Spring equinox 2019 update

20 03 2019

Greetings, studio fans ~

What’s happening? For me, Spring is better than welcoming a new calendar year. I like to survey the garden around the house as well as the garden in my mind. It’s a time for trimming, plucking, and weeding out the old; and for planting new, more desirable seeds.

This morning I tended the basil, pinching off the flowers from most of the sweet herb because I want to use it instead of letting it go to seed. I left some of the flowers on the plant for the bees. Everyday I check the side yard to see if any of the avocados from my neighbor’s tree have fallen, and to pick up and toss old breadfruit leaves from the ground. I strip off the bottom layer of all the ti leaf plants that I’ve cultivated mostly to make lei. The kou tree, planted for its shade and orange lei flowers, makes a lot of rubbish with its palm-size leaves and ball-bearing-like seeds, so there’s raking to do. Looking up, I see the avocado tree is finally flowering!

Actual Ma‘afala breadfruit tree

Then, I’m revisiting the studio’s purpose “Old-fashioned letters, painting & healing.”

Letters. I’m honored to be invited to coach the Ko‘olauloa Hawaiian Civic Club members tomorrow night in writing autobiography. I intend it to be a fun activity as we write individual anecdotes and craft pretty booklets. I have chosen as jumping off points these questions: “What was your best birthday?”  “Who is your strangest family member?” “What is your greatest fear about falling in love?” “What is the craziest thing you have ever done?” And then for the brave, “How?” and “Why?”

Painting. My collage group (painting with hand-dyed paper) is exhibiting its artworks the month of April starting April 3 in the main gallery at the visitor center of Ho‘omaluhia Botanical Garden, on Luluku Road in Kaneohe, Oahu. I’ve agreed to design the look of the “Collages & Clay” that also includes ceramics. I’ll draw on the memory of observing how Susan Rogers-Aregger and Noreen Naughton placed pieces for a show.

Hand-dyed paper collage of breadfruit leaves by Rebekah Luke

Healing. It has been exciting to teach, attune, and certify five new Reiki Masters and Reiki Master Teachers. The Reiki Intensive training spands eight days, with the current program ending next Sunday with “Journey into Mastery.” I am team teaching with Reiki Master Teacher Lori A. Wong. I am reminded that “Yes! I am a Reiki Master!”





Announcement: Sign up for the Unlimited Reiki System of Natural Healing

11 02 2019
Reiki Master Teachers Rebekah Luke and Lori A. Wong are set to offer Reiki Intensive classes on March 17 and March 24, 2019, both Sundays during Spring Break, at Rebekah’s healing space in Kaaawa, Oahu. Both women are certified independent Reiki masters from Dr. Mikao Usui through Mrs. Hawayo Takata.

You are invited to learn the “Unlimited Reiki System of Natural Healing” to help heal, harmonize, and balance the mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Reiki is the universal life force energy found in all living things. Please share this notice with your friends who may be interested in the training, too, and we can have a larger class.

Classes are as follows:

     REIKI LEVEL I (Healing on the Physical Body Level, Yourself & Others)—March 17, 2019, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
     REIKI LEVEL II (Healing on the Mental and Emotional Levels, Distance Healing) and REIKI LEVEL III (Master Certification; Teacher Certification)—March 24, 2019, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
     Both classes will be held at 51-151 Kaaawa Park Lane, Kaaawa, HI 96730.
Tuition of $150 for each class is payable in advance, and it includes training, materials, initiation, attunements, and certification. Lunch and healthy snacks will be served.
To register, please phone or text Rebekah at 808 220-9642 or reply to rebekahluke@hawaii.rr.com by the end of February 2019. Send a deposit check of $50 to be applied to your tuition by February 28 to Rebekah Luke, P.O. Box 574, Kaaawa HI 96730. VISA and MasterCard are accepted. When you have registered, you will receive a confirmation by email.
In gratitude,
Lori A. Wong and Rebekah Luke


Usui system of Reiki healing precepts

17 02 2017

Just for today, do not worry.
Just for today, do not anger.
Honor your parents, teachers, and elders.
Earn your living honestly.
Show gratitude to every living thing.

Pictures of healing for the new year

1 01 2017

Happy new year, studio fans! For my first post of 2017 I’m pleased to share our success with growing turmeric and making turmeric powder. The process is a labor-intensive yet a very satisfying endeavor. Similar photos of this super anti-inflammatory healing herb were originally published on my Facebook wall in December. Please also see my Dec. 11, 2016, post for comments about the harvest. Then press your back button to return to this page.

This is turmeric growing in my garden in Kaaawa, Oahu. The beautiful flowers died back in November.


