A collage of a dream of a cougar, a dream catcher and native american elders
A story of the origins of the dream catcher
Long ago when the world was young an old Lakota Wapiya, Holy man, was on a high mountain and had a vision. In this vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and teacher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider. Now it is well known that Iktomi is a devious one and prone to much trickery, so this story is a departure from his usual wicked ways. This time he gave a gift to the Lakota Oyate instead of doing something bad as was his habit. 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 onto adulthood. Finally, we go to the 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, make good use of their ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the Great Spirit, the web will catch your good ideas and the bad ones will go through the hole.” And so it was that the Holy man brought the Dreamcatcher to the people and they used it in their lodges to capture good dreams and release the bad back into the night thanks to the gift from Iktomi.