The Story of Celtic Soul Prayer Beads

I’ve always felt the steady rhythm of beads moving through your fingers comforting.  They introduce a regularity, a heartbeat which calms my racing mind. From Catholic Rosary beads as a child or in later years rounds of mala beads provided this route yet neither fitted as they weren’t of my tradition. While I am only vaguely familiar with traditional Celtic prayer beads – the Paidirinean, I was drawn to create Celtic Soul Craft Prayer Beads.

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The new sets in the shop!

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My Tradition

Celtic Soul beads are born from my tradition which involves a deep communication with the land and a relationship with the ancestral energies of that place. My culture is a circle culture which stretches back through generations of wise women, of women who knew the thresholds of life and death and carried the stream of their ancestor’s voices. Ancestors who were weavers, drummers and singers – women versed in herbalism, stone medicine and doll making, women whose language was ritual and ceremony, women who danced between the worlds.

How to Work with the Prayer beads Set

I particularly enjoy using the beads as a morning meditation with no thought, just letting my fingers move slowly around the circle. In times when I need them, I find it comforting to hold them and simply breath into the circle, slow deep breaths which help me find my feet again and root me back into life. You can work with them through the phases of the moon and the holydays of the year. I will provide some suggestions on how to work with the beads although I am sure you will find your own way.

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Symbolism of the Beads

There is an order to each set of beads – this begins with the pendant, which sets an inspiration for the connection which is followed by 3 beads called the ‘step beads’ – envisage them as preparing to enter into sacredness, such as the last three steps before entering a temple.  The next beads (which is often the biggest bead in the set) is the mystery bead – which is an inspiration to consider the great mystery, call it source or creation. In the temple, you may dance, sing or kneel – all before this mystery. The circle of beads forms a circle, the wheel of life and the wheel of the year. There are 8 sections representing each of the holydays and the shifts between each holyday are represented by the threshold beads.

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The Deer

When I first started making prayer beads I was using different pendants for each set and as I sorted through my box of pendants I came across an antler with a drilled hole – just as I was turning the antler over in my hand I felt the need to go outside to the garden. As I stood on the porch I looked down the garden to the little teeny stream that flows and I couldn’t see anything in particular – then it was if a couple of branches were moving, but there weren’t any trees in that spot then all of a sudden I saw a herd of deer! How strange that they were in full sight all the time and yet I didn’t see them! There have been raccoon and possum visitors, bears, chickens, a rabbit, a host of wild birds (the garden is their land too) but I’ve never seen deer. There were two adult females, an adolescent, and two smaller deer. I was so excited to see them and a definite indication for antlered prayer beads! 

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Sisterhood of the Antlers

While some may honor Elen of the Ways (and antlered wearing diety from the UK), I have come to know an ancient old antlered one. She comes from a time before words like ‘Goddess’. She is female wearing antlers which speaks to a far older antler wearing herd – the reindeer who lived in Britain when it was connected to mainland Britain. For more of this story and weaving the great antlered one into our lives check out the link below to join our free online community – Sisterhood of the Antlers.

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Breathing Into the Circle

Each person is invited to find their own meaning. My main use of these beads is to pick them up and begin the pilgrimage with my fingers around the circle. As I begin to think about the circle I’m traveling I imagine breathing into that circle. A circle which holds all the mystery of life. I breathe out what I’m holding and want to release and then breathe in from the circle – it’s one of the few things that quiets my mind and lets me connect to the vastness of life with its thousands of connections. I find this is a wonderful morning meditation to root you into the day.

Other ways of Using the Prayer Beads:

You may simply wish to use the chant using three words which offer the essence of the particular holy day or to represent a situation

  • You may simply wish to use the beads with your own chant/prayer (protection, intention, gratitude)
  • Use them while walking, in ritual or in quiet time at your altar
  • Work with them in creating your intentions at new moon
  • Concentrate on the symbolism of the particular holyday of the wheel

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What People Have Been Saying About Celtic Soul Beads:

‘My beads have become constant companions as I go through the day‘, A. Harrison

‘Powerful and beautiful soul practice tools. Working these beads through my hands I can feel the strength, love and intention in their creation and I’m so grateful that they have come to me. Thank you for your incredible work in the world and on this rosary’. L Blinn

I received the prayer beads today, and they are beautiful – thank you again for crafting something so powerful and full of medicine and magic. Jane V.

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Custom order Elen of the Ways

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She Who Calls the Herds

She comes from a time of ice, a time when great herds of reindeer crossed from mainland Europe across the land to Britain. She is that energy of the reindeer running the ancient migratory paths. It was she who ran with the very first herd, guiding the leading female. She is the protector of the reindeer and the long line of priestesses who followed.

