You may have noticed that hippy shops often have one item in common: dreamcatchers. Have you ever wondered why dreamcatchers are so universally appealing? Yes, it makes sense that hippy shops (and online hippy stores) would sell hippy clothes, jewellery, incense and oils, festival clothes and hippy homewares. But dreamcatchers? Why are they so popular with hippy shop owners – and their customers?
History of dreamcatchers
Dreamcatchers, as you probably know, originated with the Native Americans. According to Lakota lore, they came about when the wise trickster god Iktomi appeared to an elder in the form of a spider. He spoke about the good and bad forces that are at play in our lives, and how we can be influenced by these unseen forces for good or ill. He sat on the elder’s sacred hoop, and proceeded to build a web within it. The hole at the very centre of the hoop would allow the good forces, thoughts and dreams to filter through, while the web would trap the bad dreams and influences. In the morning, the sun’s light would hit the web and dissolve all the bad dreams trapped in its strands.
How dreamcatchers work
Dreamcatchers are often decorated with feathers which allow the good dreams to trickle down towards the sleeper. Gemstone dreamcatchers are popular, too. Often, they’re decorated with just one semi-precious stone, because there is only one creator in the web of life. When the light of the sun illuminates the dreamcatcher’s web in the morning, the bad dreams caught in it are said to evaporate. Dreamcatchers allow the sleeper to remain undisturbed by bad dreams, only letting the good ones filter through.
Symbolism of dreamcatchers
Many cultures value dreams and dream-work. The complex Aboriginal beliefs about dreamtime and dreaming – the conscious act of co-creation – is one example. The spirituality of the Achuar people of the Amazon revolves around dreams and visions. Lucid dreaming is a shamanic activity. And dreams are often considered to contain messages, symbolism and deeper meaning – either from our own subconscious, or other sources.
Dreamcatcher symbolism in many-layered: the web of life, the sacred circle or hoop and the feathers – which to the Native American chiefs of old symbolised connection with the Great Spirit. Feathers represent the element of air, which rules communication, messages, thoughts, dreams, ideas and knowledge. Your dreamcatcher may also be decorated with colourful beads, crystals and charms, with symbolism that is uniquely yours.
How to use dreamcatchers
Where you hang your dreamcatcher matters! In order for the bad dreams to evaporate in the morning, your dreamcatcher needs to be placed somewhere it can be touched by natural light. But it also needs to be near you, so that the good dreams can filter down to you as you sleep. You could hang yours from the ceiling above your bed, or from a bedpost – as long as it can still be lit by a few sunny rays. If you feel that your dreams are becoming too vivid and overwhelming and you want to stop working with your hippy dreamcatcher for a few days, simply lay it down on a flat surface to deactivate it for a while, and hang it back up when you’re ready.
So, dreamcatchers are a winning combination of the sacred hoop – which represents the earth, eternity and all the realms, the web of life which represents our destiny, and the beads, feathers, charms and colours that make each one unique to the owner. We think handmade dreamcatchers are beautiful pieces of art, and an essential in every hippy home!