Dream catchers have their origins in Native American tradition, but they have been made popular once again in recent years. They have gained popularity as a spiritual tool within the New Age movement, and are also enjoyed by the mainstream population as art and home decoration.
Traditional dream catchers feature willow hoops with a woven web usually made from red yarn or sinew. At the center of this web is a smaller, open web where no thread crosses. At the bottom of the hoop are leather cords with dangling feathers attached.
Today, dream catchers are created with a variety of styles and designs. They can feature single or multiple hoops and they vary in size from very small to extra large. There are more natural, traditional looking designs and others are created with a variety of vibrant colors and added materials like beads, stones and other embelishments. No matter what your style, you can find one that will fit your décor and personality.
The Legend of the Dreamcatcher
There are different versions of the dreamcatcher legend that vary by tribe, but the meaning behind them is fairly universal. It is believed that the night is filled with both positive and negative dreams and spiritual influences. When a dreamcatcher is hung above the head of the dreamer, the good dreams come through, while the bad dreams become hopelessly entangled until the light of the morning sun burns them away. In some traditions, the good dreams make their way down the cords and feathers to the dreamer below; in others, the good dreams go straight through the small hole at the center of the web.
According to the original Chippewa legend, the dream catcher was a gift from spider to Nokomis, the grandmother. For days, she sat and watched the spider meticulously spin its web. One day, her grandson moved in to kill the spider, but she stopped him. In gratitude for saving his life, the spider wove another web that glistened in the light of the moon. He explained to the woman that each web will snare bad dreams, allowing only the good ones to come through the small hole at the center of the web.
How to Use a Dreamcatcher
Dreamcatchers are often used over the top of infants cribs and children’s beds to promote deep, restful sleep and positive dreams. Babies and young children are often more prone to nightmares, and the dreamcatcher can help bring a sense of safety and security.
Anyone can use a dreamcatcher. In order for it to work according to tradition; it should hang above the dreamers head at night and be in a location where the morning sun will hit the web to cleanse away any negative energies.
Some dreamcatchers have special stones and beading within the web that enhance its qualities. Certain gemstones can promote lucid dreams, prophetic dreams and even help draw healing energies. Add a dreamcatcher to your sleeping area to filter dreams and promote higher wisdom and understanding.