The dreamcatcher’s legend
Long ago, when the world was young, an old Lakota shaman had a vision while he was on top of a mountain. In his vision, Iktomi, Grand Prankster and Master of Knowledge, appeared in the form of a spider and spoke in sacred language. While the spider was speaking to him, it took, from the oldest willow, a hoop that had feathers, horsehair, beads, and offerings and began to weave a web inside. Iktomi told the shaman about the cycles of life, about how we begin life as babies, how we walk through childhood into adulthood and then into old age, a stage at which we must be treated like babies, thus completing the circle. “But at every stage of life,” continued Iktomi while weaving the web, “there are many forces, some good and some evil. If you listen to the good they will guide you in the right direction. But if you listen to the evil forces they will hurt you and guide you in the wrong direction. Thus, these forces can help or interfere with the harmony of nature.” While the spider was speaking, it continued weaving the web to the center of the hoop.
When Iktomi was finished speaking, he gave the elder shaman of the Lakota the web that he had woven and said, “This web is a perfect circle with a hole in its center. Use it to help your people achieve their goals by making good use of their ideas, dreams, and visions. If you have trust in the Great Spirit, the web will catch the good ideas while the negative ones will meander through the hole.”
The elder shaman communicated this vision to his people and, even today, many Indian tribes hang a dream catcher on their bed in order to protect their dreams and visions.
The good forces are caught in the web and placed next to the people, while evil originated in their dreams seeps through the hole and is no longer part of their lives.
How to make a dreamcatcher?
If you are interested in making a dream catcher will you need:
- 1 wooden ring, diameter 8” (you can buy it in a crafts store);
- 6 feet of 3-strand embroidery floss;
- 1 fine needle (to go through the beads) but with a wide head.
For decoration: crystal or wooden beads; feathers; marine coral or shells; dried leaves of different colors; dried or artificial flowers; wood chips; bows; etc.
• Divide the wooden ring into eight equal parts and mark them out with a pencil.
• Thread the needle and tie firmly at mark # 1. Always make sure that the thread remains tense.
- Introduce two beads and pass the thread through mark # 2 going clockwise. Insert the needle into the second bead, so that the end of the thread goes through the bead (Figure 1). Repeat this operation along the wooden ring up to mark # 8.
- Next, get the needle through the first bead and slide the thread again by mark # 1 and the first bead (Figure 2).
- Keeping clockwise direction, get the needle through the first and second beads, drawing a bow with the thread. Then, get the needle through the second and the third bead. Keep making these knots up to mark # 8.
- After the first ring of thread is finished, repeat the same steps above to make a second ring inside (Figure 3).
- Continue to weave smaller rings.
- When the dreamcatcher is completed, you will see a perfect circle in the center. Tie the thread with a last loop (Figure 4) and let hang about 12 inches so you can add the beads, feathers, etc. by making bows and knots.