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Are dreamcatchers evil: The Myths and Legends Behind Dream Catchers


The Myths and Legends Behind Dream Catchers

The dream catcher is one of the most enduring and widespread symbols associated with Native American culture. It’s commonly believed that the iconic hoop-and-web form is meant to protect sleepers from bad dreams by “catching” them, while letting good dreams pass through, hence the name.

However, the real story behind dream catchers is a little more complex. While some see it as a symbol of unity among tribes, others feel the dream catcher has become misappropriated and over-commercialized. Despite this polarization, the origins of the dream catcher and the beliefs surrounding it remain a fascinating part of American history.

Cultural Background

Protective fetishes (objects believed to have special powers) appear in numerous indigenous cultures, but the dream catcher typically associated with Native Americans originated in the Ojibwe (Chippewa) culture. Traditionally made from a willow branch hoop, nettle fiber or sinew, and decorations such as beads and feathers, the origins of the dream catcher are associated with a figure from Ojibwe mythology known as Asibikaashi, or “the Spider Woman. ” This mother-figure was a protector of the people, especially children. Dream catchers became a proxy for Asibikaashi as the Ojibwe nation spread over a larger geographical region, a tool hung over children’s beds to capture any bad or evil before it could cause harm.

As Western tribes gradually contacted one another through trade and intermarriage, the dream catcher legend permeated other cultures. The Lakota have their own dream catcher legend associated with a trickster god, Iktomi, who often appeared in the form of a spider. In Lakota culture, dream catchers represent “the web of life,” with its many good and bad choices. The dream catcher is meant to filter the bad ideas of society from the good, leading the people to achieve their dreams and visions. During the Pan-Indian movement of the late 20th century, when many tribes of indigenous peoples sought unity for cultural stability, the dream catcher became widely associated with many different Native tribes and nations.


While many people find dream catchers beautiful and the protective intention behind them compelling, they’ve caused some controversy over the years. Some people feel that the use of dream catchers outside of Native culture is a form of cultural appropriation, particularly when non-Natives profit from the sale of Native-inspired crafts. Legality became an issue as well. As dream catchers became increasingly popular with the New Age crowd starting in the 1970s, some unscrupulous crafters were passing off their wares as “genuine Native American” crafts, marketing them as being made by a particular tribe, for example. Congress passed the Indian Arts and Crafts Act in 1990, making it illegal to falsely advertise that Native American-inspired artwork, such as pottery, baskets, jewelry, and totemic items like dream catchers, was made by Native Americans when it was not.

Controversy over cultural appropriation doesn’t mean non-Natives can’t appreciate and display Native arts and crafts like dream catchers. When approached in a way that respects the history and culture behind the craft and recognizes the artisan, hanging dream catchers can be a beautiful way to honor the people whose rich tapestry of beliefs carpeted this land long before European settlement.

Legend of the Dream Catcher

Long ago when the world was young, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain and had a vision.

In his vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and teacher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider.

Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language that only the spiritual leaders of the Lakota could understand.

As he spoke Ikotmi, the spider, took the elder’s willow hoop which had feathers, horse hair, beads
and offerings on it and began to spin a web.

He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life…and how we begin our lives as infants and we move
on to childhood, and then to adulthood. Finally we go to old age where we must be taken care of as
infants, completing the cycle.

“But,” Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, “in each time of life there are many forces – some
good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But if
you listen to the bad forces, they will hurt you and ste3er you in the wrong direction.”

He continued, “There are many forces and different directions that can help or interfere with the
harmony of nature, and also with the Great Spirit and all of his wonderful teachings.”

All the while the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web starting from the outside and working
towards the center.

When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the Lakota elder the web and said…”See, the web is a perfect
circle but there is a hole in the center of the circle.”

He said, “Use the web to help yourself and your people to reach your goals and make good use of
your people’s ideas, dreams and visions.

“If you believe in the Great Spirit, the web will catch your good ideas – and the bad ones will go
through the hole.

The Lakota elder passed on his vision to his people and now the Sioux Indians use the dream catcher
as the web of their life.

It is hung above their beds or in their home to sift their dreams and visions.
The good in their dreams are captured in the web of life and carried with them…but the evil in
their dreams escapes through the hole in the center of the web and are no longer a part of them.

They believe that the dream catcher holds the destiny of their future.

Dream Catcher Meaning: History, Legend & Origins of Dream Catcher

A dream catcher is pretty self-explanatory, right? Yep, you’d be correct in thinking that dream catchers are made to snatch away bad dreams… but there’s so much more to them than that.

These beautiful Native American talismans have a rich history, steeped in tradition. They’re not just eye-catching displays in cheap gift stores!

