The Meaning of Dreamcatcher Tattoos and Why You Should Get One

Why don’t you get a beautiful dreamcatcher tattoo, so you can keep the nice dreams, and shoo away the bad ones? Discover the origin of the dreamcatcher tattoo and its true meaning.

They exist in a variety of different patterns and colors, and they may be decorated with images of birds, animals, beads, crystals, arrowheads and other symbols.

However, before deciding to take this long-term decision for your body, take a look at the origin of a dreamcatcher, and why it is one of the most meaningful tattoos.


The dreamcatcher has its origins in the Native American Culture. It is believed that the Anishinabe people were the first to create it.

The Anishinabe are Native American tribes who originally lived at the border of the North-Central United States and Southern Canada. Their name means original people, which is how they called themselves. They were also known as Chippewa people in America, and Ojibwa in Canada.

Spider Woman Legend


According to the Anishinabe people, the Spider Woman used to travel around all the time, to visit cradles of the newborn babies. She had the power to weave magical webs above cradleboards, which supposed to protect the infants from bad dreams, and allow the nice ones to enter their sleep.

However, as the tribe expanded, and people migrated, she had difficulty to reach all the newborns in time. For this reason, women of the tribe took over, and started creating their own dreamcatchers to protect the babies.

These dreamcatchers were made of natural materials, and didn’t last long, and they were regularly replaced by the new ones, in order to accompany the baby through his or her next life cycle.

Basic Dreamcatcher Pattern


A dreamcatcher is a round wooden hoop that contains a loose string web with a hole in the center, and feathers hanging from the webbing. Nice dreams travel through the hole into the sleeper’s mind, while the bad ones, as well as nightmares, are trapped inside the web permanently.

  • Feathers are usually attached to the dreamcatcher to entertain babies, but they have a deeper meaning. A feather stands for breath and air, which are essential for life. Hung up on the wooden hook of the dreamcatcher, a feather also helps the nice dreams to slip down into the baby’s dream world.
  • It is believed that each movement of the feathers announces the arrival, and the passage of a new beautiful, and peaceful dream.
  • Different feathers can be used to adorn the dreamcatcher. However, Owl is a woman’s feather and it is kept to achieve wisdom, while Eagle is a man’s feather that represents courage.
  • Some tribes make dreamcatchers that have eight points, which are associated with the eight legs of the Spider Woman.
  • Incorporating only one gemstone into the dreamcatcher is meant to show that there is only one, and true, creator in the web of life. Four gemstones, instead, represent the four ordinal directions.

Dreamcatcher Tattoo Meanings


Dreamcatcher tattoos are very common among Native Americans, both men and women. They represent the symbol of their rich cultural heritage, and at the same time they keep negative and evil energies away. They protect the person who wears them against nightmares and bad dreams, while helping nice and joyful dreams to enter his or her mind.

Do you have a dreamcatcher tattoo, or are you perhaps planning to get one? Share your thoughts, and tattoos with us in the comment section below, and in the meantime… have sweet dreams!


Cover photo:

About the author


Jessica is a translator who has lived for many years in Asia and South America. She now lives and works in Europe, while preparing her new journeys. She enjoys traveling, meeting new people, exploring different cultures and foods, and being in love.


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  • I have an owl tattoo, i just got a dreamcatcher tattoo surrounding the owl, it looks pretty badass, could you tell me what you think that would symbolize. Thank you

  • I am wanting to get a dream catcher tatoo on my side (good size) and am so excited. My father had some indian in him and died before I was able to get more info. about him. I have had a very hard life full of real life nightmares and feel like this would be a good way to work off some stress and find release in the midst of not only the drawing of the tattoo but in the act of getting it. I am a christian and love my God and this is a way to adore my body respectfully. I pray it allows me to heal some old wounds and subconciously I know it will help me in the long run. I find that symbolism like that found in crosses and dream catchers allow us all to heal and protect us all in one form or another.

    • The dream catcher is not like the cross. The dream catcher “catches” bad energy and holds it. It needs to be purified by sunlight. This is why it should not be hung in a dark place and was never meant to be on the body. It is a creation of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) people and not a universal native symbol. it is okay to hang one in a place exposed to natural light.

    • I’m a Christian as we’ll and completely agree to your belief thank you for your comment

    • I have had problems with night terrors and disturbing dreams most of my life. I got a dream catcher tattooed on the back of my neck to help channel positive energy, and inspire peace. At first it was merely symbolic to me, but in the three years I have had the tattoo I have seen my nightmares decrease exponentially. I think it helps keep me mindful of my spirituality on a conscious and subconscious level.

