The image and symbol of the Native American Dream Catchers are a tattoo design that has captured the imagination of body art enthusiasts for more than a generation. The Dreamcatcher tattoo is a powerful symbol of protection, acting as an amulet or talisman against evil and harm.
Native Americans have been weaving Dream Catchers for thousands of years. The earliest examples may have been woven by the nimble fingers of the Ojibeway people. Small willow hoops holding the spider-web weave were hung over the cradles of children. They believed that the web caught hold of everything evil, while sweet dreams passed down to the sleeping infant along the soft feathers that were attached. But other interpretations and oral traditions have come down from different tribes of First Nations.
The Lakota legend tells of a vision that came to their spiritual leader. He encountered 'the great teacher of wisdom' disguised as a spider, who spoke to him of the life-cycle of the human. While the wise one talked, he spun a web across the elder's willow hoop. The perfect circle of the web symbolized the catcher and holder of good ideas, while the hole in the centre allowed the bad ones to pass through. Dream Catchers soon found their place above the sleeping people, catching the good dreams and sending the evil ones away down the hole in the centre.