Sorcery in the South Pacific

Sorcery in the South Pacific
© 2012 C.E. by L. Hernandez

Being a Satanist born and raised on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this subject was a sensible and linear path that seemed natural for me to explore. After all, Doktor LaVey explored much of H.P. Lovecraft’s ideas in The Satanic Rituals, and Lovecraft himself makes the connection between his own fictional dark cult and the kanakas (Hawai’ians) in The Shadow Over Innsmouth and other stories, originating the cult in the Pacific. HPL also elaborates with the description of one of his most well-known Elder God monstrosities, Cthulhu, as being an octopoid-headed deity originating in the outer void, and who now sleeps in his sunken city of R’lyeh, beneath the waves of the South Pacific. This squid god from the outer deep was most certainly inspired by Kanaloa!

Though very little survived of ancient Hawai’ian sorcery, and there is almost no documented history regarding its actual practices thanks to the Christian missionaries wiping out almost all traces of old Hawai’ian religion, the people of the Pacific islands all share a common ancestry, and with it, common myths and religious practices. The gods and stories throughout Hawai’i, Samoa, Tahiti, and New Zealand are all the same gods, with minor differences and slight spelling changes dependent on location. Using this knowledge along with what is still available in recorded documentation of old Hawai’ian culture and history, it is possible to get an idea of what was going on in the way of sorcery in Hawai’i, and the Pacific islands in general.

Some of the words and names I use here will be of differing origin, but have the same meaning, e.g., ki’i, tiki, and ti’i all mean the same thing, as do Kanaloa, Tanaloa, and Tangaroa. Same names or words, but as pronounced on different islands throughout the Pacific. Wherever Hawai’ian names were not available to me, I have replaced the equivalent from another related Pacific island.

In modern Hawai’ian history, we are taught that the ancient Hawai’ians had four primary gods: Ku (the creator), Lono (the more wild nature god whom is concerned with joy), Maui (the hero of many modern Hawai’ians), and Kanaloa (god of the sea). Christianity has corrupted these gods to fit them into a more mainstream, white-light role in order to more easily convert Hawai’ians to Christianity. The older roles these deities played were not so benevolent, as we see in this brief listing I’ve compiled of a few Polynesian deities and their traits:

The Gods

• Kanaloa: Ruled the Pacific. Guardian of the underworld. Lives in “the hidden” and is from the “outer void.” Christian missionaries equated him with the Devil and say he led a rebellion against the other gods, though this is debatable. He is the teacher of magic. The octopus/squid god, also called Kahe’ehaunawela (“evil smelling squid”). He is associated with Milu.

• Milu: Ruler of the dead. God of the underworld. Former sorcerer/chief.

• Lono: God of fertility, pleasure, leisure.

• Ku: God of war and sorcery. All Ku class gods are sorcery gods.

• Kuwahailo: “Ku of the maggot-dripping mouth.” Devourer of souls, eater of men, and conductor of the dead.

• Kaili: a god seen flying around at night as a comet. Called “the snatcher.”

• Uli: Female principle deity invoked to kill enemies.

• Makakukoae: Brings madness and renders stupid. Invoked to kill enemies.

• Alaeahina: Was a sorceress from the island of Maui who wrested the secrets of fire from the gods. Invoked to kill enemies.

• Lolupe, or ‘Ololupe: God invoked in rite of deification of the dead or restoration of life to the dead (necromancy). Consecrated the dead to become guardian spirits.

• Kaonohiokala: “Eyeball of the sun.” Conductor of souls.

• Pele: Fire goddess.

• Haunea: Earth goddess. Mother of Pele.

• Kapo and Pua: Both worshiped as akua noho. Females. Both female.

• Pahulu: Female deity invoked by sorcerers.

As we can clearly see, many, if not all, of the Hawai’ian pantheon served a role in Hawai’ian sorcery. Though not all of these gods were malevolent all of the time, they all did have some degree of malevolence that could be invoked by the knowledgeable sorcerer.

Gods weren’t the only entities invoked by the Hawai’ian sorcerer to invoke his wrath upon his victims, however. There are any number of other spirits, demons, sprites, and what have you that they would employ to serve their ends, such as:

• Varua ‘ino: Devils or demons.

• ‘Oromatua’aiaru: Disembodied evil spirits.

• Kalaipahoa: Tree gods worshiped by poisoners.

• Amakua: Ancestors as guardian spirits who manifest in the form of real, living animals (sharks, sea turtles, birds, etc.). They are to be worshiped lest they wreak havoc and vengeance on their descendents. Their unihipili (bones) are to be kept in a sacred place to be honored and worshiped, usually a familial home.

