“Sedna” by Hrana Janto

“Sedna’s themes are are thankfulness, providence, nature and abundance. Her symbols are water, an eye and fish.  The mother of the sea, which is sometimes called the ‘eating place’ in northern climates, Sedna is a very important figure in Alaskan mythology as the provider of nourishment for both the body and soul. In narratives, Sedna gave birth to fish, seals, polar bears and whales – the life sustaining animals in this region. Artistic renderings show Her as having one eye that sees all things in Her domain.

At this time of year, fisherman in Alaska dance through town giving out whale meat. According to custom, this dance propitiates the spirits of the food-providing whales who have died in the previous year. It also ensures an abundance of food in the year ahead. Adapting this a bit, abstain from your favorite meat product today and ask for Sedna’s blessing on the animals who provide your food year-round. Vegetarians can forgo their favorite staple and ask Sedna to bless the Earth’s greenery instead! Eating fish, however, is perfectly suited to the occasion, as it will fill you with Sedna’s nourishment. Remember to eat thankfully!

To keep a small token in your home that will continually draw Sedna’s blessing to you, get a goldfish and name it after Her! Each time you feed the fish you’re symbolically giving an offering to the Goddess. When you have a need, whisper it to the fish so Sedna hears you.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Sedna from the Goddess Guidance Oracle Deck

Patricia Monaghan tells us Sedna’s sad story: “Beside the Arctic Ocean, there once lived an old widower and his daughter, Sedna, a woman so beautiful that all the Eskimo men sought to live with Her. But She found none to Her liking and refused all offers. One day, a seabird came to Her and promised Her a soft life in a warm hut full of bearskins and fish. Sedna flew away with him.

The bird had lied. Sedna found Her home a stinking nest. She sat, sadly regretting Her rejection of the handsome human men. And that was what She told Her father, when She listed Her complaints when he visited Her a year later.

Anguta (‘man with something to cut’) put his daughter in his kayak to bring Her back to the human world. Perhaps he killed the bird husband first, perhaps he just stole the bird’s wife, but in either case the vengeance of the bird people followed him. The rising sea threatened the escaping humans with death. On they struggled, until Anguta realized that flight was hopeless.

“Sedna” by Lisa Hunt

He shoved Sedna overboard to drown. Desperate for life, She grabbed the kayak with a fierce grip. Her father cut off Her fingers. She flung Her mutilated arms over the skin boat’s sides. Anguta cut them off, shoving his oar into Sedna’s eye before She sank into the icy water.

At the bottom of the sea, She lived thereafter as queen of the deep, mistress of death and life, ‘old food dish,’ who provided for the people. Her amputated fingers and arms became the fish and marine mammals, and She alone decided how many could be slaughtered for food. She was willing to provide for the people if they accepted Her rules: for three days after their death, the souls of Her animals would remain with their bodies, watching for violation of Sedna’s demands. Then they returned to the Goddess, bearing information about the conduct of Her people. Should Her laws be broken, Sedna’s hand would begin to ache, and She would punish humans with sickness, starvation, and storms. Only if a shaman traveled to Her country, Adlivun, and assuaged Her pains would the sea mammals return to the hunters, which, if the people acted righteously, they did willingly.

“Sedna” by Susan Seddon Boulet

In Adlivun in a huge house of stone and whale ribs, Sedna dragged along the ground with one leg bent beneath Her. A horrible dog guarded Her, said by some to be Her husband. Anguta himself lived there too; some versions of the myth say that, hoping the seabirds would think Sedna dead, he allowed Her back into the kayak and returned home. But She hated him thereafter and cursed Her dogs to eat his hands and feet; the earth opened and swallowed them. In any case, Anguta served Sedna by grabbing dead human souls with his maimed hand and bringing them home. These dead lived in a region near Sedna’s home through which shamans had to pass to reach the Goddess. There was also an abyss, in which an ice wheel turned slowly and perpetually; then a caldron full of boiling seals blocked the way; finally, the horrible dog stood before Sedna’s door, guarding the knife-thin passageway to Her home. Should the shaman pass all these dangers and ease Sedna’s aching hands, the Goddess permitted him to return, bearing the news that Old Woman had forgiven Her people, that the seals would again seek the hunter, that the people would no longer starve” (p. 275-276).

