FORTUNE TELLING has exercised a fascination on the human race throughout the world, from the earliest period of our history. Astrology, palmistry, the interpretation of dreams and omens, and many other forms of divination were seriously practiced by the ancients. The soothsayer wielded an important influence over kings and empires even in the Middle Ages and in Europe during the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th centuries there was scarcely a ruler who did not have his court astrologer to guide him in problems of state. More recently, one can remember at least one American President who included an astrologer among his list of advisors.
Palmistry, like astrology, has its roots in the remote past. It is said to have existed in India and China 3110 years B C and references to the belief that lines in the hand indicate good or evil fortune are to be found in the early literature of nearly all nations. That every person's fate is in their own hands is a concept few will dispute, but in this modern world we interpret the idea in many different ways. Despite the relentless march of science and so-called rational thought, the 'Oracles of Fate' and 'Wheels of Fortune' are still interesting and amusing to those of us who want a glimpse of the future.
NOTE: Portions of the chapter on "Palmistry Basics" were first published by Frederic J. Haskin in the classic 1937 book, "Fortune Telling." Portions that have not stood the test of time have been edited and replaced them with interpretations more representative of current philosophies.
MYTH #1: Prehistoric cultures practiced palmistry. Depending on whom you talk to the history of palmistry is said to go back to the Dawn of Time, and people will often point to the paintings of hands found in the Stone Age caves of Africa, France and Spain as evidence of our prehistoric interest in the subject.
As exciting or romantic as this may be to some, there are simply no facts to support such a theory. "The very nature of palmistry limits any history to a record of what has been written about the subject," observed noted palmistry scholar Fred Gettings in his 1965 book, 'The Book of the Hand.' Since our prehistoric ancestors left no written records, we can only speculate as to why they painted hands on the walls of their caves.
MYTH #2: Palmistry was studied and practiced by the ancient Greeks & Romans. It is true that there are many references to the practice of palmistry in the ancient literature of India and China, and it is highly likely that much of what was known about palmistry by the Greeks and the Romans originated in India and China. But again, we have no surviving records from the ancient Greek or Roman cultures that supports the somewhat hopeful claim that such notable names as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates were practicing palm readers.
MYTH #3: Julius Caesar unmasked an impostor prince with palmistry. There is a much-repeated story in the literature of palmistry in which Julius Caesar received a guest in his palace that claimed to be a prince from a royal family.
As the story is told, Caesar was well-versed in palmistry and having looked at the visitor's palm, declared the man an impostor and had him executed. The story usually concludes with Caesar later receiving information that supported his claim that the man was indeed an impostor.
The facts that we have regarding the popularity of palmistry in ancient Rome, however, just don't support this story. At least one contemporary Roman writer reported that the ruling class preferred astrology as their oracle of choice, and tended to look down on palmistry as being rather middle class, and something below their station. If this was indeed the case, it is highly unlikely that Caesar would have chosen palmistry to unmask the fraudulent prince, and far more likely that he would have consulted the court astrologer.
MYTH #4: The Catholic Church banned palmistry. Many sources like to play up the "forbidden wisdom" aspect of palmistry by claiming that the Catholic Church condemned palmistry in 1000 AD and continued to outlaw it during the Middles Ages.
The fact of the matter is that with only two documented exceptions every Pope in the Middle Ages exhibited an interest in many of the so-called occult arts such as astrology, alchemy and palmistry. These subjects were considered to be part of every learned person's education, and were taught in Church-run universities throughout Europe at the time.
The fact that most of our earliest manuscripts on palmistry were found in European monasteries helps to reveal that the Church actually helped preserve palmistry rather than persecute it.
MYTH #5: Gypsies brought palmistry to Europe. You'll read in a number of places that during the 15th century the Gypsies migrated across Western Europe and introduced the art of palmistry to Europeans.
The record is somewhat different, and indicates that palmistry was reintroduced to Europe as an indirect result of the Crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries. Although the Crusaders traveled to the Middle East to reclaim the Holy Land for Christianity, they also managed to form alliances with some of the rulers there.
