Dreamcatcher: History And Spirituality

Dreamcatchers are of Native American origin. Though many think this is a simple trinket to hang near one’s bed in order to ‘prevent bad dreams’ the truth is that the dreamcatcher actually has a deep spiritual history behind it. For those who are more mystically minded, understanding the history and spirituality behind the dreamcatcher may change how one selects a dreamcatcher, how it is used, and, who knows, perhaps improves the effectiveness of a dreamcatcher. One could say a dreamcatcher is a spiritual tool that embodies Native American history.

Briefly, a dreamcatcher begins as willow sticks bent into a rough circular shape. Often the circular willow frame is covered with leather straps and treated to remain soft and supple. Hand woven string is then passed through the circle to create a web, or catcher. Learn about dream interpretation The original dreamcatchers were made by Native American shamen or by someone who understood the spiritual and historical meanings behind the dreamcatcher. Depending on the Native American tribe, small, personal items can be added to the web, such as beads sea shells or more recently, crystals. Traditionally, feathers are added to the bottom of the dreamcatcher, but not for decoration. The feathers actually serve an important role in the function of a dreamcatcher. In fact, every feature of a dreamcatcher plays a special role and holds spiritual importance.

The first classic dreamcatchers appear to originate with the Ojibwa tribe, sometimes called the Chippewa, who now reside in the northern mid-west of the U.S. into Canada. In the late 1960s and 1970s, dreamcatchers became popular with the counter culture folks of the 60s and 70s and was further adopted by the ‘new age movement’ that continues to today. Some claim the dreamcatcher is a recent development, only having been ‘discovered’ or ‘invented’ in the last 50 or so years. However, Dreamcatchers can be thought of as a natural extension of ‘spider charms’ which have a history and spiritual purpose going back centuries.
At one point, the dreamcatcher became a symbol to represent all the Native Americans or First Peoples. However, many Native Americans began to shun the dreamcatcher as an icon when dreamcatchers became commercialized (and especially when dreamcatchers began to be factory produced). Factory production and sale of dreamcatchers literally meant the spiritual meaning and history of the dreamcatcher was lost. To Native Americans, a true dreamcatcher must be handmade and constructed with special materials by a person of pure intentions. To understand this, let’s take a look at how a ‘real’ dreamcatcher is made, and why it is made the way it is.

The dreamcatcher frame is willow. The willow tree holds special significants to most Native Americans. Willow was, and is, special for it’s vast array of uses from creating baskets to medicinal (the active ingredient in the common drug aspirin was originally discovered in willow and many ancient people utilized willow as a pain killer and to reduce fever). An Osage tribe legend holds that the willow tree is a tree of wisdom.

It is no coincidence that the center of a dreamcatcher looks like a spider’s web, for that is what it is. The spider and the spider’s web hold special significance for native American peoples. For many native Americans and First Peoples the spider’s web is how the natural world exists, that is, all life, all nature is interconnected. All life and things in the world are connected to one another. The Hopi tribe have a legend that Spider Woman (Kótyangwúti) created the world. For some tribes spiders brought the gift of basket weaving, to others, the spirituality of how the world exists, to others the spider brought the gift of fire.

The traditional dreamcatcher utilizes a typical spider web design, however, some modern dreamcatcher craftsmen use what is called a spiral pattern. Spirals hold a special significance for tribes in the Southwestern United States. So, a dreamcatcher is fashioned as a spiders web and tasked by it’s creator to catch bad dreams. The beads or other artifacts woven into some dream catchers are put there to encourage particular types of dreams. Particular beads may be ‘blessed’ to bring dreams of love, sea shells may be tasked with bring dreams of self-realization or beauty. These items are used to attract dreams of a particular type.

To the Ojibwa tribe (Chippewa) dreams travel freely in the night air, all kinds of dreams, good and bad. To most native peoples throughout the world dreams hold special importance. Even in Australian, the Aborigines and the dream world myth is a remarkable story that tells how the world itself was created first in the dream world before the world was made ‘real’. To most native peoples, dreams are the crossroads where the human mind, the soul and the spirit world all meet. And, dreams carry as much reality and purpose as anything else in the waking world. Though many Westerns tend to dismiss dreams as unimportant, in truth, there is a history of famous dreams that have changed the world. To get back to the topic at hand, the dreamcatcher’s purpose is to trap the ‘bad dreams’ and allow the ‘good dreams’ or ‘special dreams’ to find their way to the sleeper.

The feathers or other natural material at the bottom of a dreamcatcher serve a special function. As the bad dreams become trapped in the dreamcatchers web the good dreams travel through a room freely. However, good or special dreams may need help finding the dreamer. The feathers serve as both a pathway (and a filter of sorts) that lead the good dreams to the dreamer beneath the dreamcatcher.

It said that the first dream catchers had to be fashioned by hand by a person who told or considered the story of the Seven Fires. The Seven Fires are basically seven prophecies for the First Peoples. Part of this prophecy tells of how the dark skinned original people would be driven from their homes by a fair skinned race, and that destruction would overtake the land. In time, a New People would emerge. In the seventh prophecy, a time would come when the New People would have to choose between the spiritual or the material. If the people choose the spiritual path, then a beautiful new age would begin. But, if the material path is chosen, then the destruction and despair would continue. One could say that the choice of spirituality is woven into the dreamcatcher (which is why it can catch the bad dreams). One could also say that when someone weaves a dreamcatcher, or spider charm, they are doing something good for someone else. They are making the choice to do what is good. The light of day cleanses a dreamcatcher of the bad dreams or negative energies trapped within it.

Some people might argue that all the mythology, legends and spiritual stories that surround the dreamcatcher could influence a person into believing that a dreamcatcher could ‘catch bad dreams’. However, the first dreamcatchers were created by native Americans for infants. Often, they were babies who were yet to be named by the family until the ‘namer’ of the tribe came to assist the family. Interestingly, a ‘namer’ often used dreams to find the right name for a new born child. The dreamcatcher, or spider charm, would protect the child as they grew up. One could hardly say an infant would be influenced by the myths and legends of how the dreamcatcher is created.

As other Native American or First Peoples tribes adopted the dreamcatcher numerous unique touches were added by each tribe. For example, the Cherokee dreamcatchers are more elaborate and a special numerology represented within the interlocking circles. Other tribes and shaman saw the wider use of a dreamcatcher or spider charm. A large dreamcatcher could be used to clear the negative energies of a location or a room (which is why one can often find very large ‘dreamcatchers’ created by some tribes and located in public meeting places). Smaller dreamcatchers could also be created that could be carried by a person or worn as jewelry. Something like a personal charm or talisman that protect one from negative energies.

Native American Spirituality Psychic

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As you can see, the dream catcher is much more than a trinket. True dreamcatchers are considered spiritual tools by those who faithfully create them for others. My hope is you will never look upon a dreamcatcher the same way again. A dreamcatcher is something rich in history and carries a unique perception and understanding of spirituality. Maybe dreamcatchers are a gift from the Native Peoples of North America to all of us. If so, we should respect this gift by understanding the important spiritual meaning behind it. And, please, if you buy a dreamcatcher, never buy one that has been factory made for that really does not honor the traditions or legends behind this unique creation of the First Peoples.

Someone who has an understanding of dreams, and who has a background in Native American culture is Psychic Mona who works through AuthenticPsychics.net. You can call Mona at 1-800-888-5523. You might also enjoy Shaman Psychic Joy who embraces a more natural approach to spirituality and is a great working with spirit guides.