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Pathmaps: Aids to Meditation and Prayer
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For: Lower School
Pathmaps Points: Awe and Mystery, Meaning and Purpose

Summary: An exploration of images and objects used in Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist and Muslim traditions to facilitate prayer or meditation.

Many religious traditions use images as links to the holy. Show students examples of various types of images and then select a type for students to create on their own. Sources for the images:
· Holiday cards with religious scenes
· Icon catalogs
· Color copies from art books
· Children’s art
· Mandala and stained glass coloring books

Example 1: Explore imagery and icons from the Christian Orthodox tradition. Provide wooden backing which may be sanded and painted with metallic paint trim, and glue a paper image to the wood. Use a decoupage glue such as Modge-Podge and/or seal with acrylic spray if desired. Wooden backings are also available at craft stores as two or three pieces connected with hinges; these may be used to create diptychs or triptychs.

Example 2: Look at images of Buddhist mandalas. Have students create their own mandalas using collage, paint, or sand glued to cardboard.
Prayer Beads

Prayer beads are found in many religious traditions. Children enjoy stringing their own sets. Beads may be bought in glass or wood, or made from polymer clay. The younger the child, the larger the beads should be, the shorter the total number of beads, and the simpler the prayer used. Begin by simplifying your tradition’s approach. Lots of information on prayer beads is available online.
Prayer Knots

Similar to prayer beads, prayer knots are used in some traditions. Knots are found on the edge of the tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl, as well as on Christian Orthodox chotkis, and the belts of monks and nuns in several traditions. Explore images of the knots with the students, and then provide materials for them to make them in class.



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