Arts and Culture

The Sacred Process of Preparing Dyes with Hawaiian Endemic Plants to Use on Kapa

This weekend I had the privilege to learn from my friend and Kumu, Pua Lincoln Maielua, about the sacred process of preparing dyes with Hawaiian Endemic plants to use on Kapa. We spent the better part of Saturday learning about the process and gathering the lau (leaf), mole (root), pua (flower), hua (berry), and hili (bark). The process of gathering in itself is a magical experience when done with people who truly appreciate the sacredness of it.  Gathering is not something that is done in haste or without forethought. You must first ask and then receive permission. It is also extremely important to set a good intention before you start to gather and to hold that intention until you are finished.

The moon phase is also something that is very important. Because we gathered a majority of our materials on Kaloa Pau, which is a waning crescent moon, we learned that the material we gathered from the roots of the trees yielded more color because all of the trees’ energy is pulled there. In a few weeks when the moon is in its waxing phase, it will be a better time for flowers and above the ground plants.

I had many “aha” moments this weekend, but one of the biggest of all actually happened this morning. As some of you may know, my husband and I are committed to spending time together every morning. On our way into the gym, a tree that we have walked past on number occasions caught my eye. It was a Kou tree, which was one of the many trees we gathered from. I must admit that I have a newfound appreciation for the amazing tree and its beautiful vibrant orange flower blossom. Taking the time to learn this weekend has once again reinforced the lesson of how important it is to stop and appreciate the things that we might otherwise take for granted in our busy lives.

The Kou tree I noticed for the first time today.

Page from my log book as part of class credit.

Milo hua (seed)

Collage photos credit: Pua Lincoln Maielua 11/4/2018

I feel truly blessed to be able to call this amazing place my home. If you do not make it part of your daily routine to take the time and appreciate the abundance of beauty all around you, I hope that this blog will encourage you to start today.

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Beth Thoma Robinson

November 7, 2018

Beautiful, Linda! Thanks for sharing.

Jim DeVille

November 8, 2018

Thanks Linda, a beautiful article. I’m going to show it to my kumu hula. The rituals surrounding this amazing culture are so important here as you’ve shown.

Julie Keller

November 9, 2018

Really cool! Thanks for sharing Linda.

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