Max Freedom Long Died Sept. 23, 1971
On the 38th Anniversary of Max Freedom Long’s Death
We all know about the time Max Freedom Long spent in Hawaii. It’s described very well in SSBM. The years spent in Los Angeles and Vista are also fairly well documented and, if you’ve read the Bulletins, you’ve followed the tracks of Huna over those years as well.
Max managed the Bulletins from February 1948 through December 1970. They were pretty consistent, and he didn’t miss an issue very often. They discuss many things, some ending up to be very productive and others being dead ends after further research. Max left no stone unturned if it could shed some light on Huna as he knew it.
Max died in September of 1971. He committed suicide. He had spent the bulk of his lifetime researching Huna and publishing what he had learned. His was a life of writing, mostly, and shedding light on this body of knowledge that he had named Huna, this knowledge in which he truly believed. He recognized the power and ‘magic’ that it held within itself … a wonderful gift for the people of the world if they could see it, learn it and embrace it. Max spent his life developing Huna and by 1970, he’d realized that he would not see its completion in his lifetime. His attempt to alter the HRA research organization into a normal, “community based” church caused a revolt in the membership. Huna was changing and there was nothing Max could do to keep it under control.
In November of 1970, his library had been moved to the library-museum in Fort Worth and he no longer had access to all of his books. He missed them in the last few Bulletins, but he was happy to know that his collection would remain intact. “I am very much pleased with the arrangement as I had feared some of my most treasured books would wind up … with the second hand man or be taken to the dump.” (Bull. #98, pg. 2)
By this time, he had been working with the heir of the HRA for a couple of years. This man would oversee the Huna organization of the HRAs and keep the research going after Max was no longer able to do it. In 1970, Max couldn’t possibly know that this wouldn’t happen, so he probably had no expectations that the HRA would eventually fade away after his passing.
There were others involved who ended up with other components of the existing Huna community structure. Some of it has come to fruition over the years, yet Huna hasn’t made huge progress in becoming more widely spread as a spiritual approach to life and our relationship with the planet.
Max stopped issuing the Bulletins at the end of 1970 because he was in poor health. He had cancer in his left leg bone and in his ribs. He was in constant pain and it was more and more difficult for him to get around. He tried many methods for a cure, but nothing took away the pain. And his companion (and other wife), Ethel Doherty, had fallen and broken both her hips. She was convalescing, but it was obvious that things would never be the same. Max was 80. The years had passed and he was aware that his life’s term was drawing to a close.
In Max’s final Bulletin, there is a short article about the death of a long-time HRA and friend. She had cancer. She’d had the “usual surgery and burning” and it hadn’t worked. She knew what lay ahead for her, so she took a lethal dose of sleeping pills and passed over. Max didn’t have a problem with that. “Some day, when we become civilized and can fight back the Church and its objections, we will have a better way of handling these things. … When one sees that there is no hope … this is an honorable and reasonable way.”
In March of 1971, Max first attempted suicide. Like the woman mentioned above, he tried to ingest a lethal dose of sleeping pills. Unlike hers, his attempt failed. Because of this, however, it became obvious that the Huna material had to be finalized and all the loose ends needed to be tied.
He’d been working on a book, What Jesus Taught in Secret, on which he focused his attention, getting it ready for publication. He culled through his notes; he took care of the loose ends. He didn’t want to leave anything undone that might be confusing or misinterpreted after he was gone.
Once everything was in order, he tried again and was successful. On September 23, 1971, at 11:00pm, Max Freedom Long put a shotgun to his head and pulled the trigger. It was time for him to move on and he knew it. At the time, the Huna group called it ‘graduation,’ moving on to a higher plane, and his spirit was ready to do that. He had done all he could do in this lifetime.
He also left the message, via Clairesthesia, that he would be returning, bringing all the ‘true believers’ with him. According to the Mo`i of the Huna Heiau, in April of 2001, “He should have been born along with them about a year ago. Then [he should] be ready to set his effort with Huna once again in about 2020.” Max hoped that Huna would survive during the time he was gone and that he would be able to find it again once he came of age. Huna is still alive and, should he be here, it is here for him to re-discover. It has been changed and adulterated a bit, but the core is pure and the potential still exists.
Max wanted to heal the world with Huna. Unfortunately, one lifetime isn’t enough, especially when one is suffering with the pain of cancer and the heartache of watching a life’s work go unfinished. But unfinished as it was, it has been a boon to many, many people throughout the world and will continue to be so. He gave us a gift that is very precious and we must be thankful for his dedication and tenacity.
“I offer only the tentative fruits of my research. If something is said that you feel is correct, then accept it, but if not, then do not. Of course, there are different ways to look at things.” (Bull. #96, pg. 2)
“I look upon the ‘final union’ as a thing of ultimate beauty, dearness and fulfillment. To me, it is the Second Salvation, the First Salvation being the discovery that there is an Aumakua and making the first full contact with it. Once we have been through this and have felt the flood of love and wonder from the Aumakua, how can we draw back from the attempt to become one?” (Bull. #97, p. 3)