Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
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My finished Brighid’s mala.

This year I am serving as a flamekeeper for Brighid. At Imbolc, the festival of Brighid in February, the flamekeepers met for a meditation ceremony at which we each lit a small candle from a larger candle that had been lit at the flame at Kildare. Once every 20 days it is my duty and pleasure to light a candle from the little candle and bring the flame of Kildare into my home to tend for twenty-four hours.

I light the candle the evening before the day of my shift. I spend some time in prayer and meditation with the goddess. Through my research of her prayers, ceremonies and folklore, I developed a simple series of chants that help me clear my mind and become attuned to her presence. To facilitate the repetition of the chants, I created a simple mala that I can use to count my prayers.

A mala is a string of beads used to count repetitive prayers. Many religions use prayer beads, from Hindu and Buddhist malas to Christian rosaries. A mantra, the chanting of sacred sounds, is repeated each time a bead is touched. When using a rosary, a prayer to Mary is said for each bead counted. If you are not used to repetitive short prayers, it may feel odd at first to say the same thing over and over. But the repetition helps to turn off the conscious mind which in turn allows a shift into expanded awareness. This different consciousness can clear and balance personal energies while helping you to make a higher spiritual connection.

This mala is for invoking the energies of the Celtic goddess Brighid, patron of poets, healers, and smiths. Rituals to Brighid bring health, inspiration, general improvement of life and can help with fertility.

The sacred number of the Brighid is 19. This is the number of years it takes for the moon and sun to overlap their cycles. In Brighid’s mythology, nineteen nuns took turns tending her fire each night, and then on the 20th night, the Goddess herself tended the fire. So for Brighid I designed a mala that has 19 beads plus a sumeru bead.

Supply List

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The supplies I used to create my Brighid’s mala.

1. 1 ½ yds ¼ inch green ribbon

2. 19 green glass pony beads

3. I used a spiral created from 16 gauge copper wire (available at the hardware store). Alternately, a Sun charm or Brighid’s cross would make a nice sumeru bead.

Additional items:

4. (A beading needle—If needed.)
5. (Scissors)

Remember to double-check your bead hole sizes against the ribbon and beading needle you are using. Pony beads have a pretty big hole and probably won’t offer a problem, but you’ll also want to check whatever you choose for a sumeru bead.

Stringing the Brighid Mala

This is fast and easy mala to string.

I started with a spiral made of 16 gauge copper wire. I used jewelry pliers or needle nose pliers to shape the spiral. I used the pliers to twist the outer end of the wire back against the direction of the main spiral one twist to form a loop at the bottom. I then flattened it and gave it some texture by hammering it with a ballpeen hammer on a small anvil. Of course, you can skip this part and buy a bead to use here.

How to tie a lark's head knot.
How to tie a lark’s head knot.

Next, I folded the ribbon in half and tied it onto the loop on the copper spiral using a lark’s head knot.

I couldn’t get both ends of the ribbon through the needle I was using, so I only strung beads onto one length of the ribbon and left the other length hanging decoratively. But if you have the right size needle or smaller ribbon, you could thread both ends of the ribbon through the beads.

I strung all nineteen beads onto the ribbon and then tied knots in between the beads, making sure to pull the knots snug up against each one.

It might be practical to include a bead with a different feel after the last pony bead. I didn’t have a bead that would work, although I might add one later.

Using the Brighid Mala

This mala uses three phrases that are each repeated nineteen times, using the pony beads to count. These three phrases, to me, show Brighid in the three worlds common to Celtic religion and folklore. Between each set of repetitions, I use a petition asking Brighid to bring us to her lasting kingdom. At the very end is an invocation to Brighid, repeated three times.

19 pony beads: Oh, Brighid, you are beneath the sky and beneath the sea.

1 time after the last pony bead: Most Holy Brighid, Excellent Woman, Bright Arrow, Sudden Flame; May your bright fiery Sun take us swiftly to your lasting kingdom.

Returning back up the 19 pony beads: Oh, Brighid, you will arise like a shining sun.

1 time at the copper spiral: Most Holy Brighid, Excellent Woman, Bright Arrow, Sudden Flame; May your bright fiery Sun take us swiftly to your lasting kingdom.

Working down the pony beads a third time: Oh, Brighid, you will shine like the sun among the stars of heaven.

1 time after the last pony bead: Most Holy Brighid, Excellent Woman, Bright Arrow, Sudden Flame; May your bright fiery Sun take us swiftly to your lasting kingdom.

Then close by repeating 3 times: “Brighid is come, Brighid is welcome!”

I repeat this whole process 3-4 four times for a complete prayer session.

***

If you are interested in the Goddess Brighid, please also see The Muse Within Tarot Spread, based on a ritual of circling St. Brigid’s Well to find harmony within yourself and within the universe..

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Joy Vernon has been teaching energetic and esoteric modalities for over twenty years. She is one of the Psychics of Isis in Denver, Colorado and also reads at Northern Lights in Fort Collins. She teaches Tarot, Astrology, Qabalah and Traditional Japanese Reiki. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association. Her specialty is Empyrean Key Transformational Guidance, which helps her clients break through blocks and align with their higher purpose. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.

© 2013 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.

 

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Brighid Mala

2 thoughts on “Brighid Mala

  • September 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm
    Permalink

    I absolutely love this. I am a Buddhist Wiccan and Brighid is my patron. I actually discovered the spiral symbol of Brighid not from the internet, but from Brighid herself. I couldn’t find any information on her symbol, so I started drawing flames in different ways, asking Brighid for her assistance in finding a symbol for her.. I eventually made a spiral shaped flame, and thought- that’s it! I typed in Brighid Spiral on google, just out of curiosity, and found your page. The Mala is beautiful. If I were to use gemstones instead of pony beads what kind would you suggest? And is there anyway to make it longer?

    • September 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks Sondra. I’m so glad you like it! I threw this together really fast which is why I used the pony beads, but I’ve made a number of malas using semi-precious stones. I recommend 8 mm beads. Round beads are the most common but I’ve found that potato shaped (ovoid spheres) or faceted are a little easier to count with (fingers don’t slip as much). For a full size Brighid mala, I would use 19 beads for the lower world chant, 19 for the middle world chant and 19 for the upper world, with a different feeling bead in between each set for the “Most holy Brighid” refrain. Then you can use your spiral flame for the sumeru bead, which would be only for the final invocation “Brighid is come”, etc. That should give you 60 beads plus the sumeru which I think would be long enough to wear. Let me know how it turns out!

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