Sedna: Cuts Like a Knife

27 01 2011
Artist: Adolph Schaller

Artist depiction of the noonday sky on Sedna.

Orbiting way out in the farthest, coldest reaches of our solar system is a small, reddish body called Sedna. Discovered in 2003, Sedna was named for the Inuit sea goddess who resides in the frigid depths of the Arctic Ocean. It has an orbital period of around 12,000 years; compare this to Pluto’s 248 years and you get a sense of the distances involved. Sedna is classified as a detached object, which means that its orbit is so far out from Neptune’s gravitational influence that it is essentially unaffected by it.

I like this phrase, ‘detached object,’ when it comes to Sedna, because detachment is a big theme of Sedna–particularly, detachment of limbs.

 

Yup.

The story of Sedna is one of those totally fucked up World Parent origin myths, like Saturn devouring his children or Coatlicue murdered and decapitated by her four hundred children, that make the study of mythology so morbidly interesting (to me, anyway.)

Sedna was a beautiful and independent-minded young woman who had no interest in marrying any of the suitors who kept showing up to woo her. Her father, frustrated by her repeated refusals, finally forced her to marry a dog to punish her for her pride. Fortunately for Sedna, the Dog Husband was gentle and kind and he cared for Sedna, and so she bore him children–human ones that were the forbears of the Inuit, and mongrel ones from which white men are descended.

Inuit Dog Spirit

Well, Sedna’s dad was none too happy with his super fun and creative punishment turning out this way, and so one day before Dog went out into the waves to collect food for Sedna and their children, her father placed heavy rocks in the packs that Dog carried with him. The sea was rough, and the Dog Husband, weighed down with rocks, drowned.

Now Sedna was alone, a widow forsaken by her TOTAL DICK of a father. One day, a handsome man wearing many fine skins approached her, promising her a home, food, and protection if she would marry him. Sedna agreed, and went with the handsome stranger in his kayak to his home. But when they arrived, his home was a bleak, rocky outcrop, and the stranger revealed himself as no human, but a fulmar, or bird man.

The Bird Husband

The Bird Husband was as good as his word; he did his best to make their nest pleasant, and he brought his wife raw fish every day. But the things that comfort a bird are not the same as the things that comfort a woman, and Sedna cried out her misery across the waters.

Meanwhile, Sedna’s father, stricken with remorse and grief over the way he had treated his daughter, had set out to find her. Sure enough, one day he heard his daughter’s mournful wail and found her on the Bird Husband’s island. “Forgive me, daughter. I have come to take you home,” he said, and Sedna went with him gladly enough, for though he had treated her cruelly, at least her father’s home was one fit for a human woman.

When the Bird Husband came home to find Sedna gone, he set out immediately to search for her. Spying his wife in her father’s boat, the fulmar became terribly angry, beating his wings and setting the seas churning. His minions, the sea birds, joined him and together they created a great storm. “Give back what is mine if you want to live!” the Bird Husband roared.

 

The Bird Husband and his allies, whipping up the waves in their fury.

As the waves grew higher and higher, Sedna’s father (who is, I may have mentioned, a TOTAL DICK) panicked and threw his daughter overboard. Frantically, she grabbed on to the boat, trying to pull herself back in, but her father struck her hands with the sharp edge of the paddle, severing her fingers. Again Sedna tried desperately to climb into the boat, and again her father struck with the paddle, cutting off her hands. Unable to pull herself up from the roiling ocean, Sedna sank beneath the waves. Her fingers and hands became the seals and whales and walruses and other sea mammals upon which the Inuit depend for food, fuel, clothes, and tools. At the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, she was reunited with her loyal Dog Husband.

When Sedna is suffering, the ocean is not generous with her gifts, and her human children starve. A shaman must undertake a dangerous journey through the underworld to visit her realm. She keeps a comb with her there, and the shaman must comb her long hair, since she has no hands to do it herself.

Sedna

Obviously, myths like this are told in the language of symbol and metaphor, and are not necessarily meant to be read literally. The story of Sedna has layer upon layer of complex psychological and sociological subtext, all of which is certainly applicable to any interpretation of the planet’s astrological influence. But that doesn’t mean the literal narrative is irrelevant to the discussion. Like, Jupiter is a really large planet that can represent philosophy, higher learning, and pageantry–but sometimes, it just represents a really large person, y’know?

So, leaving aside (for now) the deeper psychological and sociological implications of Sedna in the birth chart, we are left with the obvious association between Sedna and what’s happening to our oceans–which is a huge discussion that certainly rates its own post–and the big elephants in the room: amputation/dismemberment and abuse/betrayal by a parent.

***

Zahra Clare Baker

Zahra Clare Baker’s natal chart features the Sun opposite Sedna as part of a t-square including a Sun-Mercury conjunction in Scorpio opposing Saturn conjunct Sedna in Taurus squared by a Moon-Uranus conjunction. Even without the bad parenting archetype suggested by Sedna’s presence, this configuration has some pretty ugly implications. Saturn is retrograde, which indicates a lack of nurture from the father. The Moon-Uranus square to Zahra’s sun points to an unstable, emotionally erratic and possibly abusive mother figure, and the square to Saturn reveals a great deal of conflict between the parents. There are clear markers for abuse in her chart. Add Sedna to the mix and it starts to get spooky.

