A Show of Hands

Hands symbolize so much. In different cultures across the world, hand gestures hold deeply spiritual, deeply symbolic, and vastly different meanings.  As a craftsperson, I am instinctively drawn to hands as symbols for making and creating.  On a deeper level, I recognize hands as symbols of gratitude, thanks, good luck, and protection.

Symbolism of Hands

Oftentimes we are drawn to a symbol without really knowing the meaning, or even why we are drawn to it.  The hand, as it appears in Eastern ideologies, was one of those alluring symbols to me.  These days, we see Hamsa and mudra hands just about everywhere. I know there is some concern of cultural appropriation when it comes to certain sacred symbols, but there's no harm in wearing a symbol that speaks to you. I've always firmly believed that if something sparks happiness, let it!  If you'd like to know more about the meaning behind the Hamsa hand and various mudra hand gestures, as they appear in many items we offer at WomanShopsWorld, read on!

Hamsa Hand
The Hamsa is a symbol found in multiple cultures and religions around the world, but it first appeared in ancient Mesopotamia. While it predates all modern religions, the Hamsa hand holds significance in Judaism and Islam, as well as Hinduism and Buddhism.  It holds different meanings depending on the culture, faith, or spiritual practice but universally it is a sign of protection. The Hamsa is believed to ward off evil onlookers and bad juju. In many cultures they are worn as amulets or good luck charms. 
Hamsa Hand Inspiration from WomanShopsWorld
Shown here: Hamsa Embroidered trim from WomanShopsWorld

In the Islamic faith, the Hamsa Hand is called the Hand of Fatima. Fatima is the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed.  The five fingers of the hand are said to represent the 5 pillars of Islam to Sunnis, and the Five People of the Cloak for Shi'ites.  

In Judaism, the five (hamesh in Hebrew) fingers represent the five books of the Torah. The Hamsa Hand represents the hand of God, and wearing it is supposed to remind its wearer to use their five senses to praise God.

Today, many peace activists in the Middle East wear the Hamsa Hand as a symbol for hope and a peaceful resolution to the ongoing Israeli conflict.  

Shop Hamsa jewelry, ribbon, and scarves from WomanShopsWorld.

Gyan Mudra
Mudras are symbolic hand gestures used in Buddhism and Hinduism; the practice of holding mudras dates back thousands of years.  They are so important in Indian culture that there are larger-than-life sculptures of mudras welcoming you when you enter the International Terminal in the New Delhi Airport. 
Mudras in the New Delhi Airport

In Gyan Mudra, which is the mudra held during most mediation practices and in Kundalini yoga, thumb and forefinger come together in a graceful hand gesture that helps to instill peace, calm, wisdom, and spiritual enlightenment. 
Gyan Mudra
image credit: Yogapedia.com

Holding Gyan Mudra stimulates a pressure point that activates the pituitary and endocrine glands, helping to regulate the practitioner's bodily systems.  

If this symbol speaks to you, wear it as a reminder of the positive influence it can have on your body and mind. 
Gyan Mudra Pendants from WomanShopsWorld
Shop Gyan Mudra Pendants from WomanShopsWorld.

Namaste Prayer Hands
Anjali Mudra, or the gathering of your hands together, palm to palm, at heart center, is possibly the most commonly recognized and widespread hand gesture.  In the West, it is often associated with prayer.  In India, Anjali is translated as "offering," and this gesture is often accompanied with the word "namaste," which literally means, "I bow to the divinity within you from the divinity within me."  It is a sacred hello and has no boundaries.  It is spoken recognition of the divinity in everyone, from complete strangers to the priest at the temple.  The action of bringing right and left hand together at heart center spiritually connects us to our heart space, by bringing our attention and our action there. 

Namaste Prayer Hands

You may have noticed that prayer hands are the focal point of the WomanShopsWorld logo.  I chose to use the Anjali mudra in my logo for several reasons: to honor the divinity in all of us, and also as a gesture of gratitude to my customers.  I added a heart rising from the two hands, as a symbol of the love and respect that can arise from acting with gratitude and kindness towards one another.  


If you like our logo, check out these WomanShopsWorld tees!

What do hands symbolize to you? Feel free to comment below to share your ideas!


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