Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Holy Bead: An Introduction

I thought I would start out our new shopblog by writing a smallish bit on why Phoenix and I created The Holy Bead.

The Holy Bead is an Etsy shop, which can be found directly through http://www.theholybead.com . After trying to set up a Yahoo shop and failing miserably at the technical aspects, I started our Etsy shop because it freed us up to work on the beads, rather than consuming all of our time with the website maintenance. We both have "day jobs" so our time is limited.

We have many friends that self-identify as pagan, but I affectionately refer to them as "omni-religous." In our close circle of friends, we have a Christopagan, a Hindu-oriented pagan devoted to the god Murugan, a couple of Native American descent who regularly practice with the pagans in our area, several new agers and so many more. All of whom have rich and diverse religious practices, all of whom have drastically different beliefs, but who get along just fine.

One of the reasons for this is that there are certain aspects of religion that nearly all faiths seem to have. Not all, but almost all. Prayer is one of those components of faith that most people have in common. We meditate, we cast spells, we converse with God, we plead with Universe--all of these things bring us closer to what is Divine.

I have held meditation groups and, especially in the beginning, people have so much trouble focusing. Prayer beads are an excellent tool to aid in focusing because you can focus on the beads, which involve your sense of touch, sound, and sometimes smell, and then turn that focus to the task at hand.

I realize though that there are not many types of prayer beads available that suit people with practices that draw from different traditions. After reading several books on different types of prayer beads, I arrived at a conclusion: since they aren't out there, I was going to make them.

I found that I really love beading. I've always done some beading on and off. Mostly I'm a painter and a sculptor, but beads are hard to resist. There are so many different types of beads. It's mesmerizing. I have learned that beads have been made by nearly every culture since the beginning of time. So, in addition to prayer, we all have beads in common. I love feeling like I get to participate in something that has been going on for so long with my art.

So why did I choose "Holy Bead"? Well, beads are sacred; the art of making and using beads is a sacred act. Beads also have holes; that's what makes them beads. And finally, my name is Holly. I have been called "Holy" my whole life. People will look at my name and call me Holy, instead of Holly because my last name is Cross. So to me, it's a triple word play.

I plan to use this blog to discuss trends in prayer, beading, discuss types of prayer beads, conduct promotions for the shop (so follow if you want to get the big discounts and do fun contests!) and explore the things that make all humans *similiar*.

Our next post will be my artist statement and shortly thereafter, we'll get one out of Phoenix too!

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