I am currently writing a manuscript on moʻo (Hawaiian reptilian deities), a topic I researched for my M.A. in Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (2010). Predominately female, moʻo deities are interesting examples of mana wahine (female mana). They embody the life-giving and death-dealing properties of water, the element with which they are associated. Replicating the elusive nature of lizards, which they resemble, knowledge about moʻo lurks here and there, sometimes found in unexpected places. Moʻo, as a class of deities, vary greatly in size. They can be as huge as a mountain or as small as a house gecko. Some moʻo have alternate forms. Those who masquerade as humans are often described as stunningly beautiful. Tradition holds that if you come across a body of freshwater in a secluded area, and everything is eerily still and quiet, you should not linger there because you have stumbled across the home of a moʻo. And if the plants of that place are yellowed and the water is covered with a greenish-yellow froth, then you know the moʻo is at home. If that is the case, you should leave quickly lest the moʻo make itself known to you to your detriment. It might eat you or it might take you as a lover. Either way, you are doomed because the moʻo will consume you—completely.
You can find my lecture by clicking on the black button here below (just scroll down the page it sends you too until you see the link for my talk).