Auri Malas Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where do you source your materials from?
A: All kinds of places! …I go to bead shows when they come around (think: giant bead convention but crammed into a wing of a big hotel, with beads on tables in living rooms, on hotel beds, & on bathroom counters, with each new hotel suite being a different vendor - it’s really strange!). I special order some things online, and I also have a few boutique shops that I find treasures at sometimes, (but you really never know what you’ll stumble across!). The wooden beads that I use in all Auri Malas come from olive trees that a family business in Bethlehem cuts down and shapes into beads for use in making rosaries. The silk fabric strands that I weave into all the tassels are hand-dyed by a little woman in Germany that has been in her craft for decades. I am always looking for high quality and unique charms & other beautiful ingredients that I can incorporate into malas to make them more meaningful, unique, and striking. Reach out to see what I have in my inventory now!
Q: What is the significance of the Auri-Mala design?
A: I like symbolism. I feel like any time you can infuse some kind of meaning into a thing, especially when you are being creative, you are adding power. Mental energy is a force that you can use to your advantage and by assigning significance to certain things, you are imbuing it with your own creative energy. In every Auri Mala there is always one white howlite stone & one black tourmaline stone connecting the rest of the mala to the guru bead- this symbolizes the dualities of life (light/dark, yin/yang, effort/ease, sun/moon, male/female, etc), encourages balance and is a poetic representation of the two extremes merging together and finding balance. Additionally, there are several numbers that repeat throughout each mala. For instance, humans have evolved to have 46 chromosomes in their genome (pardon me while I nerd out for a second here, in my full-time job I work closely with genetics, so I couldn’t help but to add that scientific touch!) so there are 46 olive wood beads (to symbolize the unification of all humans in peace). Additionally, in many ancient traditions the number 3 has long been revered to be holy- (the trifecta of mind/body/spirit, the father/son/Holy Spirit are just two examples), so Auri Malas are broken into thirds by what I call “focus” stones. These beads often have a different texture or size to them compared to the rest so that as you are mediating, when you get to these “focus” beads they will have a different tactile feel that will remind you to continue to maintain your attention on the present and to make sure the mind hasn't wandered off. Additionally each of the crystal stones that you choose have their own personal significance that is tailored just to you! If you’d like to hear more about the significances of the design, reach out to me and I'd be happy to chat about it!
Q: What is a “guru bead”?
A: A guru bead is what connects the mala beads to the tassel. Traditionally when completing a mala mediation, after the 108th bead you are meant to pause on the guru bead to express gratitude to all the teachers you’ve had in your life- whether these be physical, metaphorical or spiritual teachers. After taking a long pause and a breath or two, you can continue meditation or conclude your practice. If continuing practice, the mala is flipped to avoid passing over the guru bead. This is a sign of respect and meant to symbolize that we are perpetual students. Always there will be more opportunities to learn in life and especially when we begin to doubt that fact, there will always be teachers in the form of difficult situations or people who are ready to show us our places to improve upon.
“When you get to the guru bead during the meditation, you don’t count it, you don’t pass it. You stop there, mentally bow to the guru, flip the mala around, and start going back the other way. Each time you come to the guru bead, you awaken once more, then you turn around and go back the way you came.”- Ram Dass
Q: What are some common mantras?
A: There are so many! And the best part is that anything can be your mantra. Traditionally they are words or sounds that hold great meaning or vibration in them, many popular ones are in the ancient language of Sanskrit. But even song lyrics or short poems can serve as mantras- honestly anything that makes your soul come alive, or gives you tingles down the back of your neck is probably a good start.
Here are just a few:
"OM" - said to be the sound of the universe vibrating in space
"Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha" - a prayer to the Elephant God, Ganesh, the Remover of Obstacles
"Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu" - “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may my thoughts, words, and actions contribute in some way to that freedom and happiness for all.”
