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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Pele

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
'Ulei: A Tale of Madame Pele

During the 1955 eruption of Hawai'is Mount Kilauea, a large section of Puna was cut off from the rest of the island by two massive lava-flows. As a safety precaution, the authorities evacuated the entire area.

Three men from a local sugar company chartered a plane to check on canefields in the impacted area. The plane set them down between the two lava-flows. Much to their surprise, they came upon a striking native woman in a red dress, with a great cloud of black hair down her back, sitting at the edge of the cane-field.

“Hi,” said the men.

“Aloha,” said the woman.

“What are you doing here?” they asked.

She smiled. “Just resting here in the shadow of the sugarcane.”

“This area was evacuated two weeks ago,” the men told her. “You're in terrible danger: you're between two lava flows here.”

The woman just smiled.

“What is your name?” they asked her.

“'Ulei,” she said. 'Ulei is a Hawai'ian shrub with small, white, rose-like flowers.

The men offered to take her to safety with them on their plane.

“Oh, I'm not leaving yet,” she said, “At least, not today; I still have work to do here. Perhaps I'll be ready to go next week.”

The men warned the woman that they would have to report her to the authorities, as her presence in the area was illegal. "These laws exist to protect people," they told her.

For the first time, the woman looked displeased.

“I follow my own laws,” she told them.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Goddesses in the News

Since Kilauea began its most recent eruption a fortnight ago, we've been hearing a lot in the news about Madame Pele, Lady of Kilauea.

Every pagan should sit up and take notice.

Even from here in Minnesota, I've heard Hawaiians of many different ethnic backgrounds talking about Her. It's well worth listening closely to what they say.

No one tries to explain Her away as a metaphor or an archetype. No one mounts a defense of Traditional Hawaiian religion. They simply speak of Pele as an indisputable datum, as real as the old lady next door.

In fact, people do see Her in human form all the time. “With great regularity Pele stories appear, usually on Page One, of every Hawai'i newspaper from Hilo to Hanalei,” writes Rick Carroll, editor of the anthology Madame Pele: True Encounters with Hawai'i's Fire Goddess. “Over the years, I clipped Pele tales from Time magazine, the New Yorker, National Geographic, and mainland newspapers” (Caroll xiii-ix).

I've noticed that people usually (although not always) give enough qualifying explanation for us non-Hawaiians to understand what they're saying: “the goddess Pele,” “Pele the volcano goddess.” Information needs to be contextualized, after all; your hearer needs to know enough to be able to understand what you're saying.

I doubt that most of the folks that I've heard speaking of the Red Lady to reporters would describe themselves as practicing Traditional Hawaiian religion.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Propitiations

 propitiate v. To conciliate (an offended power); appease [Latin propitiare, “make favorable, gracious”]

 

Hawaiians are making offerings to Madame Pele, Lady of Kilauea.

As well they should be.

Those of us who live in places prone to natural disasters understand that—whatever else they may be—the gods are real, active powers Out There. Who cares about the Pele Within when a geyser of molten rock has just erupted in the backyard?

Volcanoes, hurricanes, blizzards: those of us who live with these things—these beings—know that, in the end, it all comes down to relationship, and—as with all relationships—to maintain good relations takes effort.

During a recent eruption of Mt. Etna in Sicily, I heard a story about an old woman who had lived on the mountain all her life. Her village was being evacuated because it was in the direct path of the lava flow.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

For the second time in just a few weeks, a Goddess carrying a message of embracing my anger has come to visit. While it's a bit jarring, after spending last week contemplating inspiring art, just a little reflection made it clear to me that my anger often is the source of my inspiration. As an activist and advocate for a variety of social justice causes, it is often anger at injustice that sparks me to words and action. This in so many ways does not square with what we are taught about being "good women." After all, a "good woman" is never angry, takes things in stride, is always smiling and compliant. One of the biggest strawman arguments in the world is that of the "Angry Feminist" who is humorless and always raging incoherently at the latest imagined slight. What this ignores, of course, is that women and other marginalized groups often have very real, valid reasons for our anger, and have the right to express it. Anger, in short, is not always a negative emotion -- it can spur us to positive action, open dialogue, and facilitate healing when we learn how to work with it.

And so it is that Pele, Hawaiian volcano Goddess, comes dancing into my life this week, from the cards of my Goddess Inspiration Oracle:

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PaganNewsBeagle Fiery Tuesday Nov 18

In today's Fiery Tuesday, we have a set of stories that touch on minority religious beliefs in North America: a Muslim prisoner's beard sparks a Supreme Court case; Canada to ban polygamy?; when is fortune-telling fraud?; welcoming Pele's lava; a Sikh sues to join US military -- with his beard intact.

Why should Pagans give a care about the Holt vs. Hayes Supreme Court case? This post lays out the important religious rights issues in the case.

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PaganNewsBeagle Fiery Tuesday Nov 4

In today's Fiery Tuesday post, we are taking a break from activism and politics (we figure it being Voting Day in the U.S. is pretty much enough of *that* kind of news) and are concentrating on Elemental Fire. Fiery videos, erupting volcanoes, Ragnarok and climate change, and #Gamergate. A pretty fiery mix!

First up is a mysterious and enthralling video entitled "Bridge Brothers Fire" sent to us by a reader. Now you know everything that we do -- is this a ritual? An art project? A shamanic dream? Whatever it is, we sure enjoyed watching it!

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