You may have heard about it. There’s a legend that says Madam Pele, the
Hawaiian goddess of fire who commands the volcanic action on Hawaii’s Big
Island, lives in the fire pit in Halema’uma’u crater, at the summit caldera of
the Kilauea volcano.
You may also have heard that Madam Pele doesn’t like to have lava rocks
purloined once they have cooled and settled. It is said that anyone who removes
a piece of rock from the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park will incur her wrath.
Bad luck is certain to follow.
Well, visitors take them anyhow. They’re nice souvenirs and they travel well.
But there’s no question about this: Visitors who have taken rocks from Pele’s
land have returned them in hopes of ending scary streaks of bad luck. Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park and most of the hotels are inundated with packages
containing rocks from guilt-ridden vacationers who are intent upon reversing
their sudden spates of misfortune.
Pets die. Jobs are lost. Houses burn down. Sudden and devastating illness
strikes loved ones. Marriages break apart.
These are actual quotes from former Big-Island vacationers:
Please take this rock and put it back somewhere on your island.
I have had very bad luck since it came into my life and I am very sorry I took
it. Please forgive me and I pray that once I send it
back where it comes from, my bad luck will go away.
Ever since we have taken items, we have had nothing but back luck and
medical problems. We apologize for taking the items, so we are returning
same to Hawaii.
We placed the rock last fall on a cast iron chair in our garden; this
spring the chair’s leg had fallen off. That’s the least of the problems
we have had since we’ve taken the rock.
Please return these rocks to their rightful spot. I never had so much
bad luck as I’ve had since I returned from Hawaii.
I picked up a small piece of lava somewhere, (we are rock and crystal
collectors), never dreaming of what might come. Since then we have lost
half of our retirement savings to a scam artist and will have to go back
to work. Please work your magic on the enclosed piece of lava and
hopefully nothing worse will happen.
There are thousands more like those. The Volcano Post Office, Volcano National
Park and lots of hotels find the returned rocks a nuisance (although they
faithfully dispose of them by tossing them onto a big pile right behind the
Volcano Visitor Center.)
The Volcano Gallery on the Big Island gladly accepts returned rocks. Once they
receive the rocks they carefully wrap them in ti leaves and return them to a
special location in Volcano close to Pele’s home, along with an offering of
orchids to ask for her forgiveness. For the service, the gallery asks for a
donation of $15, but will perform the service in any case.
What, you’ve been to Hawaii and have a lava rock? You can still return it.
Here’s the address:
Rainbow Moon Attn: Lava Rock Return P.O. Box 699, Volcano, HI 96785
Posted by Jim Winpenny
October 22nd, 2008