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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in volcanoes

PHOTOS: Mount Etna erupts in Italy, spewing smoke, ashes, and lava 

 

Europe's most active volcano, Sicily's Mt. Etna, is erupting again.

Today, therefore, let me tell you a story of a previous eruption: a true story, a story profoundly pagan.

It took place during the 1980s.

 

The old woman had lived in the house on the slopes of Mt. Etna all her life. She had been born in the house; there she was married, there she bore her children and, after her husband's death, raised them herself.

Now the lava was coming.

Her son had driven up from Palermo to take her to safety. The car was fully loaded. Now she stands alone in the kitchen, for what might well be the last time.

She opens a bottle of wine, wine that she made herself from grapes raised and pressed on the volcano's fertile slopes. She pours two glasses.

She salutes the mountain with which she has lived in relationship all her life. She drinks a final toast.

Then she leaves, perhaps never to return.

On the kitchen table behind her stand two glasses: one empty, one full.

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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
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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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, April 30

This week on Earthy Thursday we take a look at the world of plants, fungi, and other non-animal organisms. We often think of these seemingly "vegetative" lifeforms as less alive than animals but I think you'll agree that after seeing the stories we've gathered that's far from the truth. Additionally, we've got a few extra stories, including one about the Yellowstone supervolcano.

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