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  • Aloha I'm Mike Rugnetta, and this is Crash Course Mythology and today we're

  • going to continue looking at goddesses, and what makes them so great!

  • In this episode we'll focus on two myths:

  • one about a volcano goddess,

  • and another about White Buffalo Calf Woman.

  • We're going to look at these myths a bit more in-depth

  • than we usually do, and head to places we haven't talked about much before:

  • Hawaii and North America. Y'all packed, Ttoth?

  • Ooh!

  • Ooh! ..Nice! Sharp!

  • *title music, images and jokes*

  • *jokes you'll need to pause the video to read, honestly*

  • Longtime crash-course fans may remember that Hawaiian mythology featured heavily

  • in our episode about Captain Cook.

  • The god in question then was "Lono,"

  • who was supposed to be pretty powerful, but he was only one of the great gods who

  • followed Pele, the fire goddess, to Hawaii from the land beyond the vast oceans.

  • By the time Cook arrived in Hawaii, Pele was the most feared and respected of

  • Hawaii's divinities, holding court with her five brothers and sisters in the Kilauea

  • Volcano--which is a scary place to hold court, but very convenient if you like BBQ.

  • Pele exemplifies the "Triple-Goddess" that we talked about in the previous episode:

  • she's a goddess of life AND death--

  • controlling the lava that gives the Hawaiian islands its rich, fertile soil

  • but-also destroys EVERYTHING in its path.

  • And in this story we also see her as

  • the regenerative goddess of sexual allure and creativity.

  • In short, "This girl / is on fi-yah!" ...(emoji)

  • One day Pele decided to come out of her smoldering pit at Kilauea to go to the beach.

  • After frolicking in the Hawaiian surf with her sisters,

  • she lay down for a nap in a cave.

  • But before she fell asleep,

  • she warned her sisters that if any of them woke her

  • she would kill them all!

  • (Whoa, grouchy!)

  • If it were absolutely necessary to awaken her

  • she said that her youngest sister,

  • Hi'iaka, should be the one to do it.

  • At the time, Hi'iaka was out playing in the Lehua groves,

  • and making friends with a tree spirit, named Hopoe,

  • who quickly became Hi'iaka's best friend.

  • Meanwhile, the dream spirit of the sleeping Pele traveled to

  • Kauai where there was a hula performance in the Alaka sacred hall.

  • And there she found the prince Lohiau.

  • The prince saw her and fell in love with her instantly.

  • He invited her to eat with him and then go back to his house.

  • Pele allowed the prince to kiss her but not to touch her--which is a little confusing,

  • because, isn't kissing a kind of touching?-- anyway, the Prince tried getting handsy

  • anyway, and Pele floated away back to Hawaii.

  • Distraught beyond compare,

  • he (Lohiau) hanged himself with his loincloth.

  • Thaught Bubble, you can take it from here.

  • After a few days Pele's sisters grew worried about her trance-like nap

  • and summoned Hi'iaka to wake her.

  • The little sister chanted over her big sister's body

  • and the great goddess woke up (and didn't kill anyone).

  • Pele asked each of her sisters to go to Kauai

  • and fetch Lohiau, but they were all too afraid

  • to make the journey--except for Hi'iaka.

  • Pele promised the youngest sister that-

  • -after she accomplished her task, Pele would take Lohiau as a lover

  • for five days and nights, and then he would belong to Hi'iaka.

  • Before going, Hi'iaka made Pele promise

  • not to destroy the Lehua groves where her friend Hopoe lived.

  • She also asked for some of Pele's magic power to help her on her journey.

  • Hi'iaka made the dangerous trip to Kauai

  • where she found that Lohiau had been dead.. for many days.

  • --well, mostly dead.

  • Hi'iaka looked closely and noticed above the prince's body a dim ghost-Spirit hovering.

  • Using all her extra magic power she brought Lohiau back to life.

  • While Hi'iaka was away on her journey, Pele broke her promise,

  • and her lava destroyed the Lehua groves! --KILLING Hopoe!

  • Hi'iaka saw this betrayal so she decided that, since the bargain was broken,

  • she would take Lohiau as her own, saying,

  • "I have faithfully kept the compact between myself and my sister,"

  • "I have not touched her lover,"

  • "I have not let him caress me,"

  • "I have not given him a kiss."

