Saturday, December 24, 2011


In Hawaiian mythology, Pele is a goddess of fire, lightning, dance, volcanoes and violence, a daughter of Haumea and Kane Milohai. She lives on Kilauea.

The story
Her father exiled her (from her homeland, Honua-Mea in Tahiti) because of her temper, most recently for fighting with her elder water-goddess sister Na-maka-o-Kaha'i (Namaka), whose husband Pele had seduced. She sailed from Tahiti in a canoe guided by her shark-god brother Kā-moho-ali'i, and was followed by her still angry elder sister. Every time she landed on an island and created a new volcanic home, it was flooded out by Na-maka-o-Kaha'i. Finally, the epic battle ended near Hana, Maui, where Pele was torn apart by her sister. Legend says her bones still remain as a hill called Ka-iwi-o-Pele.
Upon death, she became a god and found a home on Mauna Kea, on the Island of Hawai'i. Pele is known for her violent temper, but also for her common visits among mortals. She is said to appear either as a tall, beautiful young woman or as a very old, ugly and frail woman. She is often accompanied by a white dog and typically tests people such as asking if they have any food, drink and in more recent times, rides to another part of the island. Those who show kindness are rewarded and spared. Those who are cruel or disrespectful are punished by way of having their homes or crops destroyed. When enraged she may appear as a woman all aflame or as pure flame.

Pele also loves attending social dances, and is known for great jealousy and vengeance when she doesn't get her man. Stories of Pele encounters are common campfire tales. Her presence can be found around the Kilauea Volcano and Halema‘uma‘u Crater in the form of Pele's tears (tear-shaped lava droplets), Pele's hair (babyfine golden strands of volcanic glass), and limu o Pele (thin sheets or flakes of volcanic glass).

She is also known for cursing Hawaii visitors who return to their homeland with volcanic rock, and has always been considered a protector of the Hawaiian people. Every year many lava rock pieces are shipped back to Hawaii from around the world from people who claim to have experienced horrible misfortune since removing the rocks, accompanied by letters asking for Pele's forgiveness.

After her battle with Na-maka-o-Kaha'i, she found new enemies in the snow-goddess Poliahu whom she fought over Mauna Kea with, and the fertility god Kamapua'a, her sometimes lover.

Pele's other prominent relatives are:
  • Hi'iaka, spirit of the dance
  • Kā-moho-ali'i, a shark god and the keeper of the water of life
  • Ka'ōhelo, a mortal sister
  • Kapo, a goddess of fertility
  • Ka-poho-i-kahi-ola, spirit of explosions
  • Kane-Hekili, spirit of the thunder
  • Ke-ō-ahi-kama-kaua, the spirit of lava fountains
  • Ke-ua-a-ke-pō, spirit of the rain and fire
  • Laka, a goddess of fertility and, like Pele, a patroness of the dance
FROM: Pele (mythology) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Me ke aloha pumehana
—Hawaiian kahuna
Born of the heat of the Earth, the Goddess Pele is like the fire and volcanos that she rules over. Fire can cook for us and warm us, or it can destroy all that we hold dear. A volcanic mountain can be a beautiful breath-taking scene, or it can be a horror when it erupts and strands of Pele’s hair flow down from it, destroying everything in their path.

The Hawaiian Goddess Pele is both beloved and feared. True to her opposite nature, Pele is usually described appearing in the form of a beautiful young woman or as a haggardly old woman.

Many tales are told of Pele in her tempest form, seducing human men. Pele’s greatest conquest was the Prince Lohiau, of the island Kauai. Not knowing that she was a Goddess, Lohiau fell in love with Pele and asked her to marry him. Since she loved him also, they were wed. Shortly after their marriage, Pele had to return to her home in Mount Kilauea, but she promised to return quickly. Sadly, Pele was gone a very long time, and thinking that she had left him, Lohiau died of a broken heart.

Other endings to this myth say that Pele sent her sister Hi’iaka, Goddess of the Sea, to fetch the prince and Hi’iaka and Lohiau took a very long time returning to Pele. As Pele waited for her sister and her lover, she grew suspicious of them and tried to kill them both. Lohiau was killed, but Hi’iaka returned his spirit to his body.

Other Myths are told of Pele wandering up to people in the form of an old beggar woman, asking them if they have any food or drink to spare. Those who share with her are rewarded and spared. Those who are greedy and unkind to her are punished by having their homes or crops destroyed, so that they themselves may have to rely on the kindness of others.

Pele is often depicted as a wanderer, constantly traveling her domain. Sightings of Pele have been reported all over the islands of Hawaii for hundreds of years, but especially near craters and her home, Mount Kilauea, one of the most active volcanos on Earth.

Volcano Goddess sightings are not just restricted to Hawaii, all over the world people have reported seeing an apparition of a woman in the eruptions of volcanos.

Pele’s most notorious legend is the curse she puts on anyone disturbing or stealing from her home. Some people say that this myth was made up by a bus driver, trying to keep tourists to Mount Kilauea from taking souvenirs from the sacred site. Still, each year thousands of pieces of lava rock are mailed back to Hawaii by people all over the world who claim to have had horrible misfortunes since taking the rocks from Pele’s home.
FROM: MatriFocus, Goddess in the Spotlight, Pele


from Goddesses and Heroines
Exerpt from Goddess & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

Even today, visitors to Hawaiian volcanoes report seeing a wizened old woman who asks for a cigarette, lights it with a snap of her fingers, then disappears. Others say that a red-robed woman dances on the rims of the fiery mountains, although it is not certain whether this figure is an incarnation of the goddess or only one of her worshipers.

