Yoga has a lot of terms and phrases that you may be aware of but some people may be completely unfamiliar with. Indeed, due to yoga’s origins and the inclusion of mysticism – there are plenty of terms that are used that may be unknown to you.
The Hamsa hand is one such term. We’ve heard many yoga enthusiasts ponder “what is hamsa hand” before, so we thought it was about time we cleared everything up.
In short and at its most basic, the Hamsa hand is a beautiful symbol consisting of an upright hand that has two thumbs on the outside pointing outwards, and three fingers together in between them.
Additionally, you will notice a large eye on the palm and various different swirls and patterns. However, there’s a lot more to know about the Hamsa hand.
So, if you’re intrigued to find out a lot more about the Hamsa hand – then read below to get all of your questions answered!
What Is Hamsa Hand
As we mentioned earlier, in brief – the Hamsa hand – also known as the Hand of Fatima – is a symbol that appears as a hand, two thumbs (one on the right and one on the left both pointing outwards) and three fingers pointing upwards in the middle.
There is also an eye in the center of the palm and a whole host of different swirls and patterns. The symbol can appear in a multitude of colors as well. Many people wear this symbol in the form of jewelry.
You will be pleased to know that the Hamsa hand actually means a whole lot of things to different people. From the etymology of Hamsa which comes from Hebrew (Hamesh) which means five, to the more visual representations, we’ll explore them all below.
Hamsa Hand: Metaphor Of Five
So, with the origins of the word Hamsa coming from the Hebrew word Hamesh which means five, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the Hamsa hand has a lot of connections with this number, and indeed there’s a lot of religious connections here.
In Judaism, the importance of five is shown in the Holy Book. Hamsa therefore represents the five books of the Torah which are Genesis, Exoctus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deutronomy.
However, Judaism is only one religion which is believed to have one of the oldest connections with the Hamsa hand. The second is Islam, and the religion is built upon the foundations of the five beliefs. These beliefs are faith, prayer, Alms, fasting and pilgrimage.
But these aren’t the only two religions where the number five plays a significant role or deep, meaningful connection. If we look at Buddhism and Hinduism, whose religions play a big part in yoga, the Hamsa hand represents the five chakras.
- Sacral chakra (pinkie)
- Root chakra (ring finger)
- Throat chakra (middle finger)
- Heart chakra (forefinger)
- Solar plexus (thumb)
As you can appreciate though, there’s actually a lot more to the religious connections. Let’s examine these a little bit more.
In Judaism, the Hamsa hand is known as the Hand of Miriam. Miram was the sister of Moses (and Aaron), who played a massive role in helping the Hebrew people escape the captivity of the Egyptians.
The symbol itself is said to be a way to ward off evil, because as the Hebrews were enslaved, this was a way to feel safer. However, there’s even more to its symbolism than this.
The eye is said to portray the Evil Eye, so the Hebrews were very drawn to this symbol – almost as a way to claim “revenge”, in terms of “an eye for an eye”, which alone is a phrase found in the Old Testament, with further religious connections.
While this is heavily debated by historians, it is generally believed that the oldest meaning of the Hamsa hand is in the Islamic religion. In Islam, the Hamsa hand is known as the hand of Fatima – and this refers to the daughter of Mohammed.
The story goes that one day while cooking, Fatima discovered that her husband married another woman, and in her shock, she dropped a spoon. In her despair, she decided to continue stirring the pot with her hand instead.
It was from this story that the importance of fidelity became recognized and therefore the symbol is something that represents this importance.
Christians sometimes refer to the Hamsa hand as the hand of Mother Mary – the mother of Jesus Christ. Of course, this symbolism was hundreds of years after the Hebrew connection to the Hand of Miriam. Nonetheless, it’s another connection to the Hamsa hand.
The History Of Hamsa Hand
As we have seen, albeit briefly, the history of the Hamsa hand is very varied and the overall origins of the symbol are relatively unclear.
Researchers and scholars debate between Mesopotamia and Carthage, and some even suggest that the symbol originally evolved from an Egyptian symbol known as Mano Pantea.
While it is not conclusive, researchers think that these symbols were meant to be seen by the slaves as a way to keep them in fear and obedient.
In other words, “there are fingers in your eye” may represent slavery and the impossible task of escape.
However, as time progressed, the symbol became very important and particularly special among certain groups of people.
As we mentioned earlier, in the Islamic religion, the symbol became something that women view as the importance of fidelity.
But this symbolic importance to women later became shared by the Hebrew women, who thought the symbol could ward off evil that could potentially prevent them from bearing children – which they believed was their primary purpose.
As even more time has passed, the Hamsa hand is now viewed in plenty of other ways and it is used in various ways.
For example, in yoga, the Hamsa hand (and the number five specifically) is said to represent the need for change and letting go of negative energy.
The Hamsa Hand Meaning
You may have seen the Hamsa hand either up or down. The position of the Hamsa hand is actually incredibly important and these mean totally different things.
Let’s take a look at what these both mean, along with some more generic beliefs.
