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Sedna, Goddess : Inuit

Sedna, Inuit Goddess
of the Deep Sea

The Inuit goddess Sedna 's story begins with a common mythological theme—a beautiful young woman who is not impressed by any of her multiple suitors.  Sedna's father, a widower, was constantly trying to marry her off, but she would have none of it. 

One sunny day a sea bird (a fulmar) promised to take her away to his “comfortable, luxurious” home. The impulsive young girl eloped with the fulmar, but his 'palace' turned out to be a filthy, smelly nest. And, to make matters worse, he treated her like a slave.  Sedna begged her father to come and take her back home.

celtic goddess Brigid
 

 But as they were heading across the waters, a flock of fulmars surrounded the boat. The incessant flapping of their wings caused a tremendous storm to arise. Their small vessel was about to capsize. 

 Fearing for his own safety, Sedna's father threw her into the ocean to appease the angry birds.  When Sedna tried to climb back into the boat, he cut off her fingers. As she struggled to use her mutilated hands to try again, he cut off her hands and threw her and her appendages into the water. goddess Sedna

 As she sank to the bottom of the ocean, her dismembered limbs grew into fish, seals, whales, and all of the other sea mammals.

She descended to Adlivum (the Inuit Land of the Dead) where she now rules.   As Queen of the Deep Sea, Sedna is responsible for sending food to the hunters. 

To ensure that she continues to feed the people, shaman must descend through many horrifying places to reach Sedna and soothe her.

The route is dangerous and terrifying. The shamans have to pass through countless dead souls, an abyss where an icy wheel turns slowly and perpetually, then past a cauldron full of boiling seals, and finally past the horrible dog that guards the knife-thin passageway into her home. 

When shaman visit her, they massage Sedna's aching limbs and comb her hair.  Only when she is properly comforted will Sedna permit the shaman to return to the people and inform them that she will send the animals to be hunted so that the people will not face starvation.

      


The goddess Sedna teaches us that we must delve into the dark, cold places that we fear most if we are to find the riches that rest there. Sedna reminds us that, in spite of all our infirmities and our foolish mistakes, we are still worthy of love and respect and have every right to expect, and even demand, that others treat us well.
 

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Sedna : Goddess of the Sea

 

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