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HomeDivinationWhat is Palmistry? A Brief Introduction to an Ancient Art

What is Palmistry? A Brief Introduction to an Ancient Art

The following provides an very basic introduction to palmistry and the art itself requires deep study and investigation. As always, please take caution with this modalities and satisfy yourself that they are the right one for you. Always practice spiritual hygiene.

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Definition of Palmistry

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Palmistry as the practice of telling fortunes from the lines, marks, and patterns on the palms of the hands.

Palmistry is also called chiromancy, palm-reading, chirology, or hand-analysis.


Though its precise origins remain unknown, it’s believed that palmistry began in ancient India, spreading throughout the Eurasian landmass to China, Tibet, Persia, Egypt, and Greece. In fact, Aristotle detailed palm reading in his work De Historia Animalium (History of Animals) 2,500 years ago. It was his view that “Lines are not written into the human hand without reason.”

It was said to be practiced by the Brahmins of Ancient India. Palmistry can also be regarded as a part of Astrology. Records of practice of Palmistry are also seen in countries such as China, Tibet, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Ancient Greece.

Cheiro was the most famous practitioner of palmistry in modern times. He was born in Ireland and had predicted many incidents of his time. For example, he correctly foretold the Boer War, death of Queen Victoria, assassination of King Umberto of Italy, a year or so before each of these incidents occurred. He also had predicted the infamous Great Depression all over the world. He correctly predicted the outbreak and end of World War 1 before it happened. Cheiro wrote a number of valuable books on Palmistry.

How is it Done?

Palmistry is based on reading the lines on the hand. Palmists say that by reading the lines of a person’s hand, it is quite possible to tell about the person’s past, present and future. They say that positioning of the lines in the hand is the key to determining the subject’s past, present, and future.

The basics of Palmistry are said to be quite simple as opposed to the popular belief that it is something mysterious. The fleshy part of the hand and the structure of the fingers reveal a lot about the subject. Palmists claim that predictions through Palmistry have scientific basis, even though the scientists worldwide have their own opinion regarding this topic. Scientists claim that Palmistry does not have any scientific basis.

Which Palms Should You Read?

Many readers believe it’s important to analyze both the left and right hands with the non-dominant hand reveals natural personality and character, while the dominant hand shows how these traits have been actualized in practice.

Palmistry takes time, practice, and expertise. When beginning your analysis, it’s best to start with larger observations and work your way into more nuanced detail.

Take your time and pose a few questions. What is the texture of the hand? Is the front smooth? Rough? Moist? Dry? Are the fingers manicured or dirty? Nothing should be overlooked in divination practices as everything has meaning.

Metaphysical Practitioner, ALIZA KELLY, has this to say, on the matter.

According to the Palmists, the dominant hand of a person reveals the current and future trends. On the other hand, the passive hand reveals the person’s childhood. Palmists see a definite pattern in the lines on the palm. These lines have been classified into the heart line, head line, life line, fate line etc. Each of these lines will interpret different aspects of one’s life.”

Hand And Finger Combinations In Palmistry

Before reading the palm, look at the fingers to see if they are short or long. This isn’t always easy to gauge when you’re just beginning, but a little practice will enable you to assess the finger length at a glance. The fingers are considered long if they can fold back and touch a spot at least seven-eights of the way along the palm. Unfortunately, there are exceptions, as some people have extremely flexible hands while others are very stiff. Also, someone with an extremely oblong palm may have long fingers that only reach halfway down the palm, as the palm itself is very long.

With experience, you’ll be able to look at someone’s palm and instantly know if the fingers are long or short. The problems usually come when you’re first learning and find a hand with fingers that seem to be neither long nor short. Lets have a look at what’s involved.

Long Fingers– If the fingers are long, the person pays attention to detail and you can say: You enjoy complex work. You are patient and enjoy the details in things. Your work must be very consuming and gratifying. If it’s too simple you lose interest very quickly.

Short Fingers– Someone with short fingers is almost the opposite. They’ll be more interested in the broad strokes rather than the details and won’t have much patience. You could say: You’re always busy. Sometimes you may start something new before you’ve finished the last task. You often have several things going on at the same time. You tend to want everything right now, so patience is not your strong suit. Your impulsiveness has gotten you into trouble in the past. In some ways you are a jack-of-all-trades.

Medium Length Fingers– Naturally, someone with fingers that are neither long nor short will fall into a middle category. You might say: At times you can be very patient. However, at other times you’re inclined to jump first and think later. If something really interests you, you want to get right down to the bottom of it and work it all out. If it’s only a passing interest, you’re more inclined to skim over it and not learn it in much detail.

