Screen Shot 2022-06-23 at 7.07.21 PM

GriefSPEAK:  The Red Thread – Mari Nardolillo Dias

By: Mari Nardolillo Dias

What is the symbolism of the red thread? Legends of the red thread exist in almost every culture, philosophy, and religion.  One of the stories, based in Eastern philosophy is that when we are born, there is a red thread tied to us. It is invisible, of course, yet connects us to the people we are destined to meet and with whom we connect.

Similarly, another legend of the red thread myth comes from Japan. They believe that thanks to the gods, everyone’s little finger is tied to an invisible red string, which emanates from the heart and leads us to someone (or many people) to which the other end is tied. It is these people who we share our stories and lives with.

The Chinese myth says that the gods have tied a red thread around every one of our ankles and attached it to all the people whose lives we are destined to touch. The belief behind the red thread of Fate is that it is Fate, not the gods, that binds us together. Sooner or later, we are destined to meet these individuals, regardless of where their live, work or play. ( The red thread of fate isn’t always straight: it can stretch or become tangled. This may prolong the destined meeting, but never prevent it. The red thread can never be broken. (

Have you ever met someone and thought: “They have come into my life at this time for a reason?” Perhaps they became a lifelong friend, a lover, a spouse, or partner. Maybe they simply came into your life for a short, profound, period of time. Just when needed. I savor the ability to visualize the red thread that connects me to others. I am positive that it’s the red thread that brings my clients to me. I marvel at the idea that although the red thread can stretch and tangle, it can never be broken. Not even through death. This theory of the red thread lends credence to the phrase, “Death Ends a Life not a Relationship”. We will always be connected by that invisible red thread that comes from our heart, flows through our little finger, and connects us to those who will always be part of our story.

I invite you to visualize your red thread(s).  Whose lives have you been destined to touch? Who have you been destined to connect with?  Who has been destined to touch you?



Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief. Dias is a Certified death doula, and has a Certificate in Psychological Autopsy.

She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to: .

Dias is the author of GriefSPEAK, Vols. I and II