Understanding the Concept Behind Dreamcatchers 

A dreamcatcher on a wall.

These days dreamcatchers are not only used to protect from bad dreams and energies, but they are also widely used in interior décors. (Image: Elinal via Dreamstime)

Dreams play a significant role in everyone’s lives. They are moments when you are transported to another world, filled with strange, happy, frightening, and sometimes unexplainable experiences. Even though your dreams may not always come true, many people believe that hanging dreamcatchers above their beds will lead to pleasant dreamscapes.

Dreamcatchers are one of the most fascinating Native American customs. They were traditionally crafted to ward off undesired dreams, allowing only positive ones to pass through the hole in the center. Meanwhile, all negative dreams would become entangled in the web of the dreamcatcher to be destroyed when the first rays of sunlight touched them.

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Lakota legend of the dreamcatcher

One day, when the world was young, an old Lakota spiritual leader went to a high mountain seeking enlightenment. While he was there, he had a vision of Iktomi, known as the great trickster and teacher of wisdom. Iktomi chose to appear as a spider, and as they conversed, he took the elder’s willow hoop and spun a web. Iktomi discussed the cycle of life with the elder and mentioned that good and bad forces could influence the flow of one’s life. 

An elder of the Lakota tribe is said to have learned about dreamcatchers in a vision.
An elder of the Lakota tribe is said to have learned about dreamcatchers in a vision. (Image: Darya Fedorova via Dreamstime)

The spider continued to weave his web until he reached the center, leaving a hole. After that, Iktomi told Lakota to use the web to help himself and his people. The spider added that as long as they believed in the Great Spirit, the web could catch all the good ideas, while the bad ones would pass through the hole. 

After the encounter, the elder passed this wisdom on to his tribe. They now use these dreamcatchers as the web of their life. When hung over a bed, the good dreams and visions will be caught in the web of life while the bad ones will escape through the hole.

Dreamcatcher legend of the Ojibwe Nation

Another legend mentions the Spider Woman who takes care of her people. The old Ojibwe tell of how she brought Grandfather Sun back to the people by building a web before dawn. If you look at one of her webs at sunrise, you will indeed see how the light sparkles off the dew.

In the past, when the Ojibwe Nation resided on Turtle Island, the Clans were all gathered in one area. As the Ojibwe Nation spread out all across North America, Spider Woman found it difficult to travel to all those baby cradleboards, so mothers, sisters, and grandmothers used willow hoops and sinew to weave magical webs for the new babies. The circular shape of the webs symbolized Grandfather Sun’s path across the sky.

These ornaments were used as protective charms for the children, catching bad dreams and only allowing good thoughts to enter their minds as they slumbered. The hole in the center was considered to be the place where good dreams would come through. As the first rays of sunlight touched these charms, any negative dreams would fade away.

Where to place your dreamcatcher

Did you know you can place a dreamcatcher in almost any part of your house? The most common spot is typically the bedroom, particularly above the bed. The primary purpose of dreamcatchers is to protect against bad dreams while sleeping, thus making them more effective if placed above a bed. Other possible locations include doors and windows, which are the usual entry points for energy, making them ideal locations for dreamcatchers.

A dreamcatcher hanging above a bed.
The most common spot for a dreamcatcher is typically in the bedroom. (Image: Chernetskaya via Dreamstime)

Using a dreamcatcher

The use of dreamcatchers may vary depending on the culture and beliefs of every person. But for Native Americans, the women of their tribes are the leading makers of dreamcatchers. These dreamcatchers are used to protect children and grandchildren, making them more effective in fulfilling their purpose.

Nowadays, more people utilize dreamcatchers in the same way as the Native American tribes, but with one key difference: They don’t just protect children, but also adults and seniors. Most individuals, particularly those who experience nightmares, use dreamcatchers to guard their sleep.

Another difference is anyone can customize their very own dreamcatcher. However, it is essential to follow specific steps to use them appropriately. Below are the steps you should keep in mind in using a dreamcatcher.

  • Cleanse the dreamcatcher with sage.
  • Use crystals to enhance its power.
  • Place it outside to gather life force and natural energy.
  • Next, reinforce its power by customizing your dreamcatcher with feathers.
  • And the last step will be placing it in the spot you want it to be.

Protect your sleep with a dreamcatcher

A dreamcatcher has come to represent a strong symbol for both Native Americans and non-natives. With the correct intentions, these gorgeous hoops can bring serenity to your home and soul.

Furthermore, these days, dreamcatchers are not only used to protect from bad dreams and energies, but are also widely used in interior décors. A well-crafted, elegant dreamcatcher can give your home a stunning touch of sophistication and beauty while bringing a positive atmosphere into the bedroom.

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