Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Finding a Goddess in Hawaii

Last week I spent a week in the jungles of Puna, Hawaii, with my friends Steve and Jahnava Bohlert. Puna is on the southeast corner of the Big Island, and is subject to almost daily rainfall.

What made the trip notable for me was that I was separated from most of the modern technology that unceasingly buzzes in our brains. My cell phone worked only in town. I didn’t bring a computer. My hosts had a television, but used it only to watch movies.

This gave me the rare and treasured opportunity to permit my mind to return to a more natural state and rhythm. I went to bed when the sun went down and I woke up when the sun came up. I paid no attention whatever to the news of the day. I discovered to my delight that the world continues perfectly well without my being plugged into it at all times.

The island feels like a living beast, and it is no wonder that worship of the Goddess Pele continues to this day. The island breathes and grumbles. The Mother’s lava creates while it catastrophically destroys. The island is a Goddess.

The stars in Hawaii are brighter even than in Phoenix. The mind returns to its origins and celebrates the raw product of an inscrutable, dangerous, beautiful, awe-inspiring Creator.

In Hawaii I imagined the Divine in a feminine guise, much as the beautiful Pele emerges from the mouth of a volcano. Creation reminds me of the womb, and Hawaii brings us to the womb of creation itself.

But this Mother of Hawaii can be cruel, too. The creation is slow and runs on its own time, but its destruction is as complete as anything I have ever seen.

The world is complex and confusing. In Hawaii, with my good friends Steve and Jahnava, I got to experience the divine complexity at a deep and enriching level. The Divine Play is like a love affair in a paradisiacal jungle. Danger lurks around every corner, and fantastic risks are taken for the sake of the embrace of the Lover. The risk results in the greatest of rewards--the union of active and passive that creates universes.

I humble myself before the generative force of the volcano, of She Who Captures God‘s Heart. May You fill the emptiness with Life.


  1. Aloha Mike. It was a pleasure having you with us, and it's a pleasure reading your reflections. You've captured an aspect of Universalist Radha-Krishnaism that I don't write about enough, but it is living here in the embrace of the Goddess that allowed me to develop this way and write two books about it. Thanks for sharing the adventure.


  2. This distancing of oneself from the buzzing of technology is vitally important to one's well-being, I think. As lured as I am by technology, I find that I am better off, on a deep level, without it.

    I once spent two weeks on a road-trip without so much as a watch or a reliable clock, talking with a friend about religion, the nature of time and space, and conspiracy theories. We lost track of time-by-the-clock, and dealt more (as it seemed) with time-as-it-is. It stands out as one of the most memorable two weeks of my life.