Last night, in the shadow of another New Moon in Cancer and a total solar eclipse, my moon sisters and I strung gratitude beads. Gratitude beads are used to keep your mind focused while meditating upon the things you are grateful for. You hold the string of beads in your hand and reflect upon a blessing in your life (silently or out loud) for each one as you move it down the strand. I love the earthy beauty of all of our beads, which somehow seem to reflect our individual essences.I fashioned my gratitude beads in my "colors of joy" palette, using a combination of wooden, semiprecious stone and glass beads. At each end of my strand, I created a loop from which I hung a symbolic charm. One end features a small, antique silver Quan Yin to remind me to practice compassion. From the other end hangs a sweet, silver bird, there to remind me to rise above and access my Buddha Nature.