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Long ago in the ancient world of the Ojibwe Nation, the Clans were all located in one general area of that place known as Turtle Island. This is the way that the old Ojibwe storytellers say how Asibikaashi (Spider Woman) helped Wanabozhoo bring giizis (sun) back to the people. To this day, Asibikaashi will build her special lodge before dawn. If you are awake at dawn, as you should be, look for her lodge and you will see this miracle of how she captured the sunrise as the light sparkles on the dew which is gathered there.
Asibikaasi took care of her children, the people of the land, and she continues to do so to this day. When the Ojibwe Nation dispersed to the four corners of North America, to fill a prophecy, Asibikaashi had a difficult time making her journey to all those cradle boards, so the mothers, sisters, & Nokomis (grandmothers) took up the practice of weaving the magical webs for the new babies using willow hoops and sinew or cordage made from plants. It is in the shape of a circle to represent how giizis travels each day across the sky. The dream catcher will filter out all the bad bawedjigewin (dreams) & allow only good thoughts to enter into our minds when we are just abinooji. You will see a small hole in the center of each dream catcher where those good bawadjige may come through. With the first rays of sunlight, the bad dreams would perish. When we see little asibikaashi, we should not fear her, but instead respect and protect her. In honor of their origin, the number of points where the web connected to the hoop numbered 8 for Spider Woman's eight legs or 7 for the Seven Prophecies.
- Cut 8 ft. of the suede lacing. Glue one end of the lacing to the ring. Wrap the suede lacing around the ring until you reach the starting point again. Be careful not to twist the lacing. Glue the end of the lacing to the ring. Hold it in place with a clothespin until the glue dries.
- Make the web. Tie one end of the imitation sinew to the ring (Figure 2). Make nine half hitch knots around the ring spacing them about 1-1/2" apart. Make the last hitch a little closer to the first knot as this prevents a large gap from forming. Keep the thread pulled snug between the knots.
- Begin the next row of the web in the middle of the thread that you have already weaved on row 1. Continue weaving in the same way until you have a small hole left in the center. Tie a double knot in the cord, add a tiny drop of glue to the knot and cut off remaining thread when dry.
- Make the loop to hang your Dream Catcher. Use a 12" piece of suede lacing. Fold it in half and tie a knot in the open end. At the top of the ring, attach the lacing slipping the loop end through the ring and then around the ring and over the knot. Pull the lacing tight to secure it in place.
- Make the hanging sections. Cut three 8" pieces of suede. Tie two 8" pieces of suede lacing about one third of the way up each side of the ring using a double knot. Slip 3 colored pony beads onto each piece of lacing and secure with a knot.
- Using the last 8" piece of lacing, attach a small conc ho or concho to top middle of the ring. Slip three pony beads onto each piece of lacing.
- Finally, push two feathers up inside the beads on each piece of lacing except the one hanging from the conc ho or concho. Glue the feathers if they are loose. The last 4 feathers are attached 2 each side of the conc ho or concho.
- To make larger sizes : 12 inch rings needs approximate. 7 yards of 1/8 suede lacing to bind it 9 inch ring - 6 yards 6 inch ring - 4 yards Remember that you will need extra suede for the laces and hanger.
- If you cannot obtain the supplies, try making one using a small green branch from a tree about 1 cm in diameter and 1 meter long. Just bind the ends of the branch together and then make the web in the same way.
- Dream catchers made of willow and sinew are for children, and they are not meant to last. Eventually the willow dries out and the tension of the sinew collapses the dream catchers. That's supposed to happen. It belies the temporariness of youth. Adults should use dream catchers of woven fiber which is made up to reflect their adult "dreams." It is also customary in many parts of Canada and the Northeastern U.S. to have the dream catchers be a tear-drop/snow shoe shape.
- It is extremely important that after their use, the Dream catchers is cleaned in a ceremony of the purification passing them through the smoke of the wise person smoldering -- the wise ceremony--. Sometimes, if the "collector of ideas" is not in a room that isn't well illuminated, it get overloaded with the energies that need to be cleared.
Things You'll Need
- 5 inch ring
- 4 yards suede lacing
- 1/8. inch 3 yards sinew (waxed nylon string)
- 1 small Conc ho or concho
- 12 pony beads
- 16 pony beads
- Clothes pin
Sources and Citations
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