Anyone who has a dream catcher or wants to buy one should read this article first. You need to know the true meaning of dream catchers to respect and admire the culture behind them.

What is a Dream Catcher?

Terry Cralle, RN, MS, CPHQ

Just in case you’re really clueless, a dream catcher is a small round talisman that’s hung by your bed to capture bad dreams and/or deliver good dreams and thoughts while you sleep.

Traditional, authentic dream catchers were made from wooden hoops, with thread webbing, handmade beads, leather, and feathers. Organic, natural materials are essential. They would be a few inches wide at most, and certainly wouldn’t be the bright, colorful and over-the-top dream catchers you find in cheap holiday gift shops.

The huge, plastic dream catchers with vividly bright faux feathers are a commercialized version of the original Native American dream catcher – more on why you shouldn’t buy these below.

How the traditional dreamcatcher works varies slightly from one legend to another, but the meaning is always similar: to catch harmful thoughts or bad dreams and keep you safe with good dreams and positive thoughts while you sleep. Dream catchers were originally made for very small children and babies, so they could be hung just above their cribs.

Over the decades, dream catchers have taken on new meanings – some with respect for the traditions, others without – and become symbols for various movements, such as the non-violent Pan-Indianism Movement.

The Beautiful Legends Behind Dream Catchers

Terry Cralle, RN, MS, CPHQ

Various Native American cultures have dream catchers, or a version of them, woven into their traditions. But it is the Ojibwe culture (indigenous people originally from northern midwestern USA and Canada) that the majority of historians agree the dream catcher originated from.

The legend focuses on Asibikaashi, the spider woman. She was the spiritual protector of the Ojibwe people, protecting the children from harm.

As their people spread further across the land, Asibikaashi found it harder to protect everyone from far away. So, the dream catcher was created.

The web within the willow hoop, like a spider’s web, would catch any bad thoughts or spirits lingering around – not specifically for bad dreams.

From here, the legend branches out with different meanings and stories depending on who’s telling the history of dream catchers.

Many believe that the dreamcatcher will catch bad dreams in the web, while good dreams filter through the hole, gem or bead in the center. When the first rays of the sun touch the dreamcatcher in the morning, those trapped bad dreams are destroyed.

Lakota Legends

Terry Cralle, RN, MS, CPHQ

Similarly to Ojibwe, the Lakota legends about dreamcatchers begin with a spiritual being associated with spiders. Iktomi created the dreamcatcher to catch good ideas on the web so they won’t be lost, but let bad ideas filter through the central hole and simply pass by their people unharmed.

The dreamcatcher itself is also a symbol – the perfectly round hoop is a symbol of the circle of life, the sun, and the moon. The soft, downy feathers (often owl feathers) are the ladders that good dreams float down into your mind.

Furthermore, the number of points where the webbed thread touches the inside of the hoop is symbolic. 13 points represent the phases of the moon, 8 for the spider woman’s legs, 7 for the prophesies, 6 for the eagle, and 5 for a star.

Sacred beads and tokens can also be added amongst the feathers.

Finally, the gems or stones in the dreamcatcher can represent good dreams or, if there’s a single stone, represent the creator of the world.

Why Understanding the Symbolism and History of Dream Catchers is Important

Terry Cralle, RN, MS, CPHQ

Dreamcatchers are closely tied to heart-warming and noble legends of Native Americans – so is it right for people around the world to buy dreamcatchers on a whim or simply because they’re “pretty”?

The dreamcatcher should be a symbol of unity among Native American communities, not an over-commercialized and misused plastic decoration, made in China, and eventually forgotten in a landfill site.

This is where cultural appropriation comes in. It is controversial, and frankly offensive in our opinion, to adopt a piece of tradition from one culture without even trying to understand and respect the origins and meaning behind it.

Cultural appreciation, on the other hand, should be commended. Owning a dreamcatcher, understanding and respecting the meaning behind it, and supporting the Native American people is to be commended.

That’s why we recommend you buy dreamcatchers from traditional Native American craftspeople – you’ll find them for sale in Indian territory across the US and Canada, just look for tribal giftshops or attend Native Indian events to learn more about the culture as well.

For online resources to buy authentic dreamcatchers from, check out this list from Native Languages.

Gifting dreamcatchers to newly born babies and young children is a beautiful way to honor the original dream catcher meaning and respect the legends behind them by passing down the story from one generation to the next.

Summary – Dream Catcher Meaning

If you’ve been looking for a scientific explanation of how dreamcatchers work, you’re going to be disappointed. Dream catchers are stunning talismans with a beautiful history and meaning behind them.

