Since the rosary is a prayer ritual dedicated to the Blessed Mother, it has been a no-brainer to former Catholics to redefine either the rosary itself or similar concepts of prayers to the Goddess using prayer beads.
Repetition was the earliest from of prayer. And prayer beads (or ropes) have not been exclusive to Catholics, many religions have used prayer beads. Many numbers of beads have been used in these including 150, 100, 81, 50 or 33 beads.
Tibetan Malas (Buddhist, Hindu) prayer beads usually number 108 but can be as many as 111, the Bahai use 95, 72 for Greeks and Cabalists and Islam uses 99.
Some Pagan prayer beads are dedicated to the three faces of the goddess, maiden, mother and crone. The number of beads varies but one favorite is three sets of 13 (which totals 39 which, when worked out in numerology to equal 3+9=12 which then reduces to 1+2= 3 – 3 being the number of the triple goddess.) Plus thirteen is the traditional number of a coven.
The most common colors for the Triple Goddess prayer beads are 13 white (or crystal) beads (maiden), 13 red beads (mother) and 13 black beads (crone). Prayers or chants are then repeated on each bead appropriate to that aspect of the goddess. Some put 3 large silver beads between each set of 13 beads and these can be used to meditate on some aspect of the goddess (often smaller separator beads are used to separate the larger beads and not used for prayer). Often the ends of the strand are tied together where an appropriate pendant or tassel is tied on the end.
There are beautiful ones made of 3 sets of 13 blue or purple prayer beds with white pearls used as separators and 3 crystal beads between those as meditations beads. For one color strands…this combination of a color, pearls or silver beads has endless variations. One can make them dedicated to one of the elements, choose birthstones or simply make it out of crystal beads.
There is a 13 bead +3 type of prayer string dedicated to the phases of the moon. The colors chosen were crystal for the First Crescent (Maiden), white for the Bright Moon (Mother) and black for the Dark Moon (Crone). It ends with a silky black tassel and is quite striking in its simplicity.
There are also expensive and breathtakingly beautiful sets in the three favorite colors of amber, 13 amber (gold colored for the maiden), 13 cherry or cognac (for the mother), and 13 green (for the crone) with small pearls used as separators and large Jet beads for the meditation beads. Amber and Jet are the traditional stones of a Wiccan High Priestess (who follows the tradition of having no metal in circle.) Amber, pearl and jet are all organic stones. Amber is fossilized tree sap, pearls are oyster excretions around sand, and jet is fossilized trees. The pendant was a large piece of green amber.
When making your own prayer beads you may chose not to use the standard white, red, black colors. Be creative and choose colors that may be more personal to you and possibly even to your training or degree if a priest or priestess.
There are two great earth representatives of the Goddess being the earth and the sea. You can associate the colors green with earth and blue with the ocean. Use white for the sky representation of the goddess – the moon. So, white for the maiden (also the color of so many maiden goddesses representing the full moon), blue for the mother (the ocean which gave birth to all life) and green for the matron (crone) also the color of north, death, the ancestors and sage wisdom. Your choice for the beads may include snow quartz, sodalite and malachite.
You can decide what colors and prayers are most appropriate for you, using those symbols and words that evoke the most sincere or focused attention on the goddess as you see her…which is the primary purpose of Pagan Prayer Beads after all.