I have designed many kakau and have come across folks wanting a sacred design.
Let us explore this notion by understanding the word "sacred". ( look up "sacred" in the Hawaiian dictionary and you will find that the word sacred has 10 or so Hawaiian words for sacred.)
Review the definitions and be sure that you know what you mean when you ask for a sacred design and not just from an English frame of reference but more importantly a Hawaiian context.
Symbols and relics that are sacred are believed to be connections to deities. Having a sacred symbol on your body is a huge responsibility. There is a code of conduct required 24/7 and it cannot be turned off to yell at the car that cut you off or hate the woman that is having the loud conversation on her cell phone in the small lobby of the dentist's office.
Can you do it? Can you walk that path?
Let us look at the word: Sacred
- Connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration
- - sacred rites
- - the site at Eleusis is sacred to Demeter
- Religious rather than secular
- - sacred music
- (of writing or text) Embodying the laws or doctrines of a religion
- - a sacred Hindu text
- Regarded with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group, or individual
- - an animal sacred to Mexican culture
- - to a police officer nothing is sacred
Let look at the Hawaiian word kapu:
1. nvs. Taboo, prohibition; special privilege or exemption from ordinary taboo; sacredness; prohibited, forbidden; sacred, holy, consecrated; no trespassing, keep out. hoʻo.kapu To make taboo, prohibit, sanctify consecrate, forbid. (PPN tapu.)
2. n. Tub. Eng.
3. n. Cap. Eng.. See pāpale kapu.
Lets look at the Hawaiian word la'a:laʻa
1. vs. Sacred, holy, devoted, consecrated, set apart or reserved as for sacred purposes, dedicated. Cf. laʻahia. Mea laʻa, consecrated or holy one or thing. Lāhui laʻa, consecrated nation. hoʻo.laʻa To consecrate, dedicate, sanctify, bless, hallow. Ka hoʻolaʻa ʻana, the consecration, dedication. (PCP laka.)
( interesting 2nd definition )
2. vs. Cursed, defiled (Kanl. 22.9), bound under an oath, doomed to death or destruction (FS 120–3), in great trouble. E mālama hoʻi ʻoukou iā ʻoukou iho i nā mea i laʻa, o laʻa ʻoukou i kō ʻoukou lawe ʻana i nā mea laʻa, a hoʻolilo ʻoukou i ka ʻIseraʻela i mea laʻa, a hoʻopilikia hoʻi iā lākou (Ios. 6.18), protect yourselves from accursed things, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make of the Israelites a cursed thing, and indeed cause them trouble. Ā laʻa, ā laʻa lā, so you did get in trouble, hurt, serves you right! I told you so! A laʻa kō kū i ke aʻu, so you did get jabbed by a swordfish [get into trouble]. A laʻa kō hāʻule lā, there you did fall.
Sacred is only as sacred to the person that makes an object or symbol sacred. Just because it is sacred to you does not make it sacred to the world.
next time: lets begin to explore mo'olelo, Hawaiian stories that can be used for inspiration to design a kakau.