The simple act of respecting and honoring the tradition of your dreamcatcher as you hang it above your bed is sure to leave you with a smile on your face and good dreams in your mind!

If you want to buy a dream catcher, you can check the best seller from Amazon, Walmart and even Aliexpress (very cheap)

Just remember to:

  • Learn about the dreamcatcher you’re buying, and the symbolism behind it.
  • Respect and appreciate the culture that brought you the dream catcher.
  • Buy traditional, hand-crafted dreamcatchers from Native American craftspeople.

Are dreamcatchers bad? – JesusAlive.cc

     A: Dreamcatchers got their start in Native American religion, apparently originating with the Ojibwe people. For those who may not know what a dreamcatcher is, it is a circle with a web stretched across it (sometimes with beads added), and feathers hanging from the bottom of this circle. (As I understand it, the web is supposed to connect to the circle in 8 places to represent the 8 legs of a spider.)

     It is called a “dreamcatcher” because it is supposed to be hung over a bed, and while a person is sleeping, the dreamcatcher is said to capture and trap bad dreams in the web, while letting good dreams pass through the web and flow down through the feathers into the one sleeping, thereby giving them good dreams.

     These “dreamcatchers” are often associated with the New Age movement, which is very un-Christian in its beliefs. If one truly holds to the mythology associated with dreamcatchers, I believe it very unwise to have one. In short, it is assigning God-like power to an object. It is putting a created object ahead of the God who created it, which is a sin (Rom 1:25). It is, in essence, making that object an idol. This can apply to all sorts of objects such as: amulets, tarot cards, crystals, horoscopes, ouija boards, a talisman, etc… It could even apply to having a cross. In addition, while many may scoff at this, I believe these things can, at times, open a door to evil spirits. Many Christians have reported this happening over the years. In regards to dreamcatchers specifically, you can read testimonies from some Christians who have hung these things and had terrible nightmares as a result. Those who actually believe in the power of dreamcatchers believe they can “manipulate the spirit world” and stop “negative energy.” Don’t you think it might be dangerous to associate with things in the “spirit world?”

     However, there are those who believe a dreamcatcher does not hold any power, but they just like they way it looks. They hang it like art on a wall or sometimes from the rear view mirror of their car. Is this ok? Some who defend this practice see it as a part of “Christian liberty,” and use Paul’s examples in (1 Cor 8 & 10) about eating meat sacrificed to idols to justify this position. While this might be valid, it is also worth noting that Paul says in these same verses that we should not use the “liberty” we have as Christians if it might cause a weak Christian to “stumble” in their walk with the Lord. (I believe it can also set a bad example for non-Christians.) When we do this, Paul says, “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, YE SIN AGAINST CHRIST” (1 Cor 8:12)(caps emphasis mine). (This can also apply to such things as tattoos, drinking, or smoking. Go here for more on this.)

     In other words, applying this to a dreamcatcher, while YOU may see nothing wrong with having a dreamcatcher, there might be weak Christians (or non-Christians) out there who believe they are evil, but since they see you with one, and look to you as an example of a Christian, they might get one for themselves, even though they think it is wrong. If they do this, YOU are causing them to sin by the example you are setting. (1 Cor 8:13), “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

     Given the possible negative consequences that can occur from owning a dreamcatcher, I believe it wise to avoid them.

More Questions & Answers

The Meaning of Dreamcatchers | History & Sybmolism

January 30, 2019


Dreamcatchers became widely popular during the 1980s and have become a very common crafts item, jewelry piece, and image on home decor items. They are made from a wooden hoop, usually willow, onto which a net or web is woven with natural fibers. They typically have feathers and beads hanging from the hoop as well.  

While modern dreamcatchers come in various forms, authentic ones are generally only a few inches in size and are handmade from all natural materials with a leather-wrapped frame.   

The Meaning of Dreamcatchers 

The meaning of dreamcatchers and the beliefs surrounding their construction originate from Native American cultures. The dreamcatcher is a protective talisman that is used to protect people from nightmares and bad dreams. The charm was usually used for young children and hung above their cradles or beds.  

Native American cultures believe that both good and bad dreams fill the air at night. The dreamcatcher acts like a spider’s web by trapping the bad dreams or visions while allowing the good ones to filter through. The bad dreams caught in the web get destroyed when the sunlight of morning hits the dreamcatcher, while the good dreams filter down through the feathers and gently reach the sleeping person below.  

Dreamcatchers can also be considered as apotropaic charms that provide protection from any kind of evil influence, not just from bad dreams and nightmares. Some cultures, like the Lakota, believe that dreamcatchers work slightly differently as their legend states that the good dreams or ideas would become trapped in the web while the bad ones would pass right through the hole in the center and would be gone forever.  


