Pele, Volcano Goddess of Hawai‘i

A History


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About the Book

When the first Europeans arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778, the volcano goddess Pele was the central deity of a complex religion in the volcano districts of Hawai‘i Island. While native Hawaiians were quickly converted to Christianity, Pele remained remarkably relevant as a deity. This book is a critical biography of the volcano goddess, as well as a history of her religion. Topics covered include the ongoing belief in Pele, her popular manifestations, her ceremonies, her new cultural roles and her current status in Hawai‘i. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Cultural anthropologist H. Arlo Nimmo has published eight books and dozens of articles. He is professor emeritus of anthropology at California State University East Bay and lives in San Francisco.

Bibliographic Details

H. Arlo Nimmo

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 249
Bibliographic Info: 18 photos, 3 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6347-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8653-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

1. The Traditional Pele Literature 5

2. Pele and Hi‘iaka 41

3. The Traditional Pele Religion 76

4. Post-Contact Encounters with Pele 103

5. Post-Contact Ceremonies for Pele 129

6. Pele’s New and Ongoing Roles 158

7. The Pele Religion in Contemporary Hawai‘i 178

Appendix A: Siblings of Pele 197

Appendix B: Places in the Hawaiian Islands Visited by Pele 203

Appendix C: Epithets for Pele 208

Source Notes 211

Bibliography 221

Index 235