Zahra, who had lost part of her leg to cancer and much of her hearing to chemo, was reported missing on October 9, 2010. On November 12, law enforcement announced that her remains had been found. She had been dismembered and the parts scattered in and around Hickory, North Carolina. No cause of death has yet been reported. Her stepmother told police that Zahra had died on September 24.

The stepmother’s recollection of the date may or may not be reliable, but there are some striking transits to Zahra’s chart on that date (planets in green, outside wheel.) Transiting Neptune and Chiron are conjunct the midpoint of Saturn (The Reaper) and Pluto (Lord of the Underworld.) Transiting Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct the midpoint of natal Saturn-Sedna and Uranus; Saturn/Uranus is associated with the removal of an organ or body part and was activated by the full moon of September 23-24. Transiting Venus and Mars are flanking the Venus/Pluto midpoint, suggesting that the girl’s death was a result of deep jealousy and conflict between the parents.

Evoking Sedna’s kind and gentle Dog Husband is Kristi Pope, founder of The Zahra Project:

 

“I was in Hickory for a dog show when she went missing,” said Pope, who is a dog trainer and owns her own dog business. “It was the closeness of it. It was just up the street from me. Here I was, showing my dog, and I wondered if I could have made better use of my time.”

 

Also, and I don’t care if it’s unseemly to point this out, the stepmother looks like an evil bird woman in her mugshot:

In my opinion.

 

Read more about the Zahra Baker case.

Learn more about The Zahra Project.

***

 

Another case of Sedna opposite Sun that features amputation/dismemberment (minus the very upsetting parental abuse themes) is that of Aron Ralston. Mr. Ralston’s natal chart features an exact Sun-Sedna opposition, closely squared by an exact Moon-Saturn conjunction. The Sun is closely conjunct Uranus, emphasizing themes of detachment. On April 26, when transiting Sun was conjunct natal Sedna, Mr. Ralston was canyoneering in Utah when a boulder slipped and pinned his arm to a canyon wall. Though he usually followed the cardinal rule of hiking and mountain climbing–tell somebody where you’re going–he had not done so for this trip. That makes him a serious dumbass.

Knowing that no one would be looking for him, he spent the next five days sipping the small amount of water he’d brought with him and filming messages to his family and friends and whomever might eventually find his body. On the fifth day, as the Moon passed over natal Sedna, dehydrated and delirious, Mr. Ralston amputated his arm below the elbow in order to free himself. He then had to rappel down a rock wall and hike out of the canyon. That makes him a serious badass.

 

From dumbass to badass.

 

Mr. Ralston is still an avid climber, having scaled Denali in 2008 and Kilimanjaro in 2009. He does occasional public speaking engagements, and has written a book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. A film depicting his ordeal (127 Hours, directed by Danny Boyle and starring James Franco) was released in 2010.

***

 

Time to rock out with your cock out, kids. Here’s a big old wad of 1987, in your face.

I don’t care if you hate ’80’s music, or hair metal, or whatever. You simply cannot front on Rick Allen, aka the Thunder God. Dude has been drumming for Def Leppard since he was fifteen. Drumming is his frickin’ LIFE, you guys. He dropped out of school to tour with the band and he never looked back. Considering Mercury is under the rays of the Sun in his natal chart, it’s not surprising that he wasn’t all that invested in academics. The tight Saturn-Neptune square is something we would expect to find in the chart of a drummer (as well as someone with substance abuse issues; Mr. Allen has wrestled with alcohol abuse.)

Oh, but what’s that lurking in a wide, off-sign opposition to the Sun? Yup, it’s our pal Sedna. The dreaded Sun-Sedna opposition strikes again.

On New Year’s Eve 1984, while transiting Sedna was opposite natal Sun and in a partile (that means exact) conjunction with natal Moon, Mr. Allen lost his left arm in a car accident. (Since I am an old person, I remember when it happened; in 1984 I was a junior in high school, and MTV was, like, my LIFE, you guys.) It seemed like a pretty good bet the guy wasn’t going to be drumming much anymore.

Instead, with the support of his bandmates, who were not interested in finding a new drummer (Full Moon personalities like Mr. Allen tend to form deeply loyal, long-term friendships) he worked with engineers to come up with a new kind of drum kit that allowed him to use his left foot to do what his left hand used to. This decision is not surprising in light of his Grand Trine between Sun-Mercury (sense of self), Chiron (wounding), and the North Node. The North Node represents the way forward; that is, the path of self-actualization through testing oneself against obstacles that may seem insurmountable. In a nice little callback to Sedna symbolism, Mr. Allen’s North Node is conjunct Sirius, the Dog Star. Sirius, also called The Scorcher, gives fame and success in business when well-aspected.

Def Leppard’s first post-accident album, Hysteria, was their most successful release to date. Mr. Allen still tours and records with the band, headlining shows worldwide, and he also founded the Raven Drum Foundation, a charity that serves veterans and other victims of traumatic injury. Not bad for a one-armed Thunder God.

Here is an interview with Rick Allen about Raven Drum Foundation.

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