Kane and Wahine o ka Po-Spirit Lovers of the Night

Legends, beliefs, and traditions regarding spiritu-intimacy come from many lands and cultures.
This morning I want to share from Mary Kawena Pukui & E.S. Craighill Handy’s excellent book, The Polynesian Family System in Ka’u, Hawai’i (Mutual Publishing, Honolulu. 1998.) Mary Kawena Pukui was one of Hawai’i’s most prominent and accomplished scholars. Many in her family were from the Ka’u district on Hawai’i Island. On pages 120-122, the authors have a section called “Spirits as Mates.”

Quote: “Occasionally, Hawaiians believed, an ‘aumakua [ancestral spirit] or a kupua [other spirit] came during the night and had marital relationship with a human being. This is referred to as kane or wahine o ka po (night time husband or wife).

Such relationship sometimes proved to be dangerous to the health and life of the person. Perhaps a man would become desperately in love with his wahine o ka po and would seek to sleep all the time so as to dream of her. He lost his appetite for food and as a result, sickened and died. Perhaps it was his wahine o ka po who would be so enamoured that she would coax his spirit to remain away from his body.” End Quote.

The section goes on to give Ka’u anecdotes about spirit-human relationships. The chapter also mentions children born of such relationships. The authors say a child “sired by an ‘aumakua” was said to be hard to raise–often mischevious and sometimes destructive “when a command given by its supernatural father was broken.”

Photo by Amy Marsh. Ki’i (temple carving) at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, Moku o Keawe.

Published by Amy R. Marsh, EdD.

Author of The Dire Deeds, first of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits queer urban fantasy/paranormal romance novels, published August, 2022. The Witching Work (2nd book) and The Queerest Quest (3rd book) are with the publisher. The Perilous Past, 4th book, is in progress. Also, clinical sexologist, sexuality counselor, hypnotist, and hypnosis instructor. Preferred name: Avnas Mars. Ze/zir.

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