The Crafty Witch: Pagan Prayer Beads
Written by Cauldron Living staff writer Eevie Keys
* * *As I write this, I sit with my back to a thorn tree. *I breathe in the soft, twilight air. *There is true magic in this moment. *I was lead to this spot by an impish blue jay who teased me until I agreed to follow him -- off the beaten path of all travelers before me -- into the unknown. *Who knew I'd find this treasure of a moment?
* * *Perhaps I did.
* * *The thorn tree's energy is soft and kind; despite its rough exterior, here, below the sharp branches, the bark is smooth, ready to hold me up as I write of wonders.
* * *The wood of this tree reminds me of my wooden Prayer Beads, resting peaceably on my knee. *Soft, warm -- ever glowing, these wooden beads compliment their counterparts on the string, well worn with a prayerful touch; my string begs to be held.
* * *Here beneath the tree, with the forest itself as witness, I will set down this notebook and pen, sit cross-legged and lean against the friendly bark, string of beads in wondering hands, as I begin to pray with a loving heart to my Goddess. *
* * *I am deeply in love with my religion. *There is such beauty in each simple moment, such wonder in the magic of the universe. *For me, if I did not pray, if I did not speak to my Goddess, tell her of my gratitude and concerns, my wishes or perfect moments, I could not possibly contain myself. *Prayer is a deep release and deeper connection; no matter where I am, I may reach out and touch the Divine. *This is beautiful.
* * *I am constantly communicating with Deity, but my use of Prayer Beads is just as much of a symbolic act as a spiritual one.
* * *When in ritual, we create a sacred space that nothing may intrude upon. *We are setting aside that time, purposefully, to make magic. *Likewise, when we pick up our Prayer Beads, we are setting aside the mundane and embracing the Divine. *This simple metaphor has great power and can deepen your spirituality.
* * *Not everyone has an hour to set aside for ritual every day, but we aren't just "Sabbat Pagans," either (think "Sunday Christians" with a Goddess and more coffee added to the mix). *We strive to -- in this day and age -- have an appropriate balance of daily life and spiritual growth. *It's just not easy sometimes! *A set of Prayer Beads is simple and inexpensive to make, yet what is gained borders on priceless!
* * *A set of Pagan Prayer Beads is similar to a Rosary (indeed, in some circles they are known as the Witch's Rosary). *This project is perfect for customization. *I will give you a set pattern. *Feel free to follow or create your own! *Likewise, I will give you set prayers for each bead, but I will also include variations. *As always, your spiritual practices are as unique as you are. *Take what suits you from the following guidelines, but please make this your OWN set of Prayer Beads!
Creating Your Own Witch's Rosary
* * *My set of Prayer Beads was created to remind me of the forest. *I knew that I wanted to have nine sets (3 x 3, number of the Divine Mother) of three beads for the Maiden, Mother and Crone and eight single beads in between the Goddess sets for Earth prayers.
* * *I purchased thin leather cord; a set of green, dark green and amber beads; a set of varying sized wooden beads and small silver beads for spacers.
* * *When stringing the beads, I kept this pattern in mind:
Earth bead (soft green bead)
Dark green bead
Small wooden bead
Large wooden bead
Small Wooden Bead
Dark green bead
Earth Bead, etc.
Some variations might include a simple large bead in place of the Goddess sets of three, or, even simpler, alternating different color beads. *When you think of a pattern you like, write it down before you begin. *It always helps to have a simple chart to work with to start. *
Depending on which deities you invoke, the colors will change. *For example, if you worship Brigid, your set of Prayer Beads would probably be made up of red, gold and white. *If you worship Diana, you would use blue and silver. *But please don't get carried away with "traditional" color meanings! *The colors themselves have deeper magical meanings, so choose your colors with intuition and heart.
Once you have your pattern and beads chosen, string the beads onto the cord. *As you place each bead onto the cord, say something that binds it to you. *A good chant to keep up the rhythm of the stringing is, *"Goddess come and bless this art, merry meet and merry part." *
Once the pattern and desired number of beads is strung, it's time to knot the cord. *Bring both loose ends together and tie a knot, double-knot it and triple-knot it, saying the chant firmly and with conviction for the final three times. *Your set of Prayer Beads is ready to be consecrated!
Consecrating your Beads!
A simple consecration ritual to dedicate this magical tool involves a white candle, sandalwood incense and no interruptions! *Sit comfortably with the candle in front of you -- the incense should be close but not distractingly so. *Place the string of beads open in a circle before you and set the candle in the center of the circle. *Notice what a perfect circle it forms. *It never ends. *It is the spiral, it is the sphere...it is part of the Goddess, just as you are. *Take some deep breaths and place your hands over the beads. *State your intention, words full of heart:
"Woven in an endless sphere,
These beads become a string of prayers,
Full of hope and dreams to be,
Goddess bless and please hear me."
Prayers for your Beads
* * *Now individual prayers need to be assigned to the beads. *They can be as simple as a "Thank you" to a full-fledged recitation of the Charge of the Goddess. *My advice? *Keep it simple. *If it's too complicated and involves too much pageantry, it might not remain a daily practice, no matter how firmly you wish to include it. *
* * *For ideas, look at the many beautiful Pagan songs and chants that have been created over the years. *Take lines or couplets (two lines) from these songs to create your prayers -- or write your own!
* * *To get you started, here are the prayers I use on my set of forest beads.
Spacer beads: "For She says: *All acts of love and pleasure are my ritual."
Earth bead (soft green bead): "The Earth is our mother, we must take care of her --
Her sacred ground we walk upon with every breath we take."
Amber bead: "Ancient Mother, I hear you calling,
Ancient Mother, I hear your song."
Dark green bead: "We all come from the Goddess, and to her we shall return
Like a drop of rain, flowing to the ocean."
Small wooden bead (MAIDEN): "Maiden, sister, lover, friend,
I am grateful without end
Large wooden bead (MOTHER): "Mother mine, I have been blessed --
I thank you for all of this."
Small wooden bead (CRONE): "Crone, wise one and dearest sage,
I thank you for all that I have
* * *If you absolutely do not have enough time to devote to this in a day, here's an idea that I've used in a pinch that has certainly helped me!
* * *Create a small set of prayer beads -- a string that's only long enough to be a bracelet. *Use a pattern and the appropriate beads, but make it in miniature. *Once tied, it certainly looks like a bracelet and could be used for such. *Consecrate and dedicate it as you normally would and wear it to work or school. *There are precious free moments in every day, even if it is among a large group of people. *Fingering the beads and saying your prayers silently does just as much good as in your own home or behind closed doors. *
* * *Using prayer in your spiritual practice is always rewarding. *Experimenting with new ideas can only be positive! *Make your own set of prayer beads and listen to your heart. *Brightest blessings to you in each path's new turn!
"Eevie Keys is a saucy kitchen witch and a writer in Western New York. *
*Absolutely smitten, Eevie is engaged to the most beautiful woman in *
the world and enjoys planning their fabulous wedding- which should *
take place sometime in May 2007. *Eevie loves playing with her cats, *
writing poetry and generally being very witchy- in all the good ways. *
She also writes other magical goodies, which you can read by finding her link here."