Have you ever wondered what the real meaning of the dreamcatcher is? Many people have dreamcatchers hanging from their car mirror, from the windows in their homes, from their purses, and they really don't know what the dreamcatcher stands for. That's okay. But if you've ever wondered what that beautiful piece of artwork really represents and what the different pieces of it actually mean, then keep on watching.
There are five main parts that represent and make up what a dreamcatcher is and what it's meaning really represents. I'll break down the five main components of the dreamcatcher, so you will understand exactly what a dreamcatcher is. So the next time that you want to select one or someone asks you what a dreamcatcher is, you'll know all the answers. The first thing to note is that dreamcatchers may originate with the indigenous people.
However, today they are seeing all over the world and might be claimed to have been originated from other parts of the world, and that's okay. Different tribes and different cultures might have different meanings of what the dreamcatcher represents, and that's okay too. The meaning of the dreamcatcher that we're talking about today is the indigenous people of Canada, specifically the Anishinaabe teachings of the dreamcatcher.
THE FIRST IDENTIFIER OF A DREAMCATCHER IS THAT, OF COURSE, THEY ARE ROUND.
Dreamcatchers are usually made with a wood hoop or some sort of pliable material. Authentic dreamcatchers made from our ancestors were made of red willow and like a lot of things in the Anishinaabe culture, the circle represents the circle of life. That is very, very important to Anishinaabe people, because circles are the center of everything, as the circle of life is deeply ingrained in all of the teachings and all of the stories. It signifies that there is no real end or beginning. Life is continuously going around in a circle.
THE SECOND COMPONENT OF A DREAMCATCHER IS THAT THEY HAVE A WEB.
Now this web can be made with either a net or thread. Sometimes you see dreamcatchers made with colorful string and that's where the artist is expressing their artistic ability and their personality, and that's also great. The web is used to catch the bad dreams from coming through when the person is sleeping, but at the same time to allow the good dreams to come through.
THE THIRD IDENTIFIER OR SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DREAMCATCHER IS THAT THEY HAVE STONES OR GEMS OF SOME SORT WEAVED INTO THE WEB.
These are to represent the spider that has created the web. The teaching behind this is that the nightmares actually get caught in spider's web. And She, the spider, is the web weaver. You will see various dreamcatchers made by different artists that might have more stylishly designed gems and stones on there, or more natural plain looking gems, and it's just a matter of preference that the designer wants their dreamcatchers to have.
One isn't better than the other. It's just how the designer wants their dreamcatcher to look and feel.
THE FOURTH PART OF THE DREAMCATCHER IS THAT YOU'LL NOTICE THAT MOST DREAMCATCHERS HAVE FEATHERS HANGING FROM THE CIRCLE.
It is said that the feathers that are hanging from the bottom of the circle can allow the good dreams to be caught in the spider's web and have a passage through the feathers to the person that is sleeping below it.
THE FIFTH FUN FACT ABOUT DREAMCATCHERS IS THAT THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL CREATIONS
of course, that come in many different styles, and sizes, and designs and that they're primarily used to ward off nightmares. The nightmares that are caught up in the web are then said to be burned up by the morning light. But as we know, the good dreams are let through the web, down the feathers to the undisturbed sleeping person.
That's the core significance of the dreamcatcher and the meaning behind it, and all of the five different components of the dreamcatcher. But of course, there are not just uses of having it hanging in your window to protect you from nightmares. dreamcatchers also are a huge symbol for the indigenous culture, and are widely used with different native gifts, jewelry, accessories, etc, such as earrings. Many people, indigenous or non-indigenous like to wear dreamcatcher jewelry, accessories or whatever, because they are obviously beautiful pieces of artwork.
While the true origins of the dreamcatcher remains something of a mystery, they’re commonly understood to have come from the Anishinaabe tribe from Canada, with other sources attributing them to the Ojibwe, also a largely Canadian civilization.
Frances Densmore, an enthnographer, wrote in 1929 of an Ojibwe legend in which these “spiderwebs” originate with Spider Woman (also known as Asibikaaashi) who takes care of children. Originally these charms were not associated with dreams but were placed over the cradleboards of infants, 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 into contact with it.”
While you can always purchase an already beautifully made dreamcatcher, some simple and some ornate, here is a step-by-step guide of how to make your own dreamcatcher and personalize it just for you.
STEP ONE: SELECT YOUR DREAMCATCHER MATERIALS
Traditionally, the round hoops of a dreamcatcher were made from willow or sinew, but you can use any type of wood or metal hoop, which can be purchased easily and cheaply at a craft store. While they can be any size, a good starting size is 5 to 8 inches in diameter.
Next you’ll need a wrapping for your hoop, and as this is traditionally done with leather, a simple option is leather or buckskin suede lace. The width shouldn’t be any more than that of a shoelace, for ease of wrapping. A rule of thumb is that your lace should be eight times greater than the diameter of your hoop—so, a five-inch hoop should have two yards of suede lace.
Third, you’ll need string. This can be anything that is strong and flexible, such as hemp, nylon, or silk thread.
