Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, a native Hawaiian Kahuna and gifted healer, developed a new system of healing based on the ancient spiritual tradition, Ho’oponopono. An indefatigable educator, Simeona was honored as a Living Treasure of Hawaii.
To appreciate what makes Morrnah extraordinary, it is necessary to understand that who she was and how she lived are as important as the achievements for which she is recognized.
Morrnah was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 19, 1913 into the respected family of Kimokeo and Lilia Simeona. Her mother was one of the few remaining Kahuna Lapa’au kahea (one who uses words and chants to heal) and as such, became a lady-in-waiting to Queen Lili’uokalani, the last monarch and only woman to reign in the Kingdom of Hawaii, near the end of the monarch’s life.
While there is no direct translation for “Kahuna,” literally “Ka” means light and “huna” means secret, as in sacred wisdom. In English, “Kahuna” is often translated as shaman, priest, expert, or pejoratively, magician. However, a Kahuna, having the power of a shaman, the focused training of an expert, and the mystical links of a priest, is a spiritual leader and reverent caretaker of her or his community, merging the inner and outer worlds into blended harmony.
Morrnah was surrounded by this ancient oral healing tradition from the beginning. She grew up in a multidimensional world where inner and outer realities were fluid, where energy currents informed her understanding, and where, in counterpoint, the outer world was teaming with the pressures of westernized culture.
At age three, she was recognized to carry on this living tradition. Since the training was oral, handed down from teacher to student, there were not books to read, no notes to take. Morrnah learned by listening, repeating, and remembering. According to Martyn Kahekili Carruthers, “A student was expected to have a natural aptitude, a good memory, and to learn quickly. They were thoroughly tested. Instructions were given twice, with a maximum of three repetitions….Little time was wasted on the incompetent or slow.”
In addition to her Kahuna training, Morrnah went to Catholic school where the way of Christ deeply influenced her spiritually. Eventually she went on to study the metaphysical traditions of India and China, and later the works of Edgar Cayce.
In the native Hawaiian community, a Kahuna served all equally and with respect. To a certain extent, the Kahuna was involved in every aspect of community life, healing mental, emotional, and physical illnesses as well as resolving broader disagreements. By mediating between the spiritual realms and the community, a Kahuna maintained a necessary balance of harmony. Healing took place in different ways, at different levels. According to Carruthers, “A Kahuna could often recognize and dissolve potential problems before they occurred. If a disease did not respond to la’au lapa’au (herbal remedies), lomilomi (massage) or la’au kahea (healing chants), then that disease was considered to represent an imbalance in the community. Ho’oponopono (family healing) might be required.”
Morrnah lived the way of her ancestors as a valued member of her community, quietly practicing her gifts of healing for over half her life.
Morrnah was also a master LomiiLomi Lapa’au, that is, a master of Hawaiian healing massage. LomiLomi has been called “the connection of the heart, hand, and soul with the source of all life” by Leina’ala K. Brown-Dombrigues. Morrnah studied anatomy as well as the laying on of hands. She gained the ability to sense the presence of healing energies which she then used in the massage treatments.
As a LomiLomi Lapa’au, Morrnah owned and operated health spas at the Kahala Hilton hotel and the Royal Hawaiian hotel at Waikiki Beach for ten years. In 1971, when Morrnah was 58 years old, Eugene Gauggel described his first meeting with her. “She sat at her reception desk, which had a wooden sculpture of a hand, life-size though abstractly carved. When I sat in front of this hand’s energy projection from the open palm, I could feel some energy coming my way from it. Everything about the place was of a healing nature. The atmosphere there was timeless and the sense of space was expansive and unlimited. She was a gentle soul who spoke little but felt a lot. She inspired relaxation, trust, and a sense of deep peace…she didn’t try to explain things. One could just feel something special in her presence. My impression is that she was sending healing energy through her silence and intent. She was very loving and soft-spoken.”
The health spas became the way in which the larger world would discover one of Hawaii’s national treasures. Clients included Lyndon B. Johnson, Jackie Kennedy, and Arnold Palmer. In treating these clients, Morrnah observed the effects of western culture, which she found out of balance with spirit and Source.
She said that “Western people have great difficulty in putting the intellect behind. It is difficult for the Western mind to get a grasp of a Higher Being because in traditional Western churches, the Higher Beings are not made evident.”
