Mo’o are gigantic dragon-like water lizard deities. Although that is their true form, Mo’o can shape-shift into the form of people. They can also possess humans (voluntarily and involuntarily).

Mo’o are guardians of water. They have dominion over dreams at night and storytelling during the day. (The Hawaiian word translated as “myth” is mo’olele.) Mo’o possess the power to reanimate and/or deify the dead.

Individual Mo’o may serve as personal guardians of specific families and lineages. They are considered part of the family (and may, in fact, be ancestral spirits) and thus expect to be honored and propitiated by their family members. Their long serpentine vertebrae are emblematic of their role as ancestral spirits. Each vertebra is a link in the ancestral chain, the family tree.

Mo’o offer protection and bestow abundance, health, fertility, and prosperity.




Akua, Aumakua


Their true form is as a gigantic water lizard, but they shape-shift in many forms, not limited to those of humans or lizards. For example, in one Hawaiian myth, a Mo’o takes the form of fog and torrential rain in an attempt to obstruct the goddess Hi’iaka.


  • Hi’iaka
  • Kihawahine
  • Klu
  • Mo’o Inanea
  • Nagas


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.

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