Finally, you’ll need decorations for your dreamcatcher, which typically are beads and feathers, but can also include gemstones, strips of fabric, shells and any other materials that have meaning to you. Please note that there are laws in place for the use of certain feathers, particularly eagle feathers. These are difficult to find and even harder to buy, so it’s best to steer clear. Typically, owl feathers, duck, goose and even peacock feathers are used.
STEP TWO: HOW TO WRAP A DREAMCATCHER HOOP
Wrapping the hoop is as simple and as hard as it sounds. You place a little glue—regular craft glue works fine—around the hoop and then wrap the suede lace around. It might be helpful to start with a clip to hold the first wrap in place, and then proceed around the hoop repeatedly, moving slowly but tightly, until your entire hoop is wrapped. Continue to use binding clips as necessary to keep things tight, and don’t be stingy with the glue; you want this to stick and stick firmly. After the lace is wrapped, set it aside until the glue sets before you remove the clips.
STEP THREE: HOW TO STRING A DREAMCATCHER
Dreamcatcher webs can be in any type of pattern, or in no pattern at all. The more you practice the more intricate the designs can be. But to start you need to simply tie the first knot. Then, working clockwise, pull the string tightly and wrap the string at quarter-hoop intervals, so when you’re done with the first revolution you’ve created a square within the hoop.
Once you have created the square within the dreamcatcher hoop, you can take it a number of directions. You can continue making smaller and smaller squares within each square, keeping the pattern geometrical, or you can string in a more asymmetrical pattern.
As you string your dream catcher, incorporate any beads or shells that you’d like.
STEP FOUR: HOW TO DECORATE YOUR DREAMCATCHEROnce the weaving has been done, tie a loop at one end—this will be the loop that you will use to hang your dreamcatcher from. Then on the opposite side (the bottom) tie the strips of cloth, additional beads, and feathers. You can group as many as four or five feathers together to hang from your dreamcatcher.
There are no hard-and-fast rules to decorating your dreamcatcher. Feathers and beads are traditional, but follow your tastes.
Finally, hang your completed dreamcatcher in a prominent place. Traditionally, they are placed above beds, as they catch dreams, but are commonly seen in other parts of the home or car.
You might be having a hard time deciding on which kind of dreamcatcher you should make or buy, or you're looking for help on where you should hang the dreamcatcher that you already have. If you're not sure where exactly you should hang your dreamcatcher, by the end of this video, you will know 10 new places that you can hang your new or old dreamcatchers.
YOUR BEDROOM WINDOWThis is generally the most commonplace for dreamcatchers to be hung with the traditional dreamcatcher teaching. To learn the dreamcatcher teaching and understand why the bedroom window would be the most common place to hang it, watch this video right here on the meaning of the dreamcatcher.
THE REAR VIEW MIRROR OF YOUR VEHICLE.This is also a very common spot to see a dreamcatcher. The next time you're out and about, see how many dreamcatchers that you can spot in people's cars. This is a great place to hang a dreamcatcher that is much smaller so that it doesn't obstruct your view as you're driving.
AS ARTWORKLarge dream catchers make for beautiful pieces of art when you hang them on a blank wall in your house. Not to mention, if you already have other wall art, a dreamcatcher is three-dimensional and the contrast can add a lot of character to a space.
ABOVE THE HEADBOARD OF YOUR BEDIf you're wanting to hang a dreamcatcher in your bedroom to catch bad dreams, but you don't want to hang it on your bedroom window, then the headboard is a great alternative. Not to mention, it looks really cool there, similar to Bella's in the Twilight movie.
ON YOUR HANDBAG, PURSE, OR ON YOUR BACKPACK.This is the perfect place for smaller accessory-sized dream catchers that either attach with a key chain ring, clip, or a clasp. We've seen tons of smaller sized dream catchers that are clipped onto bags and purses that look so good and add lots of personality
ABOVE A DOORWAY IN YOUR HOUSEThis could be in the front entrance of your house or an interior doorway. Many people hang dreamcatchers made with sacred medicines such as cedar to heal or bring positive energy to all those who enter the room or the house that they're walking into.
JEWELRY AROUND YOUR NECK OR ON YOUR EARSDream catchers are so popular because of their cultural symbolism and also because they are beautiful pieces of art, so it's no surprise that they’re commonly worn on necklaces and on earrings. If you want to bring the positive vibes with you wherever you go, then what better way to do that then to wear them by accessorizing your face.
A LARGE WINDOWA large window with lots of natural sunlight coming in is a great location to hang a dreamcatcher that has lots of sparkly or crystal beads that are woven into the web. It is so beautiful to see crystal beads catching the light from the sun as it's coming through the window.
OUTSIDE ON YOUR DECK OR ON YOUR FRONT PORCHThis is a great spot for a dreamcatcher of any size. Similar to a wind chime or plants that people hang outside, dreamcatchers look so beautiful when they're out in nature, just like other outdoor decor.
YOUR ATTICIf you hear some spooky noises coming from up in your attic, one way to combat those energies is with a dreamcatcher. Hang the dreamcatcher either in the middle of the room or on the window, if the attic has one, to capture any of the lingering spiritual energies that might be up there.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas of where you could hang your dreamcatcher in a variety of different locations.