On the Island of Hawaii (“Big Island”), a real threat of devastation is approaching. The active lava flow is moving closer to homes and properties near the town of Pahoa every minute, causing serious implications for residents and the community. For weeks, the hot molten lava has inched its way, creating a path of destruction. Our hearts go out to those who are, or may be affected by this serious natural disaster. To learn more about the current situation on the Big Island, visit http://www.weather.com/news/hawaii-lava-flow-update-20141029.
When many of us think of lava and of volcanoes, one thing comes to mind; Pele. In the Hawaiian culture, Pele is the volcano goddess, spewing flames of lava into the air that both create and destroy land. Many legends surround her but most tell a story of how she came to the Islands of Hawaii after being exiled from Tahiti by her father.
Her temper was fierce as she canoed across the Pacific looking for a place to make her home. The volcano goddess dug into the land with her o’o stick (a traditional groundbreaking stick), just off the waters near the island of Niihau where a small volcanic cone exists today, known as Lehua.
Although legends vary, it is then said that Pele arrived on the island of Kauai. There, she made her mark traveling along the Na Pali coast in search of a place to live but to no avail. She continued to canoe, landing next on Oahu and carving out several fire pits, one of which we know today as Diamond Head Crater. From there, Pele made stops on Molokai and then to Maui where it is said she had a deadly battle with her sister that resulted in her mortality.
After death, Pele is said to have retreated to the “Big Island” of Hawaii where she finally found her resting place in what is now the Kilauea Volcano. Pele is still, to this day, a highly respected element of Hawaiian culture and her visible existence continues to leave its mark on the Islands.