As a result, the Crusaders were exposed to many of the scholarly works of the Greeks and the Romans which had been preserved by Arab scholars while Europe was busy being pillaged during the Dark Ages by any one of a number of Barbarianof-the-Month Clubs.
Among the texts that the Crusaders brought back with them were copies of manuscripts on palmistry, beating the Gypsies by about two or three hundred years.
MYTH #6: Gypsies were banned from Paris & London in the 15th Century. One popular myth is that when the Gypsies arrived in Paris and London, they were refused entrance to those cities because of their practice of palmistry. As the story goes, when they set up camp outside the city walls of Paris, the residents swarmed out to greet them and have their fortunes told.
The part about the Gypsies being refused entrance to Paris and London may very well be true, but given the acceptance of palmistry by both Church and State, it's not likely that the Gypsies' practice of palmistry had anything to do with them being refused entrance. It's far more likely that other social and political reasons were the rationale for keeping them out.
MYTH #7: There is no scientific basis for palmistry. Palmistry is often associated with a number of other so-called "New Age" philosophies or systems that have somewhat tenuous scientific support, at least as we understand science today. Despite this perception by many people, the fact remains that palmistry is one of the few psychic sciences that has received a good deal of attention by 19th and 20th century scientists.
The number of reputable researchers that have studied palmistry is too lengthy to list here, but it is worth noting that the result has been of great value to modern day doctors who are able to diagnose many medical and psychological conditions by examining the patterns found in the hands of their patients.
MYTH #8: You must be psychic to read palms. The truth about this one is, "Not necessarily." It is entirely possible to give a meaningful and accurate palm reading by using the basic interpretations found in any reputable book on palmistry.
It is true that many palm readers build on their book-knowledge by accessing their intuitive skills, but these skills are available to just about everyone who is willing to work at developing them.
Far more important to a fulfilling palm reading is a genuine desire to be helpful. With a caring spirit and a good understanding of palmistry, you don't have to possess "amazing" psychic powers.
MYTH #9: Your Life line predicts when you're going to die. This is one of the most common misconceptions I hear whenever the subject of palmistry comes up. Its origin probably dates back to the Middle Ages when someone in their thirties was considered to be a senior citizen, so at the time, it probably was a safe bet for a fortune teller to predict an early death for just about anyone.
In these days of antibiotics and long life, the Life line has little or no value as an indicator of how long you will live. What it IS good for is determining the quality of life you are likely to enjoy, and we'll take a closer look at that in just a bit.
MYTH #10: You are doomed by the lines in your hand. This idea has even less truth to it than the last one. To begin with, you need to understand that the lines in your hand are created by your conscious and sub-conscious thoughts. Bio-electrical impulses generated by your thoughts are transmitted to your hands, and over time create the lines seen in your palms. The fact is that the lines in your hand change over time based on your thoughts and experiences. Knowing this, it's easy to see that the lines in your hand represent potential outcomes, NOT unchangeable truths.
As I tell my students and clients, if you don't like something you see in your hand - change it. You each have the ability to change your life - and the world, if you put your mind to it.
Now, if you look in your hand and see a line that indicates that you will be a failure in business because of your stubborn nature, AND you then use this as an excuse for why you'll never succeed in business, that's a different story. That's called a self-fulfilling prophesy. It's a choice that YOU make, and has absolutely nothing to do with the lines in your hand.
You may have heard the expression, "your destiny is in your hands." This is true, but it is critical to understand that your destiny begins in your mind long before it can be seen in your hands. The choices you make and the way you use your creative intelligence determines your destiny, and the future of those around you as well.
PALMISTRY is an interesting study and well worth your while. It has all the charm of exploration and discovery. If you have never observed the hands of your friends when at rest and relaxed, do so at your next opportunity and see how much you can learn of character and temperament from them. Next to the face, the human hand is the most expressive and revealing thing in the world.
To begin with, the reader of palms must examine the hands as a whole, that is their size, shape, texture, feel, and position when relaxed. For a right-handed person, the left hand is 'the hand you are born with' and thus the one which shows inherited qualities. The right hand is 'the hand you make,' or the active hand which shows what you have accomplished. Read the right hand, therefore, and use the left for reference except in the case of left-handed individuals, when the process is reversed.
