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UNIVERSE STORY NECKLACE/PRAYER BEADS

by Paula Hendrick
4703 Stone Way N
Seattle, WA 98103
paulahendrick@hotmail.com

  


Below you will find:
Basic instructions including a description of timelines, resource books & beading materials
A sample timeline
More photo examples of necklaces
Instructions/ideas for a children's version including an abbreviated timeline



MAKING A UNIVERSE STORY NECKLACE/PRAYER BEADS

To make Universe Story necklace/prayer beads, you need a timeline, beading materials and simple instructions.

Timelines

Creating your own timeline as you study the Universe Story is a great way to anchor your learning. Better yet, convene a study circle and make your necklaces together. Choose perhaps 25 events to mark, each with a special bead; correlate each with a date or a time span.

Resource books include The Universe Story by Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry and A Walk Through Time by Sidney Liebes et al; both of these include timelines. See also www.cosmicvoyage.org and www.thegreatstory.org (includes Connie Barlow's 175 event timeline, a useful reference). For children try Born with a Bang by Jennifer Morgan. Click here for a sample timeline.

Materials

Beading materials are available in bead and craft shops. Staff will help you find what you need. If a retail store isn't available, try www.beadwarehouse.com (1-802-775-2763 to order a catalog) or www.auntiesbeads.com. Don't overlook yard sales, thrift shops, and barter with friends.

Choosing beads to represent the events on your timeline is creative fun. You may be lucky enough to find a dinosaur bead, for example, but if you don't, choosing a bead to represent dinosaur, or photosynthesis, or a great extinction, is part of making the story your own.

Putting one or several background (spacer) beads between each event bead helps the beads stand out. Seed beads, which usually come in tubes, work nicely for this. Also look at beads sold in strands.

Nylon beading thread (size 4) used with a flexible twisted-wire needle (easy to thread) drapes nicely in a necklace, but if some beads are much heavier than others, it will hang a bit unevenly. The finishing knot is practically invisible. Prayer beads made with thread are pleasant to handle.

Fine, flexible beading wire, ie Beadalon nylon coated beading wire #7, is easiest to use because the beads slip right onto the wire. Finish with crimp beads, tiny metal beads that you crush (with needle-nosed pliers) onto the two strands of wire to hold the ends together.

These sizes of wire and thread will work with all but the teeny tiniest beads.

Memory wire, a heavier wire that "remembers" its shape, is easier for younger children to use. It comes in necklace and bracelet styles. Elastic beading thread can also be used.

Charms can make delightful event beads. If you're planning to wear your beads, notice if the hole on the charm is at right angles to the face of the charm. If it is, you may want to slip a split ring or jump ring through the hole. This changes the angle so the charm faces front. You’ll need needle-nosed pliers.

How to make your necklace/prayer beads

Lay your beads out in order, on strips of tape or on plush fabric. This will help you space the beads during stringing.

Choose your length (if you're making a necklace, make sure it fits over your head), then add 4 inches extra of wire, or 6 inches of string, for finishing. Add perhaps 4 extra inches, in case your necklace turns out longer than you expect; then cut.

Knot a bead or safety pin on one end of your wire or string (or crush a crimp on one end of the wire), so the beads don't fall off as you're stringing. Now you're ready to begin. By the way, don't worry too much about getting it all perfect. Have fun. You can always restring it later. Or simply enjoy its uniqueness.

When you're finished stringing:

If using thread, hold the beads snugly and tie a square knot. Pass the ends back through one or more beads on each side, and knot them with a half knot around the necklace thread. Pass the ends through a few more beads and cut off excess. Dab the knots with clear nail polish.

If using wire, place a crimp bead on each end of the strand, and poke each end of the wire through the crimp on the other end. Snug the crimps together, making sure the whole strand is snug but not tight, and crush the crimps. Pass the wire through a few beads to conceal.

Now you carry the universe story in your mind, in your heart, and in your hands.

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SAMPLE TIMELINE

13 billion years ago (bya)    In a great flash, the universe flares forth into being. This is the Great Radiance. All the energy that will ever exist erupts from a point smaller than a grain of sand. Space-time itself unfurls and expands.

11 bya       One hundred billion galaxies take shape, including our Milky Way, each with tens of billions of stars. Supernovas begin creating and dispersing the complex elements needed for planet formation and for life.

5 bya       A supernova in our sector of the Milky Way explodes, creating a swirling disk of gas and particles. In the center of the disk, our Sun ignites.

4.6 bya       The swirling particles form planets, asteroids and comets; Earth is born. A huge impact soon carves out our Moon.

4 bya       As Earth cools, rain falls, and oceans form.

3.9 bya       The Universe comes to life as the first cells emerge, near thermal vents deep in the ocean.

3.6 bya       Blue-green bacteria invent water-based photosynthesis, which releases oxygen. Over time the sky and sea turn blue, and microscopic life flourishes in all waters of the planet.

