Stephanie Launiu is a Native Hawaiian lifestyle and cultural writer. She has a degree in Hawaiian Pacific Studies. She lives in Hilo.
Claims of Bad Luck Send Lava Rocks Home to Hawai'i Each Year
You’ve all heard of ‘urban legends.’ Well, in Hawai'i we have ‘island legends.’ And some of the most commonly retold are stories of visitors to Hawai'i suffering streaks of bad luck after taking home lava rocks or beach sand.
There’s no scientific proof that taking lava rocks back to Kansas will cause you to fall and break your leg. Or that a lava rock on your living room shelf means that the next tornado will carry your house away. But people get spooked when they start to link something bad with the fact that they took something they knew they probably shouldn’t have.
No one knows the origins of this ‘bad luck’ legend. Some people say that the rangers at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park started this legend decades ago to stop people from picking up lava rocks and carrying them away. The rangers, of course, deny this.
Others attribute the legend to the fact that Native Hawaiians’ indigenous religion worships Pele, goddess of the volcanoes, who is said to have traveled from the South Pacific to take part in the creation of the island chain. Believers say that Pele makes her home at Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawai'i where the most recent volcanic eruption happened in 2018. Hot lava flowed for three months and destroyed over 700 homes and 14 square miles of land.
It's no wonder that legend has it that Pele, known for her fiery and unforgiving temper, would be righteously indignant if anyone took a piece of her body (lava rock) away from her island home. And so, naturally, she would curse any person who did so. Or so the story goes…
Kilauea Lava Flow of 2018
Kilauea Lava Flowing 2016
Reverse the Curse
After a Hawaiian vacation some people find themselves with a string of bad luck and a lava rock in their suitcase that they want to send back. Our family used to own a visitor garden on the Big Island of Hawai'i, and we’d get letters and packages all the time with lava rocks in them and written apologies asking us to place the rock back ‘where it belongs’. We would dutifully place the rock back onto the fertile island soil with a little prayer for the sender’s health and happiness.
So if you have a lava rock you want to return, just know that you’re not alone. Thousands of pounds of lava rocks are returned to the Islands of Hawai'i each year.
Federal law prohibits removing anything from Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, but I’ve never heard of anyone being punished for taking a lava rock. It’s not illegal to take sand from the beaches unless it’s more than a gallon a day or for commercial purposes. Whether it’s a lava rock or sand that you want to return, you won’t be in any trouble with the law by returning it.
Here are some addresses for you to mail your items back to:
- Sand from Hawaii state beaches can be sent to: Division of State Parks, P.O. Box 621, Honolulu, HI 96809. They will try to return it to the island of origin if you let them know where you got the sand.
- Lava rocks taken from the islands of Maui, Lanai or Molokai should be returned to: Haleakala National Park (island of Maui), P.O. Box 369, Makawao, HI 96768-0369
- Lava rocks taken from the Big Island of Hawai'i should be returned to: Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawai’i National Park, HI 96718-0052
- For rocks picked up on the island of Oahu, return to: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, P.O. Box 19000-A, Honolulu, HI 96819
- For rocks picked up on the island of Kauai, return to: Kokee Natural History Museum, P.O. Box 100, Kekaha, HI 96752
On a final note: No one is going to call you to let you know that your lava rock is safely back in Pele’s bosom, so be sure to pay a little extra (80 cents I think) for an Electronic Delivery Confirmation Receipt to let you know that your box was delivered. You can track your box online at the US Postal Service website after you mail it off.
Without the Delivery Confirmation, I’d hate to picture you lying awake at night thinking “I wonder if that lava rock ever got back…”
Where You Can Mail Back Rocks or Sand:
Questions & Answers
Question: I took red and black sand from our trip to Haha for a vacation box idea. Should I return the sand?
Answer: If you only have a small amount of sand and have good intentions for its use, I'd say to go ahead and do your vacation box. With over 9 million visitors a year, you can imagine what our beaches would look like if everybody took sand.
Question: If someone came back from Hawaii and gave me a lava rock does that mean I’m cursed? I did ask for it before I realized it was bad luck.
