What is a red string bracelet?
Throughout history and cultures, the red thread (or the red string) has been worn as a representation of protection, faith, good luck, strength, and connection. While some cultures have slightly different views regarding the red thread, they are similar in that they view this red string as a powerful tool.
Today many people use it as a symbol and as a reminder that they are not alone; a symbol that they are loved, supported and safe; a prompt to stay positive while staring down the face of what appears to be adversity.
Indeed, today it is still a powerful tool as it aids in living mindfully and assists the wearer in utilizing the power of their thoughts.
Before we dive into different ways you can wear and use your red string bracelet, let’s start by learning a bit more about its history. So often ancient cultures and traditions are watered down and recycled merely for commercial purposes. Here at Karma and Luck, we care so much about your experience and about maintaining the authenticity of our products. We believe it is important to respect and honor the cultures these traditions come from, and part of that is learning more about not only the cultures but also the unique ways in which you can use our products on your personal growth journey.
Where Does The Red String Originate?
The red string originates from multiple cultures: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Kabbalah, and Ancient Chinese legend.
In Hinduism, a red (also sometimes yellow or white) thread is worn by married women on the left wrist and by men and unmarried women on the right. The red string is viewed as sacred and is used in many religious celebrations and traditions. It is worn both as a symbol of good luck and protection as well as a way for people to feel connected.
Kabbalah is the mystical form of Judaism. In ancient Hebrew texts, Rachel, the mother of Joseph, tried to give birth for years without success. It was believed that she was infertile until, finally, she gave birth to Joseph. She died during childbirth with her second son, Benjamin. Her highest priority was to keep children safe and protected from evil, and for such she is revered as a holy mother figure.
Because of this, a ritual developed of tying a red string around her tomb seven times to infuse it with the energy of protection and luck. After unwrapping the string from Rachel’s tomb, it is then cut into bracelet sized lengths and tied onto the wearer’s left wrist while reciting a prayer for protection. It is believed that the bracelet will then ward off evil.
Because not everyone has access to Rachel’s tomb to wrap the red string around it seven times, it is instead often knotted 7 times while repeating a Kabbalah bracelet prayer.
In lineages of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, the tying of a cord or string around one’s wrist is a common practice during ceremonies. The string is usually blessed by a Lama (a Buddhist leader) and given to students and practitioners to represent lessons learned, or to mark the occasion of taking Buddhist vows. Traditionally, the Lama blesses the string and then ties a knot and imbues it with a mantra. Similar to other traditions, it is said that these red cords bring luck and offer protection. They also serve as a constant reminder of vows if received for a vow ceremony, or lessons if received during a retreat.
“A scarlet thread” wrapped around the hand of two biblical figures, Pharez and Zarah, appears in Genesis 38 in the Bible. It is said that in the story in which this appears, the thread symbolizes redemption.
Ancient Chinese Legend
In ancient Chinese legend, the Red Thread of Fate is an invisible thread said to tie together all those whose lives will intertwine. It is governed by the Chinese God of marriage, Yue Lao, as it is often most associated with the link between two people who are destined to be married.
A Modern Spin on this Classic Tradition
Because this tradition comes from many cultures, it has been changed and altered over time into a modern practice that often blends all of the traditions. If you research, you will find people using it in various ways - and many of these ways contradict each other.
You may be thinking, “what should I do and how should I wear my red string bracelet?"
If you’re feeling that way, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
And we got your back!
First, let’s look at what some people say you should and should not do, just to give you ideas - you’ll see why we want you to be aware of this shortly.
Some people wear it on the left wrist only, as that is known in Kabbalah as the “receiving” side of the body - and it is the side that is closest to the heart. You may notice from reading about the culture this practice stems from, that it was often worn on the left wrist traditionally as well.
Most people who wear a red string believe that cutting it off is considered “bad luck.” Many promote the idea that you wear the red string until it falls off on its own, and once it does - if you tied it while making a wish or setting an intention - then it means that wish or intention has already come to fruition, or is about to shortly.
Create Your Own Red String Ritual
At Karma and Luck, we believe you make your own luck. If you want to believe that cutting off or removing your bracelet is bad luck, you certainly can - but it’s important to know that you have options.
Here’s why we wanted you to know about the history and the current traditions: we want you to utilize that knowledge to work with the red string in a way that best suits you. You are unique, and how you use it can be as unique as you.
The red string can serve as an opportunity to redirect - to realign - with your core beliefs. It can serve as a reminder of your goals - of who you are and who you most desire to be. It can serve as a reminder of a connection between you and a loved one. It can make you feel like you are safe and protected. It can aid in helping you feel prosperous and lucky.
