Dear One, I am so glad you are here. I have so much to tell you! I feel like I have waited for years to sit with you, here. I invite you to imagine something with me. Even if we are just getting to know each other, our time has come, because here we are! I have set out two cups of tea, one for you and one for me, your favorite kind, and fine chocolates from Paris. There is paper for journaling and colored pens and a candle between us. Together we are entering into the sacred space ‘Red Thread Café’. This is an imaginal field, a place living within our hearts, where we can meet to connect.
We know that many of you are new to the Red Thread and our Intentional Creativity philosophy and want to learn more about our work. This is a talismanic symbol that has so much depth and beauty, that it continues to surprise me, even after close to 20 years of working with it. When I first started working with it, I had no idea what it would bring into my life and our life as a community.
The first ball was given to me by Elizabeth Gibbons when I was going to teach a class to Native American women on my coloring book, Color of Woman. She got it for me because it was a beautiful sparkling ball. Neither one of us knew what it really represented. (Or so we say lol) That night, I made a long trip to Bakersfield California to work with the Tribal Taniff. I was guided by my Elder Tonantzin in how to use the thread, and she said I would know what to do. And then that night, I lead my first Red Thread Circle.
At the time I had no idea how many cultures were using the red thread in some way. When I got home from the trip, I looked up red thread on the internet, and there was nothing listed save for a few yarn shops. And now... 1,370,000,000 results (0.65 seconds). Clearly we are a part of something bigger, a bigger weave. We are one thread in many threads weaving the world. The red thread is not exclusive in any way to us, yet we have been developing how we work with it since around 2000.
Many years after that first circle, I had led hundreds of circles. Then in 2013, I was at the United Nations, in the General Assembly. I was sitting behind a placard for one of the nations who weren't present that day. I asked myself, what would the placard say if it was my nation - what nation did I represent? I knew then, the nation that I was a part of was the nation of the Red Thread, a community of women creatives and their families worldwide. On the plane trip home I said one day I might like to teach women how to lead the circles with the things I had learned - and he said - you better write a manual then. I thought, what is there to say? It is so simple. Little did I know it would take another 7 years to complete the manual I started on the plane on the way home that is now a book over 300 pages long.
I hope you enjoy learning about the red thread and the power of our community.
With a red thread of quantum connection encoded with love,
Red Thread Vow of Connection
The Way of the Red Thread - Ideas We Hold Dear
We hold dear the idea of ‘already belonging’.
We believe in treating ourselves and others as if we already belong.
We hold dear the idea that we have always been headed towards this connection between us.
We love the idea that our path so far has led us to this moment of recognition.
We hold dear the idea that each of us has a calling. Each of us is called to our own work. You hold your own piece of the red thread. The awareness of our connection helps us to trust that we are part of a story greater than our own, that we are not alone.
Feeling connected can spark our desire towards a greater work than we had once imagined for ourselves. We each have something that is ours to cause and create. Saying yes to our call makes us available to see what we haven’t seen.
We hold a piece of the greater thread that is an essential part of the fabric of the world.
We hold dear the idea that gathering together helps us to discover more about who we are and our calling. That circle is a space for blooming and becoming.
We understand that a circle can be sacred space and that each one of us contributes to that holy weave. Witnessing one another’s stories changes the stories that live in us.
We hold dear the energy and power of Intention. We apply intention and attention to the circles we participate in. Intentional focus amplifies energetic and physical shifts for us and those we sit in circle with.
We are creating a field of possibility. We weave our threads together and transform through the quantum connection.
We hold dear the idea that we can choose transformation by curating our own consciousness. That we are co-creatives capable of altering our path and influencing the path of others for good.
We hold dear the idea that we are actually responsible to our thread – to know what it is and to weave it. And that if we do our part, then others are freer to do theirs.
We hold dear the gifts of creativity.
Our experience is that that when we create we activate our own inner information. That we can become more and more of who we are.
