Some people have a fantasy about becoming shipwrecked on an island, but an island that has all of the necessary ingredients to build a life on… a life that makes you choose to never return home. Maui is like this fantasy come to life. So much so that it does not feel real. It feels surreal. To fly away from Maui is to feel as if you have exited a dreamscape.
There are post cards with paintings on them that are for sale in shops. Postcards where you see part of what is underwater and part of what is above water. Underwater, there are neon colored fish on top of coral reef. There is a turtle gliding through the middle of the picture. And above water, there is a whale breaching. It is the kind of image whose beauty and magic, you attribute to the liberty of impressionist painting; that is until you go to Maui… Where you can actually experience this exact scene in real life. There was a golden half moon of a beach, leading to shallow coral reefs. The turquoise water rolled in gentle waves to the sand. When I looked with diving goggles under me, there was an entire underwater world of multi colored fish pecking at the coral and coming to visit my legs. Huge sea turtles made their way lazily back and forth right beyond the shore break, swimming close to me like water dogs, curious and affectionate. And in the distance, against the tropical green cliffs belonging to another part of the island, male humpback whales hurled themselves into the air. It is the time of year that they come to mate and calve in the waters of Maui. When you go beneath the water, you can hear their eerie ghost like wailing in the distant waters. I sat there in shock thinking to myself “this cannot actually be happening right now”. Words fall short to explain the truly surreal beauty of Maui.
The first day I was on this island, I followed a calling to Haleakala. More specifically to the crater at the top of the land they call Haleakala. It is there that people journey from around the world to see a natural phenomenon at sunset that you could miss just by blinking your eyes. A fleeting flash of peridot colored green light appears at the horizon. It is created by the same phenomenon that creates rainbows. More specifically, the refraction of the sun's rays exactly as it disappears into the ocean. The earth's atmosphere bends the last visible rays of the sun like a prism. The colors of the spectrum with the longest wavelengths disappear first and the shortest disappear last. Because violet and blue have shorter wavelengths than green, they appear only very, very rarely. This is called a “blue flash”. Even though you can see this flash in other places on the island, being at Haleakala greatly increases your chances. But I did not go to Haleakala to see the flash. I went to see what is taking place on a non-physical level.
The drive up to the crater feels like a visit to the gods. You ascend and ascend through different kinds of terrain that keep changing the higher up you go. From tropical paradise, to land that looks more like the foggy moors of England and Scotland, to a cinder desert with no vegetation, that makes you feel like you are on another planet. You drive up through the clouds and over them and there comes a point where you are seeing the exact same view out your car windshield that you see out of the window of an airplane. It is hard to believe there is road under your tires and you haven’t just lifted off into thin air. You get the feeling that you are crossing into a place between the heavens and the earth. A meeting point for physical and non-physical, far outside the realm of daily life.
People in the esoteric communities say that Maui is a vortex or a portal. But that is an understatement. Maui has a collection of vortexes; a few minor ones outlying one major one. The physical structure of a place is a manifestation of what is taking place on a non-physical level. It is this main ‘top down vortex’ on Maui that has created a very large crater in Haleakala. Before things are physical, they are a thought form. There is a thought form of the earth before there is the physical earth. You can consider the physical earth to be a “condensing” of this thought form. People call the thought form of the Earth ‘Gaia’. This portal at Haleakala is not an extraterrestrial portal. It is in fact a vortex, like a chakra, through which energy is funneled in a clockwise motion from Earth’s thought form of Gaia to the physical earth.
The best way to comprehend this portal is to imagine a woman doing a pour painting on canvass. If she pours the paint in the center of the canvas, a crater is created in the center of the flow and the paint flows outward creating more and more elaborate designs toward the perimeter of the paint flow. Except the “art” that Gaia is creating as a manifestation of itself, is what we call the landscapes and life forms of earth. When you are there, you can feel the sky energy. It feels like a meeting place for earth and the heavens. But the reason for this is because Gaia is a female polarity energy. Think of it like this, when a woman is in a relationship with a man, he is always with her in her awareness and consciousness. She has him in her mind and heart always and so he is coming through her when she goes about her day or makes plans or creates something. This is the relationship that Gaia has to the greater cosmos, what natives call “Father Sky”. She feels that the cosmos/sky energy is holding her and is coming through her creation, which is the physical earth. Much like a man’s energy comes through a woman in a way when she gives birth to his child. This vortex is so intense that it is hard to feel like you are in 3-D reality in Maui. It is also hard not to get very, very dizzy on Maui because of the velocity and power of its spin.
The next day, I took three of my community members and my son on the nearly intolerable car ride from Haiku to Hana. This drive is one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever been on in terms of scenery, but the road is big enough for 1 ½ cars and winds so viciously that it takes about 2 hours to go 36 miles (58 kilometers) on a good day. One member of my team threw up on the side of the road it was so bad. Nothing in Maui is marked, which somehow ads to the magic of the place. To get to the red sand beach in Hana, you have to find a tiny, barely visible trail just before a gate and follow it along a cliff side past a part of the ocean that is the deepest teal color you can ever imagine seeing in real life, until it drops you down onto a beach that looks like it was made from pulverized bricks. This beach is surrounded by sheer red lava rock cliffs that feel like they could crumble in on you at any second. 100 meters out, an aggressive wall of black volcanic rock juts out of the ocean, creating a barrier between the harsh ocean waves and the beach, which in turn has created a calm little lagoon. We swam for hours, watching the schools of fish that live in that lagoon. And when we were done, we made our way back to the car and drove 5 minutes until we got to the Venus pools, also called ‘Waioka’.
