Palmistry is an ancient method of divination and character analysis where the shape, size, color, and markings on the hands and their parts are used to determine human personality and fate.

The hand one uses to write with is their dominant hand. The lines on this hand can change throughout the years. Lines can grow longer or develop certain characteristics. The other hand is the destiny hand. It generally remains the same throughout a lifetime.


The earliest documents with the word palmistry included were published in 1420 by John Lyndgate in his Assembly of Gods Documents. The first publication on Palmistry was Michael Scotts DE PHISIOGNOMIA published in 1477 on the anatomy of the human body. His work included a chapter on all the aspects of the human hands.

During the 17th century, many books were written that included the early gypsy ideas concerning palmistry. This lore had been handed down by the gypsies generation to generation since the early 15th century.

During the 18th century, books were written which blended both scientific and spiritual information concerning the hands. Since then, Palmistry has been aligned with the notion that a person read the hands with a scientific eye and spoke with intuition. Palmistry evolved into a form of divination that was as unique as the hands.

Time Line

The art of palmistry goes back as far as 13,000 BC. Pre-historic caves in Santander, Spain display hand drawings of the palms with some of the major lines portrayed in amazing detail.

Hand Shape

To determine your hand shape, measure the length and width of your palms. If these measurements are about the same, you have square palms. If your palms are longer than their width, you have rectangular palms.

Next, compare the length of your middle fingers to that of the length of your palms. If your middle fingers are as long or longer than the length of your palms, they are classified as long. If they are shorter than the length of your palms, they are classified as short.

The Earth Hand

Square palms and short fingers

You are a stable practical person who does not like to be hurried and who prefers to go with the current rather than swim against it. You are honest, fair-minded, and conservative. You have a good measure of common sense. You don't give your affection or loyalty easily, but once you do, they are given to last.

You do not have a fast-working, intellectual mind. It takes you time to make decisions and to understand things that are at all complicated. This is why you both work and study best when you can proceed at your own pace. But you do have an excellent memory, which is why forgetting past past wrongs is so hard for you. Your attitude towards life is generally optimistic.

You are happiest when you know where you are and where you're going. Uncertainty upsets you, as does sudden an unexpected change.

Your unadventurous nature makes you a stay-at-home, careful sort of person, who is happy with the known and the familiar and suspicious of the foreign and the different. You are materialistic.

The Air Hand

Square palms and long fingers

You enjoy using your mind. You love absorbing new facts, studying for examinations, and keeping abreast of what is going on in the world. You need to talk and share your ideas and opinions with others. You welcome intellectual challenges.

You are an independent soul who is happiest when you are doing your own thing. You work best on your own, although you can function well in a team if others look up to you. To you, knowledge is power.

You're neither very practical or interested in working with your hands. But because you can see how things should be done, you make a competent organizer or teacher. You love to pore over maps and plans, interpreting them and telling others what to do. Your desired title is "Director of Operations."

You tend to be unpredictable and contrary. Changing your mind is something you do frequently and without embarrassment. You sometimes have trouble connecting with your emotions. In fact, you are rather frightened of your feelings and of the irrational pressures they produce.

You look down on those whose wits are less agile than your own. Because human relationships are based on more than intellect, your interactions with others are often less than ideal.

The Fire Hand

Rectangular palms and short fingers

You have very high energy and enthusiasm. You are restless, outgoing, and ambitious. You don't like standing still. You want to rise in the world, to achieve and become more successful. You believe in getting out there and going for what you want.

You dislike authority and are always happy to cock your nose at it. You thrive on excitement and adventure. You enjoy taking risks and generally doing what you shouldn't.

You get on well with others. Its true you're rather big-headed and loud-mouthed, but you're also warm and sympathetic and love to laugh.

But while you're a good starter, you tend to burn yourself out rather fast. This is why you are best at tackling those schemes and projects that can be finished quickly or which can be handed over to others for completion. You lack the necessary stubbornness and tenacity for the loosing fight, and you're quickly bored.

You like to be in the spotlight, to be at the center of things where the action is. You're often a trendsetter and most likely follow fashion and the latest fads. You enjoy going to dances and parties that are noisy and lively.

You dislike being alone and your desire for company can sometimes get you into trouble, bringing you into contact with the wrong sort of people. You are rather selfish and can be aggressive and demanding.

The Water Hand

Rectangular palms and long fingers

You are quiet, reserved, and diffident. You probably don't have any burning ambitions. You are content to remain where you are until acted upon by events or other people. You are not pushy or a go-getter. Your difference and caution is caused by your lack of confidence, which is why it is important for you to live in a stable, familiar environment.

You have a very rich inner life and a good imagination, so much so that your fantasies may seem more real than reality. At worst, you are a dreamer. You quite possibly possess creative talents, but may have trouble focusing your energies to do anything with them.

Your introversion makes you withdraw from the world. You require constant encouragement if you are to surmount your anxiety and insecurity, and you too easily give up if you face criticism or opposition.

Because you are so sensitive, you may be a depressive or subject to paranoia. You tend to blame yourself for everything that goes wrong in your life. It is important that you stay away from alcohol and drugs, as an addiction may form.

Your intuition and natural sensitivity gives you a good understanding of others. Because you are a sympathetic listener, you are well-equipped to counsel and advise. Helping other people solve their difficulties helps you rise above your own. You may possess extra-sensory powers and with training you could become a capable medium or clairvoyant. Your sixth sense can give you warnings and insights that are not available to others.

Originally published in Acrimony Magazine August 2003