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The Woman Who Bore Children through the Brain

THE long-lived man's genealogy ends with the eleventh section of the Kumulipo chant as we have it today. The twelfth takes up the genealogy of a younger branch from Opu'upu'u and continues from another younger brother called 'Ololo, "Brain." The thirteenth opens with a genealogy from the elder Paliku branch. This section introduces the figure of the mysterious form-changing goddess Haumea by whom are "born from the brain" a brood of offspring, first to the god Kanaloa and then to her own descendants, a story returned to in still more detail in the poetical prologue introducing the genealogy of the fifteenth section. Here, "jealous of her husband's second mate," Haumea "becomes a woman," takes a husband among men, and lives up Kalihi valley in the northern range of mountains on the island of Oahu, finally using her power as a goddess to disappear into a breadfruit tree: "A breadfruit body, trunk and leaves she had," says the chant.

The name Ha(na)u-mea, "Sacred-birth," is perhaps derived from the strange births "from the brain" with which the chant credits her or from the different forms she takes to "sleep" with children and grandchildren. It does not appear in any other Hawaiian genealogy so far as I know, in spite of the important part played by the goddess Haumea today in folk belief. Haumea is goddess of childbirth and in the Hawaiian "Book of Medicine" is credited with having saved a chief's daughter of Oahu from a Caesarean operation

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by giving her an herb medicine to produce natural birth. In view of the reference in a variant story to a bamboo tree worshiped in her name in connection with this achievement and the ingenious instruments of bamboo used in old days for procuring abortion,[1] it seems to me likely that her services in connection with birth were of this nature rather than the other. Possibly it was she who introduced the custom. The story written into the medicine book may have been a modern attempt to whitewash the character of the goddess of birth in the light of Christian mores.

However this may be, Haumea's children are described not only as "born from the brain" (ma ka lolo) but as "drivelers." "Ha'ae wale ka hanauna lolo," says the chant, and today Hawaiians call children who drivel at the mouth "Haumea's children from the brain." The soft spot on an infant's head, called manawa, they derive from Haumea's form of giving birth: "Oia wahine hanau manawa i na keiki," as the chant puts it. Even today, if a mother lacks milk for her infant, a mash of sweet potato bound over the fontanel is supposed to supply nourishment. Popular legend has localized the life of Haumea up Kalihi Valley and added details to the story. The old heiau of Kai'ele in Kalihi is sometimes pointed to as the place where she changed her shape from age to youth. The spot on the Nu'uanu stream is well known where grew the breadfruit tree into which she vanished with her husband to escape those about to put him to death for trespassing upon the chief's taboo plantings. Another legend makes Haumea controller of wild vegetable food on Oahu. From her home on the mountain ridges she sends a drought. Men seek food from other lands and food plants are introduced. Haumea is, further, a goddess of underground heat, and some call her mother of the Pele family

[1. Ellis, IV, 327; Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology, chap. xix.]

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at the volcano, each member born from a different part of her body, Pele alone from between her thighs. In her character as goddess of heat she may become a possessing spirit (akua noho).[2] Says Ho'olapa, "Taro greens placed on the back of a person Haumea has entered will cook there," and he adds, "I have eaten such luau and it was really cooked."

In spite of all these uncouth elements in the Haumea story, its likeness to that of La'ila'i, notwithstanding its less aristocratic setting, can scarcely be dismissed as coincidental. La'ila'i is also a shape-shifting (paha'oha'o) woman. She comes from 'Iliponi within 'I'ipakalani, as Haumea from 'I'ilipo, and both from the land of the gods called Nu'umealani, to which Papa also retires in one version of her story. La'ila'i's children by Ki'i come, like Haumea's, "from the brain." The heat of sexual passion ascribed to La'ila'i in connection with the aphorism of the fire stick is attributed to Haumea as an indwelling spirit, although not directly noticed in the chant. La'ila'i's affair in the "land of Lua" is a close parallel to Haumea's and must belong to a common tradition, independently elaborated.

Just as Haumea in folk legend has a part in the Pele myth, so La'ila'i's offspring by Ki'i closely resemble those Hawaiians today called 'ehu people, who are believed to belong to the Pele family from the brown color of their hair and the reddish tint in their skin. The chant of the ninth section describes them as "ruddy" (ke aka 'ula) with "fine reddish hair at puberty" (he hua ulu 'i'i) and red-brown beard (huluhulu 'a) among a dark, black-haired, smooth-faced people. They are aggressive and "leap to the heavens" (lele pu i ka lani), meaning perhaps that they push their claim to rank. "The Ki'i people give good jobs to their children," says Ho'olapa. Their advent into the social order

[2. Malo, pp. 155-57.]

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is accompanied by the "trembling of earth" (ola'i ku honua) and the "splitting open of the heavens" (owa ka lani), suggesting the commotion among an established theocracy at the rise of an upstart branch from an alien source.

The story of Haumea begins at line 1760 of the Paliku genealogy, where Mulinaha the husband takes to wife 'Ipo'i. The word 'ipo means "sweetheart," and the intensive termination gives her first place of her kind, hence "Sweet-heart-supreme." It is difficult to say whether the nine women named in the lines following with their respective husbands are supposed to have been born of these two. All are said to be Haumea herself in one of her manifold forms, five of them those in which she "lived with children and grandchildren." There is also some ground for identifying "Sweetheart-supreme" herself with Haumea, as the lines seem to read. At all events the break with Ki'o, "from whom spread the chiefs," may indicate a breakdown, under a new regime, of the social system set up under the Kanaloa priesthood. The whole treatment of Haumea as wife of the god Kanaloa in the two chants elaborating her story can hardly be anything but a symbolic retelling of some such event in the family history, to be discussed more in detail under the closing section of the chant. I can only add here a purely speculative suggestion that the curious birth "from the brain" (ma ka lolo) may derive from a play upon the 'Ololo ("Brain") branch and carry a hint of some liaison on the elder Paliku line with the younger branch, as of La'ila'i with Ki'i.



