The Eye with the Hand Symbol

evil eye necklace

A short Introduction to Hamsa

The Hand with eye symbol is not a rare sight to see, slightly menacing-looking imagery depicted mostly in pieces of jewelry and other accessories. The Hand with eye symbol is a popular accessory in the Middle East and also North Africa. Safe to say that it is commonly depicted as a piece of jewelry or wall hangings most of the time. But as with most of these kinds of pieces of jewelry, what does the Hand with the evil eye symbol mean? Well, let us discuss that bit and clear up the questions that haunt all our thinking.  

The Evil Eye Curse:

To understand the uses and meaning of the Hand with the eye symbol, one must understand the Evil Eye curse. It is a curse that is said to inflict injuries or misfortunes on anyone gazed upon by a malevolent eye. Throughout history in many cultures, there are different potent, usually in the form of jewelry or some crafted apparel that is meant to thwart this effect. The Hand with the eye symbol is also known as Hamsa, and it is one of those objects that can prevent the evil eye and its dark effects.  

What does it mean? 

The Hand with the eye symbol typically is represented as an open palm of the Right Hand, an eye in the middle. It is made of many different metals, but the most common is jet or silver, which is believed to hold magical properties as well as represents purity. Sometimes it would be hung on the doorways of homes, protecting the people within from Evil Eye.

The placement of the fingers can indicate different meanings. If the fingers of the Hand are spread apart, it is meant to ward off evil. If they are close together, it is intended to bring good luck. Similarly, if the fingers are pointed up, it is in a warding stance. If it is pointed down, it indicates bestowing of blessings. 

More info on the Hamsa Hand Meaning

The imagery of the eye and the Hand itself signifies a different meaning. How does it deflect the evil eye? According to the saying “five fingers in your eye” (khamsa fi ainik in Arabic), if a person raise one hand with palms facing outward and fingers slightly apart, it blinds the aggressor. In this case, the person who is casting an evil gaze on the individual. 

There is also another formula to the five fingers, but this time it is not a gesture. The five fingers are representatives of the five days of the week and Thursday (Khamsa- Wa- Khamis in Arabic). Thursday, being the fifth day of the week, is considered as a holy day for magical rites. Pilgrimages to the tombs of saints are also made on this day. All to ward off the harmful effects of the curse of the Evil Eye.

The Hamsa holds a great significance in Arabic culture, but it contains an even greater meaning in Jewish culture. It is rather common and attaches great importance. It is used as a fortune item in marriage contracts, is used as a symbol in items for dressing up the Torah: a pointer is an example of this. It holds great importance in the daily lives of people in Israel and is even considered as a symbol of Israel itself.

According to the Ten Commandments, God took Israel away from Egypt with his strong and outstretched arm. His steady Hand is considered as Hamsa. To dispel or spit out bad luck, people in Israel use an expression using the Hamsa which, as you guessed it, spits out bad luck.

The Hand is also seen as symbols of divine protection, from different holy entities like Aphrodite and Mother Mary, and was also used as a protection for Evil Eye for mothers, and also to boost lactation and fertility.

In Egyptian beliefs, the symbol represents the Eye of the all-seeing Sky God Horus. The eye of Horus, also known as the eye of Conscience is the gaze from which nobody can escape.

Hamsa is recognized as an object of good fortune among the Christians. According to the Levantine Christians, the Hand with the eye symbol is called the Hand of Mary (Kef Miryam in Arabic, also translated as “Virgin Mary’s Hand).

Where did it come from?

Now we understand the meaning and uses of the Hand with the eye symbol, but where does it come from? It is said that the earliest use of the symbol comes from Mesopotamia and Ancient Carthage (modern-day Iraq and Tunisia respectively). The Hand is seen in amulets of ancient Mesopotamia, belonging to the Goddess Ishtar or Inanna.

The Hand is also seen as symbols of divine protection, from different holy entities like Aphrodite and Mother Mary, and was also used as a protection for Evil Eye for mothers, and also to boost lactation and fertility.

Usage and Designs

Hamsa, the Hand with the eye symbol has been used in different varieties. Most of the time, however, it is shown as jewelry or an accessory. The most common piece is in the form of an amulet and a Wall hanging, and it may vary when it comes to design. For example, there might be red paint in some charms. This is often done using the blood of a sacrificed animal.

The Hand with the evil eye hanging could be found on doors, sometimes outside the doors or gates where a pregnant woman is resting to protect them from the evil eye curse. There are, of course, also the stylized designs which might not look like a hand. One such example of a stylized design is one with five circles that represents the fingers which are usually situated around a central circle. Of course, the central ring is the eye, and the other circles represent the fingers.

As discussed earlier, the use of the Hamsa and the belief behind it is that it repels terrible luck, misfortune, and most importantly, the evil eye curse. It is also used as symbols of certain regions due to its popularity, such as Algeria or Israel.

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haggadah

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