“Sedna is widely worshipped among the Inuit peoples of the polar regions and has many forms and names: Ai-Willi-Ay-O or Aiviliajog; Kannakapfaluk, Arnakapfaluk (‘Big Bad Woman’) of the Copper Inuit; Idiragijenget for the Central Inuit. She is called Ikalu nappa in Her form as half-woman, half-fish; Meghetaghna in Siberia; Nerchevik in Labrador; and Nerrivik (‘Food Dish’) or Nivikkaa (‘Woman Thrown Backward Over The Edge’) in Greenland. For the Iglulik Inuit of Baffin Island She is Uiniyumayuituq or Unigumisuitok, ‘The One Who Did Not Want a Husband” [1].  Other names include Sanna, Nuliajuq, and Arnarquagssaq. [2]

“Sedna Transformed” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Charlotte Kuchinsky writes, “There seems to be no clear picture of whether the Goddess was evil or good or perhaps somewhere in between. She was definitely respected by the Inuit, but some feared Her while others cherished Her, which makes for an interesting dichotomy.

Many believe that the story of Sedna is an allegory to teach mankind that it is sometimes necessary to delve into places where we would prefer not to go. However, if we have faith and are worthy, the outcome will be positive and rich with the rewards of life.

Others believe that the story is a reminder that all of us have negative qualities that we must learn to control. However, such qualities do not immediately negate our being deserving of love and respect.

“Sedna” by Erika Brandner

I believe either is an important message to remember. All human beings have fears that hold us back and keep us from achieving all of which we are capable. I also believe that all human life deserves respect and that everyone needs the healing power of love.” [3]

I can sympathize with Sedna; I know and can understand all too well Her sadness, Her grief, Her sorrows, Her regrets, Her bitterness, Her anger, Her frustration, Her pain and fits of rage…I’ve been very much in tune with those same feelings, emotions and energies myself these past few days.  That does not make Her evil though.  Like Her, I did not die as result of my ordeals, I live to tell my tales; and like Her, yes, they’ve mentally and emotionally mutilated me, hurt me, and have made me bitter and angry, and still do lead to occasional bouts of rage when I feel threatened or wronged; or that my boundaries and limits have been breached.

“It is Her occasional anger with humans which brings about violent storms and destructive winds when She feels that Her rules have been broken or She has been wronged.  When this happens the Inuit tribal shaman is required to take a shaman’s journey to the bottom of the ocean to speak to the Goddess. The shaman will often transform into a fish and then he or she will swim down to the bottom of the ocean to appease Sedna. Often, the shaman will comb the tangles out of Sedna’s hair and put it into braids [and massage and work the knots and tension out of Her aching muscles], since, fingerless, She is unable to. As innocuous as this sounds, because Sedna is so volatile and often hostile, this is considered the most dangerous journey an Inuit shaman can ever be called upon to make.” [4]

“Pana” by Lisa Hunt

To me, She is comparable to Ereshkigal and a strong Dark Goddess to work with if one were brave enough to descend to the icy depths of the watery Underworld and confront their own mutilations.  Questions to ask yourself: “In what ways have the painful incidents in your life taught you about your own Divine nature? How has personal loss or suffering helped you set your own personal code of ethical conduct? In what ways can your anger be of benefit or harm?

And, from the shaman’s perspective, under what circumstances, if any, can you imagine that you would be willing to face danger and even risk your life for the greater good? What would that look like to you?” [5]




Beth. Beth Owl’s Daughter, “The Goddess Sedna“.

Kuchinsky, Charlotte. Yahoo! Voices, “Understanding the Moral Behind the Inuit Goddess Sedna“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Sedna”.

Native-languages.org, “Legendary Native American Figures – Sedna“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sedna“.


Suggested Links:

Balladeer. Balladeer’s Blog, “The Top 12 Deities From Inuit Mythology“.

Bianca. Order of the White Moon, “Sedna: Goddess of the Icy Sea“.

Goddessgift.com, “Sedna, Inuit Goddess of the Deep Sea“.

Rainewalker.com, “Sedna’s Gifts“.

Sutton, Brenda. Mythicjourneys.org, “Sedna of the Sea“.

Talk With the Goddess, “Goddess Card June 8th – Goddess Sedna“.

Temple of Sedna, “Sedna the Goddess“.

Wikipedia, “Sedna (mythology)“.

Willowroot, Abby. Spiralgoddess.com, “Sedna of the North“.