prayer beads

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Since I’ve become more serious about making custom prayer beads and other devotional jewelry through my shop Sister Wednesday, I’ve received an incredible amount of support. To thank you, I’m holding a giveaway!

I will be giving away one custom, necklace-sized set of prayer beads, for the deity, spirit, or theme of your choosing. This will be entirely custom, like my usual commissions, and valued at about $50. I take your input about colors, materials, patterns, and aesthetics, and transform that into a set of prayer beads uniquely for you.

To enter, please be following proserpinas-garden and reblog this post. That’s it! 

I will choose a winner Sunday, February 1st so you have until then to enter.

I am also open for regular commissions through the shop, OR use coupon code “TUMBLR” for 10% off any listed items.

Thanks and good luck!

Prayer & Prayer Beads

Some of us pray as part of our spiritual practices, and our reasons for doing so are as varied and numerous as the gods we pray to. We may pray for help, for guidance, for favor, in devotion, in greeting, in thanks, to feel closer to our gods, or just to talk. Prayer is our direct link to the divine - no tools are needed, and anyone can do it. I’m a prayer bead maker, and prayer beads are a tool, but they are not at all necessary to pray. All you need are your words, or even your thoughts and feelings. If they’re directed toward the divine in communication, to me that’s prayer. 

So, what are prayer beads for? While they aren’t necessary to pray, and I say many quick prayers without them, in my experience they can be helpful. Prayer can be quick and easy and frequent, but I think prayer beads have a place too - when you want your prayers to be deliberate, to set apart time for them, to be rituals in themselves.

Unless you’re part of a specific tradition that uses prayer beads, there are no absolute “rules” for how to use them. Here are some ways I’ve personally found them to be helpful:

  • Prayer beads can be an immediate, physical and visual, connection to a god. When I pick up my prayer beads, I physically feel them vibrating with energy. The moment I pick them up, I’m in a different head-space. Touching the beads can act as a cue to shift you into a prayerful mindset. When you pick them up, you are ready for communion with your god/s.
  • The use of beads with repeated prayers can induce a trance or trance-like state. I’ve personally experienced states of rapture and trance while using prayer beads. Holding them and speaking simple, repetitive prayers can carry you away. The time can slip away, too. If nothing else, it’s relaxing.
  • Prayer beads can be used to meditate on specific aspects of your god/s. With the use of colors and symbols that are meaningful, you can focus on aspects of your gods that you love and want to feel connected to, or aspects that you don’t fully understand and want to know better.

Okay, so you have a set of beads. How exactly do you use them? Again, there are no absolute “rules,” though different religions use them in different ways. If you are not part of one of those traditions, here are some ideas to get started:

  • You can simply hold them while praying spontaneously.
  • You can assign to each type of bead a different prayer, speak the prayer while holding the first bead, then hold the next bead and repeat. I have a different prayer for each “element” of my beads, with the majority black bone being a simple repeating 2-line chant; the flowers, skull and pomegranate being longer written prayers; and the garnet being a cue to speak spontaneously.
  • You can designate different sections of beads to focus on different aspects of your god, holding that entire section as you pray.
  • You can wear them to feel closer to your god/s.
  • Example - of-the-eucalypts’s prayer beads 
  • Example - amethystbonesblackheart’s prayer beads (Hope you guys don’t mind me linking to you, I just really loved both of your processes.)
  • Anything else you can think of - be creative!

In closing…I’ve always been amazed by how prayer works. I can’t count the number of times that the perfect answer to a problem has come to me mid-prayer, and how many times I’ve left prayer newly energized, happy, feeling connected to my god and knowing I’ve deepened my relationship with Her.

I wrote this post because I’ve had many people ask questions on prayer and on using prayer beads. Again, they are not necessary for prayer - but if you are interested in using or making them, I hope this has been helpful, or given you ideas.

How to Make Pagan Prayer Beads

In many magical traditions and religious paths, the use of beads can be a meditative and magical exercise. The best known example of this practice is found, obviously, in the Catholic use of the rosary. Within the rosary, each bead is representative of a prayer, which is counted in a ritual format. Some forms of Judaism have used prayer beads for many years, with a bead or knot symbolizing each of the Psalms.

If you’re Pagan, obviously you wouldn’t need a set of prayer beads symbolizing things such as Psalms or other clearly Judeo-Christian ideals. However, Christianity doesn’t have a monopoly on faith, and for many Pagans the idea of ritualized prayer is an appealing one. You can construct a set of prayer beads with a variety of themes and use them in rituals to express your Pagan beliefs and ideologies.

Let’s look at ideas for two different types of Pagan prayer beads. The first set is a devotional one that honors the elements, the changing seasons, and the phases of the moon. The second pays tribute to a deity.

You will need:

  • Eight beads to represent the eight Pagan Sabbats
  • Thirteen beads to represent the lunar months
  • Beads symbolizing the elements - earth, air, fire and water
  • Spacer beads in color of your choice
  • Beading wire or string

Sort your beads and arrange them so they for a pattern that you like. You may want to try different patterns and designs and see which feels right for you.

