Encountering Pele: The Fire Goddess of Hawaii

Goddess in the Lava by ABISS

Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire, is a complex figure. While known for her fiery temperament, she’s also said to walk among mortals. Often depicted as a wanderer, sightings of Pele have been reported for centuries, especially near volcanic craters and her home, Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

Many Faces of the Goddess

Pele appears in two contrasting forms: a beautiful young woman or a frail, elderly one. Often accompanied by a white dog, she’s said to test people’s character. Stories tell of Pele approaching people, asking for food, drink, or even a ride. Helping or sharing with her brings blessings and protection. Conversely, those who are unkind or refuse her requests face the wrath of her volcanic power, losing their possessions and facing hardship. This serves as a reminder of the importance of hospitality and respect for the land.

Here is an interesting read about a Pele sighting at Kilauea reported in 2008. 

Respecting Pele’s Domain

A core belief is to respect Pele’s volcanic home. Taking anything from the land, including lava rocks, sand, or even trinkets made from them, is considered disrespectful. Some believe this tradition was established to deter souvenir hunters, but many stories persist of misfortune befalling those who ignore the warnings. Those seeking to return stolen items or appease Pele can participate in special ceremonies offered on the Big Island.

If you are someone who is having bad luck after realizing you have something of Pele’s, a great service and ceremony are provided to return the items to their rightful home. Check out Lava Rock Return to Hawaii and see the photos & stories of previously returned items.

Pele ~ by Warren Rapozo
Pele by Warren Rapozo

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