The Art of Catching Dreams

One of my young clients — Matthew — recently handcrafted a dreamcatcher for me, thoughtfully adorning it with crystal beads and a feather.

© 2012 Laurie Buchanan

According to Native American lore, our nighttime dreams are sent by sacred spirits as messages. The openings in the web-like pattern allow good dreams to reach us, while the strands of the web trap bad dreams, only to disappear with the first light of dawn.

The materials used to make dreamcatchers have a special meaning:

  • Scattered beads throughout the web represent good dreams caught throughout the night.
  • Essential for life, a feather represents breath or air.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” — Chief Seattle

What was the last dream you caught?


54 thoughts on “The Art of Catching Dreams

  1. My daughter makes gorgeous dream catchers. The last dream that I caught—am still catching—is being me just as I am. 😉

  2. Laurie … thank you for the detailed description on the dream catcher. I’ve always thought they are beautiful. Just this morning my alarm both interrupted a dream and prevented me from “catching it.” I have on occassion found dreams to be quite instructive.
    My sister had a remarkable dream when she was trying to make a decision earlier in her life to continue on a path she was on or go on … she saw herself in a dream (which she remembered) on a bus … looking down she saw somone she respected holding a sign “On – tari – o.” Her name is Terri … the message “go on Terri.” The message resonated with her … and “on” she went.

  3. Laurie, when I have dreams that I can remember, very seldom do I get any meaning message from them. I know I dream and quite vividly at times, of people and places I’ve never met or seen, but they seem to evaporate with the daylight. Maybe I should make a Dreamcatcher and see what I can catch.

    • Sandi – I suspect that with your artistic ability, crafting a dreamcatcher would be somewhat along the lines of creating the gorgeous wreaths and floral arrangements that you already put your hands to. I think it’s an exceptional idea!

  4. In my children’s elementary school every new year the wisdom woman would come to help the children make dream catchers. My children thought they made them feel safe at night. That felt good as a parent.

    I feel as though I am between dreams in a limbo right now. It worried me for a time now I am trusting it.

    Thank you for sharing your gift with us

  5. Pingback: The Art of Catching Dreams « Karinconway's Blog

  6. Laurie, I have a few dream catchers that people have given me, but I have not crafted my own. You have inspired me to create my own which means something to me. I could use some positive inspiration from my dreams.
    🙂 KMC

  7. I love dream catchers! I sometimes dream of things that in a couple of months happen. It can be little things like a five second moment and I know that I dreamed about it before. To me it is kind of saying that I am going in the right path & that my journey in life is on the right track ^^ but that’s just me 🙂

  8. For years we had several dream catchers in this house, Laurie. I think I caught a dream of wondrous blogging. A wonderful opportunity to share, to meet people like yourself, and to create. I give thanks for dreams coming true. Hugs & blessings!

  9. Hi Laurie

    I can’t recall the last dream I caught.
    I catch dreams most nights, and even sometimes during the day, and most of them I let go again.

    The dream that is taking more and more of my waking hours is a dream of a world where everyone lives in abundance and security, with the freedom to do whatever they responsibly choose, constrained only by the needs of the natural world, and other people.

    It is a dream of a world where everyone is aware (as Chief Seattle said) that we are all connected to everyone and everything else, at many different levels, and we are also each individual and unique and potentially infinitely creative.

    It is a world that is open and with infinite potential, and it is a finite world, with real limits in respect of any given technology.

    There is ample in existence to give everyone a great life, and this is a real world, with real limits, and it cannot sustain people polluting and destroying and unthinkingly pursuing economic ends – it requires care and consideration (as we all do).

  10. I like the feeling of the dream catcher – it’s legend (if that’s the right term) and I have thought one hanging in my window(s) would be wonderful. I suspect the cats would agree. I think I caught my biggest dream about 13 years ago, when we moved here to our quiet and beautiful place under the sun, which we share with birds and squirrels and other critters. In a neighborhood we share with friends. For me, there can be no greater dream.

  11. I too have a dreamcather hanging in my bedroom window. A oo-worker made it. I bought it as a gift for my mom. When she passed I claimed.
    The last dream I caught?
    It was synopsis for a novel. I carefully recorded, thinking it was gold. Unfortunately with the (later) morning light, I saw it for what it was. Some times even my muse can have an off day. : )

  12. Hi, Laurie — beautiful dreamcatcher! The words of Chief Seattle are so profoundly true. We are all molecules rising and falling, connected to each other, always interacting. Our sciences confirm this over and over and over. There is no “space” between anything – no true “emptiness” — the universe is entirely full and in constant touch with itself.

    I caught a dream many, many moons ago. It was to become fully alive and I am still living it.

  13. “I dreamed a dream in times gone by
    When hope was high
    And life worth living
    I dreamed that love would never die
    I dreamed that God would be forgiving
    Then I was young and unafraid
    And dreams were made and used and wasted
    There was no ransom to be paid…….”

    Ah Laurie, the dream still lives on, and it will be given new life in theatres on Christmas Day!

    *Les Miserables*

    Ha! I couldn’t resist that! I do like the Dreamcatcher idea and may have to join ranks. Seems I only dream these days when my sleep time is cut down.

  14. What a thoughtful gift the dreamcatcher your client made for you is. Your post made me think of a song I learned in Girl Scout camp one summer:

    There’s a web like a spider’s web
    Made of silver light and shadows
    Spun by the moon in my room last night
    It’s a web made to catch a dream
    Hold it tight ’til I awaken
    As if to tell me my dream is all right

  15. Laurie, thank you for stopping and liking today’s post. Your photograph and explanation of the dream catcher are incredible. We have several, including one made by a parent of a former student, in the house. They add to the decor and receive comments when people come by. I look forward to following what looks like an amazing blog and conversation you have happening here.

    Take care,


  16. Hi Laurie,
    I made Dream Catchers with my kids years ago. I just love them! There is much spirituality in Native American traditions and teachings. I have learned a whole new layer of spirtuality from reading about it and since I am part Cherokee, it’s a nice “fit”.
    Much love to you for the holiday season upon us, and always,

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