Hawaiian Love God

The crater at Kilauea, where the goddess Pele, according to legend, lives with her family.
... Kevin Forest/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Hawaiian mythology presents a number of gods and goddesses who could arguably be dubbed "god of love." The overlap among tiki gods and goddesses could be due to the diverse origins of various legends, which can deviate from one another in each telling. Three goddesses and one god commonly associated with different types of love are Pele, Laka, Hina and Makanikeoe.

1 Pele

Pele is the goddess of volcanoes. In some versions of her story, her strong and volatile emotions cause volcanoes to erupt. She has "at least five brothers and eight sisters," as explained by Martha Beckwith in her 1940 study, "Hawaiian Mythology." Exiled from her original home, Pele went to Hawaii with some of her siblings and established herself inside the Kilauea volcano, from where she now controls lava. Although not always explicitly described as a goddess of love, she is often linked to a kind of love that is full of passion and wild emotions. This connection comes from her love affair with Lohiau, "a handsome young chief of [the island] Kauai," which Beckwith discusses.

2 Laka

Laka's claim to the title "goddess of love" is based on frequent events in her legends surrounding what an Aloha International article calls "impregnation and fruitfulness." Some traditional chants involve asking Laka to attract love as well as wealth. Officially, she is the goddess of the forest and the hula, a Hawaiian women's dance. The female Laka is not to be confused with the male god of the same name.

3 Hina

The name Hina belongs to multiple goddesses, usually differentiated by a hyphenated second name. However, the Hina concerned here is associated with the color white and can be called the goddess of knowledge. Some accounts relay that Hina is the mother of Pele and that she is associated with healing. In modern times, practitioners call on her for help with issues of health. In this way, the idea of assistance and care brings some to see her as a love goddess.

4 Makanikeoe (Makani-kau)

Beckwith shows that courageous love is instrumental in the relation of Makanikeoe, the god of wind, to mortals: "A branch from his transformation form will serve as a love charm, but only a brave person can secure such an amulet because of the voices and visions which will pursue him." Unlike some of the others, Makanikeoe is officially recognized by Beckwith as "one of the many gods of love."

Marion Lougheed is a world citizen with a B.A. (Hons.) in social and cultural anthropology. She also holds a diploma in professional writing. She has visited or lived in more than 12 countries since the age of seven.