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skull beads

The Spiritual Side of Skull Beads: Symbolism and their Meaning

Human skulls and representations of human skulls are among the weirdest spiritual and religious accessories. This is because, unlike many accessories made from metal, wood, and stones, skulls are bones. As you can say, bones relate to death in one way or another, and for many of us, death is bad. 

This alone should be a reason to trigger your curiosity. But the weird aspect of skulls used in religious and spiritual accessories does not end here. The fun fact is that most skulls used as religious accessors are human skulls. Okay, you will not find a true human skull, as that would be disrespecting the dead. But you will find the representation of the human skull being used in a wide range of accessories, such as human skull prayer beads in beaded mala and wrist mala beads bracelets. 

The question now remains why?

Why are skull beads used in religious and spiritual accessories?

skull beads

Would you be surprised if we said human skull beads are used worldwide? 

Skulls and representations of skulls have been used as religious and spiritual accessories since prehistoric times. One of the possible reasons is humans’ morbid curiosity, i.e., interest in the unpleasant things of life more specifically related to death. 

This is the crucial aspect here, as regardless of the reason for using the skull and its representation, it ultimately leads to the significance of death. 

The only issue here is that death and all things related to death have different significances depending on the culture and religion. In some cultures and religions, the representation of the skull is used to honor the dead. While in other cultures, they call upon knowledge and blessings from their ancestors, and in some, they symbolize the impermanence of life. 

In short, skull beads and other representations of human skulls are used in religious and cultural practices as accessories because of their symbolism.

The question now becomes – what is the symbolism of skull beads?

What do Skull Beads symbolize?

Skull beads’ symbolism drastically changes depending on the location and culture. Since there are thousands of religions (roughly 42000 as per the estimates) worldwide, it would be impossible to list every symbolism of skull prayer beads. Furthermore, you must remember that skulls can often have multiple symbols in any culture they are used in. 

So these skull beads are worn in the form of a skull beads bracelet.

That said, nothing is preventing us from listing out some of the popular symbolisms and skull bracelet meanings. 

So, what does a skull bracelet mean?

The Skull bracelet meaning is not limited to immortality, it represents the power of life, bravery, hope and protection, and emptiness.

The meaning of skull bracelets is briefly described below:


Not surprisingly, many cultures relate the skull with death as when humans die; the skull is among the most prominent of bones that gets left behind. The only issue with this symbolism is that death can mean many things depending on the culture and religion. 

In some, death means the end of everything, while in others can mean returning to our nature. At the same time, death can be just another part of the endless cycle. 

Along with this, skulls can also represent remembrance of those who are deceased rather than death itself as well. Therefore, although death is one of the most prominent symbolism of death, the meaning of skull bracelets and skull beads in general can vary depending on where you are.

The Power of Life

Life and death go hand in hand, so it should not be surprising that skull prayer beads represent life just as much as it represents life. Skulls are among the few things that can remain intact for eternity, even after the physical body has passed. Therefore, representing the skull on beads can symbolize eternal life. At the same time, skull prayer beads and skull representations can also mean the strength we have in our life. 

Similar to death skull can also mean a permanent reminder of life and everything related to it. 


skull beads

Let’s be honest here, although humans have a curiosity toward the macabre, skulls can be quite scary. Back in our early days as humans, people used skulls of their enemies on their clan borders to warn them. Now while these brutal days are long gone, their use to ward off potential and negative influences remain. 

The difference is, back in the day, this was done by symbolizing death, and in modern times, it is done by symbolizing bravery. It is a strong symbol of bravery to wear skull prayer beads as your necklace or a bracelet. Although skull prayer beads are not real skulls, you are a brave soul if you can wear that as an accessory. 

Hope and Protection

Similar to the meaning of skull prayer beads in life and bravery, skull beads can also mean hope and protection. Wearing a skull bead can symbolize hope against fears surrounding death. 

Wearing something that symbolizes a part of the human body that one can only see after death is a great way to symbolize hope amidst the dear. At the same time, skull prayer beads can also become a protection for the same reason, i.e., protection against every fear of death. 

In a thought process similar to a skull bracelet meaning bravery, this meaning of the skull can also be scaring away the evil through a symbol of hope. 


skull beads

In a similar vein to skull prayer beads meaning death, skull prayer beads also symbolize impermanence. The concept here goes something like this:

“Nothing in the universe is permanent. This includes your desires, needs, problems, and even life. Since nothing lasts forever, whatever comes your way, shall come to pass – so don’t worry, for your worries too shall pass.”

Skulls are what remain after the seeming permanence of life has passed away. They are also a great way to remind us of how temporary our problems can be. 

Therefore, skull prayer beads meaning impermanence just make sense. 


After our death, there is no sense of self in our body, and our physical body becomes void of life, in other words, empty of life. In Buddhism, skulls signify emptiness, also the natural symbol of the universe. 

The belief is that everything we experience has no inherent nature and is neutral. We attach value to them and magnify them through our minds. The four canines in the skull symbolize overcoming the four obscurations (maras) and returning to the state of emptiness, i.e., the natural state of the universe. 

In the end,

Now that we have reached the end of this all, skull prayer beads are quite good, and it doesn’t seem that bad. That said, the skulls represent death and many other things, including danger and poison. We recommend you consider the context of the skull symbolism before proceeding. 

The meaning of Tibetan skull beads will depend on your response toward skulls. If you see the skull as a symbol of danger, it will mean just that. At the same time, if you see a skull as hope, then Tibetan skull beads will mean hope. 

Remember, the natural state of the world is empty and neutral. We attach meaning and value to this neutral world through our perception, experience, and comprehension. 

We hope you found this interesting. And as always, thank you for reading till the end. 


What do beads with a skull mean?

A bead with a skull can mean a lot of things depending on the symbolism and significance of your belief system. However, it generally means hope, life, impermanence, and protection from evil energies.

What does a skull bracelet mean?

Skull bracelets can often represent hope, bravery, and immortality among many other things. The meaning of skull bracelets will vary depending on your understanding of and the influence of your culture.

What is a Skull Mala?

A skull mala is basically a skull-beaded necklace.

Are skulls good luck?

Depending on where you are and the cultural influence in the said location, a skull can mean both good and bad luck

What do skulls mean spiritually?

Death is a common representation of the Skull meaning spirituality along with emptiness, courage, bravery, and inner strength.

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