Cherokee Formula for Separation of Lovers

Cherokee Formula for Separation of Lovers

Yû! On high you repose, O Blue Hawk, there at the far distant lake. The blue tobacco has come to be your recompense. Now you have arisen at once and come down. You have alighted midway between them where they two are standing. You have spoiled their souls immediately. They have at once become separated.

I am a white man; I stand at the sunrise. The good sperm shall never allow any feeling of loneliness. This white woman is of the Paint (iyusti) clan; she is called (iyusti) Wâyi´. We shall instantly turn her soul over. We shall turn it over as we go toward the Sun Land. I am a white man. Here where I stand it (her soul) has attached itself to (literally, “come against”) mine. Let her eyes in their sockets be forever watching (for me). There is no loneliness where my body is.

Explanation of Cherokee Formula for Separation of Lovers

This formula, from A’yûnini’s book, is used to separate two lovers or even a husband and wife, if the jealous rival so desires. In the latter case the preceding formula (Attract and Fix the Affections), from the same source, would be used to forestall this spell. No explanation of the ceremony is given, but the reference to tobacco may indicate that tobacco is smoked or thrown into the fire during the recitation. The particular hawk invoked (giya´giya´) is a large species found in the coast region but seldom met with in the mountains. Blue indicates that it brings trouble with it, while white in the second paragraph indicates that the man is happy and attractive in manner.

In the first part of the formula the speaker calls upon the Blue Hawk to separate the lovers and spoil their souls, i.e., change their feeling toward each other. In the second paragraph he endeavors to attract the attention of the woman by eulogizing himself. The expression, “we shall turn her soul over,” seems here to refer to turning her affections, but as generally used, to turn one’s soul is equivalent to killing him.

Cherokee Original


Yû! Galû´nlati tsûl’da´histi, Giya´giya´ Sa’ka´ni, nâ´gwa nûntalûn i´yû´nta. Tsâ´la Sa’ka´ni tsûgistâ´’ti adûnni´ga. Nâ´gwa nidâtsu´l’tanû´nta, nû´ntatagû´ hisa´hasi´ga. Tani´dâgûn´ aye´’li dehidâ´siga. Unada´ndâ dehiyâ´staneli´ga. Nidugale´ntanû´nta nidûhûnneli´ga.

Tsisga´ya agine´ga, nûndâgû´nyi ditsidâ´’sti. Gû´ni âstû´ uhisa´’ti nige´sûnna. Age´’ya une´ga hi´a iyu´sti gûlstû´’li, iyu´sti tsûdâ´ita. Uda´ndâ usinu´li dâdatinilû´gûneli´. Nûndâgû´nyitsû´ dâdatinilugûstaneli. Tsisga´ya agine´ga, ditsidâstû´ni nû’nû´ kana´tlani´ga. Tsûnkta´ tega’la´watege´sti. Tsiye´lûn gesû´ni uhisa´’ti nige´sûnna.


Mooney, James. Sacred Formulas Of The Cherokees. Published in the Seventh Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology, pp. 301-399. 1886.

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