The Dream Catcher

The dream catcher is most commonly associated with Native American culture. Originating from the Ojibwe people, who lived primarily in the northern USA and Canada, the dream catcher shares a story that bends the the seams between dreams and reality.

Jun 13, 2018 Fans of the Lifetime Movie Network show My Haunted House were enthralled with the story of a Dreamcatcher Killer named Teddy Harmon in Season 2. The murderer was an escaped convict that snuck into. Live Your Dream Life. “Go find yourself first so that you can find me.” ― Rumi The twin flame journey is one of finding your kindred spirit—that ultimate dream partner with whom you share unconditional love and who awakens your true potential with that love. Purpose & Meaning of the Dream Catcher Sometimes referred to as 'Sacred Hoops,' Ojibwe dreamcatchers were traditionally used as talismans to protect sleeping people, usually children, from bad dreams and nightmares. This Native American tribe believes that the night air is filled with dreams, both good and bad.

Nowadays often seen in souvenir and gift shops or hanging off a bedroom wall, these handcrafted trinkets typically consist of a round, woven net of various fiber or red willow, and adorned with feathers, leather, beads, or various other materials differentiating from tribe to tribe.

The Ojibwe Dream Catcher Legend

The Ojibwe word for a dream catcher is ‘asabikeshiinh’. This term is the inanimate word for ‘spider’. According to American ethnographer ‘Frances Densmore‘, the origin of the dream catcher lies in a folktale of the Asibikaashi. The Asibikaashi were believed to be a type of human and spider hybrid, who along with Wanabozhoo, brought the sun to the people of the land.

After this, they became caretakers of the children, the tribe, and the land. The story goes on to say that as the Ojibwe tribe began to occupy more territory it became more taxing for the Asibikaashi to tend to all the land. This led to the tribal women spinning web shaped ornaments out of willow, sinew or cord to give to children and infants as protective charms. It was thought that these charms would catch any evil, or bad dreams that might be in the air, similar to how a spider web catches whatever flies into it.

The Lakota Dream Catcher Legend

Long ago, when the world was young, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain. On the mountain, he had a vision. In his vision, Iktomi – the great trickster and teacher of wisdom – appeared in the form of a spider.

Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language. Only spiritual leaders of the Lakota could understand. As Iktomi spoke, he took the elder’s willow hoop – which had feathers, horse hair, beads and offerings on it – and began to spin a web.

He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life and how we begin our lives as infants. We then move on to childhood and in to adulthood. Finally, we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, thus, completing the cycle.

“But,” Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, “in each time of life there are many forces – some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But, if you listen to the bad forces, they will hurt you and steer you in the wrong direction.”

He continued, “There are many forces and different directions that can help or interfere with the harmony of nature and also with the Great Spirit and all of his wonderful teachings.”

All while the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web … starting from the outside and working toward the center. When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the Lakota elder the web and said, “See, the web is a perfect circle, but there is a hole in the center of the circle.”

“Use the web to help yourself and your people … to reach your goals and make use of your people’s ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the Great Spirit, the web will catch your good ideas, and the bad ones will go through the hole.” (Note: Some bands believe the bad ideas are caught in the web and the good ideas pass through to the individual. Either account is acceptable.)

The Lakota elder passed his vision on to his people. Now, the Sioux use the dream catchers as the web of their life. Traditionally, it is hung above their beds or in their homes to sift their dreams and visions. Good dreams are captured in the web of life and carried with them … but the evil dreams escape through the center’s hole and are no longer part of them. (Note: Some bands believe the bad ideas are caught in the web and the good ideas pass through to the individual. Either account is acceptable.)

Lakota believe the dreamcatcher holds the destiny of their future.

In some Native American and First Nations cultures, a dreamcatcher or dream catcher (Ojibwe: asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form of the word for 'spider')[1] is a handmade willow hoop, on which is woven a net or web. The dreamcatcher may also include sacred items such as certain feathers or beads. Traditionally they are often hung over a cradle as protection.[2] It originates in Anishinaabe culture as the 'spider web charm' (Anishinaabe: asubakacin 'net-like', White Earth Band; bwaajige ngwaagan 'dream snare', Curve Lake Band[3]), a hoop with woven string or sinew meant to replicate a spider's web, used as a protective charm for infants.[2]

Dreamcatchers were adopted in the Pan-Indian Movement of the 1960s and 1970s and gained popularity as a widely marketed 'Native crafts items' in the 1980s. [4]

Spiritual meaning of dream catchers

Ojibwe origin[edit]

'Spider web' charm, hung on infant's cradle (shown alongside a 'Mask used in game' and 'Ghost leg, to frighten children', Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin (1929).

