By Yoram Baltinestr (guest blogger)
Throughout history and across the world, there have been a number of charms, ornaments and pieces of jewelry used to combat evil spirits and bad luck. One of the most well known charms is the dream catcher. Originating from the Ojiwe people, the dream catcher has come to represent Native American culture. Always crafted with an array of fibers meant to resemble a spider’s silk, the dream catcher is thought to protect sleeping children by either filtering out nightmares or catching them in the web.
In Japan there are many variations of protective charms that have existed for generations, such as the Omamori, which are traditionally amulets obtained from shrines that have been blessed by the good will of the gods. In Western Culture, charms like a faux rabbit’s foot and a four leaf clover are very popular items meant to bring good luck in all aspects of life.
The symbols meaning
It is in this way that the Hamsa is similar. The word Hamsa literally translates to “five” in Arabic, which is a reference to the five fingers the amulet portrays. The Hamsa is very popular in the Middle East and has more recently become a part of Judaic culture. This charm is known by several different names, but in a Jewish context, it also is referred to as the Hand of Miriam.
In all cultures, the Hamsa is a sign of protection, the open hand a welcoming symbol of tranquility and goodwill to others. It features five fingers; three lay straight out and together while the pinky and thumb curve outward. The symbol offers a stylized approximation of the human hand, as the pinky and thumb are of equal size and shape. This amulet is best used like other types of charms. You can place it virtually anywhere to ward off evil spirits and dark auras.
Its other uses
Large tapestries can be purchased, illustrating each finger with ornate detail and color. These decorations are perfect for hanging on walls, especially ones that are open to sunlight during the day. Like other common amulets, the Hand of Miriam can even be purchased as a small charm you can conveniently clip to a key ring, purse or cellular phone.
Necklaces, bracelets and other forms of jewelry are also prime places for this amulet. Having it in such close proximity to your body will also result in a heightened degree of luck and protection for the wearer. Many artists create highly embellished jewelry featuring this popular hand, and often you’ll see the depiction of an eye in the center of the palm.
That eye represents what is known as the “evil eye”, which is a reference to the dark look some people will give in the presence of envy. The Hamsa is thought to be the most vigilant protector from the evil eye. Fish are also common symbols because they are believed to be resilient to the effects of the evil eye.
Whether or not you happen to believe in superstition, deities or any form of evil energy, it’s clear that luck charms are a common staple among all societies and cultures. For generations people have depended on simple blessings to get them through the most horrible sin and strife.
When you see a talisman or amulet like the Hamsa, you can be comforted in knowing that you are welcome and surrounded by a positive environment. Luck charms help bring us all together by fostering a belief and hope for the common good and a bright future.
Yoram is the owner of BaltinesterJewelry.com which offers wide variety of Gold Hamsa pendants. All of Baltinester’s pendants are handmade by Israeli artists.