If you follow my craft blog, you have probably already seen the post announcing the addition of three new sets of prayer beads to my Etsy shop. (If not, here’s the link.) I made these strings of prayer beads because my mind returned once again to the idea of prayer beads specifically for Loki.
I’ve used mala for a long time; in fact, my mala beads are among my very favorite tools, right up there with my staff. I was probably 16 or 17 when I first started using them and before that I kept track of rounds on my fingers. Earlier this year I had a little breakthrough in mantra practice where I got – really *got* – that mantras are powerful, transformative tools that really do have a spiritual/energetic impact on the self and the world.
So while the idea of prayer beads for Loki isn’t all that new in my world, I’ve tried making my own beads before and I’ve tried adopting self-styled mantra practices and simply haven’t found them very effective. I made a string of glass prayer beads for Hela seven or eight years ago and developed a series of prayers for their use but they never quite clicked. Looking back, I realize that the beads were really too heavy for such a practice and there was a tactile quality that didn’t work for me. Perhaps they were too slippery or just a smidge too small. I had used a traditional string of 108 sandalwood beads for almost a decade and was quite attached to those, even after they were tossed in a fire as a sacrifice. (To this day I still miss those beads. I’m terrible at sacrifice, apparently.) Maybe my hand missed those. Maybe there was other problems.
Add to this the fact that until fairly recently I didn’t pray to Loki. Even now it’s a pretty infrequent thing and pretty informal when it does happen. There’s an astral temple I use for contemplation and a sort of formal communion but that’s not exactly praying either. But nonetheless, as several little pieces of my spiritual life have moved into a new alignment, it’s a project I want to try again. These initial strings are practice, in a way. I wanted to know if I really could make the kind of beads I imagined using.
I’ve selected some beads and pretty soon I’ll start making them. I have a few different ideas in my head. The sort of prayer bead work I do seems well-suited to She!Loki so I might create a set specifically with Her in mind. Maybe I’ll make a set for each of them.
If you checked out the Etsy listings you might have noticed I made a small set for Hel. That was unexpected. Though this set isn’t formally dedicated to Her, that She had any input in the creation of these beads was a little surprising. She and I are still figuring our shit out. It’s hard – or maybe it’s just me that’s having the trouble. I thought about keeping this little set for myself. I like how small they are and how perfectly suited they are for tossing in a pocket or using while traveling. Nonetheless, I put them up for sale. I’ll revisit the design to make a set for myself at some point, probably quite soon.
I’m also fairly busy with writing at the moment. My editors have lots of work for us right now so I’m absolutely swamped with work The extra money I earn this month will be set aside for Many Gods West (oh yeah, and medical bills, blech); with any luck, Etsy-related money will go towards helping some other presenters and attendees travel, too (yay, helping others! My favorite!). I haven’t touched my presentation in a week so I’ll be getting back to that pretty soon. This week I’m also hammering out the basics of my submission for PantheaCon 2016. Woohoo – wish me luck!
And finally, I’ve been working on a wee little project that I haven’t talked about here yet – and still won’t. 😉 It’ll be done soon and I’m super excited to share it with everyone.
6 thoughts on “Prayer beads and other plans”
I’m delighted to hear that you’re doing prayer beads and are accepting custom work. I am much newer to prayer beads than you are. About five or six years ago I decided I wanted a set of prayer beads specifically for Skadi. I knew nothing at all about beading at the time, but I got a copy of Greer and Vaughn’s wonderful book “Pagan Prayer Beads” to help me get started. I managed to make a prayer bead necklace and bracelet for Her, and although I still use the necklace in my devotional work, the bracelet broke years ago. Both of these pieces always felt sort of amateurish to me, even if meaningful because of the devotion with which they were made. I have often thought about the possibility of getting a new set of prayer beads made for Skadi. I never really took to the bead-making thing myself, as I just don’t enjoy the process very much…and I’d love to support a fellow Pagan craftsperson. When my budget permits, I will contact you about this.
It would be an honor and pleasure to help you with this project. If you like the idea, I could certainly work some of the bracelet beads into the final design. You’d just have to slip them in a padded envelop and send them to me. Let me know whenever you’re ready to get started and we can begin designing something that suits your practice.
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Its very coincidental for me to read this post tonight. Earlier today I was holding a mala that I love dearly- it is a center point of my devotional practice. If its not too personal may I ask how you’ve used yours, and if you’ve found that using a number other than the traditional 108 has worked better? I’ve tried writing prayers, but they seem to lack the inherent power that the Buddhist mantra’s I’ve worked with had.
This mala in particular, symbolizes my relationship with Loki, and still maintains the intense feeling of my first meeting with Him. Its always amazing to find someone else who has similar experiences to my rather odd practice!
It’s definitely not an odd practice – I think it’s wonderful! 🙂
Let’s see – I used a Durga mantra with my first mala. I wanted to use a Kali one but that one never stuck. I kinda gave up japamala for many years until I more recently found myself revisiting a Hinduism-based practice. I used a pranam mantra for Sri Kamakhya and had some wonderful, really transformative experiences with that. I bought a new mala for that practice but once it stopped I still wanted to use the beads. They’re just so perfect; japamala is an amazing practice and it’s very dear to my heart. At the moment I’m using the Hare Krishna mahamantra as kind of an all-purpose one (and oh boy, I never thought I’d actually adopt that as a mantra! We always end up in the most surprising places on this path) but I’m exploring some ideas for Loki prayers that are easily recited on prayer beads. I’ve written down some notes for a longform style prayer that’s more like saying the rosary than repeating a mantra and a shortform prayer that’s more like mantra. I’ll have to try the practice myself for a while and see how it works. If it does, well, ultimately I’d like to offer little prayer bead kits specifically for Lokeans. 🙂
Where you planing on making actual malas for Loki?
Like with 108 beads? Possibly. I ordered a bunch of gemstone beads, so that many might be a little too heavy to comfortably use; mala with 64 beads or even 32 beads aren’t that unusual, you just have to know how many beads there are so you can do the requisite number of rounds to reach your intended goal. Those little bracelet style malas that were popular for so long had 16 so even those were proper. 🙂
For my own purposes, I’ll probably aim for something in the 60-ish range. For any I make for sale I’ll have to do some planning and reflection to come up with a number that seems appropriate and that fits with an appealing design. Of course, I could always make a string with 108 beads as a custom order. That amount makes for good necklace-length strings and that’s a convenient feature.
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