Dream catchers have become a popular decoration and cultural symbol over the last few decades. These round willow hoops decorated with a woven web or net have significance in some Native American cultures. The dream catcher is believed to “catch” bad dreams or evil spirits in its web, allowing good dreams to pass through to the sleeping person. But what does the Bible say about dream catchers and their purpose? Let’s explore this issue from a biblical perspective.
- The Bible prohibits divination, sorcery, witchcraft, and occult practices – this includes using objects for mystical purposes.
- Dream catchers fall into the category of charms or amulets used for mystical purposes outside of God’s will.
- God forbids His people from adopting pagan practices or trusting in objects rather than Him.
- Followers of Christ should look to the Holy Spirit for protection and discernment of dreams rather than physical objects.
- The Bible teaches us to find refuge in Christ rather than trusting in earthly protections.
What Are Dreamcatchers?
A dreamcatcher is a willow hoop wrapped in sinew or string with woven “web” across the circle. Feathers and beads are usually attached for decorative purposes. The dreamcatcher originated with the Ojibwe, Lakota, and other Native American cultures in the early 1900s.
According to legend, the “web” in the dreamcatcher is meant to “catch” bad dreams or evil spirits. The good dreams are believed to slip through the web’s center hole and gently slide down the feathers to the sleeping person below.
Dreamcatchers are commonly hung above beds or in windows. They gained popularity as a charm against nightmares and bad spiritual influences as they became a pan-Indian symbol in the 1970s. Today, dreamcatchers are prevalent in gift shops, new age stores, and homes of people seeking mystical protection.
The Problem with Dreamcatchers and Charms
On the surface, hanging a dreamcatcher seems harmless enough. It is important, however, for Christians to evaluate cultural trends and objects like dreamcatchers in light of Scripture.
The Bible prohibits practices of divination, sorcery, witchcraft, magic arts and spells, and trying to contact the spirit realm. These types of practices belong to the kingdom of darkness rather than God’s kingdom.
Deuteronomy 18:9-13 says:
When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners.
This passage is clear – God forbids divination, sorcery, interpreting omens, magic arts, mediums, and necromancy (communicating with the dead). He drove the pagan nations out of Israel for engaging in these ungodly practices.
God’s people are set apart to be blameless and listen to His Word alone. Using charms, amulets, or objects for mystical purposes is against God’s will. He wants His people to rely on Him rather than earthly objects that unbelievers use to influence the spiritual realm.
The Purpose Behind Dreamcatchers
The intended purpose of dreamcatchers – to manipulate the spiritual world and prevent bad dreams or influences – falls into the category of divination and sorcery. Though they may seem harmless, their purpose aligns with practices that God forbids.
Objects like dreamcatchers are often used as talismans or charms to “spiritually” protect homes and people from evil forces. But this relies on human effort and earthly objects rather than God’s power and His Word.
In Isaiah 19:3, God said the idols and charms of Egypt would not avail to save them from judgment. Charming serpents and enchanting them was also mentioned in Jeremiah’s prophecy against Babylon:
For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come.” You who dwell by many waters, rich in treasures, your end has come; the thread of your life is cut. The LORD of hosts has sworn by himself: Surely I will fill you with men, as many as locusts, and they shall raise the shout of victory over you. It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish. Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the LORD of hosts is his name. (Jeremiah 51:33-19)
Only God has power over the spiritual realm and all of creation. Trusting in man-made objects and charms for protection is delusional according to Scripture. God desires for us to put our trust in Him alone rather than earthly things.
What the Bible Says About Dreams and Visions
In the Bible, dreams and visions were often direct messages from God. He used them at times in Scripture to communicate His plans, warn people, and reveal future events. Dreams were not viewed as something we need mystical protection from.
For example, God gave Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, and many prophets dreams and visions to impart His truth. However, Scripture also talks about false dreams that don’t come from God. Therefore, discernment is needed regarding dreams’ sources and meanings.
The prophet Jeremiah gave this warning about misleading dreams:
Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.” (Jeremiah 10:2-5)
Jeremiah tells God’s people not to be dismayed by pagan practices like astrology or fear their mystical arts. Objects like idols and dreamcatchers have no power in and of themselves. Only the one true God has power, and we should not fear anything else.
The Bible also talks about sorcerers and diviners interpreting dreams for kings. For example, King Nebuchadnezzar had disturbing dreams that none of his occult counselors could interpret until God revealed the meaning to Daniel. We should be careful about trying to interpret dreams outside God’s will and discern if they are truly from Him.
Overall, the Bible views dreams very differently than other ancient cultures. God may communicate truth, prophecy, and revelation through dreams at times, but discernment is needed. His people must avoid astrologers’ and diviners’ methods of dream interpretation or using mystical charms. The dreamcatcher’s purpose of “catching” bad dreams contradicts Scripture’s teaching that we find refuge in Christ rather than earthly protections.
Our Refuge is in Christ Alone
Instead of looking to dreamcatchers and other mystical objects for protection, those who follow Jesus Christ should find their refuge in Him alone. Jesus said He is the good shepherd who protects His sheep:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:11, 14-15)
Rather than hanging our hopes on dreamed up protections, we have the assurance that Christ laid down His life to save us from the kingdom of darkness. He protects those who take refuge in Him.
The Bible says God also sends His angels to protect and minister to believers in Christ. But Scripture never indicates we need mystical dreamcatchers or charms to manipulate spirit beings. Angels heed God’s command directly because they serve Him.
Psalm 91:9-11 says of God:
Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
And Psalm 34:7 says,
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
So according to Scripture, God provides supernatural protection through Christ’s salvation and angelic beings subject to His command. Our refuge is in the Lord rather than earthly protections.
Avoiding Pagan Practices and Occult Arts
As we’ve seen, the Bible prohibits occult arts, astrology, divination, sorcery, and pagan practices like dreamcatchers. God has forbidden His people from following the ways of unbelievers throughout Scripture.
Deuteronomy 18:14 says,
For these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.
And in 2 Kings 21:6, the wicked king Manasseh was condemned for practicing divination and sorcery:
And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.
Many more verses forbid these practices which deal with manipulating the spirit world outside of God’s will. Dreamcatchers also fall into this category, though they seem innocuous on the surface.
As believers, we should avoid any practice with intent to influence or discern spiritual forces by occult means. Ephesians 5:11 says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”
Christians should also avoid adopting cultural practices and symbols that have pagan origins without carefully evaluating their purposes against Scripture. Just because something seems popular or harmless does not mean it pleases the Lord.
Proverbs 14:12 warns,
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
So we must be discerning rather than blindly following cultural trends. Our safe refuge is in Jesus Christ alone.
Trusting in the One True God
Dreamcatchers may seem like harmless decoration. But they fall into a category of mystical objects and occult practices that Scripture forbids. This includes divination, sorcery, astrology, witchcraft, spiritism, and idolatry.
The Bible clearly prohibits objects and actions intended to manipulate the spiritual realm or discern omens outside the will of God. Though dreamcatchers may claim to provide mystical protection, God wants us to rely fully on Him. Jesus Christ alone is our refuge and good shepherd who protects us.
As 1 John 4:1 (NKJV) advises:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
We must test all things against Scripture and avoid pagan practices, symbols, and idols. While dreamcatchers may seem harmless, we must find discernment from the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. Our trust belongs in the one true God, not mystical charms. What do you think? Let’s discuss this important issue from a biblical perspective.