To get to the Venus pools, you have to walk through a cow field and navigate steep, off trail terrain. You end up in a place where the smooth, black volcanic rock has created several multi level pools of water. They culminate in another lagoon, but a deep one, where people cliff dive. I was so taken aback by the rugged, sacred nature of the place, I sat there and closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the place… The pulse of the deep blue ocean just beyond the pool, my family playing in the background and the air currents. I breathed the energy of the place into my spine. My son and other community members were feeling proud of themselves for jumping off of what seemed like a high 6 foot ledge, until a group of local Hawaiians appeared on the cliff high above us all and began hurling themselves backwards and forwards off of a 20-foot cliff into the water. The comfort with which the people of Hawaii navigate this landscape and its waters is intimidating. It is in their blood. They are not only in the land, they are of it.
The place where we stayed in Haiku had an edible forest on the property. And with no poisonous snakes on the island, I could watch Winter (my son) explore out on the property without worrying. Every morning, I would watch him run out barefoot under the palm trees behind a maze of tall tropical flowers and return with a coconut or a papaya or an orange. He was in heaven in Maui. I can already see that this trip will be one of his favorite memories of his childhood.
Maui is like a woman, the destroyer and creator aspect of a woman. In one place, it is trying to kill you. In another, it is so soft; it will lull you to sleep. Visiting the lush rainforest of Iao Valley (which is where I personally would choose to stay if I returned to the island), the water that flows is an elixir of life. Yet again adding to my verdict that Hawaii water is some of the best water on earth. Vegetation covers the vertical lava remnant cliff faces that rise thousands of feet into the air around you. Remains of important people were buried all over in secret locations in this valley, which is like the cradle of human life and human society in Maui. Even though one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history was fought here, and even though native Hawaiian culture was full of pain due to the Caste system, Kapu system and practice of ritual human sacrifice, those are not the thought forms that remain. Instead, hundreds of thought forms (ghosts) of women still inhabit the lowland of the valley. Some of them caught in a fixed action pattern of water gathering. You can see the thought forms growing taro and creating household items and bathing and giving birth and burying their afterbirth. You can still hear the thought forms of pregnant women talking about what type of temperament their children will have based on what type of food they are craving.
On the morning that I left early to watch the surfers on the island, I again ran into the very primitive nature of Hawaiian aggression when I passed a new BMW car that had been broken down on the side of the road and not picked up for too long according to local standards. Because the car was not moved in a timely enough manner, some locals simply covered the car in kerosene and set the car on fire. I am told this also happens often on the island when a car breaks down that someone doesn’t have the money to fix. This was not a little car fire. It was a grand theft auto inferno level fire. It was terrifying to pass. The heat passed right through our car doors. I did not see at the time that it was poetic foreshadowing for the type of ‘fire’ that one has to have within them to face the water element in one of its most indomitable forms… Waves.
When you stand at the beaches of Jaws or Ho’okipa beach, you see the destructive power of the ocean. I had the opportunity here to see some of the best surfers in the world. If you are a surfer, Hawaii is either your dream, or it is where you already live. In the hours of the early morning, a different kind of man pulls up in their beat up cars. They watch the water through fierce eyes and ocean weathered skin before deciding to go in, as if chasing after a mistress. Rip tides kill you. But here, these men catch them intentionally to ride them out far into the ocean, where the curling edge of the pipe can chase them. The risk these people take is only fathomable when you are actually standing there, watching them in person. Here, the ocean is unpredictable. It turns from an eerie calm with no waves, to a relentless wave set so large that you fear for their lives. You can see them in the distance trying to not be beaten into the reef and lava rock, while at the same time trying to not paddle hard because doing so would make it so they can’t hold their breath long enough to dive under the waves.
To give you some perspective, the waves here can be over 50 feet overhead. The day I was there, they were ‘only’ 16 feet and when they crashed, they did so with such violence that the surfers duck diving under them, faced ten feet of pure white water/foam. The aggression of the wave break made the water so white, it looked like the titanium white snow of an avalanche. The sea turtles come on shore to sleep and are forced to leave at high tide. The locals that surf here have a Viking like attitude towards the danger. They seem to love to feel the superiority of taking on that risk, while warning you to never turn your back on the ocean, or walk the shore if there are no visible footprints. They seem unaffected by the spooky legacy of a collection of crosses commemorating ‘fallen surfers’ on a rock precipice. Those crosses seem to watch longingly over the spot. They feel at once like a warning and like a love song.
The dominant negative vibration of Maui is: Waffling. There is one solid rule for being in Maui, do not make a plan. This vibration is at least in part due to the fact that Maui is such a female energy. The feminine is very strong, but it is always in flux. It is at the mercy of influence. Influences like seasons, weather, hormones, moods etc. It is not consistent. This makes it very spontaneous and fickle. Like water, it is fluid. It does not carve a straight path and it does not decide upon that path in advance.
