From “Om” to “Shalom”
The Hamsa is one of our most familiar and favorite symbols to wear as fine jewelry. At the moment, we’re just loving this very feminine version (fch39), a small, but very fiery Hamsa pendant, set with diamonds and suspended from links of diamond stations in yellow, rose or white 14 karat gold. It’s not bling-y at all—meaning it doesn’t yell at you from across the room.
Instead, it’s sophisticated and chic.
Here’s the thing: lots of our customers practice yoga, and this is one of their favorite pieces to wear while in the “Om” space—we have to say, it does look really sleek and modern on a spaghetti-strap tank top. This is truly a cross-cultural moment, because the Hamsa, as we know it, is not a Hindu or Buddhist symbol. The Indian Vedic scriptures have a beautiful tradition of powerful, symbolic hand postures called mudras, but that’s a whole different thing. We think. In any case, here’s the Hamsa, at a yoga studio near you, doing the downward dog and sun salutation.
Jews call this hand-shaped amulet the Hand of Miriam. Moslems call it the Hand of Fatima. There are many interpretations of these particular usages. The hand is often depicted with an eye in the center of its open palm, presumably to ward off negative energies, including the gaze of envy.
Berkeley scholar and folklorist, Professor Alan Dundes, incidentally Jewish, studied the origins of the evil eye for decades, and identified the ancient cultures that live along the Sahara as the source of the specific practices and symbols we use to signify the evil eye today. Dr. Dundes concluded that the arid desert landscape itself, in almost permanent drought, created a highly defensive and protective consciousness, where precious moisture, including tears, breast milk and human spit, traditionally took on magical properties.
The brilliant and outrageous Dr. Dundes, unfortunately, is no longer with us. So we’ve done our own unofficial survey.
Usually, the Hamsa points down.
But we do offer several pieces where the fingers point up. Some people feel that, like with a horseshoe, the symbol seems “luckier” if the direction is up, not down. Okay. If this is your groove, try our sterling and turquoise-gemmed Hamsa pendant.
Come to think of it, our round disk sterling Hamsa pendant has a serene, lotus-look which makes sense with yogic practice.
Today, we’re truly living in McLuhan’s global village. We eat sushi in Texas. We listen to vintage Rolling Stones anthems in space. So, who’s to say whether the Hamsa should point up or down, or whether it “goes with” yoga?
Wear your Hamsa, and feel safe and empowered in your wonderful place in our amazing world.
So, how do you wear your hamsa?