Pagan Prayer Beads, Part Two

This is part two, see part one here.

Once you have some simple ideas under your belt for using prayer beads, you can move on to more complex ideas. They are of course great for repeating simply mantras over and over again, but what about the beads that have multiple sections, or sections with differing numbers?

In the last post I briefly touched on the ideas of sacred numbers. Expanding to a more complex format for meditation, often incorporates these sacred numbers and using them in different ways. For example if you have a set of beads with 4 sets of 9 beads, 3 sets of 3 divider beads, and a lead in section of 3 beads,  you may wish to use the 4 sets as the four directions, elements, etc. So one each bead in each of these sets you would say a short prayer or mantra appropriate to each element. As you come to the divider sections, you may repeat an opening or closing, or a gratitude prayer on each one. So that might look like this:

Lead in section: (breathing and spending as much time on each step as needed)

  1. I am grounded in my practice. I am grounded in my breath. I am grounded in my body.
  2. I am centered in my practice. I am centered in my breath. I am centered in my body.
  3. I am aligned with the earth. I am aligned with the axis mundi. I am aligned with the central star.

Then the first set of 9:

  • In the east I align with the prosperity in earth. Through this wisdom I know. (9x)

Then a divider section:

  • Within and without, I learn the wisdom of the elements. (3x)

The second set of 9:

  • In the south I align with the power in fire. Through this wisdom I will. (9x)

Then repeat the divider section.

The third set of 9:

  • In the west I align with the peace in water. Through this wisdom I dare. (9x)

Then repeat the divider section.

The fourth set of 9:

  • In the north I align with the protection in air. Through this wisdom I am silent. (9x)

Then you can continue around as many times as wanted, or complete the meditation by using the lead in beads in reverse.

  1. I am aligned with the earth. I am aligned with the axis mundi. I am aligned with the central star.
  2. I am centered in my practice. I am centered in my breath. I am centered in my body.
  3. I am grounded in my practice. I am grounded in my breath. I am grounded in my body.

 

This gives you 9 (3×3) recitations for the divider section, 9 for each element and an opening and closing. That is just one example of course, with just one possible format. The possibilities and combinations are endless. But it is important that once you find one that works well, you keep repeating it. The power of meditation beads lies in repetition.

If you wish to repeat the cycle multiple times without using the lead in beads some people like to flip the beads over in their hand and go back the other way counting on them. Other will use the connector to act as another divider section, making for a seamless round of repeats. It is all about how you want to use them.

Sacred numbers and their meaning vary from culture to culture, and practitioner to practitioner. You should find what each of the base or prime numbers mean to you. There are a lot of books out there full of ideas for you to start with, but I think the most meaningful comes from applied life experience and an understanding of your own culture’s mythos.

For me, I have associations with the numbers 0-10. However 0 won’t be applicable to a number of repetitions. I don’t really have many associations with the ‘double’ numbers such as 11, 22, 33, 44, etc. Some people do.

  1. The self, the monad, the singular point. An idea, beginning.
  2. Duality, opposites, cancellation. A line, force before form.
  3. Triad, form, the plane. Relationships, community, flow.
  4. Grounding, stability, stasis, protection, fortification.
  5. Dynamic, movement, humans, divine spark, centering.
  6. Balance, rotation, harmony.
  7. Path, plan, journey, transition.
  8. Manifestation, double fortification.
  9. Action on all three planes (from and Indo-European idea of here, above and below), 3×3, flow of the flow, divine harmony.
  10. Completion, end, full set. everything grounded and ready to begin again.

These are just my ideas. They have influences from all sorts of things; math, study of dimensions, tarot, etc. Develop your own that makes sense within your worldview.

Also remember the ideas of applying these when we talk about repetitions. So if we take a 6 idea (harmony and balance) and repeat it 3 times (community, relationships) we would be using the numbers to develop a community of harmonies and balances, lots of already balanced people or things coming together to make a new community. But conversely if we take a 3 idea and repeat it 6 times, we would be developing a harmony of community, taking an existing community and bringing it into harmony. Subtle difference, but I find it does make a difference when using the beads for casting or other work.

One of my favorite uses for witch’s beads, especially if they have a clasp, is to enchant things. I like to tie or string the item to be enchanted onto the beads. So the beads can spin through or by the object being enchanted. So for example I might take a ring and slide it onto the strand of beads. Then let it hang at the bottom as I rotate the beads through my hand, and repeat the spell or enchantment while counting the beads.

I encourage you to come up with different ways to use your beads. Explore the magic of math, and incorporate it into your meditations and casting. I would love to hear how you do that, your own associations for numbers, and some ways in which you’ve used your beads. Especially if it was something I didn’t cover! I’m always looking to learn.

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