Monday, February 14, 2011

Pele and Me

I will talk more about my trip to Oahu later. But for now, I'd like to talk about my experiences on Kilauea.

We went up near the top of the volcano last Monday afternoon. That evening, we had a welcoming ceremony to the place and then the next morning (Tuesday), a sunrise ceremony where we offer ava juice to the crater and other people (i.e., plants and rocks) that we found there. Before the ceremony itself, we went through steam from a steam vent (maybe as a way to purify ourselves).

The steam is considered to be a manifestation of the female energy of the place, so I imagined the steam replenishing my yin energy (according to Chinese medicine, yin is a female energy). I am such a Yang personality (very active, hates to sit still) that I have depleted my yin so many of my acupuncture treatments revolve around gaining my yin energy back. I mention this because I think this was the start of my connection to the volcano - and to the fire, Pele.

On Wednesday, I couldn't get warm all day (our meeting room was chilly) and since I only had one pair of pants and didn't want to wear them four days in a row, I wore capris and sandals. By the afternoon, I started to feel chills. After we ended our afternoon session, I went back to the cabin, put on several layers of clothes, and tried to get warm. Then we went to dinner, but I only stayed long enough to eat. I was too chilled.

I kept on all my layers and huddled under a blanket on the coach. We had the heat way up in the cabin. I sat there for two hours trying to get warm enough. My hands and feet took the longest to feel normal. IN the meantime, I felt feverish. My brother noticed my face was really red. This was after he came back inside the cabin where he also noted the "plume" or a bright red glow off in the direction of the crater. I decided I had a fever then.

I got ready for bed - changed my dressing and took my herbs and Ibuprofen. One herb is for colds and flu; I take the Ibuprofen for the inflammation and swelling in my armpit.

I slept fairly well, although I woke up in the middle of the night perspiring a little bit - my fever broke. The next morning, I found out that the plume had died down again. As I changed my dressing, I noted a rash on my chest, radiating out from the tumor on my breast bone.

That evening, after the hula performances, some of us went to the crater to see it one last time. It was dark out. When we got the crater, we turned off the flashlights and we really couldn't see much out there except for vog (volcano fog). Maybe a bit of a glow out in the crater. Then it began to grow - the plume appeared again. Each time it grew, one of my friends, would say, "wow, look at that!". As it grew, I felt warm again - and then it seemed as if heat was radiating from the rash on my chest.

So, I think I had a connection with Pele, with the fire of the volcano. I responded to her heat or she was responding to my heat. I find myself thinking of my local volcanoes. My niece had a henna party on Saturday and I decided to put a volcano henna design on my wrist and forearm.

I'm looking forward to going back.

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