She continued, “Western man has gone to the extremes with his intellectualism, it divides and keeps people separate. Man then becomes a destroyer because he manages and copes, rather than letting the perpetuating force of the Divinity flow through him for right action.”
She recognized the depth of dis-ease and pain from which western civilization needed healing and knew that Ho’oponopono could help. Ho’oponopono means to make right or to rectify an error. The traditional format required the entire family to attend the healing. With a moderator present, each family member had a chance to ask for forgiveness from the others.
Morrnah thought this form of resolution-forgiveness healing could help the people she met when they visited her spas, but she also knew that western communities and families were fragmented, making a formal gathering difficult.
In 1976, when Morrnah was 63, she began to develop a new form of Ho’oponopono, modifying the original process.
Her system is simple and can be used successfully by anyone. The healing process includes one’s soul and the Divine. Morrnah has said, “We can appeal to Divinity who knows our personal blueprint, for healing of all thoughts and memories that are holding us back at this time,” she continued. “It is a matter of going beyond traditional means of accessing knowledge about ourselves.
We are the sum total of our experiences, which is to say that we are burdened by our pasts. When we experience stress or fear in our lives, if we would look carefully, we would find that the cause is actually a memory. It is the emotions which are tied to these memories which affect us now. The subconscious associates an action or person in the present with something that happened in the past. When this occurs, emotions are activated and stress is produced. Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona
The process of Ho’oponopono involves four phrases which can be repeated in any order:
Please forgive me
I love you
By saying these words over and over, a person is said to connect her/his own inner light with the light of Source. Over time, patterns in the subconscious dissolve, and by forgiving the parts within that hold those patterns, the person’s outer world regains balance and harmony.
“Clean, erase, erase and find your own Shangri-La. Where? Within yourself. The process is essentially about freedom, complete freedom from the past,” Morrnah said.
In August, 1980 at the age of 67, Morrnah introduced this Ho’oponopono healing process at the Huna World Convention in Ponolu’u, Hawaii. She spent the next decade teaching Ho’oponopono throughout the United States, Asia and Europe. She also taught the Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono course at the University of Hawaii, Johns Hopkins University, and various medical facilities.
She created several foundations designed to spread the Ho’oponopono teachings, Pacifica Seminars in the 1970s, The Foundation of ‘I’ Inc. in 1980, and the German branch of Pacifica Seminars in 1990. She authored three textbooks, “Self-Identity through Ho’oponopono, Basic 1,” “Basic 2” (to be used after two years of practice), and “Basic 3” (to be used after five years). In 1990, the 8th edition of “Basic 1” was translated and printed in German and French.
At the age of 70, Morrnah was officially recognized a Kahuna Lapa’au and was named a Living Treasure of Hawaii in 1983. The same year she was invited to present Ho’oponopono to the United Nations in New York City, and the World Health Organization.
In the late fall of 1990, Morrnah embarked on her last tour of lectures and seminars, traveling throughout Europe and Jerusalem. In January, 1991 she returned to Germany where she lived quietly at a friend’s home in Kirchheim, near Munich, until she passed away on February 11, 1992, at age 79.
Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, Kahuna and healer, spent her life helping others to restore the light within and attain peace with themselves, their families, and their communities. Said to be a simple, pure-hearted woman, Morrnah was cheerful and kind, with a compassionate care and respect for life. Though she spoke English perfectly, she talked little and spoke much through her healing presence. She, as much as her system of Ho’oponopono, is her extraordinary gift to the world.
My Peace “I” give to you, My Peace “I” leave with you,
Ha’awi aku wau I ku’u Maluhia ia oe, waiho aku wau I ku’u Maluhia me oe,
Not the world’s Peace, but, only My Peace, The Peace of “I”.
A’ole ka Maluhia o ke ao aka, ka’u Maluhia wale no, Ka Maluhia o ka “I”.
Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona
Note from Keri: It can be very difficult to find Morrnah’s books in print! Since I’ve had a few people ask about this, I’ve added these recommendations of books on Ho’oponopono by other authors that have good reviews on Amazon:
Featured image of Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona courtesy JoAnn Kailikea from Zero-Wise.com.
Sita Khalsa is a guest contributor for Amazing Women In History.