It looks simple. You glance at your palm and you see three major lines. At some point in your life you've probably heard of palmistry and wondered what those three lines meant, but then you thought, "Oh, it's just a bunch of baloney," and that was that.

In fact, those three lines are just the beginning. Virtually everything about your hand reveals aspects of your personality and lif e: its shape, the type of its skin, the fingers, the way the hand combines with the fingers, the three major lines, and all the other little lines as well. To think all this time you've had a wealth of insight literally in the palm of your hand and at your fingertips, and you didn't know how to use it. Well, now you will!

And by the way, it's not considered baloney anymore, either—nor should it ever have been. The art of palmistry began in the Stone Age— ancient cave paintings of hands are abundant, and the second-oldest manuscript known to man is a treatise on hand-reading. Through the years it has gained more and more scientific acceptance, particularly through the credibility of the famous psychologist Dr. Carl Jung, and recently received an enormous boost of legitimacy with a new scientific theory.

According to this medical study, as reported in Time and Newsweek, the nerve endings in the hands are directly connected to the brain, as if the hand were itself a printout of the brain's circuitry. This was supported by the fact that people who have lost the nerve functions in their hands also lost their lines.

By the same token, since people go through a lifetime's worth of subtle personality changes, so the hands too experience corresponding changes in their lines (always in response to the brain, never before it).

Some skeptics still maintain that lines are merely reflective of hard work, scars, or physical tears—that sort of thing. Jung disproved this by examining the hands of newborns—even they have distinctive line patterns!

What does all this mean? If the patterns on our hands merely reflect what's already happened, how can they possibly help us?

Yes, the hands are like mirrors of our personalities. In some cases, they can help predict the future (as with the major lines, which we were born with), but they can also help us see ourselves better. We get into ruts, we forget what we're good at and what we're not good at, and by studying our hands, we can remind ourselves of our strengths, our best chances for happiness, and even our destiny.

The Shape of the Hand

First of all, you'll notice a subtle difference between the patterns on your left and right hands. Your dominant hand (for most of you, this is your right hand) reflects information about your everyday lif e, and the opposite hand indicates your imagination and inherited qualities. Your dominant hand is usually larger as well, since you use it more.

There are three main types of hands: round, square, and rectangular.

If your palm is round, you are the active type. Quick-thinking, quick-acting, always on the go, always trying to get ahead, ambitious, and goal-oriented. You grasp ideas easily and achieve financial success rather quickly as well. You feel fenced-in by dull jobs—especially housework— and would much rather sink your teeth into a challenge. Your career choice tends to be law, journalism, acting, stock brokering—anything high-pressure and challenging. Celebrities with round palms include Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Julia Roberts.

If your palm is square, it indicates, as you might suspect, that you are earthy, hard-working, and capable of solving problems (especially those of a logical nature). This aptitude assures of you of success in your chosen field, which tends to be in the specialized technical areas. You are also trustworthy, skeptical, highly moral, modest, and very grounded in reality. You enjoy activities that involve your hands, such as woodworking or painting. Famous square-hand types are Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Barbara Bush, and Amelia Earhart.

If your palm is rectangular, you are more of a thinker—in fact, you spend more time dreaming than doing, imagining more than you can carry out. You also have a tendency to get bored easily, and wander from job to job and person to person, always floating on top of life but not diving in very often. You're the creative type, but you have to discipline yourself to concentrate, otherwise success can elude you.

Actually, this third category can be subdivided further: rectangular-handed people without many lines on their palms are generally more active and emotionally stable than those with a great deal of lines. So if you have few lines, you are creative and sensitive, but ultimately your head rules your heart. Celebrity examples of this type include Jimmy Stewart, Kirstie Alley, Michael Landon, and Betty White.

If you see many lines on your palms, these are probably the result of worrying too much and imagining too many scenarios that will never be played out in real life. You are in love with love, and you'll create drama just to satisfy your craving for it. In other words, your heart rules your head. You share this hand-type with Katherine Hepburn and psychic Jeane Dixon.

Skin Types

Before examining the details of the palm, check the back of your hand and assess your skin type, to see what it reveals about you. There are three major categories: smooth, healthy, and worn (obviously, don't cheat and rub lotion on it just before you do this).

If your skin is smooth, you are known for your good taste and sophisitication, but you may be a bit lazy. You're more of a thinker than a doer, and need to be reminded of practicalities—like paying bills—often.

If your skin is healthy and firm, somewhere between smooth and rough, you are physical and active, something of an outdoorsy type, but not overly so. You love sports and staying in shape, and you are very efficient in everything you do.

If your skin is worn and rough, you obviously spend a great deal of time outdoors. To you, physi-cality is your most important quality. You are very strong, love challenges, and often meet dares just to prove your mettle. You thrive in wide-open spaces.

The Fingers 

There are four types of fingers, each of which define a certain characteristic of your personality: thick, soft, thin, and sinuous.

