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Palm Reader's model hand

Cheiromancy or Chiromancy (from the Greek "cheir," meaning "hand," plus "manteia," meaning "divination") -- also known as Palmistry, Hand Reading, Palm Reading, Mitt Reading, Chirology, or Hand Analysis -- is the art of character analysis and the foretelling of the future through the study of the palm of the hand.

The practice of palmistry is found all over the world, with numerous cultural variations. It may be practiced by spiritual workers as a prelude to altar work and prayer for a client or as a secular form of character analysis and fortune telling. Those who practice cheiromancy are generally called Palmists, Palm Readers, Hand Readers, Mitt Readers, Hand Analysts, or Chirologists.

The shape, lines, mounds, and marks on the hand are used by palmists both for character analysis and for foretelling the future for clients. Most cheiromancers and hoodoo hand readers work only in person, but some will psychically read palm-prints or hand-scans.


The History of Cheiromancy or Reading the Hand

A hand-reader foretells her client's future in Harry Roseland's 1909 painting, "The Palmist"
The Palmograph Fortune Chart was a large wall poster printed on thin newsprint that palmists used to sell at carnival "mitt camps" or hand-reading parlours during the 1920s - 1960s; it shows and describes all the lines and mounts of the hand and explains their symbolic meaning
A neon sign advertising a palm reader's establishment
The major lines of the hand as defined by the author Cheiro, in his book "Palmistry for All," published in 1916
While most readers at AIRR will read for clients by telephone, email, postal mail, or text -- if you want a traditional hoodoo hand-reading, you will have to travel to meet your palmistry professional in person
This palm reader's storefront display features a neon sign, three model palmistry hands and an open Bible
The major mounds of the hand, generally called the mounts, as defined by the author Cheiro, in his book "Palmistry for All," first published in 1916
A roadside palmistry parlour sign
Biological, genetic, and medical indications are noted in the hand by science-based palmists

The roots of Palmistry have been traced back to India, whence came today's Roma or Gypsy fortune tellers. More than 5,000 years ago. the Hindu sage Valmiki is thought to have written a book, whose title translates in English as "The Teachings of Valmiki Maharshi on Male Palmistry," comprising 567 stanzas on the subject.

From India, the art of palmistry spread to China, Tibet, Egypt, Persia, and Europe. It is said to have been practiced in China as early as 3,000 B.C. and remains popular there to this day. In ancient Greece, the philosopher-scientists Anaxagoras and Pythagoras played a part in the development of European trends in palmistry. In a book titled Physiognomy and Palmistry, Pythagoras, sometimes known as the "Father of Numbers," discussed palm reading and traced the practice's roots in Greece back to 497 B.C.

The 19th and 20th centuries saw the development of great interest in the subject in France, England, and the Americas. Among the seminal modern books on the subject were La Chirognomie by Captain Casimir Stanislas D'Arpentigny (1839) and Les Mysteres de la Main by Adrien Adolphe Desbarolles (1859).

In 1889 Katherine Saint-Hill founded the Chirological Society of Great Britain, and in 1897 Edgar de Valcourt-Vermont, who wrote under the pen-name "Comte de St Germain," founded the American Chirological Society. Both of these groups supported the study of hand reading, which led to rapid expansion of interest in the subject.

In 1894 Louis Hamon, writing under the pen-name "Cheiro," published Cheiro's Language of the Hand, a perennially popular text, which was followed in 1916 by his equally popular Palmistry for All. William Benham's The Laws of Scientific Hand Reading (1900) was another important book on the subject, and in 1969, Fred Gettings introduced an influential new system of hand-typing in The Book of the Hand, which has had a lasting effect on modern palmists.

Today, palmistry is among the most widely practiced forms of character divination in the world. Skilled and gifted hand readers can be found practicing their art in store-front reading parlours, at posh hotels, at private entertainment parties, at psychic fairs, and at carnival and county fair "mitt camps" the length and breadth of America.

Techniques of Palmistry and Hand Reading

Chiromancy consists of the practice of evaluating a client's character or future life by reading the palm of the client's hand.

