Palm reading--the art of decoding the secrets that lie in our own hands--may be as old as the human race itself. The shape of our hands, the mounts and ridges, the nails, and position of the digits--each element reveals something new about our personalities; left and right hands cover different aspects of our lives. In this comprehensive guide to palm reading, the significance of the various lines is revealed: the life line, the head, heart, and fate lines, and the Apollo line, which show how content with life we are. You can use this book to analyze not only your relationships, you career and money prospects, your compatibility with others, and the state of your health, but also to predict how things may change for you in the future. Here is an exciting new series focused on today's most popular healing approaches and spiritual insights. Presented in a clear, concise format, the Secrets of Series demystifies popular alternative approaches and teaches proper application, providing a perfect balance of theory and practice.

No one can say for certain where palm reading originated. It is possible it came from the mysterious East, most probably India, or, because it was widely practiced in ancient Asia, some of its origins can be traced from those countries as well.

Many of the oldest writings and illustrations on palm reading are of Indian origins that seem to predate everything else that we know about. Palm reading was known as long as 5,000 years ago in the Middle East but not until much later on did the Western world start to record any knowledge of it. In western Europe and Britain specifically there are a small handful of very rare written records and a few drawings but they are difficult to date. In really ancient times, palm reading was largely a superstitution; no written rules were set down for anyone to learn, which meant that there was no method or system to be passed along. In these far-off days, few people were able to read and write anyway.

Early English written documentation is sketchy, not so much through a lack of knowledge but rather an inability to set down in writing anything clear-cut. In early Britain before 1066, the official written language was old English, and even that would have differed dialectically because the country was divided into many kingdoms. So, what we do know about reading hands was passed down by word of mouth and probably in secret because Mother Church did not approve.

The oldest know palm reading work in English language is a manuscript known as the Digby Roll IV, dated around 1440. It is a few strips of vellum sewn together in the style of the time, about 87 inches in length and about 8 inches in width. 

The early fortune tellers would have used only the lines when they read the hands of their subjects. Chirognomy was not really developed properly until the middle of the 19th century, and we owe this to two Frenchmen, Casimir DíArpentigny, who published LA Science de la Main in 1865, the definitive work on hand shapes, and Adrien Desbarrolles, who published Les Mysteres de la Main in 1859, based mostly on the study of lines of the hand. Dermatoglyphics also has its roots in the 19th century and was developed by Francis Galton. From Galtonís patient work came the fingerprinting system now used by police in criminal identification.

Hand reading is divided into three separate branches that make up the whole study:

Chirognomy: The study of the basic shape of the hands. Chiromancy: The study of the lines and other palm markings. 

Chiromancy: This is the study of the lines of the hand without reference to any other feature of the palm. Any of the lines, especially the smaller influence marks, can change very easily at the time of a serious emotional incident. When an event such as this occurs and stirs the emotional nature it leaves its mark not only in the psyche but in the hands as well. Minor marks can come and go as and when the heart or mind needs to register such matters because of their importance, at the time or later when the full import of what has taken place has fully registered. Chiromancy is the original or true palm reading.

Chirognomy: This is the study of the shape of the hand and only really came into its own in the middle of the 19th century. This part of the discipline is concerned with the thickness and shape of the palm, thumb, and fingers, their relative lengths, tip formations, and flexibility. To this has been added a study of the nails and the way the hand may be used in gesture.

Dermatoglyphics: Specifically, this is the study of the fingerprints and the palmar skin patterns. These markings can never be destroyed or erased, but they may be disturbed by accident. There has never been a successful attempt to mutilate or destroy them by the criminal element in an effort to hide them. There are two basic types of palmar patterns; the open or coarse, and the closed, or refined. There are five basic skin patterns Ė the arch, tented arch, composite, loop, and whorl, and to these may be added occasional variations. Each has its own meanings and these are refined dependent on how they appear and where they are formed.

Gesture: It is only in recent times that a study of hand gestures has been added to hand analysis. It is not generally appreciated how much information may be given away by an individualís sign language, either as the person speaks or with small silent movements that can mean so much.

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