Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Before We Start, We Set Our Intention

Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna;
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna…
– The Goddess Chant, various artists

Today we actually begin to create and work with our prayer beads. As I have explained, I learned this from Donald Engstrom-Reese in 2003 at SpiralHeart Witchcamp. So my directions will be based on how I was taught. As our very lively prior discussions here have shown, there are many approaches to this beautiful practice.

First, before you start to gather your beads or shop for your supplies, you need to set your intention. The beads you are going to make are for a prayer-spell that you send out regularly. Each bead, as you roll it through your fingers, represents a part of your prayer.

My beads that I will be sharing with you in the days ahead, were created with the intention of giving thanks to the Goddess. As I work around each one every day, I am thanking and praising Her about specific gifts She has bestowed in my life.

You may wish to set a similar intention, or you may wish to make your beads for something else. I would recommend that your intention be a short, single focus that you can hold throughout your prayer. So mine is very simple: “Blessed are You, and blessed are Your many gifts.” Each bead, then, is an element of this main intention.

Rather than giving thanks, perhaps your beads will celebrate the ancestors, including your blood ancestors, mighty ones of the Craft, your teachers, historic, political and cultural ancestors, friends from prior lifetimes, and so on.

Maybe your prayer beads will encompass the Wheel of the Year, including the four seasons, the eight sabbats, the thirteen esbats, and birthdays and other personal sacred anniversaries. Or perhaps you might like to focus your prayer-spell towards creating new cultures of beauty, justice, wisdom, joy, peace, balance, etc.

You can pray for places or beings that are holy for you (Donald has a beautiful set that includes beads for the rivers of America). You may want to name your most beloved Gods and Goddesses in each bead. Or you may make your beads specific to a traditional spiritual practice, such as prayers to the twenty-one Taras, or the traditional 108 beads of the Buddhist and Taoist mala.

Once you have your intention, it is time to write a prayer/poem, in which you name each element. Write this in your own voice, for your words are words of power and this needs to be authentic. My suggestion is that the more simple and close to your heart your words are, the easier it will be to begin to remember them, and the deeper you will be able to go into your meditation.

For example, unless it really turns you on and reflects who you are spiritually, it’s okay to skip the Ren Faire language. This is your own, deeply intimate prayer to your Divine Ones, in your own words.

If it is actually a poem, great.  But if not, that’s fine too.  Practice reading through it aloud, since that is how you are going to be using it. It is very helpful to have a rhythm, so it can become easy to chant. If there are words you stumble over, or that sound too cute, or pompous, or rhyme-y/dime-y, hone it down.  Beauty and simplicity are best; a pattern or beat is a bonus.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a closer look at how to start gathering and organizing your beads.

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  • August 20, 2010, 12:34 pm carey

    I have a question…will we be saying our single prayer for each bead as we move around the circle, or will each bead have its own meaning, intention within the original intention? Also will we move along the beads one by one over a course of days, or do the whole thing on a single day? I am a little familiar with the rosary but not other cultures beads as meditation/prayer. Please forgive me if you’ve already explained this in another post…

    I am really looking forward to this!

  • August 20, 2010, 1:54 pm Beth

    Okay, changing my answer here a bit, Carey.. because actually, the point of the post today is that before we get really focused on how to choose the beads, how many we need, which one does what, etc. what we want to do first is:

    * Have an overall intention for using this tool every day. Why do you want prayer beads? When you send out your prayers, what do you want them to be about? What theme will they focus on – Wheel of the Year? Goddesses? Blessings and gratitude (that’s mine)? Healing aspects of Mama Gaia? Remembering the Ancestors?

    * Begin to write your prayer. Name all the components that are a part of your overall theme. Ex: Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate.. or .. the Great Smokies, the Allegheny, the Blue Ridge, the Sierra Nevadas, the Big Horns, etc.

    You need to have that before you start figuring out how many beads you need or where they go or what they do. Make sense?