Palmistry is the art of studying the formation of the total hand including the formation of fingers, their characteristics, finger nails, finger prints or impressions, thumb, skin texture, color, the shape, hardness and flexibility (dermatoglyphics), and above all the lines or creases on the palm of the hand.
Palm reading is practiced all over the world with local variations in analysis and prediction. Palmistry also studies the characteristics of the personality of the subject as the character and the personality of the person determine his future.
The origin of palmistry can be traced back to Indian or Hindu astrology written in the classical Indian language called Sanskrit. The Sanskrit equivalent of Palmistry is Jyotish. The first book on Palmistry was written by an Indian sage named Rishi Valmiki. The English rendering of the original title of the book is “The Teachings of Valmiki Maharishi on Male Palmistry”. The book was written in verse comprising of 567 stanzas. It was written more than five millennia back. Palmistry, according to Hindu thought, is one of the seven classical methods of prognosis.
From India, the art of reading the palm spread to China, Tibet, Egypt, Persia and from there to the European countries especially Greece where it was practiced by eminent personalities like Anaxagoras and evoked deep faith in Alexander the Great.
Palmistry commanded a deep respect in Greece when it reached there from India. The Greeks developed its framework on the basis of their mythology which is now called Classical palmistry and is widely taught and practiced all over the world. Greek scholars divide each area of the palm and fingers into various parts and relate each part to some Greek god or goddess. The features of each part indicate the nature of the corresponding aspect of the subject. For example, the ring finger is associated with the Greek god Apollo. Therefore the features of the ring finger indicate person’s interest in art, music, aesthetics, culture, fame and harmony. In this respect Greeks are like the Hindus who also divide the palm into different areas and consider each area to represent some god or a holy river. It, therefore, makes some sense if we replace the names and symbols of the classical gods of Greece with those of Hindus.
The palm of a hand is made of various lines or creases and mounts or bumps. The lines represent various features or characteristics of the subject’s personality, his physical and mental health, how his overall life would be spent and also how long he will live.
A palm reader normally starts by analyzing the subject’s dominant hand, that is, the hand which he uses to write or do most of the work. In some traditions of palmistry, the other hand is supposed to carry the lines depicting the past life or karmic information as well as the inherent features.
Based on the local traditions, the palmists analyze various features of the hand including its shape, size, flexibility of the palm and fingers and prominence of the knuckles. According to various schools of palmistry, the shape of the hand is divided into four or major types corresponding to the Classical elements and temperaments or nature patterns. The Greek classical elements are Fire, Earth, Air, Water and Ether and they represent Greek philosophy, science and medicine. These elements also relate to the nature of the subject’s personality. The shape of the hand represents the characteristics corresponding to the type of the area. For example, a Fire hand indicates high energy, dynamism, creativity, ambitiousness and short temper. All these characteristics represent the qualities of the Classical elements of Fire.