She Who Wears Antlers

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The Story of Celtic Soul Beads

Posted by on in Paths Blogs


I’ve always felt the steady rhythm of beads moving through your fingers comforting.  They introduce a regularity, a heartbeat which calms my racing mind. From Catholic Rosary beads as a child or in later years rounds of mala beads provided this route yet neither fitted as they weren’t of my tradition. While I am only vaguely familiar with traditional Celtic prayer beads – the Paidirinean, I was drawn to create Celtic Soul Craft Prayer Beads.

New prayers beads nov.jpg

The new sets in the shop!

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My Tradition

Celtic Soul beads are born from my tradition which involves a deep communication with the land and a relationship with the ancestral energies of that place. My culture is a circle culture which stretches back through generations of wise women, of women who knew the thresholds of life and death and carried the stream of their ancestor’s voices. Ancestors who were weavers, drummers and singers – women versed in herbalism, stone medicine and doll making, women whose language was ritual and ceremony, women who danced between the worlds.

How to Work with the Prayer beads Set

I particularly enjoy using the beads as a morning meditation with no thought, just letting my fingers move slowly around the circle. In times when I need them, I find it comforting to hold them and simply breath into the circle, slow deep breaths which help me find my feet again and root me back into life. You can work with them through the phases of the moon and the holydays of the year. I will provide some suggestions on how to work with the beads although I am sure you will find your own way.

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Symbolism of the Beads

There is an order to each set of beads - this begins with the pendant, which sets an inspiration for the connection which is followed by 3 beads called the ‘step beads’ - envisage them as preparing to enter into sacredness, such as the last three steps before entering a temple.  The next beads (which is often the biggest bead in the set) is the mystery bead - which is an inspiration to consider the great mystery, call it source or creation. In the temple, you may dance, sing or kneel - all before this mystery. The circle of beads forms a circle, the wheel of life and the wheel of the year. There are 8 sections representing each of the holydays and the shifts between each holyday are represented by the threshold beads.

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The Deer

When I first started making prayer beads I was using different pendants for each set and as I sorted through my box of pendants I came across an antler with a drilled hole - just as I was turning the antler over in my hand I felt the need to go outside to the garden. As I stood on the porch I looked down the garden to the little teeny stream that flows and I couldn't see anything in particular - then it was if a couple of branches were moving, but there weren't any trees in that spot then all of a sudden I saw a herd of deer! How strange that they were in full sight all the time and yet I didn't see them! There have been raccoon and possum visitors, bears, chickens, a rabbit, a host of wild birds (the garden is their land too) but I've never seen deer. There were two adult females, an adolescent, and two smaller deer. I was so excited to see them and a definite indication for antlered prayer beads! 

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Sisterhood of the Antlers

While some may honor Elen of the Ways (and antlered wearing diety from the UK), I have come to know an ancient old antlered one. She comes from a time before words like 'Goddess'. She is female wearing antlers which speaks to a far older antler wearing herd - the reindeer who lived in Britain when it was connected to mainland Britain. For more of this story and weaving the great antlered one into our lives check out the link below to join our free online community - Sisterhood of the Antlers.

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Breathing Into the Circle

Each person is invited to find their own meaning. My main use of these beads is to pick them up and begin the pilgrimage with my fingers around the circle. As I begin to think about the circle I’m traveling I imagine breathing into that circle. A circle which holds all the mystery of life. I breathe out what I’m holding and want to release and then breathe in from the circle – it’s one of the few things that quiets my mind and lets me connect to the vastness of life with its thousands of connections. I find this is a wonderful morning meditation to root you into the day.

Other ways of Using the Prayer Beads:

You may simply wish to use the chant using three words which offer the essence of the particular holy day or to represent a situation

  • You may simply wish to use the beads with your own chant/prayer (protection, intention, gratitude)
  • Use them while walking, in ritual or in quiet time at your altar
  • Work with them in creating your intentions at new moon
  • Concentrate on the symbolism of the particular holyday of the wheel

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What People Have Been Saying About Celtic Soul Beads:

‘My beads have become constant companions as I go through the day‘, A. Harrison
 

‘Powerful and beautiful soul practice tools. Working these beads through my hands I can feel the strength, love and intention in their creation and I’m so grateful that they have come to me. Thank you for your incredible work in the world and on this rosary’. L Blinn

I received the prayer beads today, and they are beautiful – thank you again for crafting something so powerful and full of medicine and magic. Jane V.

 

 

Click on the image above for our free online community

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 Jude Lally is an artist and writer whose role and work focuses on reclaiming the ancient stories of wise women ways and of women’s mysteries. She offers creative ways to approach our ancestors and offers opportunities for women to share their inspiration and visions fostering ways to root such wisdom into our lives and communities for the good of each other, all webs of life and the planet herself.

She grew up a few miles from Loch Lomond, where the river Leven meets the mighty River Clyde, on the West Coast of Scotland.   She gained her master's degree in Human Ecology at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland) with her thesis ‘Fire in the Head, Heart and Hand. A Study of the Goddess Brigit as Goddess Archetype and her Relevance to Cultural Activists in Contemporary Scotland.    
She moved to Asheville, NC in 2009 where she runs 'Sisterhood of the Antlers' a free online community which follows the Wheel of the Year. She leads an annual pilgrimage to Scotland - the Ancestral Mothers of Scotland Retreat.

Visist her website www.celticsoulcraft.com for more details of in-person workshops, online courses, her retreat and SIsterhood of the Antlers community.

Jude Lally is an artist and writer whose role and work focuses on reclaiming the ancient stories of wise women ways and of women’s mysteries. She offers creative ways to approach our ancestors and offers opportunities for women to share their inspiration and visions fostering ways to root such wisdom into our lives and communities for the good of each other, all webs of life and the planet herself. 

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