ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Pagan Prayer Beads

Updated on April 4, 2014

Different Styles of Prayer Beads

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Meditation and Prayer Focus

At a recent gathering, I got into a discussion with several other women about mediation and prayer, and it wasn't too long before the words "pagan prayer beads" were thrown out in the conversation. It's funny how as a bunch of witches, we had to specify that they were "pagan" but it reminded me that often people don't think of prayer beads as being something a person of Pagan-orientation might use as a spiritual aid.

Each of us who had this conversation had something we'd made by stringing items together, most often including beads. These were items that went beyond the occasional power piece and were things that were used regularly for private spiritual work. The creation and handcrafting of them was frequently cited as being a significant moment of spiritual meditation or awakening and all had become cherished items.

What the strings of prayer beads were made from was as eclectic a mix as you could imagine. Hand-crafted carvings and formed ceramics, given beads and tokens, and found objects all were woven together and connected. One woman especially made sure that all the beads she strung together felt distinctly different as well as looking different from each other. She often used her prayer beads as a mediation aid when she couldn't sleep and her beads were all identifiable to her by touch in the dark. Many of her beads represent friends and family for which she says prayers and she knows every single person's bead the instant she touches it.

How to Knot a Bead String

How Prayer Beads Are Used

Christian prayer beads are called rosaries, and they are necklaces that incorporate prayer beads and a cross. Buddhists also have prayer beads, and there's are carved from fragrant wood and strung on a red string to be carried or worn on the wrist. There are even Muslim prayer beads called Misbaha, and they are used to count the names of Allah. Many traditions and cultures made every day necklaces or ritual jewelry that represented prayers or mantras.

The bead work as a memory tool, which each most often representing a type of prayer to be recited. By feeling along the string of beads, the person can focus on the saying or thinking of their prayers and the beads do the automatic counting or tracking of recitations for you. With each bead you feel, you can say a mantra or a prayer, or think of an affirmation or a key word to focus your mental state or intentions.

Share Your Experiences with Prayer Beads!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • deblipp profile image


      8 years ago

      I was surprised when the book "Pagan Prayer Beads" was first published; it seemed an unlikely subject. But I have been persuaded that this is a great topic for Pagan study.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      While not a pagan myself, Orthodox Baha'i, we use prayer beads, and I found your article enlightening.

    • CutMePretty profile image


      9 years ago from DURHAM!

      I don't use beads, I do make beads out of rose petals and lavender as they have significance to my love life and lavender boosts anything you do. However I find prayer beads to be a little too much when it comes down to ritual.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love prayer beads!

      I made some for myself just a few days ago. I included items that were given to me by other Pagans, items dedicated to my ancestors and spirit allies, and a parts of a bracelet made for me by a WW2 veteran. I also included a small feather found on a nature walk. The beads themselves are gemstones.

      Prayer beads are great and I hope all those reading who decide to make some have fun in the process!

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina Crawford 

      10 years ago from Dartmoor

      Love all your witchcraft hubs. It's a subject I'm interested in learning more about, and into which I have dipped over the years. More please!

    • Windwitch212 profile image


      10 years ago

      Well written and an excellent article. thank you.

    • River_DragonWolf profile image


      10 years ago from Oklahoma City

      This was great! I saw the book "Pagan Prayer Beads: Magic and Meditation with Pagan Rosaries" at a book store a few weeks ago and I was positively drooling over it.

      Thank you for your wonderfully informative article!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      interesting hub.

    • mythbuster profile image


      10 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      These Pagan prayer beads seem very personal and unique...I'm hunting some down - or - since they're so personalized, I'm with Pagan Crafter above and am going to select my next beads very carefully with this hub/prayer beads idea in mind.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      10 years ago from NW Indiana

      Interesting and informative material. Thanks for sharing.

    • Trsmd profile image


      10 years ago from India

      The possibilities would seem almost endless here, and prayer beads have been around for a long long time.I personally don't use them, but I used to.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      cool. I find prayer beads fascinating.

      Angel blessings.

    • Pagan Crafter profile image

      Pagan Crafter 

      11 years ago from Over the Rainbow

      I love this hub. It's inspiring me as a crafter to consider making my own string of prayer beads. I especially loved the part about the woman who knew each person's bead by touch, they were that distinctive. That is an idea I'd love to incorporate into my own, and will give my search for new beads a good deal of meaning. :) Thank you so much for writing this!

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 

      11 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Really something I never knew about! I have been familiar with the Rosary, and Muslim beads, but never the 'Pagan' variety. Very nicely written with lots of good links to further explore! :)

    • relache profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Jason, calling them "prayer beads" should be safe for just about any variation and situation.

    • Jason Stanley profile image

      Jason Stanley 

      11 years ago

      Thanks, I've only seen them on people and didn't think to ask, or feel comfortable asking, about them.

    • relache profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Seattle, WA

      "Mala" is from Sanskrit and Sufiism is part of Islam. Although many Western writers refer to Sufi prayer beads as "mala' the correct Sufi name for them is "Tasbi."

    • Jason Stanley profile image

      Jason Stanley 

      11 years ago

      Prayer and meditation are often used as one, but by some are considered quite different. In my tradition, as in many, we say that prayer is when we talk to God and Meditation is when we listen to God.

      The talking is easy - just start talking and express your wish. The listening is a whole different story - quite the mind so the chatter and natural talking shuts up and you can listen with your full being; heart and soul. Quieting the chatter of what is often called the “monkey mind” from jumping all over the place can be quite a challenge when not used to doing it. That is where prayer beads can come in.

      I greatly appreciate that you included the Christian prayer beads in your discussion. Most people either chose to forget or most likely never though of the fact that the rosary was initially a meditation devise that helped the user clear the mind of worldly issues by repetition of a memorized set of prayers. Equally, most non Catholics forget, or don't realize that at one time all Christians were either Catholics or Essines (which is no longer recognized by any Christian church tradition) so in that sense all Christians today come from the tradition of using prayer beads.

      It is much like the "pagan" ritual of walking the labyrinth. The New Thought tradition Unity church in Dallas and another in Austin that have had labyrinths for many years have been joined by a large and conservative Baptist church in Waco and a progressive Episcopalian church in Dallas. Both of these mainstream Christian churches now have permanent labyrinths on their property. Labyrinths are for a meditative walk, just as beads are often used as an aid in meditation.

      I'll end with a question. Are the beads worn on the wrist by the Sufi what you would call the Mala?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)