Observations During Mauna Loa’s Eruption


Many gods and goddesses appeared

For many cultural practitioners, unusual and increased elemental activity was observed on and around Hawaiʻi Island coinciding with the recent eruption of Mauna Loa which began on Nov. 27 and ended on Dec. 10.

These specific reflections were shared by Kumu Hula Meleana Manuel of Hālau Hula Ke ʻOlu Makani o Maunaloa. Manuel makes her home in Volcano.

When Pele’s powerful eruption started at Mauna Loa, huge waves crashing along the shore indicated the concurrent presence of Nāmakaokahaʻi, goddess of the sea and an older sister of Pele.

We also received an overabundance of rain, reminding us that the waters of Kāne are life-giving and a precious resource that must be cared for. Meanwhile, on Mauna Kea, Poliʻahu blanketed the mountain in pure, white snow and sent cold winds around the island.

Elsewhere, Lilinoe, goddess of the mist and sister to Poliʻahu, was present in a rolling fog of the sort that has not been experienced in a very long time.

Off the Kona Coast, Kānehekili appeared as thunderstorms causing lightning to strike the seas in a rage that stirred concern.

Kanaloa has also reminded us of his presence, commanding the deep ocean and its powerful currents. We need to be mindful during this Makahiki season while swimming, fishing or journeying because the sea can become “hungry.”

As both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa erupted in the night, Hina was visible as the moon rose between the two firey mountains. And it was Laʻamaomao, the goddess of the wind, who blew ash from the eruptions across the land.

Meanwhile, Kamapuaʻa was also present, digging up our gardens and appearing in places he does not normally visit: Wright Road, Panaʻewa, Hilo Town. Digging and searching.

Kahalaopuna showed up as the many double rainbows appearing in the skies over the island. Her rainbows suggest promises – but of what?

The simultaneous appearance of three formidable akua wahine – Pele, Poliʻahu and Hina – was a magnificent display of mana wāhine. Although sometimes adversaries, the three in combination remind us of the important role of wāhine in procreation and life.

The convergence of these deities at this time is not an accident. Perhaps they are unhappy. Perhaps they are telling us we need to make things pono. Not just here on Moku o Keawe or Hawaiʻi Pae ʻĀina, but in Ke Ao (the world).

We must recognize that these are hōʻailona (signs) and pay attention. And it is a reminder of the power of nature and our insignificance; a reminder to be respectful and humble.