Ulu

2. vi. Possessed by a god; inspired by a spirit, god, ideal, person, as for artistic creation; stirred, excited; to enter in and inspire. Also unu. Manaʻo ulu wale, a thought entered of its own accord, hence fancy, impulse, imagination.  hoʻo.ulu, ho.ʻūlu To stir up, inspire, excite, taunt. Pule hoʻoulu, prayer for inspiration. Oli hoʻoulu, taunting chant, as before combat. Ka hoʻoulu hakakā, stirring up fights. Hoʻoulu haunaele, stirring up a mob, agitator. (PPN huru.)

There are times when an event or person or place invokes such a life in me that I just want to scream and shout (and sometimes I do, much to the chagrin of my ‘ohana and friends). During these times I choose to take action immediately because I know that if I wait, that “spirit within” may diminish, as it often does. It is as if, during times of ulu, my naʻau (insides) has taken over but if I wait, then my mind will kick in…that logical component that disconnects me from that spiritual gut wrenching aspect. The Hawaiian word for this excitement, this spirit-filled inspiration is ulu. You may know ulu to also mean to grow or increase, as in hoʻoulu lāhui (to increase the nation, a motto of King Kalākaua who wanted more Hawaiians after disease took the lives of so many).

I like the idea that Hawaiians acknowledge this stirring up of excitement. It probably fueled them through many battles (think Nuʻuanu, ‘Īao Valley, Mokuʻōhai) and hopefully continues to fuel us through the various challenges we face today, namely protecting our sacred mauna — Mauna Kea, Haleakalā, freeing Pōhakuloa from the hands of the military, other land rights, health, incarceration, houselessness.

Sometimes we can feel so hopeless, so voiceless. We need to ulu, feel that excitement coming from a spirit, whether it be God, your ʻaumakua, your kupuna, your ʻāina. Whether it be watching our people suffering through the perils of poverty or seeing the good being done by even our young ones, use it to make this world a better place, not just for you but for kākou…all of us. You included.

ulu, e ulu kini o ke akua, ulu o Kāne me Kanaloa – (prayer) Enter and inspire, may myriads of spirits enter and inspire, including Kāne and Kanaloa.

Ua ulu aʻe ia ma muli o ka māhele lua o ke koʻikoʻi – This occurred because of the division of the responsibility.

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