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.

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

    • 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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