Among the varied efforts of humanity to understand life in general and individual humans in particular, astrology and palmistry are probably the most ancient and most widely distributed bodies of tradition. Both fields encompass a wide range of conflicting theories and principles, each with staunch advocates. In recent years, there have been an increasing number of attempts to correlate the two subjects, accepting the traditional astrological names in palmistry (e.g., the fingers of Jupiter, Saturn, Sun, and Mercury in addition to the areas assigned to Mars, Venus and Moon) and bringing in the newer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Beverly Jaegers of St. Louis, a well-known psychic, palmist and astrologer, has assigned the twelve finger joints (three on each of the four fingers) to the twelve signs of the zodiac, and came to the same conclusion which I had already reached: that the ancient traditions had mixed up the Sun and Venus areas of the hand. The base of the thumb has been traditionally assigned to Venus while the third (ring) finger was given to Apollo (Sun). Yet, the ring finger was associated with art and marriage, while the base of the thumb was considered a key to passion and sensuality which could equally well point to the Sun and Leo. Patricia Diegel, another well-known psychic and past-life reader, has included the three outer planets in her hand divisions, and has also added the asteroid belt and Vulcan, a hypothetical planet inside Mercury. Fred Gittings, author of several books on palmistry, has assigned the different fingers, mounts, and lines of the hand to the planets and to the twelve signs of the zodiac.
Naturally, with my mutable dilemma, I have explored the whole range of “occult arts”, and have experimented enough with palmistry to be convinced of its potential value. Unfortunately, it has also seemed likely that the field was in much the same shape as astrology—full of contradictory theories and too dominated by materialistic premises which sought to predict specific details in the life without a clear understanding of principles. My initial reaction to the attempts to correlate astrology with palmistry was to question whether this was really possible. What I read of the Jupiter finger did not fit the nature of Jupiter as I saw it in horoscopes, though there were certainly some similarities. The Saturn finger seemed closer to the astrological view of Saturn. I ran into more than one palmist who connected the little finger to sex and to inhibitions in that area, which does not fit its assignment to Mercury. The thumb seemed left out. The descriptions of the ring finger and the base of the thumb seemed reversed, as already indicated. It made more sense to have the two lights (Sun and Moon) opposite each other at the base of the hand, while the two inner planets had adjoining fingers as did the two outer planets (of those known to the ancient world). Mars was surely important enough to have more than a strip across the middle of the hand. If the thumb was will, often associated with aggression, with one type of thumb even named the “murderer’s” thumb, could Mars rule the first two joints of the thumb?
The material presented here is even more speculative than the rest of this journal, but having played with the ideas for some years, and having shared them with a few others interested in both palmistry and astrology, I decided to offer the ideas to a wider audience so that others could try them out. Experience is the acid test, and some of this material is purely logical and has never been tested. Other suggestions have actually been tested and seemed useful to a few palmists who also know some astrology. It is still possible that there is no exact correlation between the two fields, that they overlap but do not have precise correspondence, as was my first feeling when reading in both areas and noting the discrepancies. But it is also possible that the discrepancies are due to incomplete knowledge of one or both fields on the part of the “experts”. The longer I work with them, the more this view has seemed possible. Although psychic ability may enable a specialist in either field to make precise predictions or to indicate details in the life, I have been increasingly convinced that both the palm and the horoscope are really keys to character and can be manifested in a variety of details.
An example may clarify this point about principles and details. Readers who are familiar with my work will recognize the concept of the “freedom-closeness” dilemma which is so common in our society and can be shown in the horoscope in so many ways. I recently watched a palmist declare firmly that a line on the hand from the mount of Mars to one of the lines of association under the Mercury finger (formerly they were called marriage lines, but modern rules are looser) was a certain indication of divorce. The lady replied equally firmly that she had been married for over twenty years and had no intention of ever getting a divorce. If the palmist had said that the lady had a freedom-closeness dilemma but that it could have been solved if she and her mate were able to each allow the other freedom while maintaining a commitment, he would have been accurate in his analysis. The lady commented spontaneously that she and her husband each valued their own individuality and maintained their own interests at the same time that they maintained a solid marriage.
