Maybe you've seen the palm-shaped amulet before, but do you know the hamsa hand meaning?
For centuries, the hamsa hand has been a powerful symbol of strength, power and protection.
Archeology has traced the use of hamsa back to ancient Mesopotamia and Carthage (which is Iraq and Tunisia today), and Morocco.
As ancient communities spread across the globe, they took the hamsa hand with them, and it gained traction in various cultures and religions.
Let’s dive into the intriguing hamsa hand meaning and uses throughout time.
What is the Hamsa Symbol Meaning?
The hamsa hand symbol is an open right hand, often containing an eye in the palm. The word "hamsa" is derived from the Arabic word "khamsah." When translated, the hamsa meaning in English is "five" or "five fingers of a hand."
Since it's so widely embraced, the hamsa hand is also known as:
- The Hand of Fatima
- The Hand of the Goddess
- The Hand of Mary
- The Hand of Miriam
- The Hand of Venus (or Aphrodite)
It's widely recognized as a symbol of protection, and in Middle Eastern culture, it's seen as a defense against the evil eye.
Each culture has attached its own symbolism to the hamsa hand; however, it provides some type of protection in all instances.
From the earliest of times, people have used hamsa wall blessings, carried them as amulets or talismans, and wore hamsa hand jewelry.
It's important to note that although it's used across cultures, the hamsa doesn't have a specific religious meaning. In all faiths, it's used for protection and good.
Hamsa Hand Cultural Meaning
In ancient Middle Eastern culture, the hamsa was sometimes linked to the goddess Ishtar and was dedicated to the protection of women.
Back then, a woman's prime purpose was to bear children, and her fertility dictated her worth. Therefore, fertility was critical, and women were under extreme pressure to give birth to healthy babies. The hamsa hand was used to protect women, enhance fertility and lactation, and keep them safe from the evil eye.
Ancient Egyptians associated the hamsa with the sky god Horus and, in particular, the Eye of Horus. When two Eyes of Horus were shown together, they represented the moon and sun. The Eye of Horus tells us that humankind cannot escape the eye of the conscience.
Traditional Egyptian women would make five-fingered amulets to plait into their children's hair or pin to their clothing.
Jewish culture shows very early evidence of the hamsa hand symbol meaning, indicating that they were likely the first to use it against the evil eye. It appears in Kabbalistic manuscripts and early talismans and carvings. In some ancient Hebrew texts, it replaces the letter "shin", the first letter of the word "Shaddai," referencing God.
Many historians believe that anti-Semitism throughout the ages led to the introduction of the hamsa hand's protective powers to other cultures. As Jews were forced to flee many countries over time, they took their faith in the hamsa with them and shared it with local populations.
Even though the use of the hamsa was most prevalent in early Jewish culture, it's still regarded as a significant symbol by many Jews today.
Early Christians adopted the hamsa hand as a symbol of good fortune and protection. Eventually, authorities became concerned that faith in the hamsa could erode Christianity, resulting in it being banned in 1526. The ban didn't erase the hamsa hand meaning Christianity had placed on it though, and many still hold it in high regard today.
The Hamsa Hand & Religion
Although the hamsa hand meaning has no direct religious connotations, it's widely accepted in various religions.
In the Islamic faith, the hand of Fatima meaning is feminine and represents a woman's holy hand. Fatima was the daughter of the prophet, Mohammed, and is admired for her beauty, innocence, purity, and unwavering faith.
On the other hand, Christians refer to the hamsa hand as the hand of Mary, or Mary's hand, in reference to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, further adding to its feminine significance.
Even though the hamsa hand represents the hand of God in the Jewish faith, it's known as the hand of Miriam. Because she led such an honorable life, Miriam is a symbol of protection and luck. She was the virtuous sister of Aron, the first High Priest, and Moses, who led the Israelites out of Egypt.
In the Buddhist and Hindu faiths, the hamsa symbolizes the five fingers on the right hand in relation to the five senses, energy flow, and the chakras. Each finger is affected by different energy and connects to a different chakra.
