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Your Destiny is in Your Hands:

An Overview of Palmistry

by Lady Catherine du Fay

Palmistry (also sometimes known as cheiromancy or dactylomancy) is a form of divination by the reading of hands. In your palms, the features of the hand, such as the lines, the bumps (which are called mounds), the shape of the palms and fingers, and many other aspects all have meanings of their own. A good palm reading can show you things from your past, present and future; show you where your strengths are; cue you in on areas of your life that still need work; and give you the information you need to make wise choices in order to have your best life possible. This article is designed to give you some of the basics of palmistry, so you'll have a better feel for whether you'd like to get your own palms read (or maybe even learn to read palms yourself!).

Like most other systems of divination, palmistry acts like a roadmap to who you are now and where you're going at this point on the journey of life. Because we all have free will and the ability to control our own destinies to a certain extent, if you hear something in a palm reading that you don't like, you can take steps (big ones! fast ones!) to change your direction and, when you change who you are and where you're going enough, your hand will also change to reflect the new you and the new future. The lines can change, the mounds, even the shape of your hand can change. A good reading can give you the knowledge you need to make informed decisions to help you avoid futures you don't want and steer towards futures you do. (I like to think of it as being like listening to the traffic in the morning to know where the traffic jams are so I can "choose alternate route".)

Historically, we can't definitely say how far back in time palmistry goes. Like most other forms of divination, there are many places and sizeable lengths of time where doing readings was forbidden by the religious or civil authorities with penalties up to death, so readings were done secretly and knowledge was passed carefully by word of mouth. (Indeed, a lot of the knowledge we have on how far back many forms of divination go is based largely on what was listed as forbidden by law). The earliest recorded book on the art I've been able to find is from Germany at the end of the Rennaisance and, while there are mentions of the reading of hands in classical Greece and ancient India and China, we can't be sure whether that actually refers to reading palms nor whether the method used then is anything like modern palmistry. Because of this, the value of palmistry lies less in its history or pedigree but rather in the fact that it works.

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These days there are many different systems of reading palms, but despite the differences between them, they all work. In the system I use, your non-dominant hand is the hand of the potential you were born with and your dominant hand shows what you're doing with it (sneak a quick look at your palms now-that's why they're different!) I read both palms, emphasizing the dominant hand because it tells more about who you are and where you're going in life now but comparing it to the other hand because the contrast tells me things, too. I focus mainly on the lines and mounds, with hand shape and certain special landmarks giving me additional information.

There are three major and three secondary lines in your palm. In the major lines, the life line (the line circling the base of your thumb) shows us the overall big picture of your life from birth to death and everything in between. It also tells about your amount of "chi" or vital force. The head line (the lower line running horizontally across your palm) tells us about intellect , education, logic and basic "smarts",as well as about creativity. The heart line (the upper line running horizontally across your palm) is the key to emotion, intuition and romance. In the secondary lines, the fate line (running from your wrist to your middle finger) tells us about luck and money. Things about your job frequently hang out here. The fame line (running from your wrist to your ring finger) tells us about fame (or infamy, for that matter). The health line(running from your wrist to your pinkie) tells us about health and health problems.

When looking at lines, the deeper, longer and clearer a line is, the more you have going on in that area. Markings on the lines such as crosses, stars, squares and loops called "islands" can indicate aspects such as opposition, stagnation, emergencies, protection or special gifts. The life, fate, fame and health lines all function as time lines and you can use them to determine times in your life when you're headed towards health problems, crisis or great good fortune. You can also determine your projected life span by the length of your lifeline (please remember you can change your life expectancy like you can change anything else in your palm).

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The mounds (bumps on your palms) are named for Greek and Roman gods who were felt to represent the characteristics indicated in each mound. The mound of Venus (at the base of your thumb) carries sensuality, sexuality and the love of things that tickle the five senses. Jupiter (at the base of the index finger) stands for self-esteem, personal power, motivation, leadership ability and being a self starter. Saturn (at the base of the middle finger) holds responsibility, reliability, respectability, depression and the occult. Apollo (at the base of the ring finger) indicates skill in the arts and sciences. Mercury (at the base of the little finger) holds business, communications and ability in the healing arts. Luna/the Moon (on the heel of your hand on the pinkie side) carries creativity and intuition. Finally the two mounds of Mars (a-between Venus and Jupiter, and b-between Mercury and the Moon) stand for courage (a-physical courage or thrill-seeking, b-emotional/moral courage or integrity). For each of these mounds, the larger and more muscular the mound, the more a person has of this characteristic (and too much can be as bad as not enough...) When reading the mounds, it's a good idea to gently touch or press on each mound as sometimes you'll find a mound that looks large and muscular but collapses under any pressure. This usually indicates someone who looks like they have that characteristic but actually doesn't.

There are many other features of the palm that give useful and interesting information. The shape of the hands gives us basic personality type, with finger shapes modifying the basic personality. Marriage lines tell us the whens and wherefores of significant relationships in our lives. Medical stigmata shows the skills of a healer. Bracelets give us simple indicators for health, wealth and happiness. There are signs of psychic ability, such as the Ring of Solomon. Basically, there's more to a palm than I can fit in this article.

I practice a number of forms of divination but I must admit, I always come back to palmistry as the method that speaks the most to me. There is an energetic connection between reader and querant that I haven't encountered in any other method I've experienced,(although I have a great deal of respect for all forms of divination) and, since I am also a Reiki healer, I find that connection to be both moving and powerful. Palmistry also works well in co-operation with other modalities such as Tarot or Reiki, and is very adaptable to the querant, the reader and the general situation you're reading in.

And it's so much fun to do.

I hope this article has given you some useful information in regards to the basics of palmistry. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me through the information in my bio.(I love to answer questions!)

Remember, your Destiny is in your hands. And you can have a hand in your Destiny!...

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©2006 by Catherine Kane, known in the Society for Creative Anachronism as Lady Catherine du Fay. Used by permission. Originallyy published in the DoorOpener in March 2006