Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the grand and exciting Hawaiian epic about the goddesses Pele and Hi’iaka.
As Pele’s sister Hi’iaka and the other gods worried that the volcano and fire goddess’ spirit form (kino wailua) had departed forever, that spirit form was still enjoying its lengthy visit with Prince Lohiau on Kaua’i.
The two had fallen deeply in love and Pele invited Lohiau to come and live with her on Mount Kilauea on the Big Island. He eagerly accepted and so the goddess’ spirit form returned to her body, telling the prince that she would send for him after making a home for the two of them.
Pele’s spirit form reentered her body just as Hi’iaka was chanting a song to her to try to awaken her. Unfortunately the return to her body had taken several days, during which Lohiau was overcome with longing and a terrible feeling that the goddess did not truly love him after all. In despair he hanged himself.
Prince Lohiau’s people mourned and buried the dead man, and sang songs of how Pele’s treatment of him had brought on his suicide. (In some versions their high priest vowed to get revenge on Pele) Back at Mt Kilauea Pele – unaware of Lohiau’s fate – was trying to recruit one of her sibling deities to travel all the way to Kaua’i and escort her beloved to her.
The fire goddess’ siblings were reluctant to go because they knew the dangers posed by all of the hostile monsters and evil mo’o (lizard deities) who lurked along the way. At last Pele had no one left to ask except her youngest sister Hi’iaka.
Hi’iaka was surfing with her female friend Hopoe (the gods often surf in Hawaiian myths). Hopoe was such a dear friend to Hi’iaka that she (Hi’iaka) had honored her by planting the vast forest of red and white lehua trees on the Big Island and making Hopoe the goddess of that forest.
Pele beseeched Hi’iaka to make the long and dangerous journey to Kaua’i and back. Pele – as the goddess who ruled Mt Kilauea, the Axis Mundi in Hawaiian myths – could not bodily leave the Big Island, so Hi’iaka agreed to undertake the task for her older sister.
In some versions Pele warns Hi’iaka that she will destroy Hopoe if Hi’iaka dares to make out or have sex with Lohiau. In other versions she tells Hi’iaka that she is to refrain from touching Lohiau until after Pele has had him all to herself for five days and five nights, following which she will give him to Hi’iaka to be her lover from then on. Unfortunately that version robs the myth of any of its tragic aspects.
At any rate, Hi’iaka prepared to set off on the perilous journey to fetch Prince Lohiau for Pele.
I’LL CONTINUE THE STORY SOON. CHECK BACK ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY LOOK AT THE TOP ELEVEN GODS IN HAWAIIAN MYTHOLOGY CLICK HERE
FOR ANOTHER EPIC MYTH CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2013/03/17/iroquois-epic-myth-hodadeion/
FOR SIMILAR ARTICLES AND MORE OF THE TOP LISTS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/top-lists/
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