Dream catcher – meaning and history

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Dreamcatcher, Meaning & Effect

In love with a mystical custom…

Dreamcatchers come in many different sizes and materials. Dreamcatchers are more popular than ever as wall decorations.

What is the significance of a Dreamcatcher?

According to the myths of history, a dream catcher improves the quality of your sleep. In this article you will learn how the dream catcher does this and why we decorate our bedrooms worldwide with replicas of the ancient relics.

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Who is the “inventor” of the dreamcatcher?

The origin of the dreamcatcher has not been clearly verified. The widespread assumption that Native Americans invented the well-known relic is not entirely correct. Historical discoveries and current findings prove that Aborigines, the indigenous people of Australia, and Aztecs also made similar structures.

Dreamcatchers also have different meanings depending on their origin and are not always a physical object that can be hung up.

Native Americans

Dreamcatchers were already found among the oldest indigenous peoples in American Indian history (Ojibwe tribe and Lakota/Sioux Indians). They made round wicker rings decorated with sacred objects. These indigenous tribes believed that they could catch bad dreams with these objects.

According to myth, a young mother sought advice from the spider woman because her child was plagued by terrible nightmares. In the Native American legend, the spider woman is the creator of the sun and the weaver of all life. She advised the young mother to weave a dream catcher in which the bad dreams would remain like a fly in a spider’s web. The good dreams, however, could pass through the web. According to the Weaver of Life, the nightmares were neutralised with the morning sun and disappeared.


A dreamcatcher looked completely different to the aborigines of the Australian continent and had a completely different meaning. Without feathers, precious stones and willow rings, but in human form:

The dream catcher(s) of the Aboriginies was a human being and did not serve to catch nightmares. In one tribe there was the so-called soul woman. If a member of the tribe had a problem, he turned to her. She then held ceremonies, dancing and singing, with the help of spider webs. In these ceremonies she interpreted the dreams of those who had turned to her. Through the dream interpretations she helped people to find the root of their problems and to solve them.


A dream catcher of the South American indigenous peoples is called Titlahin and means something like “that which calms me”.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to find out how the Aztecs got this relic. The translation of the name suggests that a dream catcher was a protective, power-giving object.

How dream catchers help against nightmares

If you are plagued by nightmares, you should hang a dream catcher over your bed. According to legend, the American Indian relic catches negative dreams and neutralises them. You can make your own dream catcher or buy an original dream catcher.

The chance that a dream catcher will also help you is greater if you stop reading from here on….

The sobering truth is that dream catchers have a similar meaning to a lucky charm. The effect comes and goes with belief. Scientists at the University of Cologne have found out in a study that those who believe in good luck charms are helped by them. If you don’t believe in them, they don’t help you.

“First and foremost, they strengthen confidence in one’s own abilities, but also the firm belief that everything will work out fine.

– Social psychologist Lysann Damisch –

If you believe in the effect of dreamcatchers, you gain self-confidence and, through the psychological effect of the self-fulfilling prophecy, you perform better and thus achieve your goals. It is similar if you believe in the meaning of lucky charms and protective symbols.


The dreamcatcher as a spiritual wall decoration

Today, dream catchers have less of a spiritual meaning and more of an aesthetic as well as mystical effect. The biggest motivation for us to hang a dreamcatcher nowadays is to hang it on the wall as a decorative object. And as a wall decoration, it really does look great.

If you want to hang it up because of its meaning, it doesn’t matter whether the dream catcher is small or large. The effect is the same. It is much more important that it fits visually into your room and that it is hung in the right place.

A small dream catcher is a good thing to hang on your car mirror or use as a key ring. A dream catcher in the car will probably not protect you from nightmares, but it will certainly make your time in the next traffic jam more pleasant.

Because not only the story of the dream catcher, but also the design has a calming effect. Original dream catchers are made of natural materials such as (willow) wood, small gemstones, seeds and gathered feathers.

Maybe you have more ideas about where to hang a dream catcher?

