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Satsekhem
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« Topic Start: November 14, 2010, 11:05:18 am »

I've noticed a recent trend in pagan thought where prayer beads are becoming more common. I see it fairly frequently on various websites in regards to Kemetic Reconstruction (specifically, HoN members). However, they're not the only people I've seen use this as an expression of faith. I'm interested, but frightened of the idea behind it. So... questions for those who utilize this practice!

1. Did you make your prayer beads on your own?
2. How did you decide what kind of beads to use?
3. What was the basic formula you used to create your prayer beads?
4. Did you base the outline on a Catholic rosary or use whatever you so desired?
5. Will any craft store have the basic supplies necessary for the project of prayer bead making?
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« Reply #1: November 14, 2010, 12:18:13 pm »

I'm interested, but frightened of the idea behind it. So... questions for those who utilize this practice!

1. Did you make your prayer beads on your own?
2. How did you decide what kind of beads to use?
3. What was the basic formula you used to create your prayer beads?
4. Did you base the outline on a Catholic rosary or use whatever you so desired?
5. Will any craft store have the basic supplies necessary for the project of prayer bead making?

Why frightened?

I've made a few sets, none of which ended up exactly the way I wanted them.  So I'm still working on my long-term prayer bead project.  Sometimes the problem is that beads I thought would work well together end up not working together.  Sometimes the problem is technique -- that is, I have a vision in my head for how I want to put it together, but end up not being able to do it that way for various reasons.

But I'll try to answer your questions anyway.  Wink

1.  Yes.  I've made my own several times.

2.  My brain seems to be hard-wired for symbolism.  I think in symbols and they're very important to me spiritually.  So I choose beads that have some kind of meaning to me, based on what I'm trying to accomplish with the prayer beads.

F'ex, I'm currently working on a set to help me focus on specific aspects of Brighid's nature.  Water and fire are both very important to Her mythology.  So, I'm using aquamarine beads to symbolize water and fire opal beads to symbolize fire.  I will also include a Brighid's cross charm, and possible a triskele charm.  If I want to include something related to Her celestial aspect, I might choose blue goldstone beads.  (Goldstone is actually a human-made glass, with tiny metallic sparkles.  The blue version looks like a starry midnight sky, so it's appropriate because it looks the part.  It has some added symbolism because Brighid is associated with smithcraft and forges, and the human-made glass aspect works with that.)

3.  I'm not sure what you mean by formula.  Are you talking about grouping specific numbers of beads, like the way Catholic rosaries are created?  If so, I'm not basing it on anything.  I'm putting it together in a way that works for the symbolism I'm trying to create.

So, in the example above, I'll have either one bead or one section to represent water, and another to represent fire, etc.  I know that some people who identify with Celtic spirituality find Erynn Laurie's book, A Circle of Stones, very helpful.  It's basically a plan for a set of Celtic-based prayer beads with accompanying prayers, chants, etc.  There's also a "generic" pagan book, called Pagan Prayer Beads: Magic and Meditation with Pagan Rosaries, that might be helpful, as well as a few books about how prayer beads are used in a variety of faiths.

4. Since my path has nothing to do with Catholicism, there's no reason for me to base my prayer beads on the Catholic rosary -- unless I find that pattern useful, which I don't, particularly.  I base my designs on the concept I'm trying to focus on, like an aspect of Brighid's nature, as in the example above. 

Another design example might be a set of "Celtic virtues" -- ideals commonly stressed in Celtic paths, such as courage, hospitality, honor, truth, etc.  I can envision a set of prayer beads based on a list like that, where each "virtue" is represented by a bead or a section of beads, and is accompanied by a related meditation or prayer.

