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The Red Thread


Red String of Fate by KaitiBee


According to Chinese and Japanese folklore, the red string or thread of fate/destiny is tied to the ankles or little finger of those who are destined to meet. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break.

Here is a story often told featuring the red string of fate:

Walking home one night, a young boy sees an old man standing beneath the moonlight (Yuè Xià Lǎo). The man explains to the boy that he is attached to his destined wife by a red thread. Yuè Xià Lǎo shows the boy the young girl who is destined to be his wife. Being young and having no interest in having a wife, the young boy picks up a rock and throws it at the girl, running away. Many years later, when the boy has grown into a young man, his parents arrange a wedding for him. On the night of his wedding, his wife waits for him in their bedroom, with the traditional veil covering her face. Raising it, the man is delighted to find that his wife is one of the great beauties of his village. However, she wears an adornment on her eyebrow. He asks her why she wears it and she responds that when she was a young girl, a boy threw a rock at her that struck her, leaving a scar on her eyebrow. She self-consciously wears the adornment to cover it up. The woman is, in fact, the same young girl connected to the man by the red thread shown to him by Yuè Xià Lǎo back in his childhood, showing that they were connected by the red string of fate.

Although the red string is most often associated with the joining of destined lovers or soul mates, such as in the story above, I like to visualize it as the connecting of any two people who are meant to help each other in some way.

I see us all walking around in a metaphorical web of red thread, connected to each other in ways that we cannot see and that most of us don’t even realize.

It’s complex and beautiful in its intricacy, weaving us all together whether for a moment or for a lifetime.

Of course you could say that we’re all cosmically connected and speak of collective consciousness and oneness but I’m speaking in a less universal sense and a more interpersonal one.

For me, the red thread is an understanding between two people, a bond that whispers of wholeness and echoes of eternity.

A feeling as though your soul knows the secrets of another’s even if you’ve never exchanged a word.

It’s a connection that has nothing to do with physical location, time, age, race, gender or any such construct.

Perhaps it’s a simple passing, looking into the eyes of a stranger and seeing something there that you recognize, a shared understanding.

Or the bond between friends that never erodes regardless of distance or the passage of time.

It’s a person who was in the right place at the right time, who was able to help you in a way that no one else could.

It’s feeling like you’ve known someone who you just met for your entire life, or a feeling that you intimately know someone who you’ve never met.

I like to think of connectedness in this way. A tapestry weaving us all together, threads intertwined – stretching across time and distance.

Sometimes I imagine that I can see these threads, it’s like those pictures where if you allow your eyes to go out of focus, an image appears. I feel as though I can occasionally sense them there, discretely tied to me and that if I take a hold of one I can trace it all the way to you.