Stringing My Prayer Beads

I love prayer beads. I love the ritual, of course, and I love coming up with repetitive prayers and chants to use with them. I love how tactile they are, how smooth and cool stone beads feel in my fingers. I feel like using beads links me up to hundreds of years of seekers and the devoted from all over the world.

At last count I had two sets. One was specifically dedicated to Persephone, so I wasn’t using them much once Winter came to an end. I found them on Etsy and they feel amazing! There’s something solid and comforting about them that I find instantly anchoring. They’re made with carnelian and rose quartz beads.

The other set I actually had customized by another Etsy shop, and it didn’t have a particular dedication but was more all-purpose. It’s primarily moss agate with a silver oak leaf on one end and a Tree of Life on the other.

I love using both, but as I said, the first set has a particular energy to it that I don’t feel called to use the whole year. In addition, the version of the Goddess I am currently drawn to has two faces, and right now I’m working with the lighter half, who is a Lunar and stellar goddess not based on any specific tradition’s deity but who, for now, I refer to simply as Theia.

I’ll have more to say about Them later on. For now, suffice it to say I decided I wanted a set of prayer beads for Theia, but weeks of shopping online came up with nothing that really felt right.

While it may be lacking in the pre-made bead strand I wanted, one thing Etsy does have is a metric buttload of beads.

Careful shopping came up with the ingredients you see in the wee bowls: Blue kyanite and dumortierite as the main beads; tiny fluted silver spacers; silver leafy ovals as section beads (I believe in a Rosary each section of beads is called a decade), and for the end pieces, a flowered, stylized pentacle for one end and the Moon phases for the other. Add to that some monofilament procured from my roommate (who makes awesome jewelry), and I was ready to go.

I’d kind of forgotten what a pain making prayer beads can be – the first 99% of the strand took about 20 minutes, but getting that last knot on the Moon phase pendant took an hour! It’s still not perfect, but perfection is an illusion anyway, right? Better to have a thing made and use it than to stare at an imperfectly made thing and never get it finished!

Yeah, we’ll go with that.

The result is, if I do say myself, gorgeous. The blue kyanite beads are translucent, and the dumortierite have swirls of blue and blue-black. All the silver gleams.

I’m keeping them in a wooden bowl my mom gave me years ago, which won’t break when the cats inevitably knock it off my bedside shelf. My other two strands each have a container on my altar – the tree beads are in a fluorite bowl and the Persephone beads are in a pomegranate-shaped box. I wanted my new ones to be safe and within easy reach.

What do I do with my beads, you ask? Well, they function basically like any other of their ilk whether a Rosary, Mala, or Misbaha. I have a rotating selection of four-line (or so) chants and prayers that I mentally recite while holding each bead with my right fingers while the other end of the strand rests in my left hand. I start with an invocation at one end – with these beads, the beginning is the Moon phase pendant.

At each oval-shaped “decade” bead, I pause and say a different prayer, usually something that I make up on the spot. Then I go back to the original prayer until the next oval bead. At the end, I finish with an expression of gratitude of some sort.

Here’s an example, just to show you how I do it. A lot of this is borrowed from other sources and varied traditions, some of which I don’t even remember, but I use phrases like these in most of my prayers. You’re welcome to use it if you like but please don’t repost it as I didn’t create every line. The sources I can recall are listed at the end of the post. Enjoy!

MOON PHASE PENDANT:
I call upon the Mystery of the Starlit night,
The beauty of the green Earth,
Mother of all things;
I call upon the radiant Queen of the heavens,
Heart’s light and soul’s longing,
Whose hands weave the tapestry of constellations.

INDIVIDUAL BEADS:
Hail, Star of the Sea;
Enfoldment of all enfoldments
whose love is poured out upon the Earth,
Be with me.

OVAL BEADS:
Goddess, tonight I am (however I’m feeling),
(reason for how I’m feeling if I know it);
I pray You will help me find (something I need) to sustain/guide/strengthen/etc me
And keep watch on your wandering child.

PENTACLE PENDANT:
Mother of all things, I give thanks
For the beauty of the Earth,
For the glory of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies; [yes I absolutely stole that]
I thank You for Your blessings
And for Your presence here tonight.
Blessed be.

Sources:
Doreen Valiente, “The Charge of the Goddess”
Gael Baudino, Strands of Starlight
Folliott S. Pierpoint, “For the Beauty of the Earth”

Stringing My Prayer Beads