Manataka American Indian Council


 

 

 

DREAM CATCHERS

 

Introduction Creating a Dream Catcher
Ojibwe Dream Catcher Legend Dream Catcher Books

 

INTRODUCTION

The Dream Catcher helps us to remember and work with our dreams. It is a very serious tool that is much more than a decorative ornament. The opening in the center determines the volume that you are asking to receive and parallels the changes that will occur in your life.

Hang the Dream Catcher near the place where you sleep, on the wall, or perhaps from a lampshade or bedpost. Should your dreams become too active, or if you feel you need a break from the workings of your Dream Catcher, simply lay it down on a flat surface to render it inactive until you are ready to hang it up again. Beads, feathers and fetishes are not appropriate on a Dream Catcher as they interfere with the spiraling motion and can cause disturbing dreams.

Throughout history, nearly every person and culture has placed importance on the meanings of their dreams. Today, dreams are still a powerful force in many people's lives, particularly because of the meanings that can be found in them. Whether dreams are good or bad, they can inspire, confuse, or upset the dreamer.

In the Ojibway tribe, night visions, or dreams, were so important that children were not given a name until after a person designated as the "namer" of that child had a dream as to what he/she should be called. The namer might give the child a charm woven to look like a spider's web in order to protect the baby's dreams.


Ojibwe Dream Catcher Legend

Ojibway Tradition

"When the forest weeps, the Anishinabe who listens will look back at the years. In each generation of Ojibwe there will be a person who will hear the Si-si-gwa-d (Spirit), and he who listens will remember and pass it on to the children."

This is the way the old Ojibwe storytellers say how Asi-bi-kaa-shi (Spider Woman) helped Wa-na-boz-hoo bring Grandfather Giizis (Sun) back to the people. To this day, Asibikaashi will build her special lodge before dawn. If you are awake at dawn, as you should be, look for her lodge and you will see this miracle of how she captured the sunrise as the light sparkles on the dew which is gathered there.

Asibikaashi took care of her children, the people of the land, and she continues to do so to this day.  Long ago in the anciet world of the Ojibwe Nation, the Clans were all located in one general area of that place known as Turtle Island.   When the Ojibwe Nation dispersed to the four corners of North America, to fulfill a prophecy, Asibikaashi had a difficult time making journeys to all those baby cradle boards, so the mothers, sisters and Nokomis (grandmothers) weaved magical webs for the new babies using willow hoops and sinew or cordage made from plants.

The shape of a circle represents how Giizis travels across the sky. The dream catcher filters out all the bad ba-we-dji-ge-win (dreams) and allow only good thoughts to enter into our minds when we are abinooji (asleep). A small hole in the center of the dream catcher is where those good bawadjige may come through.  With the first rays of sunlight, the bad dreams would perish.

When we see little Asibikaashi, we should not fear her but instead respect and protect her. In honor of there origin, the number of points where the web connected to the hoop numbered 8 for Spider Woman's eight legs or 7 for the Seven Prophecies.

It is traditional to place a feather in the center of the dream catcher; it means breath, or air. It is essential for life. In the cradle board, a baby watched the air play with the feather and was happy being fascinated with the blowing feather. 

Dream catchers used by adults do not use feathers in the center. The feather of the owl, keeper of wisdom, was kept by the woman.  The feather of the eagle, keeper of courage, was kept by the man.   
Today, because of government restrictions on the sale of feathers from an endangered species, dream catchers shown on this page are made with many types of legal feathers.  Four gem stones are used to represent the four sacred directions.


Creating a Dream Catcher

- From Bearded Wolf

 

Materials:

5 inch ring
4 yds Suede Lacing
1/8inch 3yds Sinew (waxed nylon string)
1 Small Concho
12 Pony Beads
16 Pony Beads
Feathers
Scissors
Glue
Clothes Pin

If you cannot obtain the supplies, try making one using a small green branch from a tree about 1 cm in diameter and 1 meter long. Just bind the ends of the branch together and then make the web in the same way.

