I’m sure that I’ve posted about making/buying pagan payer beads. Making a sturdy set of any type of prayer beads is difficult. Most people string them on stretchy, strong plastic. If you get lucky, you can find a pair of those with some space for moving the beads as you pray/say your mantra, and spacer beads. Unless you want to pray the entire set of beads at once or use a marker (a safety pin, a bit of ribbon tied in place) you should look for a set with spacer beads.
I’m working over my old Kwan Yin mala beads again. They are very well made (by a seller who is no longer in business, sorry!) and connected by wire. I’ve removed the Kwan Yin figure (and placed her safely in the pretty bag that the beads originally came in.) The beads are jade. I had a jade pendulum and an extra sterling silver star goddess that came with an earring set. I attached them at what I determined would be my beginning point. Then I went through my little jewelry box drawer of beads for spacer beads and decided to use spacer beads with their own soldered rings and attach them to the mala beads with jump rings accessorized by a star and a moon.
A string of mala beads easily become your Wiccan prayer beads. You can do as little as remove the Buddhist figure or symbol that comes with the prayer beads, attach your own figure or symbol, and you have Wiccan or pagan prayer beads. Jewels, like my jade beads, are more likely to be strung very securely (I’ve had these since 2003) on metal wire. Sandalwood beads are also popular, smell wonderful, but are usually strung on heavy-duty string, thin twine, or some elastic substance.
There’s always a finishing step when adding an item to your Wiccan tools: cleansing. If you’re dedicated to a female deity who is a moon, underworld, or unspecified deity, leave them in your windowsill overnight in the moonlight. There are moon gods and solar goddesses. Do what seems appropriate. Pass the beads through sandalwood incense smoke, then leave them on your altar until your incense finishes burning.
You can put your prayer beads into a little dish and cover them with cleansing herbs for 24 hours. Some common herbs include basil, cedar, thyme, and peppermint. You don’t have to bury them, just cover them. You can also keep them in a white cotton bag on you altar for a moon cycle. You can put herbs in the bags, herbs for purification, cleansing, balance, harmony, and energy. If you’re stressed, try rose petals for cleansing. If you’re seeking happiness, try basil or lavender. If you want to heal something it your life, harness healing energy with peppermint, clove, or cinnamon.
Don’t use oils because they may damage your beads, metal figures, or spacer beads.
You can use these steps with beads you purchase, alter, or make.
I’ve only used 108 bead strings of mala beads intended for use in Buddhist meditation. Many Wiccans focus on a three-fold goddess and/or the three phases of the moon. Traditional Buddhist mala beads focus on 108 repetitions of a mantra. The number of beads is typically 54. Reaching you beginning point and starting again is the usual Buddhist method. Buddhists may also stop at half the mala and pick up again later.
For Wiccans, 108 beads divided by three is 36, a nice number for Wiccans as 3+6=9. 5+4=9. 1+0+8-=9. If it comes out in multiples of three, we can more easily write prayers and mantras dedicated to our goddess(es) Maiden, Mother, Crone. That’s a good place to start, even if you’re starting in winter. When you pray your beads, you can work clockwise or widdershins. Widdershins is the opposite of clockwise, and is often used in undoing or banishing spells.
It’s easiest to start using Wiccan prayer beads with a single or three-word mantra. Habit is the most important thing at first. Allow me to tell you you a story about the early days, living with my ex-husband. I met him through a Buddhist message board. We were sharing a house with several other people. Every day, white he was at work, I listened to Buddhist podcasts, sat in the lotus position, and tried to clear my mind. Imagine being a baby Buddhist and living in a two-story house getting loud in the middle of the day, fighting, not wanting you there, imagine a completely untrained black lab puppy and a FUCKING IGUANA in a cage too small. Put yourself into that situation and clear your mind of everything but your mantra. YOU CAN’T FUCKING DO IT.
Imagine that your SO gets home from work and asks you how you’re getting along in your “lessons.” You tell them. You get “FIX YOUR MIND” screamed into your ear or your face.
It actually got worse when we moved into an apartment because there was no one there but the two of us, a child on the weekends, and the iguana he acquired before I met and knew that I fear. I was forced to feed him because he would have died otherwise. My ex built a habitat for him twice the size of his old habitat. I got a cat. The cat and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen and bedroom. Still, I could not clear my mind. I still listened to podcasts. There was one Buddhist nun teacher I very much liked, until one day she said something bizarre and awful that started to wake me up.
Over the next years, I used walking meditation and found a great deal of comfort in that.
On the night of the full moon, 12/3/2017, I turned those old jade mala beads into Wiccan prayer beads. They’re in a white cotton bag of lavender right now as the beginning of their cleansing.
Prayer beads are frequently now called “worry beads.” You have probably seen a Catholic person praying the Rosary in a time of intense stress. I guess it’s okay if you call your prayer beads worry beads. I mean, you reach for them when you’re unsettled and worried. But you should also reach for them when your mind is calm. Prayer beads can help your mind find solutions to problems. They’re not magic. You work the magic as you work with them.