Song for Sedna, Composed Upon Concluding a Shamanic Journey Before Her Newly Erected Shrine

Here’s my editorial note for this poem: I wrote it immediately upon coming back from a shamanic journey to meet with the goddess Sedna in the Arctic Ocean; I returned to an ordinary state of consciousness and grounded and centered myself with prayers of thanks to my helping spirits and with food. My relationship with the Inuit goddess Sedna began the day before I received word of my-then Archpriestess/mentor’s diagnosis of Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease (CJD), a horrible, lethal neurological disease that shut down her senses one by one and killed her within 8 weeks of her receiving the diagnosis. Sedna came to me roaring with rage that day, and in the coming weeks I would come to understand why. Again, I’ll be crafting a series of blog posts narrating how the Chicago Fellowship of Isis community banded around our beloved Deena Butta to help mitigate the devastating effects of this disease. Many prayed for Deena to have a complete and total “miracle-cure,” an absolute reversal of CJD. I, however, prayed for Her Highest Good, especially after Deena told me that she wanted to die so she could be reunited with her 22-year-old son Maris, who killed himself not quite two years prior. So much of Sedna’s grief and rage, as I would come to find out, were mirrored in Deena’s state of being in the final weeks of her life.

If you’re not familiar with Sedna’s tragic tale, read it here. Hardly the fodder for a Disney musical, it’s one fucked-up myth that speaks volumes of violence against women, the legacy of patriarchy. But from an act intended to kill, love ensues–that of a Creator Goddess for Her Creatures (excluding human beings). Brava, Sedna!

“Song for Sedna”


Sedna, I honor you (strike drum)

I welcome you (strike drum)

I give you thanks (strike drum three times)


Contemporary Inuit stone carving of the raging goddess Sedna, also known as "the Sea Woman"

Contemporary Inuit stone carving of the raging goddess Sedna, also known as “the Sea Woman”

O Sedna, swiftly advancing

The One Who Comes With Great Hunger

Gnawer of Bones

Have pity on me

Sedna, with force

the pain of awakening

splits me asunder

With shattering force

my ribcage flies apart,

having been skewered by a Narwhal’s horn

I knew it was you

Rubbery skinned and scarred


I cry as forlornly

as you once did atop that desolate sea cliff

bereft of walls and fine furs

surrounded by sparse feathers, twigs matted with blood

The picked-apart bones of fishy quarry tossed your way

Meager morsels of Mackerel

from the beak of your sea-swooping husband


The stranger who swindled your father


Ravenous, roaring Sedna,

I mutely watched from below the ice floes

My world eerily lit by a blue sheen


and keen to engulf

drowned horizons of heart

The dead reckoning of a queen


O Sedna, Survivor of Treachery,

Your severed fingers clashed with the currents

The stumps of your hands

birthed passageways for new beings

The Orca swam freely

Out of your metacarpals

the masses of Fur Seals

Harbor Seals

Bulbous Beluga Whales

placid and slow Right Whales

and lumbering Walruses with their heads cocked so inquisitively,

their whiskers geared to scrub off years of transgression from the ocean floor


I hear you when you cry “No more,”

Sedna the Tormented

Bringer of Typhoons

The One Who Halts Harpoons in Mid-Flight

I have seen you gather up your skirts

and tuck away your children there

Forbid them

from offering themselves as food

The twinkling eyes of the Harbor Seals

The raucous barks of Sea Lions

and grunts of Leopard Seals

delight you as they delight me

They sigh with relief

sheltered in your whalebone world

as the ocean chokes with grief


Your sorrow

Your righteous anger

wreak storms of sickness for your father’s kin

The litanies they chant

each numbered sin

accumulated taboos that ooze

and fester and fashion a heavy snare

Heavy enough to weigh down the sun

And smother hopes for renewal

and blight the harvest of clean thoughts

They shuffle their feet in a dance of hopelessness

circular, insular

treading inward towards reproach

and outwards towards recrimination

Their gnarled limbs fatigued

Wind-whipped lips cracked

Coarse skin, yellow and leathery with starvation

The Great Hunger harvests hoarsely whispered prayers

that are finely ground on the tips of Caribou antlers


I have hoarded my herds too

even tucked away the last of the exposed fern fronds

No moist vegetation to sustain the world-weary shuffling tribes

Let them dance themselves to death

Pile their bones

like so many trophies

outside the Polar Bear’s den


It’s that descent into Darkness again

Sedna of the Furious Flippers

As you tumble in the outer darkness

my soul somersaults in ice

becomes nauseous

on this steady diet of saltwater/tears

and the smothering blubber of fears


But I will find the strength to hoist myself

in that kayak there

The one unmoored from expectations

And paddle, though the currents fight against me

and treasure the frozen droplets of my breath

as innumerable as the crystalline stars above

with each exhalation

I must steady and ready myself

for the moment to transpire

beneath the egg yolk sun

when your Polar Bear paw

swipes at me from the glacier

Arrests my movement

and forces me to devise a reply

to the sorrow streaming from your black pupils

to remember the dismembering

and inscribe the saga of your foul betrayal

Unspeakable shame

and hacked-off hopes

Love-hungry, lifeless limbs

onto the bony scrolls of my wrists with a sharpened Walrus ivory pickaxe

I will let you be the one

to unravel the reams of my curled birch bark heart

Unfurled arteries

that crackle so crisply

when thrown onto the flames besides shanks of Seal meat


Then there is no thing left

No place else to go

but down into the frozen center

I will flit past the blue-lipped sentry,

O Storming Sedna,

Vengeful, Vindictive,

and free you from the nets that suffocate—from the paralyzing

plastic bags of past deeds deserving of punishment

And your children will be gathered up in your skirts,

not made food for fools

And I will rub your rubbery flippers when they ache

and disentangle your long, black hair, thereby

dissolving strands of Memory

Until all that is known is the Sea


Dread Goddess Sedna, have mercy on me


Sedna, I honor you (strike drum)

I welcome you (strike drum)

I give you thanks (strike drum three times)

One thought on “Song for Sedna, Composed Upon Concluding a Shamanic Journey Before Her Newly Erected Shrine

  1. Pingback: Serving as a Mouthpiece for Sedna: Last Night’s Shamanic Journey to Adlivun | amor et mortem

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