Everything I Know About Pele I Learned from The Brady Bunch

Not entirely true, but the Hawaiian episode was my favorite. Black sand beaches,  a cursed tiki idol and Vincent Price? C’mon!

Pele, goddess of fire and lightning, is believed to make her home in the crater of The Kilauea Volcano. There are several myths regarding her ties to the Hawaiian Islands (all wild and worthy),  yet despite these supernatural origins she is often “seen” in the guise of a mortal woman, wandering. Treat her well, and her favor is yours in abundance. Scorn her (or worse) take from her beloved Kilauea,  and you will wish that you were part of a fictional TV family dodging falling wall art and tarantulas!

You know who knows a little something about Pele (and just about anything else)? Raymond Buckland! Here’s what he has to say about the tempestuous goddess in The Weiser Field Guide to Ghosts:

Pele – or “Madame Pele” – is Hawaii’s goddess of fire, lightning, dance, volcanoes, and violence. There are various myths about her origins, but she is mainly associated with Hawaii’s volcanoes…

Pepe is very beautiful “with a back straight as a cliff and breasts rounded like the moon.” She has many lovers. Her apparition appears as a young and beautiful woman, frequently dressed in a bright red muumuu and most often seen in the early morning hours, walking along a deserted road. You should stop to offer her a lift, otherwise she will become extremely angry, and her wrath is to be avoided at all costs!

Photographs of fiery eruptions have included what looked like the face of Pele. She is well respected by Christians, Buddhists, Shinto, and others. Since 1983 she has destroyed more than a hundred structures on the Big Island and has added more than seventy acres of land to the island’s southeastern coastline.

Pele has been encountered by drivers who think they are picking up and old woman dressed all in white, usually accompanied by a little dog, on roads in Kilauea National Park. But then they look in the rearview mirror to find that the backseat is empty.

Kilauea has been erupting spectacularly of late, so keep on your toes.

Oh – and if you happen to have a little lava laying around the house that you swiped for a souvenir – do yourself a favor and send it back!

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