This is a reblogged comment that Jo made on a post that Lucy wrote on prayer beads, which I’m sharing here because I believe more Pagans and people exploring Pagan paths need to hear this – it’s certainly helped me.
I need to jump in, because I read a lot of people talking about “using them properly” and this phrase always catches me up. It took me forever to get around to designing (with Beth’s help, of course) and making (that is, making Beth make) my set of prayer beads (which need to be replaced, because my charm broke 😦 ), and they were such a boon to my connecting with Poseidon, that I hate the idea of anyone not using a potential tool in because they don’t know what they’re doing.
I can’t speak for traditional use of malas, but I will speak for strands of beads used at touchstones, and to that I say, loudly, so loudly, oh the loudest: There is no doing it wrong.
Recite prayers as you let your fingers fly over the beads.
Hold them and think of your deity in question.
See them as a representation of your deity’s presence in your life.
There is something to be said about having a standard prayer that you say, that over time becomes automatic, and I would suggest trying that, but I hate the idea of people shying away from a potential tool for fear of doing it wrong. Take them. Hold them. Talk to them. Carry them in your pocket. Use words. Don’t use words. Whatever you feel inclined to do. There is no doing this wrong. There is no wrong way to draw closer to the Powers in your life — unless They say so. If you want to explore them, do it! You’ll find what you prefer through the doing, anyway.
Pagan prayer beads: if you see a set that you fall in love with and that fits you/your path/your Deity but have no idea how you’d use them – buy them now, work out how you’re going to use them later. Touchstones are important.