The concept of a Dream Catcher originated in Native American culture and has been a tradition ever since. A dreamcatcher a handmade object based on a willow hoop, on which is woven a loose net or web. The dreamcatcher is then decorated with sacred items such as feathers and beads. Dreamcatchers originated with the Ojibwe people and were later adopted by some neighboring nations through intermarriage and trade.
The original construction of a dream catcher consisted of a hoop of willow which was decorated with items from everyday life, such as feathers, arrow heads, beads, etc,.The hoop that is part of the dream catcher design was often held in high esteem because it symbolized strength and unity. The dream catcher is believed to have the power to catch all of a person's dreams, trapping the bad ones, and letting only the good dreams pass through the dream catcher.
The dream catcher has been a part of Native American culture for generations. The traditional dream catcher was intended to protect a sleeping individual from negative dreams or nightmares, while letting only positive and inspirational dreams through. The common belief is that the essence of the night air is filled with dreams, both good and bad. When a dream catcher is hung over or near a bed or sleeping area, it swings in the air and catches the essence of the dreams as they flow by. The positive dreams would slip through the hole in the center of the dream catcher, and glide down the feathers to the sleeping person below. The negative dreams would get caught up in the web, and dissipate when the first rays of the sun struck them.
The Ojibwe people have an ancient legend about the origin of the dreamcatcher. Storytellers speak of the Spider Woman, known as Asibikaashi; she took care of the children and the people on the land. Eventually, the Ojibwe Nation spread to the corners of North America and it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children. So the mothers and grandmothers would weave magical webs for the children, using willow hoops and sinew, or cordage made from plants. The dreamcatchers would filter out all bad dreams and only allow good thoughts to enter our mind. Once the sun rises, all bad dreams just disappear.