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In North America today it would be hard to find someone, of any age or background, who is not familiar with the object known as a Dream Catcher. These familiar objects can even be found in Dollar Stores across the continent and come in all colors of the rainbow. Dream Catchers are made in various sizes from keychain ornaments to wall-sized hangings. Many people understand that the object is Native American in origin and is meant to aide in the protection of the sleeping owner by catching and filtering out bad dreams while preserving good and useful dreams. Surprisingly, a few people have no knowledge of the spiritual meaning of the Dream Catcher but enjoy the look of the object and use it for ornamental purposes.
For those who live in other lands that are not familiar with the Dream Catcher, it originates from the Ojibwe, also known as Chippewa, tribe of Canada and the U.S. The Ojibwe are among the largest tribes in North America. In the Ojibwe language the names for the Dream Catcher translate to Spider, or Dream Snare. In Ojibwe tradition the Dream Catchers were made only for the children. The Objibwe believed that a Dream Catcher hung above the head of the sleeping child would snare bad dreams in the web, preventing them from reaching the dreaming child. Dream Catchers were usually hung from a child’s cradle board. The Dream Catchers were only made for children because adults were expected to interpret their own dreams, good or bad, and apply the teachings to their lives.
The Dream Catchers were made from a willow twig tied together in a small hoop shape. They were circular but sometimes tear-shaped about 3 ˝ inches in diameter. Within this hoop a loose net or web was woven from sinew strands. The Dream Catcher was considered sacred as protection and was adorned with a few sacred items like feathers and beads. There was spiritual meaning to each part of the Dream Catcher.
The Ojibwe believed that bad dreams caught in the web at night transmuted into light with the rising sun. Only the good dreams filtered through the web and travelled along the hanging feathers down to the peaceful little dreamer.
Here are a few simple steps to make a Dream Catcher with your precious little one!
Dream Catcher Materials:
1 Bendable twig, about 1 foot long
Several inches of thin wire
Beads with large holes
2 -3 Feathers
Steps for making a Dream Catcher:
Make a loop from the twig. Use the thin wire to fasten together the two overlapping ends of the twig.
Cut a few feet of twine. Tie one end of twine to the twig hoop. String a few beads onto the twine and push the beads toward the tied end. Wrap the twine around the other side of hoop.
String a few more beads on the twine and then wrap the twine around the far side of the hoop. Repeat until you have an interesting webbing design.
Tie a short length of twine on the loop. String a bead or two on it and then tie a feather onto the end. Repeat this a few times, two or three hanging feathers look beautiful.
Hang the Dream Catcher near a peaceful place of rest and sweet dreams!
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