The dream catcher ( English dreamcatcher ) is an Indian cult object. It essentially consists of a net in a willow hoop, which is decorated with personal or holy objects. The dream catcher is believed to be supposed to improve sleep. It is assumed that the good dreams go through the net, the bad ones get stuck in the net and would later be neutralized by the morning sun.
The dream catcher comes from the Ojibwe culture (Chippewa) ( Ojibwe asabikeshiinh , a word form for 'spider' or bawaajige nagwaagan meaning 'dream trap'). It was not adopted by other indigenous peoples in North America until the Pan-Indian movement in the 1960s and 1970s.
Structure and use of the dream catcher
The traditional dream catcher sometimes consists of a wooden, circular hoop made of willow, in which a braid is worked, consisting of an intestinal cord or a tendon thread. But it can also consist of other materials. Leather, pearls, feathers, horse hair, and a few other materials decorate the whole thing. According to legends, this web was initially called a spider web .
According to the natives, the dream catcher is hung over the resting place (for example the bed or the teepee ) to improve sleep: while the bad dreams get stuck in the net and are later neutralized by the morning sun, the good dreams slip through the net and can disappear through the central opening. According to other legends, the feathers guide the good dreams to the sleeper. Application and interpretation vary depending on the legend.
However, in the Lakota legend, the bad dreams escape through the hole in the middle, and the good dreams stay on the web.
In the meantime, dream catchers are also often hung by non-indigenous people (also in other parts of the world such as Europe), which can be seen as an example of cultural appropriation .