Sometimes things are right in front of you and we tend to see them at a shallow level. I have admired and loved the way a suncatcher captures light, then sends it along in a beautiful way, the light shining through and creating nearly transparent color that spills onto surfaces, the flecks of light scattering around a room, not just reflecting light but letting light flow through it to project light somewhere else.
Recently I have been working on a couple of beautiful stained glass sun catchers. As I was going through the process of making them, I started to think a little bit about them and wondered who, how, where, when…... Did you know there are myths, traditions, legends, magic, and stories behind suncatchers?
Suncatchers or light catchers, small reflective pieces of glass were first believed to have been made by Southwest American Indians and are considered similar to dream catchers and wind mobiles. The Native American dreamcatchers or ‘sacred hoops’ were traditionally used as talismans to protect sleeping people, usually children, from bad dreams and nightmares. Native Americans believe that the night air is filled with dreams, both good and bad. When hung above the bed in a place where the morning sunlight can hit it, the dream catcher attracts and catches all sorts of dreams and thoughts into its webs. Good dreams pass through and gently slide down the feathers to comfort the sleeper below. Bad dreams, however, are caught up in its protective net and destroyed, burned up in the light of day.
Similarly wind mobiles have a healing effect on our body, calm our minds, and awaken our spirits. The resonance and vibration of sound releases stress and emotional blockages in the body and calms the mind thereby expanding conscious awareness and connection with the spirit bringing in a sense of peace and well-being.
According to a Native American legend, at one time the Ojibwa people lived together in a place called Turtle Island. An Ojibwa spirit Asibikaashi, also called Spider Woman took care of her people there. Legend says that she brought the sun to them each morning. Before long, the tribe grew. They soon moved away from the island and became "scattered to the four winds." Thereafter there was no way Spider Woman could bring the sun to her people every day, so she spun a web to catch the sun's rays for her scattered people. Later, mothers and grandmothers helped her out by weaving suncatchers. The circular webs were placed above the heads of sleeping children. The suncatchers were said to also chase away bad dreams, burning them away with the light of the sun.
Here are my suncatchers hanging in my studio, bringing in colored light and spilling in onto my work surface. They twirl around with the breeze, bringing me rays of happiness and bright energy and staring at the play of light throughout the day calms my mind.