A Show of Hands: Symbolic Hand Meaning

This post on symbolic hand meaning and gestures comes from a meditative sitting last week in which hands and hand prints were a recurring theme.  This prompted me to think more deeply on the symbolic meaning of hands and how these meanings might add clarity to other perspectives too.

Some symbolic keywords pertaining to hands that come to mind:

  • Skill
  • Power
  • Action
  • Purpose
  • Blessing
  • Expression
  • Humanitarianism

Specifically, the idea of hand meaning in the form of gestures came to mind.  Like mudras, which are symbolic hand/finger shapes; an intricate language born from the Hindu and Buddhist culture to more deeply express concepts of spirituality, creativity and wisdom.  A neat page depicting these hand formations can be found here.

This post isn’t as intricate (there are 100’s of specific mudras). 

I just noticed how various common hand positions could beautifully convey deeper meaning.  For example:

  • Hands Clasped: Unification, Partnership, Allegiance
  • Hands Clenched: Tension, Withholding, Suppression
  • Hands Raised (above head): Supplication, Invocation, Surrender
  • Hands Raised (out to the side): Inclusion, Acceptance, Openness
  • Hands on the Chest: Devotion, Sincerity, Awareness
  • Hands Folded: Contemplation, Passivity, Contentment

These are just some ideas.  I’ve written a full post on hand meaning and various cultural symbolism here.  On this page I also include some interesting exercises that may broaden awareness about hand symbolism.

I invite you become more aware of hands in your experience and explore various symbolic representations they may hold for you.

14 thoughts on “A Show of Hands: Symbolic Hand Meaning”

  1. The diverse perspectives remind people that one symbol, like the hand, has multiple meanings. One could add that hands represent energy. As you hold the palms of yoru hands together, you feel the heat and resonate deeply. Meditation is a wonderful way to explore some of your deeper associations. Your mind divulges images. Hands are an common extension of emotional expressions.

  2. I’ve been looking at my hands this past week, primaraly for dream awareness.
    I’ve come to this site before & found posts that fit quite strangly into my recent thinking. Thanks!

  3. I was cruising your website and happened upon this particular piece of information. First off I really enjoyed the video, secondly I wanted to say that reading that little chart regarding left/right hand meanings brought about a sort of epiphany for me. I really hate talking about myself, or exposing my “weaknesses” as I might see them but felt moved to share this.

    I’ve been “stuck” for quite a while both in my work life and my social/love life. The former is okay but not very rewarding, the latter is pretty much non-existent. I’m not whining because a lot of this is my own doing and I have to take the steps to change it. My point is that I used to play guitar, a lot, and loved it. I still love it, but rarely do it anymore. A lot of guitar playing is geared toward the left hand where emotions lie and looking at that chart I realized that when my emotions shut down so did the music. All of those things on the left side of the chart are so intertwined with the right side and, for me, intertwined with my ability and desire to make music. It jump started a thought process on how to approach this dilemma.
    I know this is long winded and probably TMI, but I wanted to thank you for putting your time and energy into providing this site and the information therein.

  4. Hi Dianne,
    You are absolutely fine with sharing your observations, and you’re in good company.
    I’m grateful you shared this revelation.
    The awareness of your emotions and their connection with the creative/musical left-handed guitar functions were insightful for me too.
    Thank you!

  5. What does it mean when you put ur finger tips together and u lock in with ur spirit and u can feel ur heart moving to the way you orb your fingers and move them with each other…

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