in the Spotlight
by Fiana Sidhe
Lammas 2002, Vol 1-4
MatriFocus, a Cross-Quarterly Web Zine for Goddess Women Near & Far
Born of the heat of the Earth, the Goddess Pele is like the fire and volcanos that she rules over. Fire can cook for us and warm us, or it can destroy all that we hold dear. A volcanic mountain can be a beautiful breath-taking scene, or it can be a horror when it erupts and strands of Peles hair flow down from it, destroying everything in their path.
The Hawaiian Goddess Pele is both beloved and feared. True to her opposite nature, Pele is usually described appearing in the form of a beautiful young woman or as a haggardly old woman.
Many tales are told of Pele in her tempest form, seducing human men. Peles greatest conquest was the Prince Lohiau, of the island Kauai. Not knowing that she was a Goddess, Lohiau fell in love with Pele and asked her to marry him. Since she loved him also, they were wed. Shortly after their marriage, Pele had to return to her home in Mount Kilauea, but she promised to return quickly. Sadly, Pele was gone a very long time, and thinking that she had left him, Lohiau died of a broken heart.
Other endings to this myth say that Pele sent her sister Hiiaka, Goddess of the Sea, to fetch the prince and Hiiaka and Lohiau took a very long time returning to Pele. As Pele waited for her sister and her lover, she grew suspicious of them and tried to kill them both. Lohiau was killed, but Hiiaka returned his spirit to his body.
Other Myths are told of Pele wandering up to people in the form of an old beggar woman, asking them if they have any food or drink to spare. Those who share with her are rewarded and spared. Those who are greedy and unkind to her are punished by having their homes or crops destroyed, so that they themselves may have to rely on the kindness of others.
Pele is often depicted as a wanderer, constantly traveling her domain. Sightings of Pele have been reported all over the islands of Hawaii for hundreds of years, but especially near craters and her home, Mount Kilauea, one of the most active volcanos on Earth.
Goddess sightings are not just restricted to Hawaii, all over the world
people have reported seeing an apparition of a woman in the eruptions