Answer: No, it doesn't mean you're cursed. It's a legend about a curse. Some people experience bad luck after removing lava rock from Hawaii; others don't. If you decide to return it to Hawaii, there are addresses in the article of where to return it. If you decide to keep it, I always advise people to put it out in your garden or outdoors somewhere near plants. I hope this answers your question, and that you only have good luck in all you do.
Question: We visited Oahu almost a year ago; I cannot begin to describe the terrible luck we've had over the last 10 months. IF we brought home anything we shouldn't have it was by mistake, and neither of us knows about it. If this is the source of our terrible luck, is there a way to "reverse the curse" from Hawai'i without knowing what the item was that we mistakenly took?
Answer: I'm sorry to hear about your bad luck since visiting Hawaii. It doesn't sound like anything from Hawaii is the cause of it. I'll say a little prayer for you in hopes that the karma clears up.
Question: I took sand from Hawai'i in 2009. My now ex wife dumped it out. I just found remnants of it and have carefully swept it up and put it in a bottle. If I send what I have back will it remove the curse?
Answer: I'm sorry that the sand has been causing you negative vibes for years now. I don't think that there is any curse related to it. If you want to clear yourself of the negativity, you might consider taking it to the beach, a lake or river and releasing the sand. It will find its way home. Or you could use it in the soil surrounding a flowering plant. The sand would then be helping to give life to something else.
Question: We went to the black sand beach at Hana, Maui and without me knowing, some sand went into my shoe as we walked by. The waves wet my shoes and when I brought the shoes back, I noticed the sand inside. It’s a little tiny bag. Not sure if that’s the reason for my bad luck. I didn’t take it on purpose. Should I return it?
Answer: No, you don't need to return the sand. It sounds as if the sand got into your shoe without you intending it. I'm sorry to hear that you've had bad luck since returning home. If you live near the ocean or a lake, you might want to take the sand into the water there and release it. If not, plant something outside of your home and put the black sand around the root so that it can help something grow. Thanks for your question, and best of luck to you.
Question: I took to small shells from Oahu. Do I need to return them to the Island?
Answer: No, I wouldn't worry about it. If it bothers you to have them, drop them in the ocean the next time you get to a beach and they will find their way home. Aloha.
Question: A client brought a lava rock back from Hawaii and gave it to me as a gift. Is the bad luck with them, or me?
Answer: If there is any bad luck, it would usually be on the person who committed the offense. In this case, your client. But just to be sure, Iʻd return the lava rock to Hawaii where it belongs.
Question: My grandma took lava rocks from Hawai'i. We've all had bad luck since then, and she doesn't know where they are. Is there a way to get rid of the curse without them?
Answer: Maybe your string of bad luck didnʻt have anything to do with the lava rocks. Since your grandma doesnʻt know where the rocks are, the best thing you can do to restore the balance in your life is to do a random kindness for someone else. And if you know anyone else who is going to visit Hawaii, please tell them not to take lava rocks and to leave them where they see them.
Question: Is buying a volcanic rock bracelet in Kona bad luck?
Answer: Not necessarily. My article is about a legend or myth about taking lava rocks from the island. It's up to you to decide whether it's true or not. As a Native Hawaiian, I would hope that no one removes lava rock from Hawaii, and I think that people who make money selling lava rock items to unwitting tourists are opportunists who should find another way to make a living.
Question: Is lava rock with a plant that is purchased at Honolulu airport bad luck?
Answer: I don't think so. This article is about the legend surrounding lava rocks removed from the islands. In part, Hawaii residents would love for businesses and tourists to stop taking rocks off the island, especially for profit. In your case, I think the mercenaries selling lava rocks have more to worry about than you do. Have a safe trip home.
Question: What if you ask permission and leave Pele an offering? When I went to Haleakala this is what I did after doing meditation and paying my respects to Pele. I asked multiple times to make sure there wasn't a negative feeling, that's happened plenty of times. The lava rock has been on my altar and I've felt her presence in a good way in my life. I didn't realize there was a curse until wanting to learn more about Pele! What should I do?
Answer: Don't worry about it. Obviously if you feel a positive presence, there is no curse. In fact, this article was about a legend about a curse. Some people feel compelled to remove any rocks they've removed. But if you don't feel that way, then you're good. I'm glad you've had positive experiences on Maui. Aloha, Stephanie
Question: I visited Hawaii when I was 9yrs old and took lava from the Big Island. I remember the guide telling us not to take it and that it is bad luck. Now, 43 years later, I have the two lava rocks that had been at my parent's home until they passed. Is there a way to bless these lava rocks or is returning them to Hawaii the best way to reverse any "bad luck"? I've never had the best of luck in my life - would love to turn that around!
