Joyful for November




So Tomorrow Is Thanksgiving and many families all over the United States of America will sit down to eat a Thanksgiving meal together. By today, On Thanksgiving I would like to reminded about American legend.

Native American legend reminds us that both good and bad dreams hover over us while we sleep, waiting to capture our minds for the night. In order to ensure a peaceful night sleep,

Henri_Rousseau_-_Il_sognoThe Dream (1910), MoMA

Henri Rousseau, The Dream (1910)

dream catchers were prepared webs of coloured string with a hole in the middle to let happy dreams pass through to the subconscious mind. Bad dreams are caught in the dream catchers net, where they disappeared with the first light of the new day.

Dream catchers originated with the Ojibwe people and were later adopted by some neighbouring nations through intermarriage and trade. It wasn’t until the Pan-Indian Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, that they were adopted by Native Americans of a number of different nations. Some consider the dream catcher a symbol of unity among the various Indian Nations, and a general symbol of identification with Native American or First Nations cultures. However, many other Native Americans have come to see dream catchers as over-commercialized, offensively misappropriated and misused by non-Natives. The Ojibwe people have an ancient legend about the origin of the dream catcher. Story tellers speak of the Spider Woman, known as Asibikaashi; she took care of the children and the people on the land. Eventually, the Ojibwe Nation spread to the corners of North America and it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children. So the mothers and grandmothers would weave magical webs for the children, using willow hoops and sinew, or cordage made from plants. The dream catchers would filter out all bad dreams and only allow good thoughts to enter our mind. Once the sun rises, all bad dreams just disappear.


Natures dream catcher

Traditionally, the Ojibwe construct dream catchers by tying sinew strands in a web around a small round or tear-shaped frame of willow (in a way roughly similar to their method for making snowshoe webbing). The resulting “dream-catcher”, hung above the bed, is used as a charm to protect sleeping people, usually children, from nightmares. Only good dreams would be allowed to filter through… Bad dreams would stay in the net, disappearing with the light of day. Good dreams would pass through and slide down the feathers to the sleeper.


Another explanation  is Nightmares pass through the holes and out of the window. The good dreams are trapped in the web, and then slide down the feathers to the sleeping person.” There are many variants to the dream catcher legend, some which say both the good and bad dreams are captured and some which say the good dreams slide down the feather to those sleeping below. Although the Ojibwa are credited as the first people to use Dream Catchers many other Tribes and Native peoples have adopted Dream Catchers into their culture. Even though the designs and legends of Dream Catchers differ slightly, the underlying meaning and symbolism is universal and is carried across cultures and language barriers.


Dream catchers made by Native Americans are available from large craft stories, ethic gift shop and catalog. You can also make one yourself by taking a small embroidery thread and remember  red is the colour of love, blue is  the colour of healing and protection, purple is the colour of inner power and feathers and hang it over your bed.


5 steps to catch all of your dreams

We have dreams every night, though and in my opinion, dream catchers are absolutely fascinating and beautiful.

We don’t always remember them. However, using a hoop of willow, and decorating it with findings, bits and pieces of everyday life, (feathers, arrow heads, beads, etc)  we have the power to catch all of a our dreams, trapping the bad ones, and letting only the good dreams pass through the dream catcher.


Dream Catcher

“I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours”  song by Bob Dylan. I’ve never been madly into Bob Dylan but I understand that some of his songs are treated like secular hymns, mostly by people above the age of 50.


Well, now time passed and now it seems

Everybody’s having them dreams

Everybody sees themselves walkin’ around with no one else

Half of the people can be part right all of the time

Some of the people can be all right part of the time

But all of the people can’t be all right all of the time

I think Abraham Lincoln said that

“I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours”


Everybody dreams!!!!!

Sleep well my friends and have a Happy Thanksgiving!




About conservationwithella

Hello, I'm Ella, Art on Paper Conservator & Preservation Manager at Glasgow University Archives and Special Collections. This blog is a walk through my daily life, work, arts & crafts history, my discovery that everything in my life is enough to be a continuous source of reflection. I started blogging to entertain myself but I hope you enjoy it too. I'm sure you agree, that Life without art is nothing. :)

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