Ethnographer Frances Densmore in 1929 recorded an Ojibwe legend according to which the 'spiderwebs' protective charms originate with Spider Woman, known as Asibikaashi; who takes care of the children and the people on the land. As the Ojibwe Nation spread to the corners of North America it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children.[2]Spin palace my account access. So the mothers and grandmothers weave webs for the children, using willow hoops and sinew, or cordage made from plants. The purpose of these charms is apotropaic and not explicitly connected with dreams:

Even infants were provided with protective charms. Examples of these are the 'spiderwebs' hung on the hoop of a cradle board. In old times this netting was made of nettle fiber. Two spider webs were usually hung on the hoop, and it was said that they 'caught any harm that might be in the air as a spider's web catches and holds whatever comes in contact with it.'[2]

Basil Johnston, an elder from Neyaashiinigmiing, in his Ojibway Heritage (1976) gives the story of Spider (Ojibwe: asabikeshiinh, 'little net maker') as a trickster figure catching Snake in his web.[5][clarification needed]

Modern uses[edit]

Contemporary 'dreamcatcher' sold at a craft fair in El Quisco, Chile in 2006.

Cherokee Dream Catchers Meaning

While Dreamcatchers continue to be used in a traditional manner in their communities and cultures of origin, a derivative form of 'dreamcatchers' were also adopted into the Pan-Indian Movement of the 1960s and 1970s as a symbol of unity among the various Native American cultures, or a general symbol of identification with Native American or First Nations cultures.[4]

The name 'dream catcher' was published in mainstream, non-Native media in the 1970s[6] and became widely known as a 'Native crafts item' by the 1980s,[7]by the early 1990s 'one of the most popular and marketable' ones.[8]

In the course of becoming popular outside the Ojibwe Nation during the Pan-Native movement in the '60s, various types of 'dreamcatchers', many of which bear little resemblance to traditional styles, and that incorporate materials that would not be traditionally used, are now made, exhibited, and sold by New age groups and individuals. Some Native Americans have come to see these 'dreamcatchers' as over-commercialized, like 'sort of the Indian equivalent of a tacky plastic Jesus hanging in your truck,' while others find it a loving tradition or symbol of native unity. [4]

A mounted and framed dreamcatcher is being used as a shared symbol of hope and healing by the Little Thunderbirds Drum and Dance Troupe from the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota. In recognition of the shared trauma and loss experienced, both at their school during the Red Lake shootings, and by other students who have survived similar school shootings, they have traveled to other schools to meet with students, share songs and stories, and gift them with the dreamcatcher. The dreamcatcher has now been passed from Red Lake to students at Columbine CO, to Sandy Hook CT, to Marysville WA, to Townville SC, to Parkland FL.[9][10][11]

The Dream Catcher Langston Hughes

Dream

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^'Free English-Ojibwe dictionary and translator - FREELANG'. www.freelang.net.
  2. ^ abcdDensmore, Frances (1929, 1979) Chippewa Customs. Minn. Hist. Soc. Press; pg. 113.
  3. ^Jim Great Elk Waters, View from the Medicine Lodge (2002), p. 111.
  4. ^ abc'During the pan-Indian movement in the 60's and 70's, Ojibway dreamcatchers started to get popular in other Native American tribes, even those in disparate places like the Cherokee, Lakota, and Navajo.' 'Native American Dream catchers', Native-Languages
  5. ^John Borrows, 'Foreword' to Françoise Dussart, Sylvie Poirier, Entangled Territorialities: Negotiating Indigenous Lands in australia and Canada, University of Toronto Press, 2017.
  6. ^'a hoop laced to resemble a cobweb is one of Andrea Petersen's prize possessions. It is a 'dream catcher'—hung over a Chippewa Indian infant's cradle to keep bad dreams from passing through. 'I hope I can help my students become dream catchers,' she says of the 16 children in her class. In a two-room log cabin elementary school on a Chippewa reservation in Grand Portage' The Ladies' Home Journal 94 (1977), p. 14.
  7. ^'Audrey Speich will be showing Indian Beading, Birch Bark Work, and Quill Work. She will also demonstrate the making of Dream Catchers and Medicine Bags.' The Society Newsletter (1985), p. 31.
  8. ^Terry Lusty (2001). 'Where did the Ojibwe dream catcher come from? Windspeaker - AMMSA'. www.ammsa.com. Sweetgrass; volume 8, issue 4: The Aboriginal Multi-Media Society. p. 19.CS1 maint: location (link)
  9. ^Marysville School District receives dreamcatcher given to Columbine survivors By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News. Posted on November 7, 2014
  10. ^'Showing Newtown they're not alone - CNN Video' – via edition.cnn.com.
  11. ^Dreamcatcher for school shooting survivors (paywall)

External links[edit]

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