Palmistry or chiromency – also spelled cheiromancy, from the Greek cheir meaning hand; and manteia, divination.
It is the art of characterization and foretelling the future through the study of the palm, also known as palm reading, or chirology. The practice is found all over the world, with numerous cultural variations. Those who practice chiromancy are generally called palmists, palm readers, hand readers, hand analysts, or chirologists.
The information outlined below is briefly representative of modern palmistry; there are many ― often conflicting ― interpretations of various lines and palmar features across various schools of palmistry.
Chiromancy consists of the practice of evaluating a person’s character or future life by reading the palm of that person’s hand. Various lines and so-called mounts, purportedly suggest interpretations by their relative sizes, qualities, and intersections. In some traditions, readers also examine characteristics of the fingers, fingernails, fingerprints and palmar skin patterns – also known as dermatoglyphics – skin texture and colour, shape of the palm, and flexibility of the hand.
A reader usually begins by reading the person’s ‘dominant hand’ – the hand he or she writes with or uses the most, sometimes considered to represent the conscious mind, whereas the other hand is subconscious.
In some traditions of palmistry, the other hand is believed to carry hereditary or family traits, or, depending on the palmist’s cosmological beliefs, to convey information about past-life or karmic conditions.
The basic framework for classical palmistry – the most widely taught and practised tradition – is rooted in Greek mythology. Each area of the palm and fingers is related to a god or goddess, and the features of that area indicate the nature of the corresponding aspect of the subject. For example, the ring finger is associated with the Greek god Apollo; characteristics of the ring finger are tied to the subject’s dealings with art, music, aesthetics, fame, wealth, and harmony.