The anti-possession tattoo, prominently displayed on the arms of Sam and Dean Winchester in the television series Supernatural, has become a recognizable and enduring symbol for fans. 

While its effectiveness within the show’s narrative is debatable, the tattoo holds significant meaning and embodies various layers of symbolism.

Origins and Design of the Anti-Possession Tattoo from Supernatural

sam anti-possession tattoo

The anti-possession tattoo first makes its appearance in Season 2, Episode 1, “In My Time of Dying.” 

It is revealed that John Winchester, the father of the main characters, Sam and Dean Winchester, had the symbol etched onto his sons when they were young children. 

This suggests that the tattoo has been a part of their lives from an early age and serves as a crucial protective measure within their world of hunting supernatural beings.

Design Elements: The design of the anti-possession tattoo is intricate, featuring a combination of sigils and symbols borrowed from real-world religious and occult iconography.

  • Central Symbol: At the heart of the tattoo is a five-pointed star, a universally recognized protective symbol found across various cultures. This symbol typically represents goodness, spirituality, and protection against malevolent forces.
  • Surrounding Sigils: The tattoo is further adorned with various sigils that hold specific meanings and purposes:
    • Double Triangles: These triangles are commonly associated with protection and the banishment of evil. Their presence in the tattoo suggests a proactive defense against demonic influences.
    • Triquetras: Representing the Holy Trinity in Christianity, the triquetra symbolizes divine protection and spiritual unity. Its inclusion reinforces the religious undertones of the tattoo’s protective properties.
    • Knotwork: Knotwork designs are often associated with Celtic symbolism, representing the binding and restriction of negative forces. In the context of the anti-possession tattoo, this knotwork likely enhances the barrier against demonic possession.

Intended Purpose: John Winchester’s intention behind imparting the anti-possession tattoo onto his sons was to shield them from the ever-present threat of demonic possession. 

In the world of “Supernatural,” demonic possession is a significant danger faced by hunters like the Winchesters, making protective measures essential for their survival.

The tattoo serves as a symbolic barrier, making it more challenging for demons to possess the wearer. However, its effectiveness is portrayed as variable, often depending on the wearer’s faith and willpower. 

This suggests that while the tattoo provides a layer of protection, it ultimately relies on the individual’s inner strength and belief in its power.

Anti Possession Tattoo Supernatural

Deeper Meanings Behind the Anti Possession Tattoo

Beyond its literal purpose, the anti-possession tattoo carries several deeper meanings:

  • Family and sacrifice: It serves as a constant reminder of John’s love and sacrifice for his sons, a crucial theme throughout the series.

  • Destiny and burden: The tattoo represents the Winchesters’ inescapable destiny as hunters and the burden they carry.

  • Choice and free will: Despite the protection offered, the tattoo ultimately cannot force the Winchesters down a specific path. They retain the agency to choose their own fate.

  • Faith and belief: The effectiveness of the tattoo is often linked to the Winchesters’ belief in its power, highlighting the importance of faith in their fight against evil.

Cultural Impact:

The anti-possession tattoo has transcended the boundaries of the show, becoming a popular symbol among fans. 

It is often seen as a representation of protection, resilience, and defying predetermined paths. 

It’s important to remember that while the tattoo holds significant meaning within the fictional world of Supernatural, attributing any real-world protective properties to it is not advisable. 

However, its enduring popularity reflects its ability to resonate with viewers on a personal level, serving as a reminder of inner strength, the importance of family, and the power of personal choice.

After Care Tips for Your New Tattoo

  • Keep it clean and dry: Wash the tattoo gently with unscented antibacterial soap and warm water 2-3 times a day for the first week. Avoid soaking it in baths, showers, or swimming pools for at least 2 weeks.
  • Pat it dry thoroughly: Don’t rub the tattoo, as this can irritate it. Use a clean, lint-free cloth or paper towel to gently pat it dry.
  • Moisturize regularly: Once the tattoo is dry, apply a thin layer of fragrance-free, oil-free moisturizer. Look for ointments recommended by your tattoo artist. Avoid petroleum jelly, as it can trap moisture and bacteria.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing: Tight clothing can irritate the tattoo and prevent it from healing properly. Wear loose, breathable clothing made from natural fibers like cotton.
  • Avoid sun exposure: Direct sunlight can damage the tattoo and make it fade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure for at least 4 weeks, and always use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when outdoors.
  • Don’t pick, scratch, or itch: This can damage the tattoo and increase the risk of infection. If the tattoo itches, resist the urge to scratch and gently pat it instead.
  • Avoid saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms: These can irritate the tattoo and hinder healing. Wait at least 4 weeks before using these facilities.


What does the anti-possession tattoo look like?

The tattoo is a complex design featuring a central five-pointed star surrounded by interlocking sigils and symbols. These include double triangles, triquetras, and knotwork, derived from various religious and occult imagery.

Does the tattoo really offer protection against possession?

Within the show’s narrative, the tattoo acts as a symbolic barrier, making it more difficult for demons to possess the Winchesters. However, its effectiveness is inconsistent and often portrayed as relying on the wearer’s faith and willpower. In reality, the tattoo holds no supernatural properties.

Is there anything else I should consider before getting the tattoo?

Before getting any tattoo, it’s essential to carefully consider the decision. Tattoos are permanent, and you should be sure you’re comfortable with the design and its potential visibility in various social and professional settings.


In summary, the anti-possession tattoo from “Supernatural” is a fascinating amalgamation of fictional storytelling and real-world symbolism. 

Its origins, design elements, and intended purpose contribute to its significance within the context of the series, serving as a tangible representation of the characters’ ongoing battle against supernatural forces. 

Through its portrayal, the tattoo underscores themes of protection, faith, and the eternal struggle between good and evil in the world of the Winchesters.