Decoding the Meaning: What does the Dreamcatcher Tattoo Symbolize?

The dreamcatcher tattoo is one of the most popular designs out there, oftentimes representing more than just an art piece. You may have seen someone with this stunning ink on their body, but have you ever wondered what it symbolizes? In Native American culture, dreamcatchers were originally created to bring good dreams and filter out bad ones, free of nightmares and other negative thoughts. It’s no wonder why people are so drawn to this design, as it offers a sense of peace and tranquility in an otherwise chaotic world.

While it’s easy to assume that people get dreamcatcher tattoos purely for the aesthetic, many take on the meaning behind it. People often use this design to symbolize their ability to look past negativity and focus on positivism in their lives. Alternatively, it may also represent a safe space for the wearer, somewhere they can retreat to for comfort and solitude. Perhaps it’s a reminder to keep an open mind and continue to explore their spirituality. Whatever the meaning behind it, it’s undeniable that the dreamcatcher is a captivating tattoo that sees no end to its popularity.

However, it’s worth noting that cultural appropriation is a sensitive topic when it comes to Native American designs. While the dreamcatcher has been widely popularized in mainstream culture, it’s important to remain respectful and mindful of the significance it holds to the communities it originated from. Nevertheless, it’s easy to see why people are drawn to incorporating the dreamcatcher into their tattoos, as it not only serves as a timeless piece of art but also carries a deeper meaning that can inspire the wearer for years to come.

History of the dreamcatcher symbol

The dreamcatcher is a powerful symbol that has been around for centuries. The Native American culture is said to have originated the dreamcatcher. The dreamcatcher is a woven web that catches and filters out bad dreams, allowing only good dreams to pass through to the sleeper. The bad dreams are caught in the web, and as the sun rises, they are burned away. This ensures that the person sleeping under the dreamcatcher is protected from the negativity of the bad dreams.

  • The dreamcatcher originated from the Ojibwe tribe in North America. According to their legend, a spider woman named Asibikaashi was watching over and protecting the tribe’s children. However, as the tribe grew and migrated across the country, Asibikaashi could no longer protect all the children under her watchful eye. To help her out, the tribe started weaving dreamcatchers with Asibikaashi’s pattern to hang above their beds.
  • The dreamcatcher then spread to other Native American tribes, each adopting their own unique style and purpose.
  • As time went on, the dreamcatcher became a symbol of protection, especially for children and those who were experiencing nightmares or difficult times.

Native American Origins of the Dreamcatcher

The dreamcatcher is a Native American talisman that has been widely adopted as a decorative item and a tattoo design across the world. The dreamcatcher is considered to be a protective amulet that filters out bad dreams and negative energy, allowing pleasant and peaceful dreams to pass through. Its origins can be traced back to the Ojibwe tribe of Native Americans, who have a rich history and culture of spiritual beliefs.

  • The Ojibwe people believe that dreams are a reflection of an individual’s innermost desires and emotions, which is why they place great importance on the symbolism of their dreams. Dreams are seen as a means of communication with the spiritual world and are believed to hold valuable insights and revelations.
  • The dreamcatcher was created by the Ojibwe people to protect children from nightmares and ensure that they have undisturbed and peaceful sleep. The design of the dreamcatcher consists of a hoop, traditionally made of willow wood, with a woven web in the center and feathers hanging from the bottom.
  • The web is meant to capture and trap bad dreams, while the feathers act as a soft ladder for good dreams to glide down into the sleeper’s mind. The dreamcatcher is typically hung above the bed or near the sleeping area, and it is believed that as the morning light touches the feathers, the bad dreams are dissolved and disappear with the new day.

The dreamcatcher is an integral part of the Ojibwe’s spiritual practices and beliefs, and it has become a symbol of the Native American culture as a whole. The dreamcatcher has been adopted by other tribes to represent the same ideals of protection, healing, and connection to the spiritual world.

The dreamcatcher tattoo has become a popular design among people who want to embrace the symbolism and cultural significance of the dreamcatcher. From small, subtle designs to intricate and colorful compositions, the dreamcatcher tattoo is a beautiful and meaningful way to connect with the Native American origins of this iconic symbol.

Significance of the web in dreamcatcher design

The web is the most recognizable part of the dreamcatcher design, and it holds a significant meaning in the spiritual beliefs behind it. The web’s delicate but intricate pattern is meant to act as a filter for negative thoughts and dreams, allowing only positive energy to flow through and enter the dreamer’s mind.