The female reindeer, like the male, grows antlers. She is the leader of the herd, following the ancestral deer trods over the land that her mother led the herd on and her mother before that – stretching back thousands of years.
There is an ancient connection between women and these female reindeer – one which has been honored and respected. Even today many women see the wisdom in the Mother of the Herds, they search out her knowledge, dream of their foremother’s rituals and ceremonies.

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Guardian of the Pathways

She is the guardian of the pathways, the one who has traveled with the migratory reindeer for thousands of years.
The female reindeer is the only deer to grow antlers. She leads the herd following the ancestral paths over the land that her mother led the herd on and her mother before that. This doll honors the ancient connection between the women who lead their people in following the great herds. Women who could put their ear to the ground and know where the herd was, women who had a close relationship to the reindeer. Click on the image to view in Etsy store

Elen of the Ways

Elen is the ancient Deer Goddess, connected to the long gone reindeer who followed their migratory paths from mainland Europe out to the UK mainland when the land was connected, that land now lies under the North Sea/English Channel. Elen is a symbol of female strength, inner knowing and ancestral memories.



Taking a Pilgrimage with the Cailleach

This week on the online Cailleach course we’re taking a virtual pilgrimage to some of the Cailleach’s sites in Ireland and then in Scotland.

It’s not too late to sign up and join us!

The course offers guided meditations, we explore her great age, folklore, how her story changes over time and finally we examine the role of this great crone for us today.

Click here for more detals and booking

Cailleach Winner


Congratulations to Becky Kenny who won the free place on the Cailleach course. Course launches tomorrow and it’s not too late to sign up (you can join at any time) and after the timed release of the 5 sessions, you’ll have access to the materials for the next year and so can take it at your own pace.

The course covers:

The Great Age of the Cailleach

Pilgrimage to her sacred sites in Ireland and Scotland

Exploring her changing story within her myths

Digging down to the roots of her folklore

Examining her role for our time

The course also offers guided meditations, recorded stories, creating a Cailleach altar and community to share your insights and inspirations.

Come Journey with the Cailleach

As the days grow shorter and the nights longer maybe among the falling leaves, or in the air on a frosty morning you might hear the call of the old crone. She is old, far older than you can really contemplate. She’s older than the mountains, so old that she remembers when the very ocean was a forest covered with trees.

This five-session course overs:

Session 1 – Her Great Age

Theories covering a race of Cailleach’s

Session 2 – Pilgrimage

We will virtually visit some of her sacred sites in Ireland and some in Scotland

Session 3 – Her Changing Story

We’ll look at a range of stories and consider if her story has changed and contemplate why

Session 4 – Down to the Roots

In this session, we explore her folklore, follow it as far as we can to see if it gives us any hints on her origin.

Session 5 – Her Role For Our Time

As a figure who is connected to the Bean Feasa (the Wise Woman), we will consider her relevance to us today.


The course also offers guided meditations, a week by week opportunity to build a Cailleach altar and a community where you can share your ideas and insights.

Click here for full course details and booking

Win a Place on the Cailleach Course

Come take a journey exploring the most ancient female figure of Scotland and Ireland. The Cailleach is so old she has no known geneology and can remember back to when the ocean was a forest.

In this 5 session course we explore the great age of the Cailleach, visit  Irish and Scottish sacred sites. We will hear stories of the old cone, explore the roots of her folklore as well as considering her relevance for us today. The course has guided meditations and otherworldly journeys as well as a session by session step to building your Cailleach altar.

Instructions to Entry the Draw:

  1. To be in the draw please comment with your name and a couple of words on why you’d like to win
  2. Either on this post or on the Celtic Soul Craft facebook page
  3. Share this post and tag a friend or two who might be interested (if you’ve already taken the course and you win you can gift it to a friend).

Winner will be picked on Friday 10/27

Congratulations to Becky Kenny from London who was our winner – this is a course you can also take at your own page

Click here for full details & booking



Samhain Bundle

What are Bundles?

Imagine a great bundle of kindling to light the woodstove one early morning but instead it was a bundle to warm you as the days grow short and the night grow long. These seasonal little bundles are a collection of gifts for you that weave in some myth and inspiration of the season.

The Samhain bundle taps into the Cailleach fully moving into her power – you’ll get a little vial of water from the Stream of the Cailleach as well as two Cailleach greeting cards. 
The bear only walks in Scotland now in spirit – I wonder if my feet have ever crossed where her footprints once walked.

Along with a pair of Grandmother Bear earrings there is an invitation to step into the cave of the Grandmother and dance with these ancient bear women.

There is also a fun art project and you’ll receive a mookaite stone.  Running Water (the Aboriginal meaning of mookaite) is an ancient grandmother. She wears a cloak of earthy red, ochre with has a sheen of burnt yellow and burgundies. She carries a torch which shines on our inherited patterns helping illuminate those which aren’t healthy. She is old, 125 million years old and she helps us connect to ancient knowledge buried in our own cells whatever our linage is.

Click below to read full details of what’s in the Samhain bundle and to purchase.