My mother always wished she could live in Hawaii so I was raised to adore the place from afar. I was 38 years old before I had the chance to visit Oahu for the first time, and what happened to me there is what transpires for just about every visitor with an open heart: I fell in love with the island on first sight, which was from the air. I was seated in the middle of a wide-body jet. The pilot tilted the wing of the plane as we approached the airport in Honolulu so that everybody could get their first glimpse of Oahu as we landed. Before we ever landed, one look at those sapphire beaches and swaying vibrant green palm trees and I was hooked for life.
I’m an Anglo, though, not a Hawaiian, and I don’t pretend to be otherwise. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an Anglo who loves Hawaii. Since I’m an Anglo who is also an inveterate researcher, naturally I had read quite a few books about Hawaii over the years, long before I ever visited, because I was curious about it. I really should have majored in Sociology. I’ve welcomed the chance to read about different cultures as far back as I can remember. I say this because Hawaii is not the only one I’ve learned about from afar.
However, it’s the only one I’ve ever unofficially studied that comes with such an appalling collection of misinformation about the beliefs of the people.
Another Anglo, author Max Freedom Long, wrote books while living in Hawaii that he claimed were about their spiritual tradition, “Huna.” The word means “secret.” Long “revealed” some of the “secrets” in his tomes. I have read some of these books. They are fascinating, but fabrications. As Wikipedia states, “There are no accepted Hawaiian sources that refer to the word Huna as a tradition of esoteric learning.” Indeed!
Allegedly Long felt that Hawaii was so far away from the rest of America that he could get away with his tall tales of the islands, written circa 1936, because “no one would check.” Huna, the tradition that isn’t a tradition, has been appropriated by quite a few New Age/New Thought/New Whatever-You-Want-To-Call-It movements, where it’s taught as a system of positive thinking beliefs for getting what you want out of life. As always seems to be the case in such bizarre situations, the “practicioners” of “Huna” are running around giving seminars on this, a belief system that doesn’t really exist, and charging a pretty penny for them, too, hard at work at bilking the unsuspecting spirituality-hungry members of the general public. I always wonder if such types can ever count their seminar earnings later while maintaining a straight face.
While I have no issue with the idea of positivity or manifestation, it sure strikes me as dead wrong to present those concepts as a part of the belief system of another group’s culture when they have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it. The books I read on Huna that purported to be about “Hawaiian culture” turned out to be anything but. They are the guesswork of Long from the 1930’s. There are also later works by authors who “built” on his “work,” but since his “work” was bogus, you can imagine what some of those are like. As my father would say facetiously, “Ha, they’re real pieces of work!”
So I just wanted to give a nice rousing “shout out” to one of the best sites on the Internet. It’s on Facebook, and it’s called “Huna is NOT Hawaiian.” They debunk the misinformation that’s “out there” in the mainstream media about Huna on their page and make their case with a lot of class.
One of the best photos on the page says, “Don’t come to another nation if you don’t have your nation inside. Wherever we come from we have our own gift.”
Well said, Huna is Not Hawaiian! Their wonderful page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/abouthuna. Everyone, let your OWN gift shine!