Yesterday and today I have been finishing a Shadow Box dedicated to Sedna, Mother of Ocean and Marine Mammals. I had never heard of Sedna before six years ago, when I began learning from Rene Baribeau, author of Winds of Spirit. Renee included Sedna in her book. Sila Innua (Sedna) is the Wind Spirit creative force for the Inuit people.

Her story varies. Some say she is the daughter of two gigantic forces of nature, her appetite grew, and she tried to eat her parents. For this error, her father took her out to the ocean, and threw her in, but not before chopping off her fingers.

In another tale, she was the beautiful daughter of the tribal leader. Dissatisfied with her suitors, she married a dog, and for this her father took her out to the ocean in a boat, threw her over the side, but not before chopping off her fingers.

In a third variation of her story, Sedna was courted by a bird spirit who promised her an easy, luxurious life. She didn’t know it was a bird spirit, until she arrived at her marital home, saw the squalor, and her suitor transformed into a gull. Somehow she got a message to her father who came to rescue her. They were partway home, when the magic of the bird spirit tribe called up a huge storm. Sedna’s father, terrified, threw her overboard hoping to appease the bird spirits. Clinging to the side of the boat for dear life, Sedna sank beneath the waves when her father chopped off her fingers.

After all these horrible things that happened to her–betrayal by her own father, being lied to by her promised husband, and death by drowning, it would seem logical that Sedna become a hungry ghost. But she is transformed instead by the power of Ocean. Her fingers gave birth to all the Marine Mammals that the Inuit hunters needed to live. A shaman can please Sedna by offering to comb her hair, which she cannot do, because of her broken fingers. Once her hair is combed to her liking, Sedna sends the animals to the hunters.

I have learned that the Ocean is the Inuit Underworld. I think this is a beautiful metaphor for the Subconscious where so many of our own terrors and demons live. From my own inner journeys of self discovery and seeking self-knowing, I have come to believe that the Subconscious is the seat of our soul, and that by struggling with and releasing repressed, negative emotions, we can free ourselves from aspects of the conditioned mind that no longer serve us.

I have learned that diving deep into the emotional arenas of my own mind can become extremely liberating. Like many of us, I have areas of betrayal, abandonment, and trauma living in my depths. The chopping off of her fingers limited Sedna’s creative potential to do anything about her situation, but she is transformed by the power of Ocean.

No longer dependent upon the daily struggles of subsistence of her people, Sedna is nourished by the emotional power of wave and water. I learned that Sedna has chosen to help me face my own emotional depths so that I may no longer feel victimized by what I cannot control. Self-pity be gone.

When I open my eyes to my emotional depths, and choose to not focus on what could be better, but instead upon what IS, I am no longer blinded to the beauty of my inner world by fears of what other people might think. I am no longer paralyzed by the conditioning that I must diminish myself in order that other people can feel good about themselves. That is really up to them.

I don’t care what other people think. I go about my life as best as I can enjoying the present moment. When too much is going on, and I feel stressed, I can choose when to say NO. When I want to be social, I am unafraid to go out solo and enjoy dinner or a movie. I choose to move quietly through my life, choosing how and what I am interested in getting involved with. Life has taken on a more confident and rhythmic balance.

Tomorrow I will hang Sedna’s Shadow Box above the fire place. I have gathered seashells and knick-knacks that speak to the power and the rhythm of Ocean. I am ready to listen to Sedna’s teachings and to the push and pull of the tides. I have purchased a soapstone Inuit carving of a walrus to have a connection with Sedna’s people. This is a new chapter in my life, and I am looking forward to the learning it brings me.


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