No, for the Cree (Quebec), who use these, it’s not. The Ojibwe also use them the same way we do. The dreamcatcher is a way to protect someone from evil influences (i.e., those that cause bad dreams or give false portents - the original “demons of fake news”, if you will) while they sleep. There is no “sacred” association that we know of. It was something mothers hung on cradleboards for the safety of their children. These things also served as a kind of infant’s mobile. Later, it was also used to familiarize the child with nets, rituals, stones, feathers, etc. The big ones you see hanging on eagle staffs, even among the Sioux, are derived from our cradleboard catchers. They serve the same purpose, but are used in counting coup (“stealing the enemy’s spirit”) and trapping it. If you feel you need protection from malicious spirits in the night, or if you want to wear your enemy’s spirit on your skin forever, you can tattoo the dreamcatcher. Just don’t ignore the caveat: the bad spirits can be trapped in the catcher, and if it’s permanently stuck to you, you’d become a magnet for these things, according to our local taboos and beliefs. The task with a dreamcatcher is to empty out the net in the morning. There’s an associated ritual for that, with water and red cedar. You can’t really do that with a tattoo. We do not expect non-Natives to accept these beliefs. We just think you might want to have something much more personal, a personal symbol or sigil or mark, if you want a permanent inking. I would recommend a stylized God’s eye, the kind the Amish and Quakers made. They are certainly just as beautiful, but the evil influences don’t get “trapped” in the navel of the design, like with ours.
· 3 months ago