Look up to the ceiling of your bedroom this evening. That is the birthplace of future dreams, according to some Native American cultures. There are all sorts of potential spiritual experiences shooting across from corner to corner, some slow, others fast, and you never quite know which ones are going to follow you into your sleep. Sometimes it’s experiences about sunny days and trips to the moon, while other times they’re about earthquakes and shadow creatures. And the fear of not knowing which one will visit may keep you up at night.
There is a good chance that you know what dreamcatchers are. You may have seen them in people’s homes or for sale at fairs or boutiques, and you may even own one yourself. These beautiful objects are a sacred part of ancient spiritual and cultural traditions. Learning more about dream catcher meanings and purpose can help you use this tool in your own development.
The Spider Woman: Symbolism of the Dreamcatcher
Dreams are a very important part of most cultures. They allow us to revisit departed loved ones, overcome fears, and live an adventurous life outside of reality. Many Native Americans believed that a dream allowed their soul to communicate with spirits for guidance. It was a place to travel beyond their realm of perception into a world of infinite knowledge and possibility. With so much power associated with a single dream, the Ojibwe Nation entrusted Asibikaashi, the Spider Woman, to protect their children from the bad spirits that run wild in the night.
Asibikaashi spun a beautiful web above the cradleboard of each child to capture the morning dew and reflect the sunlight to keep them safe. But one spirit, even with eight legs, can only travel so far. As the Ojibwe Tribe spread to other lands, they had to find another way to bring safety to their children. The Spider Woman granted them permission to recreate her web using resources from the land. The web would act as a filter to funnel good dreams into the heads of their sleeping children while capturing the bad ones and holding them in place until the morning sun could dissolve their negative energy.
Spiritual Meaning of Dreamcatchers
These dreamcatchers helped members of the community protect themselves and their children against uncontrolled spiritual activity during sleep. Taking the step of having a dreamcatcher above a bed provided immense spiritual protection to individuals and households. The dream catcher’s purpose then is immensely spiritual in nature.
If you don’t own a dreamcatcher but encounter one in your dreams, or as you go about your day, take some time to pause and reflect on what Spirit may be trying to teach you. While this message might be that you should obtain a dreamcatcher for yourself, it may also mean that it is time for you to find ways of shielding yourself from evil or unpleasant spiritual influences.
The encounter may also suggest that this is the time to begin to develop your dream life more fully. For example, many people dream but forget these dreams upon awakening. This can be a tragic loss of important insight and wisdom. Some ways to preserve your dreams include:
- Declaring an intention before you go to sleep at night. State, out loud, that you will work to remember your dreams so that they can be used by you in service of Spirit.
- Keep a journal and pen next to your bed so that you can write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. You could also use your smartphone or a digital recorder to record oral recollection of your dreams.
- Take steps to ensure a deep and restful sleep. This can help provide you with truly deep and useful dreams. Sleep hygiene is different for everyone, but may require you to avoid eating, drinking or exercise during the last two or three hours before bedtime. You might also want to skip “screen time” during these hours. Read a printed book or magazine instead of watching TV or spending time online.
Be respectful of the dreamcatcher and its symbolism. Pay attention to it and do what you can to honor the message and teaching that has been given to you.
The Evolution of the Dreamcatcher
The original dreamcatchers were often not much bigger than four inches in diameter. They were made from flexible twigs of willow or grapevine and bent into a circular shape. The shape is significant, representing both the circle of life and the path the sun and moon must travel to bring each day to a beginning and end. The netting was made from animal tissue or plant fiber and was attached to the edge of the circle at several points. 13 points of attachment symbolized the 13 passes of the moon, eight points represented each leg of the Spider Woman, and this symbolism went on to describe everything from prophecies to courage, depending on the intentions of the catcher’s maker.
As beautiful as the modern dreamcatcher may be, its beauty has nothing to do with its function. The outside circle does not need to be perfectly round, and the spacing between the netting does not need to be symmetrical. The safe passage for peaceful dreams does not need to be located directly in the center, but the size of the hole may determine the number of good dreams you welcome each night. And just like a spider’s web, a dreamcatcher should not be made to last forever. They are made to be fragile on purpose to represent the ongoing stages of life. A dreamcatcher will need to be remade many times over one’s lifetime. Sometimes the design may even need to be changed to better serve its recipient.
If you have been given a dreamcatcher, or found one on your own, do whatever you can to learn about how to care for it. This is an important tool that can be used in your development, but respect must be shown both ways. Learning to repair your dreamcatcher is an important part of taking responsibility for a spiritual tool. It is also important to know when you should return your dreamcatcher to the earth and to find a new one for yourself.
Placement of the Dreamcatcher
Having direct passage down onto the sleeper’s head is an important part of a dreamcatcher. This is why they are often located over a bed or cradle. They should also be placed near a window so that the webbing has access to the morning sun, which is part of its daily cleansing ritual. Feathers are occasionally attached to a dreamcatcher’s center to represent a breath of life, but they may also entice good dreams to slide down these silky rungs before gently dropping inside the sleeper’s head. The movement of the feathers announces the arrival of each new, playful, and peaceful dream.
You may need to experiment a bit with the placement of your dreamcatcher. Give it time in one position, and if this isn’t working, try a different position. Another option is to consider moving your bed to a position that better honors the dreamcatcher.
Beads or gemstones may be used on the webbing of a dreamcatcher to represent the Spider Woman at work on her web, or as a symbol of honored scars left behind from good dreams trapped by accident. A dreamcatcher should be a collection of both the best and worst in you, and it is within these visions that you will discover your path in life – one dream at a time.
Cleansing Your Dreamcatcher
Some believe that your dreamcatcher can become clogged with negative energy, and keeping it from filtering the good dreams down to the dreamer. If your dreamcatcher isn’t in a direct line to catch the morning light, this is more likely; however, cleansing the negative energy is fairly simple. Fill a large container with warm water, and put some blessed salt into it. Once the salt is dissolved, place the dreamcatcher into the water and gently shake it, envisioning the negative energy falling out and disappearing into the water as you do. Once you feel the dreamcatcher is cleansed, remove it from the water, and let it dry in the sun. You can also use sage to cleanse your dreamcatcher.
There’s more to your dreams than you think! That’s why a dream analysis reading can get to the bottom of your dreams and discover what they have to say about your past, present, and future. Our dream analysis psychics know that no two dreams are alike. Aren’t you curious about your dreams?
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