Leina ka ‘Uhane
Leaping Place of the Souls
The following is an excerpt from Sacred Places North America: 108 Destinations By Brad Olsen:
Kaena Point is the legendary “Leaping place of souls” for recently deceased Hawaiian spirits. Ancient Hawaiian mythology describes a colorful array of spirits and dimensions in the afterlife. A Hawaiian euphemistic term for dying was to “travel west,” and in the case of prople on Oahu it was a journey to Kaena Point on the western extremity of the island. Upon death, or even during a near death experience, a Hawaiian person’s soul would first travel directly to Kaena Point to determine if it was ready to continue. As the newly released soul approached the point, it was met by the spirits of deceased ancestors or friends who were waiting for the soul to arrive. They might send the soul back if the death were not real or if certain earthly obligations were not fulfilled. The spirits could help revive the body if the death was not final. If the death was final, the ancestral guides would entertain the soul, comfort it, and begin leading it on its journey off the earthly plane. When the deceased soul was ready to depart, it was guided to Leinakauhane white rock, where the soul would make its plunge into the ocean on its way to eternity. A big white stone on the north side of Kaena Point was the literal leaping place of souls into the land of po heaven.
Another aspect of the departing soul visiting Kaena Point is less tantalizing. Legend also scrutinized how honorable the person had led his or her life. If the newly deceased soul had not fulfilled all earthly obligations to the priesthood, or had been a bad person and disrespected their ancestors, the soul continued wandering around Kaena Point, or was returned to the body. In the event the body was indeed dead and could not be returned, the bad soul wandered for eternity out on the hot and dry western extremity of Oahu. Here the wandering soul would lurk as a ghost, subsist by eating spiders and moths until an ‘aumakua guardian angel ancestor deity would take pity on the soul and guide it away. The ‘aumakua usually took the form of an animal, such as a sea turtle, an owl, octopus, or bird. The helpful animal guides would eventually escort the bad soul to the leaping stone where the spirit would plunge into “endless night.” At this point the guardian angel would guide the soul through sea caves and other wondrous worlds until the soul was then ready to enter the land of po.