History of Dream Catchers

A brief history of dream catchers and the stories about their beginnings. I am fascinated by the origins of the crafts that I like and make.
Dream catchers are no different and have wonderful stories woven around them. 

The following stories are purely my interpretation of the stories and legends I have read about. 

There is not a lot known about the history of dream catchers as the old traditions of the American Indians have been lost over time.

It is believed that they originally came from the Ojibwa Nation and were later adopted by many other tribes.

All of them had different stories and many legends grew about the origins of the dream catcher. In the 1960's the dream catcher started to become popular all over the world as a pretty object and it's original use became lost.

The History of Dream Catchers Gallery

Ojibwa Legend

A long time ago before all the clans were scattered Asibikaashi, the spider woman brought the sun or fire to the clans. The web she weaved caught the light of the dawn within it.

When the prophet told of the scattering of the tribes Asibikaashi knew she would be unable to keep up her visits to all the tribes.

She taught the women how to weave her webs so they could care for the young and protect them from bad thoughts and dreams.

Spider Web Dream Catchers

The original dream catchers looked more like a spiders web than those we are familiar with today. They had 12 points creating the rays going to the center with a small hole for the dreams to filter through.

They would often have a feather in the middle of the web as this moved in a breeze it made you aware of the good air around you. The good dreams would find there way through the web to the hole and the bad dreams would get stuck and disperse with the morning sun.

Dream catchers were made from willow which was made into a circle or oval shape then bound. Sinew or nettle fibers were used to bind the willow and feathers were added to allow the dreams to slip safely down to the dreamer.

Some dream catchers were made with seven points to represent the 7 fires or prophecies and these should be reflected upon when making the dream catcher. These webs would have 7 strands radiating from the center like the one I made in the photo below.

Eight rays can also be used to represent the spiders legs and a bead or stone would be added to the center to represent the spiders body.

How To Make A Spider Web Dreamcatcher

This dreamcatcher uses a weave that looks like a spider's web.

The 12 point weave shown in the photo is very fiddly but looks fantastic.

Learn how to make your own spider web dreamcatcher with my step by step instructions and photo's.

Lakota Legend

A long time ago a Lakota spiritual leader had a vision in which he was visited by a great spider. He was told about the circle of life and about the webs we weave. He was shown how to use the web to help his people to live good lives and to disperse the evil through the holes in the web.

This legend tells of a different meaning to the web when compared to the Ojibwa Legend. The bad dreams are dispersed through the holes in the web and the good dreams got stuck and filtered down through the feathers to those sleeping below.

Other Dream Catcher Legends

I love this story of the grandmother saving the spider and the spider gives her a gift in return. The spiders web is so beautiful, especially those outside on a frosty hedge. I have made spider web dream catchers and love the finished web, it looks so much more like a real spiders web.

Make Your Own Dream Catcher

I hope you enjoyed learning about the history of dream catchers.

Would you like to learn how to make a dream catcher.

They are a little tricky to start with but become easier as you understand what you are doing.

Click on the link above or the image on the left for my step by step tutorial.


Dream-Catchers.org, 2003 - 2010 [online]
Available at: http://www.dream-catchers.org/
[Accessed on 15 December 2012]

Native American Technology and Art, 1994, Tara Prindle, [online]
Available at: http://www.nativetech.org/dreamcat/dreamcat.html
[Accessed on 15 December 2012]

Wikipedia, 2012, Dreamcatcher [online]
Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamcatcher
[Accessed on 15 December 2012]

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