- Category: Maori Perspectives
- Published: Tuesday, 10 October 2006 10:00
- Hits: 13402
“You take the Red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes”
Morpheus - The Matrix
I love the movie ‘The Matrix’. Such different depths of understandings. The deeper perspective and growing realisation that the character, Neo, gains as he ventures further and further in the intertwined worlds beneath the obvious – as he peels away the onion-layers of his existence.
I am neither Morpheus nor Neo. I just like the movie.
In this article I wish to korero from a personal perspective. A perspective influenced most certainly from my own cultural understandings and learnings. Again I also wish to acknowledge and honour other people’s understandings and learnings – it’s not for me to claim this as the only one. This is but one.
But first of all, a quick language lesson:
Wairua is a kupu often spoken, often heard. Often it is used to mean ‘spirit’ or ‘spirituality’ (Wairuatanga). It is a kupu that – much like the onion – has many layers of meaning to it. One such meaning may be found within the kupu itself:
Wai = unique, special, unprecedented
For instance, we also use Wai to refer to a name. When we ask someone "Ko wai koe?" "Who are you?" "Ko wai tou Matua?" "Who's your Daddy?"
Rua = abyss, container
So ... Wai-rua in a sense could be seen as 'That which is unique, special, that is contained within'.
... brief tangent here. 'Wairua' can also be broken down into Wai = water, Rua = Two. Wairua = Two Waters ... Nga wai e rua.
This could be in recognition of the physical combining of the male and female 'waters' during procreation/conception that creates life and bring us into this physical embodiment. It can also be in recognition of the physical and spiritual waters combining to bring about embodiment.
However - back to Wairua = 'That which is unique that is contained within'.
What is it that is unique within us? What is it inside of us unlike any other person living, ever lived or yet to live?
There is nothing physical that would fit such a condition. But to me there is certainly something spiritual that would - YOU, your spirit, or in other terms your soul if you will. The essence of who you truly are. That constant inalienable undeniable. Spirit. Soul.
Mauri, like many kupu is also a construct. A kupu that contains other kupu. Through breaking it down a bit more you may gain a deeper understanding of what its meaning may be.
Mauri is often translated into English as 'life force', or 'life essence' of sorts.
Ma = To be connected to, bound to, linked to, joined to
Uri = Descendents. All things, seen and unseen
The important component there is the seen and unseen bit. It’s the combined consciousness of not just the physical/seen world, but the unseen (well, to most people) spiritual world also.
So from one perspective Ma-uri could mean 'Connection to all living (and non-living) things both seen and unseen'.
So, Wairua could in some ways be the *soul*, the inner-self.
So how does that fit in with Mauri? How do Wairua and Mauri relate to each other?
Mauri is the connection between the Wairua (as it exists in our physical body) and all things seen and unseen. Mauri is - in some regards - the way in which our Wairua relates and interacts with all things seen and unseen. That connection is also a bit of a two-way street...it’s a two-way line of communication.