Lost In Metaphors
by Graeme Kapono Urlich
Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine are terms that get talked about a lot in spiritual circles these
days and a question came up about examples of “healed” divine masculine. This is a very tricky
question to answer because no one seems to agree on what these terms mean. “Inner Child” and “Ego” are
also terms that no one can really clearly define so how can we base any level of growth or healing on
them? Would something that is divine need healing?
The “third eye” is a metaphor for our “non-physical” sight, our ability to see into other realities
or view things at a distance. It is simply our “mind’s eye”, our imagination. Quite a long time ago it
became associated with the pineal gland which is basically in the centre of the brain and some think
that's important. This has given rise to the idea that calcification of the gland blocks psychic
ability. Tension from any source will do this and a focus on a particular cause, possibly unrelated,
may distract us from the real solution.
People get up tight about corporations causing harm to the environment or blame their material lack on
corporate greed. A corporation isn’t a real thing, it’s an umbrella term to give a name to a loose
group of individuals, most of whom are just there to do their job and earn a living. The janitors and
accountants are unlikely to know the full motivations of the board nor the activities and
their effects, which may cover many fields.
People try to fight corporations but this is really impossible. To have any real influence at a
physical, outer world level we would need to identify the individuals within the corporation who would
have enough influence to change the way the corporation operates and then find a way to persuade them
to do that.
Metaphors like Divine Feminine, Divine Masculine and Inner Child similarly are umbrella terms for what
are essentially behaviours. The first two tend to be mistakenly associated with gender, especially in
English. The Hawaiian word for male is kane while the word for energy in an active projective
state is hu. The Hawaiian the word for the female gender typically is wahine and the
word for energy in a passive receptive state is na. In Korean Yin and Yang
are translated as female and male energy but the words for gender are again different. These are
yeoseong and namseong according to Google.
This blending of concepts through a limitation of language results in confusion. Often vague terms
like toxic masculinity appear and negative judgements formed so the terms become pejorative and are
used to attack others. I have met men and women who are so scared of the opposite gender that they
attempt to feel superior by putting others down for no other reason than their gender, blaming all
their woes on them.
In Kalakupua tradition, this is often shortened to Kupua in reference to the
practitioner, we bring everything back to behaviour and simplify the concepts we use. A great many
unrealistic ideals, rules and expectations about how people “should” behave have formed over the years
and these cause many problems in inter-personal relationships. This extends to politics, economics,
environmental issues and medicine etc. and this is causing a great deal of harm.
To borrow an analogy from my good friend and colleague, Dr Serge Kahili King, in school when we learn
about electricity for example, we may be told it is like water flowing through a hose with voltage
being described as being like pressure, as a general metaphor. This gives us a basic concept to base
other learning on.
If we are interested enough we might look deeper into it and find that it’s not really like that and
we adopt a different metaphor. Later on, when we have more background information about it, we learn a
deeper and wider level of knowledge about it that leads to more useful learning that gives us a
practical ability to apply to the use of electricity, designing circuits, building equipment and so
on. This is not possible using the original metaphor which most people don’t look beyond. It’s enough
for them that the light goes on when they flick the switch and it’s just not important to them but
with this level of understanding, it might not be wise to try and rewire the switch.
Metaphors like ego, divine feminine and divine masculine are useful to the degree that they can help
us organise our thoughts and expectations in a way that will lead us to developing practical
understanding and behaviours that actually improve our effectiveness in the world. A good many healing
systems are built on ones like the chakras, which is a cultural belief system from India that has been
adopted by other cultures, greatly expanded on and changed over the years, resulting in many versions
of the original idea.
All too often though, when people start to see metaphors as objective realities and begin to judge
others who don’t conform to that world view, they cause increasing frustration and destructive
attitudes that detract from all of our relationships in the world. It’s important to check in on how
these ideas are really working in our lives and to find better ones if they really aren’t working for
Trying to generalise behaviours that “everyone” should live by in our thinking is going to create such
a high degree of tension, because we will encounter so many people that just don’t think that way,
that we are likely to get into a state where we are criticizing, fighting against and trying to change
people we think are in the wrong.
As I scroll through various groups on the internet I encounter a great many memes with metaphors held
up as universal laws. A recent one said that the “moon” ruled the “emotional body” without any
explanation of what they meant by the “emotional body” nor how the moon actually ruled it, what the
real world effects might be. How would they use that information to improve their lives? It seems to
me to be relinquishing personal sovereignty to an outside power.
There really aren’t any “universal laws” and at some point, if we want to improve
our lives here and now, we have to bring some of our focus back to here and now and start to change
things bit by bit in our day-to-day lives rather than to try to live up to unrealistic ideals and be
Metaphors through the Seven Principles of Huna:
Ike. The world is what you think it is. If we hold a metaphor to be
immutable fact it will significantly affect our world view in limiting ways.
Kala. There are no limits. We have the freedom to change what we think
and reinterpret experience at any time. It is useful to do that in ways that open up more options
to move forwards in life.
Makia. Energy flows where attention goes. Getting stuck on metaphors can
focus our attention into very unproductive aspects of life. Shifting the focus can open up new
avenues of understanding.
Manawa. Now is the moment of power. Now is the time to re-evaluate rules
we have based on metaphors.
Aloha. To love is to be happy with. Redefining the metaphors we use to
allow for more loving and cooperative relationships will improve life greatly.
Mana. All power comes from within. Here it’s useful to recognise that
others will live their lives based on their rules and it is useful to give them permission to do
that and choose our own way forwards.
Pono. Effectiveness is the measure of truth. If the metaphors we are used
to using really aren’t working for us then we can change them for better ones that give us more
influence over the things we allow ourselves to do, have and be in life.
Graeme Kapono Urlich (July 2022)
Aloha New Zealand - School of Huna and Hawaiian Shamanism