Sedna’s Not A Sulky Selkie
A few days ago, my dear friend, Isabel Tifft, wrote to me with some of her thoughts about possible astrological meanings of Sedna, one of the minor planets beyond Neptune, discovered and named in 2003. I found what she said so fascinating that I asked if I could share it with you.
I found it even more interesting when I noticed two things. The North Node is about to conjoin Sedna in Taurus — one of the first things the Nodes will encounter after changing signs. And next year, Sedna will move into Gemini — after spending the last 56 years in Taurus.
Here is a recap of the story of the Inuit Goddess Sedna.
Deep beneath the ocean waves, in the darkest part of the world, there is a goddess of abundance. Seals and fishes, walruses and polar bears, whales white and killer, everything that swims comes from her. When there is lack, she must be appeased; when there is plenty she must be praised. You may visit her, if you can travel on the astral plane, comb her tangled hair and braid it. She likes that.
But the extraordinary thing about this goddess is that she used to be a human girl.
Some say, that girl married a dog, and her dog babies shamed her parents, so they maimed her and threw her into the deep. They cut off her fingers, which became seals. They cut off her hands which became bears. They cut off her forearms which became whales. Some say the half-dog babies were sent to sea in a canoe.
Others say, she married a bird, a fulmer, disguised as a human. He fed her on nothing but fishes, and housed in her a fish skin shack. So her father killed him and as they escaped, the fulmer’s friends attacked. Sedna was maimed — again her hands — and tossed into the deep.
Some say, she was vain and turned away suitors. Others say she was nothing of the sort. Some say she was a giant; others that she was just a beautiful girl.
Others say, she had no father; she was an orphan: looked after by the whole village, bullied by the whole village. Her protectors/abusers eventually threw here into the sea, where she transformed into a glorious creature: half seal, half woman, all goddess.
What is certain is that now, she lives deep under the Arctic ice, and the creatures of the sea are hers. She is a powerful goddess of abundance.
Here is Isabel’s letter.
I followed a wild hare, haha, and went down the Sedna rabbit hole today. I looked for sites that described their work as research-based, rather than myth-driven. I let my brain float along in pattern-recognition mode, rather than trying to think along with so many gender-, agenda-, and personality-driven essays. I won’t try to recap the individual things I read. Just the final shape of what I came to.
When I took another look at my chart, with Sedna included. I got chills.
In my natal chart, she’s between Mars and the Sun, lensed like a burning bug:
Mars @ Taurus 0:55
Sedna @ Aries 29:45
Sun @ Aries 28:35
I was particularly dissatisfied with the old “brutal throwaway w/ subsequent deification” storyline for Sedna. I’ve come to the following tentative conclusion: the story isn’t completely irrelevant, it’s just seen through the wrong lens for Sedna’s astrological influence. Here’s my take.
There’s an implacable quality that comes up often. I’ll compare it to Saturn, which I’m familiar with.
Saturn provides a narrow path to success, but it usually is a path; Saturn is restrictive and precise, but has a whole narrative, a process, in mind. Saturn looks forward, back, and along the way. He’s not necessarily critical nor qualitatively oriented, just rule-bound. You sow, you work, you manage your crop in relation to the forces that affect it, you can then (probably) reap. Very orderly. Saturn’s capable of surprise, but doesn’t specialize in it.
Sedna isn’t fooled by hard work or following the rules. Her standards are less contextual, more absolute. If the work damages the greater good, she’ll take it out — no path forward, no mercy; or rather, mercy is irrelevant, mercy is already out of play.
She can tear down malignant economic structures. She can decapitate fossil-fuel works. I’m pretty sure she’s getting to work on the international economy — again. I’m creep-tastically curious where she sits in Trumpsohn’s charts. [22° Aries, sextile Sun in Gemini, trine Moon in Sagittarius, square Saturn in Cancer– all within a degree. Also conjunct Hygeia. ed]
Back to the myth.
In every version, she’s stuck in either one or two implacably oppositional relationship/s and is terribly inconvenient to the power figure/s. She’s brutalized, dismembered, and thrown away. All of that is pretty implacable right there, and the whole nuanced landscape of love, responsibility, courage, propriety, property, care, the power to choose — it matters as much as a box of macaroons in the way of a bulldozer: sweet, but irrelevant, and quickly annihilated.
She’s pushed around. She’s abandoned. She’s chopped up. She’s thrown away. In every version.
