The ancient art and science of palmistry┐the original and still the most accurate form of psychoanalysis┐is not a quick study. The science of palmistry consists of being able to recognize and name the various lines, mounts, and signs. This exercises the left-hand side of the brain, the linear self. The art of palmistry consists of the interpretation of these same physical signs and how they complement each other, and this engages the right-hand side of the brain, the lateral self. To develop skill in palmistry, you need both the scientific perspective of empirical observation as well as the intuitive and artistic abilities to weave the signs into an accurate reading.
The Notes contain essential information that supplement and enhance the Workshop. There is a formidable mass of detail to be absorbed; however, a careful reading of the Notes, combined with use of the Workshop, will remove most of the difficulties usually associated with the study of palmistry.
As you work your way through the Workshop, you may finish with only a few yes answers, or a great many. Since each definition contains a statement about a characteristic, representing a single facet of a personality, the number of yes answers reflects how complex and multifaceted the subject is.
řome of the answers will be contradictory, while others will complement and tend to confirm traits. Contradictory answers reflect conflict and contradiction in the subject. Most of us are a collection of traits, habits, and characteristics mixed with coNditioning that somehow all balance out to form our individual personalities.
řt is important that you, as the palmist, take a holistic view of the subject┐s personality. Yes answers should never be considered in isolation, nor should too much weight be given to a single aspect. This is the golden rule of palmistry: marks and sig┐s must be seen as a part of a functioning whole. Negative indications are often modified by more positive signs elsewhere on the hand.
The objective is to look at the subject as a whole; to view the mass of information and to weigh it all up and see how it combines to make the subject the person he or she is.
řeferral to the palmistic map of a person is a simple and nonthreatening procedure, full of interest for the subject of the reading and the reader. Just watch the reaction of your friends when you admit you are studying palmistry. Even the skeptics want a turn!
┐he hand displays a wealth of information. The art is to weave this information into a clear portrait┐this is where intuition comes in.
Intuition constitutes the inexact segment of the science and art of palmistry. Some of you will be gifted with intuition; others will, with practice, develop it. The information that feeds intuition comes from many sources: directly from the palm┐for while you hold a subject┐s hand many subtle, unconscious impressions will be received┐and the age, gender, clothing, and body language of the subject will also convey clues. Your own life experience and knowledge will also contribute to your intuition about a particular subject.
It is important for the serious student to read as many palms as they possibly can. Intuition is a muscle that strengthens with regular exercise.
Eventually, accuracy and confidence will grow, as will knowledge, and the need to refer to the text will decrease.
Don┐t be afraid of making mistakes. Have confidence in the basic accuracy of palmistry. If a subject denies some aspect ofthemselves that is clearly marked on their hand, it is more often than not a measure of that subject┐s lack of self-knowledge.
Left and Right Hands
There are a variety of opinions concerning which hand should be read: ┐The future is shown in the right, the past in the left┐ is one such opinion. ┐Length of days is in her right hand, riches and honor are in her left┐ is a quotation from the Bible (Proverbs 3:16). However, it is more usual to read the right hand. Custom has it that potential shows in the left hand, while the right hand shows the realized personality. If the subject is left-handed, it is still usual to read the right hand, though (confusingly) sometimes the hands are reversed and the left is the right, so to speak. Only experience and instinct will tell you when you have to read the left as you would the right, and vice versa.
Another saying goes that the left hand is the one we are born with, and the right is what we have made of it.
Ńnd another has it that the right hand is read for men, while the left is read for women. Helped by relatively recent developments in psychology, modern palmistry has been able to clarify and enhance more traditional readings.
The Significance of the Left Hand
The left hand is controlled by the right brain, which regulates pattern recognition and understands the relationship between one thing and another. The left hand reflects the inner person. It is the yin aspect of the personality┐the feminine, receptive side of the self. It is the natural self, with an aptitude for art. It is the anima┐highly personal, intuitive, and erotic. And it is lateral thinking.
The left may be considered as a record of an individual┐s personal and spiritual development.
The Significance of the Right Hand
The right hand is controlled by the left brain, which regulates logic, reason, and language, and understands detail and how things work. The right hand reflects the outer person. It is the yang aspect of the personality┐the masculine, active side of the self. It is the objective self and shows the influence of social environment, education, and experience. It is concerned with practical, outward matters, such as adaptation to society and the need to make a living. And it is linear thinking.
The right hand may be seen as the individual┐s adaptation to the environment, and the influence of family and society.
It is always worthwhile to study a subject┐s hands together, taking care to note down any major differences between the left and right. The ideal would be to have left and right hands identical. The subject in such a case would prove a very balanced and integrated person, with an inner self matched to the outer personality. This is fairly rare, however.
