Hidden Treasures of the East
Exploring the true meaning of yoga’s gifts to the West - Hamsa: The Hand of Protection
The Hamsa symbol has become a popular good luck charm worldwide. We often see it displayed as artwork, decorative wall hangings or more commonly worn as jewellery. Yet it has different meanings across various cultures - the common thread is that it is a protective symbol bringing luck, health, happiness and good fortune; warding off evil and negative energies.
The Hamsa is one of the oldest symbols with a history that pre-dates many faiths. It is widely known as an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolising the ‘Hand of The Divine’; legends say the Hamsa was used as a protective symbol for ancient Middle Eastern goddesses.
Its symbology has a variety of interpretations across all cultures; known by many names, The Hamsa Hand, The Hand of Miriam, The Hand of Fatima or Khamsa, The Hand of Mother Mary, or The Hand of Shakti.
Each representing the element of femininity associated with the divine female, offering protection from misfortune. Whatever the faith, the common theme weaving through is the Hamsa is believed to have extraordinary characteristics that protects against negative energies.
Shaped either like a regular hand or with two symmetrical thumbs (the latter being the most common style), if the hand faces upwards it is known as a powerful sign of protection against evil, insecurities and negativity of others and your own damaging thought patterns. The fingers may be spread apart to resist evil.
If the hand faces downwards with closed fingers it is known to attract abundant universal energy and inviting good luck into your life, answering your prayers and manifestations. The Hamsa will often contain an eye symbol, which is a powerful talisman to ward off what’s known as ‘the evil eye’. That glare which clearly states that one intends for something bad to happen, usually out of jealousy or malice. In most cultures that primal fear is powerful enough to bring about actual disaster - the total of all destructive energies that come from negative emotions in the world. When worn, the Hamsa will intercept that negativity away without it causing any harm.
The elements and chakras
In the world of yoga and meditation, the Hamsa is symbolised as the interplay of the seven chakras, the energy flow in the body, the five senses, the elements and the mudras (hand gestures) that affect them. Each finger having its own distinct energy:
Thumb: Fire element: solar plexus chakra
Forefinger: Air element: heart chakra
Middle Finger: Ethereal element: throat chakra
Ring Finger: Earth element: base chakra
Baby Finger: Water element: sacral chakra
These energies can be combined to change the flow of energy in the body and heal psychological and physical ailments. With origins in the East, a powerful and protective symbol of hope and peace in the modern world.
The Hamsa Prayer
Let no sadness come to this heart
Let no trouble come to these arms
Let no conflict come to these eyes
Let my soul be filled with the blessings of joy and peace.
By Sonal Thakrar (kleem.co.uk)