What is a Dream Catcher ? History & Legends !
What is the real origin behind the Dreamcatcher ? You have probably already noticed these unique decorations at a friend's house, in a store, or maybe even in your own home, and you would like to know more about this fascinating talisman. I invite you to read this article and delve deep into Native American culture with me.
What is a Dream Catcher ?
A Dream Catcher is a Traditional Native craft and symbol that originated From the Ojibwa (Chippewa) Nation. It consists of a circular frame, often crafted from willow, with a woven net or web at its center. This net is believed to ensnare negative dreams and energies while permitting positive ones to pass through, bestowing peaceful and enlightening dreams upon the sleeper..
The Dream Catcher Origins, Myths & Legends
Ojibwas Legend - Asibikaashi, The Spider woman 🕷️
While in many cultures, spiders are often perceived as eerie creatures, the Ojibwe people regarded them as symbols of safety and protection. According to legends, there once existed a spiritual protector of the tribe, especially for the children. This guardian was known as Asibikaashi, which translates to 'The Spider Woman.' Her mission involved placing the sun in the sky every day, thereby channeling its energy to benefit the entire Ojibwe Tribe. However, as the population expanded and their territory grew, it became progressively challenging for Asibikaashi to transmit this energy to all the inhabitants. This predicament led her to seek the assistance of the mothers, grandmothers, and all the women of her tribe in crafting Magical hoops using willow and Babiche. These hoops, adorned with webs, possessed the power to ensnare all the Nightmares within them and allow only the positive ones to reach their intended dreamer.
Lakotas Legend - Iktomi, the prankster spirit 😈
According to the stories, an elderly Native American chief from the Lakota tribe possessed the gift of foresight. One day, during a vision, he encountered a mischievous spirit named Iktomi. Before his eyes, Iktomi crafted a Willow hoop and commenced weaving a web within it. As he worked, Iktomi explained to the elderly chief that the air we breathe contains both good and bad forces and that the Dreamcatcher he was crafting would possess the power to filter them. Iktomi advised the chosen one to create more of these to secure a brighter future for his lineage and his people.
In contrast to the Ojibwe legend, Lakota Dreamcatchers represented the "web of life." This web captured benevolent dreams to benefit the sleepers, while it filtered and allowed negative thoughts to slip through the Central hole, dissipating into the air and avoiding the population. ✨
How to use a Dream Catcher ?
The answer is simple : You must use your Dream Catcher just like the Natives did for centuries : By Placing it above your bed, the way it can takes the sunlights. This way, all the bad dreams caught in the web during the night will be burned when the sun rises.
How does a Dream Catcher work ?
Let's decompose the dream catcher to help you understand.
Let's break down the Dreamcatcher to help you understand. According to North American beliefs, both good and bad dreams drift through the air during the night. Each part of the Dream Catcher is connected to the world around us.
- The Hoop : Its round aspect represented by the willow ring could symbolize the earth 🌎 the continuous flow of life or the perpetual movement of the forces that surround us, such as the sun ☀️ or the moon 🌙.
- The web : Meanwhile, like the Spider's web 🕸️, Imprisoned nightmares while guiding the benevolent.
- The feathers : Floating above the bed served as Ladders for good dreams to descend and bewitch the sleeper until he or she awoke🪶.
Nightmares, ensnared in the web, were eventually dispelled by the first rays of the sun. Hence, Dream Catchers were traditionally hung where they could Catch the morning light. Over time, additional embellishments like pearls, precious stones, and arrowheads were incorporated into feathers and beads.
Expert Note: There are various techniques for weaving a Dream Catcher, and the number of stitches holds significant meanings. For instance, a Dream Catcher with 13 dots symbolizes the different moon cycles observed by Native Americans. Eight points of contact with the wooden hoop represent the eight legs of a spider, while seven dots correspond to the seven prophecies, six to an eagle, and five to a star.
Some Dream Catchers, however, feature only four points, creating a web with the appearance of a cross, known as a medicine wheel. Although this variation is less common, it serves to protect against malevolent forces while offering care and well-being to its owner.
What is the signification behind the Dream Catcher ?
The Dream Catcher is a Powerful symbol that dates back decades. It represents a strong link between believers and the World beyond, serving as a bridge between the conscious and the subconscious. For many, it embodies the Idea of protection and Positive energy, as it is thought to catch and filter out negative dreams and energies, allowing only the positive ones to pass through. Native American tribes, such as the Ojibwe and Lakota, have deep-rooted beliefs in the Dream Catcher's ability to bring peace and inspiration during sleep. It is a symbol of hope and connection to a deeper dimension, often associated with the lifecycle and the intricate interplay of positive and negative forces in the universe. The Dream Catcher has transcended its cultural origins to become a Universal emblem of well-being, making it a cherished and Meaningful decoration for many around the world.
The importance of Dream For the American Indian
Dreams played an essential role in Ojibwe culture, as they could indicate prophecies, the names of newborn babies... Throughout their lives, dreamers would be able to glimpse a symbol specific to each of them, which would guide them when the time came.
For centuries, Native Americans let their dreams guide their cultural and beliefs, believing that they had a direct impact on their waking souls. Dreams thus influenced their personalities, character traits, behaviors... Highly religious, tribesmen prayed, meditated and fasted with the aim of finding their way and finally realizing their destiny. 🙏
In contemporary times, Dream Catchers have expanded far beyond their traditional role. They have undergone a transformation, becoming not only Protective charms but also Popular decorative items and powerful Symbols of spirituality. Many people across various cultures now use Dreamcatchers as a means of adorning their living spaces. The intricate, handcrafted designs and the symbolism attached to them make Dream Catchers a captivating addition to homes, creating an aura of mystique and calm. They are often Hung above beds, doorways, or in vehicles to ward off negative energies and promote positive dreams.
Beyond their decorative role, Dream Catchers have also gained recognition as Spiritual symbols, representing the belief in filtering out negativity from one's life. For many, they serve as a reminder of hope and interconnectedness with the universe. The circular shape of the Dream Catcher symbolizes the circle of life and the continuous flow of energy, reflecting the belief that it can bring harmony and tranquility to the space in which it is placed.
However, as the commercialization of Dreamcatchers has grown, it has sparked controversies and debates. Some argue that the mass production and sale of these items in non-Native contexts can be seen as cultural appropriation and disrespectful to the indian traditions from which they originate. This has led to discussions about the need for greater cultural sensitivity and understanding when using or selling DreamCatchers. While they have become global symbols of hope and protection, there is an ongoing debate about preserving their sacred meaning and cultural significance amidst their widespread popularity.
The Dreamcatcher serves as a Captivating symbol that transcends time and culture. Its roots in Native traditions, such as the Ojibwe and Lakota, highlight its profound connection to a deeper dimension and the art of Filtering out negativity, allowing only positive energies to flow through. This Age-old talisman has found a modern role as both a decorative item and a symbol of spirituality, gracing homes with intricate designs that create an ambiance of mystery and serenity. However, with its widespread commercialization, the Dreamcatcher has faced debates and controversies regarding cultural sensitivity and appropriation. While it has become a global emblem of positivity, the need to preserve its sacred meaning and cultural significance remains a topic of ongoing discussion. Whether adorning our spaces or connecting us to the spiritual, the DreamCatcher continues to be a symbol of hope, protecting dreamers and guiding them in their journey through the intricate web.