Madame Pele or Tutu Pele is revered and respected in Hawaiian culture for her power and force.
She is the goddess of the volcano and fire.
To Hawaiian people, Pelehonuamea is the creator of earth.
UH Manoa Hawaiian language professor Kaliko Baker said that in Hawaiian folklore Pele and her clan were looking for a home.
They traveled down the island chain starting with Kauai.
Pele dug deep into the earth on each island, only to hit water.
Finally, when she arrived at Kilauea on the Big Island she dug deep and found fire.
That is why she chose Kilauea as her home and has lived there ever since.
“Pele the goddess and the Pele the lava are one in the same,” Baker said. “It’s important to know that Pele is as natural to us, Hawaiians, the aboriginals of this island, as the wind that blows, as the ocean that crashes on the shores, as the lava that flows out of the volcano. It’s our norm and when Pele comes we just move cause she got the right of way.”
In Hawaiian culture and folklore, the gods are an active part of nature and are often seen in natural events like the eruption in Leilani Estates on the East Rift Zone of Kilauea.
There are countless drawings and even photos of lava where people claim to see the face of Pele.
Baker said it’s not uncommon for cultures or religions worldwide to see images of their gods or deities.
He added that it makes sense that some Hawaiian people would see the face of Pelehonuamea in the lava.