Making A Pagan Rosary
Making A Pagan Rosary
When I grew up the rosary was a very important part of my childhood. This small set of beads could perform such magick within themselves that I grew to love them and then when finding my pagan roots I felt that using the Catholic rosary was inappropriate for my needs so I began to look at where the rosary came from. The fact is that prayer beads are in every culture, so no more to the catholic monopoly on the rosary and why not do what I did and make your own.
This first thing that I did was make some rose petal beads. I got the following recipes some years back, but fail to remember where I got it from:
Rose Petal Beads
By Susan Belsinger
This is a complex process but the result is *truly* worth it. These are some of the most beautiful and pleasant beads… very nice look and a sweet, floral scent!
You will need:
2-3 quarts clean rose petals
Large stainless steel pot
Blender or food processor
Jelly bag or cheesecloth
Iron pot or skillet
Rose essential oil
Plastic containers with tight fitting lids
1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon
3/64th inch wide brass wire, cut into 12 inch lengths
Empty small box or styrofoam tray
Glass jars with lids
Unwaxed dental floss
An assortment of other kinds of beads, if desired
MAKING THE MASH: Place the rose petals in the stainless steel pot with water to cover, about one quart. Bring the contents to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly for 2 to 6 hours, stirring occassionally. You can cook the petals all day or cook them for a while one day, turn off the heat, and finish up the next day. The longer you cook the petals, the more the cellulose breaks down and the easier the job of pureeing the mash.
In the blender or food processor, puree the cooled mash in batches. Add just enough extra water to each batch to enable the machine to puree it thoroughly at the highest speed.The finer the mash, the smoother and more uniform the bead. Drain the mash through the jelly bag or cheesecloth to remove any excess water.
SLOW COOKING: Place the drained, pureed mash into the iron pot or skillet. When the mash is cooked in iron, a chemical reaction of the acid in the petals with the iron turns it black. (Once the mash turns black, it badly stains what ever it touched, so wear rubber gloves and old clothes when working with it.) Because the mash will remove the patina from an iron pot, use an old one. Cook the mash, covered, over the lowest heat possible, stirring occasionally, for 2 or 3 days, or until it is black and the consistency of soft cream cheese. You can cook it for a few hours, turn it off, and finish cooking it later. Keep it covered to prevent a crust from forming. The mash can also be baked, covered, at 250F for 1 to 2 days.
COOLING, DRAINING: Layer the tray thickly with newspapers and cover with a layer of paper towels. (The mash will stick to newspaper but not to paper towels.) Turn the mash out to cool on the prepared tray, and cover it with another layer of paper towels. Let it drain. Change the newspaper padding when the mash has soaked through; this can take a few hours or overnight and may need to be done two or three times. Add a few drops of rose essence to the mash – 6 or 7 drops to one cup mash – and knead it in.
You can make beads now or store the mash. To store, pack the mash into plastic containers with tight fitting lids and refrigerate for as long as a week or freeze for a few months. The mash can be thawed and refrozen as necessary.
ROLLING: For each bead, measure out a slightly rounded 1/2 teaspoon of mash: the bead will shrink to about one-third its original size as it dries. Wearing gloves, knead each piece of mash in the palm of your hand to make sure it is smooth. With firm, even pressure, roll each bead between your palms until it is round. If the bead shows any cracks while you are rolling, dip the beads in a little water or rubbing alcohol and smooth them out, as the cracks will become bigger as the beads dry.
DRYING: Carefully slide the beads onto wires to dry. The wire should pierce the center of each bead. Use brass wire because it does not rust. Place ten beads on 12-inches of wire, making sure that the beads do not touch each other. Lay the wires across the empty box or styrofoam tray so that the beads are suspended and do not touch the bottom of the container.
Keep the beads at room temperature and away from any drafts. If the beads dry too fast, they will crack; if it is cold or dap, they may mold. During the first week, turn the beads daily, sliding them back and forth a little on the wire to keep them from sticking. Leave the beads on the wire for another week or two, or until they are completely dry. Remove the beads from the wires and store them in tightly covered glass jars, which help retain their perfume until you are ready to string them. After removing a batch of rose beads, sand the wires with fine sandpaper to smooth them in preparation for the next batch.
FINISHING: Bead onto double strands of unwaxed dental floss. You can use small gold beads as spacers, or if you are talented in special bead crafting, you can make more complicated bead arrangements for rosaries and the sort.
After I made the beads I then went to work thinking about my rosary, what should it honour, what should I place my intention on when I say these prayers. This is really the most important part of the rosary creation. If these prayers aren’t thought out well, or if you miss something important you may feel that the beads are never “right” put some thought into what you are doing and you will come up with something really great.
Rosary’s function thusly, there is first a set of 5-10 prayers that are said before reaching the round necklace part. These prayers are opening ones, perhaps the opening of a circle chant, an acknowledgment of the angels, or some such. Then once getting to the round necklace part there are in a traditional rosary 10 beads and then 1 bead, these are the prayer counters, this is a good time to get a chant going and then after 10 repetitions say a different prayer and then go back to the chant.
That’s about it, there are a many great number of books and such like that will help you with prayers, and there are some fantastic bead making books out there to help you with your construction.
This article was from the Magus Opus 2009/10 Summer edition.
Brad & Saskia