Answer: Returning the lava rocks would always be the best resolution. In the article, there is a mailing address for Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. But if you are unable to return them, it is best to give them a special place outdoors where they can be close to nature. Improving the vibes around the rocks can improve the vibes in your life also. Aloha!
Question: Are seashells and bits of coral that washed ashore okay to take home? Also, I went to the Blowhole and have a few small pieces of lava from there.
Answer: I wouldn't worry about that small amount of material you took without ill intent. Please display the items and cherish the memories of your vacation. Aloha!
Question: Would it be okay to take a lava rock from Hawai'i if I planned on creating a sort of art piece or small wearable keepsake out of it? It would be quite small and the art piece, would that be disrespectful?
Answer: It's never ok to remove a lava rock from it's original location in Hawaii, but if you have already removed one, then an art piece might be acceptable to make. I wouldn't make a piece of wearable art or jewelry with it, though. Keep the rock as close to the earth/land/soil wherever you are.
Question: If I took black sand from the beach, should I return it or could I drop it in the beach here for it to find it’s way back to Hawaii?
Answer: It's always best to return it to its original location, but the ocean is a living being. So if you have a beach near you and can take the sand into the water and not just leave it on the shore, it'll find its way back to where it needs to be.
Question: We bought a house on Oahu, and I've got a ton of lava rocks in the landscaping. Is it ok to give away to others on the island? I don't want them, and I don't know what to do with them.
Answer: Absolutely. It's a great idea to give them to others who will use them in their front or backyards. Often, there are people giving away free lava rocks on Craigslist, and there's nothing wrong with that. Some people build retaining walls for their yards with the rocks too.
Question: If we took lava rocks from the black sand beach on Maui, is it possible to return the rocks to another beach on a different island?
Answer: Yes, of course!
Question: Back in 1998, I took some white coral stones from Oahu. I recently found them again. Back then I wasn't aware that it could not be wise. Should I also send back the coral stones? I didn't experience any bad luck the past 20 years... at least.. not more than a human could experience in living his life for two decades. But something inside tells me it doesn't belong in my house anymore.
Answer: My advice would be to take the coral stones to the ocean nearest you, walk them out into the water & drop them. They will be in their native environment instead of in a box somewhere or in the dirt if you were to put them outside.
Question: I got the green sand from Grand Sand beach on Hawaii's big island. Should I return to volcano national park or division of state parks in Honolulu?
Answer: This Honolulu office is in charge of state beaches. Sand from Hawaii state beaches can be sent to: Division of State Parks, P.O. Box 621, Honolulu, HI 96809. They will try to return it to the island of origin if you let them know where you got the sand.
Question: When I got back from Hawaii, I was sick for 2 weeks, lost the connection with my boyfriend and some of my fishes have died with no symptoms and many others are now sick. My dog possibly is developing cataracts. Should I mail back the keychains with sand in them? I bought them in a shop. Does it count as taking from Pele?
Answer: It is not considered "taking from Pele" when you buy something at a tourist venue or shop. Whoever removed sand from the beach to make a commercial product is the one who committed the "hewa' or wrong in the first place. I'm sorry to hear about your string of bad luck, and I'm sending my best wishes for an end to your misfortunes.
Question: I found some pretty, round, smooth, black rocks at my father's house when I was helping him pack to move. He called them Pele's Tears and said that he and mom brought them back from their Hawaii trip. They do not look like the smaller teardrop-shaped lava rocks that I see online called Pele's Tears. Should I still return them to Hawaii, since that's where my father says they are from?
Answer: If you feel an urge to return the rocks to Hawaii, then you should. If the rocks are smooth and round, they sound as if your father may have picked them up at a beach, or somewhere where the rock was worn smooth by water over time. If your father has had the rocks for a while, and they are not causing you or him any trouble, then beautify your home with them or put them in a planter outside where they will surround a living plant.
