One of a kind handcrafted in Canada by Gena’s Dream Webs. 7&1/2” Diameter (outer) Materials: Red Willow, Artificial Sinew, Suede, Feathers, Beads. Legend of the Dreamcatcher Long ago, when the world was young, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain. On the mountain, he had a vision. In his vision, Iktomi - the great trickster and teacher of wisdom - appeared in the form of a spider. Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language. Only spiritual leaders of the Lakota could understand. As Iktomi spoke, he took the elder's willow hoop - which had feathers, horse hair, beads and offerings on it - and began to spin a web. He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life and how we begin our lives as infants. We then move on to childhood and in to adulthood. Finally, we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, thus, completing the cycle. "But," Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, "in each time of life there are many forces - some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But, if you listen to the bad forces, they will hurt you and steer you in the wrong direction." He continued, "There are many forces and different directions that can help or interfere with the harmony of nature and also with the Great Spirit and all of his wonderful teachings." All while the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web ... starting from the outside and working toward the center. When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the Lakota elder the web and said, "See, the web is a perfect circle, but there is a hole in the center of the circle." "Use the web to help yourself and your people ... to reach your goals and make use of your people's ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the Great Spirit, the web will catch your good ideas, and the bad ones will go through the hole." (Note: Some bands believe the bad ideas are caught in the web and the good ideas pass through to the individual. Either account is acceptable.) The Lakota elder passed his vision on to his people. Now, the Sioux use the dreamcatchers as the web of their life. Traditionally, it is hung above their beds or in their homes to sift their dreams and visions. Good dreams are captured in the web of life and carried with them ... but the evil dreams escape through the center's hole and are no longer part of them. (Note: Some bands believe the bad ideas are caught in the web and the good ideas pass through to the individual. Either account is acceptable.) Lakota believe the dreamcatcher holds the destiny of their future. Dreamcatcher History Dreamcatchers are thought to have originated with the Ojibway tribe of the plains, but many other tribes such as the Chippewa and Lakota have their own versions of the dreamcatcher legend. The first non-Native American documentation was by a scholar named Francis Densmore in 1929. Although there are many variations, a dreamcatcher is basically a small circle of wood that is tied with sinew or thread to resemble a web with a small hole in the middle. The strings or sinews are tied at several points on the circle, with the number of points on the dreamcatcher having different meanings: * 13 points – the 13 phases of the moon * 8 points – the number of legs on the spider woman of the dreamcatcher legend * 7 points – the seven prophecies of the grandfathers * 6 points – an eagle or courage * 5 points – the star A dreamcatcher can also have a feather tied to the bottom and beads or animal tokens hanging on the strands. Traditional dreamcatchers are only a few inches in diameter, but you will see contemporary models anywhere from a few inches to 1 foot across. Legend says that if you hang a dreamcatcher above a bed, it will catch the bad dreams in the web while letting the good dreams through the hole in the middle. As the sun’s rays hit the dreamcatcher in the morning, all of the bad dreams will evaporate. Dreamcatchers became popular during the pan-Indian movement of the 1960s and 1970s as a symbol of renewed Native American pride. They can now be found at almost every reservation in Canada & the United States. While you can find cheap imports at many souvenir stores throughout the Country, it is a good idea to try to purchase the authentic article whenever possible. By buying dreamcatchers that have been made by indigenous people, and by those who are knowledgeable about & respect their traditions you can help to keep the tradition alive and true and support them in their glorious talents.