Sacred Colores & Sacred Numbers

The mythological significance of different colors were important in Cherokee lore.

Red (EAST)

Red was symbolic of success. It was the color of the war club used to strike an enemy in battle as well as the other club used by the warrior to shield himself. Red beads were used to conjure the red spirit to insure long life, recovery from sickness, success in love and ball play or anyother undertaking where the benefit of the magic spell was wrought.

Black (WEST)

Black was always typical of death. The soul of the enemy was continually beaten about by black war clubs and enveloped in a black fog. In conjuring to destroy an enemy, the priest used black beads and invoked the black spirits- which always lived in the West,-bidding them to tear out the man's soul and carry it to the West, and put it into the black coffin deep in the black mud, with a black serpent coiled above it.

Blue (NORTH)

Blue symbolized failure, disappointment, or unsatisfied desire. To say "they shall never become blue" expressed the belief that they would never fail in anything they undertook. In love charms, the lover figuratively covered himself with red and prayed that his rival would become entirely blue and walk in a blue path. "He is entirely blue," approximates meaning of the common English phrase, "He feels blue." The blue spirits lived in the North.

White (SOUTH)

White denoted peace and happiness. In ceremonial addresses, as the Green Corn Dance and ball play, the people symbolically partook of white food and, after the dance or game, returned along the white trail to their white houses. In love charms, the man, to induce the woman to cast her lost with his, boasted, "I am a white man," implying that all was happiness where he was. White beads had the same meaning in bead conjuring, and white was the color of the stone pipe anciently used in ratifying peace treaties. The White spirits lived in the South.

There are three additional sacred directions:

Up Above = Yellow
Down Below = Brown
Here in the Center = Green

Sacred Numbers

It is the numbers four and seven that are sacred to the Cherokee. The number four is significant of the four directions and of wholeness, but it is the number seven which seems to be the most prominant. There are seven clans; seven councillors presided over regular festivals; there was a regular sacrifice every seventh day, and in "remote times" a sacrifice was held once every seven years

Cherokee Color Words

black: gv-ni-ge

blue: sa-go-ne-ge

brown: u-wo-di-ge

green: i-tse-i-yu-s-di

yellow: da-lo-ni-ge

red: gi-ga-ge

white: u-ne-ga

Cherokee Moons

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