The web is typically made from a hoop of willow wood or sinew, with a woven pattern that resembles a spider’s web. The number of points in the web can vary, with three or more being the most common. The web is then adorned with feathers, beads, and other decorations, which are said to enhance its spiritual power.

  • Three points: Three is a sacred number in many cultures, and in dreamcatcher design, it represents the three stages of life: birth, life, and death. The three points can also symbolize the three main parts of the self: the mind, body, and spirit.
  • Four points: Four is another sacred number, representing the four directions: north, south, east, and west. It can also represent the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water.
  • Five points: Five is a powerful number in many spiritual traditions, representing balance and harmony. In dreamcatcher design, the five points can symbolize the five fingers, toes, senses, and elements.

In addition to the number of points, the shape of the web can also hold significance. A round web is said to represent the circle of life, while a tear-shaped web can represent the tears shed along life’s journey.

Number of Points Symbolic Meaning
Three Birth, life, and death
Four North, south, east, and west; earth, air, fire, and water
Five Balance and harmony; five fingers, toes, senses, and elements

Overall, the web in dreamcatcher design represents a powerful spiritual filter, designed to capture negative thoughts and dreams and allow only positive energy to flow through. The number of points, shape of the web, and other decorations that adorn it can all hold additional symbolic meanings, making the dreamcatcher tattoo a deeply personal and meaningful design for many individuals.

Different Types of Feathers Used in Dreamcatcher Tattoos

The feathers used in dreamcatcher tattoos are an essential element of the design. Each feather has its own unique symbolism and can change the meaning of the dreamcatcher tattoo altogether.

  • Eagle Feather: Eagle feathers are considered sacred in many Native American cultures. The majestic eagle represents strength, courage, and freedom, making it a popular choice for dreamcatcher tattoos.
  • Owl Feather: Owls are often associated with wisdom, intuition, and mystery. Including an owl feather in a dreamcatcher tattoo can symbolize an understanding of the spiritual world and the ability to navigate through it.
  • Peacock Feather: Peacock feathers are known for their vibrant colors and beauty. They can symbolize confidence, self-expression, and the ability to stand out in a crowd.

It’s important to consider the meaning behind the feathers when choosing which ones to include in your dreamcatcher tattoo. Different feathers can be combined to create a more personalized and meaningful design.

To give you an idea of how feathers can impact the design of a dreamcatcher tattoo, here is a table outlining some common combinations:

Feather Combination Meaning
Eagle + Owl Strength, courage, wisdom, and intuition
Owl + Peacock Intuition, self-expression, and standing out
Eagle + Peacock Strength, courage, self-expression, and standing out

As you can see, the feathers used in dreamcatcher tattoos can add a deeper level of meaning to the design. Whether you choose a single feather or a combination of them, make sure it reflects your personality and beliefs.

The Meaning of Dreamcatcher Colors

The colors used in a dreamcatcher tattoo design can hold significant meaning to the wearer. Here is a breakdown of what each color symbolizes:

  • Black: represents the darkness, the unknown, and the mysteries of life.
  • White: symbolizes purity, innocence, and spirituality.
  • Red: signifies passion, love, and strong emotions.
  • Blue: represents peace, tranquility, and harmony.
  • Yellow: signifies happiness, joy, and the sun.

It’s common for dreamcatcher tattoos to incorporate multiple colors, each with its own symbolic significance.

Dreamcatcher Tattoo Placement and Symbolism

Dreamcatcher tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why- they’re visually striking and full of cultural significance. The dreamcatcher is a traditional Native American object that was originally used to protect the sleeper’s dreams from negative spirits or thoughts.

If you’re considering getting a dreamcatcher tattoo, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to placement and symbolism.


The placement of your dreamcatcher tattoo can have a significant impact on its meaning. Here are a few common placements and what they might represent:

  • Shoulder Blade: This is a popular spot for dreamcatcher tattoos and can represent protection or strength.
  • Upper Arm: Tattoos on the upper arm can symbolize perseverance or progress.
  • Wrist: A dreamcatcher tattoo on the wrist can be a reminder to stay mindful and present in the moment.
  • Ankle: This placement is often associated with freedom or the journey of life.


Beyond placement, the individual elements of your dreamcatcher tattoo can also carry symbolic meaning:

  • Hoop: The hoop of the dreamcatcher represents the circle of life and the interconnectedness of all things.
  • Webs: The web of the dreamcatcher symbolizes the protection of the sleeper’s dreams and filtering out negativity.
  • Feathers: Feathers are often incorporated into dreamcatcher designs and represent spirituality and a connection to nature.
  • Beads: Beads can be used to add color or personal significance to a dreamcatcher tattoo. They may also represent a physical manifestation of a dream or goal.

