You probably have seen them hanging somewhere, or you may have one dangling on your window. Dream catchers make an attractive ornament and many people in this modern age have taken quite a liking to them. However to truly appreciate these unique figures, you must know where they originated from and for what purpose they serve.
Today dream catchers can be easily bought from craft or souvenir stores but unfortunately, people bring them home mostly for the purpose of decorating their place. Therefore it would be fitting if they learn the symbolism of these handiworks to particular groups of individuals in the early times. Originally woven by the Ojibwe people from the olden days, dream catchers were usually made by grandparents when new babies were born. These were then hung above the baby’s cradle to provide peaceful sleep and summon good dreams.
Only good dreams remain
The belief is that the dream catcher filters the bad dreams through its web and passes on the good dreams through the center hole and thereupon descends on the sleeping child. Through this process, only beautiful dreams remain for the child to catch in his slumber. Meanwhile, the bad dreams immediately perish at the first ray of the rising sun. During the time that the baby is sleeping, the feathers hanging from the dream catcher would flutter now and then with the gentle breeze, indicating that good dreams are traveling through the hoop.
Dream catchers are perhaps the most popular among the iconic traditions of Native Americans. Aside from their function of sifting bad dreams and passing on the good dreams to a person who is sleeping, the dream catchers are also regarded as symbols of unity among the various Native American tribes. They also served as identification symbols for the cultures of the original settlers. Later on they were replicated by other cultures in other countries as they were passed on through trade interactions and intermarriages.
The hoop tradition is also embodied in dream catchers. Many Native Americans residing in North America regard the hoop with respect and honor. They reckon that the hoop was a symbol of unity and fortitude – traits that were presumed to be present in each tribe. Incidentally, the Native Americans have various tools and implements that start with the hoop and are held as symbols of their beliefs and ideologies.
Each group of Native American tribes people are unique on their own and the Ojibwe people are not an exception. The Ojibwe are the biggest groups of Native Americans that came from northern Mexico. They are sub-grouped in Canada and United States. They belong to the fourth-largest population of Native Americans in the United States and the second biggest in population among First Nations in Canada.
Making a dream catcher
The most important material used in making a dream catcher is a hoop or ring from a willow branch. When selecting a hoop, you must make sure that it is pliable enough to avoid breakage. The hoop must be continuous otherwise you will not be able to come up with a perfect circle shape. Decorate the hoop by hanging findings or random pieces that are commonly seen around such as beads, natural feathers and other articles that are considered symbolic. The middle of the ring is adorned with a colorful woven pattern that resembles a spider web. A gemstone is attached to each web.
Dream catcher making has become a popular craft these days that many people in the craft industry have engaged in the dream catcher trade. Dream catchers originally made by Native Americans have become rare finds. Over-commercialization has now taken the front seat and dream catchers are being sold like any other commodity in the market. Be that as it may, commercializing this icon that the Ojibwe people hold at high esteem may not be so bad at all, as long as people who buy them are oriented on the emblem’s essence in the lives of Native Americans.