A close-up photo capturing the intricate details of a dream catcher, juxtaposed with an open Bible, symbolizing the intersection of spirituality and cultural beliefs.

What Does The Bible Say About Dream Catchers?

Dream catchers are popular Native American symbols thought to offer protection while sleeping. But what guidance does the Bible provide regarding these folk charms? If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: The Bible does not specifically mention dream catchers.

However, some verses advise against using objects believed to provide spiritual protection outside of God.

In this approximately 3000 word article, we will analyze related Bible passages about talismans, good luck charms, and relying on spiritual sources other than God for help. We will also overview the origins and significance of dream catchers in Native American culture.

Brief History of Dream Catchers

Legends About the Origins of Dream Catchers

Dream catchers originated from the Ojibwe tribe in the Great Lakes region. According to ancient legends, the “Spider Woman” Asibikaashi was a spiritual protector who wove a web over sleeping children to catch bad dreams and allow only good dreams to filter through.

The Ojibwe people made dream catchers resembling spider webs as protective charms for children based on this legend.

Another origin story describes a vision had by a respected spiritual leader. In this vision, elders tied a willow hoop with sinew and feathers as a “dream catcher” over a baby’s cradle board. This amulet was believed to protect the child from nightmares as they grew up.

Over time, the protective talismans evolved with personal touches added by each artisan.

Cultural Significance for Native Americans

Dream catchers hold deep cultural meaning for the Ojibwe and other Native tribes. The willow hoop represents the circle of life with no beginning or end. The woven web filters out evil, trap nightmares, and allow good dreams to come true.

Dream catchers promote harmony between the spiritual and physical world.

Each element has symbolism – the willow sapling represents Mother Earth, the sinew binds the unity of nature, the gemstones aid visionary dreams, and feathers carry prayers to the spirit world. For centuries, dream catchers were an integral part of Native American rituals, ceremonies, and traditions before transitioning into a worldwide phenomenon.

Element Meaning
Willow Hoop Circle of life
Woven Web Filters out evil
Feathers Carries prayers
Beads Visionary dreams

Transition to New Age Symbol

In the 1960s, the Pan American Indian Association encouraged the production and sale of traditional arts and crafts. Dream catchers soon gained popularity across North America as a decorative artifact. By the 1990s, New Age followers had adopted the mystical meaning of dream catchers.

Today, dreamcatchers are among the most recognized Native American symbols. Websites like NativeAmericanJewelryTips state that over 50 Native American tribes produce and sell dream catchers. While their designs vary based on tribal styles, the common motive is to promote good dreams.

Dream catchers can be found in homes, vehicles, keychains, tattoos, and artwork globally.

What the Bible Says About Charms and Talismans

Instructions to Rely on God Instead of Other Spirits or Objects

The Bible clearly instructs believers to rely on God rather than earthly objects or spirits for protection and guidance. Here are some key verses:

  • Deuteronomy 18:9-13 warns against the use of mediums, spiritists, interpreters of omens, sorcerers, casters of spells, and consultants of the dead. It says these practices are detestable to God.
  • Isaiah 47:12-15 mocks those who would use astrology and other occult arts as worthless and unable to save them.
  • Jeremiah 10:2-5 says not to be dismayed by signs in the heavens and warns against idolatry and the use of worthless scarecrows or good luck charms.
  • Interpretations Suggesting Dream Catchers Go Against Biblical Directives

    While opinions vary, some Bible scholars believe dreamcatchers go against Scripture’s warnings to avoid items used for magical purposes or connection with spirits. Reasons include:

    – Originated in native American spirituality, not Christianity – Intended to manipulate spiritual powers through an object
    – Often crafted with symbols representing elements of earth rather than God – Used to ward off bad dreams or spirits, not relying on God

    Based on these origins and uses, some argue that dreamcatchers fall into the category of charms and talismans that Scripture tells believers to avoid. However, views differ on whether dreamcatchers can be acceptable if viewed merely as a decorative craft rather than a spiritual object.

    In the end, Christians are directed to find protection in their faith rather than physical objects. A GotQuestions.org article sums it up: “Objects have no inherent power—the power of any object comes from the being that a person believes is represented by or present in the object.”

    The biblical view is that only God has the power to truly protect us.

    Differing Perspectives to Consider

    Focusing on Objects Vs Focusing on God

    Dream catchers originated from Native American culture as objects believed to protect sleepers from bad dreams. Many Christians recognize the cultural significance of dream catchers, but believe that focusing too much on physical objects can lead to idolatry and distract from a focus on God.

