Pōwehi | by Holly Hudley

Pōwehi: Hawaiian for “the adorned fathomless dark creation” or “embellished dark source of unending creation.” Originates from the Kumulipo, an 18th century creation chant.

This is the name a Hawaiian Language Professor gave the Black Hole in the M87 galaxy nearly 54 million light-years from Earth.

54 million light years away. What we are seeing existed 54 million years ago and it just reached our line of sight!

According to our construct of time on this planet Pōwehi most likely no longer exists in the form in which it was revealed to us. 54 million light years from now another telescope will see what it has become, what the fathomless void will create. All that we currently know about black holes is our best guess based on the movement of matter and gravity near the event horizon. 

 The human capacity for shared language, to create symbols that exist outside of our minds might be able to lend clues to future beings about what we currently know so that they have a point of comparison. Maybe the black hole at the center of the Milky Way created Pōwehi. Maybe it is our descendant. After all one theory is that black holes contribute to the creation of new galaxies. Evolving revelation takes time; sometimes upwards of 54million years. 

I’ve been reading a lot of scripture lately — comparing Hindu texts to Buddhist and Christian, specifically the gospels. (Blasphemy warning!) Sometimes I wonder how much relevance a couple two thousand year old prophets like Jesus or Buddha have today. And then I see Pōwehi 54 million light years away. It feels revelatory. What did it swallow, churn and spew forth from its center? We’ve got years to go before we fully grasp the layers of meaning in sacred texts just as we don’t yet understand the inner workings of black holes. This forward-backward-entangled concept of time is awesome and overwhelming. So exactly what do the prophets have to teach us?

From Zen Buddhism | “The Coincidence of Opposites”

In the very midst of light, there's darkness;
    don't meet another in the darkness.
In the very midst of darkness, there's light;
    don't observe another in the light. 
Light and darkness complement each other,
    like stepping forward and stepping back.

From The Message | John 1:8-9

He was there to show the way to the Light.
    The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
    He brings into LIGHT. 

We are all dark. We are all light. Both are in our midst. Jesus, Buddha, Pōwehi…they all show us the light within that emits from the dark source of unending creation. What happens “out there” in the cosmos happens within. Maybe that is the message of the prophets: We are not actually separate! We are part of this incredible light-dark, forward-backward unfolding! Don’t waste a moment! Be the Life-Light!