The hand reader takes into account the shape of the hand and fingers, the various palmar creases or lines; such as the "heart line," "life line," and "head line;" and the mounts or bumps on the palm, such as the "mount of Venus," "mount of the Moon," and "mount of the Sun. Additionally, many readers also examine the relative length of the fingers, the shape and condition of the fingernails, skin texture, as well as the fingerprints, and palmar skin patterns, which are called dermatoglyphics. Finally, the palmist may make note of the relative flexibility of the client's hand and the strength of the hand and finger muscles when slight pressure is exerted against them. All of these physical characteristics suggest interpretations by their relative sizes, shapes, and qualities.

Some palm readers begin by reading the client's dominant hand, that is, the hand he or she writes with or uses the most. Others ask to see both hands at the same time and begin with a comparison between the two, because in some traditions of palmistry, the non-dominant hand is believed to carry hereditary or family traits. For instance, a right-handed client with a stiff left hand and a flexible right hand may be said to have come from a rigid, inflexible family, and to have become more adaptable and welcoming to change since leaving home.

The symbolic framework for classical Western palmistry is rooted in astrology and uses terms inherited from the ancient religions of Greece and Rome. Each area of the palm and fingers is related to one of the Greek or Roman planetary gods or goddess, such as Apollo, Venus, or Luna, and the features found on that area of the palm indicate the nature of the corresponding aspect of the subject. For example, the ring finger is associated with the Greek Sun god Apollo, and thus the characteristics of the ring finger are tied to the client's dealings with art, music, aesthetics, fame, and harmony -- all areas over which that god had dominion in ancient Greece.

Reading by Hand Shape

In most schools of palmistry, hand shapes are divided into four or 10 major types, generally determined by a visual analysis of the relative sizes of the palm and fingers; the prominence of the knuckles; and other attributes of the hand shape. These types are often named after the Classical elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) or four temperaments (Practical, Philosophical, Artistic, Psychic). Hand shapes indicate broad or general character traits corresponding to the symbolism of the type (e.g., a "Fire hand" would exhibit high energy, creativity, short temper, ambition, and other qualities related to the Classical element of Fire).

Although variations abound, the most common classifications used by modern palmists:

  • Earth or Practical hands are identified by broad, square palms and fingers, and thick or coarse skin.
  • Air or Philosophical hands have rectangular palms with long fingers, knobby knuckles, low-set thumbs, and dry skin.
  • Water or Psychic hands have short, sometimes oval-shaped palms, with long, flexible, conical fingers, and smooth skin.
  • Fire or Artistic hands are characterized by a square or rectangular palm, and shorter fingers with smooth skin.

In some traditions of palmistry, Earth and Water hands are said to have fewer, deeper lines, while Air and Fire hands are more likely to show more lines with less clear definition.

Reading the Lines of the Hand

Three lines are found on almost all hands, and thus are generally given most weight by palmists:

  • The Heart Line is the first of the major lines examined by a reader. It is found towards the top of the palm, under the fingers. Palmists interpret this line to represent matters of the heart, both physical and metaphorical, and believe it can indicate emotional stability, romantic perspectives, in addition to various aspects of cardiac health.
  • The Head Line starts at the edge of the palm under the index finger and runs across the palm towards the outside edge. Often, the head line is joined with the life line at inception. Palmists generally interpret this line to represent the person's mind and the way it works, including learning style, communication style, intellectualism, and thirst for knowledge.
  • The Life Line extends from the edge of the palm above the thumb and travels in an arc towards the wrist. This line represents the person's vitality and vigor, as well as physical health and general well being. It also reflects major life changes, including cataclysmic events, physical injuries, and relocations.

Additional major lines or variations include:

  • The Fate Line runs from the bottom of the palm near the wrist, up through the center of the palm towards the middle finger. This line is symbolic of the person's life path, including school and career choices, successes and obstacles. Not everyone has a fate line.
  • The Single Palmar Crease or Simian Line is the name given to the fusing of the heart line and head line. This line signifies that the subject's emotional nature and reasoning powers are blended. Although always rare, it is more common in some racial populations than others; additionally, in all races it may be a marker of serious genetic abnormalities.