Hamsa Hand Up
When the Hamsa hand is up, the symbolism is of protection. More precisely, the hand is said to protect the wearer against evil spirits or evil in more modern society.
It is also said to keep negative energy from others at bay.
It’s noteworthy to mention at this point that this protective belief has been somewhat its meaning for many years. As we said earlier, some of the Hebrew people put its connection to the “Evil Eye”.
What must be clarified here is that the people did not believe that the symbol itself was the Evil Eye, but that it could protect them from evil.
Hamsa Hand Down
When people hear about the Hamsa hand’s symbolism upwards, they often believe that downwards must have some negative connotation or make them evil. However, this is not the case!
This direction actually tries to invite positivity to the wearer of the symbol and it represents abundance, happiness or luck.
Hamsa Hand Generic Symbolism
Of course, some people wear the symbol as a way to feel safer, happier and as though they have something looking out for them. Many people hope that the symbol can put them in positions where they can be more lucky or find more opportunities for prosperity.
The Hamsa Hand In Your Life
Due to the meanings and representation of the Hamsa hand, the symbol is now available in a whole range of places, typically through jewelry. Jewelry makes the symbol pretty much universal for wearers, and therefore people can receive the perceived benefits from it.
An interesting point to note here is that many jewelry items that have the Hamsa hand do not actually have the eye included on them. Some people feel this is a negative sign, whereas others see it as a form of protection.
Before we dive into what kinds of jewelry can be found with the Hamsa hand on them, we should point out that it does not matter what kind of metal (or strap) you use with them.
Plastic or leather straps make no difference, neither does the choice to wear gold, silver or platinum. However, some people opt for more reliable metals so they feel safer and believe they will receive the positive energy from the Hamsa hand for longer.
Hamsa Hand Necklace
Perhaps the most common version of the Hamsa hand on jewelry is on necklaces. One of the most intriguing things to point out here is that when the person purchases this necklace, they may perceive it differently from others.
For example, if the Hamsa hand is facing down to you, it’s facing up to them when they look down at it. Of course, some wearers will only consider the meaning when they look in the mirror, or to how it is perceived among others.
As a result, some wearers may think carefully about which way their Hamsa hand is facing before they purchase the necklace.
An additional intriguing point about the Hamsa hand as a necklace is its location to the body. Tighter necklaces will be around the neck and throat, which is one of our most important areas on the body.
Not only is it a part of the body that can determine whether we live or die, but it’s also an area where our voice is born. As a result, the connotations of the symbol can be trust, new life or confidence.
If the necklace is particularly long though, it can be near your heart. Of course, this is the life force of our bodies and the connotations here can be life, love (the heart as a symbol) or passion.
Hamsa Hand Pendants
Very small versions of the Hamsa hand on jewelry can be shown via pendants. These aren’t particularly difficult to find and some people may wear these on top of wearing a necklace or chain.
One reason that some people may decide to wear the Hamsa hand in the form of pendants is specifically for its size. Many people want to feel their own personal connection, protection and other things without broadcasting it to others.
Some others wear it openly and are happy to tell others about it if they notice it. It’s actually something that has become somewhat of a fashionable thing to do, particularly among younger people in the country.
Hamsa Hand Bracelets
Arguably, bracelets with the Hamsa hand on them are the most difficult form of jewelry to find – or at least they are less common than necklaces. However, what is especially interesting is that they generally do include the eye.
You will typically find the eye is engraved into the bracelet, and this alone can symbolize confidence, passion, fearlessness and power.
Jewelry + Crystals
Many spiritual people work with crystals, and it has been said that if you pair your Hamsa hand jewelry with crystals, it can help to support and boost the potency of the protection and other positivity that the Hamsa hand offers.
Additionally, others have said that you should keep a Hamsa hand crystal near your jewelry and other valuables when you go to bed, as this might bring more positive energy towards the likelihood of further wealth and prosperity.
Yoga Clothing And Equipment
If you are someone who is looking for the Hamsa hand for your yoga gear, you’ll be happy to know that there’s plenty of ways you can incorporate this into your daily yoga practice. By doing so, you may increase the benefits of the yoga practice.
And that is everything you need to know about the Hamsa hand. We’ve explored what the Hamsa hand is, its history, what it means and how you might be able to use the Hamsa hand in your own life!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this exploration with us. Thank you for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
We will now go through some of your most common questions. Hopefully we answer them all for you.
Do Celebrities Wear The Hamsa Hand?
Yes. Rihanna, Lindsey Lohan and Heidi Klum among plenty others have been shown to wear the Hamsa hand.
Is The Hamsa Hand Evil?
No, it’s essentially the opposite of evil as a lot of beliefs suggest it’s used as a way to ward off evil spirits, people and negative energy, along with many other things.
Does It Matter If The Hamsa Hand Is Up Or Down?
Technically no, in the sense that there’s no “wrong” way to wear the symbol and it won’t bring about bad luck or anything like that. However, some people wish to reap the benefits of one such specific side.
Additionally, some people have superstitious beliefs about symbols being upside down, and others do not want to wear a necklace that isn’t facing the “right” way when looking in a mirror.