Dream catchers: where do they come from and how to use them?
You've probably seen dream catchers in a gift shop, in magazines or on television. But do you really know where they come from and what they are used for?
Also called nets or dream traps, they were invented and widely used by the Ojibwe tribe. The territories of this tribe stretched from Canadian to North American regions. The development of the tribe through intermarriage and exchanges, in particular, allowed the diffusion of this object. A few years later, another tribe, Lakota, also began to use dream catchers.
A bit of history :
For many cultures throughout the world, spiders are dreaded and frightening insects. For the Ojibwe tribe, however, they were actually a symbol of protection and comfort. An old Ojibwa legend says that at the origin of the world, a mystical woman was nicknamed "the spider woman". She provided spiritual protection for the tribe, especially for young children, babies and newborns. The Ojibwe tribe kept growing and expanding over the years. It became difficult for the spider woman to continue to provide protection for all the tribe members who had migrated to distant lands. She then came up with the idea of creating the Native American Dream Catcher. Following his example, mothers and grandmothers in turn recreated it to protect their children and families from a distance.
What virtues for the Native American ?
Native American dream catchers from the Ojibwe tribe were traditionally used as talismans. Their purpose was to protect sleepers, especially children, from bad dreams, nightmares and evil spirits. Native Americans believed that at night the air was filled with dreams, both good and bad. They would hang the dream catcher over their beds. They had to be careful that daylight could reach it. As its name suggests, it attracts and then catches in its web all kinds of dreams and thoughts.
The beautiful dreams then pass through the threads and slide down the feathers to reach the sleeper and comfort him. Bad dreams, on the other hand, are trapped in the web and then destroyed, burned by the daylight. The interpretation of dreams has strongly influenced the cultural and spiritual beliefs of Native Americans for centuries. They believed that dreams had an influence on the conscious soul of the dreamer. According to them, dreams could have an impact on character traits such as trust, maturity, kindness and loyalty.
How to use them?
In the Native American tribes, women were tasked with making dream catchers by hand to protect their families, children and grandchildren. A dream catcher has a fairly small circumference and consists of a wooden ring covered with a canvas or net made of natural fibres. It is also decorated with sacred objects such as feathers and beads. All these elements must be natural. Each part of the Native American Dream Catcher has its own definition and is closely related to the natural world. The dream catcher is shaped like a circle, as it represents the circle of life. It is also a metaphor for the journey of the sun and the moon, each day and each night across the sky.
The canvas is responsible for catching bad dreams and evil spirits during the night, and getting rid of them when the day comes. Feathers, on the other hand, allow beautiful dreams to reach the sleeper. Not all Native American tribes agree on the meaning of the beads on the canvas. Some say that the pearl symbolizes the spider that wove the web, while others say that the pearl symbolizes the beautiful dreams that are immortalized. Originally, dream catchers were attached above the cradles of newborns or to the headboards of children's beds. Over the years, as the belief developed, adults also decided to protect their sleep and it was then possible to find them above the parents' beds.