Located just off Farrington Hwy on the way to Makaha Beach (on the island of Oahu) is The Cave of the Dead. I had noticed it marked on the map last year when I went to the furthest point of the island, Kaena Point, to spread my Mother’s ashes in the sea. I had tried to find it then but hadn’t been successful.
This year I was on a similar mission, my mother’s best friend Pat having died in the interim. They both loved the Islands and had actually visited together in
Near by Ko Olina only 3 years earlier. It was then that they’d decided that when their time came they both wanted their ashes put into the sea nearby. Since the cave of the dead is quite close to where both my Mom and Pat now sail away, it seemed appropriate to see if I could locate this elusive cave.
Determined to find it this time, I soon realized that it was only truly visible if one was coming from Makana towards Honolulu, and not the other way around. Even then, if you weren’t earnestly looking for it, you’d miss it completely. This is totally deliberate on the Hawaiian’s part, because who wants a Howlie’s (a non Hawaiian) visiting the ashes of their dearly departed, let alone an ancient scared burial site.
Since I am respectful (unlike many tourists) of both spirits and sacred sites, whether human or the Nature Spirits I connect with, I thought it would be acceptable if I stopped by just to pay my respects. Of course I also hoped that the cave might have a message about how it felt being the holder of these ancient and, as I found out, not so ancient remains.
Once I spotted the cave from the road, I found the entrance quite imposing, but even more so if one had the courage to actually go inside. Since I didn’t feel it was my place to do so, I simply stood at the entrance and surrounded myself with the light of protection (with ancient ghosts one never knows!). I then asked the ghosts of the ancient Hawaiians permission to take the pictures you see here. I also asked the Cave of The Dead itself if it might give me a passage I could share with you here. Luckily I was granted both.
As I gazed inside I could see that the cave was still filled with ashes, which I assumed were put there by the countless Hawaiians who still feel, even in this modern age, that this remains a scared place to bring their dead.
You will soon see that even today The Cave of Dead still considers itself to be part of this ancient belief system.
Long ago, in the days before those that live here now existed here among the sea and the land, many walked this island. Those ancient people had beliefs that ranged from the improbable to the impossible…Gods that rose from the sea and triumphed over those that would invade and challenge their beliefs. Those beliefs of long ago still exist today with those that know them to be real.
Among those scared sites that have scattered those souls through the ages, am I. A cave that even to this day holds the remains of those from long ago.
Back then those that had died were hidden from sight, their bodies buried in cliffs and caves like me, scattered along the sea in places that only those with the knowledge could knew about. Here their souls would join again with those that had lived before. In this spirit world they would again fight their battles and live their lives in peace and plenty with the people of the islands that had come before. Those days are gone now, but others like me still exist, holding within them these ancient beliefs.
As a cave along a road I seem nothing more than that, but once inside you will find that the souls from the past live on, bringing to those that seek the ancient secrets about lives lived and lost long ago. Kings and queens, lowly beggars and lofty sailors of the sea are still here, longing for what can never be. For the souls of yesterday wait for those that want no more than to be as they were before… searching for their roots hidden deep within this islands culture that began eons ago.
The hills, like the spirits, remain strong and steadfast, waiting for the time when the past reunites with the present. The ancient warriors of long ago, the wahines and charlatans, the young kikis and old slaves all are here ready to renew what was lost so long ago.
As a cave I am nothing but a receptacle, but as part of this planet with a history that has survived everything, I know better. Because all beings, even stones like me, are given what they need to grow and move ahead in their search for enlightenment. And like the souls that rest inside me, I also wait for the day when I can again begin a life that is full of wonder… a return to the days that will again bring the movements and joy that creation once brought to this place eons ago. And like those soul that rest within my belly, I wish only that when this happens that it will reunite all with the glory that once reined here… the freedom that was lost so long ago.
May all that enter this scared place ask that they be shown the past, realizing that all men should be free and that life exists even after the darkness falls.
I am The Cave of the Dead, welcoming all that wish to begin again.