"Om Mani Padme Hum" - it is said that all of the teachings of the Buddha are contained within this single mantra
"Om Shanti Om" - a prayer of gratitude
"I am enough"
"I am the steward of my own destiny"
"I have a choice and I choose to follow my heart"
"I am abundant in life and love"
"What I seek is seeking me"
"Be Here Now"
"Above all else, love first"
"Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain"
"I am the universe and the universe is me"
Q: How much does an Auri Mala cost?
A: Each mala is made to order and customized to incorporate the stones that you are drawn to most. My materials cost varies greatly from one commission to another depending on the stones and other materials used, but one of my core beliefs in this endeavor has been that I want people to choose stones based on what calls to them, rather than being influenced by whats less expensive, etc. Therefore all the malas that are made with my (46+46+6+6+2+1+1) design will cost $108- regardless of my materials cost. Better yet, if you attend a mala making workshop of mine, I will apply a discount dependent upon the cost of the workshop, and if you decide to purchase another mala in the future (as a gift perhaps), I will discount subsequent (108 bead mala) commissions $18 each after the first. I accept cash and PayPal as payment methods and request that malas be paid in full upon receipt of your finished commission- no money will trade hands until you have your finished mala in hand!
Q: Do you sell on Etsy?
A: Not really, I have a page that I could use to sell things on Etsy, but I find that (at least for the current moment) I have enough interest from local people that I haven’t started to branch out into internet sales very much. I’m happy serving my community and helping to spread the tools of mindfulness and meditation locally, but maybe someday I’ll expand and actively seek to reach out in that market.
Q: I’m not local to NE Connecticut, USA- Can you still make me one?
A: Probably! Reach out to me with a little information about what you’re looking for and where you will be having it shipped (a shipping cost will be added to cover the USPS fee & shipping insurance) and we can discuss the logistics. It isn't my usual way to do business but it has happened successfully in the past.
Q: How long will it take for me to have my mala in hand?
A: Once we decide on your stones and overall design, it usually takes me about 2-3 weeks to finish a commission, depending on how many commissions I currently have in queue (and on my personal schedule- I work full time also!).
Q: I want my mini to have one! Can you make a kiddo sized mala?
A: Absolutely! I make 1/2 sized malas for exactly that reason! These are 1/2 price and can be a great tool to help teach your little about focus and sitting in meditation while you say mantras or affirmations together. If you already purchased a 108 bead mala from me in the past or simultaneously, a $9 discount will be applied.
Q: What if something happens to my mala?
A: No problem! I offer *free* (at my discretion) re-stringing for 1 year if something happens to compromise the integrity of your mala (like if the cord breaks by getting caught on a doorknob or something). If more than a year has elapsed since you've had your mala commissioned, a $15 fee will apply.
NOTE: I have been making malas since 2015 and so far I have not needed to restring any, but if it happens, I got you covered! Just do your best to gather all 108 beads plus guru bead and bring me the bones of your mala so that new life can be breathed back into it!!
Q: Ok, I would like to commission one; what now?
A: Yay! Reach out to me! You can email me at Malas.by.Melissa@gmail.com or message me thru Facebook via my @AuriMalas page, I'd be happy to hear from you! If you are local we will schedule a design date at a coffee house to choose your stones & other customizations. My usual go-to meet up spots are Heirloom Food Co. in Danielson CT, or Victoria Station Cafe in Putnam CT.
Q: Did you say something about a mala making workshop?
A: Yes! I just co-hosted my first recently, it was a movement + mala making workshop which incorporated yoga, designing and creating your own 27 bead (4x27=108) mini mala bracelet, and discussions about mantra, meditation techniques, essential oils, candles, and lots of good vibes!! During that first workshop I learned a lot from the experience and I'm looking forward to tweaking a few things to make the whole process flow more smoothly. If you would like to talk about booking me for a workshop in the future, reach out by sending me a message via any of the links below so we can start discussing this possibility!