The following simple rules can be understood by any novice, and a little practice will enable you to become quite proficient in detecting the aims and ambitions of your subject.
Hands fall into four main classes, represented by the classic elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. As convenient as it may be to construct these four classes, in actual practice most hands are a mixture of these types and should be read in relation to the type they most resemble.
The Earth Hand is a square hand with short fingers, and belongs to the practical person who is generally conventional and methodical, although this can sometimes manifest itself as stubborness.
The Air Hand is a square hand with long fingers, and is the hand of the analytical thinker and quick wit. Often the center of interest, life is never dull when you're around.
The Fire Hand is a rectangular hand with short fingers, and belongs to the person who has no trouble saying what's on their mind. Although sometimes volatile emotionally, the Fire Hand will always live life to its fullest.
The Water Hand is a rectangular hand with long fingers, and its own is most likely to be artistic, imaginative and inwardly emotional. Such a hand is found in the versatile people who are very creative, but have a tendency to think up more ideas than they actually follow through on.
Long fingers, if well proportioned indicate an intellectual nature and are found in the thinkers of the world. Long fingers love detail, however, and are sometimes prone to curiosity and worry.
Short fingers are characteristic of doers. They are impulsive in thought and action, good organizers, but cannot be bothered with detail.
Smooth-jointed fingers are characteristic of the analytical and deliberate soul, who seldom does anything without good reason.
The knotty-fingered person is quick to jump at conclusions, but can always be depended upon.
The thumb is extremely important as an index of character and calls for special attention. If straight and well shaped, it shows intellect and determination; if supple and easily bent backward, impulsiveness and generosity. These people are broadminded and liberal, but allow others to impose upon them. Stiff-jointed thumbs belong to those who are less adaptable, more reserved and cautious. They can control themselves, and others too.
Fingers set evenly on a line above the mounts indicate success.
Fingers set wide apart from each other show intelligence and extreme independence of thought and action.
If the fingers have a tendency to curl over the palm, secretiveness is indicated.
The artistic person can often be recognized by his long filbert-shaped nails. Theirs is the gentle nature that craves for beauty. Shorter nails are found in the analytical, critical type, keen and sharp-witted. Square nails show a logical disposition and excessively broad ones a tendency to quarrelsomeness.
The mounts are the fleshy cushions at the base of the fingers and on each side of the palm. A mount is good when it is evenly developed, well placed and firm to the touch.
The Mount of Jupiter is at the base of the first finger. Normally developed, it indicates a proper amount of pride and ambition; if overdeveloped, arrogance and vindictiveness; under-developed, idleness, lack of initiative.
The Mount of Saturn is found below the second finger. Normally developed, it indicates a thoughtful and serious mind; if over-developed, a tendency to morbidity, suspicion and miserliness; under-developed, a trifler.
The Mount of Apollo is at the base of the third finger. If well-developed, it indicates love of life, gaiety and an appreciation of artistic things. If over developed, however, vanity and a desire for flattery.
The Mount of Mercury is beneath the little finger. If well-developed, it shows strong mental activity and keen judgment; if under-developed, it suggests not much personality and a lack of humor.
The Mount of Luna is at the side of the palm opposite thumb, and indicates imagination and creative ability. If large, it indicates the idealistic temperament; if small, the realistic.
The Mount Of Venus is at the base of the thumb. A normally developed mount is found in the warm-hearted person who loves gaiety and romance. If there are many criss-cross marks upon it, strong attraction for the opposite sex; if it is flat, the subject may be cold and unresponsive.
Contrary to popular belief, the lines in the hand DO change as life goes on. The life story is written in the palm. In the so-called lucky hand, the lines are clear and untroubled. The "unlucky hand" is just the opposite, with the lines crossed and recrossed with other tiny lines. In most hands there are indications of periodic good fortune alternating with harassed intervals.
The Life Line begins between the thumb and first finger and continues around the base of the thumb towards the wrist.
If long and unbroken and strongly marked, long life and robust health is indicated. If completely broken, there is potential for an accident or illness.
