At the end of last year, a little while after rejoining Ár nDraíocht Féin, I got an idea for making ADF ritual beads. These would be a tool for learning an ADF ritual set up, or possibly a tool for individual devotions, and/or an aid to learning ADF chants. I never made this proposed bead set, but I might still do that someday. I think it would be great for beginners or for kids especially. So I’ve posted the it here because I thought there might be someone out there who would like to take up the idea. This string of beads and charms might work out nice woven together with macramé knots between each bead/charm. If you make one, send me a picture! This is based on a ritual outline from the ADF website. If I’ve left something out that your grove does, included something that you would rather leave out, or have ordered it in an odd way contrary to your liking, feel free to adjust. (Note the imbedded links to chants for most of the beads.) 1. The first bead might actually be a small silver bell, to indicate the beginning of ritual/contemplation. 2. A blue bead or clear crystal symbolizing purification. 3. An Earth bead, symbolizing the Blessing for the Earth Mother. 4. A black bead, symbolizing an offering to the Outsiders. (You may choose to leave this out if you don’t do an Outsider offering, or put it somewhere else in the bead chain- I went to a ritual where the Outsider offering was done first, and it seemed very appropriate.) 5. A World Tree bead or charm, symbolizing the Triple Hallows of Fire, Well, and Tree. You may actually want to expand this portion into three beads; one for each Hallow. 6. A triskele charm or bead could symbolize the Three Realms of Land, Sea, and Sky. 7. A key charm for the Gatekeeper invocation/chant. 8. A green bead or leaf charm for calling on the Nature Spirits. 9. A skull bead for honoring the Ancestors. 10. A silver apple for the Shining Ones. 11. A bead/disk with a rune/ogham marking to symbolize the time in the ritual when an omen is taken. 12. A cup charm for the return blessing. 13. A spiral or star charm or glittery bead could symbolize the point in ritual when magical workings are done. *When using the ritual/prayer beads, after going through to bead/charm #13, jump back to #10 and go in reverse to #7 and then #3 to thank the powers and close the rite/meditation/prayer, or just get extras of those beads and add to the string so you won’thave to keep track of which beads to go back to in order to close the ritual.
Update: I finally made these beads! My original idea was to use a combination of charms and beads, and to macramé them together. The charms I wanted were very hard to find and many of them were expensive. I decided to see if I could made a set with strong salt dough to show that this could be made very cheaply. That I did, using pendants I already had to stamp imprints of a tree on one of the beads (for a Triple Hallows symbol) and a triskele on another (for a Three Realms symbol), and a key on the Gatekeeper beads. I only used materials I already had; strong salt dough, craft paints, a jingle bell, and yarn. I didn’t make the holes in the beads large enough to string two strands of yarn through for macramé, so I simply strung them on the yarn and made a tassel on the end.