It has been over a month since I last blogged.  The reasons are two-fold. The first reason is a well-documented fall from grace with words.  It is a master-slave relationship, but now the roles are reversed.  I once was able to mold and shape words to display my mind, but now they are unruly and foreign.  The second reason is “kapu”.


Kapu- I ran across this term in my colonial American history class about three weeks ago in a lecture in which I didn’t take notes because the material wasn’t going to be on any tests. It was bonus information I was getting “for free”. (Since when was content in a college class one paid an arm and a leg for free) But here I was, not taking notes, sitting back and biding my time so I could get ready for my track class that night. That actually has nothing to do with what I want to say, so I will refocus. Just Monday, I ran into the word again, in Greek Mythology class.


It struck me, because the Greek Mythology class has nothing to do with the meaning of kapu, or maybe it does.  More importantly, it was a word I remembered from a lecture I had every intention of forgetting, a sign of something else going on entirely.  Now, I have to explain what the word means so this makes sense.


Kapu is a native Hawaiian word; we have a similar word with a similar meaning in English- Taboo.  Over the centuries since John Cook made contact with the native Hawaiians, its English meaning has become diluted, commercialized, and secularized. In Hawaiian culture, things that were kapu were kapu because they were sacred. In other words, the sacred and only the sacred was taboo.  Not a guessing game with cards, not natural body functions, not certain other topics I won’t mention because they are taboo. Lstm J 


The native Americans around the New England colonies had a similar idea.  Not being a scholar in extinct native American languages, I don’t know what word they used, but one chief was ready to go to war with another tribe because someone named his dead father. That was taboo, no kapu in their culture.  So then, everyone must be wondering why I would run my mouth, or rather fingers, to give you a tiny history lesson about a word and then not explain its relevance. (You’re welcome, BTW, if you thought that history lesson a waste of your time and wanted to thank meJ)


There are only so many topics in the broadest sense that one can post on a blog.  In my case, there are really three that I’ve attempted. These are: Narrative, “Thoughts”- usually theologically based, and Poems, also mostly theologically based.  Perhaps you can see where the word “kapu” starts to come in.  I hate writing simple narratives; I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to write one and ended up with what should be categorized as “Thoughts”, Stadium Ruckus springs quickly to mind.  Somewhere along the way though, these subjects became taboo to me, whether they really are or not remains to be seen.  Instead, I get excited about progressing toward an end of a book five years in the making that combines both narrative and kapu thoughts.  Thus, it has taken my time, though understandably not as much as school itself has.


So, my first blog post since the beginning of February is written.  I have probably three more topics to write about in my head, but we’ll see if words and time cooperate. In the meanwhile, I occupy myself with the one area where the words are flowing out of me unchecked.


JA Menter

Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Kapu

  1. bekahcubed says:

    Yeah–that’s the hardest thing about blogging–understanding “kapu” and not crossing the line. I’m pretty sure I’ve crossed it a good number of times-but thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient.

    Nice to see you back!

  2. flippedinsideout says:

    I’m with Rebekah on this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>