We are aware that our 'inner world' is more available to us when we are engaged in creative process.
Many of us who hold our red thread as medicine, seek to heal our own suffering so that we may work with others to heal their suffering.
Photo Credit: Pamela Llano from Rites of Passage Color of Woman Gathering 2022
What is the Red Thread?
What is the Red Thread? At the most basic, it is simply a red thread used in an intentional connection. A Red Thread is a symbolic and literal tool for transformation. With an eye toward quantum ways of connecting across the globe, it is working with in-person and virtual circles in a sacred manner.
A Red Thread can be an insight into the understanding of your sacred responsibility. Leading experiences with a Red Thread includes circles, conversations, Intentional Creativity and ceremonies to create a powerful feeling of connection for you and your guests. To be at cause for creating this kind of experience for someone is something many of us long for.
Our Founder, Shiloh Sophia says:
"From birth to death...and all the bumps in the road along the journey...many of us long for initiation experiences to mark the passing of time. Whether that is a celebration or coming together around a trauma, or the acknowledgment of transitioning from one relationship to another, human beings seek out delineation in cycles.
We want to know where we have been and then put it behind us and move into a new space - yet we are often at a loss for ritual. Red Thread Ceremonies create the context for living a life well loved, and being able to provide initiatory experiences for others and yourself.
The Red Thread is a sacred technology, which we are able to use in our modern world. A sign of connection + destiny + desire + protection + transformation.
In our circles, we say 'tug on the red thread' if you need to feel us with you, and in an instant, we are there. Do you feel the connection?"
The Red Thread Is...
The Red Thread is a sign of connection. A reminder that we are already connected. A symbol of protection. A gift of blessing. The color of life. The Red Thread is a legendary Talisman throughout the world with different meanings of the sacred, of destiny and taboo, which makes it a dynamic symbol that wild women love!
The Red Thread is the hem of the garment of the Great Dancing Lady Our first red thread is the umbilical cord to our very own mother, of life force in the womb, our red room. The Red Tent from times of old that women gather in to rest and tell stories during their moon cycles. Red, the color of the thread the Blessed Mother was using to weave the veil of the temple, the red gateway to the holy of holies. A place forbidden to women has a gateway woven by women’s hands.
Red! The color of desire, sex, passion, romance, devotion, the red velvet box for wedding rings. Red. A color used symbolically in stories, like the sturdy red thread from Little Red Riding Hood’s coat, with which she saved her life. The red thread the fates are spinning, the color of memory the red rubedo in the final stage of the magnum opus in alchemy, and the cover of Jung’s Red Book and the Llibre Vermell of the Black Madonna with the songs of pilgrims for singing and dancing The red roses associated with the Guadalupe, Magdalene and Mother Mary The Red Thread tied around the expectant mother’s wrist, and the women in her life who are supporting her. The Lover’s bond at hand-fasting with that red satin ribbon. The red thread wrapped around Mother Rachel’s Tomb. Red, the color of thread women in positions of power wear throughout history. The color of royalty, the sacred spaces and the red carpet rolled out on a special occasions for special guest.
The color of the forbidden fruits, the apple, the pomegranate, chilli and the deliciousness of cherries and strawberries. Red, the color of the thread Ariadne gives to the warrior, along with a sword to navigate heart of the labyrinth. Some say that the words web and email thread come from that story of from that spool of the wise Greek princess.
Many Asian traditions say that those who are supposed to meet are connected by an invisible red thread since before birth! That it may stretch or tangle but will not break - it will lead you until you are face to face with that person.
The red thread can be the symbol of quantum connection when we say, I am sending you my love, representing energy moving across space and time. This the red thread we connect with in our Intentional Creativity Circles.