Question: I am 20 years old. In middle school I think I brought something back from a beach while visiting Maui. But I didnt know about the Pele Curse. I have recently heard about the Pele Curse, but I can't remember what I brought back from Hawaii. Someone told me I have bad luck because of that. But if I didnt know about the curse and didn't bring back many things, should I be ok?
Answer: Don't give it another thought. You're fine. The Pele Curse is a legend. Some people get spooked by it because they purposely removed lava rocks from the volcano & they know they shouldn't have. In your case, you don't even remember whether or not you removed anything, and you were just a kid then anyway. Wishing you a future full of adventure and prosperity. And I do hope you will be able to visit Hawaii again. Aloha, Stephanie
Question: What about returning sculpted lava sold as souvenirs to Hawaii? We purchased a little Buddha figure carved from black Hawaiian lava several years ago, and now my wife is concerned that it should be returned to Hawaii. How does the legend work regarding souvenir lava sold on the islands?
Answer: If there was any curse, it should be on the person who carved up the lava to portray a Japanese god. But tell your wife that it's fine.
Question: I live on Maui. Is it okay to take some stones, coral and sand from the beach to use in my garden and inside our home in Maui? Is it considered a curse taking them from the beach?
Answer: As long as it's not excessive or for commercial purposes, a lot of people in Hawaii do what you are planning to do. Stones and coral should only be the kind that has washed up on the beach, not removed from the ocean. And if you're planning a big job with the sand, it would be better if you go to someplace like Home Depot and buy it in bulk there.
Question: If someone takes a lava rock from the island and then returns it, will this clear them of any curse?
Answer: This article doesn't say that there is a curse tied to lava rocks, but that there is a legend about it. It's always a good thing to return lava rocks to where they originated. For most of us, a clear conscience takes a load off. I think this will probably work for you as well.
Question: I took some black sand while my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Maui/Kauai. Our marriage has been very tough and now we are separating so we can hopefully work on our communication. I have never opened the sand and I am mailing it back today! I am so sorry that I selfishly removed some of the amazing Hawaiian culture. Is there anything else I can do to remove the curse?
Answer: I'm sorry that your marriage has been difficult so far. I do hope that you and your wife will rekindle the spark that you experienced on your Hawaiian honeymoon. I'm not sure that the black sand had anything to do with your marriage issues, but it sounds as if you are committed to a successful reboot. If you can't mail back the sand, take it to the ocean and release it. The sand will find its way home. Best of luck to you, and I will keep you both in my thoughts.
Question: Is the Star of the Sea Painted Church in danger, and will it be moved again?
Answer: As of today, 7/18/2018, the Star of the Sea Painted Church in Kalapana is safe from the ongoing lava flows. If lava begins to approach the area, the community will most likely move the church again because it is such a beloved part of Big Island history. Here is a link to an article on HubPages about the church: https://hubpages.com/travel-destinations/Hidden-Ha...
Question: If I got sand from Maui, where would I send it back to?
Answer: Sand from Hawaii state beaches can be sent to:
Division of State Parks
P.O. Box 621
Honolulu, HI 96809
They will try to return it to the island of origin if you let them know where you got the sand.
