Think palmistry is a modern practice that was just recently pioneered? Think again. Historians believe palmistry originated thousands of years ago in India. During this time, the Hindu sage Valmiki wrote a book consisting of 567 stanzas titled “The Teachings of Valmiki Maharshi on Male Palmistry.” The practice soon spread to other regions, including China, Tibet, Egypt, Persia, and many European countries.
Palmistry was Suppressed by the Catholic Church
The Middle Ages saw an emergence of the Catholic Church, which gave way to new laws arguably designed to keep the church in power. What’s the best way to keep yourself in power? Instill fear in anything that may question your authority, of course. Among these new laws was the prohibition of palmistry (known as chiromancy then).
The Catholic Church still views palmistry as a pagan superstition, classifying it as one of the seven forbidden arts. This fear-based ideology is thankfully becoming outdated, though there are still those too fearful to consider palmistry an “art”. Remember, even psychology was once considered a psychic art. Just because our limited understanding of science can’t explain how something works, does not mean that it doesn’t work.
Cheiro Popularized Modern-Day Palmistry
It’s believed that an Irish palm reader named William John Warner (also known as Cheiro) popularized modern-day palmistry. Cheiro practiced the art in India, at which point he moved to London where he opened a palm reading shop. He read the palms of numerous famous celebrities, some of which include Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Grocer Cleveland, the Prince of Wales, William Ewart Gladstone, and Joseph Chamberlain. Mark Twain even wrote in one of his books that Cheiro had “…exposed my character to me with humiliating accuracy“.
Earth, Wind, Fire and Water
While different palmists have their own technique, most palm reading is done by classifying the client’s hand into one of the four elements: Earth, Wind, Fire or Water. Earth hands, for instance, are characterized by broad palms with thick fingers and rough skin. The distance from the wrist to the bottom of fingers is equal to the length of the fingers. Fire hands are characterized by a more boxy-shaped palm with a red or plush color and short fingers. Air hands are characterized by more of a square and shorter palm with long fingers. Water hands are characterized by having a rectangular and long palm with longer fingers.
The Dominant Hand
Palmistry is typically done by reading the client’s dominant hand. If you write with your right hand, for instance, the palmist will ask to look at your right hand. This is because the dominant hand is believed to represent the conscious mind, while the non-dominant hand represents the subconscious – or even possibly past lives – depending on the expert. Of course, some palmists may ask to read the client’s non-dominant hand in an effort to identify hereditary or family traits that are present.
Photo Credit: Artlibre
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