While prayer, meditation, and ‘worry’ beads are found in cultures across time and across the globe, the style I make are rooted in the Buddhist tradition. While some say the number of beads are symbolic (one for the oneness of all things, zero as a symbol of both oneness and infinity, 8 because 8 on its side is like the infinity symbol)…I’ve also heard that it was simply to mark 100 repetitions of a mantra or prayer. The 8 extra beads insure that even if the user mis-counted a little, a full 100 would still be repeated.
After a time of following the harsh austerity of Hindu asceticism, Prince Siddhartha (who later became Gautama Buddha) saw the value of the middle way: Extreme limitations are no more virtuous than extreme indulgences, and from that time advised a balanced path in-between.
When I’m designing and making mala, I try to find a similar balance. Mala don’t have to be overly simple…it’s perfectly fine for them to be pretty. They don’t have to be overly reverential or precise to any tradition. Meditation is enjoyable, not a chore. These beads are not tied to someone else’s idea of good behavior or morality: They are a reflection and a lens for your own. These beads are an empty vessel and a blank canvas, ready for your hopes and dreams.
When I make the mala, sometimes I’ll choose the name based on the color and gemstone associations in “Bead Mindful, Begin Meditating”. Sometimes I’ll just listen to the mala as it comes into being, and let it tell me its name and purpose. I give all mala a bit of Reiki energy when they are done to clear any old energies from the beads and set the new intention that they bring the compassionate highest and best to whoever uses them.
Here are a few examples. Your mala is waiting for you at Quirk & Flotsam
- Heart Mala: rose quartz guru attracts love and supports the heart chakra. Clear glass with the look of clear quartz amplifies the rose quartz effects
- Prosperity Mala: green beads with gold symbolize growth and abundance
- Third Eye Mala: cobalt blue beads support the third eye chakra, supports intuition, combined with gold accents, this mala invokes the energies of lapis lazuli
- Temple Woods Mala: touching on the austere simplicity of a monk’s life, larger wood beads on hemp (some with green spacers) bring a soothing, grounding, serene energy through earth tones.
- Twilight Mala: violet or purple cat’s eye reminiscant of the twilight sky resonate with the crown chakra to bring flashes of insight and wise connection with the spirit realm (discernment). Resonates with the energies of amethyst and moonstone
- Soothing Truths: light blue and clear glass beads support the throat chakra to let you speak your truth, while calming anxieties. Good for public speaker, writer and more. Brings to mind the swirling colors of blue lace agate