The Dreamcatcher’s Form 

Each section of the dreamcatcher’s form holds specific meaning.  

The circular frame symbolizes Mother Earth and everything that sustains life. Its circular shape also represents the continuous flow of life as there is no beginning or end. In addition to representing the circle of life, it also symbolizes how the sun and moon move across the sky every day in a continuous loop.  

The web or net of the dreamcatcher is intricately woven inside the frame to mimic the look of a spider’s web. The circle in the center of the web is its heart and is where the good dreams and visions are filtered through.  

There are some different meanings behind the beads on dreamcatchers. Some cultures believe the beads represent the spider, while others say the beads are the physical form of the good dreams that failed to pass through the web and become sacred charms.  

The number of points on the woven web of the dreamcatcher is also significant and holds different meanings. A dreamcatcher with 13 points represents the 13 phases of the moon, 8 points symbolizes the spider woman in the Native American legends, 7 points refers to the seven prophesies, 6 points represents an eagle, and 5 points symbolize a star. 

Some authentic dreamcatchers have a cross in the center of the web which symbolizes the Four Sacred Directions. These are known as medicine wheel dreamcatchers that provide protection from misfortune and bring good medicine into one’s life by drawing from the universe.  

The History of Dreamcatchers 

According to the Ojibwe Tribe 

Dreamcatchers originated from Native American cultures, more specifically the Ojibwe tribe. The Ojibwe called dreamcatchers ‘asabikeshiinh’, which means ‘spider’. According to the Ojibwe dreamcatcher legend, a Spider Woman named Asibikaashi took care of all the people and children on their land but as the tribe spread further and further, it became harder for her to protect everyone.    

Since she could not go to every single child at night and protect them from evil influences, she got help from the maternal figures of the tribe. Ojibwe mothers and grandmothers would make dreamcatchers by weaving webs over willow hoops and hanging them above every child’s bed to trap bad dreams and nightmares.  


Traditionally, only one gemstone bead was used in the construction of a dreamcatcher as there is only one creator in life’s web.   

According to the Lakota Tribe 

The Lakota tribe have a different legend about the origin of dreamcatchers, but it is believed that the charms were passed on from the Ojibwe tribe in various ways. In the Lakota Legend, a spiritual leader had a vision of Iktomi, a great trickster and a teacher spirit, who took the form of a spider.   

Iktomi took the spiritual leader’s willow hoop and began to weave a web over it as he spoke. He spoke about the circle of life and told the leader that there are both good and bad forces at play in a life cycle. If you should listen to the good ones, you will be steered in the right direction, but the bad forces would cause harm.   


Once he had finished spinning his web, Iktomi showed the spiritual leader that it was a perfect circle with a hole in the middle. He stated that the good ideas would get caught in the web while the bad would go right through the hole. The spiritual leader brought this knowledge back to his people who began to use dreamcatchers to filter their dreams and capture all the good ones and let the bad ones go.  


In Modern Day 

In the modern era, dreamcatchers were used by some Native American cultures as a symbol of unity throughout the Pan-Indian Movement of the 1960s-70s. Dreamcatchers then become known as ‘Native crafts items’ and become popular souvenirs.  

People all around the world regard dreamcatchers as beautiful and interesting objects. New Age groups produce different types of dreamcatchers, made from various materials in different styles, which are very popular in the market today. Dreamcatcher imagery and jewelry is quite common and has become somewhat of a fashionable trend as they are beautiful to look at.    


However, these dreamcatchers are a far cry from the traditional dreamcatchers as they are often quite big, colourful, and are made with plastics and other artificial materials, whereas traditional dreamcatchers are usually quite small and made with wood, leather, string and real feathers. Many Native American cultures believe that they have become too commercialized, misused and their meaning has been lost.


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NativeTech: Dream Catchers

NativeTech: Dream Catchers

Native American Technology and Art

Dream Catchers

(Ojibwe – White Earth Band
– meaning “net-like, looks like a net”)

Bwaajige Ngwaagan
(Ojibwe – Curve Lake Band
– meaning “dream snare”)

Photograph of an Ojibwe ‘dream catcher’ from the early 1900’s
[From Densmore 1979].

Today dream catchers are made by Native American artists from many Nations;
a great deal of people are under the impression that the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota
(called Sioux by others) originated the dreamcatcher… There are many Native American
stories and legends about spiders and webs, but the
Ojibwe (called Chippewa by others) originated the dream catcher. A look at
the long tradition of storytelling, oral histories, passed down parent to child,
generation after generation, clears up any confusion about the origin of
dream catchers.

