Makalua Puna Point
This spot, near the Ritz Carlton, has been nicknamed "Shark's teeth" by tourists, because of its jagged edges. But for Hawaiians, this is a sacred area with a vortex between the spirit world and the physical world. In the April/May issue of Mysterious Ways, I described a spiritual experience I had with the Ritz Carlton's Hawaiian Cultural Adviser Clifford Naeole. At 5 a.m., he took my best friend Jennifer and me very close to Makaluna Puna Point and we participated in a cleansing ceremony in the ocean as the sun was rising. Because the ocean resembles the warmth and comfort of the womb, Hawaiians believe that when you're hurting, you can return to "Mother," the ocean, and get spiritual healing. As we bathed in the ocean, Clifford instruced us to remember ancestors who had passed on and the qualities we admired in them that we hoped to adopt for ourselves. After we submerged in the ocean and left all of our burdens there, we came back to shore and did a chant for the rising of the sun called E Ala E. Read about the miraculous event that happened to my best friend and me after this ceremony in Mysterious Ways. --Brooke Obie
Iao Valley is a lush, green mountain range with a rocky stream running through it. The ʻIao Needle, known as Kuka‘emoku (pictured above on the left), stands at 1,200 feet from the valley floor, and was used as a lookout for warriors. This valley is so sacred to Hawaiians that the remains of many of the highest chiefs are hidden here.
Haleakalā National Park
The summit of Haleakalā Crater sits at 10,000 feet above sea level. Meaning "House of the sun" in Hawaiian, Haleakalā is a place of much spiritual significance to Hawaiians. While many tourists trek to the top early in the morning to watch the sunrise, Hawaiians worship here and offer beautiful chants for the rising sun, like E Kane Holani E, which describes the power and revitalizing impact of the sun.
The ocean just off of Olowalu Beach in Kapalua, Maui, is known for some of the oldest reef structures in Hawaii, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling, paddleboarding and surfing. Centuries ago, Olowalu was known to be a village of peace and protection. Those seeking sanctuary would be safe from harm if they could reach Olowalu's borders. That changed in 1790 when Americans attacked Olowalu village, killing many Hawaiians in what is now known as the Olowalu Massacre.
Hula Circle in Kula
In Kula (Upcountry), Maui, there used to be a Hula circle of trees planted in front of King's Cottage (what is now Tedeschi Vinyards), to celebrate the arrival of the "Merrie Monarch," King David Kalākaua. But in later years, when the trees were destroyed in a storm, an artist carved statutes in a circle out of their remains.