If you have thick fingers, which are strong and square at the tips, you are realistic and down-to-earth. You're also pragmatic, hard-working, materialistic, and opinionated.

If you have soft fingers, it's not because you're overweight. They're there for a reason. You have a warm, loving, receptive personality. You have an intuitive sense about people—you pick up their thoughts and emotions non-verbally, and by your keen sense of touch. Your fingers are smooth around the knuckles and the tips are shaped like cones.

If you have thin fingers, you're more the analytical type. You're idealistic, critical, and logical. Your knuckles are more defined and your tips are square or just a little rounded. The skin tends to be dry as well.

If you have sinuous fingers, with knuckles that are barely pronounced and tips shaped like trap-ezoids, you're an active type. You get nervous a lot, but you also get a lot done, and therefore achieve success earlier.

It's possible that you can have a combination of these four types, but it's rare. More likely is an unusual combination of fingers and palms. For example, a rectangular palm, which indicates sensitivity and imagination, is most likely to have soft fingers, because they fit closely with the personality type. But you could easily have rectangular palms and thin fingers, meaning your sensitive but logical as well—a good combination of heart and head. We're all unique, so expect the overall picture to be somewhat complex.

A fun aspect to the fingers is their mythological associations, as follows:

The index finger is associated with Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. It therefore represents leadership and pride. If it's long, you are strong-willed and even a bit dictatorial; medium, you're a quieter, more graceful leader; short, you more of an advisor than a president.

The middle finger represents Saturn, as well as the qualities of good judgement, balance, fairness, and planning. If it's long, you're very cautious and must be convinced before making a decision; medium, you're a little more open-minded, a moderate; short, you need to spend more time deciding what's right.

The ring finger is that of Apollo, and signifies, as you might suspect, romance and style (you don't wear that symbol of romance there for nothing). If it's long, you're passionate and a tastemaker, one who creates fashion trends; if it's medium, you're quietly tasteful and romantically active; short, you follow the prevailing trends and are very loyal in relationships.

The little finger is associated with Mercury, which we learned in astrology represents communications, speed, writing, and conversation. If it's long, you're a great talker and natural salesperson; medium, you make a convincing case when you feel the need to; short, you're a shy listener.

The thumb represents the goddess Rhea, and more importantly, the will. Since it's opposed to the other four, it can easily dominate the tendencies of all of them. If it's long, you are stubborn and used to getting what you want; medium, you're a good negotiator, and you understand the nature of give-and-take situations; short, you give up too easily.

Hand and Finger Combinations

One of history's most famous palm scientists developed a system of hand-and-finger combinations that uses the four basic elements: fire, earth, air, and water. Knowing which combination you have will not only help define your personality, it can also help you find your ideal romantic partner.

The fire hand is rectangular with short fingers. Since fire is hot, full of energy, and constantly moving to survive, so are you. The long palm brings you creativity and sensitivity, the short fingers an eye for the big picture (details are for long-fingered types). So you create passionately, on a grand scale, and you experience life to the fullest, but you burn people without realizing it.

The earth hand is square with short fingers. The squareness of your palm brings you a solid work ethic, the kind that leads to long-term success, and the short fingers an ability to work with things of a larger scope—i.e., you're a better forester than a whittler. You love rhythm, and are very attuned to the seasons, the generations, the birth /life continuum. Your family comes first.

The air hand is square with long fingers. Just as air is associated with the wind, birds, sound waves, and communication, so you are very quick in your movements and intellect, and you speak and write cogently and logically. In fact, your mind often overrules your heart and gets in the way of your emotional needs. Most people with air hands are either in the communications field, are in one that emphasizes logic, such as law.

The water hand is rectangular with long fingers. As astrological water signs are highly emotional and creative, so too are people with water hands. You are very introverted, experiencing most of life beneath your outer shell. Like a Pisces, your imagination and emotions feed each other, and you are highly spiritual and intuitive. But you rely on others to move you to action, as water relies on outside forces like wind and gravity to move it.

Romantic combinations

Although degrees vary greatly, here are the ideal combinations of the above hand types:

Fire and air: Both of you are highly intelligent, which makes for charged conversation, and you're both goal-oriented and passionate. The negative is a tendency to be competitive, which generates friction, but the attraction is electric, and carries enough mutual interest to overcome that.

Earth and earth: You believe in the same things, to such a strong degree that a combination with another sign would be too problematic. The only negative is sameness—you're likely to get into a rut. Still, you share too much to too great a degree—this is what lasting relationships are based on.

Water and water: Since the water sign is the most misunderstood, it's also the hardest to match. For this reason, relationships with those who understand you best seem the most compatible, although this varies to a great degree. In this combination, there is great mutual support and magnetism, but also a tendency for over possessiveness, jealousy, and irritation. If it's too unsteady, find another—you're the most adaptable type, so a combination with, say, your opposite the fire hand, can be just as successful.

Part 1 Isabella

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