Nhsc-v1-233

From GrassrootWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Previous Page Next Page

nhsc-v1-233

Text Only

addition, if they were not found within the allowed time, the number of moe-pu'u required also increased. The first "freeing" of these "death" laws was a request by Kamehameha I that the aoe-pu'u custom not be observed when he died.

In 1819, moreover, breaking of the 'ai kapu by Keopuolani and Ka'ahumanu did not eliminate human sacrifice requirements entirely, for there were other kapu akua of capital punishment equally enforceable. What they especially achieved was freedom for women to eat with the men and to eat what the men could eat in formerly prohibited places. The Russian visitor Lisianski, writing aboard the Neva (1804-1806), mentioned that he observed that men could visit the women while they ate in the hale 'aina but did not partake of the food they ate, while women never went near the men's hale mua where they were not allowed. He also observed that men and women ate together outside the houses while they fished and farmed as husbands and wives, but never ate taro or poi from the same dish. He also observed that the house in which the women ate, or the hale 'aina by day, was the sleeping house at night (hale moe). 2/ It is known that the houses of sleeping were places where men and women came together to be with their families, that is to say, the hale moe was noa, "free," from tabu.

The sanctity of the hale mua was due to its being the shrine (unu) of the god Lono in the Ipu o Lono image. The hale mua was called a "shrine of Lono" (uno o Lono) due to the presence of the "gourd" (Ipu) in the men's eating house. The 'alana sacrifice, by which the men ate of offerings placed for the god in the Ipu of Lono, suspended in a net (koko), was ritually made here before eating of food. The presence of women may be considered as providing a conduit for negative transference of mana from the male gods away from male participants. The same kind of inhibition is recognized in the situating of the women's menstrual house (hale pe'a) away from the community of "normal" women and men. Men were not allowed in or near the hale pe'a, and were prohibited from cohabitation with menstruating women, as such acts reduced availability of mana.

This duality of separation in the social sphere of kapu akua is rooted in the male/female dualism of the religion that metaphysically assigned to portions of the universe either male or female identity, as in Chinese yin/yang opposition. Male/female dualism was a tenet of ancient religion defining the male sphere of action as distinct from the female. 3/

The overthrow of the kapu system by native Hawaiian society was the most significant departure, then, effecting culture change in religion and politics after contact with Europeans between 1778 and 1819. (Note that this is still within the pre-conversion period.) It was a significant alteration in attitude as belief or faith in the efficacy of mana of the great male akua gods to influence positive outcome in human spheres of power and action from a supportive spiritual source.

So-called "deviant" behavior in the pre-contact period by commoners, while the kapu system was in force, constituted capital offenses against both the akua and the community, so that chiefs and priests enforced the penalty as required by a system established in traditional custom through belief of the entire society in the akua gods. Pre-contact deviant behavior by the 'aia (ungodly) against the kapu system is documented: "But there were people who had no god, and who worshipped nothing; these atheists were called 'aia." 4/

These "atheists" ('aia) in the pre-contact society are defined as

-p233-

Previous Page Next Page