What A Dream Catcher Means Spiritually

No more bad dreams.

dream catcher Dasha Petrenki / Shutterstock

There’s nothing worse than waking up with a head full of nightmares. You might have slept well but there was something not quite right — bad energy and thoughts that made it hard to feel rested.

That's where a dream catcher may be able to help.

These colorful hanging beauties may have played more of a role in our lives as a kid, but after you've suffered from nightmares, you'll do anything to fill your mind with positive dreams.


But what is so special about dream catchers? Everything has a meaning, and the same is true for the spiritual meaning of dream catchers.

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What is a dream catcher?

A dreamcatcher, or dream catcher, in most Native American cultures is described as a handmade willow hoop that has a woven web onto it. There are many theories as to how dream catchers weed out bad dreams and foster good dreams instead.


dream catcherPhoto: Jorgebarrios via Wikimedia Commons

While every dream catcher has a hole in its center, it is debated how this hole is used.

The first theory says that bad dreams get caught in the web in the center, while good dreams flow down the feathers. Another theory believes the good dreams are filtered through the net in the center. The final theory says that good dreams become caught in the center as bad ones flow away from the center hole.


However you imagine the dream catcher doing its job, the purpose is still the same.

The dream catcher was first used to protect children from having nightmares. That being said, they were hung over cradles and beds for a long period of time.

A dream catcher is meant to slowly dry out and come apart when your child is grown. Their beautiful nature is one of the many reasons that dream catchers are not just hung above a bed. Rather, they can be hung from a tree, porch, or window.

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One TikToker described dream catchers as a bridge to the spirit world:



"I would explain it by comparing it to the internet. It's like when you're sleeping, you get connected to the dream internet, and just like the internet, it can get infected with different things... like corrupt your downloads, make your streams lag. It's like a firewall anti-virus for your dream internet."


Essentially, negative entities and energies can affect your "connection." Dream catchers help to stabilize the connection and filter out negativity.

What is the spiritual meaning of dream catchers?

The spiritual meaning of dream catchers is surrounded by peace and good energy. It represents protection, clear minds, wisdom, and good luck.

1. Good Energy

Since there is a connection between spiders and dream catchers, it’s important to first look at the symbolism of spiders as believed by the Ojibwa Chippewa tribe. Representing learning, wisdom and energy, the spider is actually a good omen.

Traditionally, a dream catcher is made with eight points which are symbolic of the eight legs of a spider. The idea of energy is a significant aspect of the dream catcher’s power, as it represents good energy and strives to neutralize bad energy.


Although a dream catcher protects against bad dreams, it also prevents bad situations from happening in everyday life.

2. Protection

Dream catchers are believed to not only protect us against bad dreams, but evil spirits, negative energy, and spiritual attacks that occur in dreams. The feathers on the dream catcher ward off evil spirits.

By placing a dream catcher above your head as you sleep, you're allowing it to "catch" negative energies.

3. Peace

We are constantly stressed out by everyday life, making it difficult to feel some sort of peace. And dream catchers symbolize peace, specifically a peaceful night's sleep.

Dream catchers are believed to influence the world around us, not just the world in our minds. When you sleep with a dream catcher, you can sleep confidently knowing your heart is at peace.


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4. Clarity

As a symbol of clearness and clarity, the dream catcher helps you clear your mind of fears and insecurities. It is all about peace and tranquility, especially within the mind.

Dream catchers help you find direction and make decisions with confidence.

5. Wisdom

A dream catcher also represents wisdom. It allows us to listen to our inner wisdom, and make choices and decisions based upon it. Additionally, dream catchers help you to express your inner wisdom to those around you.

6. Good Luck

The dream catcher symbolizes many things, but it all really comes down to good luck. Dream catchers give good energy, which can bring about good events and outcomes, as well as dreams.


The dream catcher will instill in you the sense that you have good luck and a good life ahead of you.

Origin & History of Dream Catchers

First used by the American Indians, dream catchers are thought to be created by the Ojibwa Chippewa tribe. The tribe passed on the dream catcher to other tribes through trade and intermarriage. It was only a matter of time before modern times began to integrate dream catchers into everyday life.

Ironic as it is, "dreamcatcher" means "spider" in the Ojibwe language, and spiders are considered to symbolize comfort. This is perhaps the reason behind the webbed design of a dream catcher.

According to Ojibwe tribal legends, it was believed that a mysterious Spider Woman, also called Asibaikaashi, acted as a spiritual protector of the tribe, especially for the young children and newborn babies.


It became difficult to watch over the whole tribe as it grew bigger. As a result, Asibaikaashi created the dream catcher.

Mothers and grandmothers of the tribe took to making their own dream catchers to hang around their children and families. Its protective sense eased fear and worry among the tribe.

The design itself is meant to catch the bad dreams (or energy) and let the good ones through the holes left. But, in reality, there are certain ceremonies the item has to go through in order for the spirit to pass through it and give the item its "power."



Should I own a dream catcher?

If you experience frequent nightmares, it might be beneficial to hang a dream catcher near or above your bed. The truth is, even if it doesn’t work, it can’t hurt anything.


Another good reason to use a dream catcher is if you’re feeling on edge and worrisome. Just knowing that the dream catcher protects you will help you trust in a bigger purpose.

However, it's also extremely important to realize that using a dream catcher is considered cultural appropriation. However, it is because of this appropriation that we even know it exists; otherwise, it would have been extinguished by the era of colonization.



Non-Native individuals who make and sell dream catchers are culturally appropriating them. When you purchase a dream catcher, be sure to do so from Indigenous sources.


Essentially, we must "give credit where credit is due" — this way, we don't misunderstand dream catchers, and instead give the correct appreciation and acknowledgment.

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Isabella Pacinelli is a former contributor to YourTango, features editor for Ashland University's The Collegian, and freelance writer for Medina Weekly News. Follow her on Facebook for more.