Tag Archives: goddess

The Hawaiian Goddess Kapo

Kapo is the goddess of fertility, birth, and sorcery in Hawaiian mythology. She notably has a detachable vagina.

“Kapo is the goddess with a flying pussy. She and her winged vagina are the hero in many Hawaiian myths. The main one is where she sees one of her sister goddess being raped by another god. She throws her pussy at him and it keeps flying; he’s so entranced with it that he leaves the goddess alone to chase the pussy. It keeps flying and crashes into the side of a mountain. There’s an actual crater in Hawaii named after Kapo.”

In a discussion about folklore, the informant C mentioned the goddess Kapo but then he had to leave for another event. I later received this text from him with another message explaining how he has a personal fascination with folklore and wanted to share this story. The mythology of Kapo speaks to the importance of nature in Hawaiian culture, both in the environment and the nature of pregnancy/birth. I found this piece of folklore to be interesting because of its emphasis on feminine experiences and solidarity. Although my informant didn’t include this, the goddess that Kapo saved was Pele the goddess of volcanoes and fires. Pele is a major deity in Hawaiian mythology because she is the one who created the islands of Hawaii. There are countless myths about women being raped, but very few end in the woman being saved and the hero being another woman. It’s a bonus that they’re both strong female archetypes.

Hawaiian Lava Rocks

This informant retold a surprising superstition which dates back to the ancient traditions from the islands of Hawaii. On a recent trip to Hawaii my informant was enlightened by some locals of a common curse tourists get whenever they take sand, rocks, or coral away from where it lies. According to the locals, taking away any of these common minerals and bringing them home would cause the individual to be plagued with bad luck for the rest of their lives. Allegedly these minerals all resemble individual pieces of the Hawaiian Goddess Pele. Pele is recognized as the creator of the islands of Hawaii meaning taking even rocks would be taking pieces of the goddess herself. 

This superstition underscores how certain beliefs serve as a means of cultural preservation and transmission, embodying the deep-rooted reverence for the land and its deities within Hawaiian culture. The prohibition against taking sand, rocks, or coral from the islands reflects a belief in the sacredness of these natural elements, which are perceived as tangible manifestations of the Hawaiian Goddess Pele. By associating these minerals with Pele, the superstition reinforces the spiritual connection between the people and the land. This emphasizes the importance of respect and harmony with the natural world. The notion that taking these minerals will result in a curse of bad luck serves as a deterrent against disrespectful behavior towards the environment and cultural heritage. Overall, this piece of Hawaiian folklore reminds us of the interconnectedness between culture, nature, and spirituality in Hawaiian belief systems.

Nuwa repairs Heaven

Context:

H is a parental figure of mine who grew up in China and is currently living in California. 

This conversation took place over a weekly phone call with my parents after I asked them about stories that they knew from China. 

Text: 

H: So basically, Nüwa is the goddess in China, well not China but in heaven. She’s a goddess in heaven but she was supposed to keep an eye on Earth. But in very old ancient times, somehow the heaven collapsed because the four pillars that hold heaven collapsed and the Earth was not covered because heaven collapsed. And fire went out of control and water flooded the earth and in order to patch the heaven, Nüwa had to do something. So she melted five different colored stones to patch up the sky and she also cut off the legs of a great turtle. I guess the turtle is also a god, you know, and set those legs as pillars to support the sky. And she also helped to put out the fire and drain the flood, you know the water, and basically she helped save the Earth.

Me: Hmm Okay.

Reflection: 

I think this story is really interesting because it is about a feminine figure who has a lot of power in the world of gods, which is not something very typical in Western culture. It is also interesting because I do not remember this specific goddess, but I do remember that these pillars are part of other tales in Chinese mythology that surround Sun Wukong, a character in Chinese mythology that I learned a lot about as a child. This story also seems to build on the myths that have turtles in which a city or island is on the turtle’s back, although this story is using the turtle’s legs rather than its back. According to other sources, Nuwa also created humans which is why she is so protective of them and rushes to patch up heaven in order to prevent the fall out onto Earth. In some versions of this story, the five different colored stones that were used to patch the heavens explain why the clouds can be multicolored in our sky. 

Greenberg, ByMike. “Who Is the Chinese Goddess Nuwa?” MythologySource, 5 July 2021, https://mythologysource.com/nuwa-chinese-goddess/. 

Pork over the Pali Highway

Background information: OLP is a 21-year-old student at Georgetown University. in They were raised in the Bay Area, but currently live in DC for school. Their parents met in Hawaii, and they were born in Honolulu. They visit frequently with their family, and their dad was raised there. OLP is white, Filipino, Mexican, and Japanese American.

OLP: You aren’t supposed to take pork over the Pali Highway in Hawaii. This comes from the Hawaiian myth that the goddess Pele had, like, a bad breakup with her boyfriend who was a pig god. So they divided the island between them, so taking pork from one side of the island to the other can anger Pele. This is pretty well-known in Hawaii but I’ve also heard from friends of my parents who said they’ve taken pork over the pali and their car broke down. The superstition says you won’t be able to finish your journey and you might be surrounding by spirits. A lot of locals take this very seriously and I think it’s an important way for people to show respect for Hawaiian traditions as well.

Me: So your family and family friends all observe this practice when you visit?

OLP: (laughs) Well…I’m vegetarian so yes. But yes, especially since so many people have had experiences where, like, something has happened if they tried. And it’s just good to respect things like this sometimes.

This is one of the only pieces of folklore that I collected in which someone had heard the same story directly from multiple people. I think this is very interesting, because it shows that these practices are alive and well, and that although Hawaii is often just seen as a tourist spot or getaway, there are traditions and cultures that need to be respected there. I think it’s really important that pieces of folklore like this – things that come from a time before a specific place or culture was colonized/occupied – continue to be shared and made known.

Saraswati – The reason not to step on paper and books

Main piece:

AI: So there’s a Hindu goddess named Saraswati who represents, like, knowledge, and a folk thing is that she lives inside all, like, books and paper and shit. So anytime you step on paper and cardboard you have to like, ask for her forgiveness for stepping on her. It was literally so annoying when I was little. It was a thing I was taught to do growing up. Whenever I stepped on paper my parents would be like, don’t piss off Saraswati!

Context:

The informant, AI, was born in the US, but her parents are from India. Both parents grew up in North India but are culturally tamil brahmin (South India.) She learned this tradition from her parents, and even now, she still avoids stepping on books and paper. This story was collected through a phone call.

Thoughts:

I met the informant in high school. We attended a school in Silicon Valley which had a big focus on STEM, and the general culture there was quite academically competitive. I think that this story, while obviously not originating from the Silicon Valley, has a great similarity to the reverence of wisdom and intellect present in SV (although, minus the snootiness). The informant, AI, is still in high school and still in that culture herself––I think the fact that she chose this story is a reflection of the similarities between both cultures.