What Is A Hamsa? By Matt Caron

Hamsa Hand Meaning

If you’re somewhat familiar with eastern art or symbols, you’ve probably seen what looks like a hand with an eye or similar design in the middle of the palm. Pretty interesting looking, right? What the heck is it though? This is symbol known as the HamsaThe Hamsa is an extremely famous symbol used in many countries around the world for the past 1800 years. It’s mainly used in jewelry and wall hangings, though sometimes it’s displayed in art.

It even predates Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. All of these different cultures have their own interpretation of the symbol:

  • In Judaism they refer to it as the hand of Miriam, to honor the sister of Moses.
  • In Levantine Christianity, it’s known as the hand of Mother Mary, after Jesus’ mother.
  • In Islam, it’s known as the hand of Fatima, after Muhammad’s daughter.

In Hinduism and Buddhism, however, the Hamsa takes on a very unique meaning…

History

The earliest known appearance of the Hamsa was in ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq area). Here it could be seen in the amulets worn by certain female goddesses. From there, it’s theorized it spread to Egypt as a two-finger amulet representing Osiris and Isis. It then began spreading to different religions in several different forms- including Buddhism and Hinduism.

Meaning and Usage

Depending on who you ask, the Hamsa may mean different things. But its symbology means very different things to Hindus and Buddhists. For Hindus and Buddhists, it symbolizes the interplay of the chakras, the energy flow in the body, the five senses, and the mudras that effect them.

Each finger has its own energy:

  • Thumb- Fire element, solar plexus chakra.
  • Forefinger- Air element, the heart chakra.
  • Middle Finger- Ethereal elements, throat chakra.
  • Ring Finger- Earth element, root chakra.
  • Pinkie Finger- Water element, sacral chakra.

These energies can be combined to change the flow of energy in the body and heal psychological and physical ailments. In Buddhism, it symbolizes the chakras to a less extent, but the mudras are still important nonetheless. Often times, the Hamsais used to ward off what’s known as “the evil eye”. The evil eye is considered to be the sum of destructive energies that come from negative emotions in the world. This is why it’s often used on walls or jewelry!

Pretty cool, right?

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