Frances Densmore conducted an extensive study of material culture of the Ojibwe/Chippewa
living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada in the early 1900’s and
the information is presented in the book, Chippewa Customs, published by
Minnesota Historical Society Press (St. Paul) in 1979.
Densmore describes that articles representing spider webs were usually
hung from the hoop of a child’s cradle board, and it was said that ‘they catch
and hold everything evil as a spider’s web catches and holds everything that
comes into contact with it’. These ‘dream catchers’ were wooden hoops with a
3 1/2 in. diameter, filled with a web made of nettle-stalk cord that was dyed red with
bloodroot and wild plum inner bark. It is interesting to note that the ‘weave’
of the dream catcher photographed in Densmore’s work is different from
that usually done today. By the early 1900’s, dark red yarn had been substituted
for plant fiber in constructing the web by the Ojibwe.
Densmore also mentions a similar netted-hoop
made by the Pawnee to represent the Spider-Woman, a spirit who controlled the

The Ojibwe, whose traditional homeland is around the Great Lakes
region, have ancient stories about the dreamcatcher,
how it ‘came to be’, why it is used, and how it should be made. A
while back there was quite a discussion about the origin of the dream
catcher on the soc.culture.native Newsgroups and on the Native-L Listserver.

Contemporary dreamcatcher with traditional Chippewa weave,
made by my friend Michael O’Neill (Red Lake Band of Chippewa)
and his wife (Fond-du-lac band of Chippewa). “My wife and I had
went out one evening and gathered up some red willow… the
willow is wrapped with one continuous piece of yarn including the web… it
takes about an hour to make….I use a deep red yarn. .. like

About the Dream Catcher…

from Lyn Dearborn
In response to a question about the FIRST origin of Dream Catchers,

Nov. 1, 1995 to the Native-l Listserver.

Origin of the Dream Catcher

Long ago in the ancient world of the Ojibwe Nation, the Clans were
all located in one general area of that place known as Turtle Island.
This is the way that the old Ojibwe storytellers say how Asibikaashi
(Spider Woman) helped Wanabozhoo bring giizis (sun) back to the people.
To this day, Asibikaashi will build her special lodge before dawn. If
you are awake at dawn, as you should be, look for her lodge and you will
see this miracle of how she captured the sunrise as the light sparkles
on the dew which is gathered there.

Asibikaasi took care of her children, the people of the land, and she
continues to do so to this day. When the Ojibwe Nation dispersed to the
four corners of North America, to fill a prophecy, Asibikaashi had a
difficult time making her journey to all those cradle boards, so the
mothers, sisters, & Nokomis (grandmothers) took up the practice of
weaving the magical webs for the new babies using willow hoops and
sinew or cordage made from plants. It is in the shape of a circle to
represent how giizis travels each day across the sky. The dream
catcher will filter out all the bad bawedjigewin (dreams) & allow only
good thoughts to enter into our minds when we are just abinooji. You
will see a small hole in the center of each dream catcher where those
good bawadjige may come through. With the first rays of sunlight, the
bad dreams would perish.

When we see little asibikaashi, we should not fear her, but instead
respect and protect her. In honor of their origin, the number of points
where the web connected to the hoop numbered 8 for Spider Woman’s eight
legs or 7 for the Seven Prophecies.

Application and Purpose of the Dream Catcher

White Earth Ojibwe infant

in a cradle board

[Densmore 1979].

It was traditional to put a feather in the center of the dream catcher;
it means breath, or air. It is essential for life. A baby watching the
air playing with the feather on her cradleboard was entertained while
also being given a lesson on the importance of good air. This lesson
comes forward in the way that the feather of the owl is kept for wisdom
(a woman’s feather) & the eagle feather is kept for courage (a man’s
feather). This is not to say that the use of each is restricted by
gender, but that to use the feather each is aware of the gender
properties she/he is invoking. (Indian people, in general, are very
specific about gender roles and identity. ) The use of gem stones,
as we do in the ones we make for sale, is not something that was done
by the old ones. Government laws have forbidden the sale of feathers
from our sacred birds, so using four gem stones, to represent the
four directions, and the stones used by western nations were
substituted by us. The woven dream catchers of adults do not use

Structure of the Dream Catcher

Dream catchers made of willow and sinew are for children, and they are
not meant to last. Eventually the willow dries out and the tension of
the sinew collapses the dream catcher. That’s supposed to happen. It
belies the temporary-ness of youth. Adults should use dream catchers of
woven fiber which is made up to reflect their adult “dreams.” It is also
customary in many parts of Canada and the Northeastern U.S. to have the
dream catchers be a tear-drop/snow shoe shape.