    • Don’t do that! Dream catcher tattoos bring bad luck and bad vibes into your body, look it up on google

  • I want to get a dreamcatcher straight down my spine and it has an owl perched on it and many rings could you tell me what that means?

    • it means that you do not understand what a dream catcher is for. It is not meant to be a tattoo. It is a filter in a sense for negative energy. It is not something you want on your body.

      • lollllll if it’s a filter for bad energy , why wouldn’t you want it on your body? The morning sunlight melts the bad dreams away.. there is always some happiness in life. The sun always rises.

      • Shane stop commenting on everyone’s post. If they want to get a dream catcher tattoo its up to them. Its none of your business to tell them what it means or to tell them you think it’s wrong for them to get it. It’s their choice not your so stop.

  • i am wanting to get a dream catcher tattoo that represents my uncle who died was just wondering how could i get it to represent him, like is there a certain amount of feathers or the size of the web i heard that 7 beads means a star is that true? because that could represent him as a star in the sky

    • I have a beautiful dreamcatcher on my left thigh. As Im a maori frm new zealand I have my traditional maori design around it. For me the dreamcatcher keeps the bad away n lets gud in. maori design represents each of myn 3 sons and 2 gradson

      • I think that’s beautiful. I have just designed one its a humming bird with its feathers creating the circle and a sunflower also on the side. The sunflower represents my mum but it also always turns itself towards the sun it always goes for the warmth an light

    • You could an eagle feather in it as they are usually meant for men. From what I have heard, the 7 beads could represent the 7 fires prophecies in Native American legends.

  • I got a dream catcher tattooed on me today & I got it on the inside on my upper arm its got a big circle & a small one underneath & four feathers what does that dream catcher mean?xx

    • Hi, i’m just about to get the same sort of tattoo as you. could you possibly send me a picture through?

      many thanks in advance.

  • I want to get a dream catcher tattoo on the back of my left shoulder since I am part native and I always had and liked dream catchers, but I have a question that I really want to have answered before I get it. So when you have a dream catcher you are supposed to clear it every now and then so that the bad spirits and bad dreams disappear to let space for new ones to get caught, if I get a dream catcher tattoo that means I can really clear it, would that end up giving bad dreams and bad luck or does it not count since it is a tattoo? I know this is a weird question but please help me answer it thanks :)

    • I believe that if you let sunlight touch your tattoo it will wash away the bad dreams as that how it works with real dreamcatchers.

  • Hi, my next tatoo is a dreamcatcher, but not sure on the design… please can you send my various dreamcatcher designs?

    Thank you

  • I’m not native but I really like dream catcher tattoos and I think they are beautiful also I love how each feather symbolizes something and I would love to get one but would it be offensive since I’m not native American??

  • I have a large dream catcher on my back. The circle is in an image of a snake and at the bottom the snake bites it’s tail forming a full circle. In the middle of the spiderweb there are beads and there is a bear paw that represents my sons spirit animal. Mine is the snake. I have a large feather next to a smaller feather( two feathers side by side) connected to the bottom.

    I designed this tatto and got it on the middle of my back not too long after I lost my son. The two feathers( for me) represent father and son. His father is the grandchild of a tribe chief in Unalaska, Alaska. So my son is Alaskan native and very special.. Still alive but not in my life or the fathers. We both love him so dearly. He turns Three this year.

  • I need help I need to find a dreamcatcher tattoo as I am going to get one tattooed next weekend but didn’t know they fully had different meaning.. Help!

  • I live with the First Nations traditions of the Algonquin as taught by the Elders. Dream catchers were not meant to be worn on the body. The dream catcher needs to be an object that is exposed to natural light which breaks down all of the negative energy that gathers in it’s form. Putting this on the body is disrespectful and possibly will accumulate bad energy. Please respect our traditions and do not misunderstand what a dreamcatcher is.

    • Your annoying. It’s a tattoo that can have different means to it. There isn’t a special meaning for all tattoos it’s what you want your tattoo to mean and what it symbolizes for you.

      • Not when it’s appropriating someone else’s culture. If you’re using someone elses cultural objects for “fashion”, you should at least research them, take their meanings into account and not misusing them. There’s a difference between appreciating and appropriating, and it’s not appreciative to blindly use a cultural objects because they look pretty.