5.  Depends on what kind of beads you want to use and how you want to string them.  Most craft stores will have what you need for either wire or thread (I prefer wire).  And most craft stores will have basic clasps and other findings (the rings and things you use to put the beads together), including sterling silver.  Where you might run into problems is the beads, themselves.  I'm a bit of a bead snob, and I prefer to use natural stone beads, like the aquamarine and fire opal I mentioned above, or stones like quartz, amethyst, amber, jet, tourmaline, etc.  Most craft stores don't carry beads like that.  At best, a craft store will carry a few basic stone beads (like clear quartz), along with a lot of glass and plastic.

I've had the best luck finding the beads and supplies I want on Etsy, or through online bead stores like Fire Mountain and Lima Beads.

One thing you didn't ask, but I feel is important to mention is:  If you don't already know how to bead, you probably want to learn *before* you attempt a set of prayer beads.  Beading isn't hard, but there are some techniques and tricks to it.  IMO, it's much easier to learn those things while you're just sort of fooling around and making some pretty necklaces and bracelets and things like that.  Once you've got your technique down, you'll be in a much better position to attempt prayer beads, which might require some more complex structuring than a basic necklace.

Hope this helps...  Cheesy
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« Reply #2: November 14, 2010, 12:48:35 pm »

1. Did you make your prayer beads on your own?
2. How did you decide what kind of beads to use?
3. What was the basic formula you used to create your prayer beads?
4. Did you base the outline on a Catholic rosary or use whatever you so desired?
5. Will any craft store have the basic supplies necessary for the project of prayer bead making?

In addition to Aster's comments, a few others:

You might also find the material here useful: http://web.mac.com/iowariver/Walking_in_Beauty/Pagan_Prayer_Beads.html

(I have not been able to take Donald's prayer bead workshop: I had to cancel out of the last one he did for health reasons. But he's a dear friend, and he makes amazing prayer beads sets. He does different sets for different uses: one he does regularly (sometimes daily, sometimes less than daily, but often), one for remembering the beloved dead in his life, one for ongoing major magical workings/foci.)

I've been collecting beads for an eventual set slowly over the last couple of years, but haven't gotten them together yet.

Other things you might think of: there are different ways to join beads. Some people use fiber (silk or linen cord, for example). Some people use wire. Besides the fact they're different techniques, they also offer some different choices - if you string on fiber, you will need to restring the entire set if you want to add or change beads. If you string on wire (with each piece having its own wire with connections to the next beads on each side) then you can change out or add beads relatively easily.

My wireworker friends say that it's worth getting good tools - the barebones ones in many craft stores can be particularly hard on your hands and wrists.

I'd also suggest - even if you do most of your shopping through online stores - that you see about visiting an in person bead store (place that focuses just on beads) or a gem and bead show. If you feel strongly about using artificially dyed stones, for example, seeing them in person will give you a lot of hints on what to look for that aren't always as obvious in photos.

(I do not ... yet.. bead. I've done a lot of bead sorting and table tending for a friend who's been a professional jewelry maker for 12 years now.)
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« Reply #3: November 14, 2010, 02:09:11 pm »

Why frightened?

I'm always frightened when I start thinking about branching out into something new. I'm terrified of making my natron mixture because I am constantly worried that I'm not going to like the final result.

One thing you didn't ask, but I feel is important to mention is:  If you don't already know how to bead, you probably want to learn *before* you attempt a set of prayer beads.  Beading isn't hard, but there are some techniques and tricks to it.  IMO, it's much easier to learn those things while you're just sort of fooling around and making some pretty necklaces and bracelets and things like that.  Once you've got your technique down, you'll be in a much better position to attempt prayer beads, which might require some more complex structuring than a basic necklace.

Hope this helps...  Cheesy

Where would I go to learn to bead? Like to a workshop from a craft store?
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« Reply #4: November 14, 2010, 02:34:29 pm »

I'm always frightened when I start thinking about branching out into something new. I'm terrified of making my natron mixture because I am constantly worried that I'm not going to like the final result.

Where would I go to learn to bead? Like to a workshop from a craft store?