The above story is a combination of information gathered by Lyn
Dearborn, from California, and Mary Ritchie, of the Northern Woodlands,
with assistance from Canadian elders. Miigwetch!

Thanks also to Theresa and Aandek for the Ojibwe terms & translations for dream catchers
on Rob’s Ojibwe Bulletin Board!

Take a look at Jim Shupe’s Three-Part FAQ on Dream Catchers

from a July 26, 1995 submission to the soc.culture.native Newsgroup

Instructions for Making Dream Catchers

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© 1994 -
Tara Prindle

unless otherwise cited.

What Do Dream Catchers Mean? Don’t Believe The Hype

What is a Dream Catcher?

A dream catcher is a handmade artifact with a wooden hoop, woven web, and feathers or beads. The common belief is that dream catchers are Native American craftwork that keeps nightmares away.

Origin of Dream Catchers

The Ojibwe Nation (also known as the Chippewa) called it the spider web charm or dream snare. The legend is that the spider webs were first created by a woman named Asibikaashi, a mystical spider-woman. She was a caregiver to the children and people.

As their population increased, she could not reach all the children. In response, the tribeswomen recreated the webs using wooden hoops, a web made of nettle-stalk cord dyed red with bloodroot and the inner bark of wild plum. These dream catchers were hung above the children’s beds to catch any harm or evil influences.

The Lakota Nation believes one of their leaders had a spiritual vision where he met a wise trickster called Iktomi. The trickster appeared in the form of a spider, making a hoop of willow and spinning a web inside of it.

Iktomi told the old Lakota leader that the dream catcher he made would catch the bright forces that enter people’s dreams and burn up the dark forces. He instructed the leader to make dream catchers for the Lakota people to make sure they capture all the pleasant dreams they get at night.

Purpose of Dream Catchers


According to a story passed on from generation to generation, the Ojibwe-Cree First Nations believe the dream catcher was created for the purpose of healing. It was an important tool for someone in emotional or physical pain. After contacting a healer or medicine man in the community, the person would ask their family for permission to excuse themselves from familial responsibilities while they sought healing.

Once all parties were in agreement, the person would work closely with their healer, and they’d start making their dream catcher. There was no set time limit for this process. It could take seasons or years to complete.

Materials would be found to make the dream catcher and included willow branches, sinew, stone, and any other items the healer decided on. During this time together, the dream catcher would start to take form.

The willow branch was bent to cross or meet in a circle, representing the beginning of life to the present, with sinew strung inside the circle like ribbons of time. Other items would be attached to the emerging sinew web to show important events and moments of pain.

After all the work and reflection, the person would finish their dream catcher at a place of hope and learning. The healing journey would come to an end and a new beginning celebrated in a ceremony.

The dream catchers were burned as a vital part of the healing process. As the years passed, the Sacred Hoop was used to protect children from bad dreams and nightmares. The dream catcher would attract and allow passage only to good dreams while the protective net caught the bad dreams and later destroyed them in the light of day.

In the 1960s and ’70s, a derivative form of a dream catcher was adopted as a symbol of unity for various Native American cultures. The name dream catcher was published in mainstream media and made popular outside the Ojibwe Nation.

Anatomy of a Dream Catcher

Each part of a dream catcher has a meaning attached to the natural world. The wooden hoop represents the Sacred Hoop and Great Circle of Life which all the people are part of. The web design is spun in one continuous strand as a symbol of the eternal spirit that lives even after death. The hoop and sand, rock, or clay beads used in making the supporting frame symbolize Mother Earth. The feather symbolizes air or breath that is essential for life.

The dream catcher would not be created without Father Sun or water, which are both represented by the elements of fire and water. All materials that are used to build a dream catcher need both the sun and water to exist. A feather from an owl is kept for wisdom and an eagle feather for courage. There is no restriction on which feather can be used.

Dream Catcher Variations

The dream catcher has transformed into a revered talisman of New Age culture. Some communities have created dream catchers for sale as souvenirs that do not resemble the earlier traditional style.

Others have incorporated materials that work against the intended purpose of the artifact. The dream catcher has become more American than Native American. They are made larger than the original design and of cheaper plastic materials.

Other materials used include fishing lines instead of nettle fiber, balsa wood in place of willow, and synthetic beads. Gemstones and synthetic feathers are used because the government forbids the sale of feathers from sacred birds. Parts like the end-point weave of a web pattern have been replaced by mid-point weaves, loops, stars, and other patterns.

Mass production by mostly non-Native Americans has caused conflict as Native Americans communities feel their spiritual traditions are being misappropriated for solely commercial purposes.


