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The Legend of the Dreamcatcher – a Lakota story, North-America

Long ago, when the world was young, a Lakota spiritual leader placed himself on top of a high mountain, lay a willow hoop around him and dressed himself with silence. While he was sitting there - at one with nature - a vision came to him. The great trickster and teacher of wisdom - Iktomi -  appeared in the form of a spider and spoke to him in a sacred language. He listened with great care, for only spiritual leaders of the Lakota could understand these words.

As Iktomi spoke, he took the elder's willow hoop - which had feathers, horse hair, beads and offerings on it - and began to spin a web inside the hoop. Whilst doing so, Iktomi shared with the elder all about the cycles of life and how we begin our lives as infants. We then move on to childhood and in to adulthood, until finally we come to old age where we must be taken care of as though we were infants again; thus completing the cycle.

"But," Iktomi said, "in each time of life there are many forces - some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you on the right path. But, if you listen to the bad forces, they will hurt you and drive you in the wrong direction." He continued, "There will be many forces! Some can help with the harmony of nature, others will interfere with it.".

All the while the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web ... starting from the outside and working towards the centre. When Iktomi had finished speaking, he gave the Lakota elder the hoop with the web inside and said, "See, the web is a perfect circle with a hole in the centre. "Use the web with great care and discipline. Only then it will help you and your people. It will catch your good thoughts and bad energy will slip away through the hole.".

The Lakota elder passed this vision on to his people. Parents and grandparents started to recreate these webs for their families and named them: Dreamcatchers. Lakota believe the dreamcatcher holds the destiny of our future, whilst evil forces escape through the centre's hole and will no longer be part of our lives…

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