"Quannick" Inuit Goddess
In the imaginary universe of Inuit legends it is believed that apart from the terrestrial world, there are worlds below the sea, inside the earth and in the sky, where a mighty angakuk (a shaman, who can be a man or a woman possessing paranormal powers) is able to travel in trance or in a dream, visiting places that ordinary men would be able to see only in a life after death. One of these shamans tells the story of a beautiful woman with long black hair and white skin, whose name is written by the brightest stars, visible in the pink Arctic morning sky. Her name is Quannick, which means ‘snowflake’ in the Inuit language. She appears to hunters and travellers during snowstorms and shows them the right way. She offers her spiritual guidance and protection on condition that her name never be pronounced by any mortal. Her name can only be uttered by the echoes of the storm winds, by thunder, by whales’ songs, by the bell of the moose and by the sound of waves breaking on cliff rocks. It is also believed that the goddess is the daughter of Sedna, the mighty goddess of the Sea.
The legend of Sedna tells of a father who, on an autumn morning, with some hunter friends, gets into an umiak, a small paddle boat, to go hunting. That day, for the first time ever, he took his daughter with him. On the way home after the hunting trip, they got caught in a terrible storm at sea, and the members of the crew were terrified that the overcrowded boat might capsize and sink. They all decided that the only solution was to throw the cargo overboard to lighten the boat and increase the chances of survival. Against the will of her despairing father, the sailors also threw the daughter overboard. When she desperately tried to climb back on the boat, her father was forced to cut off her fingers, which turned into seals. The girl still tried to get back on the boat, and this time her hands were cut off, and they turned into walrus. She tried one last time, and her father cut off her forearms, which became the whales of all the oceans. After these horrors, the girl disappeared into the depths and became Sedna, the Goddess of the deep – half woman and half seal – who burns her lamp in the depths of the sea.
Many songs are dedicated to this Goddess.
Sculpture: Atelier Romeo
Painted by Isaac Jaramillo