Craft stores might have classes.  I know the bead shop in the town over has classes.  There are some books out that teach you too, I don't know how good they are.  You might even try youtube. Smiley I found someone who teaches crochet stitches that I have never seen but can't wait to try. Cheesy
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« Reply #5: November 14, 2010, 03:18:54 pm »


This is a neat website. There are some beautiful examples of prayer beads as well as some other good information. Thanks for sharing! Smiley
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« Reply #6: November 14, 2010, 05:11:40 pm »

Where would I go to learn to bead? Like to a workshop from a craft store?

I learned the basics from someone who worked at a bead store.  I was on vacation, and there was a bead store next to our hotel.  I stopped in one day, just to look around, got interested, and asked the salesperson what I'd need to be able to do a simple strand.  She walked me through it, and I took it from there.

I wanted to be able to wear my beads all the time, so the salesperson suggested wire for me because you can wear that in the shower.  (It's not a good idea to get beads strung on thread wet, because the thread will weaken.)  So, she showed me what I needed to be able to do crimped ends.  For tools, I used a pair of toenail clippers (to clip the wire) and the pliers on my Swiss Army knife to do the crimping.  That's all I needed.

Oh, and I'd suggest investing in a beading board if you're going to be doing more than a couple of strands.  They're cheap and they really make things a lot easier.

There are also TONS of websites that have instructions on a huge variety of techniques and projects.  Just start googling and you're bound to find something that works for you.  There are also tons of magazines and books about beading.  It's a really popular activity right now, so it's almost impossible to NOT find instructions.   Cheesy
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« Reply #7: November 14, 2010, 05:20:39 pm »

I learned the basics from someone who worked at a bead store.  I was on vacation, and there was a bead store next to our hotel.  I stopped in one day, just to look around, got interested, and asked the salesperson what I'd need to be able to do a simple strand.  She walked me through it, and I took it from there.

I wanted to be able to wear my beads all the time, so the salesperson suggested wire for me because you can wear that in the shower.  (It's not a good idea to get beads strung on thread wet, because the thread will weaken.)  So, she showed me what I needed to be able to do crimped ends.  For tools, I used a pair of toenail clippers (to clip the wire) and the pliers on my Swiss Army knife to do the crimping.  That's all I needed.

Oh, and I'd suggest investing in a beading board if you're going to be doing more than a couple of strands.  They're cheap and they really make things a lot easier.

There are also TONS of websites that have instructions on a huge variety of techniques and projects.  Just start googling and you're bound to find something that works for you.  There are also tons of magazines and books about beading.  It's a really popular activity right now, so it's almost impossible to NOT find instructions.   Cheesy

Actually, what started me to think about this was I was randomly surfing eHow and that's what started this! Cheesy
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« Reply #8: November 14, 2010, 06:07:09 pm »

1. Did you make your prayer beads on your own?
2. How did you decide what kind of beads to use?
3. What was the basic formula you used to create your prayer beads?
4. Did you base the outline on a Catholic rosary or use whatever you so desired?
5. Will any craft store have the basic supplies necessary for the project of prayer bead making?

1. Yes, I have my own.

2. Actually, I just found some cheap wooden beads at Target, a huge pack for $0.80. There were various sizes and shapes in them, so I thought it was a good deal.

3. 42 small pale beads (the 42 Negative Confessions), 10 larger brown beads (the Principles of Ma'at), and 1 large pale one on which I've drawn an ear, which is also where I tie the cord. I used hemp originally, but changed to a black elastic cord when I realized that hemp can easily break.

4. I based it on the Buddhist juzu, but with the beads in sets like Catholic rosaries. I have 4 Confession beads between each Principle bead, but since 42 is a strange number, it doesn't follow that pattern all the way around.

