PELE, Goddess of Hawaii's Volcanoes
Artist: Herb Kawainui Kane
“She is Pele-honua-mea, Pele of the
She who rules
the volcanoes of
Unity; Tradition; Protection; Creativity; Change
Symbols: Fire; Red-colored Items
From 365 Goddess by Patricia Telesco
Myth of Pele
is said that Pele has not always resided in
“In the form of a great shark her elder brother Ka-moho-ali’I, the custodian of the Water of Life, guided the canoe northward. Some of her brothers and sisters sailed with her. Their first landfall was in the northern islands of the Hawaiian archipelago.”
Every crater Pele dug with her stick was flooded out by her elder sister. It was believed that water was more powerful than fire. A hill named Ka-iwi-o-Pele (the bones of Pele) stands at the spot that the battle of the elements is said to take place. The site is believed to be her mortal remains.
Artist: Herb Kawainui Kane
the death of her mortal self her spirit was freed and elevated to godly
status. This event, having taken place in the
Artist: Herb Kawainui Kane
favorite sibling was her little sister Hi’laka, spirit of the dance.
It is said that she was born in the
homeland, Haumea, in the form of an egg
and carried by Pele under her arm on an ocean voyage to
artist: Herb Kawainui Kane
From the rising mist of Ka’ne, dawn swelling in the sky,
From the clouds blazing over
The volcano goddess Pele began her journey to
the the Big Island of Hawai'i entrusted by
her mother to take her baby sister with her. Her sister, Hi'iaka, was born inside an egg and carried in Pele's pareu for the long journey. At
long last Pele came home to
Among Pele’s other siblings are Laka, Goddess of fertility and like Pele, a patroness of the dance. Laka also could appear as Kapo, a goddess of sorcery and dark powers and a shapeshifter at will. Also a mortal sister, Kaohelo, whom at her death, was transformed into a shrub that flourishes in the volcano region producing edible red berries.
Her brothers include Kane-hekili, spirit of the thunder; Ka-poho-i-Kahi-ola, spirit of the rain of fire; and Ke-o-ahi-Kama-Kaua. The brother most sacred to her is Ka-moho-ali’i. He could appear as a man with tattooed black hands or as a shark. He resides in a deep pit at the eastern rim of the world where the sun rises. Evidence of Pele’s respect for him, her volcanic steam never touches his crater.
Legends of Madame Pele
It is said that she comes to us in many forms. You could see her in the form of a beautiful young woman, flowing crimson dress with the blackest of hair. Others say to have seen her as an old woman. Many encounters with Pele have been seeing her hitchhiking on the side of a road, asking for cigarettes, seeing who respects her requests and who does not. Others mention seeing her figure accompanied by a white dog. This is said to be a sign of warning, a sign that an eruption isn’t far behind!
Another myth about Madame is to never take a piece of her land for a souvenir. Bad luck is said to follow you from the moment that you leave with it! Although the myth is said to be a story make up years ago, hundred of rocks are sent back to the islands every year with a note pleading to please put the rocks or sand back on the island.
“…the staff at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park doesn’t want another story written about lava rocks. They say that each article generates even more returns of lava rocks to the park. Norrie Judd, one of the park’s rangers, receives about five packages a day from visitors wanting to return something they took from the island. A majority of the items sent back are lava rocks, but sand, coral, figurines, and jewelry made out of lava are also common.
“People sent them back for a reason. They have very sad stories,” she says ”Their house was broken into, they broke their leg, somebody died. Then they hear about this curse of taking things off the island and they send it back with their humble apology in hopes that the curse is broken.”
Pele is the goddess of the volcano. Her nature is complex, being the embodiment of both creator and destroyer. Her expression conveys her glory of power and grace. In 2003, this original 48" x 60" oil painting was honored as one of the 13 finalists chosen from over 140 paintings entered in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s competition for a painting of the volcano goddess. Linda Rowell Stevens' Pele is available as a 28" x 35" signed and numbered limited edition giclée print.
A limited edition sculpture by
Herb Kawainui Kane
"Pele Dreaming" is the first sculptural image of the goddess Pele created by Hawaiian artist Herb Kawainui Kane. It is a life-size bas-relief sculpture designed in 1989 for limited replication in an edition of 500. The sculpture is approximately 34" in diameter and 4" in depth. The subject is Pele, the personification of volcanic majesty, interpreted as a sleeping woman, her hair being interpreted as pahoehoe lava, against a background of flame. A single flame is rising from her hand.
Goddess Madame Pele
With her fiery passion
She creates the land
Ever changing her home
On the sacred sand.
that are precious to her.
To take any of it
You are sure to get burned.
From her beautiful sacred ground,
Leave a gift behind for her
To keep your luck sound.
She calls home
High enough for her
To never feel alone.
Every single one,
They live upon her land
Knowing she’s not done.
She comes in many ways
A beautiful young woman
Or an old lady with gray.
They say that is a sign
That an eruption filled with fury
Isn’t far behind.
Her fire she makes
It boils down the mountain
Sealing the path’s fate.
Her beauty a magnificent sight.
Her land and children she keeps protected
Forever through the day and night.
Pele: Goddess of
2. Madame Pele: True Encounters With Hawai’i’s Fire Goddess, a collection by Rick Carroll
3. 365 Goddess by Patricia Telesco
A display of paintings that
chronicle the history of
2. Pele, Goddess of Hawai’i’s Volcanoes: http://peledreaming.com/about-pele.html