Also in every version, something about her refuses to die. Something about her shoves the power of new life into her free-floating bits and pieces. Something about her seizes the astonishing power of the deeps and inhabits & owns it forevermore.
Saturn can deliver unexpected gifts in addition to the earned successes. Sedna gives nothing for free. If you want to eat from her larder, you’d better ask the right way, reach the right way, receive the right way, and dispose of the remains appropriately.
It’s not that she’s “rebellious” or “defiant”; it gets phrased that way when other forces set themselves up in opposition to her and use terms like “rebellious” and “defiant” to imply that she’s a lesser agent working against greater ones — those who want to derail or be in denial of her hard justice. (It’s not useful to belittle this force, but the tactic is common enough in human affairs, especially towards what’s considered feminine, like consideration and health and seeing the whole.)
There’s some airy-sounding speculation that Sedna represents a higher plane of spiritual evolution. While that’s a lovely idea, I think Sedna revisits a more basic relationship to responsibility and collective survival. Remember that evolution is a spiral, not an asymptotic trajectory; we have to come back to basics at each cycle of development, before we can go any higher.
“Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.”
Certain things are always true, and must be built into our lives before we can presume we’re up to further evolution:
- We’re all in this together. We don’t have to like it, but if we fail to act accordingly, it won’t end well.
- There are no shortcuts or free rides through the laws of physics accompanying an earthly incarnation: water will flow, fire will burn, every state of being will change, and every object will exist as matter until it’s completely transformed into energy.
- There is always an afterwards/there are always consequences.
- These things remain true regardless of whether we notice, acknowledge, believe in, or act in accordance with them. Therefore, we’re better off if we do so.
These ineluctable truths are Sedna’s neighborhood.
Sedna says: do it right & do it together, or face implacable consequences — together. Like it or not. Your actions earn the outcome. Too late to negotiate: do right, or die.
Sedna in a nutshell.
Which brings me around to my chart:
Juno @ Aries 23:39
Sun @ Aries 28:35
Sedna @ Aries 29:45
Mars @ Taurus 0:55
Ceres @ Taurus 4:49
We’ve talked about soul tasks and whether my disease state relates. [Isabel has suffered chronic pain for about 20 years, which includes a concatenation of complex disablities]. Again, I think so for me, but not as a policy: I came in wanting to clean up specific shit, and a pain disease was one good way to do that. I get the feeling that “it was never meant to be this bad.”
Here’s Sedna’s special gift to me: while there were a lot of less brutal and disruptive options, Sedna’s presence — with Mars’ blade in one hand and the Sun’s blaze in the other — made room for this extraordinarily disruptive, intransigent, no-quarter/no-prisoners kind of condition to set in.
And I, because Sedna is sitting there with my physical self (Mars) in one hand and my life force (the Sun) in the other, keep refusing to die; I refuse to accede to the usual consequences of being “dismembered”; I evidently don’t have it in me to give up in the face of relentless brutality from those forces which were supposed to support and protect me, but instead cut me up and threw me overboard. And, much as I owe to others, I generally get through each day, each appointment, each task, all alone. I’ve spent time in the dark & silent solitude of deeps similar to hers.
Also, I lived on the salty water for the worst years, and it really helped me.
Moreover, I still hope/aim (once I’ve dealt with a quorum of medical PTSD) to turn the years of blogs, advocacy, and advice into online and accessible resources that can give others some of the savvy, strength, and sheer nerve to get through and not just survive, but live “between the cracks” of complex chronic illness’s demands and lever open those cracks as wide as they can go. Transforming my free-floating bits into seals and whales, indeed!
This quality of intransigence, whether of systemic disruption, doughty survivorship, the brutal reckoning of 2008’s financial meltdown, or the growing reckoning for failed environmental policies, seems to be the key to Sedna’s signature force.
Intransigence, yes, but also scale. Sedna is beyond anything we could have imagined (like CRPS and all its crazy little friends, like Covid, like islands sinking and nearly a quarter of Louisiana now permanently brackish & flooded, like the worldwide wildfires).
Sedna has no regard, and probably no perception, of human notions of enoughness or proportionality. That’s not her scale. She operates on the scale of oceans, species, earthquakes and tsunamis; whole systems, not single organs.
When things are too bad to conceive of, we find out which side of Sedna we are on.
To find Sedna in your chart, go to astro.com, extended chart selection, scroll down to Additional Objects. You may be more of a Taurus, or an Aries than you think. And just think, we’re about to get generations of babies born to tell stories about the deep sea.