5. I went and bought my supplies at Target, so I'm sure any craft store will have them, too.
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« Reply #9: November 14, 2010, 10:23:56 pm »

I've noticed a recent trend in pagan thought where prayer beads are becoming more common. I see it fairly frequently on various websites in regards to Kemetic Reconstruction (specifically, HoN members). However, they're not the only people I've seen use this as an expression of faith. I'm interested, but frightened of the idea behind it. So... questions for those who utilize this practice!

1. Did you make your prayer beads on your own?
2. How did you decide what kind of beads to use?
3. What was the basic formula you used to create your prayer beads?
4. Did you base the outline on a Catholic rosary or use whatever you so desired?
5. Will any craft store have the basic supplies necessary for the project of prayer bead making?

I like the idea of prayer beads, and I must say I love the idea of Sekhemib's design (the 42 negative confessions). I personally think prayer beads are a good way to get in touch with the divine, religions all around the world use them.

I don't have any prayer beads at the moment for the simple reason that most pagan prayer beads I've seen look like they were made for an art project by twelve year old girls. The truth hurts. However I would like to take my hand at making my own someday.
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« Reply #10: November 15, 2010, 10:32:10 pm »

I've noticed a recent trend in pagan thought where prayer beads are becoming more common. I see it fairly frequently on various websites in regards to Kemetic Reconstruction (specifically, HoN members). However, they're not the only people I've seen use this as an expression of faith. I'm interested, but frightened of the idea behind it. So... questions for those who utilize this practice!

1. Did you make your prayer beads on your own?
2. How did you decide what kind of beads to use?
3. What was the basic formula you used to create your prayer beads?
4. Did you base the outline on a Catholic rosary or use whatever you so desired?
5. Will any craft store have the basic supplies necessary for the project of prayer bead making?

1. Not yet, but this is definitely on my to do list and I would like to complete them during the waxing half of the year.

2. Haven't yet, but wooden is probably a must, or stones.

3. Yes, it'll be based on that idea, I just don't have a symbol to attach to it, yet.

4. No idea, I've only got access to Walmart in my rural neck of the woods.
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« Reply #11: November 16, 2010, 12:23:32 am »

1. Did you make your prayer beads on your own?
2. How did you decide what kind of beads to use?
3. What was the basic formula you used to create your prayer beads?
4. Did you base the outline on a Catholic rosary or use whatever you so desired?
5. Will any craft store have the basic supplies necessary for the project of prayer bead making?

1. I have in the past, though I use pre-made ones at the moment. I haven't had time to make a new set lately.

2. Usually glass or wood. Plastic, if I'm making a set that needs to be indestructible.

3. I'm Catholic, so yes.

4. Yep.


May I ask why the idea of prayer beads frightens you? Or more accurately, what idea behind them frightens you?
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« Reply #12: November 16, 2010, 09:15:16 am »

May I ask why the idea of prayer beads frightens you? Or more accurately, what idea behind them frightens you?

Ha, ha, ha. It's not the idea or anything about them that frightens me. It's the delving into something new and unexplored. I also don't know, since I'm trying for a reconstruction religious standpoint, how this will fit in with my religion. However, honestly, the fear mostly stems from something new, untried, and intriguing entering my life when things are more than just slightly chaotic.
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« Reply #13: November 16, 2010, 10:48:21 am »

Ha, ha, ha. It's not the idea or anything about them that frightens me. It's the delving into something new and unexplored. I also don't know, since I'm trying for a reconstruction religious standpoint, how this will fit in with my religion.

The ancients loved their bling.  And pretty much all of their jewelry had amuletic, magical, protective, or religious function.  While I don't know of them having prayer beads specifically, it is certainly not inconsistent as a concept.
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« Reply #14: November 17, 2010, 12:04:40 am »

The ancients loved their bling.  And pretty much all of their jewelry had amuletic, magical, protective, or religious function.  While I don't know of them having prayer beads specifically, it is certainly not inconsistent as a concept.

Thanks, Hawk.

And I certainly did enjoy seeing "loved their bling" as a response.
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