Pele and The Creation of Hawaii
Discover how Pele, the goddess of volcanoes and fire, helped create the Hawaiian Island chain.
Now, as we are getting closer to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we are nearing the home of Pele, the goddess of fire, lightning and volcanoes. Hawaiians believe that Hawaii’s volcanoes are all Pele’s handiwork. Since we will be in Pele’s domain today, let me tell you more about this goddess who is both to be feared and admired.
According to ancient legends, Pele descended from the great spirits of Hikapoloa. She came from a family where each sibling had a role to play in shaping the earth. Her many brothers were each named after a destructive force in nature: thunder, explosions, rain of fire, and lava fountains… so you can see where Pele gets her fiery temperament. It kinda runs in the family. Pele is often described as very beautiful woman when she takes a human form. But she also has the ability to take on other forms, such as fire and lava. In Hawaiian legends, Pele is both flirtatious and jealous - so with her hot temper, believe me, you do not want to get on her bad side.
It is believed that Pele’s power to control volcanoes is what created the islands of Hawaii. As the story goes, Pele’s older sister, Na-Maka, was angry with Pele because she had seduced her husband. Because of this, Pele was driven from her home on Kauai and chased by her older sister. Every time Pele plunged her digging stick into the earth to begin building a new home, her sister Na-Maka, the goddess of the ocean, would flood the pits. This is how the islands of Oahu and Maui were formed with each attempt being stopped by Na-Maka. Pele eventually landed on the Hawai’i island, or Big island, where she made Mauna Loa her new home. Mauna Loa was so tall that even the goddess of the ocean could not send waves high enough to quench Pele’s fires. So here on the Big island, Pele finally made her home… and here she is believed to still reside to this day.
Whether you believe or not, please remember this fire goddess, madam Pele, as we will talk about her throughout the tour today. Soon, you will come to find out that madam Pele is still very much alive and actively changing the landscape of the island.
Want to learn more about Pele and Hawaii's many legends? Check out our Big Island Tour Bundle!