Sedna - Myth and Astrology
Once upon a time there lived a young woman named Sedna. She lived somewhere in the Arctic with her father and she was very content. So content was she that when the time came for her to choose a suitor, she rejected all the Inuit men that wanted to marry her. Her father however insisted that she choose a husband so eventually Sedna agreed to marry a handsome and enigmatic man who promised he would provide her with all the food and furs she would ever need.
* In some versions of this myth, Sedna lived with both her parents
After she married, the man took her to his island where he revealed himself to be a bird disguised as a man. Because he was a bird, he could only provide Sedna with fish. Sedna was cold and miserable on the island. They lived together for some time before Sedna’s father came to visit. Her father, on seeing that his daughter’s husband was a bird, killed the bird and he and Sedna got into his kayak and set off home.
The birdman’s friends however wanted to avenge his death and they flew above the kayak and flapped their wings hard until a mighty storm rose. The father, in an attempt to save his own life, threw Sedna overboard but she clung like a barnacle to the side of the kayak and begged her father to spare her life. Fearing that she would tip him over, her father cut her fingers off, one joint at a time. From each of her finger joints, various sea creatures were born. Seals, whales, walruses…
At last, Sedna sank to the bottom of the ocean and was transformed into a Goddess with a fish tail. To this day, Inuit hunters try to maintain a good relationship with Sedna. When the hunters do not catch anything for a long time, shamans will journey to the bottom of the ocean to try to appease Sedna by combing and braiding her long hair (remember she has no fingers). Inuits refer to Sedna as “the food giving Goddess”.
The daughter in myth is symbolic of the feminine archetype. The feminine archetype is the part of us that is creative, nourishing, empathetic and receptive. Any reference to the feminine is also a reference to Nature. In this myth, we see how her father, a reference to the dominant culture, wanted her to “follow tradition and marry a man who would be a good provider”. I could elaborate on this part alone for days! But here we have a warning about greed and seeking social acceptance or status.
Birds, in myth, are symbolic of spirit, imagination and thought.
So what are the major themes in this myth?
Cutting ourselves off from the Feminine and from Nature.
Cutting ourselves off from spiritual sustenance and all things that “feed us” (no fingers to feed ourselves), sacrificing those parts of ourselves that allow for authentic self-expression and agency. Agency is what allows us to live in ways that reflect our values.
Clinging desperately to our old life or values; an unwillingness to let go.
The need for a conscious and balanced relationship with Nature.
Sedna’s marriage to the birdman was her chance for authentic, creative self-expression, instead she chose to leave with her father (dominant culture, pervading societal beliefs) who had “murdered” her imagination and spirit. Birds are also solar symbols and refer to the ego. This is a myth that warns against going against nature both psychologically (our true nature, desires) and Nature (Earth).
Sedna was discovered on the 14th of November, 2003 by astronomer Mike Brown and his team, Chad Trujillo and Mike Rabinowitz at the Palomar observatory in San Diego. It’s worth mentioning that Brown likes astrologers and gave careful consideration to the naming of his discovery.
“Astrology and astronomy are brothers with roots deeper than just the first five letters … I don’t think anyone can watch the rhythms and pulses of the movements of the planets and sun and moon and not somehow get a gut feeling that there is … meaning in all of that beauty, precision, and symmetry.” Like astrologers, Brown understands that names have power. The process of naming a planetary object calls upon both conscious and unconscious thought processes. In an interview, Brown says, “Naming [of celestial bodies] is important … A name makes it real … then it’s not just a blip in the sky. It’s a story.” Once named, a planet becomes a symbolic reality as well as a material one." - Source.
Sedna’s discovery was only announced in 2004 (15 March) which happens to be the same year of the catastrophic Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami. Sedna is the coldest, most distant planet in our solar system. Sedna is twice as far from the sun as any other solar system object and three times farther than Pluto or Neptune.(40x further from the Sun than Pluto). It takes Sedna just under 12000 years to orbit the Sun and it will reach perihelion (closest to the Sun) in 2075-76.
Sedna's discovery chart reveals two grand trines, making a rare hexagram or “Star of David” pattern. The water trine (Moon– Saturn in Cancer trine the Sun–South Node in Scorpio and trine Mars in Pisces), pointing downward, reflects the feminine principle. The earth triangle (Sedna in Taurus, Jupiter in Virgo, Chiron in Capricorn), pointing upward, represents the masculine.
Sedna represents a new and powerful voice calling us to a balanced and sustainable relationship with nature. Many astrologers like Alan Clay assign various meanings (keywords) for Sedna. I personally lean more towards Barbara Schermer’s hypothesis that Sedna is a call for conscious relationship with nature. I see Sedna as a collective planet that manifests in groups of people and impacts the culture and not as a planet that makes a personal statement at the time of our birth. Nevertheless, if you are interested in learning more about Sedna, I recommend you read the following:
Sedna Consciousness by Alan Clay