In my Wiccan culture, greetings often include a hug or even a kiss. But, with COVID-19 even blowing kisses and handshakes are often out of the question. In business culture, the elbow bump has arisen as the only thing sillier than "finger guns" to use to salute your friends and colleagues. Instead of resorting to awkward air hugs, let's resurrect some of the most ancient hand signals and gestures used between magical people. Mudra is the common name for a hand pose that is thought to bring about change either through manifestation in the world or an internal transformation. Mudras can be flashed subtly in everyday life, gestured extravagantly in ritual, or held as a hand pose privately in meditation. In this article, you'll learn how to say hello and goodbye in ways that are both meaningful and socially distant. You will also learn some traditional hand signs used to ward away illness and promote a healthy immunity, when used in conjunction with vaccination and using masks whenever appropriate. For example, you can use them for protection before getting onto public transit or to bless your children before sending them to school.
Alternatives to the Elbow Bump
Ardhapataka Mudra: You may have seen this greeting blessing in the poses of sacred statues. This greeting is formed by making a flat palm and then bending your pinkie and ring fingers at a ninety degree angle, or as close to it as your body allows.
Tripataka Mudra: The gesture made famous in The Hunger Games, scouting organizations, and pro-democracy protests in which three fingers are held up but pressed together, is used as a salute and to swear oaths.
Kapotam: This mudra is made by first forming prayer hands and then tenting your hands while keeping your thumbs together, to create a pocket of air between your palms. This mudra can be used in greeting as a sign of respect, as when greeting an elder or a work superior. It represents respectful conversations, acceptance, and obedience.
Namaste: Also known as prayer hands, when you press your palms together in greeting you are greeting the divinity within another person as the same divinity that resides within yourself. Use this as a way to bless and connect with kindred spirits.
Sign of the Goddess and Sign of the God: If you are Pagan, use these signs to signal to others who share your faith traditions. The Sign of the Goddess is made by curving your pointer finger and thumb into a crescent moon and allowing the other fingers to curl up in your palm. The Sign of the God is the same as the Sign of the Horns, which is done by extending a fist with the pinkie and index fingers raised.
Land acknowledgement: Using a gesture meant to emulate cedar boughs, you can greet a group of people at a board meeting or gathering in conjunction with a spoken acknowledgement of indigenous lands claimed unfairly in the US, Canada, and other places all over the world. With palms flat and facing yourself, raise your arms in front of you, elbows bent loosely, with palms facing your head. Say, "I have arrived. I have arrived. I acknowledge that I live, learn, worship, and make magic on the sacred ancestral land of the native [Insert names of Indigenous groups of the location if possible] Nations. All my relations."
The Triangle Hand Sign: This sacred hand sign can be used as a parting blessing when saying goodbye to a loved one. Form a triangle with your hands and then gaze through it at your loved one with loving intention in your heart and eyes. Two people can use triangle mudra to say goodbye to each other even when wearing masks or looking through a window.
Gestures to Ward Away Illness
Crossed Fingers: Crossing the fingers is a multipurpose sign for luck and protection from illness. It never hurts to have a little good luck when traveling through the post-pandemic world.
Mano Fico: To ward off illness caused by malevolent forces, use mano fico, the fig gesture. Made as a fist with the thumb sticking through the index and middle fingers.
Azabache Sign: Make this sign by forming a fist and then pushing your index finger knuckle forward to allow it to protrude noticeably. Gesture with azabache over your loved ones to protect them from illness.
Sign of the Horns: Since this sign can be used for both greeting and warding off illnesses caused by spiritual afflictions, it is a perfect old tradition to revive during a pandemic.
Sign of the Cross: Oh no! Some unmasked person on the bus sneezed directly in your direction! Using your right hand, touch your pointer and middle finger to your thumb and keep your ring and pinkie fingers curled into your palm. Touch your body at your forehead, chest, right shoulder, then left shoulder. Next, extend your pointer and middle fingers while curling the rest in a fist. Point the two fingers directly at the person coughing or sneezing your way. This gesture might look a little bit like if you were a parent gesturing to your eyes and then to a child to tell him or her, "I've got my eyes on you."
Talk to the Hand: An open palm pressed outward is an intuitive "stop" gesture that you can use if you're feeling nervous about that person coughing into his elbow even if he is wearing a mask. Symbolically block energy being sent at you by simply raising a firm hand against it.
Lung Mudra: This immune boosting mudra is meant to strengthen your lungs in preparation for some stressor like a COVID-19 infection. To make this mudra, press the tips of your index, middle, and ring fingers into three points on your thumb so that you can feel the pressure. This mudra is best practiced for fifteen minutes a day of meditation, either one hand at a time or two-handed to ward off respiratory illness.