View Full Version : Can anyone tell me about the Finger Gesture?
I would like to know about a couple of cards in the RWS The Hierophant and the 10 of Swords in both cards the figure are holding up 2 fingers, can anyone explain to me the meaning of it or what the 2 fingers stand for.
It's a sign of blessing priests make.
My understanding is that it symbolizes what is known (the two extended fingers) and what is unknown (the two lowered fingers). I don't know if it's the "official" explanation, but it's fitting in my mind with the meanings of the Hierophant and 10 of Swords. I think there's an explanation of it in 78 Degrees of Wisdom.
In palmistry the two raised fingers come from the concious side of the hand...the two lowered fingers come from the unconcious.
This may also indicate the gesture indicates there is both much known and much unknown about the topic at hand....
Just a thought.
The Hierophant's right hand also bears the sign of the cross which surely are symbol's of commitmetrnt and the ability to bring the teachings of heaven down to earth.and to raise the consciousness of those on earth up to heaven. The fingers of the same hand point up and below to reiterate this.
As others have said it is a sign of Benediction/blessing. The Blessing hand also appears in the V1 Pentacles. Prayer in what ever form one prays (work is a prayer) it goes up and blessings comes down. The reason it appears on the 10 of Swords is apparently the slain man is making the sign of Benediction as a sign of forgiveness in the light that now it is 'time to heal' and forgiveness is a part of that process. ~Rosanne
I've seen this hand sign referred to as both the sign of blessing, and as the sign of esotericism. Both examples are used in the Tarot. As a sign of blessing the palm is out; as a sign of esotericism the palm is concealed.
The origin of the sign used in the RWS comes from the ancient Romans, from whom the Roman Catholic Church adopted it. It was originally known as the hand of Jupiter, and was used to avert the evil eye. It had three raised fingers and two lowered. If you look carefully at all three cards mentioned from the RWS deck, you can see that three fingers are actually raised - the thumb, index finger, and middle finger - and the last two are lowered. From the church's standpoint, the three upraised fingers represent the 3(Trinity) which triumphs over the 2(Duality).
Thanks everybody for clarifing to me what the 2 finger gesture stand for. I have to admit that sometimes when i look at the gesture in the cards it make me feel uncomfortable.
The gesture of the RWS Hierophant has several meanings to it:
• I swear I have spoken the truth
• You are benedicted through the powers of the Lord above
• Friendship or Relationship
• Sword fingers (martial arts): Energy discharge
On RWS Ten Swords I cannot find any gesture but a twisted hand
T A R O C C H I
In Sandra Thomson's Pictures From the Heart-A Tarot Dictionary she writes under the ten of swords..
" The man's right hand forms the Japanese " kichijo-in " mudra ( symbolic finger position ) symbolizing good fortune of joy. " She goes on to explain that in Japanese mudra theory that the fingers represent chakras.
I always explain that to the seeker when this card comes up on the spread.
i noticed that alot of tarot cards contain that gesture. i heard from someone that it means"let it be in heavan as it is on earth"
The 10 of swords. Huh never noticed that. If you look at it closely it does look like two fingers.
X swords, 6 Pentacles and the Heirophant.
The Devil's hand is a variation of the Horned One's Gesture
X swords, 6 Pentacles and the Heirophant.With the thumb raised (as in the Rider Waite Smith deck), it is the Catholic (Latin) benediction; but its origin is older: with the thumb down, it was a gesture used by Roman Emperors, and more widely, by figures of authority, to indicate they are going to speak.
The gesture made by The Devil is the birkat haCohanim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priestly_Blessing) (scroll down for image), the Jewish benediction - which goes to show the amount of anti-semitism that went into the traditional imagery of the Devil in European Christianity.
Thanks for that Sophie- I knew about thumbs up and down, but I had no idea about the Jewish Blessing! Thank you for that education.
The description of the "Raising of the Hands" at this web site does not accord with the photo that accompanies it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priestly_Blessing
The description of the "Raising of the Hands" at this web site does not accord with the photo that accompanies it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priestly_BlessingTrue.
The odd thing about it is that it is supposed to leave 5 windows (for the blessing of God to come through), but in practice, fingers are grouped in 2 + thumbs.
Here's an old gravestone (18th-19th century): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Grave_Rabbi_Meschullam_Kohn.jp
And here's a Cohen-Levi webpage http://cohen-levi.org/
I guess long use has sanctified the grouped finger gesture, although there seems to be small gaps even between the grouped fingers, in some of the imagery.
I never was able to make out much from the gallery anyway :(
Thanks for the additional info Sophie.
When I originally posted to this topic most of my info came from a book by Reader's Digest, Charting the Future in their Quest for the Unknown series. There's a picture in there I thought others might enjoy seeing so here it is (44.2kb).
I also enlarged the text portion (47.4kb).
It doesn't specifically say who's responsible for the information. The front of the book list several contributors and editors.
That's interesting, Abrac. Also the fact that in the whole Middle East, North Africa and parts of South-East Europe today, the hamsa, the open palm, is a protective amulet against the evil eye.
Interestingly, Sabazius is said to be the son of Bendis - later synchretised both with Kybele and with Hekate. He was synchretised with Dionysos (as the text says) and was called lucifer, light-bringer, and liberator. This Sabazius/Dionysos role was vital in the Orphic Mysteries, during which 'liberating' initiations and rituals were performed, facilitated by a Hierophant.
It's not hard to imagine the Hierophant using that hand gesture, both as a protective gesture, and as a gesture of blessing to those taking part in the Mysteries (which were, let's remember, rites of entrance into the Underworld, and safe passage through and out).