- Thumb: solar plexus chakra and the fire element
- Forefinger: heart chakra and the air element
- Middle finger: throat chakra and the ethereal element
- Ring finger: root chakra and the earth element
- Little finger: sacral chakra and the water element
Hamsa & the Evil Eye
The evil eye, also known as the eye of Nazar, is an ancient curse that can be cast by giving someone a wicked glare when they're not looking.
Many believe that receiving the evil eye results in misfortune, sickness, or injury, and it can even cause miscarriage if given in pregnancy. Others think it's a supernatural force that deflects and reflects evil intentions back to the one who wished harm, especially on women and children.
Protection amulets and talismans that protect against the evil eye are in the form of an eyeball that are bead-like or can be painted onto a surface. Evil eye beads are set in jewelry and ornaments or carried as amulets and talismans.
They range in color and were widely used by the ancient Greeks, Ottomans, Romans, Persians, and Greeks. Initially, they were primarily blue, but modern evil eyes come in a range of colors. There's speculation that the blue eyes were to ward off stares from people of European descent, however, that's not proven. Another theory is that for early bead crafters, blue was a relatively easy color to create.
It's estimated that 40% of the world's population believes in the evil eye's curse and uses some form of protection against it. The hamsa hand is one form of protection, and embedding an evil eye bead into the palm of the hamsa hand offers double protection.
So when you see a hamsa with an eye, know that the combined hamsa eye meaning is that you're twice protected from malicious harm.
What is the Hamsa Hand Meaning Up or Down?
Does it matter how you use or wear it and what's the hamsa meaning up or down?
The way you wear or use a hamsa depends on what you want to use it for.
A down-facing hamsa implies you're open to all the goodness and abundance of the universe and welcome it into your life. It also brings answers to prayers and helps with manifestation, and fertility.
Usually, the down-facing hamsa hand has its fingers closed to bring good fortune.
An upward-facing hamsa is the potent universal sign against evil. It's a sign of protection that shields against all harm and wrongdoing with a caveat – beware of your own inner thoughts of jealousy and hatred. And be aware of your insecurities, too, because they can fuel evil thoughts and deeds.
The upward-facing hamsa hand with eye meaning is that you're protected from evil intent put on you by others. This hand with eye meaning keeps you safe not only from yourself, but others' harmful thoughts as well.
Typically, the upward-facing hamsa has the fingers spread to ward off evil.
Why should I use a Hamsa Hand?
If you're attracted to the hamsa but were not raised with it, its meaning can be unclear. That doesn't mean that you can't harness its powers, though, and make it a part of your life.
The hamsa hand symbol meaning can:
- Bring good luck, fortune, health, and happiness into your life
- Surround you with positive energy and promote healing
- Remind you that as much as evil exists beyond us, we can create our own
- Nurture your spirit and act as a reminder that without faith, we're lost
- Ward off harm and evil and protect you wherever you go
You can use the hamsa symbol in your home, on your person, or for specific events. For example, meditation and prayer can be strengthened with the hamsa hand if you’re facing a trying situation or chronic illness.
Or, like many other people, you can put it on your keychain to ensure your safety at all times. Charms can be hung over doorways, worn as jewelry, put on accessories, or in any other way that works for you. The hamsa charm meaning is powerful no matter how it is used.
A hamsa necklace meaning can have a special significance for women since all faiths and cultures attach femininity to the hamsa.
There's no wrong way to use hamsa, but you might want to avoid wearing it just because it looks nice and you think it's trendy. The hamsa hand meaning has deep roots in spirituality, and when you believe, it will work with you in the ways you need.
But if you don't believe, it's considered a lack of respect for the ancient traditions that are deeply embedded in the universal collective consciousness. The hamsa hand won't bring bad luck or misfortune on you, but you'll be missing out on all the good it has to give you.
The hamsa hand means just about the same thing across diverse cultures and religions. It's a powerful symbol of protection and good.
Its strength has survived persecutions, wars, being banned, and ridicule by non-believers. Nevertheless, generations of people have embraced the hamsa and incorporated it into their faith and life.
That makes the hamsa hand not only a symbol of protection and good but one of endurance and resilience.
Whether you want a hamsa hand for yourself or someone else, at Karma and Luck, we know that it has profound spiritual significance. That's the reason we stock a range of ethically-made hamsa hand pieces handcrafted around the world by artisans with love and care.