January 25, 2013 The Hamsa
Lately I have been fascinated by symbols- what they mean, where they originate, as well as their use in fashion and popular culture. One symbol that has always stood out to me is the “Hamsa Hand” or “Hand of Fatima” (Islam), “Hand of Miriam” (Judaism), “Hand of Mary” (Christianity). This symbol permeates through boundaries of time, space, and faith.
The Hamsa also has a special place in Hinduism and Buddhism. In these religions, the hands are a source of healing. Mudras are spiritual gestures or energetic seals that are used for various purposes. The five elements are associated with the five fingers that are used in mudras:
- Agni- thumb- fire
- Vaayu- index finger-air
- Akaşa- middle finger- ethereal
- Prithivi- ring finger- earth
- Apas- pinkie- water
There are many different origin stories and meanings given to this symbolic hand, but what I love is that this symbol seems to belong to every faith, in some manner. Some see the Hamsa as God’s hand in the earth. When I think about how much I rely on my hands to do everything- typing, eating, bathing, showing affection for others or lending a hand to those in need. It is really quite profound to think of our hands as a part of God, or a higher power, allowing us to be creators ourselves.
Across every faith I have mentioned, the Hamsa is a symbol of protection. Some say that it wards off the “evil eye”, and many believe that displaying a Hamsa in the home protects from disasters or negative energy. This symbol also represents the Goddess energy, or divine feminine. The divine mother lends her hand to ward off negative intentions and radiate love. It is thought to be a talisman for abundance, fertility, luck, and good health. The hand is often pointing down, showing the protection from above.
It is a symbol of our human connection, our ability to create, transform and love.