On Retreat with the Goddess
A feature in which pilgrims who have been on Goddess tours and retreats write about their experiences.
This contribution is by Ana Pau about a retreat to Maui island.
The Goddess woke me with a gentle caress. “It is time to go,” she whispered softly in my dream. I opened my eyes and looked around. It was dark, but I could see clearly. “Ok, I’ll go.” I got up and looked at the clock, 3:55am. That’s good. I’ll make it there for sunrise. I was going to see the sunrise from Haleakala, a high mountain volcano located on the island of Maui in the Pacific. Haleakala means “house of the sun” and it is reputed to be a spectacular sight to witness the sun rise from the top.
I came here in February 2011 for a Goddess Retreat and I met the Goddess of this island, Kihawahine. Rising from the depths of her pond in Moku’ula, in the town of Lahaina, she welcomed me when I arrived and guided me, protected me, nurtured and soothed me throughout my days on the island. She is everywhere. Her presence is so strong and intense. I see her in the clouds standing here at the top of Haleakala. She is a cloud. Her lizard shape is hard to miss. Look closely, there. Do you see her? She is the pale yellow of the horizon. The promise of the sunrise. She is in the rocks beneath my feet. You can see her in the mountains. The ridge of her back, the curve of her tail. She is strong and proud, standing on her mighty arms and legs. She is the all-knowing Great Mother.
The Mo’o. The Great Lizard. She is the Goddess of the fresh waters. She energizes me. She feeds my life force. She is the mother of conception. She is the water in my womb. She runs through my veins. Deep in my reptilian brain, I can sense her. She emerges from the deep dark, black earth. She curls around my feet, moves up my legs, my belly, my heart, my arms, my head. When I lie, face down flat on her back with my hands, palms down by my head, I close my eyes and see the great lizard beneath me, within me. I breathe her in. We are one.
I release all attachments to the physical world and become one with her. I see with her eyes. I hear with her ears. I sense the vibrations of the earth and the air caressing my skin. I hear the messages of the birds and sing her praises. She has returned. She has re-surfaced from the depths and she makes her presence known.
When her image is revealed, her banner unveiled, women cry. They cry tears of joy for they know she has returned. It is a beautiful sight. To walk proud with her banner held high. A small procession of women, all dressed in yellow, dazzling in the sun. Kihawahine is here. Kihawahine is here. We sing and honour her with offerings and water. Water from many lands, sacred springs and wells, from our womb.
The sun is high now. Showing her full golden glory. Enlightening us that we may see beyond the darkness. We carry this light with us. We shine it upon the truths hidden deep in our souls, our memories, our inner knowing. And we are happy, knowing the Great Mother is here with us, within us, amongst us, around us. May her light shine. May we carry our banners held high and walk with pride in the world; showing her face, our faces, doing her work, our work, speaking her truth and spreading the word. For once she has arisen and greeted you, she is always with you.
She is the smiling face of a bright yellow hibiscus nodding at you. Her teeth are the sharp edges of an aloe plant that can cut the cords of pain. She was hatched from the Great Cosmic Egg and she gives birth to animals, mountains, rivers and plants.She illuminates my path and shows me what I must do. She is a healer. Call upon her to receive healing, to be a healer and pass on her gifts. Hold her banner high. Breathe. Breathe in mana and release pain and negativity.
Sitting here on the beach in Maui by the Buddhist Jo Do mission, I feel so alive. My eyes are mesmerized by the beauty of the sea, the waves, the mountain islands in the distance. Deep in me, I know why I had to come here and experience the physical as well as the spiritual beauty of these islands. I am happy. I am at peace. I have everything I need and desire. Thank you Great Mother, for my life breath. Mahalo, Kihawahine, Mahalo.
The island of Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands.
Kihawahine (image to left) was a lizard Goddess (one of the mo’o water spirits) of the native Hawaiian people.