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Prayer Beads n Bowls

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:47 pm
Author: TheWiseHedgewitch
By Bonnie (Bonnie) on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - 07:40 pm:

We’ve talked about prayer beads from time to time and I just thought I’d add some little bits I’ve picked up from books and off the internet. The general idea is to recite a series of prayers, poems or personal mantras for each set of beads. The color of the beads can represent your intention in the same way that candle colors are used. The choice of prayers is up to you.

One of the most versatile patterns is based on the magical correspondences of the four-quarters of the Circle. For the design, use four large beads separated by seven smaller beads: OoooooooOoooooooOoooooooOooooooo You can tie them into a circle or leave them in a strand.

The same pattern has a variety of useful meditations:

The lunar cycle with the 4 large beads being the phases of the moon (new, waxing, full, waning) and 7 smaller beads as the 7 days of the week, with meditation on the magical associations of each phase & week day

The solstices/equinoxes and the 7 planetary astrological associations

4 Greater Sabbats of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltaine, & Lammas with meditation on the forces of Nature associated with each Sabbat or the mythology of the Lady and Her Consort in their Dance of Life.

4 Tarot suits: swords, staffs, cups and pentacles and reflection on their relationships

4 Archangels: Raphael, Michael, Gabriel and Ariel referenced in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Golden Dawn

4 directions: east, south, west, north with meditation on their associated qualities

4 elements: Air, fire, Water, Earth on the large beads, and meditation on their qualities in nature on the 7 beads between; you might recite something simple at the 4 large beads like “I am Air,” (or fire, water, earth), & on each of the 7 smaller beads say “air lifts me”, “fire powers me”, “water heals me”, and “earth nourishes me”. This is a simple way to get to know the elements.

4 dynamics of the Craft: to know, to will, to dare & to be silent with reflection on each of the 7 beads of that quarter

4 standard tools & meditation on their symbolism. There are variations on sets of tools at our discretion:
- wand, athame, cup, pentacle
- spear, sword, chalice, shield
- incense, burner, cup, offering bowl
- incense, flame, shell, stone
- smoke, bonfire, pool, stang

A variation on prayer beads is a prayer bowl or “spell bowl”. Replace the strand of beads with pebbles dropped into a bowl, in which each stone represents the intention for a need to be fulfilled, or thanks-giving for needs that have been met. Use ordinary garden pebbles or polished stones – rose quartz and green aventurine make a gentle combination; or choose stones/crystals that have properties associated with your intentions; or choose colors for a purpose such as green stones for healing, red stones for strength and courage, purple stones for mystical practices. A “prayer bowl” is a spell-bowl. You could use an abalone shell as a bowl, or a wooden bowl. I have a cut glass candle holder I use as a bowl. It sparkles beautifully in candle light, and it also holds the candle.

I have a personal quirk that I won’t leave the altar offering bowl or the Cup empty. When they are filled, they represent gratitude and prosperity; while if they were empty they would symbolize indifference & neediness. When the cup is not in use I keep a polished quartz pebble in it. The offering bowl is never empty – whether it’s filled with bread, herbs, oatmeal, rice, prayer-pebbles or bird seed, it symbolizes my thankfulness to the Great Lady for Her abundant gifts.

Re: Prayer Beads n Bowls

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:47 pm
Author: TheWiseHedgewitch
By Kate P. (Kepod) on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 06:15 am:

Bonnie, this is one of those nice instances of perfect timing that instantly makes me smile. I've been thinking about prayer beads the past couple of days, and just now I came to the computer with the intent of reading about them a bit. Thanks for your thoughts on the many different associations a pattern of four sections could have!

My motivation in thinking about prayer beads comes from a wish to seek better focus. I'm finding that the final year of college certainly brings a hectic batch of daily events. More than ever I want to make sure I can work on centering in the midst of it all, and more than ever I find my thoughts dashing here and there. There's a lot of appeal to condensing some intent into a phrase and focusing through repetition, doing something regular in the face of current chaos.

Just now I'm looking to find a few prayers or mantras others have appreciated, in hopes that I'll stumble into some inspiration for coming up with my own words to focus on for now.

Maybe I've come into this line of wandering in part because I've recently been typing up bits and pieces of poems from 10 years worth of my tiny notebooks and lingering on the appeal of small phrases. Maybe it's also that a friend's roommate said some of my phrases reminded him of Kerouac's approach to haiku.

A very close (though now physically distant) friend of mine, Rachel, is an extremely gentle and self-aware creature who often seems to be approaching life with a constant, subtle awareness of deliberate personal growth. When I last saw her a few summers ago she'd been meditating each morning with a certain phrase. It was one she made, pulling together sounds to fit around and hold the ideas she found important, comprehensible only privately. It gave her a lot of warmth, comfort, and strength to sing it to herself during the day, as a reminder.

Maybe something like that is in line. Meanwhile, perhaps I'll seek phrases in a book of Baha'i prayers, some Walt Whitman poetry, and some of Kerouac's haiku work. I'm curious, too, about any mantras or words you all may have held dear at various times.

