Thoughts on making your own physical Rosaries/prayer beads
I am by no means an expert in making a rosary, though I have been playing with making them these last weeks. Below you will find a list of resources to guide you through the intricacies of making prayer beads in general, and various kinds of rosaries in particular. There is more to it than meets the eye, so do some research first. But here are a few personal thoughts from my experience:
- As prayer beads are by their very nature something of the sacred, the source of materials which we choose are important.
- If you are choosing precious stones, ask yourself how and where the metals were mined. Is there a way to know?
- Plastic beads may seem a simple way to begin, but do we in fact want to fill more of the world’s dump sites with plastic?
- The making of prayer beads is not a ‘craft’. It is a spiritual practice. It is tempting to simply purchase beads from the local craft store - and I will admit that this is what I did in the beginning. But as I began to work with the practice, I came to see that the rosaries are handled all the time. What do you want to be handling while you are saying your prayers? There is an intimacy that arrises from handling the beads. What they are made of and how they are made is important.
- Is it possible to find materials either within your own home or your own environ?
- If the rosary is for you, consider what colours, shapes, substances please you.
- Can you adapt pieces of jewelry that you may already have on hand?
- What is precious to you in your life? Can you work with things that already have meaning?
- Natural materials are always a good choice – shells, beans, clay beads, wood, leather, glass.
- You may wish to have as a staring point something other than a crucifix – a crystal, a momento of importance, an earring, something inherited from or given by a beloved.
- Creating prayer beads is more than just stringing beads together. That is how you make jewellery. Making rosaries and prayer beads requires contemplative thought, intentionality, thoughtful prayer. Take it upon yourself as a contemplative endeavour, even if you are working in a group setting.
- Choose your materials first, and then assemble everything once it is laid out. Don't do what I did and dump everything on the table thinking to be creative!