Ku is a warrior spirit; Lord of War as well as a spirit of the abundance of the sea. The essence of male generative power; he is a spirit of testosterone. In Hawaiian cosmology, Ku is the essence of masculinity, as Hina epitomizes feminine energy. Ku is among the four major Hawaiian deities alongside Kane, Kanaloa and Lono but was mainly venerated, at least in his warrior form, by the elite. Formal ceremonies were reserved for the nobility and priesthood and were performed under severe taboos. The practice of human sacrifice seems to have been introduced to Hawaii largely by Ku’s priesthood. King Kamehameha worshipped Ku as Lord of War in his eventually successful efforts to unite the Hawaiian Islands under his rule.

Ku has many paths and aspects ranging from brutal and bloodthirsty to nurturing and kind. He is the patron of war, fishing, forests and certain types of agriculture and sorcery.

Ku’s name means “to strike” or “to stand.” He is a versatile, many faceted spirit with concerns other than war. He was also the patron of Hawaii’s master canoe builders and woodworkers, considered a sacred occupation. Ku dwells in deep places: the depths of the forest and the sea.

Also known as:





Ku can manifest in any form he likes; he is a master shape-shifter. However, common forms include man, caterpillar and cucumber


Fierce carved wood tiki statues


Breadfruit; coconut; cucumber; ‘Ohi’a lehua tree (Metrosideros collina; M. macropus): images of Ku were traditionally carved from this wood





Sacred animal:

Pig; eel




The rising sun


The first, second and third days of each month

See Also:

  • Akua
  • Haumea
  • Hina
  • Kanaloa
  • Kane
  • Kihawahine
  • Kukauakahi
  • Ku’ulakai
  • Lono


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.
Hawaiian Mythology

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