy King Liholiho

Upon Kamehameha the greats death his eldest son, Liholiho, became king as Kamehameha II. Liholiho was the ruler of the Hawaiian kingdom upon the arrival of the first missionaries. They were dumb founded by his style. For example, Liholiho felt education was important and said the king should be the most educated person in Hawaii. He then had someone do the learning for him, reasoning that it was the same thing. Liholiho ridiculed the round earth theory by telling people they had better hold their hats! Liholiho could be found parading around his kingdom in a celebratory fashion most of the time. In fact forgien diplomats had difficulty finding times when he was sober. His untarage carried him about the islands in a mardegra fashion, complete with livations and costumes. However, despite all of this his people loved him and his kingdom advanced under his rule. The ancient kapu system, wich supressed women and commoners, was abandoned and Hawaii opened up to the world. In 1823 foreigners were again baffled as throngs of native Hawaiians sobbed when Liholiho and his wife departed for London to negotiate an alliance between the two nations. Their worries about their King and Queen proved to be justified in the end however, both died of measels on their voyage.
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