The fiery core of our star, our sun, our heat, our life, red. Red, the color of our blood, the red from the iron of exploding stars from billions of years ago. If you need to feel our connection you can just tug on the red thread and imagine we are there with you, and we are. In our community we have legends of the Red Thread, that we feel make a life move beyond just a story into a legendary life -
Dear One You are already connected, You are called to this circle, You have your own unique piece, You are only responsible for our own piece, and You, are not alone. We bear witness to each other’s red threads. Let us spin a red thread of story throughout our lives, finding a common red thread woven between us
~ by Shiloh Sophia
What are some of the Red Thread global stories?
We feel that one of the responsibilities to the Red Thread is learning about some of the worldwide stories and being able to share them with others. That there are so many stories, matters to those in your circle, because knowing that a symbol is shared this widely has meaning and relevance for your circle guests. It is delightful to discover something like the red thread!
We feel a talisman this widespread is legendary all on its own! The idea that it is both sacred and taboo is what stirs the Cosmic Cowgirls into thinking the red thread is indeed LEGENDARY!
Not just a story, but many stories with deep potent meaning creating a tapestry. For a very long time, most cultures would not have known about the other stories from other lands! Collectively we feel this is the making of a legend!
There are several layers of connection that happen with red thread and story.
• Cultural: There are stories about the red thread in the world from cultures and traditions, many of which get passed from generation to generation.
• Collective: That there are many stories, means it is in the collective.
• Community: There are the stories we tell about it in our community based on the experiences we have.
• Personal: There are your personal stories and experiences.
• Transpersonal: There are the experiences and stories of others you work with.
Symbology, Tradition and Themes
There are many Red Threads in traditions and stories throughout the world. It is a global, gender-inclusive symbol with many meanings, most often translating as connection, protection, and blessing. The Red Thread circle creates a powerful context for transformation, connection, education, deep listening, and relevancy. It supports us in connecting to our bloodlines and ancestry. There are Red Threads to follow throughout history, all the way to where we now stand.
When we begin a Red Thread circle, we often make a reference to the history of Red Thread itself before the thread is passed. This creates a deeper connection to the symbology of the Red Thread for those gathered. You can choose to speak about whichever Red Thread tradition resonates the most for you, or fits in with the circle theme.
Allowing for each person to find their own connection to the Red Thread creates a dynamic of diversity and relevance. It also means that when you wear or see the Red Thread you can choose to feel the rich connection to all of us out here wearing our Red Threads; even if we don’t know one another, come from other parts of the world, and have different belief systems and traditions. We can all be connected by the Red Thread within our own context.
Until recently, the legends of the Red Thread have mainly been oral traditions. We are still discovering how widespread the Red Thread is globally. Even most flags representing the countries of the world are sewn with red thread. At the United Nations red is the most dominant color flying in that Avenue of Flags.
Many in our Red Thread community believe it symbolizes the sacredness of connection and the unique piece each of us holds. In the following section, we will offer a summary of the global traditions surrounding the Red Thread to orient you to its mysterious global and universal weave.
These references are shared with you as an introduction to a variety of perspectives and uses of red thread in cultural and spiritual traditions globally. What we will share here is not exhaustive, but a summary of what we have found in our research up to this point. You may find your own red thread traditions as you do your own research – perhaps even connected to your own ancestors and lineage.
A Symbol of Blood, Protection & the Sacred
What are we to make of a symbol found worldwide in so many cultural and spiritual traditions that it cannot be ignored? A symbol that is neither masculine nor feminine that somehow connects all of us.
To begin with, we will share some of the global traditional stories and meanings connected with the red thread in list form, and will expand more in the sections that follow.
The red thread is a symbol of bloodlines and connection to the ancestors, also connected to the Tree of Life in many traditions.
The red thread can be tied around the finger as a reminder.
A red thread tied around a rowan cross is a charm of protection in the Celtic/Gaelic tradition
The Red String of Fate or Red String of Marriage in East Asian culture says that those who are meant to meet are connected by this string via their little finger or ankle
In anticipation of a birth, a cord ceremony is conducted during which the wrists of participants (usually family members and close friends) are bound with a single red cord of wool or yarn. This cord is kept around the wrists until delivery and all the post-natal tasks for the mother are complete. The cord is cut as a symbol of unity, and a great way to remind others to keep the prospective mother in their thoughts (Dogra, 2018).
