|The origin of the dreamcatcher is said to have taken place a long time ago when a young Native American maiden was shown how to weave a web into the first dreamcatcher ever made. The maiden was told that this object would be a special way to catch bad dreams and to strengthen the connection between creation (Mother Earth) and the spirit world.|
|Native Americans, or Indians as some wish to be called, being spiritual and having a very close link with nature, use many different devices to bring about health, love, spiritual wealth, etc. Probably the best known of these worldwide is the Dreamcatcher. It is uncertain as to which tribe of Indians first used it, but a few have stories or legends about them.
The Lakota (Sioux) legend of the Dreamcatcher talks of an old Lakota spiritual leader, who while on a high mountain had a vision about Iktomi, the great teacher of wisdom. Iktomi appeared as a spider and spoke in a sacred language only the spiritual leader would understand. While Iktomi spoke, he took the leaders willow hoop which contained beads, feathers and offerings to the gods, and began to spin a web upon it. He told the leader about the circle of like, beginning as infants, and working through childhood to adulthood, and on to old age where we end up being looked after as infants. Iktomi gave the web to the leader and told him that if he believed in great spirits the web would catch his good dreams and ideas, and bad ones would pass through the hole in the middle, thus helping the leader and his people to realize their dreams, ideas and visions.
The Lakota now hang Dreamcatchers above their beds so that all their good dreams are captured in the web and carried with them.
The Ojibwe (Chippewa) have long been known for their story telling and deep belief in the spirit world, and are considered as being the first tribe to have used the Dreamcatcher. It is told that they were originally hung above a babies cradle to trap bad dreams in the web, while only good dreams being smart, found their way to the center hole and slipped down the feathers to the sleeping infant. Dreams are considered by the Ojibwe to be messages from the spirit world. Who really used them first will still remain a mystery, but all Native Americans are able to make and know the stories behind Dreamcatchers.
The problem with dreams being messages from the spirit world is that as well as good spirits there are also bad spirits. The good spirits always give people dreams to help them in their lives,but bad spirits give people anything from bad dreams to nightmares.
When the ancestors of the present day Indians first came to America some 4,000 years ago, the country was already steeped in mystery, and it wasn't long before they began to become at one with nature and the spirit worlds. As various Indian tribes began to appear, each had its own spirit leader who looked to provide them with guidance. Unfortunately, they could also be guided wrongly by the bad spirits. Some just accepted this as part of nature, but some such as the Ojibwe did not settle for being guided wrongly, and so set out trying to find a way to divert the bad dreams and visions so that only the good dreams and visions would be seen. Various ways were tried, including the giving of gifts and sacrifices to the bad spirits to try to keep them away. This proved to be totally unsuccessful, and brought about the appearance of medecine men and Shaman in an attempt to put things right. As most visions appeared in dreams, they began trying to find a way of trapping bad dreams.
Feathers themselves also show up in many of our dreams. This dream symbol can mean many different things depending on the dreamer and the situation they are dreamed of. But most common interpretations of dream-feathers are those of feathers representing thoughts, messages, a victory or justice.
There are still many more people than we would expect that do not know of the Dreamcatcher, and even more that do not understand them. Today, a Dreamcatcher needs to be personalized as unlike the Indians of old, our lives are varied and individual. Who knows, maybe in the future the Dreamcatcher will symbolize the coming together of many nations on a spiritual level never before realized.