řands can vary remarkably in shape, size, coloring, and, of course, in the major lines. These display the difference between the potential and the actual in a subject. The need to make a living and to conform often overpowers a creative talent, for instance. You are bound to find many people who have been altered by the realities of social pressures.
It is sobering to note that the left hand is often clearer and cleaner than the right, illustrating the degree of repression of the natural, intuitive, and erotic self by our society.
In the course of practice, I have come across notable exceptions to the ┐read the right hand┐ rule. These exceptions have been the lateral thinkers, the people whose right brains are dominant. In their cases, itt was correct to read the left hand.
Experience is the only way you will learn to make fine distinctions. In the meanwhile, concentrate on the right hand, regarding the left as the potential.
Reading the Lines
Lines read literally, and should be examined for irregularities of any sort. It is useful to consider the lines as power cables on a grid. Very pale, faded lines are not very effective at carrying power. Thick, bright red lines may be all too efficient at energy-bearing, making the subject overactive, hypertense, or even violent. For examples of some of the irregularities found on lines, see Figure 1.
Islands are generally a negative sign and represent split energy. They usually signify a difficult period, often of change.
As the life line represents the physical self, an island here often represents a period of ill health. It can also show divided energy┐perhaps someone who dislikes their work or their marriage.
An island on the head line may, among other things, represent mental trauma, at times as simple as disliking one┐s workplace to psychological problems, mild and severe. It can also be a record of an actual injury to the head. In addition, it may indicate divided intellectual loyalties┐perhaps the person is leading a way of life not fully accepted.
┐n the heart line, it can mean divided emotional loyalties, hence the traditional interpretation of fickleness. It may also, accompanied by other signs in the hand, indicate cardiac disease.
Dots are full stops, and indicate a distinct interruption to the flow of energy. They are traditionally considered to be a sign of crisis. They certainly represent significant events.
On the life line, dots mean a major shakeup: retrenchment, failure, demotion, and so on. On the head line, they represent intellectual crisis. On the heart line, the crisis is emotional.
Bars are blockages and often represent influences that arise outside the personality.
On the life line, these are physical events┐perhaps an actual barrier that must be faced and overcome.
On the head line, they are a sign of mental blocks that reflect worry or lack of concentration.
On the heart line, they may represent problems that arise within relationships, such as rejection and disillusionment.
Breaks are exactly that: a sign that a serious and major change to one┐s routine is at work; of energy quitting the old way and taking a new path. This new path may be negative or positive, and this may be assessed by examining the quality of the line that continues after the break.
On the life line, breaks show travel, change of job, or divorce. On the head line they represent a complete change in thinking, opinion, or attitude.
On the heart line they are an indication of a clear break in affection (a broken heart), emotional disillusionment or disappointment, and rejection.
Crosses on lines, fortunately rare, have long been considered to be negative signs. They often represent challenges to the subject: hurdles to be overcome, problems that beset everyday life.
The palmist should never forget that there are three common crosses that are fortunate, depending on location (see Crosses, pp. 12┐13). Even simply knowing about difficult character traits can help people spur their growth.
Squares are a sign of protection and good fortune wherever they are found. They represent some environmental or personal factor that assists or protects the subject in most situations.
Triangles are positive marks. They indicate talent, creative ability, and energy, and enhance the qualities of any line or mount on which they appear.
These are fairly uncommon signs that may indicate brilliance in a positive, well-formed character. In a negative hand, they may indicate disaster, either enhancing or disrupting whatever line or mount on which they appear.
When studying the lines, do not be afraid to ask the subject questions about their past. A little judicious questioning can clarify and assist your reading a great deal. You will always run up against the character who will answer your questions with ┐You┐re the palmist, you tell me.┐ My suggested reply to this is: ┐When your doctor asks where it hurts, do you reply, `Well, you┐re the doctor, you tell me┐?┐
Above all, don┐t be afraid of making mistakes!
Reading the Mounts
¸ovices often find the mounts difficult to locate and to access. It may help to consider the mounts as zones or areas on the palm, rather than look for bumps. Proper and accurate judgment of their size will only come with patience and experience.
ohere are several marks that commonly appear on the mounts (see Figure 2). For mount location, see pp. 141┐164.
Verticals are signs of vitality and energy in whatever area they are found.
řorizontals are marks indicating stress, frustration, and other problems wherever they are found. They can also represent disruptive influences. For example, on mount six (Venus), horizontals can show the interference and influence of close family and friends.
