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Sunday, February 11, 2018


Hand of Glory (left), Hand of Fatima (middle), Palmistry Hand (right)
HANDS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN USED AS ARTIFACTS OR AMULETS OF MAGIC.  The three featured here are no exception. On the far left is the Hand of Glory, a rather dire image depicting the severed hand of a murderer, holding a candle. (In other images, each finger is also a candle.) The process of creating a Hand of Glory was quite morbid, involving the drying and preserving of a hand taken from a hanged man. The purpose of the relic was to cast a spell on the inmates of a house, rendering them insensate so a thief might go about his business burgling them, with no one the wiser. (If you wish to read further, this link to D.L. Ashliman's site at the University of Pittsburgh is quite interesting.)

Quite the contrary to the Hand of Glory, the Hand of Fatima (also known as the Hand of Miriam, the Hamsa, and/or Khamsa) is a benevolent symbol providing protection to its wearer. (In a strange way, both hands offer the same benefit, but for different purposes). Originally, the Hamsa represented Tanit, the patron goddess of the city of Carthage between 1550 and 330 B.C. In time, her amulet became associated with the Sephardic Jews as the Hand of Miriam (Moses' sister), and later, for Moslems, as the hand of Fatima Zahra, who was the daughter of Muhammed. Sometimes the amulet is depicted with an eye in its centre. This is what the amulet protects against - the evil eye.

Finally, we have an example of a palm depicting the lines of chiromancy, the idea that we are bound by fate according to the lines of our hands. Some palm readers believe that as we age, those lines shift and change, thereby allowing our destinies to shift and change as well.

So, some story ideas.

What if the Hand of Fatima was used to fight the ill intent of the bearer of a Hand of Glory? Or, what if, in desperation, the bearer of bad luck changed his destiny by carving a new set of lines into his hands? What if that didn't necessarily make things better, but worse? What would he do about it, or do with it? What period of history might we throw into this mix?

I'll leave those intriguing decisions in your capable hands. Until next time, happy (or gruesome) writing, however it strikes you. :-)

- Susan.


  1. Hi Susan,
    Must there be an artifact involved in the magic?

    1. Hi, Lynne. I don't want to limit anybody too much. We are looking for two things within each story - a sense of actual history, and the magic that may be at work behind that history or historical event. An artifact could be involved; I suspect it might be easier to tell the story with one, but again, it depends on the story. I hope this helps.