In the Hindu tradition, there is a red bracelet called a kalava tied onto the wrist by a priest during a fire ceremony said to invoke divine blessings, fortune, well-being, and prosperity. (Dogra, 2018)
“Red has been a color used since ancient times, and is a symbol of blood, 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 things, more so defined by the attachments that the culture puts on them. In energy work, this bracelet can become a talisman and is charged with energies that are to protect the wearer.” ~ Henrietta B
The red thread is seen by some as a sign of prophecy and purity as the Virgin Mary was said to be weaving the veil of the temple with a red thread 2000 years ago when the coming of the Christ was announced.
In the Bible, Joshua Chapter 2, Rahab helped the Hebrew spies to escape from Jericho by sneaking them out through her window by means of a rope made of scarlet thread.
In the early 7th Century, the red thread was condemned for use as a talisman by St Eloi of Luxeuil in France.
Since the early 500s A.D. the tomb of Rachel the matriarch has been wrapped seven times with red thread as a symbol of hope and faith. After being tied around the tomb it is thought to have mystical divine powers and is then cut into pieces and given to people to wear around their left wrist.
During the American Civil War, red thread was worn on the uniforms and placed on the dwellings of soldiers who favored peace.
Kings and prophets throughout history were often clothed in red garments to honor their greatness.
Christ was clothed with a scarlet robe as ‘King’ along with his ‘Crown of Thorns”.
There is a superstition practice of pinning a red thread or ribbon to pregnant woman's underpants to protect herself and unborn child. This superstition also extends to tying a red ribbon or piece of yarn to a baby’s carriage and crib to protect them from danger (The CBR Blog, 2016)
During eclipses, ancient Aztecs and Mayans who were pregnant would tie a red string to an arrowhead and wear this around their necks to protect their baby’s from birth defects. In modern-day Mexico, pregnant women have adapted this tradition and now wear red underwear during an eclipse. (Martinez, 2017)
Based on Jewish folklore, some people in Israel have a custom of wearing a red string or ribbon as a bracelet and/or tie a red string on their baby’s crib or shoelaces to ward off an Evil Eye.
In Puerto Rico and Brazil, there is a tradition of giving new babies either red baby slippers or a ‘mano negra de azabache’, a red-knotted bracelet, for good luck or to ward off evil spirits (The CBR Blog 2016)
In Greek mythology, the Moirai were the three goddesses of fate who represented the “...inescapable destiny of man” (Theoi.com, n.d.). They allotted each person their portion of fate. Their name - Moirai, means "parts", "shares" or "allotted portions". The individual names of the three goddesses were Klotho (Clotho) "the spinner" who spun the thread of life, Lakhesis (Lachesis) "the Apportioner of Lots", who measured it, and Atropos (or Aisa) "She who cannot be turned," who cut it short. (Theoir.com, n.d.)
What are the Four Legends of the Red Thread?
I am already connected
I am called to this circle
I am responsible for my piece
I am a witness
Legend is a genre of folklore that consists of a narrative featuring human actions perceived or believed both by teller and listeners to have taken place within human history. Narratives in this genre may demonstrate human values and possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude. Legend, for its active and passive participants, includes no happenings that are outside the realm of “possibility,” but may include miracles. Legends may be transformed over time, in order to keep them fresh, vital, and realistic. (‘Legend’, Wikipedia, n.d.).
Within our framework, when we refer to legend, we are speaking about the stories WE tell about the Red Thread. So then in providing the framing of the Legends of the Red Thread, the hope is that we establish a bridge of connection to both an ancient and emergent story.
The stories of the red thread become legendary BECAUSE of the weight we give them.
