Monday, 12 September 2011

Monday Makery - How To Catch A Dream

Both my girls a big dreamers. I'm not talking about wanting to be ballerinas or to marry princes  (obviously both complete realists!) but rather those dreams that visit our sleep. Sometimes their dreams are terrifying and they wake in the night distraught, hot tears running down their cheeks, inconsolable about being chased by giant yellow ladybirds!

Perhaps its a sign of a vivid imagination or an overload of information that is desperately trying to be processesed while they rest, but regardless I want to protect their sleep and help them through troubled nights.
So, I've been teaching the girls about the native american dream catchers and their protective charms and we decided to make some for ourselves.

Sophia had so much fun searching for the perfect stick for the hoop

Before I begin let me first share the story that has been passed down from parent to child for countless years. It is the story behind the origins of the dream catcher.

Once upon a long time ago the children of the North American Objibwe tribe were recounting bad dreams that haunted their sleep. The dreams spread to other children throughout the tribe like a sickness of the night.
Their worried and concerned parents went to the shaman in search of help. The shaman listened. In order to help, the shaman would first need to enter the dream world to seek an answer that would end the terrifying dreams.
When the shaman entered the dream world he met the four elements: Air, Earth. Water and Fire.
Air, having already heard the cries of the parents had carried their message on the wind to the other elements.  The spirits in the dream world dreamed together with the shaman for a long time.
Then, finally the shaman began to understand the power of the four elements and how each could play a part in protecting the children's sleep. Air could carry the children's dreams, Earth could hold the dreams within her grasp, Water could wash the dreams separating the wanted from the unwanted and Fire could use the morning sun to burn the unwanted dreams that were caught in the earths grasp.
But what could Earth do to grasp the dreams as Air, water and Fire carried them away? How could Earth capture the dreams? The shaman and the elements could not find a solution.
However, a wise spider had been listening all the while. "I can help just as you help me. I can weave a web to catch the dreams." So she did, and the first dream catcher was born.

The spiders web caught the dreams.  The web allowed the good dreams to stay and pass down the feathers to the sleeping child, whilst the bad dreams, caught in the web were not permitted to pass and in the morning the air blew the bad dreams into the morning sun where they were burned away.
The bead so often seen within the web represents the spider that spins the web, and sometimes more jewels are strung into the weave to represent the good dreams that have been allowed to stay within the bawaajige nagwaagan (dream snare). We kept the 'web' quite simple with the idea that we would add more webs with each dream, adding a little something that represented the dream that visited Sophia's sleep.

So, here's what you'll need:

  • A bendy stick, we found ours underneath a willow tree. If you can't find a stick anything circular will do: a paper plate or plastic lid with the centre cut out or a wire coat hanger bent to shape.
  • string or wool
  • beads
  • feathers
  • scissors

Here's how:

  1. Bend your stick into a circular hoop and tie together by looping string around the join. Dream catchers are quite often tear shaped so don't fret if your hoop isn't a perfect circle.
  2. You can chose as to whether you'd like to wrap your hoop in colour or leave it in its more natural state. Here we wrapped our hoop with a turquoise wool; Sophia wanted to incorporate the colours she thought were true to her dreams and chose each colour accordingly. To begin I cut a length of wool and tied it to the top of the loop. Then Sophia was better able to wrap and wrap around the willow. When the length of wool came to an end I tied another piece on cut off the loose ends from the knot and let her continue until the hoop was finished.
  3. Now it's time spin the web. Take another length of wool or string and wrap around the hoop. To make the star that we made follow the guide above. I found this was the easiest way for Sophia, having drawn the guide onto paper and letting her follow the numbers like a dot to dot. 
  4. to add the spider to the web simply thread on a bead at step number 6 on the guide. If the bead sits a little too loose on the web you can always thread the wool through the bead and then back through again to fix it.
  5. Now you can create the paths for the dreams to slide down. Take a length of wool or string and cut to the desired length. Tie one end to the feathers and then start threading the beads. We used the largest bead in our collection so the hole was able to fit over the feathers ends and make them secure and neat. 
  6. Once you are happy with your beaded paths you can tie them to the bottom of the hoop.
  7. To hang simply cut a length of wool or string tie it to the top of your dream catcher and make a loop in the other end.
  8. Now hang above the bed in a place that allows all the good dreams to pass down the feathers onto the sleeper.
  9. Sweet dreams.
I have found various stoires retelling the legend of how the dream catcher came to be, this is the story that seemed to satiate Sophia's curiosity for their beginnings and their protective power. However I do love the retelling in this way here

Here is a list of the powers and spirits held in various feathers:

Crane - wisdom/knowledge
Dove - offer love
Eagle - protection
Goose - draw love
Hawk - Protection
Ostrich - truth
Owl - instill wisdom
Seagull - travel
Swallow - good luck
Wren - safe voyage
Woodpecker - used by a Shaman

Though pigeon feathers are abundant in London I'm not sure of their meaning! Perhaps being similar to the dove it offers love.  I asked Sophia what she though it held and she said it offers food! 'Food and playtime in the park.'!

We have more Monday Makery craft & recipe ideas here.

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1 comment:

  1. I love this and will be doing it with my boys, thank you