≡ Menu

Day 18: The Dreamcatcher (Inspired by Neem Leaves)

Dream catcher Zentangle Leaf Feathers Art

Today’s leaf art is specially for Pari, and for every child on this earth. Want to know why? Because I made this Dreamcatcher that will help them go to sleep peacefully. :-) Yes, the dream catcher comes from the Native American heritage and the belief is that the Dreamcatcher will sift through the dreams of a child letting all the positive dreams filter through while the bad ones will get caught in the hole in the centre and disintegrate. Thus, the child sleeps without disturbance smiling at his/her good dreams filling the night air around. What a beautiful folk practice, isn’t it?

Since this art is exclusively for children, I dug out related resources for them to indulge in – Dreamcatcher craft, story books etc. that you can share with your child. So, check out the rest of the post.

And hey, you may ask how dreamcatcher and Neem leaf is related. Well – it is! It IS! Come on now, read up the rest of the story… :-)

The Dreamcatcher Folk Legend and Belief

So, the Dreamcatcher originated among the Ojibwa tribe in North America. And, here’s the legend (a beautiful story) that you’ll love to read and share with your child. There’s an illustrated book called The Grandmother’s Dreamcatcher that you may also get from your library or purchase. It shares the story behind how the Dreamcatcher originated.

The early Dreamcatchers were made with the branch of a Willow tree by bending it into a round frame. The frame was woven forming a net – to trap the bad dreams. From the lower rim of the frame, they hung feathers and other natural things. They believed that the bad dreams will be trapped while the good dreams will drip through the feathers and leaves and reach the child.

Disjointed Stories, One Coherent Tale

I can’t believe how the East and the West can merge beautifully without making much effort. And, infact, how diverse episodes and seemingly disjointed stories from life can connect with each other to make one coherent tale.

Last couple of months, Pari has been waking up in the middle of the night scared by bad dreams. When this happens, she has no sense of who we are; where she is etc. She looks utterly terrified and it takes at least 30-40 minutes to calm her down and bring her back to senses. I’m not sure why this started. She and I always talk positive and lovely things before we go to sleep. She likes to think up songs, listen to soothing music.

Nevertheless, all this triggered the idea of making a dreamcatcher for her. I’d seen this on many American art/kids blogs that I follow. I’ve collected feathers and rainbow coloured wool etc to make. But, before that comes the painting.

Why My Neem Leaf on the Dreamcatcher?

Can it be a mere coincidence that as I thought about painting the Dreamcatcher, I suddenly felt like doing the Neem leaves. As some of you may know – Neem holds a very pious and exalted position among all other trees in India. It’s called the Sarvaroghari or the rescuer from all diseases. The Neem has not just a plethora of medicinal uses but also religious and spiritual significance.

Dream Catcher Zentangle Feather Leaf Art

So, for my nature walk yesterday, I focused on the Neem.

neem leaves Trees of Delhi

According to Trees of Delhi, the leaves of Neem are feather-compound, long, crowded at the ends of twigs. A leaf has 4-8 pairs of pointy leaflets with a solitary terminal leaflet (sometimes missing).The leaflets are slightly curved with toothed margins. New leaves start out a subtle tint of pink, darkening to a shiny green.

neem leaf close view Trees Delhi

The bark of Neem is thick, rough. Outer bark dark greyish brown, scabby and riven with vertical furrows. It grows more flaky with age.

Rufous brown on the inside.

neem wood from inside

Found this felled tree trunk during my nature walk. Sad to see the tree lying cut like that. When I asked the fellow who did it, he said it was interfering with an electricity pole…

And a close-up view of the Dreamcatcher zentangle.

Dream Catcher Zentangle Artwork Feather Leaves

Dreamcatcher Zentangle Art

How to Make Dreamcatchers with Kids

  1. Here’s one that you can make along with your child using branches.
  2. This one is beautiful and simple – using embroidery hoop, lace and beads.
  3. This page has whole lot of resources related to Dreamcatchers


If you’ve not seen the Day 17 Leaf Art – Elements of the Earth, check it out.

I need help sustaining this blog…

Dear blog readers – It’s been exactly eight years now that I’ve been writing on this blog! Yes, eight long years and hundreds of articles. From art, creativity and learning; to food, health, gardening, travel, sustainable and mindful living, natural birth. In our un-schooling life, as we go on introspecting, questioning and evolving, I’ve strived to share our stories and experiences with as much honesty, care and sincerity as possible.

I spend hours writing an article – and often write and rewrite many times before it rings true to me and sounds worthy of your time to read.

The most important thing for me is to keep this blogging endeavour authentic and true to my values. This blog has been my sacred space to express, share, feel empowered and contribute. Hence, I do not like to support businesses that don’t align with my values. So far, I’ve rarely taken sponsorship from brands and companies. I haven’t placed any ads on my blog, though there have been multiple offers.

Infact, I’d like to keep this blog ad free unless something truly meaningful comes across.
Yet, there’s a cost to running this blog. The basic cost of keeping the domain alive, and hosting all this content on. I spend roughly INR 10,000 (USD 173) just to keep this blog up and running. So, I need to cover this cost. Plus, it’d be nice to bring in some income for our family of four. And, this is where I request your support.

If you find my articles and stories useful or inspiring at some level, please help me sustain. Starting from 1 dollar or 100 rupees to whatever you can, do consider donating for the content I share; for my intention and the time and effort I put. Your support will go a long way in keeping this blog (of 8+ years) sparkling with stories for many more years to come. Thank you, dear ones. I’ll value what you’ll gift with love and kindness. :-)

International readers: Donate using PayPal

Help me sustain

Readers in India: Donate here

Help me sustain

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anuradha Shankar August 20, 2013, 8:06 pm

    lovely post, Rashmie, and wonderful art as usual!!!!! loved this one and just had to comment because I have heard of ‘dreamcatchers’, but didnt know about them. so thanks so much for all that detailed info and that beautiful story!!! and one last thing… the neem is indeed appropriate for such a thought.. after all, we believe it keeps bad spirits away!!!! but also, the tobacco leaf (the whole leaf… the plant is known by another name too, but cant remember what) is also considered a good antidote to bad dreams. in our house,a whole leaf kept under the pillow is said to assure a good night’s sleep.. dont know if it really works, but have heard of this being used often in our family, since there are lots of us who have the habit of talking in our sleep :D

    • Rashmie August 27, 2013, 12:19 pm

      Sorry for the late reply, dear. Your message has been on my mind and wanted to write back sooner but these days it’s been such a whirlwind of days! 6 more days to go and I’ll find more time to reply promptly to the mails etc. :-)
      I didn’t know about tobacco leaves – that they help for a good night’s sleep. Talking in sleep – haha! – I guess you all have so much to express… :-)