Supernatural and natural forces both played central roles in the original Tsalagi (Cherokee) belief system. The earth was suspended between an Upper World and a Lower World. maintaining a balance between these spheres was central to Cherokee religion. There was a belief in superior beings or spirits, many of whom were believed to resemble familiar animals, but others were human like. These were remembered in an elaborate system of spoken tribal mythology. Central to religious practices was an annual cycle of festivals linked to the seasons, harvest, hunting, and all facets of life. including interpreting dreams, foretelling the future, and attempting to ferret out evil spirits, curing the sick, finding lost objects, and averting or lessening natural disasters. Despite Euro American religious ministrations Traditional Cherokee religious beliefs are still alive among many Cherokee, including some of those who have converted to Christianity.
James Adair, who lived among the Cherokees during the 1700's was taught that the Cherokees worshiped Loak Ishto Hollo Aba. Loak is translated into exalted, holy, sacred, etc. Ishto Hollo means fire. And Aba meant father (this word was not applicable to one's own father, only to the Great Spirit). This being was said to live above the clouds, therefore being the Great Holy Father who lives in the Heavens.