views updated May 17 2018



Huna is an esoteric Polynesian psychology that claims to use the powers of the mind to accomplish healing and spiritual development. Max Freedom Long, who rediscovered Huna in the 1920s, defined it as a system of religious psychiatry because it contains elements of religion, psychology, and psychic science.


Huna practitioners believe their teachings are ancient and sacred, although at least one writer has claimed they actually have modern origins. In the Hawaiian language, the word huna means "secret" or "that which is hidden," referring to a tradition of hiding these teachings. The word is also said to be taken from kahuna, a priest or teacher who was the "keeper of the secret." Huna has traditionally been passed on through oral communication and in chants rather than in writing.

Huna was outlawed in the nineteenth century by Christian missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands. Max Freedom Long, who founded the Huna Fellowship in 1945, spent years decoding the language of Huna knowledge. He published eight books on Huna between the 1920s and his death in 1971. Serge Kahili King, a non-Polynesian kahuna, founded One Order of Huna International in 1973.


Huna claims to offer the following benefits to its adherents:

  • becoming a complete person psychologically
  • solving personal problems, including financial or social issues
  • having a higher level of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy
  • handling the demands and stresses of daily life more effectively
  • acquiring the ability to heal oneself and others
  • learning how to accumulate mana (vital force) in order to attain personal goals
  • growing spiritually
  • changing one's future


The specific teachings and customs associated with Huna vary somewhat from island to island. All agree, however, on the concept of three spirits or minds in the human being. According to Huna, the complete being consists of a physical body inhabited by two of the three minds: the "low self" which is below the level of consciousness, and the "middle self" which is the conscious mind. The middle self is what others perceive as one's personality. The third spirit or mind, the High Self, is outside the body. Each person has a transparent shadow body that completely duplicates the physical body. This shadow body is called the aka. The aka is like a pattern or blueprint that connects the three selves. It has a sticky and stretchy quality that allows it to form connections between an individual and another person or object. When someone touches, looks at, or even thinks of something, a thread or cord from the aka attaches to it, forming an energy channel between the person and another person or object. Illness develops when there is a conflict between the conscious mind and the patterns of the aka.

The third mind or self, the High Self, is not God but a person's divine connection with God. Ideally all three selves or minds in a person should be in continual contact with one another. The low self is the communication link between the middle self and the High Self. It obtains information directly from the senses and is the seat of the emotions. It has a limited ability to reason and reacts to events only on the basis of previous programming even if this programming has been incorrect or negative. Blockages in the low self caused by fear, anger, or negative programming interrupt communication with the High Self. The function of the kahuna is to remove these blocks. Kahunas use a wide range of techniques including telepathy, rituals, massage, body stroking, herbs, dream work to clear the mind of limiting beliefs and fears, meditative movements known as kalana hula, and a variety of other self-development techniques to establish harmony among people, objects, locations, and circumstances. An example of the latter is Ho'oponopono, which refers to counseling and mediation to balance relationships.

The three minds or selves use a form of subtle energy called mana, which is stored in the aka. The low self takes energy from food and turns it into mana, or basic life energy. The kahunas, who serve as conduits for the healing qualities of mana, use breathing techniques to increase a person's mana. The basic breathing technique involves drawing a deep breath, holding it, and willing the mana into a body part that needs healing, into the hands, or into an object like a crystal or talisman. A person's mana is also increased by living correctly. Huna emphasizes the importance of living and speaking positively, and of doing no harm to others.

Practitioners of Huna also emphasize that their way of life is accessible to everyone and can be practiced by everyone; that is, it does not depend on having unusual psychic gifts or on joining a small group of "chosen" initiates. All humans have the basic capacity to practice and benefit from Huna.


As of 2000, Huna is considered an unproved therapy for major physical disorders and should not be used to the exclusion of proven medical treatments. Huna is said to promote general wellness, and should therefore be used only in conjunction with other healing methods in cases of potentially serious illness.

