A Polynesian Legend
In many ancient cultures, mythology is shamelessly honest and usually very open concerning the primary facts of life: birth, sexuality, gender-issues, life's struggles and death.
Today, programmed as most of us are by Judeo-Christian forms of religion and the many taboos that come as part and parcel of these systems, we can hardly imagine anymore that sexuality can be sacred and/or that sacred traditions can contain elements we now regard as more or less porn-o-graphic.
Faced with myths in which Gods and Goddesses are involved in adultery, bisexuality, incest and orgies, most people simply assume that the presence of such tales or legends in a religious tradition is an indication of lower development; of less civilization. The opposite is usually true. Rather, it is our present civilization that is neither mature nor wise:
In more mature cultures, for example in the Polynesia of old, all these things have their rightful place in myths and religion - just as naturally as they do in real life. Yet of course, since myths deal with deities and other supernatural forces rather than with humans, such legends are often rather surreal - equally removed from real life as, for example, the Christian tale concerning Mary's immaculate conception or the Buddhist tale according to which the great teacher was fathered on his mother by a white elephant.
The legend concerning The Flying Yoni of the Goddess Kapo is a good example of such 'surrealism' combined with facts of life. The protagonists are two beautiful goddesses - Pele and her sister Kapo - and a male sexual predator. Like the Greek god Zeus (a multiple rapist), the Polynesian god Kamapua'a is the embodiment of the immature male who lacks respect for women and - simultaneously - is a silly victim to his hormones.
The story is very simple. Pele, the hot and fiery Goddess of Volcanoes, was roaming the countryside of Hawai'i (also known as the Big Island in the Hawaiian chain of 8) when she noticed that the demi-god Kamapua'a was stalking her, coming ever closer. It is particularly interesting to note here that in Polynesian (Hawaiian) myth, Kamapua'a is visualized as half man, half hog (male pig) - making him not only a 'fertility god' but also a true ancestor of the 'male chauvinist pig', a term the feminist movement thought to have invented in the 20th century.
Pele, a free woman and not chicken when it came to sexuality (she's a passionate exhibitionist and seductress), simply didn't fancy this particular guy and his advances - so when he approached as his horny self she turned him down. The immature pig-man, slave to his lust and not used to opposition, then tried to force himself on the gorgeous woman he regarded as his prey. After all, she was all alone.
What he did not know - considering he was a pig-like demigod only - was that Pele's distress was picked up - telepathically - by her sister Kapo, a potent Goddess of Sorcery with shape-shifting abilities and magical empathy. Kapo recognized the unadulterated lust of the pig-man and knew that he would assault her sister within minutes and without thought - and she perceived of only one way to distract him. Kapo lifted her Hula-skirt with one hand, and grabbed her crotch with the other - detaching her kohe (Ton., yoni) from the base of her thighs and hurdling this sweet scented part of her body in the direction of Kamapua'a and Pele. Her aim was perfect, and with a wet swoosh sound her Kohe lele (Ton., flying yoni) passed by the nose and eyes of a surprised Kamapua'a. However, so great was the sorceress' strength that the flying yoni kept going onwards, making the hog-man race away from Pele in order to follow this winged clitoris until both of them reached the south-eastern point of O'ahu - 5 islands and about 200 km away (see map 1). On arrival, the impact of Kapo's yoni left a clear mark in the rocks, and the pursuing demigod flung himself down on this illusion - landing between a rock and a hard place while the true object of his desire safely flew back to her rightful place between the lovely thighs of Kapo.
Although this is the basic story one encounters here and there in the relevant literature, there are two or three varieties concerning some details and its interpretation.
In some renderings, it is said that the flying yoni (kohe lele) landed west of the Hanauma Bay on the hill known as Koko Head, thus creating the cave now known as The Cave of Kapo-kohe-lele. Other accounts, however, tell us that Kapo's yoni is actually responsible for the creation of the nearby Koko Crater - east of the bay (see map and photograph). This is also very credible considering that the Hawaiian name for this crater is Kohe-lepe-lepe (Ton., inner inner yoni), a term that refers to the inner labia - not surprising when we consider the looks of the crater's outer rim.
Ascending to a height of 400 meters, these walls of rock and lava have multiple valleys, ranging from 3 to 5 meters deep, which have been created by the flow of water during the 7000 years since the volcanoe's last eruption. Truly, comparing a photograph of the crater rim (see photograph) with a close up of labiae - the resemblance is astounding and tells us - once more (see notes) - that Polynesian culture was fascinated by sexuality and the human genitals.
Now, for another and more strange variety of this myth we must turn to the book Hawaiian Mythology by Martha
Warren Beckwith (University of Hawaii Press, 1977). Although this book is generally regarded as the classic work
concerning Hawaiian myths, the author seems to interpret Kapo's flinging away of her yoni as a sign - truly Freudian -
that the goddess
does not like this part of her body (page 186).
I don't get it!
What we now call Polynesia includes Fiji, Hawaii, Kiribati, the Marquesas and Society Islands, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga and parts of New Zealand. The heart from where this culture - and language - once spread, however, is comprised of the islands of Samoa and Tonga, and the language/dialect of this heartland knows more words for the (female) genitals than any other language on this planet.
In addition, the mother of Pele, Kapo and their other 5 sisters (by the sun-god Kane Milohai) is portrayed as a woman who gave birth to innumerable people and creatures. Every time this goddess, named Haumea, got too old to bear children, she simply turned herself into a young woman again and conceived more offspring by copulating with her sons and grandsons.