This is just one way to make Dream Catchers, I make many different styles, and no two ever look exactly the same. Be creative, and see how many different ones your can make.

1. Cut 8 ft. of the suede lacing. Glue one end of the lacing to the ring. Wrap the suede lacing around the ring until you reach the starting point again. Be careful not to twist the lacing. Glue the end of the lacing to the ring. Hold it in place with a clothespin until the glue dries (Figure 1).

 

2. To make the web, tie one end of the imitation sinew to the ring (Figure 2). Make nine half hitch knots around the ring spacing them about 1-1/2" apart (Figure 3). Make the last hitch a little closer to the first knot as this prevents a large gap from forming. Keep the thread pulled snug between the knots.

3. Begin the next row of the web in the middle of the thread that you have already weaved on row 1.(Figure 4). Continue weaving in the same way until you have a small hole left in the center. Tie a double knot in the cord, add a tiny drop of glue to the knot and cut off remaining thread when dry. (Figures 5 & 6).

4. To make the loop to hang your Dream Catcher, use a 12" piece of suede lacing. Fold it in half and tie a knot in the open end. At the top of the ring, attach the lacing by slipping the loop end through the ring and then around the ring and over the knot. Pull the lacing tight to secure it in place.

5. To make the hanging sections, cut three 8" pieces of suede Tie two 8" pieces of suede lacing about one third of the way up each side of the ring using a double knot. Slip 3 colored pony beads onto each piece of lacing and secure with a knot.

6. Using the last 8" piece of lacing to attach small concho to top middle of the ring. Slip three pony beads onto each piece of lacing.

7. Finally, push two feathers up inside the beads on each piece of lacing except the one hanging from the concho. Glue the feathers if they are loose. The last 4 feathers are attached 2 each side of the concho.

To make larger sizes : 12 inch rings needs approx. 7 yards of 1/8 suede lacing to bind it 9 inch ring - 6 yards 6 inch ring - 4 yards Remember that you will need extra suede for the laces and hanger. 

Dream catchers made of willow and sinew are for children, and they are not meant to last. Eventually the willow dries out and the tension of the sinew collapses the dream catcher. That's supposed to happen. It belies the temporary-ness of youth. Adults should use dream catchers of woven fiber which is made up to reflect their adult "dreams." It is also customary in many parts of Canada and the Northeastern U.S. to have the dream catchers be a tear-drop/snow shoe shape.

http:\\www.crystalinks.com


DREAM CATHERS: A Journey into Native American Spirituality
by John James Stewart 

Publisher: Premium Press America; (July 1999)

Soft Cover, 126 pages;     $ 16.95

 

Proceeds from book purchases go to support the nonprofit, cultural, educational and religious purposes of the Manataka American Indian Council.  Thank you for your support.

Notice: Occasionally books may be discontinued or out of stock without prior notice. With written permission, your order may be filled from the 'shelf'.  Shelf books are new, but some may be slightly discolored or sale tags may be still attached. Fulfillment rate: 98.6%.

 


 

 

THE CATCHER OF DREAMS: A Holistic Approach to Wellness Therapy
by Dr. K. Mark Hilliard

Publisher: O'More Publishing; (May 25, 2002)

Soft Cover, 222 pages;     $ 17.95

 

 

Proceeds from book purchases go to support the nonprofit, cultural, educational and religious purposes of the Manataka American Indian Council.  Thank you for your support.

Notice: Occasionally books may be discontinued or out of stock without prior notice. With written permission, your order may be filled from the 'shelf'.  Shelf books are new, but some may be slightly discolored or sale tags may be still attached. Fulfillment rate: 98.6%.

 

 


 

 

 

BLANKETS JEWELRY
BOOK STORE MUSIC
BUCKSKIN & BUFFALOS POTTERY
DREAM CATCHERS REGALIA - CLOTHING
HEALING CLAY TEEPEES

 

 

 

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