The kukui nut comes from the kukui nut tree (aleurites moluccanus) sometimes referred to as candlenut and found in the tropics including Hawaii. The nut is round approximately 5 cm in diameter and the seed shell has a white, oily, fleshy kernel.
In ancient Hawaii the silvery glow of the Kukui Nut Tree represented light, hope, and renewal.
It was believed that a Kukui Nut Tree planted in front of the house revealed the owners spirit.
Because of its beauty and many uses the Kukui, also known as the Candlenut tree, became the state tree of Hawaii.
Kukui was believed to be one of the kino laus or physical manifestations of Lono, the Hawaiian god of agriculture and fertility. Lono appeared when abundance was ready to be harvested.
In old Hawaii Kukui nut leis were worn by the Ali’I (royalty) to honor the life-giving force of Lono and to show their social status. For them it was like wearing a lei of light providing hope, healing and protection. Hawaiians also used their Kukui seed leis as prayer beads, over time increasing their beauty by filling them with their Mana (spiritual energy).
Practical uses of the kukui nut
The kukui nut had many uses:
Because of its high oil content, the meat of the kukui nut was used for lamps and torches. Hawaiians also extracted the oil from the nut and burned it in a stone oil lamp called a kukui hele po (light, darkness goes) with a wick made of kapa cloth.
The oil in the kukui is used in Hawaiian healing or La’au Lapa’au as a purgative or laxative to cleanse and as a hair stimulant.
The kukui kernels and leaves were boiled to make a tonic used as a remedy for:headaches; fevers; and ulcers.
The oil is used for lomi lomi massage and for the skin.
The nut is also roasted and mixed with certain foods and eaten. It is called ‘inamona’. It tastes similar to macadamia nuts when prepared correctly.
The meat of the nut was chewed by inshore fishermen and spit onto the water to create a window for locating octopi and fish. This enabled the fishermen to have “clear seeing”, and to create a portal to look beyond the reflections on the surface of the water.
The kukui nut carries a range ofrich symbolism and kaona or hidden meanings:
The kukui nut was a symbol of light. It reminded the ancients of the light around the body, or the aura.
In the Hawaiian language, the word kukui means ‘enlightened’. The kukui nut tree is a symbol of enlightenment, wisdom, protection and peace for the Hawaiians and said to contain subtle energy known in Hawaii as “ki”. The shell of the nut was polished and worn as a lei by nobles and royalty as a symbol of being enlightened.
One of the first properties of this tree is that it directly connects the heavens to the earth. Trees in all indigenous traditions are alchemists. The kukui nut tree converts the Love light or the ethereal (aka) substances into solid substances like wood, sugars, and fruits of the tree. The upper branches of the tree relate to sunshine kahi, the roots relate to root kahi, and the trunk related to stone kahi. This process of alchemy, conversion of substances, is the basis of life on this earth plane.
Kukui Nut Lei
Kukui nuts were used for light, navigation, medicinal, spiritual and many other purposes. Kukui nut oil provided light for the first Hawaiian torches. The oil was and still is used for massages, moisturizing the skin, and many other healing benefits. Early Hawaiians used Kukui nut candles were to keep track of time.
Kukui symbolizes inner light, hope and renewal, spirit revealing itself. The spiritual significance of the Kukui Nut Tree inspired the creation of Kukui, a Hawaiian Menehune Angel.
Other uses of the kukui nut
The Kukui with its living energies became a powerful healing tool because of its association with the love light. The kukui is a transmitter and receiver that aligns to the la’a kea (lovelight) energy level, the auric field and all resonating factors. It is a powerful amplifier for sending love and light.