The Story of Sedna

In our culture, Inuit shamans were known to travel to different afterworlds. When hunters were unable to catch food from the sea, they would transform themselves into fish in order to reach the bottom of the ocean. There they would find Sedna, and would comb her long tangled hair & weave it into braids to soothe her trauma and showcase compassion.

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photo by: Melody Charlie, @FirstNationPhotographer

The story of Sedna begins with an unrequited love and arranged marriage between a hunter and a beautiful Inuit woman named Sedna. The hunter won the approval of Sedna’s widowed father by claiming he could provide plentiful food & furs.

After their arranged marriage, the hunter brought Sedna by boat to a remote and deserted island. This was when the hunter revealed his true self; a spirit bird disguised as a human.

Shortly after, Sedna’s father came by kayak to visit and check up on his daughter. After seeing his daughter in complete distress and agony, he agreed to bring her back home. Yet when the sprit bird caught the two attempting to flea, the spirit flapped its wings and created a great storm. Through defeat and panic, her father realized how big of a mistake it was to upset the bird spirit, so he chose to sacrifice his daughter by throwing her into the ocean. In attempt to survive, she clung to the kayak. Fearing the boat would tip, her father then cut each of her fingers off. From each of her cut fingers became all the different sea creatures – whales, seals, narwhales and so on.

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photo by: Melody Charlie, @FirstNationPhotographer
The story of Sedna for me is a woven reminder of compassion and resilience towards ourselves and others, especially after a series of traumatic events. When we feel as if we are being cut off from our roots, our family, our sense of community, its important to acknowledge our power within. If we are capable of releasing our negative thoughts and emotions, our transformation becomes that much greater. The ability of incredible goodness comes from within. Though Sedna’s fingers were cut from her hands by her own father, she found a way to release her trauma and manifest greatness for her and her people. She became a goddess and was praised for her ability of sustaining life beyond land, and into the sea.
 – caroline blechert
*header image: photo by @CreationsforContinuity

 

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