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Pele

by Micha F. Lindemans
The Hawaiian (Polynesian) goddess of the fire in the volcano, the mother of eruptions. She is a ravishing, whimsical goddess who resides in the volcano Kilauea on Hawaii. Daughter of the goddess Haumea. She is the personification of the (female) power of destruction and her jealous rages were believed to cause Kilauea's eruptions. Pele also controls lightning. Her favorite sister is Hi'iaka (or Hi'iaka i ka poli o Pele), the patroness of hula dancers.

Pele was born in Honua-Mea, part of Tahiti. Because of her eruptive temper, her father Kane Milohai exiled her from their home island. She was given a canoe and traveled north in search of an auspicious island in which to make her home. She visited many islands but whenever she started digging, thinking to make the foundations of her new house, the place appeared to be unsatisfactory for some reason or other. The pits she dug can still be seen, as immense craters, relics of extinct volcanoes now filled with water. Finally she arrived on Hawaii, where she created Mount Kilauea, her new home. Pele became very happy there because it was the Navel of the World, Ka Piko o ka Honua. There, the gods began Creation.

Pele appears in many forms, such as a young child, a beautiful young girl or an old crone. She usually wears black.


Article details:

  • Pronunciation:
    pay'-lay

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