While spending a few days in Hawaii, I wanted to share some of the amazing stories that make the islands so rich with healing energy. Much of the following information about sharks as an ‘aumakua or spirit guide came from the Maui Magazine article written by Rita Goldman:
‘Aumakua abound in Hawaiian legends, and in stories local families have handed down through the years. These guardian spirits display miraculous powers, appearing in dreams to give warning or advice; assuming in waking life the shape of an animal, a plant, or an elemental form such as a cloud or ocean wave. Perhaps because of their fearsome nature, sharks are a frequent subject of these tales. A shark spirit guide can show strength where needed and teach fearlessness.
Until recent times, a female shark named Ka‘ahupahau was said to live near the entrance to Pearl Harbor, with her brother, Kahi‘uka, “the Smiting Tail.” People of the region brought them food and scraped barnacles from their backs. In exchange, the two ‘aumakua kept Pearl Harbor free of man-eating sharks; sometimes Ka‘ahupahau would do so by transforming herself into a net that was nearly impossible to tear. Ka‘ahupahau resided at Pearl Harbor until the U.S. Navy built a dry dock over her home. In her collected Folktales of Hawai‘i, Mary Kawena Pukui recounts:
“Scarcely was it completed when, after years of labor, the structure fell with a crash. Today a floating dock is employed. Engineers say that there seem to be tremors of the earth at this point, which prevent any structure from resting upon the bottom, but Hawaiians believe that the Smiting Tail still guards the blue lagoon at Pearl Harbor.”
Who are we to doubt these legends or the energy that is often contributed to a shark ‘aumakua?