Pele, the Revered Goddess of Fire and Volcanoes

In the heart of Hawaiian mythology is the fiery spirit of Pele, the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes. Revered by the Hawaiian people, Pele is both a destructive and creative force, embodying the power and beauty of nature’s most formidable elements.

The Legend of Pele

pele the goddess of hawaiiAccording to legend, Pele is one of the children of Haumea, the earth goddess, and Kane Milohai, the creator god. Born in the mystical land of Kahiki, Pele’s journey brought her to the Hawaiian islands, where she sought a place to make her home. The stories of her travels and her fiery temperament are woven into the fabric of Hawaiian culture, inspiring awe and respect among the islands’ inhabitants. She has been known to take many forms—sometimes as a young, beautiful woman with an imposing presence, sometimes as a humble, elderly lady looking for assistance. If you refuse to help an old lady in Hawai‘i, you could be rejecting the volcano goddess. Be warned—upsetting Pele never turns out well for anyone in the legends.

The Creative Fire

Despite her reputation for destruction, Pele is also known as a creator goddess. It is said that she shapes the land with her volcanic eruptions, creating new land and reshaping the landscape. Her creative fire is a symbol of renewal and transformation, reminding the Hawaiian people of the ever-changing nature of the world around them.

Pele’s Temples and Sacred Sites

Throughout the Hawaiian islands, there are numerous sites dedicated to Pele, including Halema’uma’u crater at the summit of Kīlauea volcano, which is considered her home. These sites are revered by the Hawaiian people, who offer prayers and offerings to Pele in hopes of gaining her favor and protection.

Pele’s Wrath

Pele is also known for her fiery temper and her ability to unleash devastating eruptions. Legend has it that those who disrespect or anger Pele are met with her wrath, often in the form of volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters. This aspect of Pele serves as a reminder of the power and unpredictability of nature.

lava on the big island

Honoring Pele

Pele is deeply respected and honored by the Hawaiian people. Ceremonies and rituals are held to honor Pele and ask for her guidance and protection. Offerings of flowers, fruit, and other gifts are made to appease her and show reverence for her power.

Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes, is a central figure in Hawaiian mythology, embodying the power and beauty of nature. Revered for her creative force and feared for her destructive power, Pele is a symbol of the ever-changing and unpredictable nature of the world. Her legend lives on in the hearts and minds of the Hawaiian people, who continue to honor and respect her to this day.

Hawaii is full of amazing history, stories and legends. I cover a number of them in my guides to the islands, plus just about everything else you might want to know about vacationing in the Aloha State. Whether it’s one of my guidebooks, the smartphone app or the GPS Drive Tours, my believable guides will help lead you to unbelievable vacations.



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