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July 1996


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 Huna Article


The Aumakua 

By Kihonua

Much confusion reigns around the exact meaning in the Hawaiian Huna teaching concerning the precise nature of the Aumakua. This problem seems to have become greater since the publication of Max Freedom Longs books and various other authors since his time. The Aumakua seems to be perceived in most of the modern huna teaching as being your higher self. This is a totally inaccurate understanding of the term. In actual fact the Aumakua is the spirit of a deceased person who stays in contact with the physical earth plane of existence as a guide, protector and teacher. In ancient Hawaii they would work almost exclusively with descendents within their own particular Ohana (family clan). Their was no automatic transformation of a person into an Aumakua at death. There are records of extensive prayer rituals used at and before death to ensure that someone would in fact transform into an Aumakua. This is the exoteric or overt layer of the Huna teaching known to everyone in Ancient Hawaii sometimes referred to as a lower jaw teaching.

The upper jaw or esoteric layer of the teaching concerning the Aumakua was that it was your work on yourself and the integration between your own body, mind and soul achieved during your life time that actually determined whether or not you would become an Aumakua. Prayer and ritual alone were not enough. From this it should be obvious that the Hawaiians believed in something that we as modern man call the higher self (or soul) but that this phenomena was not the Aumakua. I will not go into the exact name and teaching concerning the higher self in this article suffice to say it is not synonymous with the concept of the Aumakua.

In Huna the real meaning of spiritual development was the literally creation and growth of a fourth body as a part of your total human beingness, the other three being the physical body, mental body and soul body. This fourth body was called the Aumakua after death however before death it was generally referred to as the "Kino Kupanaha" meaning the strange or wondrous body. Initially, it was not thought of as having wondrous powers or insight because it is born and must undergo a growth and maturation process. It would ultimately evolve into an extraordinary being but as all growth and evolution is fraught with difficulties much care and guidance was needed to ensure its growth into a fully fledged Aumakua. That said the process is a natural one, we all have the possibility to become an Aumakua. This process was far easier for the people of ancient Hawaii than it is for modern man. In olden times the Hawaiian islands were a virtual paradise and the Hawaiians themselves lived to a great extent in harmony with nature and within their own society. Our challenges are greater but the reward is the same true immortality because the body of an Aumakua is not composed of ordinary matter but an indestructible alloy of human consciousness and love.

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