© 2013 Stephanie Launiu
If you have your own experience with lava rocks, I'd love to hear from you.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on September 05, 2020:
I hope that the rocks weren't responsible for your bad luck. I do appreciate your intention to return them to Hawaii. May your future be prosperous and full of unexpected blessings. Aloha, Stephanie
Eve on September 03, 2020:
My boss went on vacation to Hawaii and brought a lava rock back for each of my boys. I know they are bad luck so I hid them away for years. I can't help but feel that these rocks could be responsible for some bad luck we've had over the years. I am returning them to the big island of Hawaii, but I don't know exactly where they came from. Please pray for me and my family. I am trying to do the right thing, even though I didn't take them, I possess them.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on July 11, 2020:
The Volcano, HI post office is still on the highway, but it's probably a little bigger than it was 35 years ago. But they still get lava rocks mailed back to them. Thanks for the memories. I hope you will have a chance to visit again someday. Aloha, Stephanie
Mark Bacon on July 03, 2020:
I was stationed in volcanoes national park at KMC. It was the joint military R & R camp on the big island from 1984 to 1986. I remember there was a small post office that employed one gentleman. He would receive parcels that would contain lava rock that tourists would send back. He would take the down the road and return the to the volcanoes caldera, to Madam Pele the goddess of fire. He would also sometimes take gin to give a offering. I thought this was very cool. He would receive at least a couple a week where someone would enclose a letter that there luck had gone bad ever since they had returned home. They would explain how they attributed it to the taking of the lava rocks.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on October 30, 2017:
Yes Linda. The lava will find its way home. Another legendary note about Pele. She had an older sister who was the ocean goddess Namakaokaha'i. Since Pele was the fire goddess, she & this sister always clashed. Fire and water. Water can put fire out. So Pele fled to make her own home and volcanoes erupted to form the Hawaiian islands. It is said that Pele formed each volcano on every Hawaiian island. Knowing these legends, I had to cringe a little when you said that you found the lava among the sea shells. I can't think of a place that Pele would hate being more than among sea shells. But then it's just a legend, right? Send the lava back and get on with living. Wishing you brightness and aloha. Stephanie
Linda Mann on October 25, 2017:
In 1972, I visited several islands in Hawaii and honestly felt that I had returned home. I fell completely in love with the islands and the people. I was fascinated by their ancient history, folkways and beliefs. While on the "Big Island" I visited Volcanoes National Park and walked the Devastation Trail. I picked up a small piece of ash or lava - less than the size of a ping pong ball - as a keepsake of that day. Years later, back home, I began to realize that I had made a big mistake to take part of Pele's body from the island. It has caused me great pain and suffering over the years. I wish to finally return it now that I have finally found it among the many seas shells I've collected over the years. I hope that the goddess will forgive me. I'm mailing it back to Hawai'i National Park. Do you think someone there will be kind enough to toss it back onto the Devastation Trail for me, if I enclose a note to that effect? Thanks in advance for your answer.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on August 17, 2017:
I hope you get your luggage back. I wouldn't worry about the lava bracelet and ring. There are many people in Hawaii who commercialize items that shouldn't be commercialized...like lava. Don't worry about it. But now you have more knowledge when you return next time for a visit. Aloha, Stephanie
Donna on August 14, 2017:
I bought a lava bracelet and a ring from a store? Is that considered bad luck also? Should I return the jewelry I bought? It was in my luggage, which I'm still waiting for it to be returned cause it was lost at the airport.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on June 29, 2017:
@Agelu - I hope that you enjoyed your visit to Hawaii, and that you will return again someday. Aloha, Stephanie
Agelu on June 28, 2017:
Thank you, Ms Launiu. It was one of the corals that was on the sand/shore. Closer to the road, I assume it's dead. It was not in the water. We're sorry. We went to Hanauma Bay and watched the coral reef safety video so he knew not to step on the living corals or break off any pieces. :) Thank you for giving me the peace I needed. Mahalo!
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on June 28, 2017:
@T Schott No, some sand, a few seashells and small rocks aren't an issue. I hope you and your daughter enjoyed your trip. Aloha, Stephanie
TSchott on June 27, 2017:
Hi, Does regular sand count? Also, my daughter took a tiny shell and a small rock(not lava)
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on June 23, 2017:
Coral is not part of the "Pele legend", but it is illegal to remove coral from Hawai'ian reefs. I'm not sure if he found dead coral on the shore or broke it off of a reef while swimming or diving. I doubt your misfortunes are related to the coral. Aloha, Stephanie
Agelu on June 22, 2017:
Does coral count? My son, without knowing of this legend, took a coral home. I just saw it while unpacking.
We've had a few more misfortunes and some close calls than usual since we've left Hawaii but could it be related??? Help.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on June 02, 2017:
No Kristen, there isn't any specific prayer to reverse bad luck you might have had. I don't want to give you the idea that any bad luck you experienced was a 'curse". If you sent the lava rocks back and you feel good about doing that, I would encourage you to keep a positive state of mind and think over all of the positive memories you have about your trip to Hawaii. Aloha!
Kristen on May 31, 2017:
After sending it back, is there a Hawaiian prayer that will help reverse any bad luck that might otherwise come?
