“When you cease to dream you cease to live.”
– Malcolm Forbes
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They say eyes are the window to a person’s soul, I believe that dreams are the soul trying to climb out the window.
Growing up with Native culture surrounding me, I ended up with a love for dream catchers. I have one in every room of my home, just in case someone falls asleep there. Dream catchers are personal, and tend to have a lot of feelings and memories caught up in that web. For me, they grasp the lingering memories of the nightmares that I was plagued with as a teenager. I had the same nightmare, nearly every night, for six years. It took me getting pregnant, and becoming a mom to finally be free from them. Maybe I’m distracted enough, or finally happy with my life, who knows why they went away. Now, two and a half years later, I still wake up in the middle of the night for no reason. Surely out of habit. When I do, I look to my favorite dream catcher, knowing that it’s still holding on to those pesky nightmares for me.
There are several stories about how the dream catcher came to be, but most of them are similar.
Dream-catchers.org has got a great legend about Iktomi (who ironically happens to be my favorite) creating the dream catcher:
“Long ago when the word was sound, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain and had a vision. In his vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and searcher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider. Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language. As he spoke, Iktomi the spider picked up the elder’s willow hoop which had feathers, horsehair, beads and offerings on it, and began to spin a web. He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life, how we begin our lives as infants, move on through childhood and on to adulthood. Finally we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, 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’ll steer you in the wrong direction and may hurt you. So these forces can help, or can interfere with the harmony of Nature. While the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web.
When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the elder the web and said, The web is a perfect circle with a hole in the center. Use the web to help your people reach their goals, making good use of their ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the great spirit, the web will filter your good ideas and the bad ones will be trapped and will not pass.
The elder passed on his vision onto the people and now many Indian people have a dream catcher above their bed to sift their dreams and visions. The good will pass through the center hole to the sleeping person. The evil in their dreams are captured in the web, where they perish in the light of the morning sun. It is said the dream catcher holds the destiny of the future.“
For me, the dream catcher is not only a guardian, but a symbol of hope. I also find it to be one of the most beautiful pieces of art that the human species has ever created. But, that’s just my opinion.
Remember that place I mentioned before? Dream-catchers.org?
Yea, they also have directions on how to make your own dream catcher:
You can go HERE for directions on how to make one as an adult.
You can go HERE to make them with your children!
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Thanks so much for reading!
All photos and artwork are mine.
See something you like? Scroll down for a link to my artwork.