Ghost Hunting Hawaii

by admin on March 21, 2010

ghost hunting hawaii

ghost hunting hawaii

How to Enter a Forest


Your gods, your ghosts, 
your demons & dreams bear witness 
as you pull rich gifts from your darkness 

May they return… 
to hunt you, 
to haunt you, 
to heal you. 

This darkness is my gift to you, 
an anchor through time in the bones of your ancestors. 
This darkness is my gift to you, 
a rich compost to take root in. 
This darkness is my gift to you, 
a place in the earth… an anchor through time.

The forests in old Hawai’i were known as ” Wao Akua” or “Lands of the Gods.” The Wao Akua was a place untouched by the hand of man, a place where God could be experienced directly.

The best way to enter and move through the Wao Akua is to draw one’s focus or awareness into the “na’au” (the area of the lower abdomen). This area is significant in many traditional medicine practices. It is known as the “dan tien” in traditional Chinese medicine and the “hara” in traditional Japanese medicine. 

Na’au means literally “guts,” however it also implies “knowledge” or “intuitive mind.” From a Hawaiian perspective, viewing the world through our head or thinking mind can mislead us, but our na’au (intuition or gut feeling) will rarely lead us astray. 

The word “ao” means “light” or “daylight,” as well as “earth” and “world”. Thus, when na’au is combined with ao it becomes “na’auao”: The Hawaiian word for “spiritual wisdom” or “enlightenment”. This is literally: “Illuminated Mind”. 

Walking in the forest while experiencing the world from the na’au adds remarkable depth to the gathering of medicine. The world is experienced through our skin and organs, not watched like television with our talking heads. The knees are bent, the center of gravity is low, the awareness is brought to the abdomen, and the attention is “focused” on the peripheral vision (“haka hele”). While gathering we feel for signs (“hö’ailona” or “naka”) that give us direction in what we are doing. This practice can take years to master but it is well worth the effort. When we gather herbs we must be willing to listen to the forest, not just with our ears, but also with our bodies and our intuition. Rather than telling the forest what it is, we let the forest tell us what it is. We empty our minds and pay attention. Our thinking mind takes a back seat as we learn to pray with our bodies. The Hawaiians of old had 160 different words for “wind”, and 138 different words for “rain”. They were paying attention. When we pay attention, these plants become our teachers. 

This “body knowing” is used not only in the Wao Akua, but also while working with patients. When we pay attention with our bodies, our patients become our teachers. 

The intellect, like science or technology, is a good servant but a poor master. It is not an end in itself. Like a cup that holds tea, the intellect is a vessel that can “hold” the intuition or spiritual connection. The cup without the tea is dry and unsatisfying. Tea without the cup is unfocused and is not held in a useful manner. When we “study” plants, the intellect is the “driver” and in control. While gathering medicine the intellect should move out of the way and allow the body to direct the process, interrupting only when necessary. This shift in perception is a critical part of gathering plant medicines. 

From the book ~ Medicine at Your Feet: Healing Plants of the Hawaiian Kingdom by David Bruce Leonard ~ available here:

About the Author

David Bruce Leonard is a deep ecologist, body-worker, Qigong practitioner, acupuncturist, martial artist, and plant lover. He has studied medicine with teachers in Asia, North and South America, and Hawai’i.

David believes that our health and the meaning of our lives are inseparable from our interactions with the natural world.

He has worked in a bank, on an oceanographic whale research vessel, and has been seen in public attempting to dance Argentine tango.

David is available for workshops and consultations in the creation of men’s groups and support circles. Private coaching sessions for men or couples are available. He can be reached via his website

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Ghost Hunting in Hawaii

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