Mala beads hold a lot of mystery. They're made in a range of different colors and materials, and while they're used for generally the same reason, they mean something slightly different to all who wear them. If you're curious how you might be able to use a mala, you've come to the right place. What is a mala? A mala is a string of 108 beads with one bead as the summit or head bead called a 'sumeru.' Malas are used as a tool to help the mind focus on meditation, or count mantras in sets of 108 repetitions. Why use a mala? Meditation is tricky! It can be challenging to sit still and quiet your mind for a period of time. The mala provides a much-needed anchor in these situations. It also allows the user to keep easy count during mantra repetitions. How is a mala used? The mala is traditionally held in the right hand and used in two ways; in one method, the mala is hanging between the thumb and the ring finger. The second finger is used to rotate the mala by one bead toward oneself with each repetition of breath or mantra. In the other method, the mala is hanging on the middle finger, with the thumb used to rotate the mala just as explained; one bead at a time. Either way, the index finger is never used to touch the mala. (The index finger represents ego, seen as the greatest impediment to self-realization in ancient Hinduism). The practice begins at the summit or head bead and continues around the loop until the head bead is reached again. In Hinduism, the head bead is never passed over, so if more than one round is planned, the mala is turned around to proceed again in the reverse direction. How is a mala worn? It's up to you! Malas create lovely necklaces, and can also be looped multiple times around your wrist. It's a common belief that when malas are used regularly for meditation and repeating mantras, they absorb the vibrations of the practice. So the more you wear it, the more positive energy it absorbs and reflects back.
- Rock Lore & Tidbits: Agate is a variety of chalcedony which is a microcrystalline quartz. Agate is a more translucent microcrystalline quartz and technically is striped, though many stones named agates are not striped, whereas jasper is more opaque. There are many, many different types of agates in many different color combinations, and they are found all over the world. Different types are known fr different appearances and/or properties.
- Agate's most noticeable properties overall are balancing yin/yang energy, courage, protection, healing, and calming. Historically it was placed in water for cooking or drinking to dispel sickness. The Metaphysical and Healing Properties Lore of any specific type of agate depend to some extent on the color of the agate, but all agates have certain things in common. Agate is a stone of strength. It was used by the Ancients on the breastplates of armor to give warriors strength and make them victorious in battle. Energetically, it is considered to give strength in both battle and physically.
- Agate enhances creativity and strengthens the intellect, making it a beneficial stone for both students and artists. It is also known as a good luck stone. As a stone of harmony, one of the things agate does is balance yin/yang energy. Agate increases energy. However, because it is a grounding stone, it does not increase energy at all times, but rather enables bursts of energy as needed. In this way, agate is a conservation stone, and enhances longevity. Agate is a very protective stone. It is especially protective for children, and makes an excellent stone for children's amulets, medicine bags, jewelry, or just to carry around in a pocket. Agates are said to be especially useful for protecting children from falling.
- Emotionally, agate gives courage, emotional strength, self-confidence, and dispels fears. It can also lessen feelings of envy by grounding the emotions. In the same way, it assists with acceptance of all things. It can be very beneficial for self-examination as well as examination of the circumstances one finds oneself in. These qualities make agate superior for easing anxiety and stress. Plume agates are especially helpful for anxiety and stress relief. Particularly when placed on the Solar Plexus (3rd) Chakra it can help one to accept one's emotions, thereby helping overcome those emotions that one wants to remove. Because of the harmonizing qualities of agate, and its emotional energies of removing and releasing resentments and bitterness, it is also considered by many to be an excellent stone for helping to heal and improve relationships. Agate can cleanse and stabilize the aura by removing and/or transforming negative energy. As far as relationships go, agate is a stone of marital and romantic fidelity.
- Agate can strengthen the body and the body's connection to the earth. It also increases energy. Agate enhances healing of all kinds by bringing the elements of the healee into harmony. Physically, agate is particularly helpful with tooth and gum issues, stomach problems, physical endurance, insomnia. White agate is especially considered a stone of hope. Chakras: All agates can remove blockages from any chakra. Agate also relates to specific chakras according to the stone color.