Beads of various types have been traced as far back in human history’s as 82,000 years ago. Even way back then they appear to seem to have played an important role in ceremonial and symbolic activities.
Exactly what these spiritual uses were are not clear today however, Malays, or Hindu, prayer beads are recorded as being used as early as the eighth century BC.
In his book, The Magical Use of Prayer Beads author, lecturer and Hermetic philosopher Jean-Louis de Biasi (an initiate into several Western systems of magic) suggests that the spiritual value of beads relates closely to Theurgy and Neoplatonic philosophy. He even suggests that ritual use of beads brings the user into direct communion with the gods.
In the opening to his book, Biasi describes how he encountered bead use on a daily basis whilst traveling through Greece and the Middle East . As a result of his insights into their role in Catholicism—specifically, he decided to introduce their use into a more Western magical setting.
Biasis’ book covers a number of introductory concepts. These are as follows:
Biasi explores the potential use of beads within found specific traditions of Western Mystery tradition.
For each tradition, the author offers practical rituals, explanation of bead symbolism, meditation practices, individual rituals, group rituals, and practices that are specific to the tradition covered.
The book closes with appendices that cover the proper pronunciation of Greek and Hebrew words.
Our Review of ‘The Magical Use of Prayer Beads’ by Jean-Louis de Biasi
Whilst beads are commonly used in many Far Eastern religions their use here in the West is virtually unknown or unheard of—that was until the publication of this book.
Taking the best of Eastern bead and meditation practice, Biasi has very successfully opened up new avenues of magical practice that are fascinating.
Whilst the book, to my mind, does contain a few glaring omissions such as failing to offer practical advice on beads themselves and on the use of related bead-use such as mantras, this does not overly detract from it being a genuinely interesting book on magical working.
Although you rarely see beads in use in anything other than a decorative context within Wicca and Druidism in particular, this may well change, given the excellent work on offer here.