According to Dream-Catchers.org, Native Americans believe that the night air is filled with dreams, both good and bad. The dream catcher, when hung over or near your bed, swings freely in the air, catching the dreams as they flow by. The good dreams know how to pass through the dream catcher–slipping by the outer holes and sliding down the soft feathers, so gently that many times the sleeper does not know that he/she is dreaming. The bad dreams don’t know the way and get tangled in the dream catcher. They perish with the first light of the new day.
You can read more about the history of dream catchers and their relationship to Native American culture on dream-catchers.org or Wikipedia. My love of dream catchers is more about a nostalgia of childhood arts and crafts. I never went to proper sleep-away camp*, but I attended many different day-camps, where sitting around and building something, side-by-side with other kids, was always my favorite activity. One of the best part of making a dream catcher is collecting the bits of ephemera–feathers and beads, sticks and shells–to add to your design.
Here are some beautiful images of dream catchers that might help you to sleep better tonight (or, more likely, inspire you to make one of your own)…
* Unless you count the awkward experience of “6th grade camp” where they shipped off all of my classmates and I to a camp for a few days (WITH parental chaperones) and forced us to socialize with each other in torturous ways like talent shows and team building exercises. It’s one thing when you have to hang out in a group with strangers and do dumb stuff but a whole other when you have to do it with kids that you choose NOT to hang with on a daily basis.
[image credits–most images I found led me down an insane Tumblr rabbit hole, so I apologize for many of these being poorly credited–let me know if the images belong to you: 1 – Girl’s Talk; 2 – The BoHo Fille Diaries; 3 – Girl’s Talk; 4 – elfwood.com; 5 – Rachel Rice; 6 – Free People blog; 7 – Girl’s Talk; 8 – Girl’s Talk; 9 – Something Worth Dreaming Tumblr; 10 – Lune Vintage; 11 – Native American Technology and Art; 12 – Lune Vintage; 13 – Love, Adorned]