Side effects

There are no known physical side effects to Huna healing. The system's emphasis on speaking only positive things, being of service to others, and not hurting others might well have beneficial side effects in a person's life. In addition, the Huna Fellowship maintains that Huna does not require anyone to give up other religious affiliations or belief systems. This understanding minimizes the possibility of emotional stress caused by conflicting loyalties.

Research & general acceptance

The healing methods of Huna are unproved by medical research, although medical practitioners acknowledge that benefits may be achieved through a placebo effect .

Training & certification

Training consists of brief courses (usually less than one week) offered in Hawaii and elsewhere. The methods can also be self-taught, using books, videos, and other teaching materials that can be obtained from Huna Research. Huna healers and teachers can be found in many countries of the world.



Aloha International. P.O. Box 665. Kilauea, HI 96754. (808) 828-0302.

Huna Research, Inc. 1760 Anna Street. Cape Girardeau, MO 63701-4504. (573) 334-3478.

David Helwig


views updated May 29 2018


HUNA (Ḥuna ), a name very common among the amoraim, especially those of Babylon. (Palestinian amoraim of that name also came from Babylon; see *Huna b. Avin). In the Babylonian Talmud there are no less than 60, and it occurs among the heads of the academies of Sura and Pumbedita in the geonic period (see *Gaon). Apart from the outstanding amora (see below no. 2) of that name who is always referred to without his patronymic, the father's name is always given – with two or three possible exceptions. This name was also common in the family of the exilarchs from the end of the tannaitic to the end of the amoraic era, and several exilarchs were called Rav Huna or Mar Huna. The following (without patronymics) are worthy of note:

(1) Rav Huna Resh Galuta (end of second century), Babylonian exilarch at the close of the tannaitic era mentioned by Judah ha-Nasi, his contemporary (Gen. R. 33:3; TJ, Ket. 12:3, 35a). Huna died during Judah's lifetime and his remains were taken to Ereẓ Israel for burial (tj, Kil. 9:4, 32b, Gen. R. 33:3), probably to *Bet She'arim, where Judah dwelt. In subsequent generations it became customary for the remains of Jews who died in the Diaspora to be taken to Bet She'arim for burial. Rav Huna is, however, the first known talmudic sage to be buried in Ereẓ Israel.

(2) R. Huna (second half of the third century), one of the leaders of the second generation of Babylonian amoraim and a pillar of the Babylonian Talmud. Huna is mentioned hundreds of times in the Babylonian and frequently in the Jerusalem Talmud (also by the name Ḥuna). His great influence can be seen not only in the many halakhic and aggadic dicta transmitted in his name, but also from the many details given about his life and habits, as well as of his death and burial. According to the letter of Sherira Gaon, he died in 296 c.e. and the Talmud (mk 28a) testifies that he was an octogenarian. From one passage in the Talmud (Pes. 107a) it would appear that he was already known as a scholar in the time of Judah ha-Nasi. Huna belonged to the family of the exilarch (Letter of Sherira Gaon) and came from the town Drukeret near Sura (Ta'an. 21b). Nevertheless, in his youth he was extremely poor (Meg. 27b), worked with cattle (tj, Sanh. 1:1, 18b), and was a farm laborer, and when he was called to give evidence or act as a judge, he had to request that a substitute be provided for him for his work (Ket. 105a; et al.). Toward the end of his life, however, he became very wealthy and the aggadah tells of his great philanthropy (Ta'an. 20b).

