(Presumed extinct since 1907)
Essence: Wholeness, through the presence of love. Allowing difference and diversity to flourish through loving another. Allowing beauty to be seen and exist in its integrity. Foremost this remedy is to experience how to love someone or something in the entirety of what is presented now.
Use: Use for loss and heartbreak occurring through calamitous events, it restores a connection to the inner and enables a person to find a way through a difficult emotional terrain. This remedy can be used for loss of trust and the distortion that occurs through conditional relationships, also, to start to perceive a life without abuse (physical, emotional and mental). For those who adhere to a belief system that is narrow and judgmental and for those who are unable to free themselves from being impacted by these narrow beliefs.
Description: In The Book of the Huia, W.J. Phillipps describes the huia in the following way:
In any examination of a large series of museum specimens every now and then one comes across a huia of breathtaking beauty, indicative of a former loveliness almost beyond description. The general bodily colour is dark blue merging to black, with an overall greenish sheen covering the anterior parts and sometimes extending on to the tail. This greenish colour is generally to be seen in some degree around the head. …. When fully mature the wattles measure nearly an inch across and are bright orange.
The female and the male have different shaped bills. In the female the bill is slightly curved and the bill of the male is stout and straighter. It is the only bird in the world in which the male and the female have beaks of different types. Buller, an early ornithologist, in studying the birds through skinning and dissection and in captivity, observed how the male and female work together to eat the huhu grub.
The male always attacked the more decayed portions of the wood, chiseling out his prey after the manner of some woodpeckers, while the female probed with her long pliant bill the other cells, where hardness of the surrounding parts resisted the chisel of her mate.
The story of the huia’s extinction is immeasurably sad. It was considered by Maori to be tapu and was associated with the Rangatira, the chiefly people. This association meant that the practice of wearing huia feathers became a sign of mana and was adopted by the European population of New Zealand.
In a great welcome given to the royal party by Maori, one of the guides removed the huia feather from her own hair and placed it in the band of a bowler hat the duke was wearing. This simple act increased the demand for huia feathers a hundredfold. Forgotten was the tapu nature of the chiefly bird, forgotten the stringent measures which had been taken to protect it.
– Extract taken from The Book of the Huia by W.J. Phillipps
As huia feathers gained in popularity, a price was on its head to get huia feathers. Combined with the loss of its very particular habitat through large forest burn-offs the huia numbers started to decline. As I read about the huia, what stands out is its extraordinary beauty and its curiosity and trust which meant it was easily trapped and killed.
Meaning: The first time I started to work with this essence I experienced the female with her curved beak leading her way into my body, down through my left side, clearing something out. In this process I experienced a strength and a gentleness, I also found myself embodying the male and I felt open and stripped away. The experience left me with the impression that nothing could be hidden. I was entirely seen, all aspects that I may have shame about. I have been seen and there is no hiding.
I am shown their leaving and I am bereft, there is such loss of their physical form in this time. I felt the experience I was being shown was how when the male or the female is gone from the other, the experience of the loss of integrity is a painful emptiness. I sense its teaching is about the soul, where there is soul loss through individual survival by conforming to a culture that has discarded the tapu nature of life. I was given the metaphor of a shell or a lost slipper, as if I cannot find the foot that I fit. I am empty.
This essence is about love and how to live in the presence of love, how love grows one another and as we grow the love may emanate outwards. Accessing our interconnectedness through the inner to the cosmos in all situations.
When we hide we take ourselves away from the wholeness.
I find with huia there is powerful support for the role of being a woman, the capacity of understanding and responding to community through being a woman. Sensual love and care and attendance to physical form. A love, care and sacred acknowledgement of sexuality, of birth and child raising. There is also a pathway of being able to bring back the love and the power to women and men who are shamed, broken or feel contaminated through abuse.
Key words: unconditional love, integration, sacred space to encounter awe.