(Kee-ro-MAN-see) is the art of
foretelling a person's probable future by knowing his/her character from reading
the palm lines in their hands.
The name is derived from the Greek cheir
for "hand", and manteia for "divination".
Cheiromancy is the old name for
palmistry or palm reading, and is still in use today. It is at times spelt as Chiromancy
It is also referred to as Cheirology, Chirology, or Kirology.
However, Cheirology really is the study of
the lines of the palm, without any divination involved.
Chirognomy and Chirosophy are
related subjects - the former is the study of the shapes and bumps of the
fingers and hands, and the latter is the study of the philosophical and
esoteric aspects of palmistry.
Dermatoglyphics is another
related area, which is the study of the skin ridge patterns found on the fingertips
and in the palms to detect diseases. This is now mainly used in the identification of
people through their fingerprints.
Some believe palmistry's origins to be in ancient
Egypt. Even the Bible mentions palmistry as early as in the book of
Job. The earliest known records of
palmistry are in ancient
scriptures found in India, where it developed into its present form.
Arab traders helped in spreading palmistry to
far-off lands, and eventually to Europe, where the name 'Cheiromancy' was
coined. The Romany
gypsies, famous for their skills in this art, also helped to spread it from India and the Middle East to
Chinese and Japanese palmistry have their
in Cheiromancy, although many interpretations are somewhat different. For
Chinese palmists can read a person's whole character just from examining the
thumb alone. Another
characteristic of Chinese palmistry is that the right hand is read for men, and the
left hand for women.
In the 19th century, two
Frenchmen, Casimir D'Arpentigny and Adrien Desbarrolles, separately carried
out definitive studies on finger and hand shapes, and the lines of the palm,
respectively. They are considered to be the
co-founders of modern hand analysis, as Cheiromancy is now called.
"The Practice of Palmistry",
published in 1897, was written by someone called Comte De Saint-Germain, a
name adopted by various persons during the last few centuries. This prodigious
work is packed with drawings and explicit meanings, and is
highly regarded in
The most famous
and colourful palmist we know of is Cheiro, who named himself after
Cheiromancy. He started practising in the late 19th century, was very
skilful and popular, and was patronised by the rich, the famous and the
royal. He wrote several books on palmistry which are still used today as the
basis of palmistry, such as "Cheiro's Language of the Hand".
William G Benham
conducted extensive and detailed research on palm lines and wrote the
of palmistry, "The Laws Of Scientific Hand Reading". First published in 1900,
it has been reprinted as "The Benham Book of Palmistry: A Practical Treatise on the Laws of Scientific Hand Reading", and is used by
many in the profession.
Palmistry as practised today is not pure Cheiromancy, as it
routinely incorporates principles of other schools of palmistry, as well as elements of the individual palm reader's
interpretations. Many palmists also use various other new age skills in their
palm readings, such as psychic sense, astrology, numerology, and holistic
The basis of Cheiromancy, however, remains the
same - reading the lines in the palms of our hands is the key to understanding
ourselves so we can live happy and fulfilling lives.
Pat F. does palmistry readings for
individuals and for events.
Photo source: Microsoft®
Go here for
more info on the history of palmistry.