red string
By Kelly Battese

As a Reiki Master and practicing Buddhist, I get asked a lot of questions about the red string.

More so in the last few years, I’ve noticed a lot more people are sporting the red string bracelet on their wrists. I’ve had mine for two years now on my left wrist; when it breaks I simply replace it. I even put one on my daughter’s left wrist. I have also given them to friends and loved ones in hopes of expressing love, wishes of good luck and protection towards them. 

Some background on the little red string.

It is generally worn by practitioners of four different faiths, Hinduism, Kabbalah, Buddhism and Christianity. It can be worn on either wrist, is generally made of wool and can even have knots tied into them. Red has been a color used since ancient times. It’s a symbol of blood, of protection, is used in the work with the evil eye, it’s been painted on the human body before battle—even painted on doors of homes for protection. Red has had a long standing tradition in human history for many different occasions, more so defined by attachments that culture puts on them.

In energy work, this bracelet can become a talisman and charged with energies that protect the wearer. It is believed the left side of the body is the receiving side, thus wearing it on your left side is allows for the receiving of good fortunes and luck to come to us.

Let’s talk about how each faith uses the red string.


In Hinduism, the strings are called “kalava”, and are generally worn on the right wrist by men and left wrist by woman. Red is a symbol of purity; it is color of the divine, bravery and generosity. It is given in the temples at ceremonies and  punjabs. It shows unity in the faith of Hinduism and the the community.


In Buddhism, the color red is a symbol of life force, compassion and rules the tongue portion of the body. Wearing the red string in Buddhism is a reminder to the wearer to show compassion to all and mind the tongue, for the tongue can cut deeper than the sword. It is also generally worn on the left wrist.


In Christianity, Gensis 38 mentions this to “worn off misfortunes”. It is usually worn on the left wrist. In Christianity red is a symbol of fire, blood and Pentecost. It also becomes the color of the martyred saints.


Kabbalah is the Jewish mystical interpenetration of the Bible. The red string originated from Rachel’s tomb and is only worn on the left wrist. In Kabbalah it is believed the string removes unwanted energy to make room for the wanted energy.

No matter which wrist you choose to wear it on or how you view the symbolism of wearing this, it can make a great addition to your faith, and wardrobe.



Kelly BatteseKelly Battese is a Kansas City native, practicing Vajrayana Buddhist, Reiki Master and has been in the medical field for over 12 years. She loves being a teacher and passing along the knowledge she has.

“Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.” ~ Sai Baba

Photo: (source)

Editor: Alicia Wozniak



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