Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Legend of the Dream Catcher

by Rita Hestand

Congratulations to Linda Henderson & Estella, winners of Rita Hestand's giveaways!

There are many legends of the dream catcher. The one below is the one I use in my book, Beyond the Dream Catcher. It is one of the oldest legends

Legend of the Dream Catcher from the Chippewa tribe.

A spider was quietly spinning his web in his own spot beside the sleeping space of Nokomis, the grandmother. Each day, Nokomis watched the spider at work, quietly spinning away. One day as she was watching him, her grandson came in. "Nokomis-iya!" he shouted, glancing at the spider. He stomped over to the spider, picked up a shoe and went to hit it. "No-keegwa," the old lady whispered, "don't hurt him." "Nokomis, why do you protect the spider?" asked the little boy. The old lady smiled, but did not answer.

When the boy left, the spider went to the old woman and thanked her for saving his life. He said to her, "For many days you have watched me spin and weave my web. You have admired my work. In return for saving my life, I will give you a gift." He smiled his special spider smile and moved away, spinning as he went. Soon the moon glistened on a magical silvery web moving gently in the window. "See how I spin?" he said. "See and learn, for each web will snare bad dreams. Only good dreams will go through the small hole. This is my gift to you. Use it so that only good dreams will be remembered. The bad dreams will become hopelessly entangled in the web.”—The Legend of the Dreamcatcher.

Other Legends are offered by the Lakota Indians

Long ago when the world was young an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain and had a vision. In this vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and teacher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider. Iktomi the spider picked up the elder's willow hoop which had feathers, horsehair, beads and offerings on it, and began to spin a web. He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life; how we begin our lives as infants, move on through childhood and onto adulthood. Finally, we go to the old age where we must be taken care of as infants, 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'll steer you in the wrong direction, and may hurt you. So these forces can help or can interfere with the harmony of Nature."

While the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web. When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the elder the web and said, "the web is a perfect circle with a hole in the center. Use the web to help your people reach their goals, make good use of their 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."

The elder passed on his vision to the people, and now many Indian people hang a dream catcher above their bed to sift their dreams and visions. The good is captured in the web of life and carried with the people, but the evil in their dreams drops through the hole in the center of the web and are no longer a part of their lives.

Regardless of which legend you believe, each legend involves a spider, and originated with the Ojibwa Tribe of the Great Lakes area. And have been passed down for generations to keep the bad dreams away and capture the good ones if hung over the top of the bed.

The Legend of the Dream Catcher is one I use in Beyond the Dream Catcher, and an old Shaman Indian named Burning Tree brought Chase Rivers and Katherine Hightower together through dreams that went Beyond the Dream Catcher. I hope you'll check it out.

For your pleasure I've enclosed a poem from the Chippewas.

Sleep well sweet child

Don't worry your head

Your Dream Catcher is humming

Above your bed

Listen so softly

I know you can hear

The tone of beyond

Close to your ear

Love is alive

And living in you

Beyond all your troubles

Where good dreams are true

(Sources for this article come from and from

Two lucky winners will win a copy of Beyond the Dreamcatcher. Please leave an email in your comment so Rita can contact you when you win!

~ Rita Hestand


Coming soon!

Love Rules


  1. I've always enjoyed reading the legends of Native Americans. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I've always been very interested in Native American culture, probably because my paternal grandmother was Cherokee. I also love dream catchers. I had a beautiful white one but I gave it to my five year old granddaughter because she had been having bad dreams. She loves it.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  3. What a lovely blog! I had the good fortune to spend a week in South Dakota last summer and I was enthralled with the NA culture. Living in the East, our NA culture is very different, although just as interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you for sharing all the legends! I've always had dreamcatchers, but never heard the whole story before.

  5. Glad you guys are enjoying it. I found it fascinating to delve into the Native American culture and learn from them. Many of them follow the same traditions we do, but in a different way. The Shawnee of which I write about in Beyond the Dream Catcher used the golden rule and the commandment in the bible that says "Love thy Neighbor". They believed that to do harm to a neighbor was to harm yourself. How close so many cultures come to thinking the same way is beyond me. I mean the Shawnee had the same belief as we, how can that be?

    I chose to blog about it because so many people appreciate the Native American culture but know little about it, and so many are even part Native American. My daughters are both Choctaw and Cherokee along with my Irish and Scotch I love learning more about these people and hoped you would enjoy it too.

    Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your holiday and may you all have a dream catcher over your bed.

    Merry Christmas and blessings to you and yours

  6. I also want to thank Val for adding such lovely graphics to this, it really enchances it. It is beautiful. I appreciate your hard work.

    Thanks again.
    Love and blessings

  7. Rita, this was beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. I have heard the basic story, but this was so much better.

  8. I really enjoyed your post!! I have dream catchers in my car and many in the house. Thanks for the lovely poem!! Your book looks very good!!

    Happy Holidays!!


  9. Thanks Becca and Judy, I was hoping you would enjoy it. It's fun to learn more about other cultures.

    And Val really enhanced this blog to make it special. I appreciate her work.

    Love and blessings

  10. Thank you for sharing such an interesting post, Rita. Learning of new cultures help us to grow, and to appreciate others. We can learn much from the Native Americans!

  11. I have hreared so many legends of the dream catcher. this one is beautiful. I have several in my home. Some hand made by me or my children. and some purchased.
    debby236at att dot net

  12. I also enjoyed reading about the legends.It was s beautiful post. Thank you Rita.

    Have a Happy holiday.
    All the best on your upcoming release.

  13. Glad you enjoyed it. I certainly did the first time I started reading about them. And they are so beautiful. Everyone should have one for their home.

    Merry Christmas to all

  14. HI Anne, good to see you. Yes, there is much to learn from the Native American. Perhaps our country would have been much better off if we had tried harder to learn from them so long ago.

    But at least now we have begun to appreciate their love of nature. I think somehow they understand nature so much better than other cultures.

    If you get a chance listen to Little Indian Girl on Youtube. It is sung by an Indian, beautiful.

    Love and blessings
    and a very Merry Christmas to you all

  15. I have a dream catcher in my living room.
    I enjoy reading about all Native American legends.

    kiaainoak at frontier dot com

  16. I have always loved the legend of the Dreamcatcher! We have had them in our home for as long as I can remember. I gave one to my daughter when she was younger and having terrible dreams, and it truly seemed to help her.

    The Native American culture is so rich and I love reading as much about it as I can. Thank you for sharing!

  17. Thank you so much for this post, it is one of my most favorite legends!

  18. Thank you Venus, Layla, Estella, Anne. Glad you enjoyed it. Val I have had a blast here. Hope everyone has.
    Thanks for all the help and I look forward to doing it again soon.

    Love and blessings

  19. A lovely poem and I look forward to reading your story!

  20. I really enjoyed both of these legends - thanks for sharing :-) I'm always fascinated by other culture's myths and legends!

    smaccall @

  21. Thanks for sharing the legends. My daughter made a dreamcatcher once and I loved it.

    andrea DOT infinger AT gmail DOT com

  22. I gave my son a dream catcher when he was five. he said he had nightmares all the time and after we hung it up he said he never has since! he is 23! It still hangs above his bed!
    Thanks for sharing!!

    langej3888@msndot com