About The Author
Peggy Thomson, free lance magazine writer and mother of three, says she reads her hand to say she is cautious and only moderately open to new ideas. "The age-old idea of palmistry was certainly new to me. I first liked it because it involved children in the close observation of their own hands and in
talking about what they saw and recording and analyzing according to a system. Now I've come to like the system. It's neat and exciting." Has she become a believer? She didn't say.
About The Artist
Dale Payson is a believer, and has been since she had a palm read when she was a teenager. Her palm reveals that she is imaginative, good with her hands, shy and has a good ear for music. A palmist once told her that she has a long life ahead of her, which she plans to spend traveling (she's already been around the world), drawing and painting.
"Wilson began to study Luigi's palm, tracing life-lines, heart-lines, head-lines, and so on, and noting carefully their relations with the cobweb of finer and more delicate marks and lines that enmeshed them on all sides; he felt of the fleshy cushion at the base of the thumb, and noted its shape; he felt of the fleshy side of the hand between the wrist and the base of the little finger, and noted its shape also; he painstakingly examined the fingers, observing their form, proportions, and natural manner of disposing themselves when in repose. All this process was watched by the three spectators with
absorbing interest, their heads bent together over Luigi's palm, and nobody disturbing the stillness with a word. Wilson now entered upon a close survey of the palm again, and his revelations began."
Look at your hands - right hand, left hand, front and back. Useful things, hands. Useful for carrying packages, tuning a carburetor, pulling a sled or petting a pup. Your fingers tell you if something is smooth or prickly, gooey or rough. Look some more at your hands. At the strong lines that cut across your palms. At the web of fine, wavy lines - close together - that cover your skin from your wrists to your fingertips.
Look at them and think: Is there a mystery about them?
Are hands mysterious as well as marvellous?
Do they have a tale to tell? Secrets to unfold? News - about you?
Could it be possible to "read" your hands - the way you read a map or a book?
In the past some people thought this might be so. Some think so still. Hands painted on the walls of caves and hands carved on stone, thousands of years old, tell without words that early men and women must have looked at their hands in wonder the way you look at your hands now. Chinese people, Indians from India, North American Indians - all studied their hands and tried to puzzle out the mysteries.
What about the lines that show on every hand but on no two hands - not even twins' hands - exactly alike?
Why is it some people have few lines and some have so many? Why do the lines on some hands look clear and neat, while others, criss-cross, run this way and that? It would make sense for the lines to come from use, from folding and unfolding the hands many times.
But people who work with their hands seem to have fewer lines - not more - than those who don't do manual labor. And right hands often seem to have fewer lines than lefts.
Long ago people came to think the lines on hands might be signs. They might tell about your mind and heart - your personality.
The art of reading the signs in hands came to be known as palmistry, just as reading the signs in stars is known as astrology. The two went together. Palmists named parts of the hand with the names of stars. People with unlucky signs in their hands were "star-crossed;" people with lucky signs were in tune with the stars.
People saw patterns in their hands; they liked to think it showed a pattern in their lives. Some also wanted it to tell their future, to solve the biggest mystery of all: What will happen in ten years, or tomorrow?
People looked into their hands for signs that tell the future, just as they looked to the stars and to the patterns of tea leaves in the bottom of a cup, and smoke and clouds in the sky. They also looked for those signs in dice and in cards, even in a chicken's insides.
People look for signs like that still. They find it reasonable and exciting and fun. Have you seen, by a country road or in a city window facing the street, a big picture of a palm? And the palm has a question mark on it? It's an advertisement for a palmist, someone who reads palms for money. Many of these palmists are cheats, promising to tell the future for your cash.
In England it's against the law to read palms for money - or even for free. In some states here it's illegal, too.
On the other hand, hundreds of millions of people in Asia do believe deeply in palmistry, as they do in astrology. They rely on their readers of signs just as Americans need the help of auto mechanics.
Most palm readers tell you they can't read the future and would not if they could, though some insist it may be possible and many say they can read your past. Most of them read your palm for the pleasure of telling you what they can about you and surprising you with things you may not even know about yourself.
You can learn to read palms, too.