Story Behind Dream Catchers

 A Lakota story tells of how Iktomi (spider) came and spoke to an old Lakota spiritual leader who was on a high mountain and had a vision. In his vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and searcher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider. Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language. As he spoke, Iktomi the spider picked up the elder's willow hoop which had feathers, horsehair, beads and offerings on it, and began to spin a web. He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life, how we begin our lives as infants, move on through childhood and on to adulthood. Finally we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, completing the cycle.

But, Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, in each time of life there are many forces, some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But, if you listen to the bad forces, they'll steer you in the wrong direction and may hurt you. So these forces can help, or can interfere with the harmony of Nature. While the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web.

When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the elder the web and said, The web is a perfect circle with a hole in the center. Use the web to help your people reach their goals, making good use of their ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the Great Spirit, the web will filter your good ideas and the bad ones will be trapped and will not pass.

I believe in making our dreamcatcher ourselves as it is a tradition and also will be exciting. So here are the steps for making a dreamcatcher:

How To Make A Dream Catcher:

MATERIAL: feathers, beads, a hoop (anything circular in shape), bangles, ribbon and a thick thread.

1. Wrap the big circle with a ribbon of any colour and keep applying fevicol to it.

2. Once the circle is completely covered , start making the web.

3. Tie one end of the thread (thick one) to the hoop.

4. Working clockwise, stretch the string to a spot a few inches down the hoop and loop it around the hoop. Stretch the string a few inches to the right and loop it around the hoop again. Continue making loops that are evenly spaced apart until you reach the beginning. Tie a knot at the end.

5. The thread between the looped peaks should be a bit loose. It ill be pulled tight as u continue weaving.

6. Continue weaving the second row with a new piece of thread.

7. Make a "hitch" by using the thread to make a loop over the loose string. After making the first hitch, make another hitch at the thread between the second and third knots. Continue weaving the thread in this manner until you have made a hitch at the thread between every knot.  

8. Keep adding beads in the thread as u weave the web.

9. The circle you weave will become smaller and smaller. As it becomes smaller, pull the thread tighter and tighter.

10. Tie the ends of the thread and secure them with fevicol.

11. One can attach more small hoops (bangles) to the bigger one to make it look prettier.

12. Add feathers by applying fevicol or one can even stich them to the hoops. Also can decorate the hoop.

One can also make pretty dream catcher earrings using the same method in smaller hoops. These look very pretty and are also in trend these days.

- Mitali Chhabra