The Heart in Hand, an image of a heart in an open palm, is an easily recognizable symbol in the North Eastern US. This cheerful, welcoming image originated with the Shakers and is found on crafts, signs, and even cookies. The symbol is a pictoral reminder of the words of Mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shaker sect, who promoted a simple life of hard work and spirituality, “Put you hands to work, and your hearts to God.” The image is typical of the Shaker attitude, and implies also a loving welcome.
A heart in hand has also been in use for about a hundred years as a symbol of the Order of Odd Fellows, an early Fraternal Order. These commonly display three linked rings representing friendship, love, and truth. A similar symbol used in Masonry represents charity.
- Sayings of Mother Ann (Off Site) A collection of wise sayings from the Shaker’s founder.