The story of Kapihe, set during the time of Kamehameha I's rule over Hawaii Island, holds intriguing connections to Hermetic principles, particularly the concept of "As above, so below." Kapihe, a man whose god was Kaonohiokala, approached Kamehameha I and the chiefs of Kona with a prophetic message.
Kapihe spoke of a divine plan where a malo, a traditional Hawaiian garment, would serve as a path for the god Kaonohiokala to descend and dwell among humans. This would lead to a transformative event where that which was below would rise above, and the entire archipelago from Kahiki (distant lands) to Hawaii would unite as one. The prophecy also included dramatic natural phenomena like forty days of darkness, followed by rain, thunder, lightning, and seven rainbows, with the dead rising from their graves to reunite with their loved ones.
This prophecy mirrors the Hermetic principle of correspondence, which suggests that patterns and laws in the universe reflect on smaller scales. In this case, the divine descent and reunification of the islands mirror the union between the divine and the earthly. However, as with many prophecies, not all aspects came to pass as predicted, leading some to label Kapihe as a liar or a madman.
The Hermetic perspective invites us to consider that Kapihe's words may have been symbolic or metaphorical, similar to the riddles of prophets in other traditions. Just as Isaiah's words were seen as metaphorical in the Bible, Kapihe's prophecy might have conveyed deeper spiritual truths. It could be that Kapihe's words were inspired by a higher source, such as God, and the unification he spoke of may not have been a literal merging of lands but a spiritual awakening or a metaphorical joining of nations and souls.
In essence, Kapihe's prophecy, when viewed through the Hermetic lens of "As above, so below," becomes a story of the interconnectedness of the divine and the earthly, where the words of a prophet like Kapihe can hold hidden spiritual truths that transcend the literal interpretation. This tale reminds us that ancient wisdom often speaks in symbols and riddles, inviting us to explore deeper layers of understanding, much like the teachings of Hermeticism.
“When Kamehameha I was ruler over only Hawaii Island, and not all of the islands were his, and while the eating kapu was still enforced, and while he was living in Kohala, Kona, Hawaii, it was there that a certain man lived named Kapihe (also called Kamaloihi) and his god was called Kaonohiokala.” (Hoku o ka Pakipika, March 20, 1862) “This man named Kapihe went before Kamehameha I and before the alii of Kona, and he said …” E hui ana na aina E iho mai ana ko ka lani E pii aku ana ko lalo nei E iho mai ana ke Akua ilalo nei E kamailio kamailio pu ana me kanaka E pii mai ana o wekea dek iluna E ohi aku ana o Milu ilalo E noho pu ana ke Akua me kanaka
The lands shall be united What is heaven’s shall descend What is earth’s shall ascend God shall descend And converse with mankind Wakea shall ascend up above Milu shall descend below God shall live with mankind (Kapihe; Velasco)
Spoken about three years before Christian missionaries arrived in the Hawaiian Islands with bibles and scriptures, the prophecy of Kapihe seemed to foretell the abolishment of the kapu and transformation to Christianity and westernization. “The chiefs and commoners were astounded at these shocking words spoken by Kapihe, and they called him crazy. This perhaps is the truth, for some of his predictions came true and others were denied.” (Hoku o ka Pakipika, March 20, 1862) “(I)t might be thought that Kapihe’s was a riddle and the land would not literally join together … Perhaps his words were not his alone, but from God.”