Aug 11 2023

Hawaiian – Oli Hooikaika / Prayer for Strength

Published by at 9:45 am under Poetry

Oli Hooikaika/Prayer for Strength
by Hawaiian (Anonymous)

E iho ana a luna

E pi’i ana o lalo

E hui ana na moku

E ku ana ka paia

That which is above, be brought down.

That which is below, shall be lifted up.

The islands shall be united.

The walls shall stand upright!

/ Image by KGO Radio /

My wife and I lived on the island of Maui for four years in the early 2000s. Seeing images of the island burning is heartbreaking. Hearing reports of the rising death toll in the aftermath is devastating.

Lahaina, where the fires did the most damage, is being referred to in the media as a “popular tourist spot.” That may be how most outsiders think of the town, but it is so much more. It was the old capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, a place of immense cultural importance. We lost cultural and historical artifacts in the fire that can never be replaced.

It wasn’t just a place of hotels, restaurants and gift shops. Small businesses of all sorts filled the side streets, supporting the daily rhythms of life. And, of course, people lived in Lahaina. Homes were lost. Lives have been lost.

The banyan tree that grew in Lahaina was a community center and a focal point for the island. The community gathered to celebrate it’s 150th birthday last year. To think it has burned down is like losing a spiritual elder. Photos in the aftermath show it scorched but still standing. Perhaps it may yet survive.

The fire that ravaged Lahaina was one of several that hit Maui. A smaller fire burned in the Upcountry area where we used to live near Kula. We haven’t received as much news about that area, but that was where we lived our days and nights. That’s where the pastures change into forest along the slopes of Haleakala. I used to walk barefoot in the forests of the area, light headed from fasting, to a small cave I found and there I would sit and meditate. I hope those places survived to reveal their secrets to others.

So many unique and special places across Maui. And, of course, the wonderful people of the island who are affected…

Communities on an island are a fragile thing. Rebuilding and healing will take a long time and heroic patience.

The devastation on Maui feels personal to me, touching on an important period of my earlier journey, but it also feels global. The world knows the island as a place of great natural beauty, and people travel from all over to experience its paradise. More than that, though, I think of Maui as one of the great holy places on the planet, a place of awakening. These fires on Maui seem to represent a harsh shift. A reminder to us all that the more we remain open, aware, and willing, even our sorrows and traumas can become points of transformation.

That which is above, be brought down.
That which is below, shall be lifted up.
The islands shall be united.
The walls shall stand upright!

Sending love to that special island and its people.
Maui no ka oi! Aloha nui loa!

Hear this Hawaiian prayer for strength chanted in its original language:

Recommended Books: Hawaiian (Anonymous)

The Unwritten Literature of Hawaii: The Sacred Songs of the Hula

Hawaiian (Anonymous)

Hawaii (17th Century) Timeline
Primal/Tribal/Shamanic : Hawaiian

Hawaiian chant can be compared to Hindu Sanskrit mantra in that to truly say it properly can take a great deal of training. The inflections are important. The breath is important. Most of all, the sense of personal presence is important.

Hawaiian chant must be said with force and with heart. It is a prayer, but it is not passive. It is a calling forth, a reaching out and a drawing in — of wisdom, of knowledge, of truth. It evokes in us pono, rightness.

Try sounding out the Hawaiian. Slowly at first, until the sounds become familiar. Then louder, with confidence. Say it over and over again. Imagine repeating this chant in a group. Let it ring through your body and your day!

More poetry by Hawaiian (Anonymous)

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8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Hawaiian – Oli Hooikaika / Prayer for Strength”

  1. Shannonon 11 Aug 2023 at 11:18 am

    Thank you for this share today Ivan, so very meaningful in light of the disaster in Maui.
    I appreciate you and your work immensely.


  2. Alfredaon 11 Aug 2023 at 11:29 am

    Thank you for lifting this up.

  3. Mysticon 11 Aug 2023 at 11:33 am

    Thank you Ivan.

    Blessings to all who have suffered such great loss and devastation…. _/\_

  4. Isabel Tippleon 11 Aug 2023 at 12:08 pm

    Sending love to all on the island of Hawaii and to allthose who hold the islands dear in their heart. What has been physically lost remains unsullied in the Heart . Beauty witnessed can never be lost. a new land will take shape, a new beauty will form, hearts will be enchanted again.. heartfelt condolences to those who have lost friends and mourn. 🙏❤️🌹

  5. Patricia Tayloron 11 Aug 2023 at 12:59 pm

    Dear Ivan,
    I hear your anguish. I live on a very big island
    . which suffers fire. Hold on to your last comment. In suffering there is transformation. Bless you. Trishxxx

  6. Janet Goldbergon 11 Aug 2023 at 2:55 pm

    Dear Ivan,
    I uploaded the poem, its translation and the banyan tree photo to my facebook page. If you want me to bring it down, just say so. My husband and I used to own a Hawaiian Travel Company, and we have visited the Islands hundreds of times, first to learn the islands and later for R & R. Our hearts are there, within the spiritual environs and within the hearts of our many dear friends. I understand the banyan tree survived.

  7. Ivan M. Grangeron 11 Aug 2023 at 3:02 pm

    Janet, Please feel free to share any part of the post. ~Ivan

  8. Carolon 12 Aug 2023 at 3:04 am

    As always Ivan, your post has touched my heart. The poem and chant offer hope and
    strength for the recovery of Maui from the devastating wildfire. Your commentary has
    offered me the way to give to help these survivors of this tragedy.

    Thank You!

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