I just finished painting and stringing mala beads for my friend and teacher, Crystal Anne Compton.

What are mala beads? They are a meditation aide used for focus and the counting of prayers. Many cultures use strings of beads in this way. I’m sure you are familiar with the Catholic Rosary.

This particular necklace is made of 108 beads. Why 108 you ask? 108 is a sacred number and is found in the mathematics of nature, the stars, and attributed to significant points in several sacred texts.

What kind of prayers does one say while using the beads? Well, you can use an affirmation, or a favorite prayer or mantra. Although there are countless sacred mantras, the Mani Mantra (Om Mani Padme Hum) is the most popular Tibetan Buddhist mantra. This mantra is known to purify one’s negative emotions, ease suffering for all beings and protect us from negative influences and illnesses. It also increases compassion for ourselves and for others.

-Karen Windness

Here’s my newest mala bead creation. Rainbow agate and amethyst. Ma: mother, La: garland.