Sleep is an essential part of life, but nightmares can make sleep for many people very restless and scary. Millions of people suffer from nightmares and some of them can be rather severe. A nightmare can not only ruin a good night of sleep, it can also affect you during the day as well. Some people suffer from nightmares so bad that it actually hampers their ability to think straight during everyday tasks, and makes functioning throughout the day very difficult. A dream catcher is an option that many people believe can help relieve the bad repercussions of nightmares. These simple yet beautiful pieces of Native American culture are now a symbol for restful sleep. Through the use of these hand crafted pieces of art, the worry of nightmares can often be relieved.
Dream catchers originated in the 1960s and 1970s, and were originally created by the Ojibwa Nation, a tribe of Native Americans. Soon, the dream catcher tradition was adopted by other tribes and stood as a sign of unity. The dream catcher consists of a ring of willow, with a sinew web inside of it, often resembling a spider web. Then, leather or deer sinew strings are hung from the bottom of the ring, and feathers and beads are attached. The dream catcher is often hung by one’s bedside to help trap or catch bad dreams. Dream catchers can be any size and decorated however one chooses in terms of feather style and color as well as the weave type and number and style of beads attached. One legend says a grandmother saved a spider and in return he helped her create the dream catcher to catch bad dreams, and let only the good dreams be remembered. This fully illustrates the purpose of the dream catcher; it also symbolizes that a spider’s web is nothing to fear, but instead that the spider is there for protection.
You can make your own dream catcher using a few simple and easy to find materials. First, use a piece of willow or grapevine to create the ring as the base of the dream catcher. If the willow is too stiff, it can be soaked in water for a while until it becomes pliable. Once the willow or grapevine is ready to be formed into a circle, the ends can be tied together snugly to form the ring. The average dream catcher is anywhere from five to eight inches in diameter. Next, using string, cord or sinew, weave the dream catcher pattern across the willow ring in any pattern you choose. There are several different designs people can choose to weave a dream catcher, depending on the native tribe chosen. Once the pattern is woven, you will dangle or tie some string to the bottom of the ring, letting it hang several inches. Attach a feather and some beads to the bottom of the string. Hang your dream catcher in the bedroom above your bed, and prepare for sweet dreams. Some legends say that adults do not use feathers in their dream catchers, but this option is entirely up to you.
People of all walks of life continue to enjoy dream catchers as a decorative item. Whether it is used as a décor item in the home or as an actual, functioning device used to help prevent or ease nightmares, the dream catcher is a symbol of Native American culture that has intertwined with modern life. Choosing different colors of feathers and beads allows people to customize their dream catcher to their own personal tastes. Many people in the New Age sector have adopted dream catchers as a popular form of décor and symbolic meaning. They have also become an interesting conversation piece and a way for people of Native American heritage to express themselves. The dream catcher may be a beautiful piece of art, but it also has a very important and rooted background in helping to keep nightmares away.
For more information about the dream catcher, please refer to the following websites:
- Make Your Own Dream Catcher
- Facts about Dream Catchers
- Legend of the Dream Catcher
- Dream Catchers
- Dream Catcher Lesson Plan
- Dream Catcher Legend from Wounded Knee
- More About Dream Catchers
- The Origin of the Dream Catcher
- The Ojibwe Tribe, Language, Culture
- Making a Dream Catcher
- Dream Catcher Image
- Origin & Purpose of Dream Catcher
- FAQ on Dream Catchers
- Catching the Dream
- Dream Catchers Art Activity
- The Legend of the Famous Dream Catcher
- Good Dream or Bad?
- Detailed Directions on Making a Dream Catcher
- Holding the Destiny of the Future
- Dream Catcher Legend and Background