    • I’m Native American, same as my mother. She makes Dream catchersas a hobby. I’m getting one of the dream catchers she has made as a tattoo. You can’t tell me that’s disrespectful.

  • Im wondering where to get a dreamcatcher tattoo. I was thinking on my thigh or going down to my waist from my rib. I think its a positive symbol. I was always full of nightmares when young, and still am. Til this day i startle and talk in my sleep. Im thinking of 13 points for the faces of the moon. What does each feather mean? How many should i get if i want it too keep bad dreams away and attract positive ones?

    • Owl feather is for a female meaning wisdom.
      Eagle feather is for a male meaning courage.

  • Hello im looking at getting a,dream catcher tatto on my rib cage,as I have allways had,a dream catcher growing up, im from new zealand with a strong cultural background I want butterflys flying out of dream catcher 3 representing my mum dad and my partner please help I need someone to draw me a picture thankyou

  • I’m getting a dream catcher next week , but i want to get an owl inside the dream catcher. Yet , I’m not surewhat they both mean together. Or what exactly an owl represents. Other than wise. e

  • As beautiful as it may be, i dispise women and men (but mostly women) i see with one tattooed… So what, you have a dreamcatcher, are you Native? No ? Damn really ? C’mon girl…before you get sometime as much representative of a nation you should at LEAST, read about it… My daughter is half native, wich means my husband is a 100% PURE native. Not a ” my father, had, a little native blood” shut up right girl… if your father really happen to have native blood, believe me you WOULD KNOW about it! god dammit… And, not only just that, but it is not COOL to have native blood… its a pride, its a pride because of all the damn sh*t happen in the life of those people! You dont seem to really know about the suffering that happen in native tribes… you know only about yourself and your little city girl/guy story… if you had lived on a reserve, eating flour and soups, not knowing what it is to have a f** fast food every corner…. ” its not third world over there” you will tell me… well yes it is! THANKS for reading this, and stop being ridiculous with your ” we have a little native blood” respect them, but stop acting as if its ”cool” …

    • Jessy you seem like a very irritable person I’m assuming your an adult so act like it. Did you just come on a dreamcatcher tattoo page to talk about how your daughter has a “native American” dad and we should all feel like sh*t For what happened. I’m also assuming you’re not any type of native American and you didn’t grow up in a reservation camp right? If so who are you to talk go attend your daughter like a good mother and take your rants some place else

  • I am wanting to get a Dream catcher tattoo in back of my neck, since I am part native and i have a very close bond with nature. I am also thinking of adding flowers, a few peacock feathers, and some pagan crystals(since I am pagan.). I don’t want some cookie cutter tattoo. I want it to symbolize who i am and what i believe.

  • Hi my name is kartier leblanc. Ive been thru hell and back but some how seen the light to keep me pushing for the better. And i thank god. Im native american. Cherokee to be specific. I use to own a dreamcatcher. Given to me as a gift by my bestfriend. Ive recently lost everything i owned including the dreamcatcher and ive had trouble breathing and nightmares everynight since this accident. I wake up from talking in my sleep terrified. I find myself not able to even go back to bed. Im really thinking of gettin a dream catcher tattoo. Or psychological help.

  • I was thinking of getting a tat of a dream catcher with a tiger lily in the middle of it cause of my grandma has past away and this is for her.

  • iam getting a dreamcatcher for my birthday i love dreamcatchers i have alot of them in my room

  • I’m getting a dreamcatcher with a diamond in the middle in memory of my grandparents. My grandmother’s background is very rich in native heritage specifically mohawk and my grandfather’s stage name was Jimmy “Diamond” he was a soloist that traveled around North America and Europe. Not like most of my tattoos but it’s the thought that counts for me and I will have to look at with happiness remembering both of them.

  • I want to get a dreamcatcher tattoo with a ‘wolfhead’ inside of the circle. Is it a good idea? Thank you.

  • I’m getting a dreamcatcher tattoo of a mother wolf and 4 small wolfs around it. The mother wolf to represent courage and family as well as myself… a mother. And 4 baby wolfs for my 4 daughters. I also want 4 feathers. One for each of them to represent their first breath into this world. And only one color of light blue maybe green bead around the webbing… getting it on either my back.. if I can fit it or my leg. Something meaningful that means so much!

  • I have a dream catcher tattoo on my right thigh and I wanted to get an owl on the other. Do they relate to each other in any way?

  • Hello I just got my first tatto and it was a dream catcher I’ve had it for 3 days now and so far every night I’ve hade beautiful dreams. I made mine because I just lost my one true love and hope to dream about her. So far I love my tatto and and get a lot of compliments on it.

