The Meaning and Function of Dream Catcher

Historical Background and Origins of Dream Catcher

  • The origins of DreamCatcher in Native Cultures

The dream catcher's web has its origins in North American aboriginal cultures, particularly the Ojibwe or Chippewa. According to legend, the object was created by Spider Woman, a deity who had a special responsibility to protect the women and children of the tribe. As the tribe expanded, Spider Woman could not continue to care for all of them, so she created the dream net to continue to protect them, especially babies and children. The design of the dream catcher's web was meant to capture dreams - good dreams could slide down the feathers and onto the sleeper, while bad dreams would be captured by the holes in the centre of the web and disappear in the first light of morning.

  • The Popularity of Dream Catcher in Different Cultures

Over time, the concept and use of dream nets has spread to other Native cultures, including North American tribes such as the Lakota and Navajo. In the 20th century, the dreamcatcher also became globally popular as a cultural symbol representing respect for Native beliefs and the pursuit of preservation and goodwill. Nowadays, dream catchers are widely accepted and used in a variety of cultures, both as spiritual symbols and as home decor.

  •  The Traditional Construction and Materials of Dream Catcher

The traditional dream catcher usually consists of a circular ring of wickerwork, representing the earth and the cycle of life. The net is woven with fine threads to symbolise the net that captures dreams. These threads are arranged in a radial pattern in the ring, usually with a small hole left in the centre to represent the filtering of dreams. In some traditions, beads or small stones are also woven into the centre of the net to symbolise captured bad or good dreams. The feathers that hang below the net have a special significance - they symbolise air or breath, an essential element of life. Feathers also make it easier for good dreams to slide down them to the dreamer. Traditionally, men and women may use different feathers, for example eagle feathers represent male courage, while goose feathers symbolise female gentleness.


Symbolism of the Various Parts of a Dream Catcher

1) The Net

The net part of the dream catcher's web is seen as the central tool for capturing dreams. Traditionally, it is an intricately woven pattern of fine threads inspired by the web of a spider. In many Aboriginal cultures, the spider is a symbol of wisdom, and the web it weaves symbolises wisdom and protection. The function of the web is to capture all dreams at night; good dreams are able to pass through the small hole in the centre and slide down the feathers to the dreamer, while bad dreams are trapped by the web and dissipate with the first light of morning.

2) The Circles

The circle represents the perfection of life and the infinite cycle of nature. In the cosmology of many Aboriginal people, the circle has an important cosmic and spiritual significance, symbolising the perfection and harmony of all things in heaven and earth. In Dreamcatcher, the shape of the circle reminds us of the cyclical nature of life, where everything is connected and eternally cyclical. It also symbolises the orbits of the sun and moon, which are sources of strength and clarity in many cultures.

3)The Feathers

Feathers play the role of guiding good dreams to the dreamer in the dream catcher's web. The light, airy nature of feathers is believed to symbolise the sky, air and breath, representing freedom and ease of travelling through space. In some Aboriginal cultures, specific types of feathers may also represent specific meanings, such as eagle feathers symbolising courage and strength, and dove feathers symbolising peace and tranquillity. The use of feathers is not just decorative; they are carriers of spirit and provide a channel for the transmission of dreams.

4)The Beads

Beads are often seen as symbolic elements in dream catchers, sometimes representing captured dreams or the spirit of the dreamcatcher. In some versions of the web, the central bead is symbolic of the "Spider Woman" who watches and protects from the centre of the web. The beads can also symbolise good dreams, which are believed to be transmitted to the dreamer through the beads. In addition, the colours and materials of the beads may have specific cultural or spiritual significance, and different colours and materials can be used to attract specific types of energy or wishes, for example red may represent strength and vitality, while blue may symbolise calmness and healing.

Together, these parts form the whole of the dream catcher, each part being more than a physical presence, but a collection of cultural and spiritual symbols that express an understanding of and respect for the universe, nature and the spiritual world.


