My First Kava Experience

Posted by on Jan 9, 2013 in The Mind of Makaira | 4 comments

My First Kava ExperienceAloha everyone!

Happy New Year! I hope that you enjoyed peaceful holidays, and a gentle transition into the New Year. I came down with a cold last week, so I’ve been enjoying a few peaceful, restful days at home, bundled up in my slippers and sweater and drinking lots of tea (and ‘awa!).

Many of my friends have mentioned that they feel that this will be a year of truth-telling and personal self expression, in which we can all come forth and discuss our experiences in order to benefit ourselves and others. In honor of this new year of honesty, I’d like to share the story of my very first ‘awa ceremony, and tell you about how it changed my life.

Now, I grew up in a family where ‘awa was very important. My parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles would gather together regularly to drink ‘awa, both ceremonially and socially. I was sometimes brought along to these ceremonies, and when the bowl was passed to my mother, she would usually give me a tiny sip, to get me used to the taste and the energy of the plant more than anything else. The sip was so small that I never noticed any effect. I would, however, notice a feeling of deep peace and calm during the ceremonies, and often fell into dreamless, restful sleep curled up next to my mother, calmed by the singing of traditional songs and the sacred energies generated by my clan’s communion with the earth through this sacred plant.

As I began to grow up, I started to find the ceremonies a little boring. I was entering that typical teenage rebellion stage, and wanting less and less to do with my family, our native culture and traditions, and our medicines. I was intrigued by American movies and advertising, and starting thinking about going to a big University to study Law or Medicine or something similar, so that I could grow up to be like one of the sexy doctors or lawyers on those television shows. Like most early teen girls, I was gullible, impressionable, and fairly ego driven. I thank all that is sacred that I never went down that path.

It was ‘awa that turned me towards the path I now follow. When I was 17, I was invited to a ‘awa ceremony, this time as an adult woman. I understand that this probably would have happened earlier in the pre-colonial times, probably in tune with the commencement of my moon time, but my parents wanted to ensure that I didn’t make any of the Western teachers or students at my school nervous by talking about the ceremonial consumption of a mind-altering plant. Now, having a child of my own, I definitely appreciate why they made this choice.

For the first time, in that ceremony, I felt like an adult. I was no longer a confused child – I was asked to assist in preparing the beverage, in serving it, and was able to drink my own bowl of ‘awa and sing the traditional songs I remembered so long ago as part of my community – a fully functioning adult with the responsibility to treasure and carry down the tradition of our medicines and their uses. I had a sense of identity – knew who I was and what my purpose on this planet was. No longer did I want to run away to live in a big city and collect fancy shoes and handbags. I wanted to help my community, help the planet, and grow our medicine.

As I continued to drink kava, I learned to appreciate how grounding, calming, and relaxing it was, how wonderfully it facilitated communication in our little family, how it assisted us in making good decisions as a group, and how it helped us to heal old and new wounds and tensions before they caused damage and pain. By the age of 20, I knew that I wanted to bring this medicine to the world, to offer this healing sacrament to people all over the planet so that they too could experience this personal and interpersonal healing, and so that they too could learn to reconnect with out mother earth. I felt, and still feel, that by sharing our sacred medicine with people all over the world, we would be able to strengthen our own culture, and to create a movement of planetary healing for the benefit of all beings on this earth.

Having a ritual, and a plant teacher to initiate me into adulthood meant that my adolescence was not just a time of rebellion and confusion about my identity – it was a time when I came to understand who I really was in the context of things. I believe strongly that these rituals are essential to raising healthy, integrated adults, and I hope that those people who do not have such rituals in their family will create them once more, as some of our customers have shared that they have done with kava!

‘Awa is the reason I am able to work tirelessly, both to grow this medicine and to bring it to people in as many parts of the world as I can! I am honored to be able to do this work for all of us, and I hope that you find it of benefit.

Aloha no,


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  1. Aloha Sue!

    Thank you for your kind comment. 🙂 I believe that all people have ritual in their blood. For those in the West, it may be a matter of recreating and revitalizing that culture. Other customers have told us about creating new family rituals using plant medicines such as kava. Perhaps you can do something similar in your social circles!

    Aloha no,

  2. What a wonderful testamoney! I was touched by it, and at the same time bummed out, ’cause I am middle aged, and unfortunately saw what very little of that communal bond we had in our culture pretty much totally vanish altogether. So sad. Don’t let it happen to y’all! Please keep up your good work, and maybe my culture will learn and return to that someday!

  3. Aloha Vajko,

    Thank you for your comment! I was surprised, but I got a little emotional when writing this. 🙂 I’m glad that you enjoyed reading!


  4. Thank you very much for sharing this, really shows how the importance of ceremony can not be understated. The writing is super beautiful and can feel peace overflowing from your words. Namaste

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