We have often seen them. Some used as decoration. Others use for collective artistry. They are called dream catchers and they are truly a guardianship of dreams. Comprised of hoops, weaved into a web or net, they are decorated with beads and feathers. Presentable and beautiful, these special artistic devices are not just for show. Deeper than the popularity of hanging “exoticisms” of American soiling in one’s window, they are also part of the Spiritual tradition. An age-old tradition of storytelling and wisdom. One of protection and the securing of life-sustaining energy. A cleansing of energy, which takes place through the creation of dream catchers.
The creation of dream catchers is documented as having first begun with the Ojibwa people. Other groups of Indigenous people began to adopt the trend. Intermarriage and intermixing began to take shape among tribes, and so this is why the visual and spiritual artistry of dream catchers takes place. There presence was even significant during Native, social movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Throughout time, these treasures have carried Indigenous people through the continuation of culture. Through the difficult times. Through those times of resistance. Through the times of revival, these energy jewels have been present.
Dream catchers are traced back to the “Spider Woman,” known as Asibaikaashi. She was known for her protection and care of babies and adults. Once the Ojibwe people began to migrate across North American soiling, it was difficult for Asibaikaashi to perform her duties. Ojibwa women were responsible for creating the dream catchers in order to keep the babies protected. Babies and children were given dream catchers as a mechanism for protection, as they were known for catching negative energy.
One of the lessons we can learn from the Ojibwe (and other Indigenous groups) is the protection of energy. That not only is holistic energy sacred, but that it must be maintained for future generations to come. When is toxic or imbalanced, it can cause destruction or harm to an environment, a space, a community, or a culture. For some reason, urbanized and modern societies have lost this important principle. Its why there is so much emotional and psychological instability which is happening. So-called “intelligent” people are not engaging in the work of continuously cleansing the energy of a space and community. Also, there is also the communal factor. Hence, the responsibility for humanity to care for each other on a local and day-to-day level. In societies such as the United States, where individualism has taken its course, the “me” attitude or “that’s your problem” mentality continues to cause divisions among people. You can have people who have lived in an area for 3 years, and have never spoken to, or know their neighbors.
The dream catchers are replicas of spiritual artistry. They truly are. Reminders in how the Universal has its own weaponry of cleansing and re-newing energy. It is a necessity. Yet, in our busy, hectic, day-to-day schedules, we urban, modern humans have forgotten that. We have become slaves to time. Removed from our natural flow with time, it is the clock or the watch that directs our every move. Technology has, unfortunately, taken over us.
The catching of toxic energy is a reminder of our re-newed awareness into how we are being exposed to energy which does not serve our existence. That toxicity that is meant for destruction and the causing of imbalance. Unfortunately, that energy is all around us. And it will prey upon the most vulnerable. So, within every space, there needs to be a magical tool, which “catches” that energy and removes it from our holistic, energy fields.
Not only do the dream catchers hold a significant purpose, but they are also beautifully decorated. Their aesthetics, which is pleasing to the eye highlights, the significance of healing to be beauty. The power of protection to be beautiful. The power for energy to be adored for its beauty. This is important. Have we ever thought to consider how toxicity is ugly? How imbalance, instabilities, distress, and tension is ugly? Beauty, when designed to bring balance and healing is not vanity. It only becomes vanity when efforts to spread healing and love are denied. Its why vanity is toxic. Not only is it toxic, however, its ugliness reflects an unnaturalness. A form of fakery. It does not look good. Beauty, in all of its authenticity is healing. It wants other people, spaces, and elements to feel Beauty. To feel that healing. That’s the ecstasy of the healing factor. Healing is sharing. It brings that type of beauty for the world to experience.
When we examine the teachings and cultural practices of Native communities in the United States (and in the whole of the Americas), what we are observing is the whole of humanity, and where we should all be. A place, rhythm, time, and way of healing ourselves. Not only healing ourselves, but partaking in the communal factor of healing. In the way of Asibaikaashi, we should also be instilling into our children the essence of healing. From the moment that they are born. Instill it when they are young, so that they make it a practice as they get older. Lastly, as “dream catchers” have spread throughout different Indigenous communities, we should ensure that we are spreading holistic energy throughout the world. In whatever way that we know how.
The way of “dream catchers” not only protects our energies when we are awake, but when we also dream. Protect our visible and invisible worlds. Those hidden and presentable worlds in our psyche. So, while we are healing our present-day reality, let’s make sure to protect that which has yet to be. For it is our dreams, which shapes the realities.
For more information on the story of “dream catchers,“ you may click on the following link: https://www.powwows.com/what-is-a-dream-catcher/
This article is in honor of Indigenous People’s Day 2019, #IndigenousPeoplesDay #IndigenousPeoplesDay2019