Etymology: chiromancy (n.) “divination by the hand, palmistry,” 1520s, from French chiromancie (14c.), from Medieval Latin chiromantia, from Late Greek kheiromanteia, fromkheiro-, comb. form of kheir “hand”
Also known as palmistry, palm reading and chirology, chiromancy is the ancient practice of examining the various folds and creases of the palm believed to reveal aspects of an individual’s personality, health and destiny. Practitioners are referred to as palmists, palm readers, hand readers, hand analysts, or chirologists. Forms of it have been found all over the world including Tibet, India, China, Persia, ancient Israel and Babylonia. From India it spread into Greece and was utilized by Alexander The Great to examine the character of his officers. Chiromancy experienced a revival in the modern era lead by an Irishman named William John Werner better known as Cheiro. Cheiro was a professional palm reader in London whose clients included high profile figures such as U.S. president Grover Cleaveland, author Oscar Wilde, inventor Thomas Edison and author Mark Twain. Cheiro was popular even among skeptics and Twain once wrote of Cheiro’s analysis saying he “…exposed my character to me with humiliating accuracy.”
The Chiromancy Guide
To read the palm, you begin with the dominant hand which is believed to represent the conscious mind. The opposite hand is believed to hold clues about hereditary traits and also information about the previous life. Chiromancy is not actually used for prognosis but it is believed that through examining the palm, negative recurring patterns can be identified and thus remediated thereby altering the course of an individual’s life path.
First, the hand shape is determined using chirognomy. Most palmistry traditions divide hand shapes into 4 major types: earth, fire, air, and water. The types correlate with the classical Greek temperaments sanguine, melancholic, phlegmatic, and choleric.
- Earth hands are recognized as having broad, square palms and fingers with thick ruddy skin.
- Air hands are characterized by broad, square palms with longer fingers, pronounced knuckles and low-set thumbs.
- Water hands exhibit long, oval shaped palms with long fingers.
- Fire hands have large square or rectangular palms with fingers that are relatively short.
When examining the palms, hand readers focus on the 3 major lines: the heart line, the head line and the life line along with a bundle of other minor lines including the fate line, and health line.
The Heart Line
The heart line represents matters of the heart, that of the emotional heart rather than the biological organ. It relates to love attraction and general feelings. The heart line is the crease found running across the upper-most part of the palm.
- Long – Warm-hearted and emotionally open.
- Short – Self centered.
- Deep – Stressful life.
- Straight – Aloof and emotionally detached.
- Wavy – Promiscuity.
- Curved – Very physical and emotionally intuitive.
- Absent – Cold and ruthless.
The Head Line
The head line represents the mind, communication style and intellect. This line runs from the index finger beneath the heart line and curves down the palm towards the outer wrist.
- Long – Indicates intelligence and strong memory.
- Straight – Pragmatic and unimaginative.
- Short – Direct and forthright.
- Deep – Excellent memory and concentration.
- Wavy – Restless and scatter-brained.
- Absent – Mental laziness and inanition.
The Life Line
The life line is associated with major life events, vitality and general well being. It’s length is not tied to life span contrary to popular belief. This line forms an arc on the palm around the base of the thumb.
- Long – Good health and vitality.
- Deep – A smooth life path.
- Faint – Uneventful life path.
- Broken line – Tumultuous life path.
- Absent – Highly strung and nervous.
- Chained line – Susceptible to health and emotional problems.
The Fate Line
This line, also known as the destiny line, is centered at the base of the palm. It represents the life path to success and potential obstacles and impediments that may thwart the individual’s goals. It is associated with choices and major decisions and their outcomes. It can also indicate controlling forces in one’s life such as domineering family members and authority figures.
The Health Line
Having this line is believed to indicate a capacity for healing others and possibly the presence of illness in the family. It may also point to the individual’s own health and indicate an illness or recovery from past illnesses. It is located at the outer edge of the palm starting near the pinky finger and running diagonally towards the center of the wrist.
The Girdle of Venus
This line is a short arc at the base of the ring and middle fingers. It is associated with sensual excitability and deep sensitivity. A bipolar nature oscillating from extreme highs and lows along with nervousness and anxiety. A “V” shaped one is said to supposedly indicate homosexuality…?