In the traditions of ancient Hawaiʻi, Kanaloa is a god symbolized by the squid or by the octopus, and is typically associated with Kāne. It is also the name of an extinct volcano in Hawaiʻi.
In legends and chants, Kāne and Kanaloa are portrayed as complementary powers (Beckwith 1970:62–65). For example: Kāne was called upon during the building of a canoe, Kanaloa during the sailing of it; Kāne governed the northern edge of the ecliptic, Kanaloa the southern; and Kāne then taps them out. In this way, they represent a divine duality of wild and taming forces like those observed (by Georges Dumézil, et al.) in Indo-European chief god-pairs like Odin–Týr and Mitra–Varuna, and like the popular yin and yang of Chinese Taoism.
Kanaloa is also considered to be the god of the Underworld and a teacher of magic. Legends state that he became the leader of the first group of spirits "spit out" by the gods. In time, he led them in a rebellion in which the spirits were defeated by the gods and as punishment were thrown in the Underworld. In traditional, pre-contact Hawaiʻi, it was Milu who was the god of the Underworld and death, not Kanaloa; the related Miru traditions of other Polynesian cultures support this.
The Eye of Kanaloa is an esoteric symbol associated with the god in New Age Huna teaching, consisting of a seven-pointed star surrounded by concentric circles that are regularly divided by eight lines radiating from the inner-most circle to the outer-most circle. Kanaloa is also associated with the Ocean as a god of the sea, hence his association with boats and squid. Huna, as a New Age religion developed in the 20th Century by a Caucasian-American founder, bears no relation to the Native Hawaiian Religion. Native Hawaiians reject "Huna" as a mishmash of Hawaiian elements with European religious metaphysical ideas.
- Tangaroa, the Māori god of the sea.
- Tagaloa Samoan mythology
- Tangaloa Tongan mythology
- Ta'aroa Tahitian mythology
- M. Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology (University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu, 1970).
- G. Dumezil, Mitra-Varuna (MIT Press: Cambridge, 1988).
- P. Turner & C. R. Coulter, Dictionary of Ancient Deities (Oxford University Press: New York, 2001).