The hand has been seen as an interface between the material and spiritual worlds. Tracing the lines of character and fate in the palm of the hand is for some a key to the soul. For others, the shape of the hand is a way of imagining god, a visual shorthand for divine power or divine blessings.
Rituals of touch can release the healing powers of the spirits, and hands and their touch help us navigate death, in mourning, or in mythology. A touch of the hand steers us between the worlds of the living and the dead. Death taps us on the shoulder.
Touch helps us believe. In the Christian story of the resurrection of Jesus, the human need to touch is laid bare in his encounters with Mary Magdalene and Doubting Thomas. When belief falters, touch can convince.