Guest Bloggers

My Waist Beads: The Journey and Experience

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I write to share my personal experience with waist beads.  I wear my waist beads every day, I never take them off, not even in the shower.  With each waist bead creation, I have set my intentions for their purpose on my body.  They help with the alignment of my chakras (bka as energy centers), assist in maintenance of my reproductive health and remind me of the sacredness of my feminine energy.  Since I have worn them, episodes of illness related to my immune diseases have decreased and I feel a stronger connection to my womb.  My waist beads are precious to me because they celebrate my spirituality, femininity, fertility, health and womanhood.

Allow me to tell how the new chapter of my spiritual journey is connected to my discovery story of waist bead circles.  My unveiling begins with my first waist bead circle  about 3 years ago with a group of black women and women of color sitting around talking about feminine energy, pregnancy, and wombs while stringing their seed beads around a coffee table.  While sitting in the group, a resonance of sisterhood and welcoming energy sets in for me.  As I sit there being present with conscious women in a room filled with colorful, sacred beads of custom fit string, I realize that like the string I feel the experience is custom fit for me.   As I watch in wonder, the women explain the purpose of the circle, how to make waist beads and the connection of the beads to all my feminine energy. The intrigue of learning how stringed beads of my creation have so much power and intention in my life amazes me.  I have not been the same since that day.  I believe the seed beads I use to make my waist beads are symbolic of the seeds planted to help me grow in my spiritual journey.

Waist beads are part of ancestral tradition in many cultures. I have identified with the West African traditions in Ghanaian waist bead wear due to my bloodline to Ghana.   Wearing my beads in this tradition reminds me of my power, vitality and journey as a woman.  I have discovered a YouTube video that explains the purpose and power of African waist beads that I am able to identify with.  I have connected with other women who share the tradition like my dear friend Kenisha Jamison- an awesome informant of waist bead creation with all its history and purpose.  She is the owner of WaistWare and facilitates waist bead circles in Chicago to share the importance of wearing beads to young girls and women who are not aware of the culture.  Waist beads are more than just beads on a string, it is tradition that has potential to be vital in any woman’s journey.

I share my waist bead experiences with you to testify their assistance in my life.  Know that everyone’s experience and reason for having them is unique just like the individuals who choose to wear them.  They are healing vessels, celebrations, rites of passage, life givers,  and creations at its best.  I encourage you to do your own research about waist beads to discover their niche in your life.  If you find they are not for you, then pass on the knowledge to someone else; but I hope you consider them as you continue your journey in womanhood and in life.

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Jacqueline Smith is a health conscious urban vegetable grower, earth stewardess, food justice advocate as well as the owner and writer of GrowAsis Urban Garden Consulting Inc. on Chicago’s south side. She works with and supports organizations that maintain African traditions and mentors youth.  She has a B.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota, a masters degree in public service from DePaul University and is a member of the Black Oaks Sustainability Lab in Pembroke, IL as well as the Green Lots Project in Chicago’s Roseland community.