Dec. 28, three days after her dearest friend’s birthday, our precious Aunty Margaret Machado, the Lomilomi Lady of Kona, made her final transition, releasing her well-used 93 year old Hawaiian body.
While Aunty very successfully completed her life and it was her time to go, it is a great loss and we can kindly direct our prayers to her grieving family. Aunty died peacefully at home, with a smile on her face.
All of us who knew Aunty were blessed to be touched by Kalehuamakanoelulu’uonapali’s generous healing energy—and especially blessed if we were fortunate to learn Lomilomi directly from the loving hands of this master teacher.
It was a great honor to know my teacher/mentor and precious friend—who will forever remain very dear to my heart. She was an Ambassador of Aloha, honored as a “Hawaii’s Living Treasure,” known far and wide around the globe for her lifelong devotion to serving others with her special gift: the sacred art if Hawaiian rejuvenation called Lomilomi.
It was my tremendously good fortune to meet this amazing woman, live near her, study with her, love her and be loved by her since the early 70’s—something for which I shall be forever grateful as it was the most transforming experience of my entire life. While I was blessed to be one of her very first students, I was certainly not the the last student to be transformed in this way, given with the gift of ancient Hawaiian training. Thousands have come after me, all with similar stories of this life transforming experience.
During her long and loving lifetime, this icon of healing was a caring wife to her husband, Uncle Dan, known as her “co-pilot” for 65 years. She was also a wonderful mother raising 3 daughters, and one son, until her late 60’s, when she and Uncle Dan adopted yet another daughter.
Actually, Aunty’s work as a healer began before she was born. I say that because her name, Kalehuamakanoelulu’uonapali, a name describing her healing work, was given to her by her respected grandfather before her birth. Her Hawaiian name came to him in a dream, in the ancient tradition of Hawaiian families. While each word may have 6 different meanings, briefly we can say her name describes her healing future, being like a lehua flower shinning bright hope through the rainy mist on a hillside.
When Kalehua was a young child, she was visited by her grandfather, a healing kahuna of the Alii class (whose last name, Aha'ula Keali'i, in ancient times, was not allowed to be uttered by commoners). He chanted over this one “chosen” granddaughter, passing on the sacred kahuna gift of healing thru divine invocation in the traditional Hawaiian way. This man, known as Ko’o (which means “strong”), was well known in the Napoopoo area for his ability “to set things right” using Ho’oponpono. He also knew of a lost art of using pebbles or ele ele stones with his lomilomi work.
At an young age, Kalehua’s mother died and her family put her in a missionary school where they called her “Margaret”. She learned from these kind missionaries about the teachings of Jesus, her dear friend from that time forward, whose lessons she took to heart, making her a woman of deep and abiding Faith (with a capital “F”) along with incomparable, deep understanding and compassion.
Margaret started doing healing massage when she was in her teens, working on her football playing relatives and classmates. In case any of you don’t know what lomilomi is about, it is a system that uses a variety of massage strokes to release areas of congestion in the body. Aunty’s Lomilomi improves a person physically, mentally and spiritually body thru focused and dedicated rhythmic application of thumbs, knuckles, forearms and elbows, releasing tension and soothing the soul. More important than technique, the ancestors and the Divine Creator are invoked to assist in the healing. Lomilomi is both seriously therapeutic and soothing, as it relaxes the nervous system, increases circulation and creates a tangible sense of well being that comes from feeling deeply loved and cared for, nurtured by the Universe.
Over the years, Aunty proceeded to give relief from pain and stress to thousands of relatives, friends and strangers—many of whom would testify to her miraculous ability to heal. I personally witnessed a number of these miracles--which she would never take credit for. She has always humbly praised the person’s miraculous body for healing itself, saying it is the Creator’s work.
Once I saw Aunty take a spoon away from her cancer-ridden friend who was laboriously stirring some soup with a deep scowl of determination on her face. “No, Aloha. Not like this,”--she imitated her friend, Aloha’s, rigid stirring method and painful facial expression. “Like this,”she said. Aunty proceeded to sway with the spoon like a hula dancer, smiling with genuine joy as she stirred the soup. Oddly enough, Aloha recovered from her lymphoma, not unlike many others patients of Aunty’s that the doctors had written off as terminally ill. Aloha lived a happy life for many years, thanks to Aunty’s teaching.