We now have four possibilities to look at:

1. Square hands with short fingers (Earth Hand)

2. Square hands with long fingers (Air Hand)

3. Oblong hands with short fingers (Fire Hand)

4. Oblong hands with long fingers (Water Hand)

The Four Elements: Fire, Earth, Air and Water

This is the classification used in Chinese palmistry. It comes from Fred Gettings monumental book, The Book of the Hand. The four types are named after the four elements of the ancients: Fire, Earth, Air and Water. These relate very well to the descriptions of the Fire, Earth, Air and Water signs of astrology, but it does not necessarily mean that a Sagittarian (a Fire sign), would have a Fire hand. You’ll find people with all four types of hands in every sign of the Zodiac.

Fire Hands– Fire is hot, energizing and constantly moving. It can provide gentle heat, but can also burn. Consequently it needs careful handling. A Fire hand is oblong with short fingers. Someone with a hand like this is likely to be emotional, enthusiastic and creative. The short fingers mean a dislike for detail. The long palm adds intuition. For someone with a hand like this you might say:


You have a great mind, full of wonderful ideas. These ideas excite you. Your enthusiasm may not last for long, but it’s extremely important to you at the time. Your emotions can be a bit hard to handle at times, but they enable you to experience life to the fullest. Details are not your strong point and you tend to prefer the overall picture to the fiddly bits. You are likely to be creative and need to be busy to be happy.

Earth Hands– Earth is the dry, solid part of our planet. Everything that happens on earth is subject to the natural rhythms of germination, growth, death and decay. Earth is timeless and expresses stability. However, below its surface all sorts of changes are constantly occurring. This can lead to earthquakes and other upheavals. The Earth hand is very like the practical hand. It consists of a square palm and short fingers. People with this type of hand are reliable, down-to-earth and practical. They enjoy repetitive work and are good with their hands. They enjoy rhythm. They are conservative, reserved, and possessive.

However, like earth itself, they can also react violently if they deem it necessary.

You might say to someone with Earth hands: You’re a hard worker. You enjoy physical challenges and your hands can think for themselves. You can be stubborn at times, and you don’t easily change your mind. You enjoy rhythm and movement. You’re not usually good with details, unless you’re making something. You probably prefer working outdoors, doing something practical. You’re reliable, honest and somewhat reserved.

Air Hands– Air is essential for life. We take it for granted and seldom notice it, except on windy days. Air is also essential for communications, as it carries sound waves. Creatures of the air, such as birds and flying insects, are fast moving and active. The Air hand consists of a square palm and long fingers. These people tend to use logic more than intuition. They’re quick-witted and express themselves clearly. They enjoy communicating and often have careers that utilize their skills. Their strong emphasis on logic means these people tend to distrust emotions, both their own and other peoples. We could say something along these lines to someone with Air hands: You’re intelligent, clear-thinking and discriminating. Relationships are important to you, but you sometimes find logic getting in the way of your feelings. You’re reliable and like to do things completely. You’re a stimulating companion and life is never dull when you’re around.

Water Hands- Finally, water. If you think about it, water is essentially still. Other forces have to act upon it to make it change. It’s also shapeless as it simply moves to fill up whatever space is available. The Moon has a strong influence on water, creating the tides in our oceans. The saying, still waters run deep, is very pertinent to the Water Hand. The Water Hand consists of an oblong palm with long fingers. It’s sometimes called the intuitive hand, as these people are extremely aware and receptive. People with this type of hand are changeable, impressionable and emotional. They’re idealistic and highly imaginative.

To someone with water hands, you could say: You have an extremely rich inner life. Your imagination is keen and you fantasize about just about everything. You can be influenced by others, so you’re flexible with your ideas. Your intuition is strong. You’re emotional. If you’re interested in someone, you love spending time with them. You also need time by yourself to reflect on your own life. You are happiest inside the right relationship with someone to depend and rely upon.

palms main lines

The Main Lines to Look Out For

There are many different insights into what the various lines on the palms mean the following providing the most basic meanings. For instance, some tradition see the fate line as also serving as the money line. Please investigate further to satisfy your own curiosity.

  • Life line: health and physical vitality
  • Heart line: love and emotion
  • Money line: career and fortune
  • Head line: intelligence and mentality
  • Marriage line: married life and relationships
  • Fate line: your path in life
  • Sun line:  capability, talent and popularity
  • Health Line: health and physical vitality

Palmistry is quite popular in India. It is a part of everyday life for many Indians. They will consult the Palmist for almost every activity of their lives. For special occasions like marriage, setting up of a new business, birth of a child, starting a new profession etc, a visit to a Palmist has become a must. A palmist will examine the hand carefully and advise the clients about their next activity. The palmists say that there is a relation between the lines in one’s palm, the planetary motions, and one’s life.

At this time in our history Palmistry appears to be gaining popularity even among the western public, perhaps because human beings have become more concerned about their future than ever before and are looking for intuitive insights.


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