The Healing Hand

Updated December 2023

There is an abundance of symbolism throughout Native American culture and tradition. One symbol that is universally recognized is the healing hand. Although many may take a liking to the design, very few know the origin of this symbol and what the healing hand represents.

Symbols are utilized by Native Americans in their art, ceremonies, and daily life including drawn portrayals of celestials, natural phenomena, or animals.

The Healing Hand Symbol

The solid hand symbol in Native American culture was sometimes displayed on the body of those who won in hand-to-hand combat. Warriors would don this symbol when going into battle to prove their skills and intimidate the opposing force. The hand represented a human life and was believed to transfer energy to the individual that the symbol was placed on.

Native American Navajo Red Clay Smoke Pot with Healing HandThe Healer’s Hand combines the hand with a spiral to create a powerful symbol of healing and protection.

The spiral was derived from Native American solar hieroglyphics and is known as the symbol for eternity or for the path of our existence on earth. The Healer’s Hand was said to have the curative powers of the tribe’s Shaman, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the Shaman’s Hand. This symbol holds therapeutic energy and is worn still today by those searching for its curative powers. By displaying this symbol around your neck or in your home, it is said to bring luck, health, and fortune.

The Healing Hand & Hopi Culture

Embedded in the cultural fabric of the Hopi tribe in Northeastern Arizona, the Hand symbol assumes profound significance. Guided by the belief of stewardship over the land, the Hopi people strive for harmonious coexistence with nature, honoring its abundant gifts and with all life forms. Rooted in the ancestral teachings of the Maasaw, who directed the Hopi clans to seek their home, the tribe embarked on a collective journey across the earth. As they traversed the landscape, some clans followed a clockwise path, while others moved counterclockwise, leaving a Hand petroglyph or pictograph either as an outline done by blowing pigment through a reed while holding a hand against the surface or by painting or carving a handprint on the walls of the canyons along their route. These symbols not only marked their physical progress; they also symbolized the spiritual connection to the land and the ongoing quest for their center place.

The hand symbol has been used across cultures all the way back to the Egyptians. The hand can symbolize anything and everything from friendship or health or a connection to the divine. They have been used for greetings, blessings and religious rituals. Most often with the indigenous peoples one sees the hand symbol utilized as a bridge between the physical and spiritual realms.

At Kachina House, we love to explore the meanings behind the various symbols and traditions in the Native American culture. Look around our blog to learn more about Native American culture and be sure to check out our beautiful collection of handcrafted jewelry, pottery, and more adorned with the Healing Hand. For more information give us a call at 800-304-3290 or come visit us at our shop at 2920 Hopi Drive in Sedona!