It’s been on my mind that models, language and symbols for spirtuality are not set-in-stone universal norms. What we are taught generally becomes an orienting Story for us. What we learn develops in communities. And over time, you know what you got? You got yourself a tradition. Over generations a rich, ever-emerging heritage that can be an anchor as we open to an orienting Story within which to frame our best existential questions.
This perspective invites respect for unfamiliar traditions. It invites dialogue among the citizens of our planet. I wish this kind of thing, at this point in the 21st-century, would go without saying.
There are many metaphors for transformation among spiritual traditions: washing something that’s dirty, a seed becoming a tree, being born a second time, death and resurrection to name a few.
Welcome to an intense one from our brothers and sisters in Hawaii: Volcano.
In the deep and juicy Hawaiian culture, Pele is the goddess who appears as a mysterious, beautiful young woman just before her volcano is about to erupt. Or as an old gnarled woman who lights her cigarette with the snap of her fingers. Warrior-fierce, earthy, dangerous and vibrant, Pele is an archetype for the powerful and passionate feminine.
The literal translation of “volcano” in Hawaiian is Lua pele, pele ahi ‘ai honua which means “she who throws fire to eat the Earth.”
(You are Woman. Hear you roar.)
So, Volcano: Your present, conscious personality is the surface. Your soul and all its holy intentions is the boiling, sizzling molten core of the earth. How do you engage and connect with your soul that sometimes seems a distance away? Sometimes it takes drilling. Other times it erupts at unexpected moments. Sometimes, you can set your watch by it in seasons. In deep change that sticks, sometimes it hurts and sometimes there is fire. With Pele’s fire you know nothing is going to be the same again.
Trish and I journey to Hawaii soon. Here’s a new community song brewing about this intense image of transformation. Imagine driving percussion surrounding a growly voice on the verses, a higher, triumphant melody on the chorus.
She’s drilling down to taste the core
She’s tapping in to an ancient boiling soul
remembering and roaring
this is a day to use her voice.
She’s throwing fire to eat the earth
No holding back the power of new birth
eyes closing now and breathing
this is a day for being true.
Earth juice is running down her chin
Erupting body and a mind that’s never been more clear
it’s blasphemy or praying
this is a day to have no fear