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on May 22, 2017:
I'm glad your abuser is out of your life, your cats are thriving, and you're alive and well. And I'm glad you returned the lava rock to the islands. Good luck to you and I, too, hope you will visit Hawai'i someday. Aloha, Stephanie
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on May 22, 2017:
Mahalo Alanna. I just emailed you.
Alanna on May 19, 2017:
Aloha Stephanie, I am producing a new series for a major television network. I would LOVE to speak to you at your earliest convenience.
Mayphoenix on May 18, 2017:
About 20 or so years ago, a friend visited the islands and brought back a huge piece of lava as a gift for me and my then-partner. She said she had asked Pele for it and it appeared on the path. We treated it with great reverence but bad luck began to befall us, our cats getting sick with mysterious diseases the vets couldn't explain, our cars breaking down, and a variety of other issues. I kept saying we needed to return the rock, and finally took it upon myself to do so. While I still struggle day to day, I will say that my partner (and abuser) left me shortly after that, but my cats are healthy and I'm still alive. I hope to visit Hawai'i some day, and the only thing I plan to take away will be the experience! :)
Sam on May 07, 2017:
I have rocks from Haleakala and The Road To Hana and Kua Loa Ranch. I am truly sorry and disappointed in myself for not even taking it seriously or even knowing at the time even though I knew they said not to take rocks from the Haleakala. Hana and Kua Loa I'm not sure about but I don't mind finding a way to send them back too. I truly hope that mailing them would help reconnect them and also that it's known they came from me. I would prefer those are returned in the same spot and I even have pictures of where I took them. But, I want to know if anyone else noticed an improvement after mailing? Would it be better to return them in person?
The night we were leaving, I got very sick on the plane in a way I never had before, like my blood ran cold. I felt like I might have died but just prayed I wouldn't. But I also had some rocks in my pocket.
Someone in my family has recently been diagnosed with an unusual skin condition and has suffered other mysterious symptoms.
Among some other things happened to us, but not sure anymore if they are just coincidence. Either way, I feel devasted and very sorry.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on April 20, 2017:
Aloha e Jan, I'm sorry to hear that you have had bad luck since leaving Hawaii. Yes, you can mail your items back:
Lava rocks taken from the islands of Maui, Lanai or Molokai should be returned to: Haleakala National Park (island of Maui), P.O. Box 369, Makawao, HI 96768-0369
Include whatever you want to return in the box. It's also a good idea to send it by priority mail so that you can get a receipt when the items are delivered so that you know when they have returned to the islands.
Wishing you a bright future and aloha, Stephanie
Jan on April 18, 2017:
I have some black sand from the Road to Hana on Maui I would like to return,,will it get there if I send it to the address listed? Also do I need to return the kookoo nuts? I have golden sand as well...Nothing has gone right since we left with it..please help :)
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on February 07, 2017:
I wish your family well, and am saddened to hear of your bad fortune since visiting Hawaii. If you want to contact me for any reason, feel free to email me at Hawaiianscribe@gmail.com. Aloha, Stephanie
Kelly on January 16, 2017:
my parents took a recent trip to the Hawai'ian islands and my mother brought back lava rocks for her grandchildren without true knowledge or understanding that she should not have done this.
Since then, our family has been plagued with terrible bad fortune. My daughter was diagnosed with cancer and my nephew experience much trauma at birth and and is experiencing complications and issues because of this. My mother sent all the rocks back she could find and I am sending the one she gave my children today. I am not positive we have sent back all the rocks nor is she positive where she got them but all we found have been sent back to the Big Island...
I truly hope my family is forgiven and this curse is lifted!
Vic on September 05, 2016:
This is sillly , This is made up by the national parks to discorige people from taking rocks from the park . The touer companies went along this was back in the seventies . You know you can get Hawaiian lava rocks at garden supplies , right?
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on November 13, 2014:
@Arrow: Thank you for your concern about the lava rocks that were given to you as a gift. Since they seem to have caused you no problem, and you felt a strong connection to the land when you were here, I wouldn't worry too much. Keep this article handy in case you do decide to return them. If you've been keeping up with the news, Pele has had her hands full lately with her march towards Pahoa on the Big Island. Aloha, Stephanie
Arrow on November 11, 2014:
I have a couple of small rocks that were sent to me by a friend who lives in Hilo (along with some shells, kukui nuts, driftwood, and a little sand), because she knows how strongly I was affected by my visit to Hawai'i and what a clear sense of "home" I experienced there. I didn't ask for the rocks, but I do treasure them. I wear one on a bracelet almost all the time.