  • i am planning on getting a dreamcatcher on my left thigh, i chose my left leg as i want it to cover scars that do not need to be remembered, from what i have researched so far there is different meaning behind every colour beads, yellow to symbolize the sun, blue as the sky and every living thing in it, green represents mother nature, black represents the black road, road of darkness, i also read that different number points mean different things, 8 for the spider womens legs, 7 for the seven grandfathers, 6 meaning wisdom or courage, 5 as the stars in the sky, there is also different feathers to be used, owl feathers for women represents wisdom and eagle feathers for men represent courage, although that does not mean that both sexes couldn’t use either one, it is all about what it means to you and your reason for getting it, but never hurts to do a bit of research and make sure that what your getting is what you really want and that it is special to you

    • I’m also getting one on either my left thigh or my left forearm, because I have gone through a dark time more than just a few times. I have self harmed for many years, since I was 12 and I am almost fully recovered from my eating disorder. I want to get the dream catcher over my scars so that if I ever fall back into those thoughts again I will remember that it also effects my family and the other people I love, as I am getting 3 blue feathers, one representing each of my brothers.

  • After reading all post from you guys i know that having dream catcher tattoo is not disrespectful actually it is a good thing to have cause it filters bad dreams and it comes in handy if you tattoo it cause its in you everywhere you go :) tommorow is the day i get my dream catcher tattoo on arms…to shane it isnt really bad to have it on as tattoo i researched and ask elder infact some of the elder has it tattoo

  • Im also getting a dream catcher tattoo, one that was made for me it has sentimental values! Ive read everyones posts about it and honestly could careless bout others opinions cuz they are like assh*les everybody has one, soooo soon i will have my dreamcatcher tattoed on my left thigh…

  • I’m gonna have a dream catcher tattoo on my lower arm.. i would like to know more about the inner part of the circle in the tattoo, in which the feathers and bids are hanged.. actually what are the things stays in the circle and the reason.. i know about the spider woman myth and why its called a dream catcher.. thanks in advance..

  • I’m thinking about a dreamcatcher tattoo with a wolf in do wolf’s have a meaning

  • I am planning on getting a dreamcatcher tattoo starting on my right shoulder and the tip of the feather will reach near my right elbow. So basically an upper half sleeve looking tattoo. I have always had a strong connection with dreamcatchers. I’ve looked up their origin and history so many times. I practice yoga regularly and I have a strong belief in energies and the spirits of the universe. I’m not a hippie, so don’t get me wrong, I just believe the universe is here to support me and anyone else who believes what I do. This will be my fourth tattoo and I am going ask an artist to draw me something personal for my dream catcher. I’m not going to just choose one from the internet. I have looked up what each individual piece means and I am choosing the parts that I connect to and will then have that personal dream catcher on my body as a way to remind myself that we all have the ability to sift through the negative thoughts and release them while holding onto the positive ones. What do you think?

  • This will be my fourth tattoo and I’m not going to just choose one from the internet. I have looked up the origin and history of tattoos because I have always had a strong connection to dreamcatchers and the belief that the universe supports everyone that lets it. I know what each piece of the dreamcatcher means and I am going to choose the parts that I connect with and have artist draw it and I will have that personalized tattoo on my body. I feel that it’s okay to have on my body just to remind myself that we all have the ability to sift through the negative thoughts and release them while still holding onto the positive ones. What do you think?

  • I got my dreamcatcher tattoo today in remembrance of my mother who passed away last week. It has the words “Always Dreaming” arched above the circle as in her last few months this was all she talked about! She’d had a long illness and in the final times of her life spoke about all the bad dreams and nightmares she constantly had. So I’ve had the dreamcatcher so she can rest in peace with no more bad dreams, and to help banish both my own and my husbands demons.

  • I’m about to be 18 . My dad passed away 6 years ago and before he did , he would always get me dream catchers of all different colors and shapes . When my dad passed away , I always said I would get a dreamcatcher tattoo on my ribs when I was able to . It’s about that time and I’m so excited ! For 6 years I’ve wanted this tattoo in remembrance of my daddy . I personally LOVE dream catchers . My dad use to get them for me when I was little all the time . Hed get them from the little stores around where he lived . I cannot wait to get this tattoo , it definitely expresses my love for him and dream catchers

  • I just got a dream catcher tatoo n it looks awesome….its a total diffrent concept..people dont think much n just get a dream catcher to get all the positivity in your life :D

  • getting a dream catcher tattoo is literally inviting bad dreams into your body because it’s meant to filter out the bad and hold the good. so when it’s on your skin the bad has nowhere to go.
    cultural appropriation at its finest, white people telling other people to get tattoos of symbolically significant items from cultures they googled.

