What Does Dreamcatcher Tattoo Mean?

Any tattoo is personal to the person who chooses to get it, but the dreamcatcher tattoo is one of the most personal. This tattoo design is especially popular among women, and most of them have a deep personal reason for getting the ink. The mystical qualities of a dreamcatcher make them a very popular choice among women (and men) from all walks of life. What’s the meaning behind dreamcatcher tattoo? What do other popular tattoos mean?

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What does Dreamcatcher Tattoo Mean?

The dreamcatcher is a handmade item popular in Native American cultures. The dreamcatcher is a woven net or web that has certain adornments, such as beads, shells, gemstones, leather, feathers and the like. These items are usually things found in nature. It is typically hung in a bedroom, above a bed, or sometimes above a door. The idea is that happy, optimistic dreams will pass through the net, while the negative dreams or nightmares will become ensnared, so the dreamers has only good dreams. On the other hand, some believe that the negative dreams pass through the hole in the center of the dreamcatcher, while the good dreams are trapped, and thus become a part of that person’s destiny.

Whichever way it is, the tattoo signifies that harmful dreams are chased away and positive dreams will stay, bring protection to the one who wears the ink. In more realistic sense, the tattoo fights away bad things like scandals while letting the good, such as money, pass through.

What Are the Designs and Placement of Dreamcatcher Tattoo?

Once you decide to get the tattoo, the big question becomes one of placement and design. For men, dreamcatcher tattoos are usually placed on the upper arm, but they might also be inked as a large tattoo on the upper back. Women often have dreamcatcher tattoos in a smaller form on their shoulder, creating an elegant look.

When it comes to design, the options are virtually endless. As this is such a personal tattoo, choosing the design that speaks to you matters most. Most dreamcatcher tattoos have some sort of “natural” design, such as vines or leaves, to surround the center or make up the net. You might also choose a more elaborate net, one that is made of something that truly matters to you, such as an eagle or a sunset. A talented tattoo artist will be able to help you choose the design that is right for you.

This video provides you with a few basic ideas on the patterns and placement of dreamcatcher tattoos:

Cultural Sensitivity Behind Dreamcatcher Tattoo

It is important to remember that though dreamcatchers might be popular, they are also a sacred symbol of Native American culture. Native Americans are protective of their culture, and rightfully so; therefore, the use of these tattoos is cause for controversy, especially when those who do not have a Native American heritage choose to display them on their bodies. Some people might see your tattoo as being inappropriate, insensitive or even offensive. Before you take the plunge and get a dreamcatcher tattoo, make sure you understand what it means and can articulate your personal reasons for getting this particular type of tattoo.

Meanings of Other Common Tattoos

If you are uncertain about getting a dreamcatcher tattoo, keep in mind that there are many alternatives that might suit you. Each of the following tattoos has some sort of “hidden meaning” that can give you a lovely tattoo that has a purpose behind it.

Tattoo

Meaning

Teardrop

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These tattoos can signify the death of someone close to you, or they might be more sinister, signifying that the tattoo wearer actually killed someone. This is a common tattoo found among gang members in some areas. However, among those who are not in gangs, this is a tattoo that signifying mourning.

Swallow

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These lovely birds were often the first sign for sailors that the end of a long journey was near, as they never flew far out over the open water; when sailors saw them, land was nearby. There are many variations, such as more than one swallow for longer journeys, or a swallow with a sword to indicate someone lost at sea. It can also mean “jail bird” for someone who has done time in prison.

Anchor

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A common sight among those in naval forces, an anchor can mean many different things, including the need to “anchor” oneself to something, or the symbol of hope. For sailors it might mean they crossed the equator, or it could stand for something on a specific ship, assuming the name of the ship is written across or in the tattoo.

Cats

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A cat tattooed on the body is the traditional sign of a thief, thought it could mean other things. One cat means a person is solitary, while several cats stand for a gang. On the other hand, someone who simply loves cats might find a good reason to tattoo the feline on their body.

Dolphin

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Dolphins often stand for prosperity, but they also stand for duality, such as living at sea and on land. Dolphins are often found on the bodies of those who believe they are living in two worlds at once, or have two complex sides to them.

Butterfly

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Butterflies are the beautiful creatures that result from change, and so it is with the butterfly tattoo. Some choose it simply because it’s a lovely feminine design, but others choose it to make a transition in their lives.

Spider Web

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Though this traditionally denotes someone who has spent time in prison, it can also mean someone who feels trapped. Sometimes the spider web is paired with bricks falling from the walls of a prison or other motifs to show escape from what was holding them back.

 
 
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