Perhaps as much as 30 years ago, Aunty told me she set aside her Hawaiian ways when she adopted the Christian faith. I asked her that if she denied her gift from her grandfather, being an authentic cultural expert, then who would carry on the tradition of her ancestors? I think it was the next time I saw Aunty, she told me, “I am a Kahuna Haha—that is a kahuna with the healing touch.” She owned her gift realizing that the Christianity and Hawaiian beliefs were not mutually exclusive. Publicly, in the kahuna fashion, she never claimed to be a kahuna.
Combining her Christian beliefs with her Hawaiian heritage, I can safely say that Kalehua Aunty Margaret Machado, was the Queen of Unconditional Love. I recall only one time when Aunty gently criticized someone. It was a woman who had been awake all night, disturbing people who were learning from her at the Keei massage school. I wondered how Aunty would handle this situation. I was amazed at the gentle way she spoke to this disturbed, bi-polar woman, telling her simply, “My god is a god of Order, not of Chaos. If you want to stay here, you can not worship a god of Chaos.”
Aunty stressed to all of us students, “Love this body as if it is your own body”. This message of course has an important double meaning. “Love this body as if it is your own body.” Aunty knew that one must appreciate this amazing gift of life before being able to give pure-hearted love to others.
Aunty frequently advised us to relax our hands and bodies so that we could administer what she called the “loving touch.” Aunty also stressed. “I breathe with the person”, using the (ha) breath to exhale pain. Another quote of Aunty’s I like to repeat to people on the table is how she would whisper, with her garlicky breath, “Lomilomi works fast you know.”
It is not only Hawaiian massage that Aunty taught. She also taught Hawaiian herbs and the importance of eating properly. She also taught a course in cleansing the intestinal tract as well as purifying the soul with Ho’oponono before going to sleep at night. The most important gift Aunty taught, in my opinion, is the importance of having the true Spirit of Aloha, enjoying life, laughing, singing and being loving, kind and generous in every way. Graduation ceremonies always ended with a big luau with lots of food, laughter and fun. “Making leis is fun, you know” is another line of Aunty’s I like to recall her saying gleefully. At these graduation parties, Jews, Buddhists, atheists, Christians and people of all faith joyously sang together, “Life Is But a Circle,” holding hands in a circle with Aunty—with happy hearts and big smiles. Aunty invited us, in her open-hearted way, to be part of her very large but intimate Lomilomi Ohana (family). With her open-hearted way of loving, Aunty made us aware of being Ohana of the World.
I had the precious honor of being the “court photographer” for Aunty. The photo I’m most proud of, taken on her 65th birthday, captured her essence and made her a “cover girl” for Massage Magazine. Thousands of people could feel her inner beauty and magic when they saw this photo. This is the official photo used on the Aunty Margaret website introducing many people to her loving presence. (You can see this photo on the Dragonfly Ranch website, http://dragonflyranch.com/lomilomi.html) <http://dragonflyranch.com/lomilomi.html%29>
Aunty Margaret was in her 50’s when she began teaching the gift of Lomilomi that was previously held sacred and secret for Hawaiian families only. This icon of healing, Aunty Margaret, broke the rules of keeping the kahuna “secrets” secret. Much to the distain of some of her traditional Hawaiian relatives, Aunty decided it “was time” to generously share this sacred Hawaiian knowledge with all who wanted to learn. Aunty Margaret Machado’s healing love transformed lives, training hands and souls into healing tools, and allowed individuals to be a vehicle of this sacred, prayerful healing work for yet thousands more people in need.
Aunty was given many awards of recognition for her work. In her 90th year, she was given the special recognition in the “Healing Hall of Fame”. I was given the honor of awarding Aunty Margaret the first annual Healing Award for the Big Island Health and Wellness Alliance.
It is with tremendous gratitude that I share this information about Kalehuamakanoelulu'uonapali Margaret Machado. She had endless energy to train thousands of students over a 30 year span, with bountiful snowballing effects blessing the world with Hawaiian healing energy, filled with the rich Spirit of Aloha.
It is said that many people select Christmastime to leave their bodies because it is “when the angels are closest to the earth.” I like to think that when Aunty Margaret made her passage into the love and light that we all are, she was singing “Life Is But a Circle”.