Friday, August 26, 2011

healing heiau

Keaiwa Heiau is a medicinal or healing heiau (temple) in the mountains above Aiea, Hawaii, believed to be built in the sixteenth century.  At this site, the kahuna (priest, expert) specializing in healing would diagnose and treat various illnesses and injuries. The kahuna would also train haumana (students) in the practice of la'au lapa'au, medicinal healing using plants, fasting, and prayers. Many of the plants and herbs were collected from the neighboring forest while others were planted around the heiau.

The name Keaiwa has been translated as mysterious or incomprehensible. Perhaps, this name refers to the fact that one could not explain the powers of the kahuna and the herbs used in healing.

grove of Norfolk pines adjacent to Keaiwa Heiau
 photo: (c) Bruce Behnke 2011