Tag Archives: traditions

Symbols {17} ~ Hamsa

The hamsa symbol depicts an open right hand, symmetrically drawn, and often with an eye in the palm’s center. Seen throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa, it’s also known as the Hand of Fatima and the Hand of Miriam. The hamsa represents strength and power and is widely regarded as a token of protection. Worn as an amulet or hung in the home, the hamsa is said to ward off the Evil Eye, a malevolent stare which brings harm and misfortune.

No one is entirely sure of the hamsa’s origins. Some date it back to the ancient Phoenicians, who used hands to represent the lunar goddess, Tanit. Today, it holds significance in multiple traditions. In Judaism, its five fingers represent the five books of the Torah. In Islam, they stand for the Five Pillars of Islam. The hamsa is also reminiscent of Buddhist and Hindu mudras, with the five fingers representing the five senses.