A book explaining the meaning behind the Tibetan prayer flags and 5 little ones was on sale at Barnes & Noble this weekend. I've always wanted them. I haven't read much of the explanations yet, but I think the writing on the flags is the entire history/meaning/(I'm not sure) of Buddhism.
What I've always wanted to do, though, is create my own flags. Sew the five colors of material to a string and mark my own prayers on the fabric with a permanent marker. This strikes me as being either a.) extremely spiritually significant for myself; or b.) terribly disrespectful to actual prayer flags and Buddhism itself.
I know that the colors of the flags correspond (in part) to the five elements: space, water, fire, air/wind, and earth. Since nature is so meaningful to me, I think I could keep my prayers within the elements. (Instead of, say, putting out a prayer that I'd win the lottery.)
I love the idea that the flags send out blessing into the world when the wind carries them. And I suppose that, given the nature of Buddhism, Buddhists wouldn't mind if I created my own. After all, it's not like I'm using crucifixes as a headboard because I like the way that looks. I feel so moved when I see these flags, like the one above with the sun shining through the prayers, that I can't help thinking any way that I create these would be a moment of prayer for myself.