That was a sign it was soon time to harvest. I trimmed and tossed most of the leaves—that I later learned are also edible—leaving some to continue to grow. DH helped me unearth the rhizomes with a pitchfork. Aren’t they gorgeous?!


After washing and scrubbing the orange pieces under running water—do don gloves because turmeric stains!, I boiled the segments, cooled them, peeled them with a potato peeler, sliced them, and then dried the turmeric in the oven at the lowest temperature for a couple of hours. Boiling is necessary to kill any bacteria.

Below are photos of the progressive stages of drying on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I turned off the oven and kept the door closed overnight while the turmeric continued to dry with the leftover heat.



Below is what the food looks like when completely dry. You can feel it is hard like a cinnamon stick.


The next step is to grind it with a dedicated spice grinder.


Sift, return the larger pieces to the grinder, and sift again.


My final product: a small air-tight jar of turmeric powder!


Of course, turmeric is also good used fresh. Use it in recipes with ground black pepper. Hawaiians call this spice ʻōlena and use it for cleansing and in ceremonies. I keep any surplus in the freezer.

Here’s to a healthy new year! Be well! ~ Rebekah

I have a gold mine in ʻōlena

11 12 2016
Turmeric from my garden

Turmeric from my garden. Hawaiians call it ʻōlena.

ʻōlena.  Turmeric (Curcuma domestica), a kind of ginger; used medicinally and as a source of dyes  . . . —Pukui and Elbert

Today’s harvest yielded this bounty of ʻōlena, or turmeric. I had planted some a few years ago, and this year it produced gorgeous flowers. Then the flowers died back, and it dawned on me that it was time to harvest the rhizome.

I first paid attention to ʻōlena during trips to Kahoʻolawe, where ʻōlena water was brought from Maui and used for cleansing altars and in the spiritual ceremonies.

In more recent years I learned that besides uses in cuisine, turmeric is a healing herb that guards against inflammation in our bodies. Sautéing with black pepper in cooking and combined with other food provides benefits. We can add this to our diet on a regular basis.

When I had a spell of pain in my wrist, I chopped up some fresh turmeric into a poultice and applied it with plastic wrap to hold it in place. The ʻōlena was very cooling to the skin and I felt better.

Most recently a friend who is taking care of a cancer patient volunteered to help harvest my plants. When someone asks for healing, I must oblige. I was grateful to have my friend remind me that an answer to healing was right under my nose in my own garden. Harvesting is something I have been meaning to do.

This afternoon I cut back the tall foliage, and DH helped to dig out this crop with a pitchfork. We left some in the ground so it will continue to grow.

I plan to share the bounty, make some powder, and freeze the surplus.

Mahalo e ke Akua!


Virtual snow

7 12 2016

Aloha, studio fans! As you can see it’s snowing at Rebekah’s Studio! In reality it is the time of ho‘oilo, the wet and rainy season in Hawai‘i. Damp and muddy! Amid the hustle and bustle of the season and the busy highways, I remind myself to drive safely and really be aware of what is around me. It’s a crazy time of year in many ways.

At the studio we are still wrapping up a couple of publishing projects—a coffee table book for my high school class’s 50th reunion (you do the math, haha!) and a second printing of a family recipe book, originally published in 1999. Painting and music classes are finishing up for the year. The holiday calendar of events is starting to fill now, too.

Be kind to each other. I wish you all much deserved peace and serenity, inside and out, with plenty of aloha! ~ Rebekah

At Honolulu Hale (City Hall)

At Honolulu Hale (City Hall)


The gardener as artist

17 11 2015

This is the first weekday morning in 40 weekdays that I didn’t hear a gentle knock on the front door signaling the arrival of the new, cheerful, smiling gardener. Instead, I am greeted by a light warm rain on the newly landscaped yard, a work of art completed yesterday.

Allow me to set the stage. My injured hand, from “overuse,” prevented me from tending plants as before. DH and I had the mature mango and avocado trees cut back, as we need to do every two or three years, because they are close to the house. That let in more sun, and then there fell a lot of rain. The best way to describe the resulting look was, we lived in a jungle.

I searched for a person to clean the yard—because as wise daughter says, “Hire the professional”—but I could not find anyone who was willing or who would show up way out here in the country. If the yard was already cleared of its jungle-y aspects, fine, perhaps someone could keep it trimmed. Word got out that I was looking, and two of my Hawaiian lady friends recommended their man.

They had good things to say. “Oh, he could probably do your yard in a day.” “He’s a hard worker.” “He works in the sun.” “Now he comes just once a month; that’s all that’s needed.” “Give me your number, and I’ll have him call you.” Great!



