When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with dream catchers. To think I could hang this lovely hooped, spider-webbed fixture in my room and it would catch my dreams? I looked closely at the patterns of string and considered how it might catch my dreams and what dreams I had coming true. I couldn’t wait to see what happened.
Well, my relationship with my dream catcher wasn’t exactly how the legend goes, but I believe a dream catcher can play many different roles – reminding us of our dreams and filling our homes with inspiration. What will your children think of them? My hope is this dream catcher will be just as magical to you and your family as mine was to me.
What is the origin of dream catchers?
Text taken from the website dreamcatchers.com
The Ojibwa (Chippewa) believe that night is full of both good and bad dreams. When a dream catcher is hung above the place where you sleep it moves freely in the night air and catches the dreams as they drift by. The good dreams, knowing their way, pass through the opening in the center of the webbing while the bad dreams, not knowing the way, are caught in the webbing and destroyed at the first light of the morning sun.
There are many variants to the dream catcher legend, some which say both the good and bad dreams are captured and some which say the good dreams slide down the feather to those sleeping below. Although the Ojibwa are credited as the first people to use Dream Catchers many other Tribes and Native peoples have adopted Dream Catchers into their culture. Even though the designs and legends of Dream Catchers differ slightly, the underlying meaning and symbolism is universal and is carried across cultures and language barriers.
Want to learn more about dream catchers?
Text taken from the website nativeamericanvault.com
Dreams have always been a fundamental part of Ojibwe culture and have many purposes.
Prophecies: Dreams can show future events that will affect a tribe or individual person.
Names: Spiritual leaders can receive the name of a newborn child through dreams.
Spiritual Strength: Many Ojibwe people pray, meditate, and fast in order to bring on dreams that will give them spiritual guidance during difficult times.
Symbolism: Dreamers will often see a symbol that has personal meaning to them throughout their lives. Many Ojibwe make a charm to keep with them to remind them of the symbol. Some even take them to the grave when they die for strength in the afterlife.
The Ojibwe people, often referred to by their anglicized name, "Chippewa", so insightfully understood the importance of dreams, especially in children, that they attempted to assist a child’s ability to receive good dreams and filter out dark or negative dreams with the use of a dream catcher.
Frances Densmore, a renowned ethnographer who dedicated decades of her life to working with many Native American tribes, including the Ojibwe, wrote in her 1929 book, Chippewa Customs, about the longstanding existence of dream catchers.