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Traditional Ho'oponopono

Traditional Hawaiian Ho'oponopono - Healing the Relationship

The Hawaiian people of the past felt closely related to the Gods and their Ancestor's spirits called Aumakua. With the support of the gods, they were performing many beautiful and effective healing rituals.

Pono Rules

Before white people "discovered" Hawaii, one of the main rule in Hawaiian Ohana's life was Pono. Pono means clarity, honesty and proper actions. Healthy rules of behavior for all members of village were supporting the general welfare of society.

When in Ohana problems occurred; for example, someone hurt another or acted against another person's welfage, one of the Elders of the village proclaimed that the person acted against Aumakua. Acting against Aumakua could cause serious consequences not only for the offender but also for all Ohana's members. While people of old were very aware of this possible suffeing, everyone was motivated to bring harmony between people and the gods.

When people suffered from physical problems or ailments, Kahuna was asked for help. His or her job was to find the roots of the problem.

First the Kahuna would contact Aumakua and the answer would come in dreams, visions and symbols. Aumakua also helped in choosing certain medicines.

Pono actions were required to be respected by all Ohana members - including the high chiefs and shamans as well as ordinary people. The real pono actions were called "maoli pono".

If person desired something which belonged to anther person, the Kahuna would work with the person to bring an inner peace or balance, by letting this desire go away. The most important character trait was patience- ho'omanawanui.
Pono - strives to maintain one's sense of higher values such as humility, responsibility and selflessness.
Pono - in parenthood would mean a great emphasis on children and taking care of them. Raising children was extremely important in Hawaiian culture.
Pono - would also mean the ability to control the desire of entertainment and pleasure.
Against pono rules were actions such as stealing, lying and the desire of another's possessions.


Ho'oponopono is the process of creating a balance between the individual and the system. It works on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. It goes deep into traumatic memories and toxic bonds.

Traditional Ho'oponopono re-establishes an inner balance into everyday life and human relationships.

Ho'o - means "to do".Pono means the model of proper behaviour based on the highest cultural values.

The elements of Ho'oponopono

Complete Ho'oponopono would mean that the entire Ohana become healthy. Prayers, conversations, confession and readiness for Pono actions are used during this process. At the end of the process, a project was created - which helps to 'balance' wrong actions. A vital important element of Ho'oponopono process is the support of Aumakua. When participants received help from Aumakua, they were obliged to fulfil its requirements.

Kahunas focused on practical ways to reach the heart of problems and solve them. When problems are deep and complicated - the Gods were called uponfor help.

Pohaku o Kane

was in ancient times a place for contacting Aumakua. Pohaku o Kane was not a temple but rather a place for experiencing high energies. In such meetings, a person could decide about the process of healing the relationship with the Gods – mohai ho’olu’olu. Aumakua support only people, who decide to give up the mohai hala (wrong behavior/actions) in the future.

Pohaku o Kane was the place for contacting gods until 1819. After 1819, due to political, cultural and religious influences such places were partly forgotten. Today, Hawaiians are returning to their ancestors ancient practices of understanding how deep wisdom is hidden there.

La pau lapa'au a Ho'oponopono

Kahunas knew that using herbs assists in the Ho'oponopono process to some degree. Although they believed that herbs aid in restoring the body, they felt herbs could not help in healing the relationship and the spiritual part of the problem, the person concious engagement into healing was needed. When a problem occurred in a family (diseases, traumatic emotions, etc), all members of the family would meet. All members of the Ho'oponopoon process would investigate their own intentions and actions toward all the others.
"We were forgiving and it was forgiven to us, in the difficult process of all mistakes and hurts. It was connecting us stronger and stronger." (Mary Pukui, 1958 ).

Forgiveness plays an important role in the Ho'oponopono process but in the different manner than in western religious practices. . For the process to be properly done, the problem is sent to Aumakua as well and solutions include many elements of spiritual and physical practice.

People participating in Ho'oponopono

To use the traditional Ho'oponopono process, both sides of the conflict must be involved. In the case of a physical disease of one person from the Ohana, all members of Ohana would meet during the healing process. Only such full involvement by the community would ensure long-term healing. It was impossible to refuse the "invitation" of a Kahuna for the Ho'oponopono process. Even today, when the Kahuna informs another person about his or her actions towards healing, the person spontaneously takes responsibility for making changes in his own actions and approach to the problem. The authority and esteem for some Kahuna is still very high on Hawaii.

Some people call themselves Kahunas today - in old times to be a Kahuna meant to be recognized by society and other shamans as person of wisdom.

Kahuna - as Haku - during the healing process of Ho'oponopono is to build a connection between the visible and invisible world of humans and gods. He or she knew the ways to build such a connection, kept their own intentions pure for the effectivity of the whole process. Another important aspect is that the Kahuna knows peoples' lives; their background, characters and problems very well and could predict possible problems and solutions long before they occurred.

The value of Ho'oponopono process today

The Hawaiian people using Ho'oponopono believe, that most life mistakes can be healed. At the base of this faith were their practical results - Hawaiian people belong to most balanced race in the world - with their deep sense of pride and strength, this sense of inner peace can be felt from ordinary people anywhere on the streets. Although Hawaiians encounter all challenges that we have in the modern western world, their inner presence and peace is far different from ours- most of the time. ...


From the author: The information in this article is from Ho'oponopono> practice with >Auntie Mona Kahele from Big Island Hawaii, Auntie Margaret Machado , Papa Henry Auwae, Papa John Waipio, also from the publication of Johna Ii Papa, S.Kamakau, David Malo & M.K. Pukui. and from author's practice.
Article "Traditional Ho'oponopono - Hawaiian Traditions for Healing Relationships", author: T. Pomaika'i Mocna, copyrights © 1993 - 2014
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