We seem to be looking at our hands more these days, usually while washing them.
Feeling the water running over them is a personal act of purification, cleanliness and not too long ago....innocence.
The hand is the most frequently symbolized part of the human body. It gives blessing, it is expressive. According to Aristotle, the hand is the "tool of tools." In general it is strength, power and protection. However, it can just as easily mean generosity, hospitality and stability; "lend a hand". It is used in gestures of greeting and friendship.
The right and left have different symbols related to each: right - the rational, conscious and logical, as well as aggressive and anxiousness, left - opposite of the right, weakness, decay, death. However, the two can be juxtaposed to symbolize balance and the middle.
Hand gestures are part of our human expression… laying hands on something - blessing, consecration, transference of guilt, healing; raising one's hand - to swear, honesty; hand on heart - love, adoration, salutation; two hands clasped - peace, alliance, friendship; hands at side - negligence, arrogance (on hips).
"The hands may almost be said to speak. Do we not use them to demand, promise, summon, dismiss, threaten, supplicate, express aversion or fear, question or deny? Do we not use them to indicate joy, sorrow, hesitation, confession, penitence, measure, quantity, number, and time? Have they not the power to excite and prohibit, to express approval, wonder, shame?”
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