Palmistry is one of the oldest arts of divination, and is of course, the practice of reading and divining the pattern of a person's life in the lines, mounds, fingers, nails, joints, and palm of the hand. Practised by many historical figures, including Homer, Anaxagoras, Aristotle, Plato, Hippocrates, Galen and even Alexander the Great himself.
Thought to be remarkably accurate in some respects, it has been shown that, there are indeed scientifically provable proportions and correlations between the length of certain fingers, in relation to one another, and to the palm, which correspond to various attributes that a person possesses, mentally, physically, emotionally, and so on.
Palmists look at three main lines: the heart line, the head line, and the life line.
- The heart line is the first of the major lines examined by a reader. It is found towards the top of the palm, under the fingers. In some traditions, the line is read as starting from the edge of the palm under the little finger and flowing across the palm towards the thumb; in others, it is seen as starting under the fingers and flowing toward the outside edge of the palm. This line is said to represent matters of the heart, both physical and metaphorical. Those who practise palmistry believe it can indicate emotional stability, romantic perspectives, depression, and stoicism, in addition to various aspects of cardiac health.
- The next line identified by palmists is the head line. This line starts at the edge of the palm under the pointer finger and flows across the palm towards the outside edge. Often, the head line is joined with the life line (see below) at inception. This line is said to represent the person's mind and the way it works, including learning style, communication style, intellectualism, and thirst for knowledge. It is also believed to indicate a preference for creative or analytical approaches to information (i.e. right brain or left brain).
- Finally, readers look at perhaps the most controversial line on the hand, the life line. This line extends from the edge of the palm above the thumb and travels in an arc towards the wrist. This line is believed to represent the person's vitality and vigour, physical health and general well being. The life line is also believed to reflect major life changes, including cataclysmic events, physical injuries, and relocations. Contrary to popular belief, modern palmists generally do not believe that the length of a person's life line is tied to the length of a person's life. Although there are methods used for calculating length of life handed down through many traditions, these are generally regarded as superstitious and not predictably accurate.
Additional major lines or variations include:
- A simian crease, or fusing of the heart and head lines, is believed by practitioners of palmistry to indicate that the person has no distinction between what is desired and what is thought, resulting in an intense nature with a tendency to rush into things.
- The fate line runs from the bottom of the palm near the wrist, up through the centre of the palm towards the middle finger. This line is believed to be tied to the person's life path, including school and career choices, successes and obstacles. Sometimes this line is thought to reflect circumstances beyond the individual's control, or the person's choices and their consequences.
Other minor lines:
- Sun Line - parallel to the Fate Line, under the ring finger; believed to indicate fame or scandal
- Girdle of Venus - starts between the little and ring fingers, runs in a rough arc under the ring and middle fingers to end between the middle and pointer fingers; thought to relate to emotional intelligence and the ability to manipulate
- Union Lines - short horizontal lines found on the percussive edge of the palm between the Heart Line and the bottom of the little finger; believed to indicate close relationships, sometimes - but not always - romantic.
- Mercury Line - runs from the bottom of the palm near the wrist, up through the palm towards the little finger; purported to be an indicator of persistent health issues, business acumen, or skill in communication.
- Travel Lines - these are horizontal lines found on the percussive edge of the palm between the wrist and the heart line; each line is said to represent a trip taken by the subject - the longer the line, the more important the trip is to the subject.
- Other Markings - these include stars, crosses, triangles, squares, tridents, and rings under each of the fingers; their supposed impact and meaning varies by location on the palm and freedom from other interfering lines.
And of course the intuitive interpretation of those with the 'gift of Sight', or clairvoyance, may see more in the palm of the hand that any machine or scientist will prove is there, now or in the future!