Palmistry is the practice of telling fortunes from the lines, marks, and patterns on the hands.
Palmistry was practiced in many ancient cultures, such as India, China and Egypt. The first book on the subject appeared in the 15th century. The term ‘chiromancy’ comes from the Greek word for hand (cheir). The most famous nineteenth century palmist, even today is known as Cheiro.
Palmistry was used during the Middle Ages to detect witches. It was believed that certain spots on the hand indicated that the person is associated with devil spirits in one form or the other. Initially, Palmistry was condemned by the Catholic Church but in the 17th century it was taught at several German universities. Britain outlawed palmistry in the 18th century. It became popular enough in America in the 20th century.
According to Ann Fiery (The Book of Divination), if you are right handed, your left hand indicates inherited personality traits and your right hand indicates your individuality and fulfillment of potential. The palmist claims to be able to read the various lines on your hand. These lines are given names like the life line, the head line, the heart line, the Saturne line. The life line supposedly indicates physical vitality, the head line intellectual capacity, the heart line emotional nature, etc.
Some palmists mimics metoposcopy or physiognomy. It claims that you can tell what a person is like by the shape of their hands. Creative people have fan-shaped hands and sensitive souls have narrow, pointy fingers and fleshy palms, etc. There is not as much scientific support for such notions as there is for personology or phrenology. All such forms of divination seem to be based on sympathetic magic and intuition.
The authors of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Palmistry, Robin Giles and Lisa Lenard, claim that palmistry works because your hand changes as you act and feel. They claim to have a few anecdotes to back them up on this, without producing scientific evidence. They also think that cloning makes it much easier for us to understand how palmistry works. “Palmistry is possible because you are represented in your hand. No two hands are alike because you–and your cells–are unique.” True, and they are as likely to discover whether I will marry a rich woman or find the job of my dreams by looking at my cells as by looking at my palms.
Although you can often tell a lot about a person by examining his or her hands, there is no scientific support for the claim that you tell such things as whether you will inherit money or find your true love from the lines or marks on your hands. I suspect that many of those who think they have found support for palmistry are living in a fool’s paradise.
The desire for knowledge of the future seems to be at the root of palmistry and other forms of divining secret knowledge through paranormal revelations. Also, fortune tellers relieve us of the obligation to gather evidence and think about that evidence. Our palmists and graphologists, etc., also relieve us of the difficult task of evaluating the consequences of taking various actions. They absolve us of the responsibility of decision-making.
Palmistry is not as accurate as astrology and therefore can not pin point the exact happenings as also the exact time of happenings. To put it the other way palmistry seems to be partly dependent on astrological data such as date of birth, time of birth and place of birth for making predictions. It is therefore advisable and will be in the fitness of things if these two para sciences are combined to arrive at a conclusion.