  • My first dream catcher was given to me by my Nan because she was worried about the amount of nightmares I had as a kid. I genuinely believe they work. Both myself and my Nan had interests in dreams, looking into the symbolism of cultural histories of all things associated with them. When I lost my Nan, I had nightmares again and I bought a new dream catcher and I truly believe they helped to fight the nightmares. I want to get a dream catcher as my first tattoo in memory of my nan

  • I’m lookin to get a dream catcher tattoo but was wondering if it’s weird for a guy to get one on his calf, any suggestions

  • I have a dreamcatcher tattooed on my right shoulder blade. I’ve had it for nearly 4 years now. It is so beautifully done; 8 pointed, 4 grey/white feathers, 1 peacock feather, beads, and a charm with an aquamarine gem (my birthstone). It’s was created to be completely unique to me (something my artist is amazing at). Sometimes I need to remind myself why I got it. I’m not at all native, which is the first thing people ask me; i’m actually from the UK – your typical white girl. But i grew up with dreamcatchers, something my parents introduced to me very young because i was a child with horrible night terrors. I still have nightmares occasionally but most of the time i have very vivid and exhausting dreams, so vivid and entrancing that i’ll sleep for a long time and wake up feeling drained. My dreams mean something to me even if they are nonsense and so for my first tattoo i wanted to go for something that was symbolic to me. I chose the elements carefully; i wanted 4 feathers to represent my grandparents and a peacock feather to represent the binding of both sides of my family – making me exactly who i am today. No, i don’t believe that the leather and string 8-pointed hoop hanging on my wall with beads and feathers filters out my dreams. And no, the one on my back wont do that either. But I’ve made it MY symbol of protection, and MY peace of mind. Even if it does something for me purely on a psychological level, that’s why i chose to get a dreamcatcher tattoo. Life, people, and culture is all about symbols – we take them from each other, we respect, we learn, we recreate. Sometimes i second guess it, but only because i’m thinking about what other people think of it- assuming i’m just another white sheep following a trend, disrespecting the history. I need to remind myself that I LOVE IT and i have my reasoning for why i have it, but most of all….I WANTED IT, so i got it.

  • I have a dream catcher tattoo and never have dreams anymore… Was wondering if it’s from having this as a tattoo

  • Is it alright to get a dream catcher tattoo if you’re not of native background? I simply love them, always have and would like to get one..but I don’t want to disrespect anyone.

  • ive just had a dreamcatcher tattoo done it has a howling wolfs head in the middle of it and on then i have my 2 daughters name and my grandaughters name around the outside off the dreamcatcher x

  • I want to get a nice soft beautiful dream catcher for the back of my neck I lost a daughter 35 years ago and it still hurts today, she was born to early,so passed away I feel I want her close to me and to keep her in my heart and dreams , is this a good idea please comment ASAP thank you

  • Hi there,
    im planning to have a tattoo on my back.The design that i planned was a dreamcatcher swirl by 2 snake on the wood circle and in the middle of it a name of a person that i love with some feathers at down as usual.Can you give me your advice on this as this going to be very special to me……

  • I have a dream catcher tattoo but I always have bad lucks. If there’s a little good luck came to me, it always followed with a massive badluck. Why is this? And I also have both good dreams and bad, even a nightmare. And also I’m not a native american. Is this the reason of all those bad lucks?

  • Hello I have been thinking of getting a dream catcher tattoo on my thigh for a while now, i absolutely love dream catchers and always have as a little girl. I haven’t decided on a design but would like something that represents me and my background. I’m part Fijian Indian, Nepalese which is my Mums back ground and Dad European from England, he passed away when I was 3yrs old. I also have 2 daughters and my star sign is Sagittarius. If you could give me some ideas that would be awesome, thankyou.

  • I’m thinking about putting two dream catchers on my neck. I have my kids names on my chest

  • I designed my dream catcher tattoo. My family tree
    The web is a daisy flower,representing
    Growth, the feathers are one for each of my 5 children with a length of cord they hang from, then a bead on each cord of my children’s ,children (my grandkids) above their feather representing how many kids they have.when another child comes along I add a bead… I love It I call it my stamp.