The meaning of dreamcatchers and the beliefs surrounding their construction originate from Native American cultures. It is a protective talisman that is used to protect people from nightmares and bad dreams. The charm was usually used for young children and hung above their cradles or beds.
Native American cultures believe that both good and bad dreams fill the air at night. The dreamcatcher acts like a spider's web by trapping the bad dreams or visions while allowing the good ones to filter through. The bad dreams caught in the web get destroyed when the sunlight of morning hits the dreamcatcher, while the good dreams filter down through the feathers and gently reach the sleeping person below. Dreamcatchers can also be considered as apotropaic charms that provide protection from any kind of evil influence, not just from bad dreams and nightmares.
Each section of the dreamcatcher's form holds specific meaning.
The circular frame symbolizes Mother Earth and everything that sustains life. Its circular shape also represents the continuous flow of life as there is no beginning or end. In addition to representing the circle of life, it also symbolizes how the sun and moon move across the sky every day in a continuous loop.
The web or net of the dreamcatcher is intricately woven inside the frame to mimic the look of a spider's web. The circle in the center of the web is its heart and is where the good dreams and visions are filtered through.
There are some different meanings behind the beads on dreamcatchers. Some cultures believe the beads represent the spider, while others say the beads are the physical form of the good dreams that failed to pass through the web and become sacred charms.
The number of points on the woven web of the dreamcatcher is also significant and holds different meanings. A dreamcatcher with 13 points represents the 13 phases of the moon, 8 points symbolizes the spider woman in the Native American legends, 7 points refers to the seven prophesies, 6 points represents an eagle, and 5 points symbolize a star.