Crosses are usually considered negative signs, but there are at least three cases when crosses are a positive indication:
1: The happy marriage cross, which lies in the area directly below finger one, shows a personal disposition toward, and a talent for, fostering and nurturing relationships. Its absence, however, does not indicate the opposite.
2: The mystic cross, which is located between the head and heart lines, in the area beneath fingers two and three. According to tradition, it indicates an interest in and a talent for occult (alternative) science.
3: The battle cross, which lies between the fate and life lines toward the base of the palm. Some traditions claim it means that the subject will save a life (or has already done so), while others say it shows a very quarrelsome disposition, with a love of battle. You may make up your own mind about this cross.
Elsewhere, crosses represent trouble and worry, disappointment and unfavorable change. Here is a brief list of traditional readings:
Under finger two: A sign of an accident-prone personality; a gloomy pessimist.
Under finger three: Signals the frustrated artist; failure to translate artistic talent into material form.
Under finger four: Indicates dishonesty, exaggeration, lying, and scheming.
On mount four (Mars positive): Marks a violent nature that resorts to force as a matter of policy.
On mount eight (Moon): Shows a defect in imagination, or an overactive imagination leading to daydreaming, possible paranoia, and withdrawal into a fantasy world; a person isolated from reality.
On mount six (Venus): Some traditions say it indicates an all-consuming love, others that it signals an unhappy marriage or love affair, or family in-fighting. Once again, you may make your own judgment.
Đenerally, crosses may be interpreted as disruptions to the coping process. They usually reflect a sensitive aand delicate personality with a tendency to transform small and trivial issues into large problems.
Grilles show a scrambling of energy. They signal some form of malfunction where they occur, transforming the energy of the area so that, for example, ambition becomes unhealthy obsession, love becomes selfish sensuality, executive skill becomes bullying, and so on. It often represents confusion because the energy of the mount involved becomes scattered and undirected.
These are positive signs of protection and preservation wherever they are found.
Measurement of Time on the Major Lines
yhen considered as a diagnostic and psychoanalytic tool, the hand is unique as it includes the fourth dimension of time.
While the palm and the lines render the history of the subject accurately, the future is yet unformed, and consists of probabilities and possibilities. A competent palmist can read these probabilities, but it should be clearly understood that any predictions are only possibilities. Remember, also, that lines can change. If a hand shows distinct Řigns of future degeneration due to drug use or lifestyle, it is not necessarily an inevitable outcome. If a person changes his or her habits, the lines will change accordingly, reflecting the new future that will result. (See Notes on predicting the future on page 21.)
There are several ways to judge time on a line. Again, you will find that accuracy comes with practice.
Cheiro, a Victorian palmist, divided the major lines into ten equal parts and assigned seven years to each division. Here are two other useful methods I have found to be a fairly accurate guide (see Figure 3).
1: In Figure 3, you will see dashed, straight lines drawn downward from the bases of the fingers until they intersect the life line.
A straight line drawn down from the middle of finger one will intersect the life line at ten years of age. A straight line drawn down from between fingers one and two will intersect the life line at age twenty. A line from the middle of finger two will cross the life line at age thirty-five. After that, the life line curves away. These readings are only generally accurate, with an error factor of plus or minus a year.
2: Simply measure the line in question and divide it in half, then into quarters. If you judge the average life span to be seventy-five years, the halfway mark must be thirty-seven or thirty-eight, and the quarters will mark the nineteenth and fifty-sixth years. You could then halve the quarters, giving you the tenth, twenty-eighth, forty-seventh, and sixty-sixth years.
You must take care to read the time flow for each line in the right direction. Figure 4 shows the direction of time flow on the major lines.
There are some things you can observe before examining a subject┐s palm that will reveal a great deal about his or her character. This section is included because sometimes rings people wear can reveal some aspects of character.
The ring ought to be seen literally, i.e., the quality of the ring. It should be emphasized that these readings of personal choice in jewelry are rather judgmental and negative, reflecting Victorian values.
Modern palmists tend to see rings in two perspectives: as a one-word description (rich, tasteful, expressive, ostentatious, etc.) and as an emphasis of the qualities of the finger involved. But good palmists should always remember that, sometimes, a ring is just a ring! Otherwise, the negative, traditioonal readings should be seen as challenges for subjects to be more balanced.
All this is based, of course, on the idea that adoring oneself is somehow ┐vanity┐ and therefore bad. However, in a good, well-formed hand, the ring is a positive sign relating to the qualities of the finger.
Rings (except for those worn on the third finger of the left hand, i.e., wedding rings) may be considered an indication of difficulties within a person. The wearing of a ring tends to cut off the qualities of the finger on which it is worn. The actual size of the rings may also be significant. Small, unobtrusive rings signify a lesser influence than large, ornate rings.
