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Huna is a Hawaiian word adopted by Max Freedom Long (1890–1971) in 1936 to describe his theory of metaphysics which he linked to ancient Hawaiian kahuna (experts). It is part of the New Thought movement.



Long went to Hawaii in 1917 to work as a teacher, and became interested in the religious beliefs and practices of the kahunas, but was unable to penetrate to the inner workings of this religion. He left Hawaii in 1931, convinced that he would never learn these secrets. In 1934, he woke with a revelation that the secrets were encoded into the Hawaiian language itself. He called the religious system he developed from this revelation 'Huna' (the Hawaiian word for secret), and wrote his first book in 1936 to chronicle his discoveries. In 1945 he founded Huna Research. In 1953, he published The Secret Science at Work as a Huna textbook, and in 1965 The Huna Codes in Religions, examining parallels to Huna in religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity.[1]

Principles and beliefs

Huna emphasizes practical living and harmony with three levels of consciousness or selves.[1] Long claimed that a low, middle, and higher self were recognized by the kahunas.[2] These selves are the unihipili (subconscious, inner, emotional, intuitive), uhane (waking consciousness, rational) and aumakua (super-conscious, connection with the divine).[3] Huna changes the Hawaiian concept of mana, (privileged as a divine power in traditional Hawaiian belief), and views it as a vitalizing life force, which can, with knowledge of the three selves, be used to heal body and mind and achieve life goals.[1]

He believed he discovered an ancient Truth, not just about Hawaiian spirituality but linking back to mother India and ancient Egypt. He thought Hawaiians were one of the lost tribes of Israel. He wrote that spiritual adepts migrated to Hawai‘i from Egypt, passing on to the priests of India some of their basic beliefs.[4]

Long linked Huna to New Thought movements of the time. He wrote that the Christian Scientists understood positive thinking better than any group he knew,[5] and encouraged his readers to subscribe to Unity Church’s magazine, Daily Word.[6]

Serge King named the three selves "Ku," "Lono," and "Kane," and articulated seven principles of Huna:[7]

  1. IKE (ee-kay) - The world is what you think it is.
  2. KALA - There are no limits.
  3. MAKIA (mah-kee-ah) - Energy flows where attention goes.
  4. MANAWA (man-ah-wah) - Now is the moment of power.
  5. ALOHA - To love is to be happy with (someone or something).
  6. MANA - All power comes from within.
  7. PONO - Effectiveness is the measure of truth.

Rima Morrell has written that one who truly practices Huna, has the ability to influence consciousness. The consciousness is not restricted to human consciousness, but may include that of animals, rocks, everything in the world around us both seen and unseen, therefore can include gods and goddess (akua) and the spirits of the departed ('aumakua) who often appear in the form of animals.[8]


Relationship to traditional Hawaiian beliefs

Native Hawaiian scholar Charles Kenn, a Living Treasure of Hawai'i recognized in the Hawaiian community as a kahuna and expert in Hawaiian history and traditions,[9] was friendly with Max Freedom Long but said, “While this Huna study is an interesting study, … it is not, and never was Hawaiian.” [10]

Hawaiian author Pali Jae Lee, a research librarian at the Bishop Museum, conducted extensive research on Max Freedom Long and Huna. She concluded, based on her interviews with Hawaiian elders, "Huna is not Hawaiian." Lee cites Theodore Kelsey, a Living Treasure of Hawai'i renowned for his work as a Hawaiian translator who wrote a letter to Long in 1936 (now in the Hawai'i State Archives) criticizing his use of the terms "unihipili" and "aumakua."[10][11]

According to the standard Pukui and Elbert Hawaiian dictionary, 'unihipili are the spirits of deceased persons, 'uhane is a soul, spirit or ghost, and 'aumakua are family or personal gods, deified ancestors who might assume the shape of animals. Kū, Lono and Kāne are Hawaiian gods.[12]

In the Hawaiian language, the term kahuna is used for any expert. Kahuna include experts in diagnosing illness, herbal medicine, canoe building, temple building, wood carving, star-gazing, agriculture, and others.[13]


