The Interesting Origin of Dreamcatchers

· December 29, 2015

Do you have a dreamcatcher on the headboard of your bed? In the entryway of your house or a window? We love to see them hanging around. According to the legend, they allow you to filter your dream world. They channel your positive emotions to restrain all the negatives, in other words, all the nightmares you have at night.

Let’s learn about a popular belief supported by an interesting myth on the origin of dreamcatchers today.

The Ojibwe Tribe and Origin of Dreamcatchers


The origin of dreamcatchers has its roots in a Native American tribe that, throughout the 60’s, started to make these handmade objects popular to sell them to tourists on the reserves. They are beautiful handcrafted tributes that made up part of their culture and tradition.

The Ojibwe are from North America and it is common to find settlements in Ontario, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. To create them, they used nettle fibers tied with a type of circular or tear shaped ring, where they made a web that was like a spider’s web. They also used willow wood and in general, the dreamcatchers did not have a very big diameter, about 10 centimeters.

They sold them with the idea that, thanks to them, people could prevent nightmares, and keep away bad energy and evil spirits. Interestingly enough, there were many native tribes that criticized the Ojibwe for selling these objects. They said that when they did this, they lose the mystic and spiritual authentic value of the dreamcatchers, since tourists bought them only for esthetic reasons.

Despite the criticism, throughout the 60s, dreamcatchers were one of the most sold objects in America, becoming huge to the entire world.

The Purpose of Dreamcatchers


Dreamcatchers should be hung on the bed’s headboard or above children’s cribs. Their purpose is to dispel nightmares or those evil visions that some people have once in awhile. For the Ojibwe tribe, these objects functioned in the following way:

  • Dreamcatchers filter your nocturnal dreams. So, as you sleep, nightmares or bad feelings get rapped in this central spider web. Meanwhile, good dreams and positive feelings go under the lower feathers, to reach us little by little. When dawn arrives, the warm light of the sun make nightmares vanish and disappear forever from the dreamcatcher. Cool, right?

This tradition of dreamcatchers is also based on a legend for the Ojibwe. Their central figure was a beautiful woman named Asibikaashi. She was also know as “spider woman” and, far from having a negative or concerning connotation, what made this women beautiful was caring for all of the creatures in the world.

She leaned over the crib or bed of children to create an invisible web, a fine and delicate fabric that was capable of reaching any nightmare and making it disappear. Nothing bad could happen to this creature if Asibikaashi was with them. All the negatives would get stuck to her web, until dawn, when the brightness of the morning renewed all of the good things and made all of the bad things disappear afterwords. Beautiful, no doubt.

We should also add that there is a second version on how dreamcatchers work. The Lakota tribe, on their part, had another explanation that you will surely be interested in knowing:

  • Nightmares and negative energy passed through the web until they disappeared, while good dreams stayed trapped in the center and then gently slipped through the feathers underneath to get to us and envelope us with a calm and comforting. The bad goes away and the good gets trapped.

Now tell us, don’t you also have a dreamcatcher in your house? They are definitely a nice tradition. We cannot say if they truly keep away bad energy or not, but either way, it is always nice to have them close to you. It is worth keeping the origin of dreamcatchers and their tradition and history in mind, its also a way to make a small tribute to those North American tribes, whose legends can still be kept alive. It doesn’t matter what color they are or how they look: it’s always nice to have them close.