  • "Now that compact is at an end."

  • "I am free to treat this handsome man as my own lover,"

  • "-this man, who has had a desire for me."

  • "And I will let Pele with her own eyes see the compact broken."

  • Thank you Thought Bubble!

  • So that's exactly what Hi'iaka did.

  • When their sisters saw her kissing Lohiau,

  • they tattled to Pele, who responded,

  • "Mouths were made made for kissing."

  • Which makes it seem like she's okay with it

  • --but she's definitely not okay with it.

  • Pele called upon the other great gods

  • to help her destroy Lohiau..

  • which they did..

  • with LAVA.

  • The lava spared Hi'iaka but flowed over Lohiau

  • who died...

  • AGAIN.

  • Pele, still angry, would have destroyed the world itself,

  • but another God, Kane the earth-shaper, calmed her down.

  • The story doesn't end there though.

  • A great sorcerer came to the pit where Pele and her sisters lived

  • and asked them why his friend, Lohiau, had been destroyed.

  • After the sisters told him, he asked, "why, since Lohiau had

  • already died, did he have to die again?"

  • Pele asked him to explain what he meant

  • and the sorcerer told her

  • about what Hi'iaka had done on Kauai to save Lohiau.

  • Hi'iaka confirmed her deeds,

  • explaining that she had saved him,

  • but only smooched him

  • after learning Pele off'd her rad tree pal.

  • The sorcerer then asked Pele to show herself to him.

  • He fell down and adored her,

  • an act which seemed to soften her heart.

  • Pele sent to her brother, Ka-moho-alii, to find Lohiau's spirit

  • and bring him back to life.

  • Hi'iaka found him in the charred groves,

  • the place where the destroyed Lehua

  • were beginning to grow again.

  • As they wandered together through Hawaii,

  • they knew that the goddess of the pit

  • was not now so terror-inspiring.

  • As a mother goddess,

  • Pele has power over life and,

  • Pele has power over life and, especially,

  • Pele has power over life and, especially, death.

  • Her actions are often destructive but also..

  • Her actions are often destructive but also.. regenerative.

  • By the end of the story,

  • the Lehua groves are regrowing, and

  • the love between her sister and the prince is rekindled.

  • the love between her sister and the prince is rekindled. (wink!)

  • While Pele's powers are terrible,

  • we should also note that she sometimes chooses to limit them.

  • Pele makes threats,

  • including the threat of killing her sisters,

  • but she doesn't follow through.

  • Circumstances can also alter her behavior.

  • When she discovers the truth about Hi'iaka's loyalty,

  • and her efforts to bring Lohiau back,

  • Pele's attitude changes. She.. .

  • Pele's attitude changes. She.. . cools off a bit.

  • Does this mean that our actions towards the gods

  • can influence their actions upon us?

  • Or is it primarily an analogy for how we, as humans,

  • should behave towards one another:

  • honoring our elders, but also keeping our promises.

  • Maybe it's just about n ot getting hot under the collar about your sister!

  • The creation of the social order is another aspect of

  • great goddess mythology.

  • One we can see echoed in our next story:

  • The White Buffalo Calf Woman.

  • The Lakota, Nakota and Dakota tribes who populate the northern

  • Great Plains of the United States, and part of Canada, are sometimes lumped under

  • the name, "Sioux," but since that has pejorative connotations

  • we're going with the "D'Danke Oh Yah De," or "Buffalo Nation."

  • The people of the Buffalo Nation have a complex religious system

  • that sees the world as challenging and haphazard,

  • forcing people to accept loss

  • and work to complete the unfinished world.

  • In this context the White Buffalo Calf Woman is a culture bringer;

  • "She gives the [Buffalo Nation People] objects and practices that symbolize and define

  • their way of relating to the spirit and human worlds."

  • This is a version of her story:

  • Long ago

  • the people of the [Buffalo Nation] came together

  • at the seven sacred council fires because

  • there was no game and the people were starving.

  • They decided to send two Scouts to find something--anything--to eat.

  • This was so long ago that it was before horses,

  • so the scouts would have to go out on foot.

  • The two Scouts searched everywhere, but found nothing;

  • until one