Monday, 7 May 2012

Pele's Hair and Pele's Tears: The Hawaiian Goddess and Lava

I'm back to working on the short story collection. The current story is one that has quite a bit about volcanos, and as I speak, a small bottle of ash from Mount St. Helens is sitting on my desk.

 I'd love to have some Pele's hair too, those strands of lava form when lava is lofted into the air when the wind was high. The molten rock was stretched out, forming strands that are about the thickness of a strand of hair. The name comes from the Hawaiian goddess of volcanos who is supposed to be so jealous that she brings bad luck on anyone who takes rocks away from the volcanos. Hence, there are few samples of Pele's hair coming from Hawaii in museums, even though people studying volcanos are scientists whom you'd think would not worry about the wrath of a volcano goddess.

The same process occurs in other volcanos, and I've never heard of similar legends regarding rocks from them. Is the Hawaiian goddess paricularly powerful?

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