Ritual Bracelets

“Um, what comes next?”

Nothing disrupts the building of energy a ritual worse than when someone has forgotten where we are in the invocations. In response, I designed this bracelet to help my students remember the typical order of invocations/devocations in a Wiccan ritual so they could do them without scripts but still have some reference if muddled. I also encourage my students to use it several times each week for prayer/meditation.

Needed:

  • 10 inches (25 centimeters) beading wire
  • 2 crimp beads
  • 1 clasp
  • 1 small packet of seed beads (any color you like, black or white are good defaults)
  • 1 each of the following 8 millimeter beads:
    • Clear quartz or rock salt for purifying
    • Hematite for grounding
    • Yellow agate or citrine for air
    • Carnelian or red jasper for fire
    • Turquoise or sodalite for water
    • Jade or aventurine for earth
    • Rose quartz or amethyst for spirit
    • White bone for ancestors
  • 10 millimeter doughnut/ring bead (where the hole for the wire goes through the sides, across the center)
  • 10 millimeter tiger eye disc for masculine deity
  • 15 millimeter shell or moonstone disc for feminine deity
  • 4 millimeter star bead for magick (the main portion of the ritual)
  • Beading or needle-nose pliers
  • Diagonal wire cutters
  • Ruler or other measuring device

Try to find a bead shop that allows you to purchase just a few beads at a time, or make a ton of bracelets for gifts, or resolve to do something else with the extras. Decide which, if any, of the large beads you wish to omit before you go shopping: some Traditions do not work with ancestors, some do not cast circles, others do not utilize the Element of Spirit, and still others do not honor masculine deities. For these Traditions, simply do not purchase the unneeded bead(s).

Lay out your ruler and place seed beads in a row to determine how many fit in one quarter-inch or half-centimeter. You might find that it takes 8 seed beads to fit in one quarter-inch or half-centimeter: this is how many seed beads need to go between each of the larger beads for spacing! For each larger bead that you chose to omit (see previous paragraph), add one additional seed bead, bringing the total to 9 seed beads between each large bead. Seed beads come in different sizes, so measure and count to determine how many you need to use to ensure even spacing and an aesthetically pleasing bracelet.

Next, lay out the clasp and the large beads in the order you will string them, end-to-end as though they are strung. For mine, the order is: clear quartz, hematite, ring, agate, carnelian, turquoise, jade, rose quartz, bone, tiger eye disc, shell disc, and star. I personally add tiny red and purple beads on either side of the bone bead to recognize ancestors of blood and spirit, respectively. Measure how long the large beads and clasp will be. Count the clasp plus how many large beads you have and multiply that by one quarter-inch or half-centimeter to figure out how much length the seed beads are going to add. For women, a total length of 8 inches or 20 centimeters is usually ideal. For men with thick wrists, 8½ to 10 inches or 21-25 centimeters will usually work. When in doubt (and assuming this isn’t a surprise gift), measure the wrist of the recipient and add 1½ inches or 3 centimeters. If you find that the overall length of all the large and seed beads you plan to string is off, add or subtract one to two seed beads from the spacing between large beads.

On the wire, string a crimp bead, one seed bead, and one side of the clasp. Bend the wire around and send about a half-inch (1 centimeter) back through the seed bead and crimp bead. Use the pliers to squish the crimp bead completely flat.

Now add however many seed beads you need for spacing, making sure that the doubled-over end of the wire is encased in beads. Add the first large bead and then another set of seed beads for spacing. Continue adding large beads and seed beads until your very last large bead (in my case, a star) is strung and followed by the requisite number of seed beads. If you use a ring bead to represent casting the circle, you may want to add a few seed beads to cover the wire as it traverses the open hole section of the doughnut.

Last, string the second crimp bead, one more seed bead, and the other side of the clasp. Bend the wire around and send it back through the last seed bead, the crimp bead, and two or three additional seed beads on the other side. Tighten everything up so there aren’t any gaps exposing the wire and make sure that the doubled-over end you started with is still covered: sometimes while stringing, the beads slide out of place.

Stop!

Measure the overall length of the bracelet again. If it is way too long, unstring it and remove a seed bead from between each larger bead. If it is way too short, unstring it and add a seed bead in between each larger bead. Be patient! For this sacred tool to work for the individual and see more than one obligatory use, it needs to fit just right.

When the length is right and the wire is taut, use the pliers to flatten the other crimp bead. If some wire is left hanging out, snip it off. All done!

Here are some activities to help anchor the significance and prevent forgetting what this colorful bauble on your wrist means:

  1. In an email, letter, or Book of Shadows, write down each large bead’s material, shape, and color and why it is appropriate for its particular ritual step, Element, or Deity.
  2. If your Tradition uses a set liturgy for each step of ritual, hold each large bead as you read through and rehearse each phase of the ritual 2-3 times each week for a month. If your Tradition does not use a set liturgy, then visualize each step as you might improvise it and work on visualizing the Elements and Deities associated with each bead.
  3. Have a tool-dedicating ritual in which you explain each large bead to the Elements and Divine, make it an offering to Them, and dedicate your use of it to Their honor and approved goals.

This bracelet can also be used as a meditation or prayer tool. Using beads to assist meditation or recite prayers is common in almost all major faith traditions from ancient Buddhism to more recent Catholic Christianity. To compose your own prayers, it really helps if you have done the above-listed activities because you will already have clarified the significance of each large bead. Use this clarification to write short (or long, if your tolerance permits) prayers or meditations around each bead.

Here are the meditations I typically recite with my beads:
“I release negativity and claim positivity.
I am present in my body; I am calm in my mind. I am here; I am now.
I honor the circle of life of which I am a part. I honor the cycles of life around me.
I honor You, God, and all masculine aspects of the Divine; in Your name, I embrace integrity, passion, and growth.
I honor You, Goddess, and all feminine aspects of the Divine; in Your name, I embrace abundance, truth, and power.”

This would be a good spot to add your personal Deities, or substitute transgender or gender-neutral Deities.

“I honor myself, my body, my mind, and my spirit; in my own name, I embrace beauty, honor, and love.
I thank myself for the gift and blessing of being myself.”

This would be a good spot to thank your personal Deities, or substitute transgender or gender-neutral Deities

“I thank You, Goddess, for Your many gifts and blessings.
I thank You, God, for Your many gifts and blessings.
I thank You, Element of (element), for Your many gifts and blessings.
I thank the circle of life of which I am a part. I thank the cycles of life around me.
I am present in my body; I am calm in my mind. I am here; I am now. I release negativity and claim positivity.
Blessed be!”

Meditation and prayer are research-supported means for managing stress and restoring a sense of spiritual balance. In my personal practice, I find tremendous benefit from using my prayer beads about three times each week (more whenever possible). On days I just can’t find the time, simply touching the beads and remembering the calm that using them brings me is enough to calm myself down a notch or two.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License