Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pagan Prayer Beads

I purchased a book from this site, titled "Pagan Prayer Beads: Magic and Meditation with Pagan Rosaries". This book is written by John Michael Greer and Clare Vaughn.

This is an excellent book to use when making your own prayer beads to use in ritual. The idea of making prayer beads for use in meditation began in India, where Hindus use a mala ( a string of 108 identical beads , usually made from the seeds of sacred plants) to help focus their minds while chanting mantras, the sacred syllables of power. Buddhist monks borrowed the concept and spread the use of the mala throughout Asia. As Christianity and Islam grew, they borrowed the idea of a mala, and adapted it to their own symbolism ( Muslim rosaries have 99 beads representing the 99 names of God, plus one large bead representing the deity himself). Most of us who have been raised in a Christian background are at least familiar with the Catholic rosary, where repetitions of "Hail Marys" and "Our Fathers" are chanted during worship services and petitions for absolution of sin.

So, what good would it do for Pagans to adopt the use of these rosaries and prayer beads? Well, for one thing, it serves as a good reminder for the order of ritual worship, from casting a circle, to calling the Quarters, to invoking the Lord and Lady. There were a few times in my early practice where I failed to remember which way was "deosil" and what element came after "fire". It would have been nice to have something to hold on to as a physical reminder of what comes next, and also to add to the mood of the experience. Somehow, just having a change of clothes and a change of jewelry sets the physical mind up for the spiritual experience of holding a ritual for Sabbat observance, or to focus on a change that needs to happen.

I have owned this book for months, but just recently dived in to making prayer beads in the last two weeks. I have made over 50 pieces in 10 days, using the examples in the book, with step by step instructions. Then, I got more brave and developed my own interpretations and my own style. Here are some of the examples of the pieces I have made:

Thirteen Moons Rosary

Triple Goddess W/ Tree and Moon Goddess charm

A Triple Goddess Rosary

A Triple Goddess Witches' Ladder Style Rosary

A Triple Goddess Rosary

An Elemental Rosary

An Elemental Rosary

An Elemental Rosary with Hematite, Russian Jade, Sodalite, Tiger Eye and Amber

Tribute to Hecate Rosary (Sold)

A Quarter Call Rosary (Sold)

Five Element w/ Tree and Fertility Goddess

Quarter Calling Rosary with Spiral Goddess Beads

It was really fun to do these (and addictive too, be warned!) I have listed these and others up for sale on, and in a shameless bit of self-promotion, (what good is a personal blog, if you can't brag about yourself once in a while?) I am inviting my readers to stop by and see all of my pieces, get a feel for what they are used for, and make sure you get a copy of this book if you want to try to make your own. I've had a really good experience making these, and I am working on making some for my fellow S.C.I.P.A. members, so we can do those rituals properly and regularly.

I have also been working on making one specifically for a Wiccaning ceremony that I will be performing in a couple of months. I think I'd like to make ones for specific needs, I'm especially interested in making ancestor rosaries just to keep those memories alive and well.

Anyway, that's some more of my personal life. Back to your regular program...


Anonymous said...

These are absolutely beautiful!!! You should be very very proud.

Willow said...

I purchased one of your Triple Goddess Rosaries from etsy and I love it. It's made a great addition to my altar, and something that I want to pick up constantly to say a little prayer to the Goddess with.

Saffron + Purple + SUNSETS LuvR! said...

Gorgeous. Inspirational. I have been *planning* on making some, but am now going to do so soon, before Hallows...I'm also gonna check out your etsy spot...blogs ARE for promotion (though mine have been private diaries for years, I am planning on doing some public ones soon - promoting what's not even existent yet!) lol.

Arshes said...

Thank you so much for this... I have recently purchased a string of lotus seed prayer beads that was sold as a mala, but which consisted of only 106 beads. As such, I have decided to make my own ... and what a valuable resource! I will certainly look at this book, and will let you know of how I fare in making my own prayer beads when I do make them.