Monday, March 11, 2013

Goddess Series: Pele

This necklace features gemstone chips (carnelian, hematite, and citrine), lava beads, and various glass beads.  It also has a red wire-wrapped fried glass gem hanging over a luminous black focal pendant, both seeming evocative of Pele.  The chain, toggle, and other findings are also the same tone of black as the pendant, giving the impression of cooled lava.

Pele is one of the best known of the Hawaiian deities.  She is also known as "She Who Shapes The Land."  According to the Hawaiian myths, Pele and her siblings were originally from Tahiti. They traveled to Hawaii by boat, the stories as to why they emigrated from Tahiti differ.  One story says that she seduced the husband of her older sister, Na-maka-o-kaha'i.  Her older sister flooded her home repeatedly, so Pele went searching for a new place to live.  She traveled from island to island, her youngest sister, Hi'iaka, under her armpit during the voyage while she paddled the boat.  Hi'iaka was in an egg, still unborn during this time and Pele both protected her and kept her warm by doing this.  Every time she landed and dug a new crater to house her and her siblings, Na-maka-o-kaha'i would flood the crater with sea water.  Finally, Pele came upon the Kilauea Volcano.  It was high enough that it would not succumb to the ocean's waters, and thereby was a safe haven.  She invited her brothers to live on the island with her, and they accepted.  There were other deities on this island before Pele and her siblings arrived.  There are many myths regarding their interactions with these newcomers.

Pele is associated with volcanoes, lava, fire and is also one of the goddesses of the hula.  She is a destructive being, but is also the creator of land, increasing her island's size with her lava.  She either takes the form of a beautiful young woman with long untamed hair, or an old woman with long white hair, wearing a long white gown, and accompanied by a white dog.  She is wild, temperamental, impatient, beautiful, and seductive.  She has many love affairs with mortals, gods, and a demigod, most ending poorly for her lovers, though some survived her temper.  She truly is the essence of fire.

She is still worshiped, or at the very least respected, in the Hawaiian islands, and is one of the few remaining deities to be so.  Offerings are still presented to her and there are stories about visitors who would steal rocks from her volcano, only for those rocks to be returned with apologies due to strange events happening afterwards.  She is apparently a tenacious goddess and also not one to be trifled with.

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