I had heard that there were two pictograph locations in Joshua Tree National Park depicting a female in red paint. Having never before come across a design of a female form in what appears to be a red dress, I was intrigued.
Both, “The Red Lady” and “Brunette Lady” sites are thought to be Chemehuevi sites, indicating the first day of spring, also the beginning of the Chemehuevi’s new calendar.
At the “Brunette Lady” site, archaeologists have noticed that only on spring equinox, the sun can be seen through a notch at the site during sunrise. It is also believed that these two site are fertility sites. Present at the Brunette Lady site is what appear to be a set of twins. The twins may represent the ‘twin sons of the sun’, as told in the Chemehuevi legend of the “lone woman of the cave.”
The “Red Lady” Pictograph site is located roughly a mile east of the “Brunette Lady.” Like the “Brunette Lady” it is believed that there is a connection to the “lone woman of the cave” story. The story indicates that a woman, “went out one morning to urinate and, as she spread her legs wide, the rising sun penetrated her with his rays and she became pregnant.”
A large mortar is present at the “Red Lady” site. An archaeologist that has observed the site has documented on spring equinox, “One half hour before noon a small arrow shaped spot of light suddenly appeared, pointing to the bedrock mortar, the pointer grew in size, quickly moved toward the lone hole and then made a ‘nose dive’ into it.” Reading into the ritual would indicate that the mortar acts as a vagina, and the arrow shaped rays of the sun, as a penis. When the sun rays enter the mortar, it is penetrating it, indicating a season of fertility.