(This is the third post of a three-part series. See Part 1 for information on rosary styles and Part 2 for rosary design ideas.)
Update 3/4/17: Please visit my shop on Etsy to see my selection of handmade Goddess rosaries and prayer beads!
Once you have purchased or made a Goddess rosary, it is time to use it! But how? The true answer is—any way you want to, really! There is no one right way to use your prayer beads, so please use the information below as a starting point, but allow your own creativity and intuition to guide you to find the best way for you to work with your beads.
First, let’s look at the anatomy of a traditional-style rosary. I have made up some names for the sections of the rosary to make this explanation easier, but you can call them whatever you’d like.
Anatomy of a traditional-style rosary.
Starting on the pendant, you can say a prayer that you’ve created to begin your rosary prayers, or you could dedicate your prayer session to a particular goal or purpose, which is what I usually do. You might say, “I dedicate these prayers to creating peace and understanding between people in our country,” or “I dedicate these prayers to healing my anxiety.” Your purpose can be different each time. I usually choose something intuitively that seems most important to me at that moment.
On the introductory beads, you can pray the same prayer that you will use on the main beads, such as the “Gracious Goddess” prayer below. You could also invoke earth, sea and sky, or Maiden, Mother, and Crone. I like to use what I call “presence prayers” on these beads, which I first discovered on Lunaea Weatherstone’s website, and I believe were originally inspired by a prayer to Mary in the Carmina Gadelica. Basically, you say, “I come into your presence, thou…” and fill in the blank with whatever inspires you. For example you might use: Mistress of Magic, Foundation of All, Bright Lady, Goddess of Wisdom, She Who Binds Up Broken Hearts, etc. If “thou” doesn’t work for you, feel free to leave it out.
On the center bead, you can use the same prayer you will use on the transition beads, such as the “Our Mother” or the “Glory Be” prayers below. I usually use the “Glory Be” prayer on this bead.
On the main beads you have two options. Traditionally you would repeat the same prayer, such as the “Gracious Goddess” prayer below, on each bead. I find this works best for creating a meditative, trance-like state. However, if I really want to focus on the words of the prayer, I will say one line of the prayer slowly on each bead. You’ll notice that the “Gracious Goddess” prayer has nine lines and my rosary has nine main beads in each section, so I say one line on each bead. My Sophia rosary has seven main beads in each section, and my “Sophia Prayer” has seven lines.
On the transition beads, you can use a prayer like “Our Mother” or “Glory Be” or you can do another presence prayer, which is what I have been doing most often lately.
You continue in this pattern until you reach the center bead again. This is usually when I say the “Our Mother” prayer, and then I honor the Maiden, Mother, and Crone on the introductory beads, give thanks to Goddess on the pendant and then I’m finished.
If you are just starting out and this all seems confusing, you might want to sketch your rosary and indicate which prayers you want to pray on each bead.
If I am using a more simple rosary that does not have transition beads, etc., I usually just pray the same prayer on each bead all the way around. So on my Brigid rosary I would choose a Brigid prayer below and repeat it on each bead. On my amethyst rosary I often say the “Evening Prayer” on each bead.
Below are some of the prayers I use most often, but I can’t encourage you enough to write your own prayers, because then you will be praying what is in your heart. Your prayers don’t have to be poetic masterpieces. My “Evening Prayer” was written spontaneously one evening and isn’t particularly beautiful or grammatical, but it works for me because it came from my heart.
If you do use prayers that other people have written, feel free to edit and change them as much as you need to for them to feel right for you. If you feel silly saying a certain phrase, or a part of the prayer doesn’t ring true for you, change it! There are very few prayers that I use just as they were written, I almost always end up editing a line or two to make them work for me.
Your presence blesses us,
Your love surrounds us,
Your power sustains us,
All of creation sings your praises.
Holy Mother, Creator of All,
Thank you for walking with us,
Today and always.
Glory be to the Great Mother, to the Mystery, to the Oneness of All,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
Love without end.
And so it is.
(This was inspired by the Christian Doxology prayer, which I always loved the rhythm of.)
Our Mother, in whom we live, move, and have our being,
Blessed be your many names.
From you all things emerge, and unto you all things return.
Open our hearts, that we may be filled with compassion.
Guide us, that we may walk with wisdom.
Help us to know our connection to all things.
For you dwell among us, within us, around us,
And we are blessed by your grace, your power, and your love.
And so it is.
(The first and third lines of this prayer come from a traditional Feri prayer, but the third line is also part of the Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente, and I also discovered that both these lines are found in the Bible, too—well, except for the “Mother” part!)
Mother, please hold me, soothe me, calm me,
For in you I find my center, and in you I find peace.
May all who suffer find solace in you this night.
Hail Sophia, Lady of Wisdom,
Blessed are you and all your works.
Illuminate our minds with your wisdom,
Kindle our hearts with your love,
Help us to walk in peace and unity
With you, with each other, and with all of creation.
Brigid Prayer One
Excellent, exalted One,
Bright, golden, quickening flame
Shine your blessing upon us
From your eternal lands,
You, radiant fire of the sun,
You, healing waters of the well.
(By Erin Johnson, from Brigit: Sun of Womanhood, edited by Patricia Monaghan. I added the last line.)
Brigid Prayer Two
The mantle of Brigid about me,
The memory of Brigid within me,
The protection of Brigid keeping me
From harm, from ignorance, from heartlessness,
This day and always.
(By Caitlin Matthews, adapted from her poem “Blessing for Hearth-Keepers”)
May your prayers always be heard, and may the presence of the Divine dwell with you always. Blessed be!