CAN A DREAMCATCHER REALLY HELP YOU SLEEP?

Authentic Native American dreamcatcher is more than just a pretty hoop with fluttering feathers. Here’s how it helps to harmonise the energies around you leading to some beauty sleep

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The notion that the dreamcatchers can filter your dreams owes its origin to the cultural belief of Native American culture. Within these communities were intuitive healers who believed that the answer to physical ailments lay in attuning the bodies to the rhythm of nature and its forces. And this attunement or adjusting of energies could be achieved by working with elements of nature to dissipate negative energies.

What are actually negative energies?

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They are not really some evil spirits clinging to your body casting spells. Negativity is experiencing emotions such as anger, fear, despair, disappointment, anxiety, resentment, guilt, grief and so on. This emotional state is a reaction to the physical world the body lives in – could be a disease, or loss of loved ones, betrayal, failure at work, disturbed relationships and so on. And operating from a state of negativity does impact the most vital of our daily functions – sleep. In simple tech terms, sleeping is to the body what charging is to your phone. You need an optimal amount of sleeping hours to re-energise your body.

Sleep Recharges the Body  

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So the Native American tribes use certain elements and symbols to balance the energies leading to a more peaceful wake. Dreamcatchers are stunning, delicate yet strong. They sway with the rhythm of the air. And I have always been charmed by them as they hold the promise to tame my dreams. Sometimes my dreams are so vivid that I wake up startled. And sometimes they take me to things, creations and places I have never seen. Sometimes I dream of situations that actually take place. And as much as it sounds fascinating, it can be unnerving. There was a phase last year when I started losing sleep.

Of course, it was because of stress. Stress is such a loose term to define a gamut of emotions. ‘Don’t take stress’ is easier said than done. Often then, we try to internalise all symptoms of stress, because we don’t want to be those silly creatures who don’t even know how to manage the workings of our minds. Unless it’s a chronic issue, a period of unease is a process. Stress, in simple terms, occurs when there is a disharmony between our expectations and reality. When there is a loss that our physical body is living in, but the mind is unwilling to accept it.

Discovering Authentic Dreamcatchers

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During this phase, I also researched on dreamcatchers. But the more I read, I discovered that the ones you get at souvenir shops are usually just what they look — pretty things. The ones that actually have healing benefits are those made by Native Americans as they are made through a special process. And my search led me to a Whispering Winds Shop, a quaint store in Wisconsin, owned by Sheyenne Tereshko, a member of Cheyenne River Sioux tribe.

Her Instagram feed gave me a glimpse into her farm life in the pristine wilderness and how she collected dropped feathers, procured crystals, and worked with cleansing smudges of white cedar and lavender. Tereshko operates from a deep understanding of the laws of the universe, its rhythm and its energy. That’s because the knowledge is passed down to each generation through teachings and ceremonies. Since her great-grandfather was the chief of Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, her family has had the opportunity to learn the traditional ways and to continue the ways of her people.

One-Size-Doesn’t-Fits all

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The dreamcatcher has more meaning than just filtering dreams or decoration. “It has also been traditionally used to protect your positive life visions and keep harmony and balance in the home,” says Tereshko. “A dreamcatcher works for those in the room it is hanging. So if an entire family is in one room it will work for all of them.” Traditionally, in Tershko’s community, each member has individual dreamcatcher that they choose on their own. There are many styles and elements that can be put into a dreamcatcher so they are customised for the individual.

For instance, if you seek healing of a broken heart then your dreamcatcher should include coral and turquoise. “The red colour of the coral has signified the heart, the lifeline of your body, and the turquoise blue helps to bring emotional peace and balance. The two paired together has a powerful impact,” informs Tereshko. You can hang a dreamcatcher anywhere but for good sleep, it’s beneficial to hang it in the bedroom near a window. “To keep harmony and balance in the home, in general, you would want to hang one in the main living space, so maybe a living room, kitchen, or dining area. Where ever the family is most present during the day.”

The Sacred Process

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Tereshko gives a sneak peek into the process: “The process starts out with a smudging or purification ceremony to release any unwanted energy from the materials and to clear the energy in the workspace. The weaving of the dreamcatcher always goes in a clockwise direction as this is the direction of the sun and has significance in health and healing, it is the direction of the sacred wheel. The feathers are tied in a coup (pronounced like “coo”) style. Coup feathers were worn by warriors going into battle, so tying feathers in this manner has the meaning of protection. Lastly, the finished dreamcatcher is sagely blessed outdoors with a Lakota prayer to bring in the good spirit so it can serve the new owner in any way needed. Blessing a dreamcatcher with sage and prayer is important so the dreamcatcher is ready for its new home. You don’t know what you are receiving when you are using something mass produced or factory made.”

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Benefits of Crystals in Dreamcatchers

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Elements of nature as horseshoe, animal hair, and feathers are paired with the healing energies of crystals. So how this works? A crystal is nothing but a part of the earth, which when subjected to extreme conditions of heat and pressure altered its form. “All crystals carry frequencies of light and sound. They are minerals from the earth and an integral part of earth’s energies. Energy is the core of the human body. When you work with crystals, the higher energy of this structure blends with your own energy, thereby altering your vibrational frequency or the energy within your body,” explains Bindu Maira, Delhi-based crystal healer and wellness guru.

Stones and crystals are a large part of Native American culture. Tereshko explains, “Amethyst helps bring emotional balance which can help calm the mind to prepare for sleep. Turquoise is widely used in Native American artifacts as it is revered as a sacred stone. When used in dreamcatchers it can help protect the sleeper from negative energies. Rose quartz is excellent for healing, whether that be emotional pain or physical stress. If you keep rose quartz in the bedroom you will wake up more energised. Lapis lazuli opens higher consciousness. It’s a natural alternative to aspirin, and can help ease pain, headaches, and bring in tranquility. Agate is excellent for stabilizing your aura and can transform negative energies into positive energies.”

Earth-Friendly

 

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Native American culture respects earth and life on earth. That’s why only dropped feathers are used. “I live on a poultry farm so many of the feathers are from our birds. Only naturally dropped feathers, we never pluck or pull feathers. Some feathers are from wild turkeys or other birds that pass through our farms,” states Tereshko.

My Sleep Story

Well, my bouts of insomnia did improve. The effect was not overnight but gradual. It’s not that I don’t have dreams. I do. But their intensity to startle me has reduced. Do I sleep the prescribed 7 hours a day? Sometimes I do and there are times I don’t. On days when I don’t sleep for long, the reason is usually a looming submission deadline for a story or some other work. I am grateful to be past the phase when I would keep lying on the bed with my eyes wide open or forcefully shut refusing to slip into the restful phase.

So is the dreamcatcher replacement for conventional medicine? It probably is not. It is only a tool. Just like the fitness bands, we wear on our wrists or the sleep monitor apps we download on our phone. Only a bit more powerful as it works to alleviate the disharmony in our personal energies, the root cause of lack of sleep!

Author

  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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