Enter Hailama, a sturdy Hawaiian from Kahana Valley, who said he would work every day “’til pau (finished),” that meant a 5-hour day, rain or shine. Touring our jungle, I attempted to describe the original garden plan, now obscured with the overgrowth, and Hailama asked, “What do you want to keep?” Ah, a new perspective!

We agreed to keep the mango, the avocado, and calamansi trees for the fruit they produce;  the vegetable-and-herb boxes; the red hibiscus for their petals used for Mexican jamaica tea; and the kou tree, ginger, and ti plants to make lei. We wanted to keep as much of DH’s native Hawaiian plant collection as possible.

One of the features of the land we mālama (care for) is that there is not much soil. Only rocks. A lot of rocks. We are near a stream, and some people think our street is where the stream used to be, because it lines up with a natural ocean channel. I think so, too. It turns out that Hailama loves to work with rocks, or pohaku in Hawaiian.

Mauka side yard has a new, curving rock border with a cascading variegated green/white/purple cover in front of a new red hibiscus hedge that will grown up like the mature hedge on the right against the wall. Upper left: breadfruit tree. Middle right: alahe‘e tree. Foreground: a sitting rock.

This garden path has a curving rock border with a cascading variegated veridian/lavender/purple cover in front of a new red hibiscus hedge that will grow up like the mature hedge in the middle background of the photo. Upper left: breadfruit tree. Middle right: alahe‘e tree. Foreground: one of the “sitting rocks.” Red ti leaf accents.

Starting at one corner and then proceeding to the next adjacent area, in a continuous flow, Hailama took advantage of a blank canvas to transform the garden. Every day brought a new surprise. For the most part, he worked with what was already on the property, relocating and rearranging the elements with new lines and shapes. In doing so, he made room for energy to flow freshly.

“What is your vision?” I asked. “I don’t know,” he shrugged. Looking up and moving his arms from above his head and down the sides of his body, he said, “Every day I ask God, and He helps me.”

Detail of garden path. After the mature hibiscus hedge (left) was trimmed to half its height, the tops were made into cuttings to form a new 25-foot-long hedge (top of photo).

Detail of garden path. After Hailama trimmed the mature hibiscus hedge (left) to half its height, so I could see the waterfall again from my studio window, he saved the tops and made cuttings to form a new 25-foot-long hedge (top of photo).

We started to have small discussions. He liked flowers. I liked food. “Do you like color?” he asked. “Yes, and pathways and focal points.” As he worked, Hailama began to re-grade the lot. He liked curves, where previously there were straight lines. In the way he used the rocks he dug up from the ground, the garden started to look zen. That I liked!


Every rock is hand-picked, considered for its “face” and painstakingly set into the ground by hand. A row of the veridian-lavender-purple plants is on the lower terrace for a color repeat. Behind it is a row of white ginger that will eventually take hold; Hailama brought them from his own garden. In the background, Hailama trimmed the old panax hedge to a manageable height for maintenance.


Fronting the panax hedge in alternating plantings are flowering red and pink ginger and ti leaves of various colors. Upper right: raided veggie and herb beds. Foreground, ʻaeʻae ground cover around the base of the avocado tree.

Fronting the panax hedge in alternating plantings are flowering red and pink ginger and ti leaves of various colors. Upper right: raised veggie and herb beds. Foreground: ʻaeʻae ground cover around the base of the avocado tree. Hailama explained the rock borders will prevent a weed whacker from cutting the plants. He designed the new garden for ease of maintenance.



View of the front entry from the street. Paths meander around the calamansi tree (foreground), sweet potato and aloe beds (middle ground), and the kou tree. The trees are pruned to resemble lollipops. You can see the windows of my second-story studio.

Weʻre looking forward to a carpet of green grass in the back. The brown lath will extend down from the deck. the "keepers" are the avocado tree, left, and the mango tree, at right.

We’re looking forward to a carpet of green grass in the back. DH went to buy grass seed today. The brown lath will extend down from the deck for a nicer backdrop for the border of colorful ti. The “keepers” are the avocado tree, left, and the mango tree, at right.


Curving steps

Hailama took great pride and pleasure in designing the curving steps to the mango tree. One of the large rocks is a piece of coral that he found while digging the surface. The steps leading to the banana are also coral!


Coral rocks found on site


One of several sitting stones

The rest of the story is that ours is the first property that Hailama has completely re-landscaped. He said, joyfully, “I am making this garden as if it is my own! This is the best one I’ve done!” Indeed, it is Hailama’s Garden. What a beautiful, extraordinary labor of love. The creatures love it. We love it. Our visitors will love it. Hailama is our angel, our new friend, and DH and I are so blessed and so very thankful! Mahalo piha, a hui hou, mālama pono!

(Copyright 2015 Rebekah Luke)

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