“The true meaning of the dream catcher is to be of pure heart with each and every web that you weave.”
In Native American culture, the hoop is held in the highest esteem, because it emulates strength and unity. Many symbols started around the hoop, and one of these symbols is the dream catcher, originating with the Ojibway tribe and passing on through the generations to the Lakotas, Cherokee and Navajo.
The Ojibway (or Chippewa) believe that the night air is filled with dreams both good and bad. The dream catcher, when hung over or near the bed and swinging freely in the air, catches the dreams as they flow by. Using a hoop of willow, and decorating it with findings, bits and pieces of everyday life (feathers, arrow heads, beads etc.) the dream catcher is believed to have the power to catch all of a person’s dreams.
Good dreams know how to pass through the dream catcher, slipping through the outer holes and sliding down the soft feathers so gently that many times the sleeper does not know that he/she is dreaming. Bad dreams, not knowing the way, get tangled in the dream catcher and perish with the first light of the new day.
The dream catcher is much more than just a decoration. In the olden days, “Aunties” and mothers carefully wove small dream catchers with special medicines to keep their little ones safe from harm. They were suspended perpendicularly over the child’s cradle-board. Each person who was called to learn the medicine of creating a dream catcher had to first travel to the dream world to beseech the spirits for a vision. This exercise could take many, many years of learning and calling upon “Spider Grandmother.”
“Spider grandmother is she who has been known to weave the web of destiny and spin the threads of creation that held the fabric of life and connected all living beings, the stars, the plants and the winged ones and those who walk on four legs upon the earth and last but not least, her grandchildren, the two-leggeds who represent all living beings.
“All humans honored her presence and were known by their sacred names to her. Each soul was given a sacred responsibility known by the clan of the father and a special gift of creative talent known from the clan of the mother. Artists and healers were given a special destiny because they work so closely with Spider Grandmother. In this way, artists participate in the magical, mystical experience associated with Spider Grandmother as her co-creators.”
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