Is the Hawaiian Goddess of Volcanoes, Fire, Lightning, Dance, and Violence. Local legend places that Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, is the specific home of the Hawaiian Goddess Pele, in the Halema’uma’u crater at the summit caldera of Kilauea. She only erupts when she is angry. Several specific lava formations are named after her including “Pele’s Tears” (small droplets of lava that cool in the air and retain their teardrop shapes) and Pele’s Hair (thin, brittle strands of volcanic glass that often form during the explosions that accompany a lava flow as it enters the ocean). It was at the location of Kilauea where it is believed that Pele and the rain God Kamapua’a fought. Halema?uma?u, “House of the ?ama?uma?u fern”, derives its name from the final struggle between the two gods: since it was the favorite residence of Pele, Kamapua?a, hard-pressed by Pele’s ability to make lava spout from the ground at will, covered it with the fronds of the fern. Choking from the smoke which could not escape anymore, Pele emerged. Realizing that each could threaten the other with destruction, the gods had to call their fight a draw and divided the island between them: Kamapua?a got the windward northeastern side, and Pele got the drier Kona (“leeward”) side. The rusty singed appearance of the young fronds of the ?ama?uma?u was said to be a product of the legendary struggle. Pele has numerous siblings including K?ne Milohai, Kamohoali?i, N?maka and 13 sisters named Hi?iaka, the most famous being Hi?iakaikapoliopele (Hi?iaka in the bosom of Pele who are all considered to be the offspring of Haumea. Another mythos is that Pele came from a land said to be close to the clouds, with her parents Kane-hoa-lani and Ka-hina-li?i, and brothers Ka-moho-ali?i and Kahuila-o-ka-lani. She had a daughter with her husband Wahieloa (also called Wahialoa) that she named Laka and a son named Menehune. Pele-kumu-honua entices her husband and Pele travels in search of him. The sea pours from her head over the land of Kanaloa (perhaps the island now known asKaho?olawe) and her brothers say: “A sea! a sea! Forth bursts the sea, Bursts forth over Kanaloa (Kahoolawe),
The sea rises to the hills. . . .” “Thrice” (according to the chant) the sea floods the land, then recedes. These floodings are called The-sea-of-Ka-hina-li?i.
Living Stone:Hawai’ian tradition says that the volcano Goddess Pele, resides in the Halema’uma’u, the summit cratere of Kilauea. As a powerful creative force in nature, with a presence that is both physical and spiritual, she is clearly an inspiration to many. The elemental sculpture, Ulumau Pohaku Pele (ever growing rock of Pele), honors Pele, and the wahi kapu (sacred places) of Kilauea and Mauna Loa.
~ historical marker at Volcano National Park