by Boots Hart
Discovered in March of 2004, Sedna is a reddish planetoid (dwarf planet) defined as an "inner Oort cloud" entity. Orbiting beyond the Kuiper Belt (beyond Pluto in a realm scientists define as "vastly empty,") Sedna is really, really "out there"—pretty much in every sense.
To give you some idea of how far away Sedna is, consider this. Jupiter takes 11.86 (Earth) years to go once around the Sun. Saturn (the next planet out) takes 29.46 years to complete a solar orbit. Skipping over Uranus and Neptune we get to Pluto, which takes 248 years to complete one trip around the Sun.
But Sedna? Sedna’s a whole 'nother thing. According to Caltech’s JPL Laboratory, Sedna takes 10,500 Earth years to complete its orbit around the very, very, very distant Sun. That means the last time Sedna was where it is now, human beings hadn’t even learned how to write yet. We had no agriculture. Human settlements? Iffy at best and mostly nonexistent.
Sedna was named for an Inuit goddess. The tale of Sedna has variations, but all versions tell the same basic story, a "chilling" tale rich in vital comments on human evolution, which is why it’s both useful to think about and noteworthy as a marker in time. Metaphysics teaches that humankind learns things when we’re supposed to, and that we’re given the New not so that we’ll discard everything we know and have been through, but so that we’ll build on the good, eliminate fallacies and integrate ourselves into a higher form of human consciousness as we go along. The "old" gives us a good grounding upon which to stand while learning to use new tools.
And those new tools… In time they teach us to see older ideas and methodologies with new eyes and greater insight. That’s the idea which is so very useful to think about, given today’s society with all it’s trials, threats, temptations, longings, needs and yes, promise.
In the story, Sedna is a Arctic child born into a family well adapted to survival, a family which provides her comfort and a security. So comfortable is Sedna in the bosom of her home that she’s reluctant to leave. She doesn’t want to grow up. Inuit men ask her to be their wife and Sedna refuses them all. Her parents try to get her to leave the nest and still, Sedna clings to that she knows and is comfortable with.
Finally goaded by guilt (i.e., fear of parental disapproval or ultimate abandonment) Sedna finally says "yes" to a man who promises to keep giving her everything her parents have provided her throughout the long years. But once he gets her far enough away from home that Sedna has no way to get back, he reveals himself as no real man, but a bird-man who can’t hunt meat and who can’t clothe Sedna in the warm furs that she’s used to. All he can provide Sedna with is fish. Understandably, Sedna gets angry, but can do exactly nothing about anything. Isolated on the island to which she has been taken, all she can do is feel resentful, frustrated and deprived.
Finally Sedna’s father comes to visit. Seeing his daughter so unhappily deceived, the father kills the bird-man husband and tells his daughter to get into the kayak, that he’s going to take her home. But the bird-man’s friends get there first. Intent on avenging the murder of their friend, they arrive flapping their wings and crying out for revenge, creating a storm so vast and terrible that the kayak is truly threatened. Filled with fear, Sedna’s father tries to throw Sedna overboard, figuring this as the only way to save his own life.
But Sedna clings to the boat, making everything worse. Desperate to save his own life, her father cuts Sedna’s fingers off, one joint at a time.
Sedna sinks to the bottom of the sea. And once there, once truly severed from her old life in every sense, she becomes a potent spirit. Her legs become a fish’s tail, the icy ocean becomes her domain and the parts of her severed fingers become fish, seals, walruses and whales.
Many ideas are to be seen in this myth, none of which is more essential than those which concern the importance of our willingness as people to grow up and become independent, mature, responsible adults. Reflective of this on a metaphysical level is the fact that a number of school counselors and psychologists began publishing articles around the time of Sedna’s discovery concerning highly anxious young people. Increasingly reluctant to leave home (or stay "gone" once they graduated college), these young adults (and impending adults) were struggling with internalized expectations, thinking that their adult lives should start with all the trappings it had taken their parents 30 or 40 years to earn and amass.
Those affected fell into two groups: the end of Gen X (Pluto in Libra, b. 1972-1983) and leading edge of Pluto in Scorpio (b. 1983-1995), with both groups manifesting the "standard" Pluto (/Charon) imbalance struggle. Pluto in Libra people tend to start life by comparing themselves with "them" instead of contemplating the fullness of their unique personal potential and working to make that manifest. This is all about Libra’s polarity sign: where Libra is all about "them" (or what I give or get from "them"), Aries is the sign of “I Am,” and it was the “I Am” balance which was missing.