[At line 1710 of section twelve there are born Paliku and his younger brother 'Ololo. The genealogy of this section continues from 'Ololo to Wakea; that of the thirteenth opens at line 1735 with Paliku and his wife Paliha'i. From

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this point man and wife listed on the Paliku branch lead to Mulinaha and his wife, as below.]

I 760. Mulinaha was the husband, 'Ipo'i the wife
Born was Laumiha a woman, lived with Ku-ka-haku-a-lani ["Ku-the-lord-of-heaven"]
Born was Kaha'ula a woman, lived with Ku-huli-honua ["Ku-overturning-earth"]
Born was Kahakauakoko a woman, lived with Ku-lani-'ehu ["Ku-(the)-brown-haired-chief"]
Born was Haumea a woman, lived with the god Kanaloa
1765. Born was Ku-kaua-kahi a male, lived with Kuaimehani
Born was Kaua-huli-honua
Born was Hina-mano-ulua'e ["Woman-of-abundance-of food-plants"] a woman
Born was Huhune ["Dainty"] a woman
Born was Haunu'u a woman
1770. Born was Haulani a woman
Born was Hikapuanaiea ["Sickly"] a woman; Haumea was recognized, this was Haumea
Haumea of mysterious forms, Haumea of eightfold forms
Haumea of four-hundred-thousand-fold forms, Haumea of four-thousand-fold forms
With thousands upon thousands of forms
1775. With Hikapuanaiea the heavenly one became barren
She lived like a dog, this woman of Nu'umea [?]
Nu'umea the land, Nu'u-papa-kini the division
Haumea spread through her grandchildren
With Ki'o she became barren, ceased bearing children
1780. This woman bore children through the fontanel
Her children came out from the brain
She was a woman of 'I'ilipo in Nu'umea
She lived with Mulinaha
Born was Laumiha ["Intense-silence"] born from the brain
1785. Born was the woman Kaha'ula ["Erotic-dreams"] from the brain
Born was Ka-haka-uakoko ["The-perch-of-the-low-lying rainbow"] from the brain
Haumea was this, that same woman
She lived with the god Kanaloa
The god Kaua-kai ["First-strife"] was born from the brain

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1790. Born from the brain were the offspring of that woman
Drivelers were the offspring from the brain

[There follows a peroration addressed to Papa as wife of Wakea, to be included with the chant of Wakea in the next chapter.]



1930. Haumea, woman of Nu'umea in Kukuiha'a
Of Mehani the impenetrable land of Kuaihealani in Paliuli
The beautiful, the dark [land], darkening the heavens
A solitude for the heavenly one, Kameha-'i-kaua [?]
Kameha-'i-kaua, The-secluded-one-supreme-in-war, god of Kauakahi
1935. At the parting of earth, at the parting of high heaven
Left the land, jealous of her husband's second mate
Came to the land of Lua, to 'Ahu of Lua, lived at Wawau
The goddess became the wife of Makea
Haumea became a woman of Kalihi in Ko'olau
1940. Lived in Kalihi on the edge of the cliff Laumilia
Entered a growing tree, she became a breadfruit tree
A breadfruit body, a trunk and leaves she had
Many forms had this woman Haumea
Great Haumea was mysterious
1945. Mysterious was Haumea in the way she lived
She lived with her grandchildren
She slept with her children
Slept with her child Kauakahi as [?] the wife Kuaimehani
Slept with her grandchild Kaua-huli-honua
1950. As [?] his wife Huli-honua
Slept with her grandchild Haloa
As [?] his wife Hinamano'ulua'e
Slept with her grandchild Waia as [?] his wife Huhune
Slept with her grandchild Hinanalo as [?] his wife Haunu'u
1955. Slept with her grandchild Nanakahili as [?] his wife Haulani
Slept with her grandchild Wailoa as [?] his wife Hikapuaneiea
Ki'o was born, Haumea was recognized
Haumea was seen to be shriveled
Cold and undesirable

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1960. The woman was in fact gone sour
Hard to deal with and crabbed
Unsound, a fraud, half blind, a woman generations old
Wrinkled behind, wrinkled before
Bent and grey the breast, worthless was [the one of] Nu'u-mea [?]
1965. She lived licentiously, bore children like a dog
With Ki'o came forth the chiefs
He slept with Kamole, with the woman of the woodland
Born was Ole, Ha'i was the wife
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[The genealogical line follows from Ki'o seven generations to Ki'i at line 1974. To Ki'i is born by his wife Hinako'ula, a famous name in Hawaiian romance, the two sons 'Ulu and Nana'ulu, names common to other Polynesian genealogies of chief line. To one or the other of these two all Hawaiian chiefs trace their line of descent. The Kumulipo genealogy continues from 'Ulu. At line 1984 it introduces the parents of the Maui brothers, and the section concludes with the name song of the Maui born "on the back of Wakea," presumably the same Maui who heads the closing genealogy of the sixteenth section.]

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