My introduction to mala beads was simultaneously through reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love and working at a gorgeous little hippie shop that sold them. I was instantly drawn to them and especially because they were, in this case, made from gemstones. I bought them in every colour and now make my own.
I want to share a small part from Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love to explain the meaning of the beads and my love for them ...
"When you're traveling in India - especially through holy sites and Ashrams - you see a lot of people wearing beads around their necks. You also see a lot of photographs of naked, skinny and intimidating Yogis (or sometimes even plump, kindly and radiant Yogis) wearing beads, too. These strings of beads are called japa malas. They have been used in India for centuries to assist devout Hindus and Buddhists in staying focussed during prayerful meditation. The necklace is held in one hand and fingered in a circle - one bead touched for every repetition of mantra. When the medieval Crusaders drove East for the holy wars, they witnessed worshippers praying with these japa malas, admired the technique, and brought the idea home to Europe as rosary.
The traditional japa mala is strung with 108 beads. Amid the more esoteric circles of Eastern philosophers, the number 108 is held to be most auspicious, a perfect three-digit multiple of three, its components adding up to nine, which is three threes. And three, of course, is the number representing supreme balance, as anyone who has ever studied either the Holy Trinity or a simple barstool can plainly see . . .
Every japa mala has a special, extra bead - the 109th bead - which dangles outside that balanced circle of 108 like a pendant. I used to think that the 109th bead was an emergency spare, like the extra button on a fancy sweater, or the youngest son in a royal family. But apparently there is an even higher purpose. When your fingers reach this marker during prayer, you are meant to pause from your absorption in meditation and thank your teachers."
There are many other meanings to the number 108 found across many cultures so you can give it the meaning and purpose that specifically suits you. And this is further done through allowing the gemstones that possess the healing properties you need in your life to pick you.
I also knot between each bead to give pause and space, to remind us not to rush through our lives, to give strength and stability and fill each creation with all the love and blessings I have. I wear my beads as both necklaces and wrist wraps, and you can too!
The beads for this mala are Carnelian, Hematite, Green Amber, Howlite, Moonstone and Citrine.
Carnelian is said to attract prosperity, new resources and good luck. It is a talisman for success in any money-making venture. In the workplace, it is a crystal of ambition, drive and determination, and wards off undue pressures of co-workers or impersonal corporations with unrealistic expectations.
Hematite is a shiny, dark-coloured stone found all over the world. It is made mainly of iron, which gives it its metallic sheen. It also gives it an interesting quirk of naming – although the hematite that we see in our daily lives is dark grey, its name comes from a Latin phrase meaning “blood stone.”
Amber helps to balance the emotions, clear the mind and release negative energy. It aids manifestation, eases stress by clearing phobias and fears, and it is a lovely warm stone to wear.
Howlite is white with grey veining. It is often dyed blue or green to resemble turquoise, or red to resemble coral. It is a super-calming stone and many people use it to relieve stress of all kinds. It makes an excellent antidote to insomnia due to an overactive mind.
The meaning of moonstone is in its energy - a very nourishing, sensual, deeply feminine energy that knows how to heal and bring you back to wholeness. It is the stone of the mother moon, deep healing waters and sacred feminine energies.
Natural Citrine is a premier stone of manifestation, imagination, and personal will. Carrying the power of the sun, it is warm and comforting, energizing and life giving. It stimulates the chakras like the sunlight of spring, clearing the mind and stirring the soul to action. Its frequency awakens creativity and imagination, and sustains the process of transforming dreams and wishes into tangible form. With its pure yellow energy, Citrine encourages fullness of life, fresh beginnings and new pursuits.
These beads are made with approximately 4mm and 6mm beads and a larger guru bead. The beads are strung and knotted with golden yellow knotting thread. It is approximately a 22 inch necklace/wrist wrap with the beads and thread hanging 2 inches below the guru bead.
*This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.