The Myth of Goddess Sedna retold.
The Goddess of the arctic sea, mother of sea creatures, ruler of the frozen underworld. Although she dies in myth, she represents life and continues to live in the creatures that are born from her. She transforms and continues to live in the waters also through her creation.
Sedna, like other goddesses that we meet in other geographies, has human origin. In her case, it is not her actions and generosity that leads her to rise as a Goddess, although in reality Sedna descends to the underworld to be crowned the most powerful Goddess in the entire Arctic, in her case it is tragedy, trauma, betrayal, rage and death. Somehow the injustices that she suffers in her human form, transform her into the Goddess that we know today, perhaps in contrast to having been deprived of power and decision to the point that she is kidnapped and also murdered by her own father.
The myth of sedna, although full of tragedy, is also beautiful and powerful. Of the many versions of the myth, I am going to put together what resonates with me and re-tell her story in my own way using classical elements of the different tales.
"Sedna was a very beautiful young woman, perhaps the most beautiful in the village. Her family was modest and her father hoped to marry her off well. He tried by all means for her to take a husband but she rejected all suitors who approached her. She was also bringing shame to her father, as Sedna's fame for rejecting men began to spread, he was very upset about this.
Rumors about Sedna's beauty traveled far from her village, so far that the King of the Fulmar became curious to meet her. With his magical powers, he transformed into a man and traveled to Sedna's town. Once there he pretended not to know anything about her and did everything possible to meet her father. He introduced himself to him as an extraordinary hunter and told him that he came from a distant place where they lived very well off. Sedna's father of course thought that the hunter would be an ideal son-in-law and introduced him to Sedna. The hunter was captivated by her beauty and did everything possible to dazzle her but she was not fooled by him no matter how much he promised her a luxurious life on the other side of the sea. Sedna's father, angry with his daughter for rejecting such a good match, played a trick on her to give her away to the hunter. In exchange the hunter promised to come back and bring him lots of food for he winter. The father mischievously gave Sedna a potion that made her sleep and so the hunter/King of Fulmar took her with him.
When Sedna woke up, she found herself in a huge bird's nest, surrounded by feathers and birds. She assumed the hunter had kidnapped her and asked him for an explanation. To her surprise the hunter shapeshifted, he became the King of the Fulmar, a huge bird and told her that she now belonged to him and that she would have to live with him as his wife, which horrified Sedna. Several days passed, during the day the king of the fulmar was a bird and hunted for Sedna and during the night he transformed into the hunter in human form to lie with her.
Meanwhile Sedna's father in the village was still waiting for the food the hunter promised him but over time he realized that he had been deceived and became very angry. He went out to sea with his Kayak in search of the hunter and to bring back Sedna.
After several days he found her, sitting in the nest of the King of the Fulmar crying. She told him who the hunter really was and told her father the King was away fishing. Sedna's father realized that she didn't know that he had tricked her too but he didn't tell her anything about it and they set off in the kayak.
The King of the Fulmar returned to find the nest empty and went into a rage and flew until he found them. He flew over the kayak several times and flapped his wings so hard that he started raising a storm. Sedna's father was very scared of him and his powers and seeing that he was going to die he threw Sedna out of the Kayak, thinking that would calm the King of the Fulmar. Horrified by her father's actions, Sedna grabbed onto the Kayak but her father cut her fingers off with his hunting knife. Sedna began to sink into the waters.
So great was the injustice against her, so great the trauma suffered, so much her rage that her heart broke and as it did the sea water entered her heart and something wonderful happened. Marine animals and large mammals emerged from Sedna's fingers and Sedna herself was transformed by seawater and her human self died. Her heart began to shine with a bright blue light and the animals that had been born from her fingers surrounded her while a metamorphosis occurred, while she kept falling into the sea of ice. When she reached the bottom she would do it as a Goddess of the depths, a Goddess of the underworld. A place where she would live her new immortality.
People say that while Sedna is calmed and happy at her new home, there is good fishing and hunters can bring food home, but sometimes Sedna falls prey to memories and the betrayal and the scars of the abuse still hurts. When this happens her very long hair becomes tangled and she traps the marine animals in it and there is no hunting and men go hungry. The shaman from the village has the job to travel to the ice underworld through dreams and convince Sedna that not all men are evil like her father.
It is not an easy task and sometimes the shaman has to go several times to calm her down and combs her hair with a bone comb to free the trapped animals from the sea to men can hunt.
Today, Sedna is still the most important Goddess of the Arctic."
Retold by Ness Bosch.
With all my respect for the Artic People that are also my ancestors.