A dream catcher is a Native American icon and can be a symbol of hope and healing. Some American communities and schools that have suffered trauma and loss after horrible shooting incidents use a shared dream catcher to carry them through the healing process.

Some people have dream catchers on their front porches and in their vehicles to provide protection like a rabbit’s foot. People do not sleep on their front porches and cars. This might be unintentional misappropriation but is an opportunity for learning in today’s age of reconciliation.

This spiritual Native American artifact has increased in commercial popularity and is sold widely by Native and non-Native merchandisers. It is important, though, for buyers to understand the history and origin of this object and appreciate its symbolism on the power of dreams.

90,000 Dreamcatcher and His Purpose | Design | Blogs


06 April 2015

The culture of the Indians is very rich, in my opinion, in wisdom, love for nature and at the same time, mystical stories, legends and, of course, talismans. One of these talismans is a dream catcher, or as it is also called a dream catcher, which protects the sleeping person from evil spirits. The amulet looks like a web, and the Indians believe that bad dreams and evil spirits are simply entangled in this web, without getting into the mind of a sleeping person.

As for good dreams and even dreams, then this talisman is quite capable of fulfilling your innermost desires, you just need to believe in it.

There are also some beautiful legends on this topic:

Legend of the Lakota people
According to one of the ancient legends, an elder of the Lakota Indian people climbed a mountain, and there he had a vision in which an ancient teacher of wisdom appeared to him in the guise of a spider. While they were talking, the spider bent an old willow branch into a ring and, decorating it with a bird’s feather, began to weave a web inside the ring.He said that this willow circle symbolizes the circle of human life: a baby is born, grows up, enters adulthood. Then he begins to age and takes care of the new babies. This is how the circle closes. The vine hoop also symbolizes the life path of a person. Saying this, the spider spun its web, and only in its center there was a hole. Then he said: “There are many roads along which a person moves – everyone chooses his own path. And at every moment of life, a person is possessed by passions.If they are good, then they direct him on the right path, and if they are evil, the person is on the wrong path. The spider web is a perfect circle, but there is a hole in the very center. Good thoughts will pass through the center to the person. Evil thoughts will become entangled in a web and disappear at dawn. ”

Ojibwe Legend
Long ago the Ojibwe people lived on Turtle Island (as some Indians called America). Spider-grandmother, Asabikashi, took care of her children, the people of the earth, but when the Ojibwe people settled in the four corners of North America, Asabikashi became difficult to travel to every cradle, and then she taught women to weave magic webs for small children, from willow twigs and tendons or threads from plants. The round shape of the Dream Catcher symbolized the daily journey of the sun across the sky, the number of places where the spider web connects to the hoop is eight, meaning the eight legs of the Spider-Grandma. The cobweb on the hoop delayed bad dreams, and through the small hole in the center it let only pleasant dreams and good thoughts through to the children. Therefore, it is not customary to frighten spiders. By tradition, a feather was tied to the center of the dream catcher, symbolizing breath, air – the most important thing in life. Ojibwe dream catchers weren’t just for kids.They were not designed for long-term use and this has its own philosophy. Over time, the willow dried out and the tension of the tendons broke the hoop. This symbolized the transience of youth. Since then, many tribes have made their own dream catchers, for example the Siberian peoples.

Currently, anyone can buy this beautiful talisman, but I think you need to remember that such a thing should carry a special energy, so it will be great if you bring a Dreamcatcher from some trip. Better even do it yourself.

I was once given a very beautiful dreamcatcher and now I would like to put together a small collection. The symbol of this amulet is also often used in paintings, prints and jewelry.

90,000 gift of the sacred spider and shamans to people

Amulet Dreamcatcher is one of those amulets that can be found in many homes today.For some, this is an ordinary beautiful souvenir, bought or received as a gift on the occasion. Others see him as a force capable of much. Who is right? Those who accept this world in all its possible colors will unequivocally declare: everything that has come down to us, overcoming millennia, carries a sacred meaning. And with this … admit it to yourself … it’s hard to disagree. Moreover, when it comes to the practical use of certain inherently ritual objects. Are you planning to buy a Dreamcatcher amulet or is it already in your house? Consider a few points that may change your view of this little thing with a great history.

Or rather, a legendary story! After all, the Dreamcatcher or Dreamcatcher was born more than 1000 years ago. The origin of this amulet is associated with the beliefs of the indigenous people of North America – the Ojibwe Indians. In the fabulous legends of this people, the sacred spider – a symbol of wisdom and protection – weaved a web that protects from evil and adversity. Telling this legend, the shamans of the tribe made the first wicker amulets by hand. They firmly believed in their powerful power, passing them on from generation to generation, protecting the whole family from evil spirits.

