While I have abandoned the thought of ever joining another organized religion again after my separation from the Lutherans, I have found many things within the wide variety of faiths that can help us cultivate our spirits on our journeys. I have tried psychological practices, and religious rituals among others, and one seems to have stuck with me – the Rosary.
What made me want to try it?
One day, I was listening to a podcast from Tammy Peterson, and something about her gentle, down-to-earth voice resonated with me. She was talking about her struggles with her sickness and more, and her way of meditation and prayer as a helper in those times. Somewhere in the podcast, she threw out the suggestion that one should try it, as we would not lose anything by doing so.
I did indeed do exactly that, and let me tell you, the power of rituals is nothing to scoff at. Having this daily practice has allowed for so much more mental peace and clarity, even if I at first sneered at the notion of doing anything remotely religious in a way that could be traced back to certain traditions. As I grow on my journey, I find myself getting closer to the way I was before, in my childhood. I’m getting closer to God, whatever that entity might be for me, even if it still sometimes sends cringy shivers through my spine. But that journey is its own topic to talk about.
Fulfilling a need
I’ve found that as human beings, we tend to crave the ritual, for some notion of order within the Chaos. Well, at least I do, and I believe anyone who claims they enjoy the dreadful maw of the beast in the depths is out of their mind, suffering stubbornly. I enjoy the time I have with myself, exploring my innermost thoughts, my true self that nobody else will, most likely, ever know. Every one of us is a universe in our own right, that’s something to think about in the dark hours of the night.
As it pertains to the Rosary, it is typically portrayed to be a thing of the Catholics, as a way of meditating on the life of Christ. For me, this is obviously not the way since I am a blasphemous heretic and do not subscribe to the traditional Christian gospels. For me, the Rosary had to be modified to fit the views and beliefs I hold dear, and I did so by researching the structure of the Catholic Rosary and by following its themes of it in a way that was more in tune with myself.
I find the Rosary to be an amazing tool. It is well structured with decades, mysteries, and prayers in between. The repetitive mantras in between the mystery beads help get me into this trance-like state, and I oftentimes find myself having clear, sensible ideas and solutions pop up into my mind as I go through the more than 20-minute meditation. And the most surprising thing I found about this practice is that previously I struggled to meditate for 5 minutes straight! I suppose the linear way of the Rosary with all its checkpoints and the end goal helps keep my mind focused on the topic until I am done.
The purpose of the Rosaries
The Rosary is traditionally meant for pondering and reflecting on the life of Christ, or in my case, it is for the deep dive into everything that is human and life. On a weekly basis, I take on topics like death, life, God, the divinity within us all, and my purpose and meaning. Such grand things are not thought about properly in modern society, at least I haven’t seen it be done anywhere other than the traditional, spiritual circles. It seems to me like everyone is too busy trying to be progressive and abolish all that these traditional tools could help us with, and that in itself makes me look at the world in sorrow. We need to keep thinking and talking about the enormous concepts of the reality we live in so that we would not fall into the trap of thinking that we, as we are now in our evolution, are the epitome of everything.
I usually go through my Rosary in the mornings, or at least before I start preparing food for the day. It sets me into the proper, calm, and composed mindset for the rest of the day, and helps me cope with many of the fluctuations my mind and sensitive self has to offer. Through the sections of the Rosary, I keep repeating my mantras and they get instilled into me, enhanced every day as I complete the practice. The harmony I gain from the meditation is hard to explain, and I suggest, much like Mrs. Peterson, that you try it for yourself. There is indeed nothing to lose and everything to gain, should it be your cup of decaf tea.
I also carry the Rosary around my neck for extra support, if my Borderline sensitivities start gaining too much foothold in my day. In those moments I fiddle with the pendant-like ‘ornament’ dangling on the self-made chain, and I start going through the mantras. When the brain goes haywire, there’s nothing quite like a crutch of yarn to re-center yourself again!
Removing the Crucifix, the making of the Maverick’s Rosary
As I mentioned, I am not that much of a fan of the New Testament, even if I do admit that there too, are some lessons to be learned from the stories. That meant that while getting the idea to utilize the Rosary for my own spiritual growth I also needed to wonder how to go about it, as the crucifix is sort of an important element of the whole. In the end, after browsing some extremely non-humble versions of golden, luxurious Rosaries online, I came to the conclusion that I ought to use my talent as a craftsman and make my own. So I raised my crochet hook once more and got to work.
Thankfully, there are plenty of videos and directions in the magical folds of the interwebs, so I easily found a design that was simple and effective enough for my purposes. I even found a star to make as the pendant part of it, albeit that, later on, got changed with the plain ring I have around my neck as I write this article. To me, the star and the ring symbolize all of the cosmos in their infinite potential, and at one of its many little centers is my being. Seems fitting for the fiddlings of a purpose-driven divine meditation, wouldn’t you agree?
And then there were the mental effects of committing to the Rosary as I was making it. The process of lining up the needed ‘beads’, both the smaller decades and the bigger mystery ones, was extremely serene and meditative in itself. But then again, that might just be my own inclination to enjoy crochet and other things that are in that repetitive, creative, simple vein. Either way, it felt like preparation for the continued practice that would from then on mark my days in deep thought.
Does it work?
As I struggled for the first month of my meditative Rosary practice, it became easier and easier each time I finished it. The benefits of spending that time on the various Mysteries started to shape my mind into being more flexible, accepting, and even more so, patient. I can’t very well be going on about having my failures forgiven like I forgive the failures of others unless I actually am willing to do both of those things. You keep repeating that stuff to yourself long enough and it’ll change your brain, but then again, that is not exactly new knowledge, is it? And the thing is, the change is, in its special way, addictive. I’ve started to notice that my essence compels me to pray the Rosary if, for whatever reason, I’ve failed to do so. I have started to crave that brief moment alone with my thoughts.
Practicing the meditative way of the Rosary has helped me cultivate many things, including insight into the greater universe around me as much as the realms inside myself. I’ve somehow managed to gain back parts of my childhood free-flow thinking and creativity and can observe the worlds in my mind with more ease. And that, my dear reader, is an incredible thing for someone like myself who is taking a gander at this whole writing thing! The daily meditations also help me keep my Borderline emotions in line with my desired way of living, being more harmonious and noticeably less volatile.
All of the mantras and mysteries on my Maverick’s Rosary are dipped in life as inspired by the original Catholic ones. This tool is allowing me to grow in a more realistic, accepting, tolerant, and at the same time more insightful manner. I have started to appreciate life itself even more, which is a huge step up from the constant idolizing of death that I took part in my past.