Wise Secrets of Aloha
by Harry Uhane Jim and Garnette Arledge
Weiser Books, 2007
I began reading Wise Secrets of Aloha on a very cold winter night in Colorado, where the below freezing temperatures were absolutely as far as you could get from the gentle breezes and tropical warmth that Jim and Arledge attempt to invoke. Hawaiian traditional healing, known as Lomilomi, is described as “paradoxical” and “ineffable.” There is the paradox of trying to describe a healing technique that is mostly intuitive, writing down a healing modality that has been passed down in an oral tradition. The paradoxes continue in the teachings themselves, as both clients and healers (“givers and receivers”) are instructed to “do less and feel more” and assured that the less they “do,” the greater the healing they will receive. When author Jim, native Hawaiian shaman and ritualist, tells us that givers of Lomilomi are receiving as much or more healing energy (“mana”) as the receiver, it’s hard to ignore that we’re in a radically shifted paradigm. Everyone who has participated in a Lomilomi healing session will attest: it changes you deeply; it changes you to the very core of your beliefs.
Traditional Hawaiian shamanism is not as widely known as other traditions. Brutally repressed by white colonists, the wisdom of Hawaiian shamans, or kahunas, went underground and was never shared with white outsiders. Because of challenges to the Earth’s health, there is a call for kahuna wisdom to be shared more widely, to support the health of humans and human communities, and to ultimately promote the Earth’s health by bringing us back into balance. Coming into balance, healed of our “cherished wounds,” is the goal of Lomilomi, and the gift that Harry Jim brings in his workshops and now, this book.
The exercises and philosophy of Lomilomi is deceptively simple and subtle. To heal from our traumas, we must cultivate forgiveness. To live fully, we must live in the present moment, not replaying the traumas of the past or worrying about the future. Easier said than done! The breathing and energetic exercises included seem straightforward, easy enough for a child to master them. And that’s the underlying paradox of Lomilomi: that the incredible healing force of Mana is most powerfully accessed effortlessly. The great simplicity of the exercises makes them easy enough to write down, but the experience of healing is deeply-felt personal experience. That’s why much of the book is devoted to first-person testimonials from Harry Jim’s clients, students, and workshop participants, all of whom describe powerful healing events in their lives as a result of Lomilomi.
Wise Secrets of Aloha is a genuine work of the heart, and of interest to anyone studying energetic healing. Those who practice Feri witchcraft will be particularly interested to read about such the Ha breath, Kala’i, and the tripartite soul.
RATING: 4½ Broomsticks
» Originally appeared in newWitch #17
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