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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

The Wisdoms and Secrets of Huna: An Ancient Hawaiian Spiritual Tradition

Mar 01, 2012 03:30PM ● By Susan Wasserman

A rich and comprehensive spiritual system of practices and beliefs was integral to the daily lives of the ancient Hawaiians. This profound psychospiritual system, which came to be known as Huna, gave the Hawaiians a deep spiritual sense, a relationship to the universe, a strict code of ethics and tools to consciously evolve toward wholeness.

While there are different traditions within Huna, several essential principles and concepts are common to all. One is the idea of mana, the Hawaiian word for energy. Mana is believed to connect all things, has the power to heal and vitalize, and reflects a deep understanding of the power within everything. Divine spiritual power is revered and understood as the power to, rather than the power over. This power is experienced when individuals are their deepest, truest selves; it is the power that enables a tree to grow or the ocean to lap upon the shore. Distinct from other spiritual traditions, Huna equally emphasizes being present in the physical world and in touch with higher spiritual realities. Thus Huna honors the physical body; its sensations, pleasure and emotions, as well as the planet, the ocean and the stars. Being in the world with divine consciousness is the goal.

A second foundational belief is the existence of the three selves. Hawaiians recognized a very deep part of all people, called the Lower Self, which rules the unconscious and autonomic nervous system. The Middle Self is in charge of conscious thinking and planning, and the Higher Self embraces one’s higher, spiritual realities. The goals of life, from the Huna perspective, are to awaken, to be in touch with and to integrate the three selves. When the three selves are in harmony, there is happiness in all realms. When the selves are not in harmony, there are many possible problems, including physical manifestations or difficulty aligning with and fulfilling one’s purpose.

Huna addresses the personal, together with the transpersonal, as one whole being within the one life. Huna practices, tools, and energies facilitate saying yes to life, developing courage, and giving and receiving love. Cultivating these qualities is dependent upon establishing a profound connection to the heart, the breath, the sun, and the earth. Also, Huna utilizes a system of energy and energy centers to support personal and spiritual transformation which have been revealed to the public only recently.

Despite its breadth and profundity, Huna has never gained recognition as a major world spiritual tradition. Huna practitioners and teachers had to take their knowledge and practices into hiding after 1778, when Christian missionaries arriving on the islands began to prohibit, shame and condemn ancient Huna practices. Also, because Huna teachings were passed along orally, there was no written record to preserve information. The teachings that survived were discreetly passed down by ancestors and kahunas (keepers of the secrets). Scholars also study the Hawaiian language for clues to unveiling some of the mysteries. While many elements of the Huna system have been rediscovered and revealed, it is believed some pieces have been forever lost.

Susan Wasserman has been a psychotherapist in private practice for more than 20 years. She teaches Huna and other S.U.N. workshops and integrates meditation, crystal bowls, energy work, past life regression and psychological astrology into her work. For more information, call 414-961-0649, email [email protected] or visit

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