Pele, the volcano goddess, has not yet been satisfied with the offerings placed before the advancing lava in Hawaii.
Ti leaves are thought to have the powers of protection, Atlas Obscura says.
Ti plants (also called ki) have had many uses in Hawaii over time. They’re made into skirts, coats, and shoes; they’re woven into leis and used in thatched roofs. They’re wrapped around fish or meat and used as medicine.
But as Darde Gamayo writes for Big Island Now, “Early Hawaiians believed that the ti leaf plant had great spiritual power.” The leaves were associated with Lono, a god of fertility, and Laka, the goddess of hula, and they were used in rituals by religious and political leaders. In The Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii, the historian Samuel Kamakau describes how ti leaves were used in a ceremony to end restrictions on eating pork, for instance. Today, they’re still used in offerings to Pele at the rim of the Kilauea, a practice that has been popularized (and misunderstood) by tourists.
Lava is going to go where lava wants to go.
“It may flow like sticky syrup, but is more dense than cement,” Benjamin Andrews, director of the Global Volcanism Program at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, tells CNN. This means there’s no point in putting up Jersey walls in front of a flow because the lava will “bulldoze them out of the way.”
So it’s time to get more serious with the offerings to the goddess.
Kirin Ichiba beer.