Palmistry is one of the oldest arts. It dates back thousands of years many great ancient cultures had a long history of reading hands. But modern hand reading is very different to the palmistry of old. Below is a very brief history of palmistry.

Status in India often depict divisive palm lines. Evidence of historic Indian palmistry can be seen this way in ancient statues of Buddha

Ancient Palmistry

The Vedic, Indian palmistry is perhaps the oldest around with some Indian hand readers claiming it dates from 5000BC. Palmistry is still very respected in India and whenever I go there and tell people I am a hand reader it is often met with the status as if one was from the medical profession. Awareness of the palms and their meanings has a long history in China as well. They developed their own system of palmistry which involved elements of the I Ching (divination system) combined with the palm as a means of telling the future. Other countries with a history of palmistry include Egypt, Tibet and Greece. There is thought that Aristotle and Alexander the Great were practising palmistry, though it is not clear how valid this is.

There are biblical references to palmistry with ”On the hand of every earthling man he puts a seal for every mortal man to know his work”. Job 37 verse 7. – It is true that hand analysis can be very good for helping you find the best career!

Middle Ages & Renaissance

Jumping several thousand years forward. The late middle ages and Renaissance period were a very prosperous time for hand reading. The oldest known manuscript for palmistry dates around 1440 and by the 16th century many of the most scholarly and learned men of that time studying the art. It was around this time when the palm was started to be used as a diagnostic tool for disease, rather than just fortune telling. However palmistry, unfortunately, began to decline as it became affiliated with Egyptians (Gypsies). It was defined as ”a crafty means to deceive people” in Henery the VIII’s time. It took longer for its decline in Europe, but it did fall into obscurity eventually.

19th-century French palmistry

The Re-birth, Scientific Palmistry

In the 19th-century scientific hand reading began to emerge. Rather than predictions of the future, hand readers began to look at the character and mental traits. Hands were classified by their shape which would relate to the type of person ie artist, philosopher, manual worker etc. At the turn of the century, finger print analysis and their link to genetics were discovered bring further developments toward scientific hand analysis. Groups such as the Chirological Society were founded and dedicated themselves to studying the hand.

20th-century hand analysis

Albert Einstein’s hand print, taken by the palmist Noel Joaquin

A Chimpanzee hand print, taken in a comparative study by Dr Charlotte Wolff

Palmistry still had a bad name, but statistical research of the palms had begun. In the ’20s through to the 50s statistical evidence in the hand was collected. For example, differences between people with, a high IQ, very low IQ and schizophrenics was found in the hand lines. Or with regards to the form of the hand, such features as a short or a crooked little finger was found in institutionalised boys.

Several medical palmistry books were have been published in the 20th century as well vasts amounts of medical information on finger nail analysis.

During this period was when serious hand readers and psychologists began to analysis the hand in relation to the human people’s characters, psychology and psyche. An empirical research body of evidence was growing through the hundreds of thousands of hand that were being read by hand readers. All the while, the scientific community was continually researching and producing thousands of papers on dermatoglyphics, the study of the finger and palm prints.

21st Century Hand analysis

Today, research into the dermatoglyphics, the lines on the hand’s links with the nervous system, connections to the hands and brain as well as finger length and hormone correlations are all being conducted. [Link to the science of hand reading here]

Palmistry and Hand Reading, still have a stigma about them. But Modern Hand Analysis is very different.

In the past, a palmist would have looked at the smallest cross, break or square in the hand and determine from it whether you were going to marry a king, or die at sea. Modern Hand Reading does nothing like this. Nothing is read in isolation and everything is built up to understand the person’s personality, motives, drive and psychology. Hand shape, size, form, fingers, prints and lines are all taken into account.

Hand analysis has a bright future and I do not believe it will be long until it is widely used as a recognised form of psychometric testing. It cannot be ignored, for it is so accurate. It just needs to get past the misconception of ‘palmistry’!