I haven't noticed any more bad luck than usual, but should I return these rocks anyway?
Arrow on November 09, 2014:
Thanks for this article. I've been wondering about a related question.
A year or so ago, a friend who lives on the Big Island sent me a few small rocks she picked up on the beach bear Hilo, as well as some shells, kukui nuts, and driftwood. She sent them because she knows how strongly my visit there affected me and how clearly I felt Hawai'i is my true home, even though I've only been there once. I treasure the rocks and wear one (and a shell) on a bracket almost all the time.
I did not take the rocks, nor did I ask for them. They were a gift from a friend. I haven't felt any more bad luck in my life than usual. But I still wonder if I should return them.
I felt a closer connection to Hina when I was there than to Pele, but I certainly don't want to anger the Great Volcano Goddess!!!
What do you think?
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on November 07, 2014:
I wouldn't worry about the lava beads you bought.You are an innocent party, and there is probably no proof of where the lava was taken from. It may not even be from Hawai'i. Thank you for your concern. That is what counts the most. Aloha, Stephanie
email@example.com on November 05, 2014:
I recently bought lava beads in Georgia to make bracelets, not knowing the history of lava. Would that be bad luck? If I sell this bracelets? I did not take it from Hawaii just bought it at a local bead store.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on September 30, 2014:
I am so glad that this article may have helped a little to bring the lava rock home. And to give you peace of mind. I wish you the very best in life, and I hope you have good memories of your island visit. Aloha, Stephanie
Abhiram on August 25, 2014:
I saw a sign closer to the Visitor Center near the Haleakalā National Park Summit saying not to take rocks because on the rocks there might be some microbial life or some other life living on or inside the rock. I picked up a rock which was tiny hoping no problem.
As soon as i came home it was all bad luck. So as soon i looked up this article and other articles I immediately sent the Lava Rock to the address mentioned in this article to Maui. I am really sorry to have picked up the lava rock, please do forgive me .
Melehua on November 26, 2013:
One of my dear friends gave me a beautiful shell bracelet with some small black rocks stuck in it as a bridal gift for attending her wedding on the Big Island.Her sister in law picked and found the shell on the island. At first, I thought hitting my head several times, getting a minor concussion was no big thing. However upon returning home, I was sick and continued to be sick first with a severe cough for about three weeks, followed by flu like symptoms for over one month. I decided to give the bracelet back to Hawaii island. I hope I get better.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on October 18, 2013:
@katie m: Iʻve never heard of Peleʻs Curse affecting a child because there was no clear intent when he took the rocks. I think he is probably hurting himself more by keeping this unnecessary guilt in his subconscious. Perhaps he could go to a quiet, place outdoors in nature and send a little prayer up to clear any ill will that may be holding him back from reaching his best potential. I wish you both all the best. Aloha, Stephanie
katie m on September 24, 2013:
my husband brought back lava rocks from hawaii as a child and because of the bad luck, his mother tossed them out the car window driving down the road one day. He still has bad luck. is there a way to remove the course without the rocks? any help would be great!
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on February 22, 2013:
@kulewriter: Mahalo for your kind comments. You were gifted with that sighting on the Big Island years ago. Perhaps it was because of your wisdom and sensitivity. Aloha, Stephanie
Ronald Joseph Kule from Florida on February 22, 2013:
Write on! Visitors need to be aware of this energy and leave the island rocks to the islands and its ancestors.
Back in the 1970s, I "saw," while walking along a small trail away from the towns on Big Island, King Kamahameha and his warriors marching toward me dressed in full regalia and headdresses. I heeded the legend of Pele and did not turn to look at them after they had passed through the spot where I stood with the hairs on my arms straight out from my body.