In our experience to the idea of ‘already being connected’ and ‘believing we have a divine appointment’ and ‘each person holds their own piece’ are not your everyday ideas. These are HUGE concepts that deserve our attention and address the challenges we face of isolation, not feeling a part of things, and like our voice doesn’t matter. The red thread is legendary because it asserts that you MATTER just because you exist.
Some of these stories in different cultures have been watered down or almost lost. Many were not written down and were orally passed on. This happens over time as we put a lesser value on things the Red Thread teaches us about, like connection, calling, creation and celebration.
We are reviving the power of the red thread through the legends, which are really a teaching. We are weaving a culture of connection – a matrix of what matters – that links both the past and the future of emergent culture.
Choosing to belong to each other, is legendary.
What is Red Thread community?
I just want to remind you we are all a detail in our galaxy. Our galaxy cannot do without each of us. The body we live in is our Cosmic Address at this time. We are transistorized versions of our true size… We are much bigger than we think – as Cosmic Cowgirls, we will come to know how huge a power we are.
~ Sue Hoya Sellers, From her journal 2007
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Leader of Color of Woman Australia, Jassy Watson, and Color of Woman students participating in Red Thread Circle that was also happening with Shiloh Sophia at MUSEA in Sonoma, California and with students online. Using livestream technology, we were weaving the Red Thread across the world!
"After a Red Thread session with my Mom (91), daughter, granddaughter, cousin and niece, my cousin said "This goes down in the books as one of my favorite memories in life. What a special time! Thank you so much for this magical experience. I love you!” ~ Hobby Parent, hobbyparent.com
I NEVER lead a workshop without doing Red Thread. I have shared it everywhere I go...the most powerful part always being before we cut ourselves free to hold only our part. It's all about setting - and holding - the container. ~ Tina Greene, TinaGreeneWisdom.com
I open every event I lead with The Red Thread Ceremony. It acts as an icebreaker, a heart to heart connector, a conversation maker, a moment of transformation as an individual and as the collective, and is always remembered. My clientele comes back wanting more and bringing friends. Such a simple, powerful and profound gift for any group of people. ~ Kerry Lee, KerryLeeArt.com
I've participated in circles for decades, and find the Red Thread ceremony offers a wonderful way for people to hone in on what they have to share and holding space for others. I open my classes and workshops with it, and love the magical moment when I hold up the ball and say "you're not responsible for the whole ball!" I would love to be involved in the training in some capacity! ~ Nadya King, www.ladyharper.com
I always do a Red Thread ceremony when I teach! Many women say that is the most powerful aspect of the workshop--sharing intimate information in sacred space and holding the container for that trust to be shared opens up the channels of creativity, connection and community!! ~ Janet Lavendoski Holmes www.facebook.com/janetmholmesartist
What a beautiful offering Shiloh Sophia, yes, always use the red thread in opening, intended as welcoming all scattered parts of self to land safely and connect to the wholeness of being, extended outwardly into community. Always refer IC to my tribe as it has changed my life significantly and l experienced first hand how a practice within a creative community holds so much more potential. ~ Marihet Hammann, www.facebook.com/livinglifeinfullcolour
I also begin my workshops with a red thread circle and have led very powerful red thread circles with my family and friends. ~ Gina Fong Seidler, www.facebook.com/paintmandalas
This morning my husband told me he sees me light up whenever I lead a Red Thread Circle and that I seem to be at my very best when doing so. The entry into my operations here at Gefion Art & Guest House go through my Red Thread Cafés, which is a great way of introducing people to the way of the red thread and the work with IC. Even the most skeptical of people seem to fancy the thread, and no matter how many circles they have been in, they are amazed when I tell them - we are connected "now you can see it". ~ Jessica Enevlold, www.facebook.com/drjessyourcreativept
Storytelling and your piece of the thread
A big part of working with the medicine of the Red Thread is storytelling. Working with stories of the collective, the culture, the ancestors, the land where you are having a circle, and your personal mythos. This is the place where we witness one another. This is a place to connect with and claim our piece of the Red Thread - that which we are responsible to cause and create.
