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Story by Bailey Gilliam + Illustration by Megan Goheen

We’ve all seen dreamcatchers, or maybe even owned them, but what exactly do they do? And where do they come from? As it turns out, dreamcatchers have quite a history and do more than just serve as bedroom decor.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite

Dreamcatchers are a symbol of oneness across numerous indigenous cultures and tribes; they are now generally a symbol of Native American identity. Dreamcatchers can be traced back all the way to the Native American Ojibwe tribe. This tribe believed in the spirit, Asibikaashi, also known as the Spider Woman. She was a spiritual protector of infants and the adults around them.

Sleep like a baby

As the Ojibwe tribe began to spread out through intermarriage and trade in the 1960s, the Ojibwe believed that their physical distance could become difficult for Asibikaashi to manage, so the women began weaving webs, or dreamcatchers, for infants as a way to help out. They originally used willow hoops and sinew to weave these protective webs and gifted them to children for protection. These woven charms were hung above children’s beds to catch any bad dreams or other harms that could come to them during the night.

You won’t need to sleep with one eye open

The web of the dreamcatcher absorbs bad dreams and discharges them during the day, while the feathers act as a ladder and allow good dreams to descend on the sleeper. The hoop shape represents togetherness as well as the circle of life, and the charms represent good dreams and creation. Traditionally, the number of webbed points on the dreamcatcher have meaning: 13 points are the phases of the moon, 8 are the spider woman’s legs, and 5 are a star.

Team work makes the dream work

Easily add a dreamcatcher to your sleep team with our DIY guide. To make your own dreamcatcher, you just need a metal hoop, suede lace, embroidery floss, some feathers and gemstones. Hang this DIY near your bed to ensure great dreams and add some decor to your bedroom, or give it as a gift to symbolize your care for a loved one’s well being.

Download the above guide here