This story is one of those spiels. You know, where the teller has told it so many times that they could do it in their sleep and all of their friends have heard it at least twice and their partner is sick to death of hearing it. Unfortunately, I don’t have another story to tell about my catchers and this is my site so here it is.
A Catching Journey
I have night terrors, I always have. When I was a kid I would sleep walk, dangerously. Once I jumped off of my top bunk and was screaming and crying in the corner of the room – my mom tells me that story, I don’t remember it.
When I was a little older, the sleep walking (mostly) stopped but my nightmares became pretty consistent (often times reoccurring) and I developed insomnia – it actually turns out that this is a family trait that I inherited from my dad but my insomnia came along with my preteen adolescence phase and I couldn’t possibly lower myself to speak with my family about the two hours of sleep I had, had the day before without my feigned bitchiness being called out for what it was – exhaustion.
I was probably 11 (I am really bad with time, I could have been 8 or 13 for all I know, but lets say 11) when I started making catchers. One day I was sort of just called to it. My family is pretty crafty so I probably just walked up to my mom and said, “I think I want to make a dreamcatcher” and she was probably like, “okay, go grab that big bag in the closet.”
I like to say that I dreamt this idea or that I was looking at a spider web when I had the idea but I really don’t know at this point. I grew up in a township that has 13,000 people in a 35 square mile radius so I was spending a lot of time in the forest looking at spider webs and bugs and plants and a lot of time coming up with things to do to entertain myself. I really think I just fell into this artwork because I was so desperate for any solution to my nightmares and I really, really wanted good sleep.
The first catcher I ever made was out of a wooden purse strap and wax string. It had no pattern and it isn’t very pretty. It’s hanging in my parent’s house, I look at it sometimes when I go home and I still feel that desperate energy of, “please, work – please just work.”
It didn’t work.
Well, I shouldn’t say that because the art of self-taught crafting made me learn to have patience with myself and my own processes and that taught me how to sit in a meditative state, even during the most frustrating moments (like when your string tangles for NO reason and you’re sitting for an hour trying to untie it). BUT that dreamcatcher didn’t catch my dreams. In fact, they got increasingly more problematic, even as I taught myself different processes of how to drift calmly to sleep at night – that’s a different thing that I’m happy to write a different article about.
When I was at my wits end, I decided that instead of retreating, getting scared and waking up, I needed to push harder into my dreams if I was ever going to make my peace. Well, that started it all. I started lucid dreaming and having deeper connections with my reoccuring ones. Slowly, very slowly, the dreams that I had thought of as nightmares, started becoming adventures. I learned how to manipulate my dreams and how to problem solve with my logical brain while I was in the dream world.
Then I started dreaming about healing and saving other people. When I started having shared dreams with people close to me, I knew I was tapping into something bigger.
At this point, I decided that I need to be able to choose to go to other realms in my dreams. In college, I found my way into Faerie – which is another tangent I could talk about forever. Faerie opened me up a whole new type of possibilities with the dream work. I started to ask questions and receive answers. I started focusing on other people and being able to find their strings to follow.
Throughout this entire time, I never made myself another dreamcatcher, but I made them for other people when I could. My main lesson is that when it comes to catchers, especially when you’re learning, the key to creating them is to do it intuitively. You can’t force it and it has to happen in it’s own timeline.
I found an ally last year in Mugwort and finally made myself a dreamcatcher suited to my own needs. It works beautifully. I still dream almost nightly but I’m not afraid of it anymore and it helps me to find clarity in the work that I’m doing. I have continued to develop my fascination for spiderwebs and have recently been spending time in the forest on what I can ‘recognizance missions’ to see different ways that spiders weave and how to incorporate it into my own work.
When I make catchers now, I spend time with each person in the day time and the dream time following their string and observing their dream space. I have an alter/workspace by my bed that I fashion around each person that I work with. Sometimes making a catcher takes a week and sometimes it takes a day. Sometimes I can’t call them in at all and sometimes they find me in my dreams and share bits of information that I wasn’t expecting. Every catcher is different and they’re all very personal to each special soul.
I think my favorite part is when I get to sit down and chat with everyone about what I found in their space and the little quirks in their catchers, songs that popped up, visions or mantras that I found myself chanting. It happens without fail that there’s something about those songs or quirks that call people to trust my catcher and to hang it on their walls.
Here are some examples of my work. The first one is my personal catcher. I’m terrible at remembering to take photos of them before I give them away, but I’m trying to get a few more photos to share here for you.
If you’re interested in a catcher, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk about trading 🙂