Robby Mist holding his late mother's wind gourd.
Hawaiian Burial Gourd "Wind Gourd"
I make wind gourds for the family of a loved one who is making the transition from body back to spirit. A wind gourd is the urn the ashes rest in. I ask the family if the deceased has an "aumakua" or a family god. A protector of the family could take more than one form but usually is a manifestation of an animal.
ʻAumākua could appear as:
- honu, (turtle)
- pueo, owl (as at Manoa, Oʻahu, Kau and Puna)
- manō, shark (all islands except Kauaʻi)
- ʻalalā, crow (island of Hawaiʻi)
- ʻio, hawk (on island of Hawaiʻi)
- ʻelepaio, monarch flycatcher (also the goddess of canoe makers)
- ʻiʻiwi, honeycreeper (whose feathers were used extensively in featherwork)
- ʻalae ʻula, moorhen (whose cry was considered a bad omen)
- heʻe, octopus
- puhi, eel
- ʻiole liʻiliʻi, mouse
- ʻiole, rat
- ʻīlio, dog
- moʻo, lizard, or dragon
- peʻelua/ʻenuhe/nuhe/ʻanuhe/poko, caterpillar
- pōhaku, rock
- leho, cowry
- ao, cloud
- mea kanu, plant
I design the gourd with the aumakua as pictured above. The back of the gourd gives the persons data along with a saying or a favorite flower or quote. Each is designed personally according to the family's wishes. This is a huge honor to me to design and make one of these sacred ipu. I also offer smaller replicas for each member who wants one, to store part of the ashes if so desired.