The Legend of the Ojibwa People
To understand what a dream catcher does, you have to first learn about their origin. The meaning of dream catchers and the beliefs surrounding their construction originate from Native American cultures. The dream catchers were an important part of their life.
Native Americans believe that the night air is filled with dreams both good and bad. The dream catcher when hung over or near your bed swinging freely in the air, catches the dreams as they flow by. The good dreams know how to pass through the dream catcher, slipping through the outer holes and slide down the soft feathers so gently that many times the sleeper does not know that he/she is dreaming. The bad dreams not knowing the way get tangled in the dream catcher and perish with the first light of the new day.
The charm was usually used for young children and hung above their cradles or beds. Legend has it that the spider woman ‘Asibikaashi’, who was regarded as the spiritual protector of the Ojibwa people, was responsible for protecting the children. With Ojibwa people traveling further across the land, it was hard for her to protect every child. So, she created the dream catcher that would trap any bad thoughts or spirits meaning harm to the children.
The Legend of the Lakota People
Long ago when the word was sound, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain and had a vision. In his vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and searcher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider. Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language. As he spoke, Iktomi the spider picked up the elder’s willow hoop which had feathers, horsehair, beads and offerings on it, and began to spin a web. He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life, how we begin our lives as infants, move on through childhood and on to adulthood. Finally, we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, completing the cycle.
But, Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, in each time of life there are many forces, some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But, if you listen to the bad forces, they’ll steer you in the wrong direction and may hurt you. So these forces can help, or can interfere with the harmony of Nature. While the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web.
When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the elder the web and said, The web is a perfect circle with a hole in the center. Use the web to help your people reach their goals, making good use of their ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the great spirit, the web will filter your good ideas and the bad ones will be trapped and will not pass.
The elder passed on his vision onto the people and now many Indian people have a dream catcher above their bed to sift their dreams and visions. The good will pass through the center hole to the sleeping person. The evil in their dreams are captured in the web, where they perish in the light of the morning sun. It is said the dream catcher holds the destiny of the future.
What are Dreamcatchers made from?
Each section of the dream catcher’s form holds specific meaning. Traditionally dream catchers were made of willow, feathers and nettle fiber forming the web. The circle of willow forming the hoop is said to be the heart of the magic contained within a dream catcher, symbolizing Mother Earth, completion, unity and the circle of life. Its circular shape also represents the continuous flow of life as there is no beginning or end. In addition to representing the circle of life, it also symbolizes how the sun and moon move across the sky every day in a continuous loop.
The web or net of the dream catcher is intricately woven inside the frame to mimic the look of a spider’s web. The circle in the center of the web is its heart and is where the good dreams and visions are filtered through.
The willow is a spiritual wood used by druids for vision, a flow of magic and the release of emotions.
The dream catcher filters our dreams, catching the bad negative ones in its web and allowing the pleasant positive ones to enter through the dream catchers center gently passing the dream down the feathers to the owner who lies beneath. The dream catcher also guards against bad or malevolent spirits trying to intervene in our dreams, creating a passage for our guides and angels to enter.
Powerful magic happens when a dream catcher is hand-made with the intent of protection and love by the mother of the child for whom the dream catcher will belong. The father of the child hangs the dream catcher from the ceiling low enough that the sunlight hits the dream catcher in the morning This is important because the sun acts as a cleanser for the bad negative dreams caught in its web.
I have been handcrafting dream catchers now for the past 8 years, both traditional and alternative. When crafting a dream catcher, I fill my thoughts with the best intent for the person whom I am creating for. They are filled with positive energy and love.
I have created many dream catchers for young children, who won’t leave home without it once the magic has begun to work. Nightmares stop and only good dreams bless the children.
Tell the story of the dream catcher to your children, what it does and how it works, before you present them with it. This will reassure the child safe sleeping and pleasant dreams and allow spiritual energy to encompass them on their astral journeys Belief is our strongest magical tool, for those who truly believe without doubt magic really does happen.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading the legends of the dream catcher and the magic held within them. If you have any comments, or if you would like to order a dream catcher, please send me a message and I will tailor one to your specific requirements. Alternatively, head over to my store and select one of my pre-made dream catchers.