There are many stories behind the meaning and tradition of the dream catcher. The most common meaning of the dream catcher, originating from the Native American Ojibwe tribe, is that it filters the bad dreams away, protecting you from evil and negativity.
Traditionally, Native American dream catchers were a few inches in diameter, finished with leather webbing, and a feather hanging from ring of the dream catcher.
Ojibwe people believe that the night air is full of dreams good and bad. The dream catcher was created to capture the all dreams and filter out the bad ones. The legend of the dream catcher is to only let the good in and protect ourselves from evil. The good dreams find their way through the center of the circle while the bad get caught and with the first sign of daylight they disappear.
Dream catchers were hung above baby’s cradles to protect them, and helping them sleep as they get mesmerized by the swaying of the feathers. Larger dreams catchers were hung at the head of the household to allow good dreams and thoughts throughout the family.
All the materials used to decorate the dream catcher have their own meanings:
- single bead represents the spider that is on the web where Nokomis (grandmother) got her idea of the magical web. Many contemporary dream catchers use different styles of beads to act as the center piece.
- Scattered beads throughout the web represent all the good dreams that have been caught through the nights. This style is often displayed with multiple colors that shine beautifully when the light hits them.
- Hanging feathers represent breath or air which is usually attached to the ring. Some dream catchers use many feathers while others have only one.The ring of the dream catcher stands for giizis (sun) that travels each day across the sky. The circle also represents life that is essential to the anishnaabe culture. Rings of many sizes are used depending to create dream catchers, so that we can display them in many places throughout our lives.
Story telling has been passed down through many generations this is how the message continues to be passed on to future generations in many different variations. It all ends with the dream catcher helping you sleep easy and bringing you harmony.