The Sacred Path

Journeys through the mist

Category: Sacred Places

Too long… again

I’ve felt the urge to blog again, but it hasn’t  been strong enough to pull me away from the farm work at our home here on Hawaii island. So much to do here, and we are in the middle of Macadamia nut harvest season and with four acres of trees to take care of, and keeping up with the maintenance and repairs around here, I seem to have little time. All that and keeping up with my job at Automattic (

We did get out for a trip today to Waipio Valley today. The weather was misty and overcast, but that only seems to add to the beauty of this place. The road down into the valley is very steep and only four wheel drive vehicles are allow to make the trip. Glad I have one. Here are a few shots from our trip, and a couple thrown in as a bonus from our home in Holualoa on the west side of the island, south of Kailua-Kona. Life is really, really good. 🙂

Connection to Pele

Aloha from Hawaii Island. Yes, I am back home (for any of you that know the story). My beloved and I bought a house on the island and I’m living here right now, and more or less patiently (sometimes not so much) waiting until she and her daughters can be here too. Long story, perhaps for another time.

The image above, is an Ohia tree, which is found mostly around the Volcano area on the south of Hawaii Island, but this one is on our farm in Holualoa, just south of Kona. To some it is referred to as “Pele’s tree”.

When we first visited the island to look at this property, we noticed that this tree was completely bare, with no leaves, and my first thought was, ‘I get to practice my chainsaw skills’, but at the same time, I thought, ‘you know, I kind of like this bare tree standing guard on our property. It isn’t threatening the house, so perhaps we will keep it just as it is.’

We didn’t know what kind of tree it was, or had been, but it turned out to be an Ohia. The legend says that Pele saw this handsome warrior named Ohia and asked him to marry her, but Ohia had already pledged his love to Lehua. Pele was furious and turned Ohia into a twisted, ugly tree. Although the gods could not reverse Pele’s magic, they too pity on Lehua and turned her into the flower on the Ohia tree so the two lovers would be forever joined together. (paraphrased from Love Big Island)

Ok, back to our story. We decided to make an offer on the property and then a couple months later did a return visit to do some measurements and such for furniture. At that time, as I remember, I saw a few leaves on the tree. A couple months later I returned to do the final walkthrough prior to us signing all the paperwork, and I saw the tree covered in leaves and Lehua blossoms. I was a bit surprised, but also quite pleased that the tree had come back. It took a bit for me to realize it was an Ohia, and I wondered what it was doing this far up on the west side of the island.

I had returned to my hotel that night, and while lying in bed, I thought about the tree and a thought came (?) to me. This is our connection to Pele. She is in her own way blessing our purchase of this property. I sent her my gratitude and aloha, of course.

When we came back this June to take possession of the property, the tree was looking even better and covered in blossoms. After a few days, we headed down to pay our respects to Pele and give her our thanks, and when I closed my eyes at the crater rim, the first thought I has was of the tree. I knew then that I had been right, this was our connection to Pele and that she would watch over us. When we turned to leave, we were gifted a beautiful rainbow over the crater. I think of those as Pele’s smile.

A Mauna Kea weekend

Mauna Kea from Ocean

Photograph by Vadim Kurland

I’ve been getting patient, but persistent messages that I need to go up and spend some time at Mauna Kea. Something to the effect, “you need to come up and see me.” To the Hawaiian’s, all the peaks on Hawai’i island are sacred, but Mauna Kea is the most sacred. I feel quite honored that she want me to come up and see her.

I got an email from a friend who will be here on the island and invited me to go… guess where? Mauna Kea. The spirits are very resourceful. My friend needed someone to accompany her, and the mountain wanted to see me. So, this weekend, we will be spending time up there with the giant. I’ll take my pocket digital camera and take some shots while there and post again soon about the trip.

I’ve been putting a trip up there off trying to get some web designs out the door, and I also need to make a trip back to Wyoming to finish “editing” that chapter of my life within the next month. I guess Mauna Kea has different plans, and I just got the memo.

The Valley of the Kings: Waipio

Waipio Valley from overlook, late morning

A while ago, we took a trip over to the Waipio Valley on the east shore of Kohala. The Waipio Valley is a very sacred place to the Hawaiian people and was the home to many Hawaiian rulers. When you visit the valley, you need to first ask permission to enter and if you get that permission, you want to enter with respect for the land and the spirits that live there, and also for the people who live there. Daily, they have to endure hundreds of people walking and driving around the dirt roads and trails, and for the most part, they are quite tolerant.

According to the locals we talked with, this was the first day in quite some time that they valley had not been overcast and rainy. The photo above was from the lookout at the top of the road going down into the valley late morning. The valley is a mile wide and six miles deep with 2000 foot cliffs on each side, and the road at 25% grade requires a four wheel drive if you want to drive down into the valley. With an annual rainfall in excess of 200 inches per year, it is as lush and beautiful as anyone can imagine.

Falls at head of Waipio Valley, Hawai'iDue to the generous rainfall, the walls of the valley have hundreds of cascading waterfalls and toward the inland end of the valley are two that I definitely want to visit one of these days. The Waipi’o river, fed by these falls, runs through the valley floor and consists of multiple channels, and since there are no roads, your only choice is on foot or horseback. The channels can be quite deep at times ranging from one to four feet deep – or more – depending on how rainy it has been. As with so much in life, timing is everything.

Waipio Valley from overlook in late afternoonWe had a good chance to get a feel for the valley, but a trip back when I have more time is definitely in order, and next time I’ll have all the necessary gear and camera equipment with me. By late afternoon, the clouds had started to move in so we bid goodbye to the valley, expressed our gratitude and headed back up the steep road.

Click to see additional photos from Waipio

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