Hawaiian Tiki Gods and Their Meanings
The Four Major Tiki GodsAncient Hawaii was a mythic land full of tiki-masked warriors as well as unique and interesting gods and legends. Here you'll learn about the top four Hawaiian tiki gods.
Ku – Ancient Tiki God of War
Ku was the husband of the goddess Hina, suggesting a complementary dualism as the word ku in the Hawaiian language means "standing up" while one meaning of 'hina' is "fallen down."
Ku is worshipped under many names, including Ku-ka-ili-moku, the "Seizer of Land" (a feather-god, the guardian of Kamehameha). Rituals included human sacrifice, which was not part of the worship of the other gods. Ku, Kane, and Lono caused light to shine in upon the world. They are uncreated gods who have existed from eternity.
Lono – Ancient Tiki God of Fertility and Peace
In Hawaiian mythology, Lono is a fertility and music god who descended to Earth on a rainbow to marry Laka. In agricultural and planting traditions, Lono was identified with rain and food plants. He was one of the four gods (with Ku, Kane, and his twin brother Kanaloa) who existed before the world was created. Lono was also the god of peace. In his honor, the great annual festival of the Makahiki was held.
Kane– Ancient Tiki God of Light and Life
In Hawaiian mythology, Kane Milohai is the father of the tiki gods Ka-moho-ali'i, Pele (whom he exiled to Hawaii), Kapo, Namaka and Hi'iaka by Haumea. He created the sky, earth and upper heaven and gave Kumu-Honua the garden. He owned a tiny seashell that, when placed on the ocean's waves, turned into a huge sailboat. The user of the boat had merely to state his destination and the boat took him there. In agricultural and planting traditions, Kane was identified with the sun.
The word Kane alone means "man". As a creative force, Kane was the heavenly father of all men. As he was the father of all living things, he was a symbol of life in nature.
In many chants and legends of Ancient Hawaii, Kane is paired with the god Kanaloa, and is considered one of the four great Hawaiian divinities along with Kanaloa, Ku, and Lono.
Alternatively known as Kane, Kane-Hekili ("thunderer" or "lightning breaking through the sky"), Kane Hoalani.
Kanaloa – Ancient Tiki God the Sea
Kanaloa is the local form of a Polynesian deity generally connected with the sea.
In the traditions of Ancient Hawaii, Kanaloa is symbolized by the squid, and is typically associated with Kane in legends and chants where they are portrayed as complementary powers. For example: Kane was called upon during the building of a canoe, Kanaloa during the sailing of it; Kane governed the northern edge of the ecliptic, Kanaloa the southern; Kanaloa points to hidden springs, and Kane then taps them out. In this way, they represent a divine duality of wild and taming forces like those observed in Indo-European chief god-pairs like Odin-Tyr and Mitra-Varuna, and like the popular yin-yang of Chinese Taoism.
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