The Art and Magic of Hex Signs
The Magic of Hex Signs
Hex Signs were first seen painted on the sides of barns, stables and houses of the Pennsylvania Dutch in the 18th century. The custom of using these signs was derived from the Old World, brought from Germany and Switzerland by German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania.
The name "Hex", has two possible meanings; 1. taken from the German, "die hexe"; meaning Witch or 2. the popularity of the six-pointed star design and the German word for six being "sechs", which sounded like Hex to their English-speaking neighbors.
Either way, these colorful Hex Signs are filled with geometric shapes and elaborate symbols full of meaning and Old World history. They were magical designs of protection created by a "hex-master" or "hexen-meister" to ward off evil, "heverei" (Witchcraft), and to bring good fortune.
The History and Symbolism of The Hex Sign
The authors explore the meaning of hex symbols by examining evidence from popular writers, scholars, and contemporary hex-sign painters. Full-color photographs display the grandeur of this Pennsylvania Dutch phenomenon.
Shapes and Symbols Used in Hex Signs - Legends and History
The Circle - among the oldest symbols known to man, a symbol of eternity or infinity. Hex signs are traditionally round, utilizing this ancient symbol of continuity.
Distelfink (German: goldfinch, the good luck bird of the Pennsylvania Germans.) - good luck and happiness;
Two Distelfinks - good fortune doubled
Two Distelfinks Crossed - true friendship
Doves or Birds of Paradise - friendship, camaraderie, peace, purity and happiness. The beauty, wonder and mystery of life.
Crescent Moons - the four seasons, fertility, birth
Eagle - strength, courage, clarity of vision
Heart - true love, lasting love, charity, and love for others
Oak Leaf - long life, endurance, strength in body, mind and character.
Pineapple - welcome, hospitality, friendship
Raindrops - water, crop abundance and fertility
Rosettes - good luck
Scallops - ocean waves, smooth sailing in life
Stars - 5-Pointed Star - protection from fire and lightning or a protection for livestock, good fortune, hope, love, fertility, energy and harmony.
-The Eight-Pointed Star- The star is usually blue and symbolizes goodwill. Good omens, light and protection.
The Triple Star - good luck, success and happiness.
Sun Wheel - warmth and fertility
Trinity Tulips - proclaim faith, hope and charity
Wheat - abundance and goodwill
Sources: Igou, Brad. The Story of the Hex Sign (Available http://www.amishnews.com/featurearticles/Storyofhexsigns), Symbols.Com
Colors and Meaning in Hex Signs
Black - protection, unity, binds elements together
Blue - protection, peace, calmness, heaven and spirituality
Brown - mother earth, cycle of life or friendship and strength
Green - life, growth, fertility, success, ideas that grow
Orange - abundance in career, projects and matters needing an added push
Red - emotions, strength, passion, charisma, lust and creativity
Violet - sacred, dignity, royalty
Yellow - health in body and mind, the sun, connection to God