Years ago when I first thought of the red thread, and I googled it, there was nothing there but a small reference from the Chinese tradition which states that those who are supposed to meet are connected by an invisible red thread since before birth.
It was given to me in prayer, on the way to a Native American women’s circle being held up a Lake Isabella, as well as at the Delores Huerta Foundation. I was working with Native American Elder Tonantzin Guerra Rennick, who found me through my coloring book and journal, Color of Woman.
After filling hers to the brim, Tonantzin asked the Tribal Taniff for the Bakersfield area to work with me to so that I could come and bring creative journaling to the women. On the way there, I prayed to Our Lady to show me how to identity myself as ‘being of love’, right away, so as the create trust among the women, so we could get to work. The circles were to last but a few short hours, and to make headway into creative journaling and the practice of it I would need to move swiftly into deep territory. Plus I was nervous.
And so I prayed to the Blessed Mother and she told me to use the red thread ceremony. That was about as much as I got from her message. Maybe my cosmic voicemail shut off prior to completion of her message, like the HOW TO. Or maybe she wanted me to figure it out. It makes me think of that scripture, Those who seek for Wisdom will easily find her. She is already sitting at the gate. She says: I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Proverbs
It just so happened, that a dear friend, The Beaded Baronness, the artist Elizabeth Gibbons had given me a ball of the prettiest sparkliest thread, as a gift just a day before. And, I had my grandmother’s sewing scissors. And that is all one needs for the red thread ceremony. And a heart of loving, of course, the only real ingredient needed for a ritual to have meaning.
I was 32 at the time, and not as experienced as I am now, hundreds of red thread ceremony circles later – but it worked. The women believed I was who I said I was, and the red thread immediately put them at ease. (And me.) They told me that they and their communities sewed with red thread to show the solidarity among Native Americans. Just as the black and white women had sewn with black thread to show solidarity for those in the throes of the liberation movement.
The circle was brilliant and at the end of the night as I stood saying prayers over a moonlit lake with tobacco and story telling, I knew that a tradition had begun that would not end my entire lifetime. How precious it is to find ritual in one’s life, both the common and sacred every day acts, which accompany us on our lifelong path.
For a long time, before I founded Cosmic Cowgirls, I was going to call my business/projects: Red Thread Nation. A nation of women committed to educating and guiding other women along the path. I thought that a red thread movement would be upon us – and that women across the nation would join us in this simple, affordable, ever powerful ritual united women the world over. That may be still what happens.
The Legend of Red Thread
There are too many reasons and stories to list, which share how and why I love the red thread – but there are two which I cannot help but share. One is, how when the Israelites came to claim their Promise land, they were helped in their efforts by a harlot, Rahab. About whom it is said: “Only Rahab the Harlot shall live” She was to dangle a red thread out of her window – and only that house would be saved when they stormed the city. Guess we don’t hear much about a harlot who helped the Israelites gain access to the promise land. In scripture they call it a scarlet thread.
Jos 2:18 Behold, [when] we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.
Yahweh seemed to have an affinity for red thread – as it was used many different ways, which are simple, and compelling. Also, the Kabbalists as well as the Buddhists have red thread as a central ritual item. The scarlet/red thread starts as early as Genesis.
Gen 38:28 And it came to pass, when she travailed, that [the one] put out [his] hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.
One that I must tell, which his not in the Bible, but exists in the written history of the Orthodox Church is that Mary was weaving with a red thread, which was to become the veil of the temple to the holy of holies. I have worked with the Red Thread many years, without really connecting it to Mary in a literal sense. When I went to my church the first time, I was amazed, and actually shocked to see a red spool in Mary’s hand as one of the central icons in the church. When I asked the Priest, the dear Father Lawrence, what is that? I could scarcely breathe, it had now been over 7 years since I had been working the Red Thread Ceremony with hundreds of women.
He said: A red thread.
I said: What is she doing?
He said: Weaving the red veil to the temple, like that.
He then pointed to the red velvet curtain which veils the inner sanctum where the host is consecrated. Where the Spirit of the Most High, lights upon the Eucharist.
Of course, then I researched it. And found that Elizabeth too was weaving with a red thread, when Mary came to visit her. The significance of this to me as an artist, symbolist and mystic minded visionary is endlessly fascinating – and strengthening. Hence the name, Our Lady of the Red Thread for this blog.
We are woven together through our lives, with the sacred threads of the divine. They will show up and lead us toward and tie us with and call us into places we never would have imagined, if we watch for the signs and symbols the universe offers up from the Cosmic toolbox of synchronistic blessings.
Coming Soon… The Red Thread Ceremony – A How To: From Chief Laughing Cloud .