Huna Research Inc was founded by Long in 1945. It is distinct from the ancient kahuna religion of Hawaii and does not attempt to recreate its practices. On his death in 1971, he was succeeded as its head by Dr. E Otha Wingo (in accordance with a request by Long), and moved its headquarters to Missouri, where Wingo was a professor. It has fellowships in Canada, Australia, England, Germany and Switzerland, in addition to the United States.[1]

Huna International was formed as a religious order in 1973 by King, based upon Hawaiian traditions. It has three branches: Aloha International, Voices of the Earth and Finding Each Other International.[1] King also cites West African shamanism as an influence.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Lewis, James (2002). The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions. Buffalo: Prometheus Books. pp. 406–407. ISBN 1573928887. 
  2. ^ Melton, J. Gordon, ed (2001). "Huna". Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. 1 (5 ed.). Gale Research. p. 755. ISBN 0810394898. 
  3. ^ Long(1954) pp. 14-15
  4. ^ Long(1954) pp125-126
  5. ^ Long(1954) p364
  6. ^ Long(1954) p366
  7. ^ King, Serge Kahili (1990). Urban Shaman. Simon & Schuster. pp. 52–81. ISBN 0671683071. 
  8. ^ Morrell, Rima (2005). The Sacred Power of Huna: Spirituality and Shamanism in Hawaii. Inner Traditions. ISBN 1594770093. 
  9. ^ Stone, Scott S.C. (2000). Living Treasures of Hawaii 25th Anniversary of the Selections of Outstanding Persons as Honored by The Honpa Honwanji Mission of Hawai'i. Honolulu: Island Heritage. pp. 24. 
  10. ^ a b Lee, Pali Jae (1999). Ho`opono. Honolulu: Night Rainbow Publishing. pp. 56. ISBN 9628030-0-7. 
  11. ^ Lee, Pali Jae (2007). Ho`opono - Revised Edition: The Hawaiian Way to Put Things Back in Balance. Mountain View, HI: IM Publishing. pp. 89–93. ISBN 978-09677253-7-6. 
  12. ^ Pukui, Mary Kawena; Samuel H. Elbert (1986). Hawaiian Dictionary. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824807030. 
  13. ^ Kamakau, Samuel. The People of Old: Ka Po'e Kahiko, (Bishop Museum Press,1991) pp. 6-7
  14. ^ Serge King'S Biodata, Aloha International


  • Long, Max Freedom (2009) [1954]. The Secret Science Behind Miracles. Wildside Press. ISBN 1434404994. 

Further reading

  • Helwig, David (2001). Jacqueline Longe. ed. Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. 2 (2 ed.). Gale Group. pp. 1011–1012. ISBN 0787650013. 
  • King, Serge Kahili (1983). Kahuna Healing: Holistic Health and Healing Practices of Polynesia. Quest Books. ISBN 0835605728. 
  • King, Serge Kahili (1985). Mastering Your Hidden Self: A Guide to the Huna Way. Quest Books. ISBN 0835605914. 
  • King, Serge Kahili (2008). Huna: Ancient Hawaiian Secrets for Modern Living. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1582702012. 
  • Long, Max Freedom (2006) [1955]. Growing into the Light. DeVorss. ISBN 1425463525. 
  • Long, Max Freedom (1965). Huna Code in Religion. DeVorss. 
  • Long, Max Freedom (1975) [1945]. Introduction to Huna. Esoteric Publications. ISBN 0898610044. 
  • Melton, J. Gordon, ed (2001). "Huna". Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. 1 (5 ed.). Gale Research. pp. 934–935. ISBN 0810394898. 
  • Lynch, Frederick R. (Sep., 1979). ""Occult Establishment" or "Deviant Religion"? The Rise and Fall of a Modern Church of Magic.". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (Society for the Scientific Study of Religion) 18 (3): 281–298. 
  • Paltin, S. J. (1986). "Huna of Hawaii: a system of psychological theory and practice". Hawaii Medical Journal 45 (7): 213–4, 217–8. 
  • Wingo, E. Otha (1973). Huna Psychology. Huna Press. 


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