Monday, September 24, 2007

Kukaniloko Birthstone State Monument

Kukaniloko is where Hawaiian royalty gave birth to their children, in order to ensure their high-ranking status. The lava stones were believed to have the power to ease labor pains – although no one knows if the stones were as effective as a good epidural.

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, its very easy to overshoot this site. It’s at an intersection with only a small paved section to indicate the way. There are stones blocking the red clay path, so cars can’t go out to the site. Its only about a quarter of a mile walk, though, from the road to the main cluster of stones.

There are roughly 180 stones, scattered over half an acre. The majority of them are in a grove of eucalyptus and coconut trees, and the entire area is surrounded by pineapple fields. There are two rows of 18 stones leading to the grove, one for each of the 36 chiefs that would witness the birth. And to think, some people stress over which family members to allow at the birth...

In a way, the stones remind me of cairns I’ve seen in Scotland and Mexico (although I don’t think they were called cairns in Mexico. Angel? A little help, please?) Regardless of what they’re called, these areas are sacred for a reason. They always give me a feeling of peace and serenity, and make me feel more connected to the past.

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