2.5 bya       Extinction: oxygen crisis. Many life forms, unable to tolerate oxygen, perish. Oxygen breathers evolve.

1 bya          Single cell bacteria invent sexual reproduction, activating the great principles of masculine and feminine. As different strands of genetic memory combine, infinite new possibilities arise.

600 million years ago (mya)    Multicellular life forms emerge, strange fronds and ovals, neither plant nor animal.

540 mya       The first animals emerge. Life transforms minerals to make shells for protection.

500 mya Fishworms invent backbones to protect Earth's earliest nervous system.

440 mya       Life moves onto the land when algae and marine fungi symbiotically merge into plants. Within perhaps 40 million years, vascular plants, such as ferns and horsetails, allow water to move upward against gravity.

350 mya       Reptiles lay landworthy eggs, as internal fertilization provides protection for developing embryos. Seed plants evolve, and life flourishes on land.

245 mya       Extinction of 95% of species. Probable cause: a massive asteroid impact causes lava outpourings and a blackened sky.

200 mya       Dinosaurs explore the limits of great size and speed, and also care for their young. Ancestors of the birds take flight.

150 mya       Forests: redwoods and ginkos and firs and spruces soar into the skies. Mosses, ferns and horsetails survive in the understory.

65 mya       Extinction: a mountain-sized asteroid slams into the Gulf of Mexico. North America erupts in flames. Sulfuric acid rain falls; dust clouds cause Earth to grow cold. The evolutionary clock is reset worldwide.

50 mya       Flowering plants and insects coevolve into a new level of diversity.

40 mya       Mammals thrive in the ecological niche left by the dinosaur. Ancestors of the whales return to the sea.

20 mya       Grasses evolve. They grow from the tip, providing ample grazing for large mammals.

2 mya       The current era of ice ages begins.

100,000 years ago (ya)    As Humans evolve, they begin to tell stories of how things are, how they came to be, and what things matter.

10,000 ya    The latest period of glaciation ends, and agriculture begins.

3,000 ya    As philosophy and classical religions begin to emerge, a flowering of ethical and spiritual consciousness is birthed.

45 ya    We learn that complex atoms were forged in the bellies of massive stars. We are made of stardust!

34 ya    We stand on the moon and witness the Earthrise; Earth watches herself from space.

Present Using the Hubble Space Telescope, we look into deep space and back toward the beginning of time. We watch our Great Story unfold.

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PHOTO EXAMPLES

  

  

  

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UNIVERSE STORY NECKLACE FOR CHILDREN

Children can easily make a Universe Story Necklace with memory wire. The wire, sold in bead stores, comes in loops sized for either necklaces or bracelets. Cut to the desired length, leaving an inch of overlap on each end. The beads slip onto the wire easily. To finish, just bend the wire at each end back toward the first bead. (Children may need help with this.) The ends are not joined, because the wire remembers to hold the necklace shape. You'll need wire cutters and pliers.

Here's a sample timeline. Children may want to add a special bead for their birthday.

For a file of this timeline, or to give feedback or share ideas, contact me at paulahendrick@hotmail.com.

The Universe Story

13 billion years ago In a great flash, the universe flares forth into being. We call this the Big Bang, or the Great Radiance. All the energy that will ever exist erupts from a point smaller than a grain of sand. Space-time itself unfurls and expands.

11 bya One hundred billion galaxies take shape, including our Milky Way, each with tens of billions of stars.

4.6 bya       Our Sun ignites within a swirl of gas and particles from a supernova explosion.

4.5 bya The swirling particles form planets, asteroids and comets; Earth is born.

4 bya As Earth cools, rain falls, and oceans form.

3.9 bya       Earth comes to life as the first cells emerge, deep in the ocean.

3.6 bya       Blue-green bacteria capture the energy of sunlight with photosynthesis, which releases oxygen. Over time oxygen makes the sky and sea turn blue, and microscopic life flourishes in all waters of the planet.

540 mya       The first animals emerge. Life transforms minerals to make shells for protection.

400 mya Fishes with jaws appear.

200 mya       Dinosaurs explore the limits of great size and speed, and also care for their young. Archeopteryx, the first birds with feathers and teeth, take flight.

100 mya Flowers and insects coevolve in a dance of pollination.

65 mya       A huge asteroid collides with Earth in the Gulf of Mexico. North America erupts in flames. Earth grows cold. Dinosaurs go extinct.

40 mya       Mammals, whose young learn by playing, thrive. Ancestors of the whales return to the sea.

100,000 years ago Humans emerge on the plains of Africa; Earth begins to speak.

40,000 ya    People begin to create cave paintings.

33 ya    Astronauts stand on the moon and watch the Earthrise; Earth watches herself from space.

Present Using the Hubble Space Telescope, we look into deep space and back toward the beginning of time. We watch as our Great Story unfolds.


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