Saturday, September 24, 2005

Seven: The Sacred numbers

In every tribe and cult throughout the world we find sacred numbers. Christianity and the Christian world have three and seven. The Indian has always four as the principal sacred number, with usually another only slightly subordinated. The two sacred numbers of the Cherokee are four and seven, the latter being the actual number of the tribal clans, the formulistic number of upper worlds or heavens, and the ceremonial number of paragraphs or repetitions in the principal formulas. Thus in the prayers for long life the preist raises his client by successive stages to the first, second, third, fourth, and finally to the seventh heaven before the end is accomplished. The sacred four has direct relation to the four cardinal points, while seven, besides these, includes also "above," "below," and "here" in the center." In many tribal rituals color and sometimes sex are assigned to each point of direction. In the sacred Cherokee formulas the spirits of the East, South, West, and North are, respectively, Red, White, Black, and Blue, and each color has also its own symbolic meaning of Power (war), Peace, Death and Defeat.
(White was a Peace color and Red a war color)

source: James Mooney's History, Myths, and Sacred Fomulas oftheCherokees

(Every Traditional Oklahoma Cherokee Double Walled basket starts with 4 and 7 spokes)