Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sedna - a Sea Goddess

I awoke from sleep this morning thinking about Sedna, a Sea Goddess of the Inuit people.  When I first read about her years ago, I was horrified by her story - and I still am.  I will never understand how men, who will will never create Life, think that by killing a female, they are in some way, shape or form responsible for creating the life that emanates from her - as in the story of Sedna.

I went into Google Land to see if I could find another retelling and found a few things to share.

The second offering is another poem by Hila Ratzabi.

             “Our newly discovered object is the coldest most distant place known in the solar
             system, so we feel it is appropriate to name it in honor of Sedna, the Inuit goddess of
             the sea, who is thought to live at the bottom of the frigid arctic ocean.”
                                                                          ––Mike Brown, astronomer                                       
Now you’re nothing
but a dwarf planet at the edge
of the asteroid formerly known as Pluto,
neighbor to demoted planet,
When the scientists ran out of Greek and Roman gods
they settled on you, “Big Bad Woman,”
as one tribe puts it.
You are made of water,
methane, nitrogen ice,
frozen all over.
It takes you
more than ten thousand years
to orbit the Sun.
I want to place a blanket
around your shivering surface,
tuck you in surrounded by stars.
Where I’m from, we’ve released
so much heat into the sky
it’s burning us back.
But I can’t turn up the heat
at your edge of the solar system,
can’t drag you any closer to the Sun.
From your corner the Sun
Is a wink of a star, so small
you could block it out
with the head of a pin.
Just look what a nothing it is
next to you, big girl.
(Image from here)

And the third offering is a somewhat long, but beautiful essay entitled The Goddess vs The New Age:  Singing the Sacred Land by Jacqui Woodward-Smith, a Priestess of Avalon.  I've excerpted the beginning of the essay and you can read the rest of it here.  She makes a brief mention of Sedna.

Jacqui's words resonated with me because I simply cannot take the female body, no matter what her form, out of any discussion of spirituality.  I also read The Great Cosmic Mother way back in the late '80s and it changed my life.  It was the first book I had read on what I then called "Earth based spirituality," but what I now call "female spirituality." 
“Female spirit, the goddess in us, is not fragile or new; not an invention of privileged women or an escapist New Age elite. We are tough and ancient: tried by a million years of ice and fire. On enormous and minute wheels of pain and beauty we have turned…we return to tell and respell our story.”1
So says Barbara Mor in the 1990 introduction to her powerful book ‘The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth”, written with Monica Sjöö. And so we return to respell our story and the female spirit, and the goddess in us begins to emerge from the mists of our forgetting after enduring and surviving several thousand years of patriarchy … or so we may tell ourselves. But there is a threat to our remembering, a threat from within what many would consider our own circle. It is the threat of the New Age and its writers and gurus who talk of ascension, of transcending human form, and of becoming one with our ‘light bodies’, and other similar concepts, and who are providing us with many of the contemporary ideas about, and images of, the Goddess. Theirs is not the language of the Earth, but of the dualism which has held us in chains for millennia. In our thirst for the rise of the Sacred Feminine, in our joy at sensing her return to human consciousness, many of us have ceased to consider the form in which She is being presented to us through the many New Age images and writings that grow in popularity by the day. Our connection to the Goddess is being subverted and torn from Her roots within the dark earth. She is being ‘intellectualised’, made all light and logic, and yet we are being encouraged not to think.
Before I continue I will say that I have nothing against the New Age and acknowledge that the term means different things to different people, just as ‘Goddess’ does, but there is a huge groundswell within New Age thinking that places light above dark, or possibly even worse ignores the dark altogether, and which turns the Goddess, and therefore all women, into a stereotype of femininity. The Goddess is both light and dark, with no separation between the two, just as we are, and if we ignore one side of Her then we do nothing but damage to ourselves.
In 1992 the wonderful Goddess artist, researcher, writer and activist Monica Sjöö published her book, ‘New Age and Armageddon: The Goddess or the Gurus – Towards a Feminist Vision of the Future’ (now republished as ‘Return of the Dark/Light Mother’), in answer to what she saw as the dangers of the New Age movement. She saw the movement as paying lip service to the Goddess and to the Earth whilst, at the same time, stressing the need to become more ‘highly’ evolved and leave the Earth behind. This is the very antithesis of the message of the Goddess who asks us to rejoice in our physical form and in our incarnation on this beautiful planet. Monica noted that Sir George Trevelyan, considered by many to be the ‘Grandfather of the New Age Movement’, spoke about a battle between the forces of light and darkness on a cosmic and human level. He said that this battle was led by Christ and the Archangel Michael, the ‘Dragonslayer’; the ‘dragon’ being the dark, chthonic Earth Dragon energies of the Goddess.
The Goddess is linked to the serpent/dragon in many cultures and a battle of the masculine and the patriarchal ‘forces of light’ to gain supremacy over Her is echoed in stories such as Adam and Eve, in which Eve is ‘seduced’ by the serpent into eating the apple of wisdom, against the instructions of the male Father God (the apple, of course being yet another symbol of the Goddess), and in many others. We should also remember that Athena, said to have been born from the head of Zeus rather than from the womb of the Mother, was once one with the serpent-headed Medusa, rather than being her victor and wearing her screaming head on Her shield as a trophy; we are asked to murder a part of ourselves and to celebrate, rather than to grieve. In separation we are weakened; only in embracing all aspects of the Feminine and of the Goddess within ourselves can we be whole; when we can claim our Medusa coils and wear them proudly as a manifestation of all that it means to be a woman then, perhaps, the tide against the Feminine will truly have turned.

(Image from here, along with a version of Sedna's story) 

Sedna, Defiant One - you inspire me and I thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment