A Sacred Place
Volcano, Hawai‘i, is like no place else on earth, and a commitment ceremony here could not be performed anywhere else. Bathed by tropical sunlight and tropical rain, nourished by the newest soil on earth, the rainforest here bursts with vitality: the greens of the tree ferns are greener, the black of the lava is blacker, the reds of flowers are redder. But it’s not merely physical vitality: it’s mana, the ancient Hawaiian spiritual life force. Volcano is the place where Pele, the goddess of the volcano, and her sister Hi‘iaka, the goddess of the rainforest, duel and embrace: where new stone is created in fire and green life bursts from stone. To be in Volcano is to stare creation in the face, and to breathe the sacred.
Hawaiians have known this for nearly two thousand years. In Hawaiian culture, there are no dividers between art and science, science and religion, religion and life. It’s all sacred, all flowing and flowering with mana, the spiritual force that Hawaiians find in all beings.
As the most ethnically diverse state in the Union, Hawai`i is also become the adopted home to nearly every other spiritual tradition on earth: Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Judaism, Islam. But we all look toward our host culture, the Hawaiians, for spiritual guidance.