    Some Christians argue that dream catchers become problematic when too much power is ascribed to them, rather than trusting in God’s power and protection. They point to Bible verses that warn against trusting in idols or other gods (Exodus 20:3).

    The concern is that ascribing spiritual power to an object could shift our focus and trust away from God.

    However, other Christians believe it’s acceptable to appreciate the cultural meaning behind objects like dream catchers, as long as God remains the sole focus of worship and trust. They see items like dream catchers as reminders of God’s presence and protection, not replacements for God.

    Discernment and intent seem key in determining if an object has become an idol or remains merely a cultural item.

    Respectfully Appreciating Cultural Traditions

    Anthropologists believe dream catchers emerged from the Ojibwe Nation in the 1960s or earlier. The traditional dream catchers were often made by mothers and grandmothers using willow hoops and animal sinew or plant fibers. They were seen as objects of protection, not worship.

    Most Christians aim to respect cultural traditions that differ from their own. They recognize that objects or practices sacred to some cultures may have no spiritual significance to a Christian, and vice versa.

    As long as an object like a dream catcher is not worshipped or looked to for salvation, most Christians see no issue in appreciating the cultural tradition behind it.

    Some ways Christians can respectfully appreciate the history of dream catchers include:

    • Learning about the cultural significance of the object.
    • Avoid appropriating the object simply for fashion or décor.
    • Refraining from mass-producing cheap replicas that fail to honor the original craftsmanship and meaning.

    Rather than condemn, Christians can thoughtfully reflect on how to balance respect for cultures and traditions while still remaining faithful to Biblical teachings.

    Related Biblical Passages on Dreams and Their Interpretation

    The Bible contains several passages that discuss dreams and their potential meaning or interpretation. Here are some of the key passages:

    Joseph’s Dreams

    One of the most famous dream stories in the Bible involves Joseph in the Old Testament. As a young man, Joseph had two prophetic dreams that foretold his future rise to power in Egypt (Genesis 37:5-11).

    Later, when Joseph was imprisoned, he successfully interpreted the dreams of two fellow prisoners – the king’s cupbearer and baker – predicting that one would be restored while the other would be executed (Genesis 40).

    This set the stage for Joseph to then interpret Pharaoh’s dreams about seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, leading to Joseph’s promotion as a leader in Egypt (Genesis 41:1-45).

    Jacob’s Ladder

    While fleeing from his brother Esau, the patriarch Jacob had a dream involving a stairway resting on the earth, with the top reaching to heaven and angels were ascending and descending on it. Jacob took this as a sign that God would be with him and bring him back to this land (Genesis 28:10-22).

    This vision reveals that dreams can sometimes be messages from God.

    Prophetic Dreams and Visions

    In addition to Joseph and Jacob, the Bible records many instances where God used dreams and visions to communicate with individuals or reveal future events. Examples include:

    • Abimelech was warned in a dream about taking Abraham’s wife Sarah (Genesis 20:3)
    • Solomon receiving wisdom from God in a dream (1 Kings 3)
    • Daniel interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about a giant statue (Daniel 2)
    • Daniel having visions of future world empires and the end times (Daniel 7-12)

    These passages demonstrate how dreams could have symbolic meaning or prophetic significance according to Scripture.

    Dream Interpretation

    The Joseph stories in Genesis established a precedent that dreams often needed to be interpreted to discern their meaning. While dream interpretations belonged to God (Genesis 40:8), He could gift people with the ability to interpret them (e.g. Joseph and Daniel). Guidelines included:

    • Not all dreams are from God so discernment is needed (Jeremiah 23:25-28)
    • Interpretations belong to God (Genesis 40:8)
    • Dreams often use symbolic imagery, so look for the meaning behind the symbolism

    Cautions About Dreams and Mysticism

    While the Bible recognizes that God can communicate through dreams, it also warns against vain speculations, mystical asceticism, and relying on visions over God’s revealed word (Colossians 2:18). Guidelines included:

    • Test any dream’s message by comparing it Scripture to check it aligns with biblical truths (1 John 4:1-3)
    • Be wary of false prophets claiming special visions not confirmed in Scripture (Matthew 7:15-23)
    • Avoid prohibited occultic practices like divination, mediumship and witchcraft (Deuteronomy 18:9-13)


    In summary, the Bible does not explicitly forbid dream catchers. However, certain interpretations advise that relying on objects for spiritual protection conflicts with trusting in God. As with many cultural traditions, there are complex nuances around dream catchers from both Biblical and Indigenous cultural vantage points that deserve thoughtful reflection.

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