Mauka and Makai
Ah! Beautiful Lake Champlain. When I first started practicing lomilomi in Vermont, I really had to search myself and my natural environment for ways to connect to all that I had experienced in Hawai'i. Why? Because lomilomi, like most Hawaiian cultural practices, is deeply connected to the 'āina, the land, and both the kai and wai, the fresh and salt waters.
However, I knew I also needed to "anchor" the journey of bringing Hawaiian healing and bodywork in this new place. According to Hawaiian worldview, I turned both Mauka (toward the mountain) and Makai (toward the ocean) for support. Connecting in with the closest mountain range was easy: Majestic Mansfield, Camel's Hump, and Mount Abraham form the "spine" of this area, and it seems their presence deeply infuses the consciousness of the people.
It was much more difficult, at first, to connect with the ocean: the nearest sea is hundreds of miles away!
I went to the shores of Lake Champlain and began to offer Hawaiian chants, specifically parts of the Kumulipo, a Hawaiian creation chant. After several months of contemplation and offering chants at the shore, I became aware of my new "Mauka" and "Makai"... really taking that moment to connect with this huge, incredible system of watersheds that drains the western side of the Green mountains and the eastern slopes of the Adirondacks into this incredible wai ola nui, large living water that is Lake Champlain. Feeling the water as it journeys from the high springs, down the slopes, into the valleys, making its way into the lake, then north eventually into the Atlantic Ocean... I could finally feel my kai, my moana, the sea and deep ocean that would support lomilomi and Hawaiian healing practice here in Burlington.
To learn more about Mauka and Makai, and traditional Hawaiian land and resource divisions (called ahupua'a), visit The Bishop Museum's educational site. Enjoy!
About the Practitioner
Eliza has been practicing lomilomi, hula, and Hawaiian healing practices for thirteen years.