Because so much variability exists, it is hard to make up one’s mind. This also makes it very hard to accomplish something that you have planned and aimed at. But to generalize, this vibration is a perfect match for the people who have vacationed here or who come here to live. The vacationers do not have to accomplish something because they are on vacation and thus more likely to go with the flow of how they feel in any given moment. And the people who live here are not solid and commit to things only last minute. And the people who move here, crave that way of life because they hate to be tied down by making up their mind and committing and following through instead of flowing with the whims of how they feel in any given moment. People, who naturally hate things like committing to a course of action or a thing, making decisions or being solid, feel right at home here. They love for everything to be up in the air until the last minute when they can really spontaneously choose to do something.
The dominant positive vibration of Maui is: Anahata. Yes, it is the frequency of the heart chakra. Though all chakras are doorways for spiritual energy, it is the heart chakra that unites the physical and spiritual aspect of your embodiment. In this case, it is the energy that unites the physical and spiritual aspect of Gaia. The truth that can be felt here is that the earth is connected to ‘all that is’ in this universe. And love is the highest manifestation of this energy. Just let this set in for a second because if you grasp that this is the dominant positive vibration for this area, you will understand more than I can write here in terms of implications for visiting this land.
I find it ironic that Maui is one of the top locations in the world for weddings because it is so perfectly in alignment with the metaphysical aspects of this land. A wedding is also what brought me to Maui. I only had one friend in my childhood. A girl named Lauren who lived in another state. We met when she was 8 and I was 10. We saw each other once or twice a year when she would come to visit her Grandfather in the closest town to where I lived. We always had a very deep soul connection, enhanced by the fact that our personalities could not be more different if we tried. Where I am spontaneous, she is planning. Where I am disorganized, she is systematic. Where I am daring, she is careful. Where I am mercurial, she is stable and consistent. We have stayed friends for 24 years now. And this last Saturday, she got married to the man she has been with for ten years, with me as her maid of honor by her side. It was very unnatural for me to be in front of a crowd without being the leader of that crowd, nor the entertainment drawing that crowd.
Just like happens at weddings, nostalgia flooded the day and played out slow motion images of our childhood across my mind. Unlike me, she is the type to wait forever to be married and then stay married to one man for the rest of her life. So as I was pulling the strap of the wedding dress across the nape of her neck, the day felt even more finalizing in some way. We were not the type of girls to fantasize about getting married or babies. We were the type who spent hours on horseback or running around on four legs pretending to be horses, dreaming of the horse ranch we would have together one day. I drove home after leaving the reception, smelling the purple orchid flowers that I had pulled out of my hairdo and thinking about how our lives continue to pull us in drastically different directions, but the parallels in our souls remain.
The entire time I was in Hawaii, not a single rock or piece of coral or wood or any other part of Hawaii wanted to leave Hawaii. I did however have one rock that ended up ‘randomly’ in my purse from Arizona that wanted to stay in Maui. It seems Hawaii loves when she is brought treasures and does not want to give any of her treasures away. Some of this is due to her true nature; some of this is due to the message she keeps receiving from visitors that the rest of the world is not good. I talked about this in my last blog on the big island of Hawaii. The islands, especially certain spots, are cursed with protection spells. These types of energetic elements are not something that most people are attuned to. They take home rocks and other relics from the islands. Sometimes, this can actually cause calamity. That is not just superstition. Other times, the resistance and sorrow from being separated from Hawaii makes it so these items create very bad energy in people’s homes. It is sad to me to see local people selling carved rocks to visitors that in no way want to go home with those visitors. If you go to Hawaii, expect and prepare to leave with nothing other than pictures on a camera or pictures in your mind. It is not good to take any part of earth that does not want to be with you. But it is abusive to take anything from the islands that do not want to leave with you.
I am sitting here tonight on a dirty outdoor table by the “Veg Out” food truck. Roosters beg for scraps of food around the tables. They establish and re-establish their pecking order again and again. The food coming out of this unsuspecting little truck is some of the best vegan food I’ve tasted. I have gone overboard with taste testing. It is emotional food, leaving you satisfied on an emotional and physical level. The Iao Valley is the backdrop rising above the strip malls. It is kissing the rain and calling me back into it. The contrast of relaxed, human grunge culture against ancient mystical natural splendor is familiar to me. It is Costa Rica. If a person did not feel a calling to a deep purpose here, they could retire into life itself here. They could retire into being-ness. Most people work hard to afford vacations here. For so many people who live here, there is no reason to work hard; because they have already arrived at the place other people work hard to retire to.
I am told that Hawaii means ‘breath of life, water of life, giver of life’. And being in Maui, it is my opinion that no place has ever been more appropriately named. Maui is such a departure from reality and yet such a deeper ‘reality’ in its own right, it is hard to comprehend mentally. You have to feel it to know it. And once you feel it, it is inside you forever. It is deep inside the recesses of your soul, like a place you always knew but had temporarily forgotten.