Pele’s Battle with the Sea Goddess
In the form of a great shark Pele’s elder brother Ka-moho-ali’i, custodian of the water of life, guided Pele’s canoe northward from Bora Bora to Hawaii. Some of her brothers and sisters sailed with her. Their first landfall was in the northern islands of the Hawaiian chain.
Pele needed a deep pit for her home wherein her fires could be protected. She moved down the island chain through Ni’ihau and Kauai, digging. But she had been followed from Bora Bora by her sister, Na-maka-o-Kaha’i of the Sea, angry because she believed Pele had seduced her husband. Wherever Pele dug a pit with her digging stick her sister deluged it with water. Thus we find that on the geologically older island of Kauai the craters have become filled with wet swamps. As Pele’s elder sister, the sea goddess was more powerful, for water can quench fire. In a battle on Maui, Pele was killed.
With the death of her mortal self, her spirit was freed, elevated to godly status. Her spirit took flight to the Island of Hawai’i where she excavated a home of craters on Mauna Loa, high above her sister’s reach.
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