Ka’ena Point

My friend drove me to the wedding, and we stopped at Ka’ena Point, which is not only beautiful, but is also a sacred cultural site, the ‘leaping point of souls.’

“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.


“Kaena Point (or Kaʻena Point) lies on the westernmost tip of Oahu. While roads extend toward the shore, they quickly diminish into rutted two tracks and narrow paths. Intrepid hikers must make the last leg of the trek by foot, where they’re met with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

And it’s at this point that the natural world meets the afterlife, according to Hawaiian folklore.

Pele, Hawaii’s fire goddess, controls the energy of lightning, volcanoes, and wind. She’s also the deity who created the Hawaiian Islands. The story goes that Pele’s male relative (some versions say her brother, others say cousin) traveled to this mystic point at Oahu’s western edge and decided to stay. So it was named for him—ka’ena means “red hot” in Hawaiian.”


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