Of all the world's goddesses, Pele is one of the few still living in the belief of her people, not as metaphor but as metaphysical reality, to whom offerings are still made when volcanic eruptions threaten Hawaiian towns.
A bright daughter of the earth goddess Haumea, Pele spent her girlhood watching fires and learning how to make them, thus revealing her temperament early. This did not please the sea goddess Namaka,who prophesied an unpleasant future for the fire-loving girl, but she, who lived in the ocean, may have been biased. But Namaka had a point: Pele did cause a conflagration in her mother's homeland once, toying with underworld fires.
The mother, knowing that Namaka would persecute Pele on her return, suggested that it was time for Pele to find a home of her own. So she set off in a canoe with several siblings including her sister Hiiaka ("cloudy one"). They were malihini, goddesses who migrated to Hawaii after human settlement there began. Hawaii was only an atoll when they arrived, so Pele used a divining rod to locate likely places to build islands, then caused them to be born in tempestuous eruptions from undersea volcanoes.

Namaka trailed her sister, furious at the destruction Pele had wrought in their original homeland. Ocean and fire met in a terrific brawl, and Pele got the worst of it, rising like a steamy spirit from the fray. No longer embodied, she disappeared into the Hawaiian volcanoes, especially in the fiery part of the crater of Kilauea called Halemaumau, said today to be one of her favorite haunts.

There she was honored by the Hawaiian people as the essence of earthly fire. Into her craters, offerings were cast: cut hair, sugar cane and flowers (especialy hibiscus), white birds, money and strawberries. Some say that human beings were also tossed into the lava; others deny this, claiming there is no evidence for such rites.

There is one famous legend, however, that suggests that some were, if not sacrificed literally, at least consecrated to the goddess. This is the tale of the young Hawaiian man named Lohiau. Pele, it was said, sometimes dozed in her crater, sending her spirit wandering through the islands. One night, hearing the sweet melodies of flutes, she followed the sound until she came upon a group of sacred hula dancers.

Among them was Lohiau. Instantly attracted to him, Pele embodied herself in beautiful human flesh and seduced him. They spent three days making love before she decided that it was time to return to her mountain. Promising to send for him, Pele disappeared, awakening far away on Kilauea.

Not one to break a promise--and immediately desiring the young man again--Pele endowed her sister Hiiaka with magic and sent her off to fetch Lohiau. Hiiaka was a kindly goddess, given to singing with the poet goddess Hopoe and to picking blossoms from the tropical trees. But out of dedication to her sister, Hiiaka set off, first making Pele promise to tend her gardens.

Passing through many trials, often relying on her magic to defeat threatening monsters, Hiiaka reached Lohiau's home just as he died, pining away for his lover Pele. But Hiiaka caught his soul and pushed it back into his body, reviving him. Then they set off for Kilauea.

Although touched by the man's beauty, Hiiaka fully intended to furfill her task and bring Lohiau untouched to her sister. But Pele was a jealous spirit, and she soon began to burn, imagining Hiiaka in Lohiau's arms. The crater began to spit out lava fretfully. Pele was growing angry.

Hiiaka understood the messages from the distant crater and hastened along. Even though challenged for possession of the man by a sorceress (probably Pele in disguise) and even though Lohinu told Hiiaka he loved her more than Pele, the goddess would not betray her sister's trust. All the way to the crater she conveyed the prize, only to find that Pele had not kept her part of the promise, that the volcano goddess had in jealous fury killed the poet Hopoe and scorched Hiiaka's lovely gardens.

Right then and there, on the rim of the crater, Hiiaka made love to Lohiau. Pele, erupting in fury, burned the man to death but could not destroy her immortal sister. Hiiaka, not about to lose to her angry sister, descended to the underworld to free Lohiou's soul. When she arrived at the deepest circle of the underworld, the point at which the rivers of chaos were held back by a gate, it occurred to her that flooding the entire world would thoroughly extinguish Pele and her wrath.

Her conscience kept her from such folly, however. Hiiaka, after freeing Lohiau's soul, determined to return to the surface and demand her lover from Pele. The lustful, angry goddess would not have been willing, except that Lohiau's comrade Paoa arrived in timely fashion to satisfy the goddess's heat. Hiiaka was reunited with Lohiau, and they retired to his country. Pele, meanwhile, found herself a lover of sturdier stuff in the combative hog god Kamapua'a, inventor of agriculture, whose idea of courting a goddess included all but dousing her flames with heavy rain and stampeding pigs across her craters. To this day, their turbulent affair continues on the islands called Hawaii.

FROM: Pele


The Mythology
Pele (pronounced pay'lay) is the volcano Goddess of the Polynesian peoples of Hawaii. according to legend she appears to people as a beautiful and mysterious young woman just before her volcano is about to erupt or as a gnarled old woman who lights her cigarette with the snap of her fingers. Although her preiestessess, the queens of Hawaii, were converted to Christianity when Mauna Loa erupted in 1880, Preincess Keelikolani recited the old chants, gave offerings of silk cloth, and poured brandy into the bubbling lava. Pele, thus appeased, grew calm.

The Lessons of this Goddess
Pele's appearance signals a need for awakening. Have you been sitting still for too long? Have you been lulled into sleep by the evenness in your life? Has reality been too slppery to grasp? Get ready to awaken your awareness and come into full consciousness. Now is the time to see things as they really are, to initiate change so things can be as you want them to be. Now is the time to wake up to your potential and power, to move and shake. Pay attention to all that life is telling you. The Goddess says that when you nurture awakening, your life becomes creative rather than reactive, an infinitely more powerful place to be!

FROM: Pele, Goddess of Awakening


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