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Dream Catchers
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Origins
In the ancient world of the Ojibwe Nation, when the clans were once located in the same general area of Turtle Island. The Spider Woman that was known as Asibikaashi helped Wanabozhoo bring the sun which was known as giizis back to his people. Even today the spider woman builds her special lodge before dawn, and if you should be awake at dawn look for her lodge so that you too can vitness the miricle of her capturing of the sunrise as the light sparkles on the dew which is gathered in her lodge. The spider woman always took care of her children, and the people of the land, as she continues to do to this day. As the Ojibwe Nation moved onward to the four corners of North Americaas as the prophecy of their people was fulfilled, The spider woman had a hard time making the journey to all the cradle boards, so the mothers, sisters, grandmothers that were called Nokomis started to practice weaving the magical webs for the new babies. They used willow hoops, and sinew or cordage made from plants. It would be made in the shape of a circle so that it would represent how the sun (giixis) travels each day across the sky. The dream catcher would filter out all of the bad dreams which were called bawedjigewin and would allow only the good thoughts, and dreams to enter into the minds of the babies which are known as abinooji. There is a small hole in the center of the dream catcher where the good dreams and thoughts could come through, and with the sunlights first rays the bad dreams would perish.

History

In the Anishnabe history there was a time when their people were being tormented with nightmares. The elders, along with the medicine people worked diligently to solve this problem but not one of them had made any procress against the nightmareish dreams. Then a counsil of the people was called, and it was during this council that one elder had a vision of good dreams being aloud to pass through the dream catcher while the nightmares could not. The then started to work fashioning these dream catchers in a manner that was prescribed in the vision of the elder.When the people started using them, then the nightmares seemed to go away. The dream catcher was hung above the bed in a place where the first mornings rays would hit it. It is the nature of the dream catcher to attract all kinds of dreams to its web. As the nightmare enter the web they do not know the way through the web so they get cought in it and perish at dawns first light. When the good dreams reach the webbibg of the dreamcatcher they know the way through the web, and they will go through the center, and then slide down the feather into the dreamers head. What is beleived is that only the bad dreams that are malicous or unimportant will be cought by the dreamcatcher, however some dreams that appear to be bad might contain very important visions or messages for the dreamer and these type dreams will also found their way down the feather and into the dreamer.

Dream Catcher Purpose and Application

It is traditional that a feather be put into the center of the dream catcher as it means breath, or air, and it is essential for life. The babies watching the feather would be entertained while the received a lesson on the importance of good air. The lesson comes in the way that the feather of an owl is the keeper for wisdom and is also the womans feather, and the eagle feather is for courage and is the mans feather. It is not to say that each feather is restricted to a spacific gender. The feathers are used for the awareness of the gender properties she or he is invoking. The Native American people are in general very spacific about gender roles and identity. Using gem stones in the dream catchers is something that is done today in the dreamcatchers that we see for sale. This was not done by the old ones. Government laws prohibit the sale of feathers from sacred birds, so four gems stones is used to represent the four directions, and the stones used by the western nations were substituted by us. The adult dream catchers do not use feathers.

Structure

The dream catchers that are made from willow and sinew are for children, and they are not meant to last. After a period of time the willow dries out, and then the tension of the sinew collapses. This is suppose to happen as it belies the temporaryness of youth. The adult dream catchers should be made out of woven fiber to reflect their adult dreams. It is also the custom in many parts of Canada, and the northeastern United States to have a dream catcher that has a tear drop or snow shoe shape.

How to make a traditioal dream catcher

You will need 2 - 6 foot of soaked willow or grapevine, 4 - 16 foot of sinew, a feather or feathers, and beads for decoration. Begin by carefully bending the willow to form a circle that has a 3 - 8 inch diameter ( the size of the diameter is up to use ). Traditionally the dreamcatchers were no wider than an adults hand. Then on one end of the sinew put a knotted loop, this is what your dream catcher will hang from when its finished. Then tie the loop around thetop of your dream catcher, or at the dream catchers weakest point. The dream catcher has the same stitch from begining to end. To start hold the sinew, and place it loosely over the top of the hoop. Move the sinew around to the back of the hoop forming a hole, and pull the string back through the hole you just made. Pull each stitch taught but not too tight or it will warp the hoop of the dream catcher and not lie flat when you are done. Continue useing the same stitch for the first round around the hoop of you dream catcher. Space the stitches evenly, and about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. Making 7 to 13 stitches around. On the second round of stitches, place the sinew around the center of each stitch from the first round (not the hoop). As you pull each stitch tight, the sinew from the first round will pull towards the center of the hoop slightly. This will for a diamond shape. you should now start to see the spider web begining to form. On the third, or fourth round you should add a beed onto the sinew to represent the spider in the web. Just place the bead onto the sinew and continue stitching. Continue stitching towards the center of the hoop, soon the stitches will become small making it difficult to pass through. Make sure that you leave a hole in the center. Stop stitching at the bottom of the hole in the center of the hoop. End it by stitching twice in the same place, and pulling it tight and forming a knot. You should have 6 or more inches of sinew left hanging down, on this is where you should tie 2 or 3 feathers leaving them dangle down.

How to make a modern dream catcher

You will need a metal hoop, string or thin yarn, thin leather strips, feathers, beads, and glue. Begin by glueing one end of the leather strip to the hoop, and then completely wrap the hoop with the leather. As taught in the last section begin making the web with the string adding a bead to represent the spider. when you are done adding the webbing, take some string about 4 - 6 inches in length and tie to different parts of the dream catcher the design is up to you. On these strings add bead as you like, then put a little glue on the end of the feather and insert the feather into a bead. put as many feathers on the dream catcher as you desire, be creative and make your dream catcher an expression of yourself.

Prepare dream catcher for hanging

You will need a smudge stick of sage and sweetgrass, and a dream catcher. Begin by smudging the dream catcher with the smoke from the smudge stick. Slowly move the smudge stick around the dream catcher, and allowing the dream catcher to be covered in smoke. Then move around the room clockwise letting the smoke follow you and allowing the sage to cleanse the room, and the sweetgrass to bring in the good energy. Let yourself feel the presence of the spider woman. now take a moment to meditate on what the spider woman means to you. now ask the dream catcher to help you connect with the spider woman and to help her wisdom come into your dreams.

A Dream Catcher Blessing

This dream catcher creation, thats made out of love. Is hung in the air, so pure like the dove. Im asking for blessings, from the divine that is near. And all four dirrections, that are held within me so dear. Please bless this dream catcher, and show it the way. To allow all the good things, flow through if they may. Spirit of the east, with your newness of birth. Spirit of the north, with your strength from the earth. Spirit of the south, with the energies of fire. Spirit of the west, with your passonate desire. To the Goddess and God, the creaters of me. Please bless this dream catcher, so mote it be.

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