MJB writes: “My daughter recently came home from school wearing a wish bracelet that had been given to her by a friend. When I looked it up on the Web, it seemed superstitious. Am I overreacting or is this something like a talisman?”
No, you are not over-reacting and yes, the Wish Bracelet is a kind of talisman that is associated with the occult.
For those who have never heard of these bracelets, they are something like a friendship bracelet but sport beads instead of knots and are usually given by a friend. The idea is to think of your wishes while tying the bracelet on your wrist.
“Think of your wishes while tying on your Wish Bracelet and the specific energy indicative to your wishes goes into the knot,” this site claims. “As much as possible and every day rub the beads and think of your wishes as though they have already come true and more energy of your wishes will go into the bracelet.”
Eventually, the bracelet will fall off and “that stored energy will then be released and eventually find its way back to you.”
This same site claims the bracelets originated with a wise shaman in the Amazon jungle who claimed the health and happiness of his people was due to the secrets of the Wish Bracelet. He claimed that the women of the village “weaved colorful jeweled beads from the stars into their native grasses. These bracelets were magical, able to answer the wishes of those who wished with a pure and unselfish heart.”
The shaman then told the visitor to share the bracelets with the world. “Soon the magic of the bracelets spread far and wide. The more people believed, the more magical the bracelets became. In turn the people were greatly blessed and lived in an abundance of love and harmony.”
Wish bracelets in certain colors supposedly bring about wishes from certain categories. For instance, blue wish bracelets bring love and healing while purple bracelets bring spirituality and energy.
The Brazilians have their own form of wish bracelets known as Bahia Bands which are said to be a 200 year-old tradition of good luck charms in the form of a ribbon that is tied around the wrist with three knows. A wish is made for each of the three knots. Once the bracelet falls off the wrist, the three wishes will come true.
This is very similar to the woven friendship bracelet which has a long and superstitious history of its own. They are said to have originated with the Indians in Central and South America with some knots being traced back to fifth century China. These knots became the forerunner of macrame, a knot-tying craft that was very popular during the 1960’s and 70’s. The same type of knots are used in the friendship bracelets of today which are often tied in intricate patterns.
Recipients of a bracelet are supposed to make a wish while it is being tied on their wrist and when the bracelet falls off on its own due to wear-and-tear, the wish will come true.
Using these bracelets in ways meant to give a person power over others is “gravely contrary to the virtue of religion,” we read in the Catechism (No. 2117), which goes on to state that “Wearing charms is also reprehensible.”