The Cherokee Gods and Their Abiding Places

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now After what has been said in elucidation of the theories involved in the medical formulas, the most important and numerous of the series, but little remains to be added in regard to the others, beyond what is contained in the explanation accompanying each one. A few points, however, may be briefly noted. The religion of the Cherokees, like that of most of our North American tribes, is zootheism or animal worship, with the survival of that earlier stage designated by Powell as hecastotheism, or the worship of all things tangible, and the beginnings of a higher system in which the elements and the great powers of nature are deified. Their pantheon includes gods in the heaven above, on the earth beneath, and in the waters under the earth, but of these the animal gods constitute by far the most numerous class, although the elemental gods are more important. Among the animal gods insects and fishes occupy a subordinate place, while quadrupeds, birds, and reptiles are invoked almost constantly. The uktena (a mythic great horned serpent), the rattlesnake, and the terrapin, the various species of hawk, and the rabbit, the squirrel, and the dog are the principal animal gods. The importance of the god bears no relation to the size of the animal, and in fact the...

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