Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sedna

We almost lost my little fish friend again yesterday. They had named him Fishula, why I don't know, but that's what his name is.  All was well in the morning.  His tank had been cleaned on Friday, so when I saw some water splashed about on the table, I wiped it up and thought nothing of it.  A couple hours later I went to check on him, and there was water everywhere.  Somehow the tank had sprung a leak, and it must have been getting worse. We got him into a bucket and luckily, there is a Petland nearby, and we purchased a new tank with petty cash.  Whew!!!  All I could think of is 'what if that had happened in the middle of the night when no one was around?'  Amazing how close one get to these little sea creatures. 

The sea is a symbol of both time and eternity, as well as a feminine gentleness and the power of wide scale destruction, and most mythologies have tales of powerful sea goddesses.  For the Inuit people, this primal force of nature is  Sedna, a goddess who is both deeply feared and deeply respected. She holds a very important place in the mythology and popular traditions of the Eskimos.  This is her story.

The myth of the sea goddess, Sedna, mother and guardian of the great sea mammals, who dwells at the bottom of the sea, had deep religious significance for the coastal Inuit who hunt at sea. She is the goddess of the sea and of sea creatures, and rules an underwater realm, and throughout the Arctic, the sea goddess Sedna is both feared and venerated. She is a provider as well as a healing and integrating social force among the Inuit. 

Sedna is the goddess of destiny, death, and the afterlife. She oversees the three heavens of the Eskimo, including Omiktu, where the souls of humans and whales go after death.

Myths about Sedna explain the origin of sea creatures and reflect the harsh environment of the Arctic dominates the religious emotions of the Eskimo. The story varies from one region to the next. However, in all versions, a young woman becomes the mother of all sea creatures. 

Once upon a time, when Sedna was young and beautiful, her father, a widower, forced her to marry his dog because she stubbornly wouldn't marry the suitor of his choice. After seeing that what he had done was wrong, he drowned the dog. She gave birth to children, some dogs, some humans and set them all adrift in the Arctic.  The dogs were the ancestors of white men while the human children floated away to become the ancestors to the Indians.

In another version of the legend, a seabird disguised as a handsome young man visited her and promised that, if she married him, she would live in luxury for the rest of her life. So, against her father's wishes, she accepted his proposal and went to live with him. But soon. Sedna discovered that her new husband was not a man at all,  but only a fulmar. She led an unhappy existence in a flimsy shelter with only raw fish to eat.  

A year later her father arrived and, after hearing her tale of woe, convinced Sedna to leave with him in his boat. However, Sedna's bird husband was not happy about this. When they set off in her father's canoe, he flapped his wings and stirred up a raging storm on the water. To calm the sea, Sedna's father threw her overboard as an offering, and, because she clung to the side of the boat, he cut off her fingers. Sedna sank to the bottom of the sea and transformed into a goddess of the undersea world. Her fingertips became the seals, dolphins, and other ocean mammals.

As mother to all sea creatures, they obey her beckoning call, and when so commanded, they willingly sacrifice themselves as food to those in need, whether human or animal. When she is angry, Sedna makes storms. The storms stop hunters from catching any of Sedna's sea creature.  And, when the sins of the mortals fall down through the water, they collect in her hair causing grease and grime. But, because she has no fingers, she cannot clean it herself, so the Shaman must go down and  dress her filthy hair in braids so that mankind can eat again.

To this day Eskimo elders still teach that Sedna lives at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, it is said that Sedna resides at the bottom of the sea with the seals and other sea animals that were created from her fingers.




(On November 14, 2003, a team of astronomers discovered a frozen world more than 8 million miles from Earth and believed to be the farthest known object within our solar system. It is estimated that the temperature never rises above 400 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, making it the coldest known body in the solar system. They named it Sedna after the goddess who created the sea creatures of the Arctic.) 

5 comments:

  1. I think his real name is Eddie!

    Have a lovely day, Moontides

    xx

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  2. Oh I am so glad that this leak happened, when you were at work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Gentle hugs,
    "Auntie"

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  3. I think he was ...a CAT, in his other life. ;0)
    (((hugs)))Pat

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  4. Hurray for Fishula! What a survivor!

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