Making Prayer Beads, or Buying Fair Trade Beads is Expensive

Today I decided that I was going to make the Thirteen Moons Rosary in honour of Mani (instructions for making it are in the book Pagan Prayer Beads: Magic and Meditation with Pagan Rosaries by John Michael Greer and Clare Vaughn.

And then I stumbled upon this review for the above book which was yet another reminder that everything I own probably comes from a sweatshop (actually, I own a few fair trade necklaces) and I started thinking “Oh shit, Mani likes kids, I don’t think He’d be pleased with sweatshop beads….”

So I am trying (for once) to do things right and look for ethical beads. The problem is, fair trade beads charge by the bead….and I need 182 beads for this thing, at $5.95 per bead (the cheapest I could find that was aesthetically appealing), that’s $1083 and that’s before shipping costs.

So, apart from making them myself out of paper (which is by far the cheapest, most ethical option) I can try and choose beads from countries with extensive labour laws. Seed beads from Japan seem like a safe bet, as do the “moon” beads (simulated pearls with a core made of crystal).

On the other hand, I could just make them out of paper….but I can’t help but feel like I’m being cheap. On the other hand, look at the alternative.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Why haven’t you realized this before?” Because I am an ignorant Westerner stuck in a bubble of privilege, okay? Now STFU.

It’s a small thing, I know, and it’s not going to change the fact that there are a thousand other things around me that were probably the end result of someone slaving away under shit-tastic working conditions, unless you go completely off the grid and work on a homestead (not feasible for me due to my disability) you can’t avoid it.

But it’s one small thing.

I will update you on my progress with this thing.

P.S. Sorry Freyja and Njord, I already made your prayer beads using beads I bought at the craft store. I will do better next time.

P.P.S. The Eldermaid has been sent to the editor who actually knows what they are doing, since I have finished messing with it. Still waiting for the IRS to get back to me re: an ITIN.

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2 thoughts on “Making Prayer Beads, or Buying Fair Trade Beads is Expensive

    1. It looks like my local craft store has lots of different clay products, but I’d have to actually look at the stock to see what they have. I suppose I could always paint them if they aren’t the right colour.

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