This is my first “house mala”.
Like a wind chime or mezuzeh, it is meant to bring spirits of harmony and energy to a place by stringing together symbols of those spirits in a beautiful little choreography. Mala being sanskrit for “garland, it is a universal decoration of life, with a prayer inherent in it. The first malas were used as altar decorations, as a gift for the Spirit.
Permit me to explain the arrangement and the participants.
Six strands are suspended from a handformed bar or bridge made of cassius basaltic black clay by my friend Steph Brouwers in Belgium, incised with special magical marks that I think represent rain and growth in a potent numerology and shipped to the New World.
Anchoring each strand to the bridge is a blue rain bead hand-baked in Indonesia or a bauxite earth bead.
Each one of the beads has a unique persona and meaning within the whole. Like an instrument in an ensemble whose unique tone blends with the music of the group.
Malas are like haiku- an art form with limitations of dimension within which infinite variety and meaning can be cultivated. Taking this power from ancient makers of beaded objects that carried spirit power, they are amuletic poetry to be touched and heard with the inner ear.
Each mala is meant to carry an encoded message or prayer which is unleashed by the act of fingering or hanging by the user.
The Basha bead hangs in the center with a tail made by a river stone: this magical orb is the centerpiece around which the mala was designed. Made in the 21st century by an flamework artist who has studied and I think perfected the look of ancient glass, long buried and gleaming with the reactions of glass in long contact with earth.
Below it hangs a counterbalance made with a mini-cairn (wheel-shape) and a flat triangular token of drilled beach stone, both so perfectly eroded they seem to have been waxed.
Above the Basha bead symbolising the planet is a Mexican tin sunburst bead, well, symbolising the sun.
At the top of the center strand, just below the bridge that holds the mala together, is a deep indigo bead from Mali, made in the 1900s, of cobalt blue, representing the vault of the sky.
The six strands are organized in this way from left to right:
earth, sun and sky
There is no seventh strand because the Maker rests after the sixth string.