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 Red Coral, Hematite, Onyx, Carnelian and Amethyst.
Red Coral is a gemstone that has a meaning and properties of vitalizing life energy. This special red color symbolizes “blood.” This gemstone is useful when you want to have energy for your life or sweep away sluggishness. It may bring back owner's energy to the right condition.
If you're drawn to the Hematite crystal, it could be a sign that you're in need of grounding and balancing in your life. As soon as the Hematite crystal stone touches the skin, you'll feel more centered and calm with its intense but subtle vibrations. Calling all drama queens! While all crystals have powerful grounding effects, the Hematite crystal properties are a gem when it comes to clearing and activating the root chakra, the energy center that anchors us to the earth and provides a feeling of stability.
Everybody has phobias, from tarantulas and flying to commitment and intimacy. But as the wise Japanese proverb says, fear is only as deep as the mind allows, which makes the Onyx crystal a strong and sturdy companion on your spiritual journey. A powerful warrior stone, the Onyx crystal meaning helps stomp out negative thought patterns stemming from the most debilitating and toxic emotion of them all – fear. Include Onyx in your gem collection and always know that whatever happens, this powerful root chakra stone always has your back.
Besides its striking aesthetic, the Carnelian crystal stone meaning represents the hot cauldron of the lower three chakras. It's associated with taking bold action with its hot and fiery spirit that stimulates the root chakra, helping circulate vital energy to your center, which contains your deepest sexual desires and powerful creative instincts. Whenever you're called on to perform, whether it's in between the sheets with your lover or a creative performance on the stage, be the star of your own show with by accessing the healing properties of Carnelian, the fiery companion guiding you in facing your fears. Keep Carnelian by your side either as jewelry or as a stone in your purse or pocket and put plans into action with confidence.
Amethyst healing properties are as plentiful as the stone itself. It is thought of mostly as a protective stone. As it is linked to the crown chakra, it is helpful in purifying the mind and clearing it of negative thoughts. This includes the negativity of stress and anxiety, which is why many meditate with amethyst so as to rid themselves of that darkness. Amethyst healing properties are especially useful in regards to work-related stress, because the stone is also associated with abundance; therefore relieving stress while emanating prosperity. The amethyst properties which facilitate intuition and communication can also be applied to increased work effectiveness.
These beads are made with approximately 4mm and 6mm beads, with oval beads and a larger guru bead. The beads are strung and knotted with an orange knotting thread. It is approximately a 25 inch necklace/wrist wrap with the beads and thread hanging 1.5 inches below the guru bead.
*This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.