Some minor lines:

  • The Sun Line or Apollo Line runs parallel to the Fate Line, from the Mount of the Moon at the wrist to beneath the Apollo or ring finger; it indicates either a fortunate life or artistic talent.
  • The Health Line or Mercury Line or Hepatic Line runs from the bottom of the palm near the wrist, up through the palm towards the Mercury or little finger; it is an indicator of health issues (one may be ill or one may be a healer), business acumen, and skill in communication.
  • The Line of Intuition or Psychic Line runs along the Mount of the Moon and is parallel to the Health Line, but closer to the percussive edge of the hand; it indicates psychic ability; if it crosses the health Line, it indicates intuitive diagnostic abilities.
  • The Girdle of Venus runs in a rough arc under the ring and middle fingers to end between the middle and pointer fingers; it relates to artistry and the ability to manipulate others.
  • The Ring of Solomon is a curved line at the base of the index or Jupiter finger that is parallel to, but below the crease at the base of the finger. It indicates the ability to communicate with animals. It may be complete or partial, and the closer it is to complete, the more potential the person has for a career related to animal communication.
  • Travel Lines are short horizontal lines on the percussive edge of the palm between the wrist and the heart line; each line represents a trip taken by the subject; the longer the line, the more important the trip is to the subject.
  • Union Lines are short horizontal lines on the percussive edge of the palm between the Heart Line and the bottom of the Mercury or little finger; they indicate close relationships which are sometimes, but not always, romantic.
  • Other Markings - these include stars, crosses, triangles, squares, tridents, and rings under each of the fingers; their meaning varies by location on the palm and their relationship to other lines.

Reading the Mounds or Mounts of the Hand

Cheirognomy is the study of mounts in cheiromancy. Each mount correlates to a planetary influence in the astrological sense.

  • The Mount of Venus is below the thumb. It relates to passion.
  • The Mount of Jupiter is below the index finger. It relates to wealth.
  • The Mount of Saturn is below the middle finger. It relates to duty and honour.
  • The Mount of the Sun is below the ring finger. It relates to artistry and fame.
  • The Mount of Mercury is below the little finger. It relates to communication.
  • The Lower Mount of Mars or Positive Mount of Mars is below the mount of Jupiter; the Upper Mount of Mars or Negative Mount of Mars is below the mounts of the Sun and Mercury, and the Plain of Mars is the flat area in the center of the palm beneath the Mount of Saturn. All of the Martian features relate to physical energy, activity, anger, and conflict.
  • The Mount of the Moon is on the lower part of the palm below the lower plain of Mars. It relates to the emotions.
  • The Mount of the Earth is the fleshy bulge on the back side of the hand that is created when the thumb and index finger are pushed against each other. It relates to practical and earthly matters.

Science and Palmistry

A considerable amount of research into palm crease and fingerprint whorl variations has been undertaken in mainstream scientific journals, generally with respect to the usefulness of these phenotypic markers in diagnosing genetic medical disorders. Such research has uncovered strong correlations between both the single palmar crease and aberrant fingerprints and chromosomal disorders such as cri du chat syndrome (chromosome 5), aberrations on chromosome 9, Noonan syndrome (chromosome 12), Patau syndrome (chromosome 13), Edward's syndrome (chromosome 18), Down syndrome (chromosome 21), and Aarskog-Scott syndrome (X-linked recessive).

Digit length, both with respect to palm lenngth and between the digits, has also been studied. Aberrant digit length and form, which can include having one or more unusually short fingers (brachydactyly) or severely incurved fingers (clinodactyly), has been scientifically correlated with numerous genetic chromosomal disorders and congenital syndromes. In addition, the relative lengths of the index finger and the ring finger with respect to one another, called the 2D:4D ratio, has been shown to be correlated with hormone tevels during fetal development, which in turn has an effect upon behaviour in adulthood.


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See Also


  • Divination and Fortune Telling by Palmistry, Cheiromancy, and Hand Reading

AIRR Readers & Rootworkers Who Perform This Work for Clients

The Association of Independent Readers & Rootworkers (AIRR) is here to help you find gifted, sincere, and honest spiritual guidance, successful counseling, and professional magical spell casting and ritual conjuration. Every independent member of AIRR has been certified for psychic ability, magical skill, and ethical reliability. Every AIRR psychic, reader, seer, diviner, scryer, root doctor, and spiritual practitioner has completed a year-long program of training in conjure, hoodoo, witchcraft, rootwork, making mojo hands, and casting powerful magick spells. All of our psychics have served the public professionally for a minimum of two years -- and in many cases, significantly longer. Certified AIRR Readers & Rootworkers who will perform this type of work to help you find love, money, protection, and luck are listed below.

Pages in category "Palmistry"

The following 6 pages are in this category, out of 6 total.






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