Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Meaning of the Hamsa

What does the Hamsa symbolize? I have always known that it is a symbol of protection, but in writing this post I discovered many other interesting facets of the Hamsa.

It is a symbol dating back to prehistoric times and is an universal sign of protection. The hamsa protects by deflecting the destructive power of the evil eye. The evil eye represents the negative energies that can arise from jealousy, hatred, and envy.

It is often made of something shiny or reflective in order to reflect off the evil.

While used in numerous cultures, the word Hamsa, meaning five, has additional symbolic meaning in the Jewish and Islamic traditions.

In Judaism, it represents the five books of the Torah for Jews. It also symbolizes the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, "Heh", which represents one of God’s holy names. It is often thus called the Hand of God.

Many Jews believe that the five fingers of the hamsa hand remind its wearer to use their five senses to praise God.

The Hamsa hand is also a popular talisman with Muslims, who call it the Hand of Fatima, referring to the daughter of Mohammed. Fatima is described as a faithful, holy, woman.

Also, to the Muslims, the Hamsa sometimes refers to the five pillars of Islam, the foundation of Muslim life:
  • Faith or belief in Muhammad;
  • Establishment of the daily prayers;
  • Concern for and helping the needy;
  • Self-purification through fasting; and
  • The pilgrimage to Mecca
 The Hamsa means many things to many cultures, which is why it is one of my favorite symbols to use.  See more of my designs which include the Hamsa HERE.

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