• ‘Oromatua niho roroa: Long-toothed amakua or possessed ti’i.

• Akua noho: Gods of possession.

Polynesian religion and sorcery did not lack in imagination. Like many ancient nature centered societies, they had a god for anything and a spirit in everything. This by no means suggests that they were a peaceful, egalitarian society. They strategized wars and were every bit the opportunists we see in today’s civilization. Hence, the demand for sorcerers.

Polynesian sorcerers varied greatly in practice and specialty. Because there is even less known today about Hawai’ian sorcery than even of Hawai’ian religion, we are lucky to have a few oral traditions surviving among the few native-speaking families in the islands, though even these folks have been, for the most part, Christianized and made to deny any parts of their heritage not in compliance to whatever their charismatic pastor is preaching. Of the few known varieties of sorcerer in Hawai’i, here is what I was able to dig up:

• Kahuna ho’ounauna: Necromancer. Could find the root of an illness and exact revenge by sending sickness and trouble.

• Kahuna o milu: Sorcerers who work by night, sending out evil spirits.

• Kahuna ana’ana: Would practice in secret and at night, using parts of the victim (nails, hair, etc.) and would bury these to kill. “Ana’ana” means “eater of filth.” Would “pray people to death.”

• Kahuna kuni: Could use a corpse to find a murderer and get revenge (necromancy). Also practiced divination by burning.

• Kahuna ho’opi’opi and Kahuna pahiuhi’u: Would mark roads with death spells.

• Kahuna apo leo: Would steal ones voice.

Note that each of these begins with the popular word kahuna. Kahuna means a person who has mastered a given area of interest or profession. The word does not refer solely to the priestly class, but to all other areas of life. Unlike the way the fraud, Serge Kahili King, likes to misuse the word by shortening it in his popularized Huna Magic (which is nothing but Theosophy given Hawai’ian-styled names with little-to-no actual Hawai’ian practice involved, as the Theosophists set up shop in Hawaii as far back as the 1920s) series, in Hawai’i, you’re more likely to hear people in positions of religious or ceremonial authority be referred to as kahu, as a native Hawai’ian family who still taught and spoke fluent Hawai’ian called me when I officiated a woman’s wedding on the grounds of Iolani Palace.

The simple fact that so many differing types of sorcerers from different schools existed in Hawai’i alone should make it obvious that many of these differing schools of sorcery rivaled. On each island, the sorcerers of each district fought to out-do one-another. The same happened in an island vs. island context as well. These various schools fought over not just who was more powerful, but in exactly how to perform magic, what exactly magic was, and an array of other reasons.

Polynesians believed in something they called mana. Mana means strength, but not just in the physical sense. Mana is both magical power and the Life Force itself. Some kahuna were even said to have the mana of a god. Some schools of thought taught that sorcery was dependent on ones mana, while others seemed to have more in common with the common perception of traditional Voodoo or witchcraft.

Many Polynesian sorcerers preferred the creation of fetchers, which we know of today as tiki. The tiki would be possessed by a powerful ancestor or nature spirit. Sorcerers would conjure the spirits of malevolent entities into their tiki to harm intended victims. Other sorcerers were said to be able to hex a person to death by burning the individual’s excrement. Consequently, there were a lot of people who hid their feces. Conversely, urine was said to repel evil.

The gods themselves would possess certain people, and these people were worshiped. When the possessed died, a sorcerer could then use his parts to summon the god that once possessed the deceased and send it forth to harm others.

The island of Molokai was said to have been the strongest of all these schools of sorcery, as it had the most mana. Their sorcery was taught in dreams.

Hawai’ian temples are called heiau, and many a bloody sacrifice has been offered up at these stone sacred places. The Hawai’ians did not restrict their blood sacrifice to dogs, pigs, and chickens. Some rituals, including human sacrifice, were to be practiced by the ruling chief alone. This was usually done to ensure the favor of the war gods in battle. In fact, Hawai’i’s ali’i has a long history of human sacrifice and hiring sorcerers.

King Kamehameha I, the first chief to conquer all of the Hawai’ian islands, is said to have employed the most powerful sorcerers to secure for himself all of the strongest gods worshiped by the ruling chiefs of the Hawai’ian islands.

Sorcery in Hawai’i has been brushed under the rug for long enough. Despite what the general public might think, Hawai’i does still have sorcerers living in the islands today, albeit of a Satanic variety—and we will not be swept under the rug!