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"Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees"
By James Mooney, printed in 1900 states that
color symbolism played an important part in
shamanistic system of the Cherokees.

Each one of the cardinal directions has a
corresponding color - each color has a symbolic meaning.
Shamans used the knowledge of these symbolic
colors to invoke the spirit whose characteristics was needed for his formulas.

The symbolic color system was as follows:   

East = red = success; triumph
North = blue = defeat; trouble
West = black = death
South = white = peace; happiness


The Red Man, living in the East, is the spirit of power, triumph, and success.
The Black Man, in the West, is the spirit of death.
The shaman would invoke the Red Man to the
assistance of his patient and consign his enemy
to the fatal influences of the Black Man.

According to Thomas Mails, in his book,
"Cherokee People," the mythological significance
of different colors were important in Cherokee lore.

"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 any other undertaking where the
benefit of the magic spell was wrought. 


"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".. 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".. 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 lots 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 

Article courtesy of "Cherokees of California".



In Cherokee Mythology each season was a time for specific rituals and ceremonies. 


Winter=go-la 
Winter belongs to the North.
The color for North is Blue which represents sadness, defeat.
It is a season of survival and waiting. 
The Cherokee word for North is u-yv-tlv which means "cold"


Spring=gi-la-go-ge 
The color for East is Red which represents victory, power.
Spring is the re-awakening after a long sleep - victory over winter; the power of new life. 
The Cherokee word for East is ka-lv-gv.


Summer=go-ga 
The color for South is White which represents peace, happiness, serenity.
Summer is a time of plenty. 
The Cherokee word for South u-ga-no-wa means "warm".


Autumn=u-la-go-hv-s-di 
The color for West is Black which represents death.
Autumn is the final harvest; the end of Life's Cycle.
The Cherokee word for West is wu-de-li-gv.


Article courtesy of "Cherokees of California".









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