Number 6

Another element that can be incorporated into dreamcatcher tattoos is the number 6. In many Native American cultures, the number 6 represents harmony, balance, and stability. It is also believed to have healing properties and can be associated with the six directions (north, south, east, west, up, and down).

Element Symbolism
Hoop Circle of life, interconnectedness
Webs Protection, filtering out negativity
Feathers Spirituality, connection to nature
Beads Personal significance, manifestation of dreams/goals
Number 6 Harmony, balance, stability, healing properties

Ultimately, the meaning behind your dreamcatcher tattoo is up to you. It can be a powerful reminder of the things that matter most to you, whether that’s personal growth, spiritual connection, or simply staying true to yourself.

Incorporating animals into dreamcatcher designs

Dreamcatcher tattoos have become increasingly popular across different cultures in recent years. They’re not only great for customizing your individual style, but the designs hold meaning to many who choose to get inked. Incorporating animals into dreamcatcher designs can add an additional layer of symbolism, especially if the animals hold meaning to you.

  • Birds: Represent freedom, wisdom, and guidance. Many dreamcatcher designs incorporate feathers, which symbolize the ability to take flight and soar to new heights.
  • Wolves: Wolves are often used in dreamcatcher designs to symbolize loyalty, strength, and family values. It’s a reminder to stay true to yourself and protect the ones you love.
  • Bears: Bears represent bravery and healing, as they are often associated with medicine in Native American culture. Incorporating a bear in your dreamcatcher design can act as a reminder to stay strong during tough times.

When choosing an animal to incorporate into your dreamcatcher tattoo, it’s important to understand the symbolism and meaning behind the animal in different cultures. Here are a few additional animals and their meanings:

Animal Symbolism
Butterflies Change, transformation, and growth.
Owls Wisdom, intuition, and mystery.
Elephants Strength, loyalty, and good luck.
Deer Gentleness, grace, and sensitivity.

Whether you’re interested in a dreamcatcher tattoo for its aesthetic appeal or deeper symbolic meaning, incorporating animals can add significance and additional layers of interpretation. With such a wide range of animals and their meanings, there’s sure to be one that speaks to you and your individual journey through life.

Dreamcatcher tattoos and spirituality

The dreamcatcher tattoo has been gaining popularity in recent years as more individuals are drawn to its symbolic meaning. Many people opt to get this tattoo not only for its aesthetic value but also for its spiritual significance.

What does the dreamcatcher tattoo symbolize?

  • The dreamcatcher symbolizes protection and the ability to ward off negativity from dreams and nightmares.
  • It is believed that the dreamcatcher filters out bad dreams and allows only positive dreams to pass through, which will then be remembered by the individual.
  • The feathers in the dreamcatcher hold the symbolism of air, which represents freedom of thought, intuition, and communication.
  • The web in the center of the dreamcatcher represents the circle of life, and is often seen as a symbol of unity among all living beings.

The Number 8 in Dreamcatcher Tattoos

The number 8 is often included in dreamcatcher tattoos as it is considered to be a highly spiritual number in many cultures. In numerology, the number 8 represents infinity, balance, and strength. It is seen as a powerful symbol of endurance and positive energy.

When the number 8 is incorporated into a dreamcatcher tattoo, it can represent protection against negative energy and promoting a balance of positive energy in one’s life. It can also be a reminder to stay strong and endure through difficult times, as the number 8 symbolizes resilience and determination.

Symbolism of Number 8 in Different Cultures Meaning
Chinese Prosperity
Hebrew New beginnings and regeneration
Mayan Eternity and immortality
Native American Balance, cycles, and harmony

Overall, dreamcatcher tattoos serve as a reminder to stay positive and protect oneself from negativity. Incorporating the number 8 into the tattoo design can add an extra layer of spiritual significance and promote balance and strength in one’s life.

Modern Interpretations of the Dreamcatcher Symbol

As a highly symbolic and culturally significant object, the dreamcatcher has gained a renewed popularity in recent years, especially in the world of tattoos. Today, the dreamcatcher tattoo is often chosen for its aesthetic appeal and personal meaning. Let’s take a closer look at the modern interpretations of the dreamcatcher symbol, particularly when it comes to the number 9.

  • The number 9 is often associated with completion and fulfillment. This interpretation ties in well with the purpose of dreamcatchers, which is to catch and filter out negative dreams and energies, leaving only positive and fulfilling experiences for the dreamer.
  • Additionally, some people believe that the number 9 represents spiritual growth and enlightenment. The intricate web of the dreamcatcher is thought to symbolize the interconnectedness of all things in the universe, and the number 9 reinforces this notion.
  • In numerology, the number 9 is also considered a powerful and mystical number. Those who choose to incorporate this number into their dreamcatcher tattoos may be seeking to tap into this magical energy, or to enhance their spiritual connection to the universe.

