By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
Huna is a Hawaiian word that, roughly translated, means secret. It refers to the ancient teachings and spiritual practices of the Hawaiians. These teachings were passed down orally for hundreds of generations to the initiated keepers of the secret, or Kahunas of the tribe. These teachings are considered to be some of the most ancient and well-preserved teachings in existence from ancient times. The relative isolation of the Hawaiian Islands contributed to the ability of the Hawaiians to preserve these traditions. It wasn’t until the late 1700s, when Captain Cook came upon the islands, that the Hawaiians had their first experience with Western culture. This marked the beginning of a long decline in the preservation of Hawaiian culture and its ancient traditions.
Ironically, the word used to describe these teachings Huna is not the actual Hawaiian name for the teachings. Max Freedom Long, an American researcher and teacher, was the first to call it Huna. The true name of these teachings, if there is a name, is not known. Long chose this name based on the great secrecy surrounding the teachings. He became fascinated with Hawaiian culture and with the abilities of the Kahunas who performed great healings and other unexplainable feats. He recognized the sacred nature of the practices and the likelihood of the teachings being lost due to the aggressive acculturation experienced by the Hawaiians at the hands of the Christian missionaries. By the time Max Long had arrived, it was illegal for Hawaiians to practice their traditions, and it was not made legal again until 1976.
Huna offers a great deal to the understanding of manifestation, the psyche, and what lies beyond the veil of material reality. It also offers a way of living harmoniously in the world. Many of the teachings of Huna appear in other ancient cultures that have had no contact with the Hawaiians, suggesting that these teachings come from a time far more ancient than recorded history. Huna concepts are also found in contemporary cultures and psychological thought. An example of this is the Huna concept of the three selves, which resembles Freud’s theories of the Id, Ego, and Superego though the Huna perspective is far more comprehensive.
Max Freedom Long dedicated over fifty years of his life to the study and understanding of Huna. The body of knowledge he preserved for future generations goes far beyond the observation and documenting of ancient practices and teaching. What Long achieved was to personally enter into the teachings through many years of study, contemplation, and practice. He lived the practices that we call Huna. In his book, The Secret Science of Miracles, he explains, “Huna is a living practical system which holds fast to the proven while reaching out eagerly to inspect anything new and promising.” He further describes his work as an examination of, “ . . . a secret and ancient system of workable magic, which, if we can learn to use it as did the native magicians of Polynesia and North Africa, bids fair to change the world.”
As Long discovered, this ancient wisdom is directly accessible to anyone seeking to experience it. The teachings are universal and do not interfere with current systems of belief. If you would like to gain direct experience with these ancient teachings in a safe and supportive environment consider joining one of our Huna classes.