There is also a version linking the creation of the Dreamcatcher with the women of this tribe. Rumor has it that the Ojibwe Indians were protected from troubles and misfortunes by a spider. It was she who weaved every night a sacred web that protected the children in their sleep. After the tribe grew, began to develop other lands far from the original place of residence, the keeper could not take all the children under protection. Then the Ojibwe women took this responsibility: they began to weave amulets from branches and threads, decorating them with feathers and beads.Evil spirits in amulets got entangled and could not harm people. The good ones descended on the sleeping people on bird feathers and gave them quiet dreams.

illustration: luizbrambilla (pixabay.com)

Dreamcatcher – every detail counts

Each element of the Dreamcatcher is symbolic. And this must be taken into account! Both when buying it, and in the event that the amulet is created with your own hands. Esotericists, by the way, are sure that even souvenirs of such a theme, made to decorate interiors, should be carefully selected. With an eye on how the rules of their creation are followed. For the simple reason that gizmos with such a history can suddenly “work” even when we consider them ordinary trinkets. Moreover, they can carry both good and cause trouble, if their design is “clumsy”.

What kind of a dreamcatcher should be so that the wisdom of the ages contained in it plays for good? It is worth knowing that:

  • The basis of the talisman is a wooden hoop. Most often, willow, pretreated for greater flexibility and strength.Willow was not given preference by chance. It has long been considered a tree of wisdom with medicinal and healing properties.
  • The round shape of the talisman symbolizes the infinity of the life cycle.
  • The center of the wooden hoop is filled with a weave of cotton threads to imitate a spider web. A small hole is left in the center, where, according to legend, good dreams should slip.
  • At eight points, the cobweb is decorated with beads (like 8 spider legs), which prevent evil spirits and bad dreams from making their way to the central hole.
  • Good dreams fall to the sleeper, going down the feathers tied to the edge of the hoop. The feather is a symbol of breath, life. For the manufacture of a dream catcher, it is worth using feathers of living birds (synthetics are not an option!): For women – owls, for men – a hawk, an eagle.

illustration: pxhere.com

How the Dreamcatcher works

The dreamcatcher’s job is to lure bad dreams and let the good ones go down to the sleeping one. Therefore, it is customary to hang this amulet at the head of the bed.And so that the rays of the rising sun reached it. It is they, according to the legends of the Ojibwe tribe, who destroy the nightmares entangled in the Trapper’s web.

An important point: the amulet must rotate freely! Only in this way will he fully fulfill his functions.

They say that the dreamcatcher is so energetically strong that it is able to independently “cleanse” itself of the negative energy that it absorbs. However, there is also an opinion that from time to time the amulet needs support from the outside.Moreover, if he serves people in an extremely aggressive environment. It is recommended to cleanse it of negativity with the help of the Sun, under the direct rays of which the Trapper must be transferred from the bedroom. Ideally, at the same time, the amulet will also be in the flow of the wind – so bad spirits and dreams burned by the Sun will disappear without a trace.

Dreamcatcher – as a gift

Dreamcatcher or Dreamcatcher – a gift for special people: creative people, romantics, philosophers, dreamers.For those who:

  • loves life, who believes in the Universe and is connected with it at a subtle level.
  • enjoys the singing of birds and the rustle of foliage, living in harmony with nature.
  • who have questions but no answers yet.
  • will watch the feathers of the Dreamcatcher flutter in the wind and reflect on the transience of life and the constant rotation of the wheel of Samsara.

By the way, knowledgeable people say that a dreamcatcher is able to change the quality of dreams of a person with whom he “works”.Having appeared in the house, he gradually improves his magical powers, “calculates” his master and changes his dreams into rich, colorful, interesting and kind visions that can heal mental and heart wounds and harmonize the general state of a person. Both psychological and physical.

And one more thing: Dreamcatcher today is one of the most popular gifts in the world. More than 17 million of these amulets are sold every year around the world. In addition, images from Dreamcatcher appear in paintings, tattoos, clothing, hand-made works and interior design.Experts explain such popularity of the Dreamcatcher, whatever one may say, simply: it is not just an accessory – a talisman, in the power of which one has only to believe so that he begins to work for the good of “his person”.

By the way! The Dreamcatcher appears in the list of Slavic amulets. Shamans of Siberia also created such amulets, believing in their exceptional power. But in this case, it was also about the fact that the Trapper not only kept sleeping people from evil spirits, but could also bestow prophetic dreams, suggesting the right decisions for the future.

illustration: nandhukumar, pixabay.com