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Origins and Uses For Dream Catchers

Sunlit DreamcatcherBy: Johann Erickson

Dream catchers are a part of the tradition and culture of many of the native people of North America. The stories of the dream catcher’s origin and use are as different as the tribes who used them, but the most common story goes like this:

Long ago Spider Woman (whose name and description varies by tribe) showed her people how to weave a web to catch their dreams. She took a hoop and began weaving from the outside until she reached the center. At the center she left a hole. She told her people that the web would catch their dreams.

The dream catcher should be hung above the sleeping area, where it would be hit with the first morning light. While her people slept, the dream catcher would catch their dreams.

The good and useful dreams would easily make their way through the web and fall through the hole to the dreamer below. The bad and useless dreams would be caught in the web and evaporate in the morning light.

Traditionally, dream catchers are made out of natural materials, preferably red willow and animal sinew. Native Americans hang them above their beds and smaller dream catchers are often hung above babies cribs.

Today, decorative dream catchers are made from many kinds of materials, traditional and non-traditional. Dream catchers are a beautiful object of art to add to your home. They come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, and fit into nearly any style of decor. You needn’t have a southwest style home to have a dream catcher. There are red, white, and blue dream catchers for a country americana look, and black and brown dream catchers for the modern earth-tone look.

Simply choose a dream catcher that coordinates with the colors in your home. Enjoy the beauty, history, and tradition of a dream catcher by adding one to your home.

Dream Catchers

An ancient Chippewa tradition
The dream net has been made
For many generations
Where spirit dreams have played.

Hung above the cradle board,
Or in the lodge up high,
The dream net catches bad dreams,
While good dreams slip on by.

Bad dreams become entangled
Among the sinew thread.
Good dreams slip through the center hole,
While you dream upon your bed.

This is an ancient legend,
Since dreams will never cease,
Hang this dream net above your bed,
Dream on, and be at peace.


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