No longer just cultural anthropology

Someone asked me if my recent blog posts about Pele (Honoring Pele) and Laka (Saving Hawaiian Traditions) go against Christianity’s teachings of worshipping only one God. The question surprised me into a self-dialog that left me with a satisfactory answer.

At first my quest to learn more about the Hawaiian culture was one of respect for the rich history here, a cultural anthropology exploration. I read much before and since I moved here, both fiction and non-fiction to learn as much as I could from books. But just as with anything else, until I actually do it, I don’t really know it. So now I’m going beyond books.

Dancing hula at Kalopa State Park. Photo by Walter Van der Veer

Dancing hula at Kalopa State Park. Photo by Walter Van der Veer

Now I’m practicing (practicing as in learning) some of the aspects of Hawaiian culture, like hula, chanting, lei-making, and bits of the language. I see it as respect for the people who live here and respect for the ways the early Hawaiians understood nature and explained the world around them. Naming those natural processes and explaining the world through stories made it personal to them, and now to me.

IMG_4629croppedThe Hawaiian word for lava is pele. Pele, the Goddess, is the spirit of the movement and flow of lava, the birthing of new land. So if I make an offering of a ti-leaf lei to her when I visit Volcanoes National Parks, am I worshiping her? No, I am honoring the beliefs of the people who settled here long before me and honoring the powerful way our own mother earth creates new land.

It doesn’t mean I can become Hawaiian and it doesn’t mean I reject my Christian upbringing. It’s a personal choice of inclusion. I choose to relish the culture that surrounds me, whether that’s mindfulness meditation with the Buddhist Hongwanji Mission on Sunday evenings, hula and chanting in my Hawaiian Culture Class, or church services. They are all connected; we are all connected.

In Gassho, Aloha and Amen.


For other essays about Diane’s Hawaiian Hula Class see:

Scheurell does the hula

Saving Hawaiian traditions – Kalopa State Park

Honoring Pele

 Prepping for our Hoike – No time to let my J droop

My Hawaiian Culture class is pau

If you like my blog, you’ll enjoy my new book, Manifesting Paradise. It’s available now on Amazon. Click here to check out the reviews and to buy it.


About Diane Scheurell

I'm a writer and author. Check out my book, Manifesting Paradise on Amazon, and my blog, I talk about Hawaii and the transformation tools I used to achieve my dreams.
This entry was posted in Chants and blessings, Honoring tradition, hula, lava, learnng new things, Pele, volcano and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to No longer just cultural anthropology

  1. Malia true says:

    Beautiful explanation… mahalo!

  2. Thank you Malia. And thank you for leaving so many comments on my posts. It’s nice to know when I’ve struck a chord or made a connection for someone else.

  3. L'il Sis says:

    Great explanation of the difference between worshipping and honoring. I’ll file that for future use as a tutor, as my learner may have difficulty grasping those concepts. Mahalo.

  4. Rebecca S. Ion R(S) says:


  5. Barbara Perry says:

    Be careful when you say “just” cultural anthropology!

    • Sorry, Barbara, if I offended you but I’m hoping there’s an invisible smiley face after your exclamation mark. I was trying to convey that my learning and understanding was no longer just book learning. Maybe that’s what I should have titled the piece. 😉

  6. Dianne says:

    A couple of the traits that you display regularly and that I love about you, Diane is your curiosity and open mindedness. Your explanation of Honoring and Inclusion is Spot On!
    Keep On Keeping On !

  7. Pingback: Scheurell does the hula | Manifesting Paradise

  8. Pingback: Saving Hawaiian traditions – Kalopa State Park | Manifesting Paradise

  9. Pingback: Honoring Pele | Manifesting Paradise

  10. Pingback: Prepping for our ho‘ike – no time to let my J droop | Manifesting Paradise

  11. Pingback: Makahiki – a new twist on an old tradition | Manifesting Paradise

  12. Pingback: My Hawaiian Culture class is pau | Manifesting Paradise

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