Sunday, 20 March 2016

Sedna, the goddess of Arctic Ocean in Inuit mythology

In Inuit mythology, Sedna was the mother and goddess of all sea creatures.

Initially Sedna was a beautiful and young Inuit woman who lived with his father. Again and again she rejected the suitors who wanted to marry her, until she eventually married a dog, happily settling in on an island. However, the dog drowned and she returned with his father.

After a short period of time, her father saw approaching a hunter to the camp and offered his daughter as a wife. He was a man elegantly wrapped in skins, even though his face was hidden. He promised taking her to his island where she would have plenty of food and skins for clothing and shelter. Finally Sedna agreed to marry him and climbed aboard the canoe of the hunter, heading to her new home.

When they arrived to the island, the hunter downed his hood revealing that he was not a man as she thought, but a bird disguised. She screamed and tried to escape, but he grabbed her and dragged her to a clearing at the edge of the cliff. The new home of Sedna was a bunch of feathers on the hard and cold rock. The only option of food was raw fish, which he brought after hours of searching it.

Sedna was very unhappy. Cried and cried, calling again and again to her father. Through the howls of the arctic wind he could hear the cry of his daughter; he knew she was sad. He load his canoe and set off, crossing the cold Arctic Ocean, heading toward the place where Sedna was. When he arrived, she was on the shore. Sedna quickly climbed into the canoe, hugged her father, and together they left the scene.

After several hours of journey, Sedna looked back and saw a black dot in the distant horizon. Fear gripped her, because she knew that it was her enraged husband, flying in her search.

The big bird suddenly appeared, descending nosedive toward the canoe. His father tried to hit him repeatedly with the oar without achieving it, while the big bird in flight was pursuing relentlessly. The big bird fell sharply near the canoe, accompanied by a flock of big ugly birds which began to beat the wings with great force flush with the surface of the ocean. A violent storm was unleashed.

His father was more and more scared. At a given moment, he grabbed Sedna and threw it to the water, shouting: "There is your beautiful woman! Take it, but let me go!" Sedna screamed, while she was fighting against the numbness of the body in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean. She swam and reached the canoe, but as she hold on to the edge of it, her father hit her fingers with the rowing. She screamed, resisting and trying to dissuade him, but without success: her frozen fingers break off and she collapsed on to the water.

Because she had acquired part of the powers of her husband, as the fingers of Sedna sank into the depths, turned into seals. Sedna tried again, until her frozen hands break off. This time, as they sank, turned into whales and other large mammals.

Finally, Sedna also fell and began to sank. At the bottom of the ocean she reunited with her first husband (the dog) and became the goddess of all sea creatures.

Sedna rewarded the people of the land with food from the sea, whenever hunters showed respect toward animals. Without her blessing, the hunts failed and the people starve.

By invoking Sedna, the Inuit shamans traveled with their spirits into the depths of the ocean to clean and combed her hair, something that she could not do for herself because of the lack of fingers.