Symbol Stories: Hamsa

May 05, 2021

The hamsa hand is an ancient symbol that historians believe originates from the Middle East and North Africa. Beginning as an amulet for fertility, good health and fortune, the symbol’s significance evolved with Abrahamic religions before it was then taken east with the silk trade where its significance grew in India.

The hamsa (derived from the word for ‘five’ in Hebrew and Arabic), is a five-fingered hand with curved outer fingers, often depicting an eye in the center of the palm surrounded by ornate detailing.

It may be most commonly recognized as a good luck talisman to welcome prosperity and to ward off the Evil Eye - negative energy usually stemming from feelings of animosity, insecurity, or envy.

However, this ancient symbol has a wide array of meanings, and even names, in different cultures:

  • In Judaism, the individual fingers are believed to represent the five books of the Torah, or to represent the five senses that can be used in worship.
  • For Muslims, the five fingers can represent the Five Pillars of Islam.
  • In the Middle East today, the symbol is widely used as a general symbol of hope and peace.
  • In yogic tradition, the hamsa can be seen as one of the Buddha’s mudras (hand gestures, or yoga for your hands), or to represent the first five chakras and their coinciding elements.

This decorative amulet is often seen in home décor, jewelry, and printed on yoga gear and clothing. While the ancient hamsa has made its way into popular culture, it still retains its symbolism for blocking unwanted energy and welcoming good will.

Hannah Parks l Mukha Yoga

By Hannah Parks; All Rights Reserved @2021

Hannah Parks l Mukha YogaBy Hannah Parks; All Rights Reserved @2021

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