The Origin of Medicine in the Cherokee – Part 2

This is a comparison with the Origin of Medicine in Ireland.

Last week, each division of the animal kingdom pronounced Humans guilty…

After they had got rid of the Ground-squirrel, the assembly began to pool ideas, and think of some new diseases to inflict on humans. Inspiration flowed so fast that the Grubworm began to rise up on his tail in excitement.

Finally, when an extensive list had been made, he cried out with joy and jumped in the air. However, he landed on his back, and found he couldn’t get up again, so he had to wriggle away on his back, which he has done ever since.

But the humans did have a group of friends on the earth. When the Plants heard about the various meetings among the animal kingdom, they determined to help the humans as much as they could. Each plant agreed to be a cure for at least one of all existing diseases. Therefore, each sickness has a cure, if we only knew it.

So from these stories we can see one reason why myths were created, which was to explain things that humans observed, but didn’t understand. And the explanations are different and reflect the different cultures. The Irish stories reflect their tradition of war and strength, with gods and heroes performing supernatural feats, while the Indian stories put animals and nature at the forefront. We can see how the Indians even slipped a couple of explanations about individual animals in there.

Bigger unknowns were/still are explained through spiritualism, unknown powers at work which people could detect. Their instinct was true, as we know there is a powerful Creator and Lord ruling over everything, but their judgement was stained by sin, leading them to make up other gods to explain the supernatural forces.

Another aspect that the two share is that they both end with a reference to the fact that herbal medicine remains a bit shady to us today, and obviously when the myth was composed as well. God provided these plants at the beginning of time for our benefit, “And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:12, “Behold, I have given you every plant…you shall have them for food.” Genesis 1:29. They always had a beneficial effect on us, even before the fall, since they always had the healing attributes about them. But we didn’t stand in need of them until after the fall. Since to punish man and then to immediately tell Adam and Eve all the cures available to them would rather defeat the point, we have had to figure out cures for ourselves.

In the end, as we now know with hindsight, Jesus is the only Lord over life and death, and true healing can only come through him.