There is no shortage of ways you can work with your red string bracelet. By honoring past traditions and cultures and staying connected with your core values and desires, you can create your own ritual that best serves you in utilizing your red string bracelet.
How beautiful is that!?
So you get to decide. What does this red string represent to you? Is it the red string of fate from Ancient Chinese tradition that binds you to those whose lives you’re destined to meet? Or is it more of the Kabbalah or Hindu view, serving as protection and good luck?
Or is it something else to you entirely?
When I was a Soul Camp counselor, there was a beautiful tradition at the end of each camp where we each were given a red string of fate. We were asked to envision something for this string to represent. I remember one of my strings represented how I desired to show up in the world. Another represented a big, scary life goal that I have. Whatever it was, we shared that vision with a friend who would then tie the string on our wrist, and we would do the same for them, binding ourselves to this vision.
It felt sacred because we made it such. I would look at that red string on my wrist multiple times every day and be reminded of all of the incredible people I am connected to around the world. It would simultaneously remind me of my soul family, in addition to the goals and visions I set for myself with the tying of the string.
Photo from @marisaimonmusicandmiracles
The red string connects us to what we desire and want to keep in our minds on a daily basis.
5 Steps to Using Your Red String Bracelet
If you can, get out a notebook or something to jot down ideas for the following steps. You are about to create your own ritual for working with your red string bracelet, for your own highest most loving good, based on your knowledge of the ancient traditions and cultures, along with your own desires.
Step 1: Identify Your Why
Take a moment and think about what you want this red string to do for you. Why do you want this string? Is it for protection? Love? Good luck? As a reminder of something?
What’s your why for having a red string.
In your notebook, write down the question: “Why do I want a red string bracelet?”
Allow whatever comes to mind to flow through you. Do not edit yourself, just allow. There is no right or wrong.
Step 2: Create Your Ritual
Many of the traditions have rules and special techniques utilized with the red string bracelet. You get to decide which of these work for you.
To help you out, keep your journal out as you answer these questions:
- Of the cultures and traditions you read about, which resonated with you most and why? You may find that it's a mix of cultures and traditions that you resonate with. It doesn't have to be just one.
- Is it important to you that the bracelet be worn on a specific wrist? If so, which one and why?
- Think about your “why” from the previous step. Using your why, what is your intention for this bracelet? Example: “My intention is that this bracelet helps me remember to believe in positive solutions to all circumstances” or “This bracelet helps me remember my connection to my loved ones,” or, simply “This bracelet brings me good luck, love, and fortune.”
- How do you wish to create your intention? As you’ve noticed in many cultures, it involves giving it a blessing or tying a knot. This answer can be as simple as holding the bracelet close to your heart while thinking of your intention. You could also come up with something more elaborate and create a ceremony where you light a candle, sit in meditation, and envision the intention permeating throughout the bracelet before wearing it. As part of this, decide if there’s any special way you plan to put it on. For example, you may get a bracelet for you and a friend and have each other put it on for one another as a symbol of connection. You can hold space for each other's intentions.
- After it’s on, how does it serve you? Let yourself journal about how you desire to work with this bracelet. Do you wish to use it to help you stay more mindful - more connected to your intentions? What happens if it falls off? Is that good luck or bad luck? What do you do to take care of it?
After you’ve jotted all of that down, you can move on to the next step.
Step 3: Choose your Red String Bracelet
We offer a wide variety of beautiful options at Karma and Luck. The choice is yours. Whatever you go with will serve you. Consider how it makes you feel to look at it when making your decision, as this is largely about how you will feel every time you look at it while wearing it regularly. Does it make you feel good when you look at it? That’s a sign it’s a good choice. You can’t get it wrong!
Step 4: Practice the Ritual You Created
Once you have your red string bracelet, go back to your journal and look over the ritual you created. If you’ve come up with any other ideas since then, go ahead and add them. As soon as you have everything you need, you’re ready to begin. You absolutely cannot get it wrong. Even if you don’t have your own personal Lama, guru or spiritual teacher to walk you through it, it doesn’t matter. You have everything you need within you to practice this ritual that you created. It is special and sacred just because you make it so. Enjoy this step!
Step 5: Wear Your Bracelet!
Now you get to reap the benefits of your red string bracelet! You set your intention for it, you chose the perfect bracelet, you practiced your own ritual, and now you get to use this bracelet and enjoy all of its benefits.
We hope this article served you! If you made your own ritual, let us know in the comments below.