Huna was the outstanding disciple of Rav (Shab. 128a; Beẓah 40a; bk 115a; et al.) and was largely instrumental in the decision that the halakhah follows Rav in matters of ritual law (Nid. 24b; et al.). He transmits traditions in Rav's name, and according to the Talmud statements given anonymously in the name of "the school of Rav" are to be attributed to Huna (Sanh. 17b and Tos. s.v.Ella Rav Hamnuna). Rav's great influence is also discernible in Huna's style and language. Nevertheless, he is also mentioned as "sitting at the feet" of Rav's contemporary, Samuel, and transmits statements in his name (Suk. 32b; Ar. 16b). After the deaths of Rav and Samuel, Huna was appointed head of the Sura Academy, over which he presided for more than 40 years, but apparently his bet midrash in his native Drukeret continued to function (Letter of Sherira). Many aggadot speak of the extent to which he disseminated Torah in eulogistic terms and give superlative descriptions of the vast numbers of his disciples (see, e.g., Ket. 106a). Almost all the amoraim of the generation after him transmit his teachings, and even his contemporaries, the pupils of Rav, regarded him as an authority, asking his advice and accepting his decision (Kid. 70a; Nid. 28a; et al.). He was similarly esteemed in Ereẓ Israel (tj, Hag. 1:8, 76c), and the religious leaders of Tiberias, Ammi and Assi, accepted his authority (Git. 59b). There are many references to his saintliness, the many fasts which he imposed upon himself (mk 25a) and the manner in which he dispensed his hospitality to the poor (Ta'an. 20b), etc. He and his colleague Ḥisda were called "the pious ones of Babylon" (Ta'an. 23b). It is stated that when he died the sages wished to place a Sefer Torah on his bier but refrained from doing so when Ḥisda informed them that Huna did not approve of such action. In his eulogy, Abba said: "Our teacher merited that the Divine presence (Shekhinah) rest upon him; that it did not was the fault of Babylon" (mk 25a). After this, the Talmud goes on to state that Rav Huna's remains – like the remains of Rav Huna the exilarch – were taken to Ereẓ Israel for burial, and Ammi and Assi, the heads of the school of Tiberias, went to meet the bier; he was buried in the cave of *Ḥiyya (mk 25a; tj, Kil. 9:4, 32b). However, it seems that this tradition in the Bavli has no historical basis, but rather is a reworking of the earlier tradition concerning Rav Huna the exilarch, which was appended to the original Babylonian tradition concerning the death of our Rav Huna by later editors (Friedman). Of Huna's sons, the amora Rabbah b. Huna is known (Meg. 27b).


Bacher, Pal Amor; Bacher, Bab Amor, 52ff.; Hyman, Toledot, 336ff; S. Friedman, in: Saul Lieberman Memorial Volume (Hebrew) (1993), 146–163.

[Shmuel Safrai]


views updated May 14 2018


The secret knowledge of Hawaiian-priest sorcerers known as kahunas, or keepers of the secret. This knowledge includes healing, weather control, and mastery of fire walking on redhot lava.

An important aspect of Huna miracles is the concept of mana, a vitalistic force with close parallels to the Odic force of Baron von Reichenbach, the animal magnetism of nineteenth-century Europe, and the orgone energy of Wilhelm Reich, as well as the kundalini of Hindu tradition.

According to Max Freedom Long, who studied Huna magic in Hawaii, the kahunas recognize three entities of aka (bodies of the human being): a low, middle, and higher self. The low self generates mana through food and other vital processes and is concerned with the physical body and the emotions. The middle self is a reasoning entity, while the higher self transcends memory and reason.

Long later established Huna Research. Serge King has since founded a second Huna-based organization, Huna International, an organization for research and teaching in the field of Huna magic.


King, Serge. Kahuna Healing. Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1983.

. Mastering Your Hidden Self. Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1983.

. Urban Shaman. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Long, Max Freedom. Introduction to Huna. Sedona, Ariz.: Esoteric Publications, 1975.

. The Secret Science Behind Miracles. Vista, Calif.: Huna Research Publications, 1954.

Steiger, Brad. Kahuna Magic. Rockport, Mass.: Para Research, 1971.

Wingo, E. Ortha. The Story of the Huna Work. Cape Girardeau, Mo.: Huna Research, 1981.