Posts Tagged ‘kanaloa’

* Kanaloa was regarded as a facet, if you will, of the god Kane, the creator. Because the ancients often believed that akua (gods) could assume many different physical forms, with some incarnations often being polar opposites, it was only natural that the gods themselves would possess this duality within themselves.
Over time, as Hawaiians began to move away from polytheism (this of course was promoted by the missionaries as they attempted to convert the pagans to christianity), the distinction between the two facets of Kane were made more pronounced as the idea (of the missionaries) was to create an analogy between what was considered ‘good’ and what was considered ‘evil’, that was simple enough for the savages to comprehend.
Thus Kanaloa became known as the god of the underworld, as well as the god of the squids (apparently squids were considered bad juju back in the day).
The story of how Kanaloa became regarded as ‘evil’ had to do with the instance when one day Kane and Kanaloa sat down (still the same god, remember) and each fashioning an effigy of man. Kane’s immediately sprang to life while Kanaloa’s remained rock. Since we all know that sex, drugs and rock are all evils, it makes complete sense. And then we have the missionaries to thank for the most boring position! Yay progress!

I started this tattoo last month and it needs another hour or so before it is finished but I decided to post it anyway.

This client has been in before and is furthering his collection of Ana’ole Poly by adding a full sleeve. He is an avid waterman–paddles canoe and is a freediver as well– so he chose to go with an ocean-minded theme that reflected his love of the sea. I added other symbols that complemented his initial idea and this is what resulted.

Before I get into the explanations I want to say that one day I will learn to take a proper picture. I don’t know why I have no trouble shooting back up for Anna when she needs a second shooter at say, a wedding, but when it comes to shooting my own work, I screw the pooch. Oh well, I will get better!

Looking at the first picture, beginning from the left and moving to the right, you will first see the inside of his arm as if he were facing you head on with his palm turned toward you. Each consecutive picture moves around his arm with the last picture being the rear shot of his arm.

Starting from his wrist (and the image furthest to the left), the symbols progress as such:

There is a column of lightning that wraps around his wrist followed by a vine of maile with 4 leaves inset with momi (pearls) reflecting a FS. Inset into these two vines are the tips of the maile vines themselves.
From the side view (pic 3 from left) there are rain drops which segue into the lighting from that angle.
On the underside of his forearm (pics 4,5) are six wind-blown waves. Together all of these symbols create the rain on the ocean accompanied by lightning, suggesting power and perpetual change as well as joy, good fortune and growth. Rain is one of those symbols with balanced meanings with both positive and negative connotations.

Just below the inside elbow joint or ditch, are a trio of all seeing eyes which are surrounded by an unfurling palm frond (signifying growth) themselves crowned by five hawk feathers (hulu i’o) the combined ornament of all three symbols also carry the FS.
These compound symbols represent insight, protection from adversaries, nobility and growth.

Underneath these symbols are a row of shark teeth (niho mano) containing FS.

(Note: FS= Fibonacci Sequence, refer to past Ana’ole posts on this blog)

On the outside of his arm in the same general space (in the same pauku as the rain) are three waves (nalu) accompanied by two mini blade shaped paka which contain a total of three stars which symbolize strength, inspiration and hope. Below this pauku is the image of Pele (which I need to still finish).

Moving upward into the inside elbow crease is a symbol called Pohaku wa wahi wa’a, which was a stone hammer used to smash the hulls of enemy canoes. Ancient Hawaiian’s would sneak up on an enemy encampment in the dark of the night and smash their canoe hulls with this tool, and then slip away into the darkness. Since this person paddles canoe then I thought this image appropriate. Set into the blade of his axe-like weapon are a row on shark teeth (niho mano), three waves (nalu), and a spiral of ocean water.

Above this symbol lies another row of shark teeth reflecting a FS.

On his bicep is the god of the sea Kanaloa. He is adorned with water, waves and a small he’e (octopus) that pokes out from the bottom of his jaw.

The final symbol is located on his tricep and is an unfurling fiddle head fern set under the image of the sun. In the sun’s rays are FS as well. This part of the tattoo still needs a little work and is the part that I need to finish.

Total time:


Equipment used:

Dragonfly, Rotary Works (machines)


One (ink)


Got around to doing more work on my hand, this time with my new machine. Added and All Seeing Eye (maka nui) to complement my Kanaloa, God of the Sea. I will eventually do my entire hand, especially now that I have a machine that doesn’t hurt!
I did this all with a single needle (1RL).