The Pagan Origin of Rosary Beads
Rosary beads come in all shapes, colors, sizes and quality. Some rosaries are strung with pearl, crystal, wood and even plastic. But where did the ritual of the rosary come from? And what exactly is the significance of rosary beads?
The rosary in simplest terms is said to be a tool used to aid prayer and meditation. The beads of a rosary count the prayers as they are recited out loud or in the mind. The user relies on the rosary beads to keep track of how many times you’ve said a particular prayer.
Prayer beads are used by : Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Catholics among others.
"Most commonly recognized in the United States as a symbol of Catholicism, other religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism and Islam employ rosary beads as well" (Jessica Ciosek, The Meaning of Rosary Beads - What Do Rosary Beads Symbolize?)
"Prayer beads, or prayer rosaries, are really another form of the "witch's ladder," a knotted rope or cord used to count repetitions during a spell or ritual. Praying with beads is a spiritual practice with a long history in most of the world's
religions" (Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone, Sacred Mists Shoppe).
"Prayer beads originated with the Hindu faith. Using beads for devotions dates to the 8th century BC in the cult of Shiva. In India sandstone sculptures, statues ca 185 BC, show Hindus with prayer beads. The names of Hindu gods and prayers are repeated on stringed beads, called mala, separated by larger or different colored beads" (Patricia A. Dilley, A History of Praying on Beads).
"Hindu converts kept their traditional use of prayer beads. Buddhist monks always carry a strand of prayer beads, or rosary, usually of 108 beads" (Patricia A. Dilley, ibid.).
The Bible warns us against use of prayer beads. Matthew 6:7 says:
"Often, when religions sought converts, they allowed them to retain some of their pagan ways: ceremonial garb, heathen rituals and traditions; in order to add to their numbers. This led to spiritual pollution" (Patricia A. Dilley, ibid.)
"Before the 12th century, rosaries were used for talismans (amulet or occult charms). Rosaries and prayer beads were intended by the catholic church hierarchy, for use by the ignorant" (Patricia A. Dilley, ibid.).
"Pagans had used prayer beads even before the 8th century before CHRIST, and they still use them today" (Patricia A. Dilley, ibid.).
"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. And when you pray, do not...repeat the same words over and over as the Gentiles (pagans) do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking" (Mt.6:7, Amp.V).
This page was created on 25 December 2012
Last updated on 25 December 2012
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