What is a dream catcher?

Many people wonder what a dreamcatcher is and what its mysteries are. Also known as dreamcatchers, it is now common to see them in homes and shops, adorning headboards, walls and bedrooms.

Despite its popularity, people often don't know what dreamcatchers are or what this circular hanging mesh adorned with beads, bands and feathers actually means. Although some may consider it a decorative or magical ritual object or a recent invention, the truth is that dreamcatchers are very old amulets that are part of the oral tradition of Native Americans. It is a shamanic tradition originating in North America.


To describe what a dream catcher is, we need to start by saying that it is a wooden stick that joins in a circle. It has threads that form a web, decorated with seeds, perforated grains, coloured beads and feathers.

In the centre of the web is a void called the Great Mystery, which, according to the legends of American shamans, drains negative dreams, nightmares, bad thoughts and visions that cause fear and sadness.

It is a protector of good energy and can be placed near the bed. According to Native American belief, bad energy trapped in the net during sleep dissipates into the hole when the dream catcher receives the first rays of the morning sun.

To know the meaning of the dream catcher one has to go back to the 1960s, when the use of these shamanic dream protection amulets started to become famous.

The Ojibwe tribe was responsible for marketing dreamcatchers at that time, which drew criticism from other tribes who preferred to stay away from non-natives. Artists like Willie Nelson and Neil Young reinforced the use of dream catchers.

In film and television, they also began to make their way into doorways and windows, and the curiosity of the masses took care of the rest.