by Graeme Kapono Urlich
In many shamanic and spiritual groups people talk about “shadow work” and “killing the
ego” among other things. Shadow work seems to be about exposing hidden negative traits and/or
energy attachments, past life trauma and all sorts of things. These are held responsible for all of
life’s troubles and the focus is on removing them. The problem is, with this kind of focus, it
produces a lot of resistance and tension that is likely to prevent progress and/or create more
problems. There is nearly always something else to fix once you solve one problem.
In Kupua (shaman) tradition from Hawaii, being an adventurer tradition, we take a completely different
approach. We search for the good things about ourselves, and others, and cultivate those. We focus on
things we want to achieve and only deal with any issues that arise in that process. The rest doesn’t
matter because it is not adversely affecting what we want to achieve here and now.
In this way we vastly reduce the level of what we have to “fix”, we make it much easier
because there is far less tension produced in the process and we don’t get overwhelmed trying to
understand why we feel bad and things aren’t working. It’s easier to work with the symbols in the
garden, increasing the beauty and harmony, leading to greater confidence and effectiveness. It can
clearly be demonstrated with muscle tests that there is a built in motivation for the subconscious
mind, Ku, to move towards joyful benefits rather than enduring the implied judgement of
fixing something deemed to be wrong or bad.
We all have a garden in the inner or dream worlds. When we visit this place often it becomes a
familiar place, where everything in it reflects a belief that we have, and we can see measurable
changes as we progress with improving our lives. In Kupua tradition it is called
“structured dreaming” and we use the idea of three levels in the inner worlds. The garden
exists in the middle world, Kahiki.
Kahiki is the place in the inner or unseen worlds that is most like the outer world. Part of
the meaning of the name is to “transplant” or “to cross over”. In esoteric knowledge
this means that when we make changes in the inner garden they will have an effect in the outer world
and our waking life. One of the concepts is that the outer life is a dream that we are dreaming into
From the inner garden we can journey to other levels of the inner worlds, calling upon power animals,
angels, gods and goddesses etc., to journey with us for assistance or simply as company. As a shaman
trained in Kalakupua, I most often journey with one or more of the Hawaiian goddesses but
whoever turns up when I call is appropriate.
The upper world is called Lanikeha and the lower world is called Milu. There is no
real hierarchy in using the idea of levels, this is simply a limitation of language and translation,
but just as the four levels of reality we work with in Kupua tradition are different ways of
looking at the physical world, the inner worlds are split arbitrarily into three levels to help set
and maintain focus for journeys with different purposes.
As we explore the inner garden we can talk to aspects of it to garner meaning. As we do so we can
assign new meanings or make changes. We can remove the weeds of unhelpful beliefs and plant seeds of
confidence, wellbeing and prosperity. We can even practice skills that we want to develop physically.
In Kupua tradition we can also use the inner garden for all kinds of healing work and this
has proven to be very effective. From our garden we can visit the gardens of others, even governments
and corporations, to do healing work. We can call the spirit of others into our own garden to do
healing work for them or to ask their assistance in self-healing.We can call upon any help we want to
achieve our goals and as we begin to see the effects of our efforts more quickly, we are inspired to
The “Inner Worlds” may be viewed in terms of the seven principles in the
Ike. The world is what you think it is. If we accept the idea that the
inner worlds exist and working there will affect our outer life, they become available to us as a
powerful tool for change.
Kala. There are no limits. The inner worlds are infinite and, rather than
being connected with the outer world, they coexist with it.
Makia. Energy flows where attention goes. The more focus and presence we
have in the inner worlds, the more vivid and sensory we can make the experience, the more effect we
will see in the outer world.
Manawa. Now is the moment of power. The inner worlds reflect who we are
now and we see the effects of changes we make there very quickly. As we make more and more changes,
affecting the underlying belief patterns, they build momentum in the outer world.
Aloha. To Love Is To Be Happy With. There is nothing to fear in the inner
worlds. They are our own creation and they reflect our current beliefs. As we work in there, in a
loving cooperative way, outer world relationships begin to improve.
Mana. All power comes from within. In the inner worlds we can practice
using our innate inner power and see results, building confidence. This doesn’t mean we have to do
all the work ourselves. We can call on helpers and find tools in the inner worlds to assist our
work there and we can practice doing it without fear.
Pono. Effectiveness is the measure of truth. The inner worlds give us
another powerful way to influence our lives in positive ways. We can test things out and change
our minds more easily in there if we decide we prefer something different. It’s a much more
flexible place than we usually allow the outer world to be.
I endeavour to visit my garden at least once a day to maintain my ability to focus there even if I
don’t have a specific journey I want to go on. Masters of any skill maintain their mastery with
ongoing practice and I have found this to be a very useful and highly effective way to work.
Graeme Kapono Urlich (June 2022)
These are some useful videos to begin the process.
Using the Inner Garden
A Journey Into The Garden of Knowledge
Aloha New Zealand - School of Huna and Hawaiian Shamanism