The Legend of Pele
There are several traditional legends associated with Pele in Hawaiian mythology. Pele is recognized as the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes, while also known for her creative power, passion, purpose, and profound love. She has numerous siblings, including Kāne Milohai, Kamohoaliʻi, Nāmaka and 13 sisters named Hiʻiaka, the most famous being Hiʻiakaikapoliopele (Hiʻiaka in the bosom of Pele). They are usually considered to be the offspring of Haumea. Pele’s home is believed to be Halemaʻumaʻu crater, at the summit caldera of Kīlauea, one of the Earth’s most active volcanoes; and her domain encompasses all volcanic activity on Hawai’i Island. Every incident with a volcanic eruption in Hawaii it is said to be Pele’s way of expressing her longing to be with her true love.
Pele’s Voyage to Hawaii by Herb Kawainui Kāne
From Tahiti comes the woman, Pele,
From the land of Bora Bora,
From the rising mist of Kane, dawn swelling in the sky,
From the clouds blazing over Tahiti
Guided by her elder brother, Kamohoali‘i, in the form of a great shark, Pele voyaged with brothers and sisters in a great canoe from her South Pacific homeland. She carried her beloved little sister, Hi‘iaka, in the shape of an egg. Hi’iaka emerged from her shell in Hawai‘i and become a spirit of dance. Pele, and two of her sisters, Hi‘iaka and Laka, were the supreme patronesses of the dance. In current cultural revival, many dances and dance chants are dedicated to them.
She is Pele-honua-mea, Pele of the sacred land. The Goddess is making all facets of herself known, from the traditional volcanic goddess and keeper of the land, to the gracious, compassionate one whose love for her land and people is unconditional. As one looks at the sculpture, you may hear Pele say, ‘know me from the inside out’. She is the Universal energy, helping this earth in its evolution from who we are now to who we are to become as multi-dimensional beings that hold this unique place in the Universe.
- ‘Pele, Goddess of Hawai’i’s Volcanoes’ by Herb Kawainui Kane
- Ke Ola magazine, Jan/Feb 2013 Issue, ‘The Goddess and the Artist,’ by Gayle ‘Kaleilehua’ Greco