Re: Prayer Beads n Bowls

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:49 pm
Author: TheWiseHedgewitch
By Freyawyche (Freyawyche) on Monday, November 19, 2007 - 05:10 pm:

Pagan Prayer Beads: Magic and Meditation with Pagan Rosaries (Paperback)
by John Michael Greer (Author), Clare Vaughn (Author)
Key Phrases: main circlet, pagan rosaries, closure allowance, Triple Goddess, Horned God, Thirteen Moons (more...)
I have this book- very good. Divides up the chapters on different themes of making the beads: Goddess, Wiccan, Druid, and others, and how you might arrange the beads to represent the cosmologies. Has some good representative pictures and also instruction on beading itself.
See for the whole bit.

Actually, now that we're on this subject, I'd like to say that the hardest thing about making/using pagan beads is that those peoples that are already savvy have those wonderful mantras and litanies all in place, i.e. the Hindus, Buddhists and Catholics. Oh- and the Hare Kkrishnas!
We witches need to come up with a few that are meaningful but graceful, helping us down the inward spiral toward the God and Goddess inside, sitting at the base of the Tree;coiled down that Kundalini Path, you know, waiting to be awakened. I suggest we post some and take what we want? Kate (the post above) has a great idea of looking thu poems and materials for inspiration.Kate-please post them, even if they are bits. We can build on what we find. (We did this once and wrote a poem- turned out OK).

She changes everything she touches and
everything she touches, changes
She changes everything she touches and
everything she touches, changes
Change is, touch is; touch is, change is.
Change us, touch us; touch us, change us.
We are changers;
everything we touch can change.
We are changers;
everything we touch can change.

- Starhawk

Re: Prayer Beads n Bowls

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:49 pm
Author: TheWiseHedgewitch
By Kate P. (Kepod) on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 03:33 am:

Well, if you're looking for bits and pieces, here's what I've got so far:

I was finding some lovely images in a book of Baha'i prayer, also transcribed online.
I liked the pattern of this one, ending each line with a calling out of a different way to name divinity. We could also gather modes of address.
From this one, in the category on unity, I particularly liked some images in one of the later verses, though I might make the pronouns less formal:
"Make us as waves of the sea, as flowers of the garden, united, agreed through the bounties of Thy love."
"...make all mankind as stars shining from the same height of glory, as perfect fruits growing upon Thy tree of life.¨

Another prayer called for all humankind to be "as individual drops of water collected in one mighty sea; to behold them all as birds in one garden of roses, as peals of one ocean, as leaves of one tree, as rays of one sun." ( )

I can't remember where in the Baha'i collection this next one comes from, but it also has some good resolutions. I might tend not to put all my affairs in the divine hands, but instead accept responsibility for my actions and ask for guidance to make them wise and fair.
"O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.
O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord."

Intending not to offend anyone's faith, I'd certainly not want to use any lines directly, but they do make good inspiration.

In terms of a message, I've been drawn to some kind of statement about recognizing those around me and myself as whole creatures, not just passing shadows, among other things.

Re: Prayer Beads n Bowls

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:50 pm
Author: TheWiseHedgewitch
By Bonnie (Bonnie) on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 07:52 pm:

Being a former catholic, I have great admiration for the rosary and angel Gabriel's familiar "hail Mary"... and I have no problem with borrowing the rhythm of the chant and changing the words, as long as what I do is respectful. So I like to use the following rewrite:

Hail Lady, clothed with the Sun
The Lord of Life is with you
Blessed are you, as are all women
And blessed is thy Consort and Son
Holy Lady, Mother of Earth
Bless your hidden children
Now & through our rebirth

Re: Prayer Beads n Bowls

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:50 pm
Author: TheWiseHedgewitch
By Freyawyche (Freyawyche) on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 05:42 am:

oooo! Those are all great! Thanx.

Re: Prayer Beads n Bowls

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:52 pm
Author: TheWiseHedgewitch
By Kate P. (Kepod) on Monday, November 26, 2007 - 12:55 am:

Another nice line comes from "Desiderata" by Max Ehrmann:

"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. "

I like to extend it from "you" to "we."
Somehow I also prefer "we belong here" to "we have a right to be here."

Re: Prayer Beads n Bowls

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:52 pm
Author: TheWiseHedgewitch
By River (River) on Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 08:13 am:

what a lovely symbolic & meaningful necklace it'd make! what with xmas approaching, me searching for gift ideas & all...

Re: Prayer Beads n Bowls

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:53 pm
Author: TheWiseHedgewitch
By Kate P. (Kepod) on Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 05:21 pm:

I just realized I never got around to posting the full version of what I was using for reassuring meditation.

It makes no reference to specific spiritual entities, in part because this meditation piece is one I can share with friends of various beliefs.

I contain multitudes.
I live in my body,
and my body lives on Earth.
I am surrounded by creatures of flesh and ideas--
whole creatures, not mere shadows.
We are children of the universe,
no less than the trees and stars;
we belong here.
May we be as
leaves of one tree
waves of one sea
rays of one sun.
May we find beauty in the mundane and,
whatever fears may come,
know that time moves--
It scrapes, it burns, but slips on by.
And so on.

Re: Prayer Beads n Bowls

PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:53 pm
Author: TheWiseHedgewitch
By Helen (Helen) on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 07:54 pm:

This has been a lovely thread, and one I need to read a bit more thoroughly (skimmed it so far) Thank you for everyone who contributed.