No matter how modern our ideas are, we still go back to old ideas, old beliefs though we live in different societies.
I grew up in a small town influenced by different stories about aswangs (vampire-like mythical creature in Filipino folklore), anting- anting (a Filipino word for “amulet” or “charm”) and other supernatural beliefs. Such stories evolved through the years, told and shared from generation to generation. Now, the aswang stories are gone. But our strong belief in the power of charms or amulets is still alive and we are consciously unconscious about it. We even buy golden frogs in Chinese stores for good luck. And dream catchers, in some cultures, could be a reflection of how humans feel the need to believe in something to survive, to adapt and to be at peace.
The History of Dream Catchers
Dreamcatchers (dream catchers) originated in some Native American cultures and adopted by other neighboring areas through intermarriage and trade. A dream catcher can be decorated with what they consider “sacred” such as feathers and beads. Ojibwe people created dreamcatchers to protect infants and sleeping people. They trap the good dreams in the web, filter them while bad dreams would stay in the net and would then disappear in the morning. While dreamcatchers hold symbols and meanings to most Native Americans, non-Natives started to copy dreamcatchers for commercial reasons- a negative form of cultural appropriation.
While cultural appropriation is considered negative and commercialization of dreamcatchers is unacceptable for most Natives, dreamcatchers continue to become a trend in modern societies which could also be influenced by the New Age movement. Well, I think cultural appropriation is just too complicated to understand. And we are all guilty.
DIY dreamcatchers may look complicated at first glance but if you want to spend time making one, you can try by searching for dreamcatcher tutorials online.
Here’s my DIY dreamcatcher made by my friend, Loki.