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Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

What they are, what they symbolize, and 4 reasons you should wear them

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

When we speak of using waist beads for African spirituality, we speak of using them to protect you from negative energies, to cultivate your Divine essence, and to influence the energies around you.

We also consider the protective role that african waist beads play in closing off the energy circuits of the body. Once this is achieved then it is believed that you are then protected from evil thoughts, negative spirits, and energy vampires.

The following is from Mystery of the waist beads and modern sexuality:

“Waist beads are believed to be sources of great spiritual energy which many link with juju practice. Traditionally, charmed waist beads are worn by women to ward off negative energy from the body and to close in positive or protective energy around the body. They are especially worn by pregnant women to protect their unborn babies too.”

When it comes to influencing the energies around you, some women use charmed African waist beads as a tool of seduction. The Yoruba are well known for their charmed waist beads. These charms are believed to possess the powers to entice and entrap the opposite sex and even improve their sexual prowess.

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

This is not to say that every woman or girl wearing beads is signalling sexual readiness. In fact, the Igbo culture of Nigeria used African waist beads to signal just the opposite.

Here is a quote from Semantic Scholar on cultural norms surrounding waist beads among Nigeria’s Igbo people:

“The Igbo do not approve of sex before marriage. Traditionally, the Igbo used
charms, waist beads and silver or brass anklets to beautify the otherwise naked unmarried maidens.

These bright and shining adornments are seductive in their tantalizing jingling and jangling musical sounds, but firmly signify denial of sexual access and even knowledge about sex before marriage.” (Source )

Body Acceptance and Honoring The Divine Feminine Energy

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

Whether you wear them as a spiritual practice or a social one, African waist beads are a beautiful way to honour the divine feminine energy within you. How you feel about yourself and whether you accept the body that you were blessed with play important roles in cultivating a healthy spiritual disposition.

How do waist beads help? Here is what Sewra Kidane of Waist Beads by Sewra has to say:

“Most women have an issue with their middle section, and the last thing they want to do is draw more attention to that area.. By putting on something very beautiful and adorning that area, you accept your body more, appreciate the beauty of it.”

The color of your waist beads matter as much as the material, the function, and the properties that you are looking for. Each color has the power to heal, rejuvenate, protect, and/or cultivate.

If you do a Google search for ‘African waist bead color meaning’, you will get a lot of the same charts and interpretations. The problem is that this information is based on western color psychological theory, and is disconnected from traditional African practice.

So instead of rehashing western interpretations of what African waist bead colors mean, here is information taken directly from indigenous Black culture.

African Waist Beads Color Chart

White Beads

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

Symbolism: In African culture, white has always represented purity, sacredness, cleanliness, and clarity. In Kemet Priests always wore white and so did temple attendants. The objects used in rituals (such as bowls, plates, altars, tables) were made of white alabaster.

Red Beads

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

Symbolism: The color red can mean life and health in some cultures – and death in others. But not to fear – across many African cultures, red is the standard of beauty for women.

Yellow Beads

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

Symbolism: In Yoruba traditions Oshún – the beautiful and seductive Orisha of love, wealth, sensuality, fertility and art – loves the color yellow. Since she renews the process of creation wearing her favorite color may improve your fertility.

Purple Beads

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

Symbolism: In Egypt the color purple symbolizes virtue and faith, and is often worn during spiritual ceremonies. Throughout much of the rest of Africa purple is a symbol of royalty and prosperity. It is often worn by kings and queens or people of nobility. Some people wear the color purple in hopes of achieving prosperity or good luck.

Turquoise Beads

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

Symbolism: In some parts of the Diaspora, this color is known as ‘haint blue’, and is used to ward off evil spirits.

Green Beads

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

Symbolism: In Kemet (Ancient Egypt) green is often used to depict the goddess Hathor, Lady of the Sycamore tree. Hathor was closely associated with the Sycamore tree, with renewal, transformation, and rebirth.

Can You Use African Waist Beads For Weight Loss?

Some women swear by the power of African waist beads for weight loss, but how does the simple act of wearing an accessory help?

The answer is simple: What your mind can measure it can manage.

Your body sends you signals that may not easily register to your brain as you go about your daily life. One of those signals is a slowly and quietly expanding waistline.

If you have ever looked in the mirror and experienced shock at how quickly your belly got out of hand, you know what I am talking about.

Thats where African waist beads come in. They don’t just get tighter as you get bigger, they also rise and fall to let you know whether you are making progress or backsliding. As your belly grows, your beads slide further up. As your belly shrinks, they fall to your hips.

So wearing African waist beads serve as a powerful psychological motivator to remain aware of what you eat and how active you are.

Should You Wear African Waist Beads Under Or Over Your Clothing?

The answer depends on who is wearing waist beads and why you are wearing them in the first place.

You have already learned how different cultures use African waist beads, so their answer depends on their culture. Individually, if you are wearing your beads for non-spiritual reasons then the answer is based on your preference.

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

 

Instagram: @ms_parker_2u

But if you are wearing beads for protection, for energy balance, and for spiritual strength, then your beads should touch your skin and be hidden from the public.

In African Spirituality it is understood that what is exposed to the light and to the public has the power to attract energy from the outside. This is not always a good thing – if you are surrounded by negative energies, you may absorb those energies.

In some cultures African waist beads are not visible to the public. The only person who is permitted to see a Woman’s waist beads are her husband, and even mentioning the color of your waist beads to another man is sometimes taboo.

Why More Western Women Are Wearing African Waist Beads For Spiritual Purposes

 

Infamous for their intimate implications, the subtle presence of waist beads are said to arouse passion in men, and it used to be a custom for a woman to indicate her desire for lovemaking by rattling her waistbeads. Such an act was expressly meant for the man she was married to; it was considered great slander for a woman to describe her waist beads to any other man (Francis Jr. 1993: 13)

Of course, if you are wearing waist beads as an accessory and nothing more, then wear them any way you prefer.

The information above was taken from the following books.

African Beads: Jewels of a Continent
40 Reviews
African Beads: Jewels of a Continent
  • Hardcover Book
  • Evelyn Simak (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Sale
Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit
18,816 Reviews
Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit
  • One World Ballantine
  • Afua, Queen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

If you would like to learn more, add those titles to your bookshelf.

 

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