Hawaii residents leave offerings for volcano goddess Pele as lava destroys homes

As molten lava continues its relentless, unstoppable flow down the Kilauea volcano, many on Hawaii's Big Island are l...

Posted: May 8, 2018 5:21 PM
Updated: May 8, 2018 5:21 PM

As molten lava continues its relentless, unstoppable flow down the Kilauea volcano, many on Hawaii's Big Island are looking to the ancient volcano goddess Pele for protection.

In Hawaiian folklore, Pele, or Pelehonuamea, is the ancient fire goddess, who lives in the Halema'uma'u crater at the top of Kilauea and is revered as the creator of Hawaii's landscape.

She's also known as Ka wahine 'ai honua, the woman who devours the Earth, which gives a sense of her destructive power.

People have tried to stop lava's destructive flow. They've failed

"Many native Hawaiians believe that lava is the kinolau, or physical embodiment, of volcano goddess Pele. Poking lava with sticks and other objects is disrespectful," according to the National Parks Service.

Some people have said they can see Pele in the lava flow

Pele is known to be unpredictable, so Hawaiians have traditionally left gifts and offerings to keep her happy. That tradition continues today, and some residents have left leaves in front of their homes and flowers in cracks caused by the volcano for good luck. The Hawaii Civil Defense said on Monday that Kilauea has destroyed 35 structures -- including 26 homes -- and a dozen fissures have formed spewing dangerous sulfur dioxide gas.

Hawaii volcano eruption leaves residents wondering about fate of homes

Volcanologists say that activity has died down at those fissures, but that could just be a temporary reprieve.

For some residents, that unpredictability is a reminder that Pele is in charge, not scientists.

"Pele moves up hill, sideways downhill, opens up in your back yard," he said. "It's totally unpredictable," Randall Allen told CNN affiliate KHOU on Monday while waiting to return to his home.

His house had been spared and he was able to load up his pickup truck with important documents and other valuables.

Olivia Filoteo-Kekipi and her husband live about five minutes away from Leilani Estates and have helped set up a pop-up relief center that's providing hot meals and other supplies to evacuees.

"The majority of the residents did leave their homes due to the unpredictability of Madam Pele," she told CNN. "There was less than a day's notice for the evacuation and most residents had left with just a backpack with a couple days clothes."

The volcano's unpredictability is causing "so much anxiety and panic," she said.

"Right now everyone is taking it day by day, no solid plans just yet because we don't know what Pele will do next."

If you've had to leave your home because of the volcano, we'd like to hear your story. When you're in a safe place, share you photos and videos on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #CNNweather.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
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Greene141935
Amite139144
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Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
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Quitman86319
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Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
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Walker7840288
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Blount7417139
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Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
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Geneva288383
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Henry216545
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Randolph202844
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Washington186839
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Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
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Thursday will start off once again in the unseasonably cool 60s. We will top off just a few degrees warmer on out Thursday, in comparison to our Wednesday. Most of the high temperatures will be in the lower 90s.
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