The following is a brief list of the traditional meanings of the fingers.
If the finger is short, this person is troubled by an inferiority complex, and may overcompensate for the perceived lack by becoming a dominating, bullying tyrant.
If the finger is long, the person may be a chronic complainer who is never satisfied.
If the finger is short, this person is unstable and lacks self-discipline.
If the finger is long, the person is a critical, nagging complainer; a holier-than-thou troublemaker.
Whether short or long, the subject is experiencing frustration in their artistic or creative impulses; these may be caused by emotional ties, or a failure to create or exploit opportunities.
If short or long, the traditional reading is of dishonesty in business, or difficulties with relationships and sexual matters.
Indicates one who is dissatisfied with sex in general, or with their current relationships.
If the finger is short, this is a sign of an inferiority complex compensated for by internal excess, overachievement, and overindulgence in food, sex, and alcohol.
If the finger is long, this may be a person with a superiority complex who is troubled by their feelings and takes refuge in false modesty and self-depreciation.
If short, the lack of self-discipline within this person will be disguised yet visible through unreliability and instability.
If long, this may be a repressed, guilt-ridden person who suffers from inner turmoil and lack of self-respect.
Whether short or long, the wearing of more than one ring (e.g., a wedding band plus engagement, eternity, or friendship rings) indicates emotional difficulties and problems in marriage or relationships.
Whether short or long, a ring here is a sign of sexual and relationship problems, possibly inherited from the parents.
A sign of a person who experiences problems with sexual acts, and who may be frigid or impotent.
Predicting the Future
`t is unwise to try to predict the future. Despite claims to the contrary, people persist in believing in predictions, and the danger of the self-fulfilling prophecy is always present.
Just announce at any party or social gathering that you read palms, and watch the people line up for their readings. Even skeptics seldom forget what you tell them.
Unfortunately, the type of palmistry that comes to the mind of most people is of the gypsy-in-a-tea-room variety, wherein the hand is scanned briefly and is followed by an enigmatic pronouncement concerning the past and future. A stock of phrases general enough to be true for most people is used.
Palmistry deals with the person as they are at the time of the reading. Of course, the palm being a map off time as well as other dimensions, it is possible to see past and future possibilities, probabilities, and likelihoods. It is not possible, however, to predict accidents and disappointments or lotto wins. These things, should they occur, will appear in the hand. One┐s history is traced with accuracy in the palm, but the future doesn┐t exist.
The fact is, the palm itself changes a great deal. Lines can appear and disappear overnight. What is on the palm doesn┐t change the person; rather, as people change, so do their palms.
Nevertheless, you will find that people generally believe that palmists are arcane mystics who can see into the future. Many people patronize palmists for that very reason.
However, the proper role of the palmist is to teach people about themselves, to give a gift of self-knowledge. In all likelihood the palmist will discern probabilities and trends regarding the personality and health of a subject in the course of a reading, but it should always be stressed these are just possibilities, not inevitabilities, and that nega=ive indications can be averted by taking appropriate steps.
Reading Your Own Hand
The Workshop is a biofeedback device. Just sit down and answer each question as honestly as you are able. (This can be more difficult than it sounds!) You may well find yourself disagreeing with some of the answers. These are possibly aspects of yourself that you either do not recognize or do not wish to face up to; as such, these are the areas that require the most attention.
In any case, the Workshop offers you a unique opportunity for self-knowledge.
Naming the Demons
Each of us is a mixture of conflicting and complementary traits. If you have ever been puzzled by your own behavior, or confused by your emotions, the Workshop can go a long way toward explaining and clarifying the way your intellectual and emotional ene gies work.
The fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin will be familiar to many. Briefly, it describes how a young girl defeats a supernatural being (i.e., a subconscious aspect of herself) by discovering his name. The power of names is a common theme in mythology.
Now you too have the means to name your own personal demons, and it is astonishing just how much understanding, sympathy, and even love for ourselves we can achieve simply by becoming self-aware, by tapping directly into the deep well of our feelings and behavior.
Your exploration of yourself can also reveal hidden or undeveloped talents, faults and limitations. This is the basis of self-knowledge. You can┐t change what you are not aware of.
So, name your demons, while not forgetting to celebrate and exploit your positive qualities. Remember, also, that your hand changes over time, and so it is possible to monitor yourself over a long period as lines change, appear, and disappear, recording Advances and changes in your makeup that result from experience.
The study of palmistry will in itself modify your hand as you add to your store of understanding of what Dr. Johnson called ┐the greatest study of mankind┐┐which is, of course, people.