The fortunate person who possesses a secondary line parallel to the Life Line is assured of protection against such accidents or illness.
When made up of islands, resembling links of a chain, it is a sign of low vitality.
Separate islands mean that health may be below par for the duration of the period represented by the island.
If forked at the base of the hand, the person will travel a long distance from place of birth.
The Head Line begins between the thumb and first finger and crosses the hand obliquely.
The Practical Head Line is long, straight and clear, and indicates practical common sense, a good memory and a forceful mind.
The Imaginative Head Line displays a perceptible downward slant, indicating an imaginative and creative disposition. If the line is short, it indicates a "let's get to the point" individual.
If the Head Line is forked at the end, it indicates someone who is good at writing. If joined with the Life Line at beginning, slow development.
If joined with Heart Line, a constant struggle between inclination and common sense.
The Heart line runs across the hand at the base of the mounts.
The Physical Heart line is a curving line and is the sign of someone who can express their emotions with ease.
The Mental Heart line is a straight line and indicates someone who often has difficulty showing their true feelings.
A long, clear and medium-colored Heart line is an indication of steady and loyal affection.
Breaks in the line indicate serious disappointments in love. Islands represent emotional separation.
Fine lines dropping downwards from the Heart line suggest a series of disappointing relationships.
The Marriage Line lies at the base of the little finger above the Heart line. The nearer it is to the latter, the earlier the marriage. It should lie straight and clear on both hands, for the short lines mean merely short-lived affairs that do not result in marriage.
At one time it was said that if the Marriage Line ended in an island, marriage would end in scandal.
Multiple Marriage lines can indicate multiple serious relationships, and in some cases may represent divorce and remarriage with same partner.
Children Lines are perpendicular and are found at the base of the little finger towards the edge of the hand, and above the marriage line.
Straight and strong lines indicate boys.
Finer, slightly sloped lines indicate girls.
If long and running up toward little finger, the child will have a successful career.
The Fate Line is the center line mounting from the base of the hand up toward the second finger.
If straight and unbroken, a steady march to success is indicated. If broken, there will be setbacks.
If unbroken, a safe career that is free from violent change is suggested.
If broken, with a gap between the two ends, some time will elapse between the end of one occupation and the beginning of another.
Islands in the Fate Line indicate periods of difficulty and anxiety. Their duration is shown by the length of the island.
If the Fate Line ends with a clear cross, a career ending in danger is suggested.
If there is no Fate Line, the individual will place other priorities ahead of their career.
The Line of Success runs from the base of the third finger towards the wrist and is a very fortunate one to possess. When coming out of the Fate Line itself, it accentuates any success promised by that line.
Travel lines are found low down on the side of the hand near the commencement of the Fate Line.
The Bracelets, at the wrist, show vitality and personal magnetism. If clearly defined and unbroken, good health and happiness is indicated. At one time, a curve in the first bracelet was said to be a sign of difficulty relating to fertility, but I can tell you from experience that this is not entirely accurate.
Small lines from the bracelet to the Mount of Luna, travel in foreign countries.
The stars with but few exceptions are all signs of good luck and are pointers on the road to success.
On the Mount of Jupiter: material and social success.
On the Mount of Saturn: not a good position, persistent challenges are presented to you.
On the Mount of Apollo: riches, fame and glory. Happiness does not always go with wealth, however.
On the Mount of Mercury: success in mental and scientific pursuits. Also promise of a prosperous career.
On the Mount of Luna: imaginative and creative qualities promise brilliant success in the domain of invention, or literature.
On the Mount of Venus: the great lovers of the world bear this star on their hands.
The cross is an unfortunate sign and generally foretells interference of some kind, affecting any line at the point where it occurs.
The square is a mark which indicates preservation from danger. You will escape whatever danger is threatened.
Islands are important and not fortunate. They indicate periods of adversity and weaken the quality of any line in which they occur.
The Great Triangle
The Great Triangle is formed by the Life, Head and Health lines. The larger it is, the better it is for you.
The Quadrangle is the space between the Heart and Head lines. The fewer small lines upon it the better. If even and well shaped, a balanced mind is indicated.
