Erin O'Riordan's Reviews > The Bowl of Light: Ancestral Wisdom from a Hawaiian Shaman

The Bowl of Light by Hank Wesselman
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's review
May 10, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: amazon-vine-picks, nonfiction
Read from May 10 to 14, 2011

In this book, Hank Wesselman, Ph.D., an anthropologist who has spent extensive time with indigenous African peoples, details some of the wisdom he and his wife Jill Kuykendall gained from an extraordinary friendship with Hawaiian elder Hale Makua. In American English usage we use the Hawaiian word kahuna to mean "boss," but Makua was a true kahuna, a spiritual shaman. Wesselman and Makua met at one of Wesselman's lectures. Given the floor to speak, Makua told Wesselman he'd read Wesselman's previous book Spiritwalker, talked about it with the Ancestors, and the Ancestors told him everything Wesselman wrote in that book is true. One of Makua's most memorable teachings is that "each of us comes into the world from the great beyond with our bowl of light," and we can either let the light shine or fill the bowl with stones (hurtful actions). When the light grows too dim, we must pour out the bowl and cast away the stones, allowing our bowls to shine once more. Makua taught Wesselman the Polynesian lore of how the Ancestors came down from the stars, guided by whales and dolphins, the reason these creatures are so sacred in Hawaiian culture. These guardians gave the human race two assignments: grow, and love one another. Native Hawaiian spiritual teachings will be unfamiliar to most Americans, so this book serves as a wonderful introduction, just as Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux introduced Lakota teachings to mainstream American. People of all faiths can learn much from the late Hale Makua through this book.
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