Similarly, many Pluto in Scorpio folks became fixated on the ability others seemed to have to choose what they wanted to do or be or have instead of grasping that choice means nothing until you understand your own internal standards—what satisfies you and fills your need for security, which is the core drive of Scorpio’s polarity sign, Taurus. Without the Taurus part, choice becomes merely a "fix" of the moment.
Other generations faced a combination of dealing with these "younger generation" issues and problems of their own stemming from political, social and economic events which unfolded beginning about the time Sedna was discovered in 2004.
The Pluto in Virgo generation (b. 1958-1972) is squarely caught in life’s cross-hairs. With Pisces being the polarity, this generation is so incredibly sensitive that like Sedna’s parents, many of them haven’t found sufficient strength to tolerate the emotional discomfiture that children and parents have to go through as the children grow up. Concentrating on the Virgo end of the equation, they’ve become incredibly good at their job, earning money and setting up a very nice lifestyle, all of which is the substituting of "worth" for "self worth." In avoiding difficult feelings, they also rob themselves of a vital realism which only comes from taking good with the tough.
For Pluto in Leo people, the economic breakdown of 2008 has delayed, even devastated many plans for retirement reflecting the over-emphasis on Leo as the sign of "what I want to do" (free time, personal pleasure). The polarity here is Aquarius, sign of functionality, the marketplace, income, freedom and societal interaction/responsibility, suggesting a probably unpopular idea that retirement (i.e., full time leisure) is not a valid way of life on a karmic or cosmic level. Seen from this perspective, leisure and personal options are a balance to what we do interactively, productively, within a social/societal connective. And lest we reject this out of hand (which is tempting!), it pays to consider how many people die so soon after retiring. And how spouses often pass away so soon after the partner they’ve worked on interacting with and caring for is no longer there.
With the societal/family orientation inbred in their Plutonic polarity it’s not surprising that Pluto in Cancer people (b. 1914-1938) see so much threat in the breakdowns and changes to so much about the "standards" and "societal infrastructure" their generation worked hard to build and set in place. Highly traditional and innately home/family/individual oriented, Cancer prefers to "bring it all home," while Capricorn is all about ongoing growth of societal and institutional structures. That this generation is at an age when physicality promotes "withdrawing." This has occurred concurrent with Sedna’s discovery. The ensuing Plutonic (metamorphic) energies moving into Capricorn suggests that this generation should let go of old ways. Whether it can or not is another thing.
With all such contemplations and this human tendency to "polarize" now in mind, let’s refocus specifically on Sedna. Much research and statistical analysis remains to be done, but because the myth is clearly about maturation/individual independence, astrologically we should start with Saturn and the Moon. The Moon psychologically embodies our child Self and the yearning to be taken care of, while Saturn is all about individuation, responsibility and long-term, "life goal" growth. Even their orbits reflect this idea: the Moon’s 29.53-day cycle so long associated with tides and many physical processes human, botanical, and otherwise is also rather like the child’s short term perspective. Saturn, on the other hand, is a symbol all about looking long term. Its 29.46-year orbit used to pretty much describe the whole of a human’s life, and even now marks the point at which most people turn into "real" adults. Eighteen and twenty-one (years of age) are legal and societal markers but if we look at people, it’s at the end of our twenties that we realize childhood is really over. That’s when the sense of time hits—and thus this age is when a huge proportion of people "get real" about life, buying their first house, marrying, committing to a serious career.
That the Moon thus embodies our dreams—replete with that bit of personal gratification child tyrant folded in—makes the Moon a primal image of our psychological Id. Against this, Saturn represents "hard facts," "cold reality" and the necessity to reconcile what we want with what we can have—which is roughly the psychology of the Ego.
Given this and the backdrop of the Inuit myth, Sedna takes on the aspect of the Super-ego: the internalized concept of one’s parents which a child is forced to accept by circumstance but then lives out either in accordance with, or in rebellion against. Depending on the child’s ability to balance their internal issues, maturation occurs, or doesn’t occur, creating the balance (or lack thereof) people experience as individuals with others and their world, replete with conscience, guilt and feelings of responsibility (or lacks thereof) which come with it. In the Super-ego is the clue to how we deal with legacies familial, religious and cultural. Thus the primal issue with Sedna would appear to be one’s ability to gain and utilize sufficient perspective, an ability which requires some degree of isolation through a separation and individuation process, without which perspective cannot be achieved.
This in turn may ultimately suggest Sedna will be seen to be strongest in a sign like Pisces (which like the associated 12th house always implies isolation), which in turn may speak volumes about Sigmund Freud, whose chart shows Sedna in the 5th house of children/personal creativity conjunct Jupiter. Both symbols in Freud’s chart are in a strong departing square to a highly mental Saturn in the 8th—the house most often associated with interactive psychoanalysis. Positioned in Gemini, this Saturn also points (by rules of Profection) to an emphasis on age 7 to 7-½, that being the time when children individuate mentally, setting up their Super-ego struggles.
