Go ahead and take a listen:
This was an aloha chant sung to us by Koa, our guide, who greeted us with a lei before taking us through a beautiful ritual. We began by creating offerings as a team. Symbolic of working together as one, each of us took turns placing foods of importance in Hawaiian history and culture in large leaves laid out on the table. Once the offerings were all properly placed, the leaves were folded together and tied.
The six of us brought these three offerings to the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.
We stood there at the edge of a crater as Koa sung a traditional chant. She gave thanks for our welcome as the volcanoes smoke continued to flow, before calling to our ancestors to be with us then and throughout the mission.
Most of that morning before this was spent studying the geological activity and history of the volcanoes, something we’ll be continuing to do these coming days. We looked at rock formations, mapping, and even explored a lava tube.
But coinciding with each scientific bit of information was a rich history.
I learned of Pelehonuamea (Pele), a goddess and creator of the Hawaiian Islands. The volcanoes here are sacred, including Mauna Kea whose summit is treated as such and has been protected throughout the years. Koa shared with us that it is said, due to its peak, that it’s the closest point here between Earth to the Heavens and to Wākea, the Sky Father.
We learned of origin stories and heard personal accounts of experiencing the tales first-hand. I hope to share those with you soon.
In all of this was an increased appreciation of our host culture, one that we (ho’ihi) respect and will strive to better understand.
Standing there, on the craters edge, the team took a moment to reflect on the challenge that lay ahead, about those who came before us, and our guides.
We were then asked to place the offerings wherever we felt they should be.
Once the offerings were placed, the team stood side by side, staring into the crater, reflecting in the first silent time we had experienced together since the start of the last 5 busy days.