Friday, November 28, 2008
The Medicine Wheel is representative of American Indian Spirituality. The Medicine Wheel symbolizes the individual journey we each must take to find our own path. Within the Medicine Wheel are The Four Cardinal Directions and the Four Sacred Colors. The Circle represents the Circle of Life and the Center of the Circle, the Eternal Fire. The Eagle, flying toward the East, is a symbol of strength, endurance and vision. East signifies the renewal of life and the rebirth of Cherokee unity.
East = Red = success; triumphNorth = Blue = defeat; troubleWest = Black = deathSouth = White = peace; happiness
There are three additional sacred directions:Up Above = YellowDown Below = BrownHere in the Center = Green
Winter=go-laThe color for North is Blue which represents sadness, defeat.It is a season of survival and waiting.The Cherokee word for North means "cold" u-yv-tlv.
Spring=gi-la-go-geThe 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-gaThe color for South is White for peace, happiness & serenity.Summer is a time of plenty.The Cherokee word for South means "warm" u-ga-no-wa.
Autumn=u-la-go-hv-s-diThe 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.
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 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.
Two numbers are sacred to the Cherokee. Four is one number, it represented the four primary directions. At the center of their paths lays the sacred fire. Seven is the other and most sacred number. Seven is represented in the seven directions: north, south, east, west, above, bellow, and "here in the center" the place of the sacred fire. Seven also represented the seven ancient ceremonies that formed the yearly Cherokee religious cycle.
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