If I’m going to write about fire this week, you can bet I’m going to write about Pele.
No, not Pelé the famous soccer player — Pele, the goddess of fire, lightning, dance, volcanoes and violence (see her in the lava on the left? Look closer – she’s there). She lives on Kīlauea, less than two hours from where I live. She has ancestors who live in my town (Pele was mortal and became a goddess upon her death). There are reported sightings of Pele from time to time: she’s either a tall, beautiful young woman or a very old, ugly and frail woman accompanied by a white dog.
A quick digression: each of the Hawaiian islands represent a chakra, and the Big Island is the root chakra, associated with the color (you guessed it) red. It’s a grounding energy. Spiritual lessons involving the root chakra are about the material world (as in, move to the Big Island and give it all up!). Mental and emotional lessons are about survival, self-esteem, social order, security, and family.
Well, I think that pretty much sums up what I’m doing here … writing (which is right up there with self-esteem, social order and hey, let’s be honest here, survival) and learning about love (security and family). It’s an intense learning curve, one the Big Island is known for (want to get your butt kicked emotionally, spiritually, psychologically? Then come on down!). It’s spiritual boot camp, with moments so fiery you’d think Pele was orchestrating them herself.
But when all is said and done, the Big Island is actually a healing island. That’s what it’s called: The Healing Island, and with good reason. You’ll get your healing, but only after you take your medicine, and sometimes the medicine tastes like crap. But guess what? It heals those open wounds, and it makes you stronger. It’s a lot like writing — it’s a trial by fire, a test of one’s abilities, especially the ability to perform well under pressure.
So, writers of the world, I make a mental offering today to Pele on your behalf. I flank the lava surrounding Kīlauea with tī leaves, ‘ohelo berries and a bottle of the finest gin, tied up in a red scarf (gin is supposedly Pele’s favorite beverage). Today, you can rest easy. Tomorrow? It’s up to you.