Who was the Hawaiian Goddess Pele?

 

Who was the Hawaiian Goddess, Pele? Some claim she was a human, others believe she is the spirit of the island. There are many versions of how Pele came to Hawaii. One common legend says that Pele, who was born in Honua-Mea in Tahiti, was sent away by her father because of her difficult temper and for seducing her sister’s husband. She found her way to the Hawaiian Islands where her angry outbursts, countless lovers, and shenanigans turned into the legend that is now the fiery Pele.

I’d like to believe that Pele was a real woman who walked the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

Pele is often portrayed as a wanderer, and sightings of the goddess have been reported throughout the islands for hundreds of years. The most sightings are near volcanic craters and near her home of Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

In these sightings or visions, she appears as either a very tall, beautiful young woman or an unattractive and frail elderly woman usually accompanied by a white dog. The legend states that Pele takes the form of an elderly beggar woman to test people – asking them if they have food or drink to share. Those who are generous and share with her are rewarded while anyone who is greedy or unkind are punished with their homes or other valuables destroyed. Yikes! The most famous legend, however, is that of the lava rocks. Whatever you do, don’t take lava rocks home with you from Hawaii.

The Goddess Pele reminds us of the passion and strength we possess in the shedding of the old, to make space for new beginnings. Pele was born of the female spirit Haumea, who descended from the supreme beings Earth Mother and Sky Father. Pele is a reminder that in all that passes, no matter how fiery, beautiful new growth prevails.

 

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