Hamsa, the Hand of Protection

The Hamsa Hand symbol goes by many names – Khamsa / Chamsa / Hamesh / Hand of Fatima – and has been used by many religions. Contrary to what many believe, it is not a sacred symbol as such, but rather a sacred omen or good luck charm, a talisman of sort or a protective symbol, especially against the evil eye. Hamsa means ‘five’ in various languages.

In Islamic faith, it symbolises the Hand of Fatima (Fatima being the daughter of the prophet Mohammed and known as ‘the shining one’), and also the five pillars of Islam. In Judaism, it is seen as the Hand of Miriam (Aaron and Moses’s sister) and it represents the five books of the Torah and a commitment to the five senses, in an effort to praise God. In Christianity it represents the Hand of Mary and signifies blessings and fertility. In Buddhism and Hinduism it is related to the hand mudras which direct energy, especially the Abhaya mudra, an open hand at the chest, as a gesture of fearlessness.

The root origins actually predate all religions, and can be traced to Semitic times, where in artefacts found in Mesopotamia, the open right hand image symbolizes protection and teaching. Or the Phoenicians who adopted it as a protective symbol for a primeval Goddess.

Whatever religion or spiritual belief you follow, the common ground is that it is linked to a feminine deity and it was centered around acknowledgement and trust in a Higher Power, and that using this symbol in your home or on your person, will offer you protection and good luck.

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