Taking all this to 2004 when Sedna was discovered, we get a new and interesting view of a US presidential administration which was particularly rigid in its view of how people/other nations "should be" —the very image of a highly directive parent. Had the US (and the world) grown too complacent, self-oriented or self righteous in the previous 7 to 7-½ years?
However you answer that question, it would appear that with the second Bush administration, America (and the American people) were already too far afield (in Iraq and otherwise) to “return home” (go back to the way things had been). Married to a bird-man (or flight of tyrannical fancy, however you see that), there was much flapping and a storm of war and icy fear sweeping the globe. This wasn’t just America—the whole of the world had gone into an "imprisoned on the island," "fortress" mentality, everyone siting someone else as their "storm threat," with leaders secular, corporate, religious and familial all flapping their own wings as they cited the flapping of other wings—all in an attempt to control choices through an inciting of fear. And people responded, stockpiling everything (money, luxury goods, children, beliefs) while building/buying bigger, better homes in which to retreat and (hopefully) ride out the bestirring global storm.
Astrologically it seems notable that all the threats were all verbal. Words are denoted by air signs—the wind which was the elemental support of the bird-men. This points not only to what people said, but all the means (media, Internet, propaganda) by which those words were disseminated. But the actual danger in the story comes from the icy ocean. And astrologically, all wealth is represented by water signs. So that stock markets have cooled (yea verily, even chilled) and world economies have encountered stormy seas? That seems apt—as are the many tales of people and nations drowning in debt.
But there is good news here too. First of all, the years following the discovery of any new celestial symbol are historically when issues associated with that symbol seem most problematic and threatening. There is no quick fix here—the issue involves learning the lesson. Thus the quandary is ours: our individual, national and international sense of conscience, our human perspective—on all things human and worldly, earthy and Earthly.
In the myth, Sedna sinks to the ocean bottom and there becomes a powerful spirit. Being ripped away from everything she wanted to hold onto was thus painful and horrifying, but once she let go, she left her "surface life" and went into her "depths," where she accepted, embraced and became fertile through embodying her actual nature, a nature which was creative and fertile, as we see through her populating the ocean with fish and whales, everything which the Inuit rely on for food.
This makes her an extension of the "Great Mother" myth, telling us that you can only really provide for your people through letting go of not only what brings you comfort, but through being willing to individuate, value your individuality, and stand alone for who and what you know you truly are at your deepest, most elemental point.
This story tells us that if we do this, although temporal storms (of challenge, disagreement) may rage, they won’t reach or ever really hurt us. And if they do, we haven’t yet gone deep enough. That Sedna doesn’t visit the Inuit in providing them food tells us that person-to-person contact and gratitude isn’t always essential —it’s the doing what we can do, the utilization and fulfillment of our abilities which ends up nourishing others, allowing them to be who they are (sight unseen, judgment untendered) which is really of worth.
Two more points: regardless of movement through the signs, if we divide Sedna’s orbital cycle (10,500 years) by 12, we get 875 years. This is a highly theoretical way to work, but it appears to work as a matter of harmonics, much as Sedna appears to be the Super-ego harmonic of the Saturnine Ego and lunar Id. If we start at 2004 and go back 875 years, we get to the time of the Crusades. Go back another 875 years and the Chinese, Roman and Mayan civilizations and belief systems are in upheaval. Go back yet another 875 years and we arrive at the time of Confucius, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Zoroaster, the Babylonian Captivity and in Greece the beginnings of astronomy, heralding the first stirrings of separating religion into science as separate from philosophy as separate from astrology.
Finally, a few (very) preliminary comments on Sedna as a horoscope marker. We’ve talked about Freud, and indeed hard aspects (squares in particular) seem to activate its dynamics. Focal in the charts of Barack Obama, Gandhi, Hitler, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, NASA, ATT and the dropping of the first atomic bomb, Sedna appears to not be about good or bad, but how we see fit to use what we are given. It challenges us, telling us the time of its discovery is one which simply embodies a global challenge. We’re all being asked to stop holding on. It’s time to explore our depths and make constructive peace with what we find there. We have to brave what we’ve long avoided. From acceptance will come things previously never envisioned: ideas and creations of great intrinsic worth to those beyond our knowing and beyond even our realm of life.
Boots Hart is an ISAR-certified astrologer with over 25 years experience. She is a featured columnist for New York Spirit Magazine, long-time contributor to Zodiac Arts and author of a humanistic science-fantasy book series being brought to publication and film production. Boots can be reached at Mentorus@gmail.com for questions or astrological services.