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Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Scratcher", a New Path, and Holiday Gift Ideas.

Hello everybody!

In case you're wondering what happened to me, I've been fighting with a hard drive crash.  The backup computer is in place and functioning, so everything should be back to normal and a few days.

Today, Monday November 15 is a day of the Scratcher.  The Cherokee word kanuga simply means the brier thorn.  Thorns were used in a type of ritual comb that was raked across the surface of the skin to draw blood.  This created a series of openings in the skin upon which medicinal poultices could be applied.

But the word also has a symbolic meaning…  rattlesnake fang or tooth.  Some scratchers were made of snake teeth, and in some cases the scratching was done with an eagle claw.  (Snake and Eagle are opposing day signs in the traditional calendar.)

Since rattlesnakes were once thought to only strike and kill those people who for some reason deserved it, it was considered bad luck to admit out loud that you had been struck by a snake.  The euphemism was to be "scratched by a thorn."  Even today, Cherokees will sometimes speak of being "scratched," even though they will admit that they were scratched by a snake.
The scratching ceremony was done either as a preparation for medical treatment or as a preparation for another ceremony.  In that sense, it was considered the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, a fork in the road that represented both a continuation of the old path and the beginning of a new one.

We are soon coming to the beginning of a new year.  We hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about Cherokee tradition and language, and more importantly, to pass that on to your children and grandchildren.  Both the language and the calendar are complex, and require long study before they seem familiar.  However, both provide you with new ways of seeing and describing the world that we inhabit and share.


The 2011 Cherokee Calendar is now available in a download version.

The Cherokee Calendar Calculation and Analysis makes a unique Christmas gift.  Because you were part of this mailing list, you can have one researched and composed for you for a $20.00 discount.  That's the regular price with Andrew Jackson removed!  Let's see how he likes being removed!

Just one thing to be aware of, because of the hours required to research, analyze and compose each report, I can only work so fast.  That means that the deadline for orders with guaranteed Christmas digital delivery will be Friday, December 10. After that, it's iffy.

That's all for now!  I wish everyone of you as safe and happy holiday season with your families.

Brian Wilkes

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