When it comes to dreamcatcher tattoos, there are many variations and interpretations to choose from. Whether you choose to incorporate the number 9 or another symbolic element, the most important thing is that your tattoo holds personal significance and represents your individual journey through life.

If you’re interested in learning more about dreamcatcher symbolism or want to explore other tattoo designs, be sure to consult with a reputable tattoo artist and do your research beforehand.

Cultural appropriation and controversy surrounding dreamcatcher tattoos

Dreamcatchers are an important symbol in Native American cultures, specifically the Ojibwe Nation. These sacred objects were traditionally made to catch and filter out bad dreams, while allowing good ones to pass through. However, the popularity of dreamcatcher tattoos has led to concerns of cultural appropriation and disrespect towards Native American culture.

  • Cultural appropriation: The adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of another culture, often without permission or understanding of the meaning behind it. When non-Native Americans get dreamcatcher tattoos, it is viewed as a form of cultural appropriation because they are taking a culturally important symbol without understanding its context or significance.
  • Lack of respect: To Native American communities, dreamcatchers are more than just a pretty design. They hold spiritual significance and respect towards these objects is important. Using them solely for aesthetic purposes can be seen as disrespectful and trivializes their cultural significance.
  • Misunderstanding the symbol: Many people who get dreamcatcher tattoos may not understand the symbolism behind them, leading to a misrepresentation of the symbol and Native American culture as a whole.

The issue of cultural appropriation is not limited to dreamcatcher tattoos, but extends to other Native American symbols and practices. It is important to be respectful and mindful when considering getting any tattoo that has cultural implications. Being educated on the significance and history behind a symbol is crucial in understanding whether or not its use is appropriate.

In order to combat cultural appropriation, some people suggest seeking out Native American artists for tattoos that utilize cultural symbols. Additionally, educating oneself on the history and significance of a symbol can help to prevent misrepresentation and disrespect towards Native American culture.

Key Takeaways:
· Dreamcatchers are sacred objects in Native American cultures, specifically the Ojibwe Nation, designed to catch and filter out bad dreams while allowing good ones to pass through.
· The popularity of dreamcatcher tattoos has led to concerns of cultural appropriation and disrespect towards Native American culture.
· Getting dreamcatcher tattoos without understanding the symbolism and significance behind them can be seen as disrespectful and trivializing of Native American culture.
· Some ways to combat cultural appropriation include seeking out Native American artists for tattoos that utilize cultural symbols and educating oneself on the history and significance of symbols.

FAQs about What Does the Dreamcatcher Tattoo Symbolize

1) What is a dreamcatcher?

A dreamcatcher is a traditional Native American ornament or object that is believed to filter out bad dreams and allow only good dreams to enter the mind of the person sleeping.

2) What does a dreamcatcher tattoo symbolize?

A dreamcatcher tattoo symbolizes protection, guidance, and spiritual connection. It is believed that the tattoo can help the person wearing it be guided in their dreams and offer protection against negative energies.

3) Is a dreamcatcher tattoo only for Native Americans?

No, anyone can get a dreamcatcher tattoo. While it is a traditional Native American symbol, it has become popular among people of all cultures as a symbol of protection and spirituality.

4) Where is the most common place to get a dreamcatcher tattoo?

The most common place to get a dreamcatcher tattoo is on the upper arm, back, or thigh. However, it really depends on personal preference and the size of the tattoo.

5) What are some variations of the dreamcatcher tattoo?

Some variations of the dreamcatcher tattoo include incorporating feathers, birds, flowers, or other spiritual symbols. The design and colors can also be customized to make the tattoo unique.

6) What is the meaning behind the feathers in a dreamcatcher tattoo?

Feathers in a dreamcatcher tattoo typically symbolize the connection between the dreamer and their spirit guides. They may also represent freedom, courage, or the ability to fly above negative energies.

7) Are there any negative meanings associated with a dreamcatcher tattoo?

No, there are no negative meanings associated with a dreamcatcher tattoo. However, it is important to respect the cultural significance behind the symbol and its history.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know more about what a dreamcatcher tattoo symbolizes, you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right tattoo for you. Remember, a dreamcatcher tattoo can be a powerful symbol of protection, guidance, and spirituality. Thank you for reading and be sure to check back for more articles on tattoos and their meanings.