Various methods are used to estimate time and to place events. The following are general rules:
Life line normally about 80 years. Read it downwards.
Read Head Line from beginning between thumb and first finger. Date Heart Line from beginning between first and second fingers.
Read Fate and Success Lines upwards from wrist.
Where Fate Line cuts the Head Line is normally 30 years. Where Fate Line cuts Heart Line is normally 50 years.
Palmistry, Love & You, or, "How Can Palmistry Help Me Find My One True Love?"
Using a knowledge of palmistry and a little common sense, you can easily identify whether a relationship will be marked by compatibility or constant confrontation. Luckily, the points to check and compare are relatively few in number.
Step One: Compare Hand Shapes
Using the Elemental Hand System, you can determine the extent to which you will be compatible with someone else.
Do you both have the same type of hand? This is a good sign that you will get along well. For example, two Earth hands will share a similar approach to life in general, and would be in agreement a majority of the time.
If the hand types are different, you'll need to consider how well the elements each hand represents go together, as there are both positive and negative combinations. For example, Air and Fire would be an excellent combination, since Fire thrives on the presence of Air. Air and Earth is another good combination, since all living things prosper when they receive the proper amounts of Air and Earth.
A negative combination would be Water and Fire, since too much Water will extinguish Fire, and too much Fire puts Water on the boil.
Water and Air would at first glance appear to be a good combination since we need both for existence, but in reality this combination would be a neutral combination since in nature mixing the two elements doesn't really produce much of anything.
Step Two: Compare Heart Lines
The next features to compare in each hand are the Heart lines. Here the critical aspects to examine are what types of Heart lines are in each hand, and where they end.
The best sign of compatibility is when each have similar types of Heart lines, and end in the same place. Two Physical Heart lines will get along well, as will two Mental Heart lines. This is not to say that a Physical Heart line and a Mental Heart line won't be compatible, but to make this determination you'll need to compare where each of the lines ends.
The optimal ending positions of the Heart line would be between the Jupiter and Saturn fingers, as this would indicate that both people have learned to balance their personal needs with the needs of others, and have fairly realistic expectations of others.
If both hands have Heart lines that end under the Jupiter finger, both people will have a tendency to be idealistic, and easily hurt and disappointed when the other person doesn't live up to their vision of what a relationship should be like.
In a similar manner, if both Heart lines finish under the Saturn finger, both people will be somewhat self-centered and place their needs ahead of the other person's in just about every situation.
The most difficult combination to imagine would be where one line ends under the Jupiter finger and the other ends under the Saturn finger. In a combination like this, one person would certainly place himself or herself first in the relationship, much to the disappointment of the other.
If the Heart lines end in similar positions, the relationship can certainly work, but each partner will need to be aware of how the other experiences their emotional life and how they relate to others.
For example, the Mental Heart line person will not be as expressive as their Physical Heart line partner, and will need to work at being more open with their emotions. On the other side of the relationship, the Physical Heart line partner will need to understand that their partner does in fact have deep emotions, but prefers to keep them inside. It would be wise for the Physical Heart line partner to bring out their mate's emotional side by reminding them with signs of affection such as flowers, cards, and verbal expressions.
Step Three: Compare Thumbs
A third checkpoint for compatibility is the comparison of the thumbs. Ideally, the thumbs should be alike. Remember that the flexibility of the thumb is an indication of how flexible or unyielding a person can be. The pairing of two people, one with a pliable thumb and the other a stiff thumb, would be characterized by the domination of one by the other.
A good match would be two people with flexible thumbs, indicating that they would both be willing to give a little when a confrontation came up. On the other side of the compatibility coin, two people with stiff, inflexible thumbs might seem like a bad match, but the relationship could be saved if they both learned the art of compromise.
Step Four: Compare the Mounts of Venus
The last feature to compare would be the respective Mounts of Venus. As with the other compatibility features, the more similar the Mounts of Venus are, the more compatible will be the two people. Since the Mount of Venus is an indication of a person's approach to their sexuality, a large difference in the dimensions of a couple's Mounts of Venus could very well spell incompatible views on the importance and frequency of intimacy in the relationship.