Sedna (deity)

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This article is about the Inuit goddess. For the large asteroid named after her, see 90377 Sedna.

In Inuit mythology, Sedna is a sea goddess and master of the animals, especially mammals such as seals, of the ocean. She lives in and rules over Adlivun, the Inuit underworld. Sedna is also known as Arnakuagsak or Arnarquagssaq (Greenland) and Nerrivik or Nuliajuk (Alaska).

According to one myth, Sedna, similar to a mermaid, was the daughter of the creator-god Anguta and his wife. She is said to have been so huge and hungry that she ate everything in her parents' home, and even gnawed off one of her father's arms as he slept. According to some versions of the myth, she took a dog for her husband.

Anguta was so angry that he threw her over the side of his canoe. She clung to its sides, whereupon he chopped her fingers off one by one until she let go. She sank to the underworld, becoming the queen of the monsters of the deep, and her huge fingers became the seals, sea-lions and whales hunted by the Inuit.

Other tales assert that Sedna was a beautiful and chaste maiden who was innocently lured into marriage by an evil bird spirit. When her father tried to rescue her, the spirit became angry and caused a terrible storm which threatened the very survival of her people. In desperation, Sedna's father threw her into the raging sea.

The varying legends each give different rationales for her death at the hands of her father. Sometimes she is the innocent victim, and sometimes she appears to deserve death as punishment for greed or some other evil. But all tales agree that she descended into the depths of the ocean and became the Goddess of Sea Creatures. As such she became a vital deity, eagerly worshipped by hunters who depended on her goodwill to supply food.

Sedna is also the adversary on the children's cartoon Inuk which follows the story of a young Inuit boy.

External links

eo:Sedno (diino) fr:sedna ja:セドナ nl:Sedna (godin) sv:sedna

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