Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Prayer Beads For All Traditions

Various religious traditions use prayer beads, including Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Anglicanism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.  Increasing numbers of pagans are now embracing prayer beads as an important tool in their spiritual practice too. However, the image that seems to come to mind first for most people when I mention that I make and sell prayer beads is the Catholic rosary.  And, unfortunately, many people have very negative associations with them.  That's made prayer beads a really 'hard to sell' item for me.

How can I encourage people to set aside their prejudices and perceptions?  How do I convey to people that prayer beads can have noticeable physical, metaphysical and psychological effects on their users? They can be used to count repetitions of prayers, chants or devotions. They may also be used for meditation, protection from negative energy, or for relaxation.  Since the beads are fingered in an automatic manner, they allow the user to keep track of how many prayers or chants have been uttered or breaths taken with a minimal amount of conscious effort.  That, in turn, allows greater attention to be paid to the prayers, chants or breaths themselves.

The number of beads varies depending on the different religions but I won't go into all of the traditions that I've researched here.  Suffice it to say that when I began my company, Jasper Moon, one of my main motivating forces was the desire to bring prayer beads to a wider audience.  I wanted to share the benefits that I was finding from my own use of them to anyone who would listen.  Using prayer beads helps release the stress brought about by our daily problems, concerns and apprehensions. It is effective for relaxation and useful for meditation purposes.  *Big sigh*  Not many would listen though and I got discouraged.

Typically not one to give up easily, I plan to change direction a bit this year and introduce some new prayer bead strands to my offerings in the hope of bringing them to more people.  I've already made some sets of the Komboloi (worry beads), that I wrote about in a previous blog entry (here), along with my 'signature' Tree of Life prayer beads.  I'm also working on a different interpretation of the contemporary 'Pearls of Life' prayer beads, invented by a Lutheran pastor in Sweden, into a more universal set that can be adapted to any traditon or practice.  Each of the eighteen beads will have its own basic significance that individual users will be able to attach their own specific meaning to.  In that way, the beads become very 'personal'. 

Stay tuned for updates on my progess!

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