We all know that they are meant to help us sleep better with fewer nightmares. But there is so much symbolism in all the parts. The hoop of the dream catcher was a key part to Native Americans. The hoop represented unity and wholeness. It also represented equality and showed those within the tribe that there was no one greater than another. What a marvelous idea! Such a marvelous idea that we are still at war with one another today fighting for equality. How terribly sad.
The circle could represent so much more once you began to add shapes inside the circle. Click here to learn more about the significance of the simple circle shape within Native American culture.
Within the circle of a dream catcher, there is a woven web, and within the center of the web, there is a circle. People would hang the dream catcher above their bed, dangling in the open and hanging encumbered. The dreams of the sleeping person beneath would be filtered through the center of the hoop. Good dreams would know how to make it through the hole in the center before falling down the tendrils and feathers that dangled underneath the hoop and fall upon the slumbering person below. The bad dreams would not know how to make it through the center and would be caught in the web.
But this is only a simple understanding about the lore of dream catchers. There is a true history of dream catchers that comes with a fascinating story of a talking spider and an Indian elder. The spider spun a web in a hoop and taught the elder, saying, "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." (Click here to read this story in it's entirety)
Isn't that beautiful?
All around my house, I have countless dream catchers that I have made and listed in my Etsy shop, Rogue n' Rascal. They are waiting to be sold, but I don't mind the wait. They are beautiful works of art that carry a depth of wisdom so much more complex than simply us wishing and hoping to avoid nightmares. The web is in a perfect circle that represents that we are all equal. We all have hopes and dreams and talents and ideas. But if we have nothing greater than ourselves to believe in, we are likely to get tangles within the web and fall short. But the belief in a higher power--a Great Spirit--a Heavenly Father, perhaps--will help filter our bad ideas from our good ones. With that higher wisdom on our wise, we just might, hopefully, have a chance to make it in this crazy world.
And I like the hope and symbolism in that.
"Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings." -JFK