I think y’all know by now how I feel about hamsas: They’re my favorite.
I’ve got one on my key ring, one above the kitchen sink, three glued to my dashboard, several hanging in my closet and one always, always around my neck. I love them so much I’m thinking of ordering this one for the bathroom.
It’s more than an aesthetic attraction: It’s a symbol before my eyes to remind me of all of life’s blessings at all times. I don’t know that I’m so superstitious that I really believe in its protective powers, but listen, dahlink, it can’t hurt.
Most importantly, it serves as a token of peace: This symbol of God’s hand not only evokes the sacred feminine, but also represents common ground between Jews and Muslims: Writer Yaron Gordon explains:
The name “Hamsa” (“Hansa” in Sanskrit, or “Al Khamsa” in Arabic) is from the Semitic root word for five, and is a very ancient symbol in the Middle East…Some say that the Jews were the first to adopt the use of the Hamsa, as a protective amulet against the evil eye. Jewish lore sometimes calls the Hamsa the Hand of Miriam, referring to Miriam, the sister of Moses, or it is more generally called the Hand of God.The Hamsa hand is also a popular talisman with Muslims, who call it the Hand of Fatima, referring to the daughter of Mohammed. To the Muslims, the Hamsa refers to the five pillars of Islam.
But let’s just be happy about today’s cease-fire extension. Perhaps by flooding the world with hamsas we can smother the hatred and violence. Or better yet, hold them up as “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” in solidarity for Christian our brothers and sisters in Ferguson, MO.
I say hamsas for everybody, regardless of religion. The only remaining question is: Up or down? According to Gordon, it depends:
With the fingers pointed up, the Hamsa symbolizes a “stop sign” to the adversary, in other words, for protection. With the fingers pointed down, the Hamsa symbolizes God’s goodness and blessings coming down to the wearer or to the room where it is hung. The interpretation of the Hamsa is for the individual who owns it.
Tattoo one to your forehead for all I care, as long as you’re willing to high-five with the rest of humanity.