Sedna, goddess of the arctic sea, controls the sea mammals and the balance of life and death in the cold north. Her transformation from beautiful young woman to a hag-like goddess is told in many conflicting tales throughout the Arctic peoples. I have put together a condensed version here:
Sedna began as a beautiful young woman, courted by many suitors, but none pleased her father. Then a mysterious stranger appeared, claiming to be a great king in the north, and convinced her father to let them marry. Sedna went to live with her new husband only to discover that he was a cruel Skua (sometimes it is a Raven) in disguise. She called for help from her father who came to her aid and as they escaped in a small canoe, the angry Skua sent a terrible storm to topple them. Sedna fell into the water and clung to the side of the canoe to keep from drowning. Her father, fearing that they might both die, cut her fingers off so she sank down into the icy depths. As she sank, her severed fingers became seals, walruses, porpoises, dolphins, polar bears, whales, and sea otters. She became an important figure for the hunters of the north who relied on her generosity to survive. If Sedna felt slighted, she would call her sea animals to her and the people would starve.
April 11th, 2015
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