Dream Catchers are a beautiful and helpful talisman for restive sleep and pleasant dreams.
From the Amazing Spider Man of American pop culture to the ancient Egyptian Goddess Neith, the world weaver and spinner of destiny, for many cultures across the globe spiders are thought to be protectors of children and all mankind.
We especially see the deep reverence for our 8 legged friends in the First Nations and Indigenous Tribes of North America who created fetishes for protection. What we recognize as the traditional Dream Catcher was created by the women of the Ojibwe (Chippewa) tribe to assist Asibikaashi “the Spider Woman” and protector of the people, especially children. The Dream Catcher, was a willow hoop spanned with netting or a “web” and decorated with sacred items or feathers and was meant to protect by capturing any evil force or bad dreams and only allowing good to pass through.
The Lakota also have a Dream Catcher legend about the trickster god Iktomi, who would take the form of a spider. The Lakota believe Dream Catchers represent the “web of life” with all its good and bad. The Dream Catcher acts as a way to separate the bad aspects away from man and only allow the good through, thereby leading the People to achieve their visions dreams.
Going back even further, spiders featured prominently in West African folklore with children’s stories like Anansi the Spider. To this day the Africans and African Americans ascribe to the belief that it is beneficial to leave certain spiderwebs in a child’s room to protect them from mosquitoes/ malaria. The Chinese believe spiders to be good luck and auspicious because the descend from Heaven.
Even the original word for spider, Arachnida, originates from the Greek word for spider Arachne. According to Greek mythology Arachne was a human so good at weaving that she she challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest… well we know mete mortals are no match for the gods and Athena turned Arachne into a half woman half spider and that is how spiders came to be.
What other cultures do you know of that celebrate spiders as protectors? Please share in the comments and stop by The Secret Door to see our extensive collection of Dream Catchers!