Once you have your beads aligned the way you like them, string them on the beading wire and knot it securely.

To use your beads in ritual, assign a prayer or short devotional to each bead. As you count them, recite the prayers.

  • Chakra beads: incorporate the seven colors of the chakras into a prayer bead strand, and use in healing meditations
  • Ancestor beads: use a variety of beads to symbolize your family’s heritage and origins. Use them in rituals celebrating your ancestors and kinfolk.
  • Triple goddess beads: combine three different colors to represent the maiden, mother and crone aspect of the goddess often found in Wiccan traditions.
  • Spellwork beads: consider the principles used in the Witch’s Ladder for spellwork, and work them into a bead strand.

source: http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/godsandgoddesses/ss/How-To-Make-Pagan-Prayer-Beads.htm

Holy water and rosaries and smudging...

Just had a long discussion about this with someone.
If you’re not getting it from a priest/holy water site (like Lourdes) and are making it yourself, it’s Blessed Water, not Holy Water.
If you’re not praying a Marian devotional/Novenna, it’s prayer beads not a Rosary.
If you are not Native American, it’s Smoke Cleansing, not Smudging.
Knowledge, Reverence, and Respect please.

I’m not saying that one is any less effective than another or anything else like that. They are just not the exact same thing.
Creating Prayer Beads: Wrath Edition

In the last day I finally made some prayer beads for my deities, and let me just say it has been a great thing to do! Now, prayer beads are a tool that anyone can use. They do not have to be tied to a deity or entity at all. They can simply be a physical connection while you meditate or pray. You hold them tight and close, channel the prayers into them and through them. You can purchase prayer beads, nothing wrong with that, there are some great designers out there. Once upon a time, proserpinas-garden made some of the loveliest prayer beads around. Sadly, she quit tumblr some time ago. Now, you can also make your own prayer beads if you want to add that touch. Purchase or make, both are special in their own way and just fine. But for our purposes, we’re making them ourselves.

First step to making your own is: to brainstorm. If you are making them for a deity, contemplate what colors, symbols, and numbers are associated with them. If it is for a non-entity or just for your own meaning, decide what colors, symbols, and numbers have meaning for you. When I was deciding on mine, I made a little post with colors, possible symbols, and by doing that I had a more clear idea what to look for in the store (though I did not have as much time as I needed). 

Second step is: to decide on a budget. Can you go all out or are you constrained by money? It’s perfectly fine if you don’t have infinite funds. What you can do is look into more moderately priced beads and find coupons. There is no shame in a budget. Your deities should understand if you are respectful and try in earnest to give the best within your budget.

Third step is: to buy the stuff. You go to the store and buy your supplies. Good job, that’s hard all by it self since I know I myself can get quite lost in those stores. So many shiny things. Now, you take the stuff home. 

Here comes the real part, making the prayer beads:

  1. Cleanse yourself, this can be as simple as cleaning your hands, to a full shower and change of wardrobe.
  2. Cleanse the components for the prayer beads. I use a salt approach. I just sprinkle salt over the beads while they are in a jar.
  3. Now commence making the prayer beads in the order and design that you have decided best suits your deity, or yourself.
  4. Once complete, I cleanse the prayer beads again.

Once the prayer beads are well and goodly done and cleansed, use them. Sit down for a meditation or prayer session. devote them to the deity they’re intended for, or just break them in for whatever their purpose is. If you want to go an extra step, create a ritual for your deity to officially make them devoted to that deity alone. This can involve candles, fancier prayers, written words, incense, what not.

Congratulations, hopefully now you have a basic idea for prayer beads.

Winged sandals fast as lightning. Prayer beads for Hermes. Purple magnesite, silver crystal pearls, silver wings and caduceus.

Something I like about making prayer beads is that I never make the same set twice, even for the same spirit. It’s amazing to see how the spirits show themselves in such unique ways to each devotee, and how something of that unique relationship comes through in the crafting process each time. Since no two devotees are the same, and the spirits have infinite faces and facets, no two prayer bead sets are the same.

These were a custom commission through my shop, Sister Wednesday.

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Aphrodite prayer beads! Freshwater pearls (couldn’t really find any other ones), pink marble (because pretty) and rose quartz (because love). There are five sections of eight beads - both numbers being strongly associated with the planet Venus, and four big separator beads - four being sacred to Aphrodite. I haven’t yet come up with specific prayers for each bead/section, although I do have something for the smallest beads in the workings.

Second photo is what I did with leftover materials. I wear it during ritual, but might also use it at any other time I need to remind myself of qualities and lessons of the Goddess. (I also have a pendant, not pictured, similar in style to the top photo’s heart pendant, except it’s a flower. Might wear it on its own? No plans yet).

Third pic is what I keep all of this in. I’m so happy I didn’t get rid of that years ago. A shell made into a swan! I got it in Greece, from my best friend at the time. I can’t believe it survived the 15-20 years!