A dream catcher is an ethnic object composed of a circular hoop on which a spider web is woven, and is usually decorated with feathers and beads. As such, it is an object of the Ojibwa people, one of the native peoples of North America.
Some people grant him magical properties related to dreams, and use them as an amulet or talisman of protection.
The word, as such, comes from the English dreamcatcher or dream catcher, hence in Spanish it is also known as “dreamcatcher“. In the Ojibwa language, however, it is called asabikeshiinh, which means ‘spider’, or bawaajige nagwaagan, which translates ‘trap or dream trap’. In Lakota language, on the other hand, it is known as iháŋbla gmunka.
Properties of a dream catcher
For the Ojibwa, a dream catcher is able to filter dreams by letting only positive dreams pass, since bad dreams get trapped in the net and disappear with the first light of dawn.
For the Lakota or Lakhota people of the Sioux tribe, dream catchers work backwards, that is, nightmares pass through the net while good dreams get caught in the threads and slide down the feathers to the person who is sleeping under
On some occasions, there are people who give it a different meaning, because they interpret the word “dreams” in the sense of “aspirations” and “yearnings”, so that they believe that dream catchers help to achieve what one proposes.
Dream catcher History
Dream catchers belong to the Ojibwa culture and are based on an ancient legend. Originally, they were handmade, formed by a circular ring made with willow approximately nine centimeters in diameter, within which a net was woven imitating a spider web with nerves, ropes or threads (originally, made with nettle fiber ), which used to be dyed red. They were placed on the beds of children to filter bad dreams.
Over time, the dream catchers spread to other Native American peoples, for some as a symbol of identification of the native culture and for others as something negative, as it had become a commercial product, which broke with tradition. Currently, they are manufactured in different materials and with different shapes, and are sold in many parts of the world.
Legend of the Dream Catcher
There is a story in the Ojibwa tradition that explains its origin. The legend tells of a spider woman, named Asibikaashi, who took care of children and people on earth. It was difficult for her to take care of all the children when the Ojibwa people dispersed throughout North America. Therefore, mothers and grandmothers had to start weaving networks of magical properties that trapped bad dreams and nightmares to protect children.
Dream Catcher Tattoos
Within the world of tattoos, like other ethnic elements, the dream catcher is relatively popular today. Those who tattoo this image do so for various reasons, such as the aesthetic beauty of the object itself or its meaning as a protective amulet. Dream catchers have become popular in many places and variants such as earrings or necklaces appear.