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Palmistry, is the claim of characterization and foretelling the future through the study of the palm, also known as chirology, or in popular culture as palm reading. The practice is found all over the world, with numerous cultural variations. Those who practice chiromancy are generally called palmists, hand readers, hand analysts, or chirologists.

There are many—often conflicting—interpretations of various lines across various schools of palmistry. The majority of Academics are against palmistry, although it is symbolized in the Hamza symbol in Judaism, practiced by the highest Hindu caste Brahminis, and is also discussed in the Book of Job 37:7 indirectly. The contradictions between different interpretations, as well as the lack of evidence for palmistry's predictions, have caused palmistry to be viewed as a pseudoscience by academics.

Palmistry consists of evaluating a person's character or future life by "reading" the palm of that person's hand. Various "lines" ("heart line", "life line", etc.) and "mounts" (or bumps) 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, skin texture and color, shape of the palm, and flexibility of the hand.

A reader usually begins by reading the person's dominant hand (the hand they write with or use the most, which is 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.

In most schools of palmistry, hand shapes are divided into four major types. Hand shape is indicates character traits corresponding to the type indicated.

Although there are different variations, the most common classifications used by modern palmists are as follows:

· Earth hands are generally identified by broad, square palms and fingers, thick or coarse skin, and ruddy color. The length of the palm from wrist to the bottom of the fingers is usually equal to the length of the fingers.

· Air hands exhibit square or rectangular palms with long fingers and sometimes protruding knuckles, low-set thumbs, and often dry skin. The length of the palm from wrist to the bottom of the fingers is usually equal to the length of the fingers.

· Water hands are seeable by the long, sometimes oval-shaped palm, with long, flexible, conical fingers. The length of the palm from wrist to the bottom of the fingers is usually less than the width across the widest part of the palm, and usually equal to the length of the fingers.

· Fire hands are characterized by a square or rectangular palm, flushed or pink skin, and shorter fingers. The length of the palm from wrist to the bottom of the fingers is usually greater than the length of the fingers.

The number and quality of lines can also be included in the hand shape analysis; in some traditions of palmistry, Earth and Water hands tend to have fewer, deeper lines, while Air and Fire hands are more likely to show more lines with less clear definition.

The three lines found on almost all hands, and generally given most weight by palmists:

The heart line is the first of the major lines examined by a reader and represents love and attraction. It’s found towards the top of the palm, under the fingers. In some traditions, the line is read as starting from the edge of the palm under the little finger and flowing across the palm towards the thumb; in others, it is seen as starting under the fingers and flowing toward the outside edge of the palm. Palmists interpret this line to represent their subject's emotional life; it is therefore believed to give an insight into how the emotional side of their mind frame will act out and be acted upon during their lifetime. The line is also claimed to indicate romantic perspectives and intimate relationships; for example, a chained or gridded heart line is said to point to a flirtatious attitude to love, one which can be prone to fall in love easily. The heart line is said to be indirectly associated with heart health: a chained heart line is purportedly associated with high blood pressure, or with an 'adrenaline junkie' attitude in life.

The Head line starts at the edge of the palm under the index finger and flows across the palm towards the outside edge. Often, the head line is joined with the life line (see below) at inception. Palmists generally interpret this line to represent their subject's mind and the way it works, including learning style, communication style, intellectualism, and thirst for knowledge. It is also believed to indicate a preference for creative or analytical approaches to information (i.e., right brain or left brain).

The life line is perhaps the most controversial line on the hand. This line extends from the edge of the palm above the thumb and travels in an arc towards the wrist. This line is believed to represent the person's vitality and vigor, physical health and general well being. The life line is also believed to reflect major life changes, including cataclysmic events, physical injuries, and relocations. Modern palmists generally do not believe that the length of a person's life line is tied to the length of a person's life.

Fate or destiny line

The fate or destiny line sometimes doesn't appear until a person is in their 20s or 30s, as it deals with purpose and direction in life. A straight line is associated with a relatively straightforward path, whereas a curved line can mean someone will explore different purposes throughout their life.

Mount of Venus

The largest mount on your hand, the mount of Venus is the foundation of your personality. It represents love and passion, including sexual passions, as well as sentimentality. If large and fleshy, it reveals a desire for beauty, and sometimes possessiveness. If hollow or cold, it signifies a lack of sexual desire.

Mount of Luna

The mount of Luna, or the moon, is the second largest mount on your average hand, after Venus. It deals with imagination and psychic abilities. When it's well-developed, it means that person is bursting with imagination, creativity, and spiritual interests. And if larger than Venus, it can reveal a disconnection from reality or an overactive imagination.

Mount of Apollo

The mount of Apollo corresponds with talents of any kind, from creativity to sensitivity. It also speaks to good fortune. If it's well-developed and large, it reveals success in the arts, as well as luck in games of chance or moneymaking. An underdeveloped mount of Apollo might reveal a lack of imagination.

Mount of Mercury

The mount of Mercury speaks to inventiveness, awareness of practical skills, and even psychic ability. While Apollo is more about creativity, Mercury is more about factual communication as well as devotion to family and friends. A well-formed mount of Mercury (it's naturally larger that the mount of Saturn or Apollo) signifies effective expression of ideas and healing abilities. If it's a similar size to the mount of Saturn or Apollo, that indicates the mount is underdeveloped.

Mount of Jupiter

The mount of Jupiter is all about ambition, leadership, and authority. If this mount is neither hard nor soft to the touch, it indicates a wise teacher or mentor, and someone who is ambitious but fair-minded. If it's large but hard, it can signify a big ego—and difficulty in relationships. And if it's hollow, it means that person might be more of a follower than a natural-born leader.

Mount of Saturn

The mount of Saturn deals with problems and how we cope with them. It's typically flat, with any prominence revealing firm boundaries and organization. Large prominence and firmness reveal someone who is stubborn and unwilling to change, while an underdeveloped mount of Saturn shows indecisiveness and an easily influenced nature.

There are many nuances that can be observed in one's hands; this introduction just skims the surface. As with anything else, the more you practice palmistry, the more confident you will become doing in-depth readings and interpreting the results. At the end of the day, our future is never set in stone. If we don't like what we see during a reading, we always have the free will to do something about it.

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