Top 10 Myths of Palmistry
Prehistoric cultures practiced palmistry. Depending on whom you talk to the history of palmistry is said to go back to the Dawn of Time, and people will often point to the paintings of hands found in the Stone Age caves of Africa, France and Spain as evidence of our prehistoric interest in the subject.
As exciting or romantic as this may be to some, there are simply no facts to support such a theory. “The very nature of palmistry limits any history to a record of what has been written about the subject,” observed noted palmistry scholar Fred Gettings in his 1965 book, ‘The Book of the Hand.’ Since our prehistoric ancestors left no written records, we can only speculate as to why they painted hands on the walls of their caves.
Palmistry was studied and practiced by the ancient Greeks & Romans. It is true that there are many references to the practice of palmistry in the ancient literature of India and China, and it is highly likely that much of what was known about palmistry by the Greeks and the Romans originated in India and China. But again, we have no surviving records from the ancient Greek or Roman cultures that supports the somewhat hopeful claim that such notable names as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates were practicing palm readers.
Julius Caesar unmasked an impostor prince with palmistry. There is a much-repeated story in the literature of palmistry in which Julius Caesar received a guest in his palace that claimed to be a prince from a royal family.
As the story is told, Caesar was well-versed in palmistry and having looked at the visitor’s palm, declared the man an impostor and had him executed. The story usually concludes with Caesar later receiving information that supported his claim that the man was indeed an impostor.
The facts that we have regarding the popularity of palmistry in ancient Rome, however, just don’t support this story. At least one contemporary Roman writer reported that the ruling class preferred astrology as their oracle of choice, and tended to look down on palmistry as being rather middle class, and something below their station. If this was indeed the case, it is highly unlikely that Caesar would have chosen palmistry to unmask the fraudulent prince, and far more likely that he would have consulted the court astrologer.
The Catholic Church banned palmistry. Many sources like to play up the “forbidden wisdom”
aspect of palmistry by claiming that the Catholic Church condemned palmistry in 1000 AD and continued to outlaw it during the Middles Ages.
The fact of the matter is that with only two documented exceptions every Pope in the Middle Ages exhibited an interest in many of the so-called occult arts such as astrology, alchemy and palmistry. These subjects were considered to be part of every learned person’s education, and were taught in Church-run universities throughout Europe at the time.
The fact that most of our earliest manuscripts on palmistry were found in European monasteries helps to reveal that the Church actually helped preserve palmistry rather than persecute it.
Gypsies brought palmistry to Europe. You’ll read in a number of places that during the 15th century the Gypsies migrated across Western Europe and introduced the art of palmistry to Europeans.
The record is somewhat different, and indicates that palmistry was reintroduced to Europe as an indirect result of the Crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries. Although the Crusaders traveled to the Middle East to reclaim the Holy Land for Christianity, they also managed to form alliances with some of the rulers there.
As a result, the Crusaders were exposed to many of the scholarly works of the Greeks and the Romans which had been preserved by Arab scholars while Europe was busy being pillaged during the Dark Ages by any one of a number of Barbarian of-the-Month Clubs.
Among the texts that the Crusaders brought back with them were copies of manuscripts on
palmistry, beating the Gypsies by about two or three hundred years.
Gypsies were banned from Paris & London in the 15th Century. One popular myth is that when the Gypsies arrived in Paris and London, they were refused entrance to those cities because of their practice of palmistry. As the story goes, when they set up camp outside the city walls of Paris, the residents swarmed out to greet them and have their fortunes told.
The part about the Gypsies being refused entrance to Paris and London may very well be true, but given the acceptance of palmistry by both Church and State, it’s not likely that the Gypsies’ practice of palmistry had anything to do with them being refused entrance. It’s far more likely that other social and political reasons were the rationale for keeping them out.
There is no scientific basis fro palmistry. Palmistry is often associated with a number of other so called “New Age” philosophies or systems that have somewhat tenuous scientific support, at least as we understand science today. Despite this perception by many people, the fact remains that palmistry is one of the few psychic sciences that has received a good deal of attention by 19th and 20th century scientists.
The number of reputable researchers that have studied palmistry is too lengthy to list here, but it is worth noting that the result has been of great value to modern day doctors who are able to diagnose many medical and psychological conditions by examining the patterns found in the hands of their patients.
You must be psychic to read palms. The truth about this one is, “Not necessarily.” It is entirely possible to give a meaningful and accurate palm reading by using the basic interpretations found in any reputable book on palmistry.
It is true that many palm readers build on their book-knowledge by accessing their intuitive skills, but these skills are available to just about everyone who is willing to work at developing them.
Far more important to a fulfilling palm reading is a genuine desire to be helpful. With a caring spirit and a good understanding of palmistry, you don’t have to possess “amazing” psychic powers.
Your Life line predicts when you’re going to die. This is one of the most common misconceptions I hear whenever the subject of palmistry comes up. Its origin probably dates back to the Middle Ages when someone in their thirties was considered to be a senior citizen, so at the time, it probably was a safe bet for a fortune teller to predict an early death for just about anyone.
In these days of antibiotics and long life, the Life line has little or no value as an indicator of how long you will live. What it IS good for is determining the quality of life you are likely to enjoy, and we’ll take a closer look at that in just a bit.
You are doomed by the lines in your hand. This idea has even less truth to it than the last one. To begin with, you need to understand that the lines in your hand are created by your conscious and sub-conscious thoughts. Bio-electrical impulses generated by your thoughts are transmitted to your hands, and over time create the lines seen in your palms. The fact is that the lines in your hand change over time based on your thoughts and experiences. Knowing this, it’s easy to see that the lines in your hand represent potential outcomes, NOT unchangeable truths.
As I tell my students and clients, if you don’t like something you see in your hand - change it. You each have the ability to change your life - and the world, if you put your mind to it. Now, if you look in your hand and see a line that indicates that you will be a failure in business because of your stubborn nature, AND you then use this as an excuse for why you’ll never succeed in business, that’s a different story. That’s called a self-fulfilling prophesy. It’s a choice that YOU make, and has absolutely nothing to do with the lines in your hand.
You may have heard the expression, “your destiny is in your hands.” This is true, but it is critical to understand that your destiny begins in your mind long before it can be seen in your hands. The choices you make and the way you use your creative intelligence determines your destiny, and the future of those around you as well.