May 05, 2004
The Rainbow's End
The Irish have legend that if you stand at the rainbow's end, you will find the leprechauns pot of gold. Im sure this is because the end of the rainbow is very hard to find if not impossible, due to all sorts of scientifically logical arguments... My position is that you cannot find the rainbow's end anywhere else but the place where rainbows are so common place that they are a part of the landscape. That place of course is my Hawaii, the islands somewhere over the rainbow...
I wont get into the science of rainbows... that I will save for another more educated person to post about.
Rainbows are a happy chance meeting between rain and sun.... the Elementals Air, Water, Wind and Light can produce a glorious show of color, often very intense and long lasting. It often rains here during the day without the benefit of clouds. These sun showers should they occur before or after noon bring out huge arching rainbows often double that cross the sky and cause you to catch your breath for the joy of seeing them.
The ancient Hawaiians saw rainbows as evidence of divine behavior, or presence. Like so many things they saw each aspect of the rainbow as a unique thing, so there are 23 separate distinct words for types of rainbows, defining shape, location, source and intensity.
Anuenue ao akua, haka 'ula a Kane
. The rainbow of God's promise to Man. This is the arching single or double rainbow that we think of when we think of this phenomena
The tale of the flood of Nua is found in the mele' or chants in the Hawaiian histories. How he built a voyaging canoe and took the creatures and plants needed for survival and all of his clan and they lived in the canoe house for a long time... till it settled on the land again. No people were found and Akua (God) promised Nua that such destruction would not come again to the people and that the rainbow was a sign that the people would be preserved.
Another preservation tale is that the wargod Ku rewarded one of his demi-god sons for his prowess in battle by extending the kahili anuenue
or shaft rainbow from the heavens to earth, Maui, the son ascended to heaven to receive the gift, that gift was fire, but it was to only be used by Maui as a tool of battle. Maui took the fire and gave a portion to his mother who used it to prepare a meal for her son, soon the whole village had fire and revered Maui as a god above his father. This enraged Ku who flung down the kahilli anuenue
and demanded that his son return the gift , Laughing, Maui grabbed the end of the rainbow, pulling it into the shape of a bow... which is how it remains to this day... Maui also used his magic Bow to capture the sun and bring it closer to the people so that the land would dry up after the great flood ( there it is again... this flood) He is accounted a hero and even today The Rainbow Warrior ( Molii Anuenue
) is another name for Maui. The island of Maui is named for him as he was said to live with the captured sun on Mt Haleakala.
So you have the Pagan view and the really Pagan view... One day we shall have to discuss the origins of the proto polynesians and Nua's flood and other interesting things like that but on to another rainbow story for I have a few of my own.
I have seen the
Anuenue ao Akua, haka 'ula a Kane
. The arching rainbow we had a lovely one this morning driving into Hilo.
, or shaft rainbow. We saw one form as we drove home tonight, At first we thought that it might be a 'onohi 'ula
a fragment rainbow but as it streched down out of a stunning white fluffy thunderhead, people slowed on the highway to see the literal "stairway to heaven" be flung down. It was very bright. Amazing. and the rainbows end was moving as the cloud did... that cloud was likely the generator of the rain providing the show!
Uakoko or Lehopulu
these are earth clinging rainbows one wide and one narrow. We see these in Hilo on the slopes of Mauna Kea. The mountain rises 13000 feet into the sky and it is skirted by rain clouds much of the time. As the sun rises to the east of the mountain often these ground rainbows appear. They make little Hilo looke like a Queen in a many colored robe.
This is the famous " Green Flash" that many report seeing at sundown here on the Kona side. It happenes preceisly at sundown. I have seen it once in 2001 It was very strange like a green photo flash accross the sky. Its caused by a precise combination of light, moisture and Volcanic Originating Gases or VOG... and thats another story...
I love these cool things... these are rainbows that happen at night under a full moon...a rainbow ring around the moon. Dont see many of them but we did see them on Kauaii when we visited there, prior to moving here.
Sparkling rain rainbows. These are amazing as you can see the rainbow form literally in front of you. One bright beautiful day I was walking to the post office from the shop and I saw it... It had begun to sunshower in Kalakaua Park just accross the street appropreately named Waianenue
or rainbow that is formed in the mist of a waterfall. I walked accross the street and stood in the middle of the pocket sized park. As I stood there I was enveloped in a diffused light. I heard exclamations from people nearby... People that saw me later said that I had been standing in the middle of a rainbow shaft a Kahilii Anuenue
It was beautiful and amazing. I have only felt like that a few times in my life prior and it was a glorious experience...
I found the end of the rainbow... and that pot of gold...There is no Hawaiian word for gold, or money for that matter... that pot of gold is... Well I found out what I've always known... that its what's within yourself that has real value. You are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, because it is the life that you have within you that is the greatest treasure worth having....
PS Woody was reading this and he said that the treasure at the end of a Hawaiian rainbow is the kama'aina the child of the land or perhaps the land itself... Perhaps it is the spirit of Aloha, that desire if not a reality that wants to bring love and blessing to everyone you meet. I think that is a great thing and a great word!