The Valley of Kings

Those who know me know that I’m not all that religious but I’m more spiritual in nature.  I agree that there must be something more but I don’t believe in man-made religions.  I find them to be exclusive and prone to hatred and bias.  I was raised a Catholic, have been a member of the United Methodist, Episcopal, and various Christian churches in my lifetime, and have spent time studying most religions.  If you are part of one, good for you.  As long as your church is inclusive and not hate-mongering, I support you.  If not, than you will find my writings too liberal for you.  The reason for this explanation is that I have just has a spiritual encounter with one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  The Valley of Kings in Kauai on the Hamakua Coast.

Tim and I are on vacation.  It has been a good vacation so far (despite a trip to Emergency — me) and will be for another couple of weeks.  I have always wanted to ride in a helicopter.  When I was in my 20’s (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) and working for LAPD, I was set to go on a ride-along in their air unit.  Very excited.  Then they found out I was pregnant and pulled the plug. I don’t blame them.  It was in insurance thing.  I get it.  But I was disappointed and throughout the rest of my life till now, being a single mom, a married mom with kids, a mom going through college, a mom with medical issues, etc. etc., it was never “the time” for my helicopter ride.  Until now.

Suffice to say I liked it.  No, I loved it.  Flying through the air seeming on the back of a dragonfly was exhiliarating.  Unlike my recent 4000 feet “Superman-style” zip-line where I almost broke my hands because I was clutching my vest for dear life, this was extroadinary.  Usually I am uneasy with air travel because of motion sickness — and I was doped up on Dramimine — but I had no issues here.  One time in a carnival ride with a see-through bottom my knees started to shake.  I was afraid that would happen here.  It didn’t, even though I was sitting next to a window that made me feel like I was flying with no walls at all.  In other words, no physical issues.

But what emotional issues!  It was almost an hour ride and I could go into detail about how lovely the ride was and how green and lush.  It was.  The high point for me, though, was the Valley of Kings.  To understand about the Valley of Kings you need to know a little about the Hawaiians sense of “mana.”  Mana is personal power of the ancient Hawaiians and many of the locals still believe in it.  Mana is a spiritual energy, personal power and strength.  It can be present in people and in things and it can be taken away by different things: standing in another’s shadow, being beaten in warfare, and having your bones stolen after death.  This last is important in the understanding of the Valley of Kings.  Often, when burying the ali’i, or royalty, the burial place is secret and not known to the general public.  Many times the burial places are in remote areas which are difficult to get to and, thus, almost impossible for grave robbing.  Even the islander who carried the bones had to die to ensure that the burial place remained secret.

The Valley of Kings is in a remote area of Kauai in the Na Pali coast and almost inaccessible.  The greens of the lush vegetation goes from a slight spring green to a glittering emerald green to a dark forest almost immediately.  The earth has weird almost triangular-looking outbursts of hilly regions and the area looks at once both forbidding and welcoming.  There is a small and remote beach but no one is on it.  No humans can be seen.  It is pristine. The whole area looks untouchable and remote but it tugs at your heart.  There is mana here from all the kings buried in this place.  There is earth-mana, too, so powerful and strong.  When we went by I had tears in my eyes because of the beauty and majesty of it.  I have no pictures of it.  It surpasses pictures and transcends time and space.  I could have stayed for several hours just staring at the spectacular landscape. I hope Tim took pictures but if he didn’t I will keep it in my heart and mind forever. I now have a new “happy place” that I can visit in my mind — the Valley of Kings.

After we landed, I told my husband that it was a good thing that I didn’t get to take that trip 30 years ago. I would have taken lessons, become a helicopter pilot, and probably, wouldn’t have even met him.  Or I would be taking him up to see the Valley of Kings!

Bye for now,


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Naomi Brett Rourke is the pen name for the author, teacher, and theatre director living near the beach with her husband Tim. Naomi Brett Rourke has three children, three step-children and nearly a baseball team of grandkids. Her menagerie includes dogs, cats and a tortoise. When not writing, she can be found with a book in her hand, very often reading two or three at a time, with murder mysteries and horror being her favorites.


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