Raëlianism is a religion founded in the 1970s by Claude Vorilhon, also known as Raël. It teaches that all life on Earth was introduced by an alien species, the Elohim. What other religions see as prophets or angels are in fact Elohim who have taken human form to teach humanity through the millennia.
The Raëlian UFO Peace Park outside of Volcano on Hawai’i’s Big Island features a number of sculptures. The main one is a naked woman, but there are also a few peacocks, chameleons, native birds, and a sea turtle, many of them featuring Raëlian symbols. There’s also a sculpture that at first sight might look like a crop circle, but in fact it’s a proposed galactic embassy.
Originally the Raëlians wanted to build such an embassy in Israel but their requests for land were halted, mainly because of the controversy surrounding the Raëlians for their use of the swastika in their symbol. The group’s stated intention is to reclaim an old Asian religious symbol representing peace and harmony, but to many, especially in the West, it’s still too associated with the use in Nazi Germany.
What many see as even more problematic is their use of the swastika intertwined with the Star of David, a symbol of Judaism. Even though the Raelians have no association with the Nazi party, and are not anti-Semitic in any way, they still decided to modify their logotype in 1991 as a public relations move. In 2007, however, Raël decided to once again make the original symbol featuring the swastika the only official emblem.
Instead of building their galactic embassy in Israel, the Raëlians hope to find a permanent home for it on Hawai’i’s Big Island, but so far it’s just a model in a park off the highway.
Know Before You Go
The Raëlian UFO Peace Park is on the corner of Hwy 11/Volcano Road and Ali`i Kane Street close to Volcano. There is no parking space but it is possible to pull over right next to the park.