How Dream Catchers Symbolise Protection and Good Luck

1) Capturing Bad Dreams, Leaving Only Good Dreams Behind

The design and function of the dream catcher's web is rooted in the ancient belief that it protects the sleeper from nightmares. It is believed that the web-like structure of the dream catcher's net symbolises a spider's web that captures and traps all nightmares, preventing them from disturbing the dreamer. These nightmares remain in the web until the morning sunlight dissipates them. Meanwhile, good dreams are able to pass smoothly through the central hole in the web and slide along the hanging feathers to the sleeper. This filtering of dreams is seen as a kind of spiritual protection, which not only guarantees peaceful sleep, but also symbolises guardianship and good luck guidance on a spiritual level.

2) Spiritual and Emotional Healing Tool in Modern Life

In modern society, the dream net has gone beyond its traditional use to become a widely used spiritual and emotional healing tool. Many people hang dream catchers in their bedrooms or other living spaces as a symbol of trust and hope that it will bring peace and positive energy. The dream catcher is believed to absorb and transform negative energy and promote harmony and balance in the environment. It is also commonly used in meditation and yoga practices to help people achieve deeper inner peace and mental focus.


The beautiful design and deep cultural significance of the dream catcher makes it a powerful tool to help people cope with the stresses, anxieties and insecurities of everyday life. By reminding us of our deepest peace and strength, the Dreamcatcher helps people reconnect with themselves and enhance their ability to heal themselves. Its existence is not only a tribute to traditional culture, but also a support for personal spiritual quests, symbolising protection, healing and hope.


How to Use a Dream Catcher

The dream catcher is a spiritual symbol passed down from Aboriginal culture, and the way it is used is not only limited to decoration, but also contains deep spiritual meaning.

1) Choice of Location

Bedroom: The most traditional way to use the Dream Catchers is to hang them in the bedroom, especially above the bed or next to the window. This can help capture dreams and protect the sleeper from nightmares. It is believed that the morning light will dissipate the nightmares in the net.

Children's rooms: dream catcher nets are also often hung in children's rooms to protect children from nightmares and as a soothing object to help them sleep peacefully.

2) Decorative and Spiritual Uses

Home Decor: Due to its unique and culturally rich appearance, many people hang dream catchers as decorative objects in their homes or workplaces to add beauty and positive energy.

Meditation and Yoga Spaces: Hanging dreamcatcher nets in a meditation or yoga practice space can help create a calm, spiritual atmosphere and help deepen the experience of meditation and yoga practice.

3) Gifting Significance

Because of its deep cultural significance and beautiful appearance, dreamcatcher nets are often given as gifts to friends and relatives, especially newborns, newlyweds or new families, symbolising protection, good luck and good wishes.

4) Car Decoration

Small dream catcher nets can also be used as car hangings, not only decorating the car, but also signifying a safe journey.

5) Precautions for Use

Light: In order to ensure that the net can properly fulfil its symbolic function, it should be hung in a place where it has access to the morning sunlight, so as to "clean" it of the nightmares it captures.

Cleaning and Maintenance: Keep the net clean by removing dust from it regularly, either by wiping it with light water or gently blowing it off with a hair dryer, in order to maintain its spiritual and aesthetic properties.


The dream catcher is not only a beautiful decorative object, but also a deeply meaningful cultural symbol with rich historical and spiritual value. It originates from the traditions of North American Native Americans, particularly in the culture of the Ojibwa (Ojibwe), and was originally used as a protective talisman to shield sleepers, especially children, from nightmares and negative energy. Over time, the use of dream catchers has transcended cultural boundaries to become a globally recognised and appreciated symbol.


In the modern world, dream catchers are widely used for decoration, spiritual healing, meditation support, and as gifts to convey blessings and good luck. All of these uses reflect its core value of providing spiritual protection and support. In addition, it serves as a bridge between modern life and Aboriginal culture, reminding us of our inner harmony and peace.


Despite the popularity and use of the dream catcher around the world, we must realise the importance of maintaining respect and understanding for its original culture. Understanding the origins of dream catcher, its traditional significance and its role in Aboriginal communities is essential to respecting and preserving this cultural heritage. It is not only about preserving the traditional craft, but also about respecting and supporting the Aboriginal community.


In today's world of rapid globalisation, preserving and respecting cultural diversity has become even more important. Through education and cultural exchanges, we can better understand and appreciate various cultural and artistic forms, such as dream catcher, thereby promoting understanding and harmony among different cultures on the basis of respect for original cultures.