~~March 15, 2014~~
In some Native American cultures, a dreamcatcher (or dream catcher; Lakota: iháŋbla gmunka, Ojibwe: asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form of the word for “spider” or Ojibwe: bawaajige nagwaagan meaning “dream snare”) is a handmade object based on a willow hoop, on which is woven a loose net or web. The dreamcatcher is then decorated with sacred items such as feathers and beads.
Dreamcatchers originated with the Ojibwe people and were later adopted by some neighboring nations through intermarriage and trade. It wasn’t until the Pan-Indian Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, that they were adopted by Native Americans of a number of different nations. Some consider the dreamcatcher a symbol of unity among the various Indian Nations, and a general symbol of identification with Native American or First Nations cultures.
The Ojibwe people have an ancient legend about the origin of the dreamcatcher. Storytellers speak of the Spider Woman, known as Asibikaashi; she took care of the children and the people on the land. Eventually, the Ojibwe Nation spread to the corners of North America and it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children. So the mothers and grandmothers would weave magical webs for the children, using willow hoops and sinew, or cordage made from plants. The dreamcatchers would filter out all bad dreams and only allow good thoughts to enter our mind. Once the sun rises, all bad dreams just disappear. American ethnographer Frances Densmore writes in her book Chippewa Customs (1929, republished 1979, pg. 113):
Even infants were provided with protective charms. Examples of these are the “spiderwebs” hung on the hoop of a cradle board. These articles consisted of wooden hoops about 3½ inches in diameter filled with an imitation of a spider’s web made of fine yarn, usually dyed red. In old times this netting was made of nettle fiber. Two spider webs were usually hung on the hoop, and it was said that they “caught any harm that might be in the air as a spider’s web catches and holds whatever comes in contact with it.”
Traditionally, the Ojibwe construct dreamcatchers by tying sinew strands in a web around a small round or tear-shaped frame of willow (in a way roughly similar to their method for making snowshoe webbing). The resulting “dream-catcher”, hung above the bed, is used as a charm to protect sleeping people, usually children, from nightmares.
The Ojibwe believe that a dreamcatcher changes a person’s dreams. According to Konrad J. Kaweczynski, “Only good dreams would be allowed to filter through… Bad dreams would stay in the net, disappearing with the light of day.” Good dreams would pass through and slide down the feathers to the sleeper.
Another explanation of Lakota origin, “Nightmares pass through the holes and out of the window. The good dreams are trapped in the web, and then slide down the feathers to the sleeping person.
When dreamcatchers were originally made, the Ojibwe people used willow hoops and sinew or cordage made from plants. The shape of the dreamcatcher is a circle because it represents how giizis- the sun, moon, month- travel each day across the sky. There is meaning to every part of the dreamcatcher from the hoop to the beads embedded in the webbing.
The strings, or sinews are tied at several points on the circle, with the number of points on the dreamcatcher having different meanings: -13 points- the 13 phases of the moon -8 points-the number of legs on the spider woman of the dreamcatcher legend -7 points- the seven prophecies of the grandfathers -6 points- an eagle or courage -5 points-the star.
The feathers placed at the bottom of the dreamcatcher also had meaning. It meant breath, or air, it is essential for life. If an owl feather was used, it means wisdom, which was a woman’s feather.
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.
Full Article/Source: http://www.bedroomfurniturespot.com/dreamcatcher-legend
Legend of dreamcatchers
Uploaded on Aug 11, 2010
This is a short video on three legends (ojibway, wendat and lakota) on Dreamcatchers.
We ALL are ONE!!