This is what, founder Shiloh Sophia has to say about it...
"The red thread is a sign of connection. It is the hem of the garment of the great dancing lady. It is the color of our blood. The color we wove the red tent with. Many legends see it as a sign of protection and blessings. The Asian traditions say that those who are supposed to meet are connected by an invisible red thread since before birth, that it will stretch and tangle but not break.
In our community, we add another layer, which is that you have to show up for your part in the connection. Each of us has a part in weaving the great unfolding. We may not know what our part is yet, and the red thread teaches us that, and the more we weave in circle, the more we understand our sacred responsibility.
Many of us who are lovers of life, healers and creatives can see the big circle, so we feel responsible for the whole. But what if we are only responsible for the part we are holding, our own piece to weave? How would that change things? We are responsible to know what our piece is, however. And to call others to remember their piece as well.
We are all connected by red thread, shortening the distance between one another until we are finally here, in circle, together." ~ Shiloh Sophia
How can I be of service to others?
What can I offer that will bring me joy?
How do I bring my work online and make it sacred?
Can I see myself as a leader during these times?
In the Intentional Creativity community, we empower you to be healed enough so that you can call others into circle.
Circles of all kinds, especially virtual, are needed at this time and always will be.
The Way of the Red Thread is an invitation to walk in the world as one who carries her own medicine, and brings it to others in times of suffering, in times of great change, and in times of celebration.
We use the 'medicine basket' as a metaphor for what you carry. Your red thread is in your basket. As part of Red Thread teachings, you articulate what else is within your medicine basket. What you bring to the world as your gift.
What is a Red Thread Circle and ritual?
A Red Thread Circle is a circle that includes a red thread in some way. It is a very accessible experience to offer that can have a profound impact on those present. Many will be automatically drawn to it – curious and open. Even if they do not know why! It involves a simple ball of red thread or yarn that is passed around the circle. Each person holding the thread is heard and witnessed as they speak, and they are connected to the rest of the circle as they wrap the thread around their wrists. Once the thread has been passed around the whole circle - whether in person or online - we are all witness to our interconnection and can feel the power of the thread weaving us all together.
Red Thread Rituals in our Community
Since our community uses red thread in almost every gathering online and in person, we have had a lot of red threads. Every single one adds power to the collective energy of the red thread
Here is a rough estimate of numbers from 2019
• The Red Thread with over 7,000 women in the Red Thread Café Classroom online every day
• Thousands of Red Thread Connect calls
• The Red Thread of the Cosmic Cowgirls calls - at over 200 calls over 16 years
• The Red Thread of over 100 calls for Red Madonna for over 8 years
• The Red Thread for LEGEND : The Cosmic Cowgirls with close to 1000 women
• The Red Thread for Color of Woman Training with close to 500 women
• The Red Thread with 50 women in Motherboard Training
• The Red Thread for Red Thread Guides - over 100 and growing!
• The circles I have been a part of are have had tens of thousands of women! And now you are a part of it!
Truly tens of thousands of women worldwide have participated in virtual and physical red thread from our community and many others who also practice with the thread.
Everything is ritual.
The cup you choose for tea.
The necklace you choose to wear when you feel lost.
The choice of readings to start your day.
The watering of plants and checking of soil.
The choice to smile anyway at work.
The unwarranted consistent kindnesses.
The gazing out of windows.
Your desk as a small altar.
The food you chose and the way it looks on your plate.
The path you take on the way home.
The wishing you do for strangers on the street.
The turning on of amber lights in a dark room.
Speaking to the cats in soft tones.
The music that creates the evening mood.
Checking to be sure all is ok with friends and the world.
The good scented candles at small altars.
The texture of your nightgown on your skin.
The face cream that cost too much and smells so good.
Your hair on the pillow feathered like a halo.
How you say goodnight to the day.
The last ray of light.
Everything is ritual.
~ Shiloh Sophia
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