The legend of the Native American dream catcher varies somewhat from tribe to tribe, but the basic theme was to allow positive dreams to slip through the web and into the sleeper during the night while the negative dreams were caught in the web and would die at morning light. The Lakota Legend has the opposing belief that the web will catch your positive ideas and the negative ones will go through the hole.
The earliest dream catchers, also called “sacred hoops,” were crafted by parents to protect their children from nightmares. Newborn babies were given charms that were woven in the form of webs to protect their dreams so their innocence would not be harmed by the troublemakers of the night. The dream catcher charm would be hung from the hoop on the cradle.
Dream catcher hoops were originally made out of red willow and covered with sage, the webbing was made from deer sinew. Modern dream catchers are made with wood or metal wrapped in leather strips, artificial sinew replace the now forbidden use of deer sinew. The decoration of the web along with the shape, size and colors used is left to the artisan’s imagination. Feathers attached to the dream catcher are meant to assist the flight of positive dreams.