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OLD HAWAIIAN IDOLS,

HAWAIIAN NOTIONS OF THE SOUL.

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sufferings, and in the immolation even of human victims. The people worshipped them usually by means of idols, supposing that after the performance of certain ceremonies on the images, they became repositories, or at least suitable remembrancers of the spirits above. The people deny that they actually worshipped the wood and the stone, and to explain their use of images, they refer at once to the practice of the Romanists with pictures and symbols.

"In regard to the soul, they had very inadequate and confused notions. They supposed that after death the soul, or rather the ghost, lingered for some time about the deceased body, haunted in dark places, and made its attempts occasionally in the night to strangle its enemies. If any one was afflicted in the night with the incubus, or night-mare, he regarded it as the attack of some ghost upon his throat. On the evening of a dark night I heard a horrid shriek in the street; it was that of a strong, athletic man running with all speed, with both hands at his throat, endeavoring to tear something away. He soon reached the door of a house, burst his way in, and fell on the floor, terrified even to faintness. and insensibility. He imagined that the ghost of a chief, who had deceased the day before, had a firm gripe upon his throat, and was about to strangle him."

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The old Hawaiian notion of a future state was, that after death the ghost went first to the region above belonging to Wakea, the name of their first progenitor.

* History of the Sandwich Islands, by Sheldon Dibble, p. 99.

If in this life the man had observed religious rites and ceremonies, the ghost was allowed to remain there in comfort and pleasure with Wakea. But if the dead had failed to be religious here, the soul found no one there in the region of Wakea to entertain it, and was forced to take a desperate plunge into a place of misery below ruled by one they called Milu.

There are several precipices from the verge of which unhappy souls were formerly supposed to take the leap into the world of woe. Three in particular are pointed out to the traveller: one at the northern extremity of the island of Hawaii, one at the western termination of Maui, and a third at the southern point of Oahu.

We can hardly believe that the confused and indistinct notions of the Hawaiians respecting a future state, or their absurd system of mythology,* at all prepared

* Idols were of every variety imaginable, from hideous and deformed sculptures of wood, to the utmost perfection of their art. The features of their religion were embodied in these images; the most desired object in their manufacture being to inspire fear and horror, sentiments which in a more refined people would, from such exhibitions, have been converted into disgust. Pele was the chief goddess. Her principal followers were Ka-ma-hu-alii, the King of Steam and Vapor; Ka-poha-i-kahi-ola, the Explosion in the palace of life; Ke-ua-ke-po, the Rain of night; Kane-kekili, Thundering god; Ke-o-ahi-kama-kaua, Fire-thrusting child of war. These were brothers, and, like Vulcan, two of them were deformed. Ma-kole-wawahi-waa, Fiery-eyed canoe-breaker; Hiaka-wawahilani, Heaven-dwelling cloud-breaker; and several others of longer names and similar definitions; these latter were sisters.

The whole family were regarded with the greatest awe. The volcano was their principal residence, though occasionally they renovated their constitutions amid the snows of the mountains. On such occasions their journeys were accompanied by earthquakes, eruptions, heavy thunder and lightning. All were malignant spirits, delighting in acts of vengeance and

FABLES OF THE PAGAN MYTHOLOGY.

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them to receive the revelations of Christianity. But as it was the work of Divine Providence to make a way for the entrance of Divine truth externally, so was it the work of the Divine Spirit internally to procure its reception to a degree, so unprecedented and remarkable, by the mind and heart of the Hawaiian nation. Some of the steps in that process, and the triumphant issue of the same in the Heart of the Pacific, we will endeavor to trace in succeeding chapters that shall present the Island Kingdom of Hawaii AS IT IS.

destruction. Many tributes were assessed to avoid or appease their anger; the greater part of which went to support the numerous and wealthy priesthood and their followers, who regulated the worship of Pele. These were held in the highest reverence, as holding in their power the devouring fires of the all-powerful goddess. To insult them, break their taboos, or neglect to send offerings, was to call down certain destruction. At their call, Pele would spout out her lava and destroy the offenders. Vast numbers of hogs, both cooked and alive, were thrown into the crater when any fear of an eruption was entertained, or to stay the progress of one commenced. Offerings were annually made to keep her in good humor, and no traveller dared venture near her precincts without seeking her good-will.-History of the Hawaiian Islands, by James Jackson Jarves, pp. 28, 29. Honolulu, 1847.

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