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Last Updated: Saturday, September 14, 2002

Hawaiian Mythology
The Ancient Hawaiians had two major types of priests in their belief system.
 

Kahu a Kua

The first type of priest that the Ancient Hawaiians had is the Kahu a Kua.  Literally, this means "keeper of a god."  They were considered  to be a so-called living image of the god.  In other words, they were a living double of the god in flesh.  Kahu a Kua priests were assigned to feeding their god by making daily sacrifices in honor of and to their god.  Along with these daily sacrifices, these keeper priests were to maintain the temple and it's image.

Kahuna

The second type of priest that the Ancient Hawaiians had is the Kahuna.  The Kahuna is a little more complicated than the Kahu a Kua because there are numerous classes and categories of the Kahuna.  Despite this, the Kahuna can be grouped into three major categories.  First, the Kahuna Pule are the priests that officiate in the temples controlled by certain ali'i (nobles, kings, and royals).  In fact, Kahuna Pule are themselves considered to be ali'i; though be it a lower rank.  Since Kahuna Pule were controlled by ali'i of higher status, they were ordered to keep a constant  relationship with the godsthat they controlled.  In addition, the Kahuna Pule were in charge of the rites for the inauguration of new houses.

Second, the "Professional" Kahuna  were either specialists in such areas as astrology and meteorology or they were medical priests.  Here again it gets a little confusing because there are eight separate classes of medical priests:
 

Finally, the third type of  Kahuna are the Kaula Prophets.  These priests were extremely eccentric.  For the most part they lived away from the rest of society in very desert places and avoided most outside contacts with people.  Kaula prophets did this so they could communicate with the gods without the outside influences of the societal hierarchy.  Being free from all desires also helped  them in breaking free from society and allow them to speak freely to the gods they worshiped.
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