Between chicken and vegan feathers – dreamcatcher materials

The original dream catcher was made of a frame of willow wood, which was decorated with animal tendons or horse hair, various feathers and meaningful objects. Originally, the wooden frame was often wrapped in leather. Berries were used to colour the dream catcher. The natural components had their own meaning. For example, personal treasures such as jewellery were used to tune the dream catcher to a particular person.

Nowadays it is common to use cotton or synthetic fibres for the net of the dream catcher. Almost always feathers are used as jewellery. In the past, owl feathers were used, nowadays chicken and peacock feathers are more common.

Why does a dreamcatcher have feathers?

The feather decoration on a dream catcher also has its own meaning! The light feathers have a similar effect to the net that catches nightmares. Feathers allow good dreams and positive thoughts to pass through and pass them on to the sleeping person. The story goes that every dream that passes through the feathers makes them vibrate.
So when you are lying in bed looking at your dream catcher and the feathers are moving, look forward to pleasant dreams.

At Karmandala you will find dreamcatchers where the feathers were picked up exclusively from the ground. No animal was harmed in the making of the dreamcatcher. And of course there is also an animal-free alternative ↓.

Vegan dreamcatcher

Of course, there are also vegan dream catchers. If you want to make your own dream catcher, you can order artificial feathers online or exchange them for something else. With homemade dream catchers you can also be sure that your dream catcher is vegan. The meaning of the dreamcatcher will not suffer from the fact that no feathers or similar have been used.

Here you will find our selection of vegan dreamcatchers. These are made from rattan or bamboo and beautiful cotton macramé embellishments.

A wonderful alternative and also vegan is a beautiful dreamcatcher tapestry made of cotton. You can use such a scarf as a decorative wall hanging or, for example, as a cover for the couch.

Vegane Traumfänger mit Perlen und Münzen
Gold Wandtuch Traumfänger weiß

Gemstones and wooden beads are also very popular for integrating into the dream catcher. Of course, stones in different colours always have a certain effect. White rock crystal, for example, has a purifying effect.


Hanging dream catchers correctly – how and where?

How should a dreamcatcher be placed correctly? High or low? On the wall or under the ceiling, in the middle of the room?

You want to hang your dream catcher correctly? In Feng Shui, the dream catcher has a great significance and is used to guide and direct the energies. That’s why we want to give you a recipe for hanging it up perfectly.

Hanging decoratively

If you don’t believe in the effect of dream catchers and hang it up for decorative reasons, then there are no limits to your creativity.

  • You could hang it directly in front of your window. It looks especially beautiful when the sun is shining in.
  • A small dream catcher also looks good to decorate your houseplants.
  • Another idea is to hang several small dream catchers on a bony branch. This way you create a beautiful mobilé that can swing in the wind.
  • Large dream catchers look very beautiful as wall hangings or hanging freely above the bed. The long feathery tail gently sways in the wind and lends a pleasant lightness to the surroundings.

Purposeful hanging

Since the dream catcher catches your bad dreams, you should hang it above your sleeping place.

  • A dream catcher should be attached to the wall at the head of the bed. There it is as close as possible to your head – the dream studio.
  • It is even better if you hang the dream catcher freely in the room. Like a wind chime. This makes it even easier for the beautiful dreams to pass through the dream catcher.
  • If you hang the dream catcher on the window, it protects you from bad influences from outside.

Buying a dreamcatcher

If you don’t want to make your own dream catcher, there are many shops where you can buy one. When making your choice, pay attention to the origin and the materials used. Since dream catchers have become widespread, the quality has suffered.

We recommend a dream catcher made of natural material, even in modern times. In this way, you will not only protect the environment but also maintain the original meaning of the American Indian relic. A dream catcher should be handmade so that as much positive energy as possible is transferred into it.

Dreamcatchers at Karmandala are made by hand and consist of bamboo, rattan, cotton, wooden beads as well as picked-up chicken feathers. The vegan alternatives without feathers are decorated with woven macramé elements or cotton cords.

Click here to visit our Dreamcatcher Shop →


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