All of us are a lot more immortal than we have been taught to believe. That's why people mail the stolen lava ricks back to their home.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on February 20, 2013:
@stephhicks68: I try not to be TOO superstitious. Of course, I've brought sea shells from Samoa when I visited there, and when our family went to the Grand Canyon they sell rocks right in the gift shop. I guess it's just a matter of the local norms. I had a funny experience last year when I brought a lava rock home as a favor for someone who had bad luck with it. A mutual friend put us in touch and I agreed to put it in my luggage home. I fly standby and free because our son works for Delta (yayy!). We've had nightmare standbys where we had to sleep overnight, etc. During the summer months it's always hard to get 2 standby seats to Hawaii because flights are full. This time we sailed through. Delta even got us on an earlier flight and because of a tailwind, our flight was 1/2 hour shorter than normal. Was it because the lava rock wanted to get home? Hmm...Aloha, Stephanie
Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on February 19, 2013:
Quite interesting and helpful! I've always abided by the rule - Leave No Trace.... take only photographs and leave only footprints. That way, I don't have to have superstitious thoughts/beliefs.
I wonder how many people return lava rocks to the Hawaiian islands every year? And I think its close to impossible to leave Hawaii without at least a little bit of sand in your suitcase! LOL!
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on January 30, 2013:
@natashalh: I agree with you! Who wants to tempt fate? But there are enough people out there who do take lava rocks home & then end up mailing them back to places in Hawaii that aren't even close to the volcano. Thanks for reading the hub and I look forward to reading more of your hubs, too. Aloha, Stephanie
Natasha from Hawaii on January 30, 2013:
I'm not saying I believe in ghosts, but I once lived in a haunted house. The same thing applies here - I'm not sure I believe taking lava rocks is bad luck, but you're not going to find me doing it! There's just no reason to tempt fate.
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on January 14, 2013:
@GuitarGear - Thanks for sharing your aunt's experience. I didn't want to spook anyone with this hub, but wanted those who needed it to have information on how they could return rocks to Hawaii. I hope this makes someone's life a little easier. Aloha!
Walter Holokai from Youngstown, Ohio on January 13, 2013:
My aunt was a school teacher on Oahu. On a field trip to the big island one of her students picked up a lava rock and brought it back to the classroom without her knowledge. After a string of unfortunate events she somehow discovered the rock still in the student's desk. She returned it to the site where it was found and things returned to normal. When I was there on a visit she cautioned me against taking lava rocks back with me to the mainland as souvenirs and told me this story. I took it as a safety tip and in turn pass it on to friends who are headed to Hawaii on vacation. Thanks!
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on January 06, 2013:
Thank you! Sounds like you saved yourself the trouble of sending a rock home. Glad your wife had heard about the legend. Hope it's been a good 20 years and congratulations on the longevity. Aloha, Stephanie
Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on January 06, 2013:
Hi Steph. Twenty years ago while on our honeymoon in Hawaii I wanted to take home a piece of lava. My wife told me about the legend of people having bad luck so I didn't take it. I also did not want to disturb the landscape. Thanks for the history lesson on this legend, very interesting. Great job. VU, sharing, etc....
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on January 04, 2013:
Photographs and great memories are always the best treasures we can keep from vacations. I'm glad you had a chance to visit Hawai'i and mahalo nui for reading my hub. Aloha, Stephanie
Imogen French from Southwest England on January 04, 2013:
I too was warned by the locals not to take any rock home with me when visiting the Volcano National Park on Big Island, for fear of incurring the wrath of Pele! I'm not really superstitious but took heed anyway, out of respect for the island - and just in case! It was an incredible place to visit, but all I took home were photographs and great memories :)
Stephanie Launiu (author) from Hawai'i on January 04, 2013:
@Nell Rose: Thanks so much for your kind comments.
@moonlake: I do hope you will be able to make a trip to Hawaii someday & will remember the story of the lava rocks.
@hawaiianodysseus: Great to hear from you. Thanks for reading my hub. Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!
Nell Rose from England on January 04, 2013:
Hi, what a fascinating myth or urban legend! mind you being me I would probably send it back too! not that I am superstitious you understand, its just, well, you know just in case! lol! seriously, fascinating hub, voted and shared, nell
moonlake from America on January 04, 2013:
This is very interesting. I never knew this if I make it to Hawaii I will make sure not to bring home lava rocks. I don't need any bad luck. Voted up and shared.
Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on January 04, 2013:
How very interesting, Hawaiian scribe! Thanks for sharing this information!
Hope you and yours are off to a great start in 2013! Nice to read a new article of yours! Aloha!