If there are exact correspondences between the palm and the factors used in astrology, the following seem at the very least more logical than many of the traditions. As can be seen on the drawing of the theoretical version of the hand, the hand has been divided into four major bands which correspond to the four elements in astrology. The thumb side is fire, starting with the traditional finger and mount of Jupiter, with the traditional mount of Mars beneath it, and Sun replacing Venus at the base of the thumb, the other (outer) joints of the thumb being assigned to Mars. The next astrological element in their zodiacal order is earth, and the next strip of the hand is tentatively assigned to earth, with Saturn maintaining its rule over the finger and mount but Mercury as ruler of Virgo taking the center of the palm under the Saturn finger, and Venus as ruler of Taurus coming in at the base of the hand. The air strip would follow, with a continuation of Venus at the base of the hand as ruler of Libra, a continuation of Mercury in the center as ruler of Gemini, and Uranus assigned to the mount below the ring finger. However, I am suggesting that the finger itself belongs to Venus. The opposite edge of the hand would be the last element, water, with the traditional ruler, the Moon, retaining the area at the base of the hand, Pluto taking over one of the mounts of Mars as the higher octave of Mars, and Neptune ruling the mount which is traditionally associated with healing when marked by small vertical lines. Again, I am tentatively suggesting that the mount and the finger are different, with Mercury retaining its rulership of the little finger.
This division of the palm gives us the major planets in their order from the Sun across the mounts and starting down the outer edge of the hand: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, with Pluto just below Neptune. The transpersonal signs of society, humanity, abstract truth and principles thus are associated with the mounts below the four fingers, but the fingers are assigned to the five original planets: the two outer together, the two inner together, with Mars taking the thumb. The personal and interpersonal planets and signs are matched with the middle and lower part of the hand, with the base of the hand and the middle edge under the little finger corresponding to the interpersonal part of life, except for the Taurus Venus.
If the divisions described above prove accurate, the vertical lines become clearer in their meaning. The traditional life line is, obviously, the fire line, indicating vitality, initiative, recuperative power, drive, etc. Fire says, “I know what I want and I’m going after it.” The line variously called the line of Fate or Destiny would be the earth line, giving clues to the ability to cope with the material world. The former “Sun” line would be the air line, showing versatility and the ability to relate to people as peers. Several lines on the mount under the ring finger have traditionally been associated with too many talents and a danger of scattering the energy in a superficial way, always a danger with air. The former line of Intuition would be the water line, key to the ability to contact the unconscious through which we receive psychic impressions. Water is also the element associated with repression and hence the danger of illness. Weak, wavy, fragmented, etc. lines which ended at that edge of the hand have always been described as keys to health, especially to the liver which is traditionally ruled by Jupiter, the co-ruler of Pisces which has now been assigned to Neptune. Of the two major transverse lines, the traditional Head line is appropriately placed in the central plain now assigned to Mercury, key to the conscious mind. The traditional Heart line marks the division between the transpersonal area (the mounts under the fingers which theoretically deal with the “big scene”) and the personal-interpersonal balance of the hand. In astrology, when we think of the zodiac as a path of evolution through life, letter 8 (Pluto, Scorpio, and the 8th house in the horoscope) marks the transition from the interpersonal to the transpersonal. When we have learned to live with a mate, to see ourselves accurately and deeply in the mirror of the mate, to master our passions out of respect for the rights of the mate, then we are ready to confront society as a whole.
If this conceptual scheme proves useful, we can think of lines connecting different parts of the hand as aspects between different planets, signs, and houses. They symbolize inter-relationships between different drives or desires in our natures which may involve inherent conflicts such as tend to exist between fire and water (pour out or hold in). But once we understand the nature of the conflicts, it is easier to integrate the different parts of life, to make a place for each of them like the lady with the line from Mars to a marriage line. Self-knowledge facilitates self-mastery. Obviously, this is only a tentative sketch which needs a considerable amount of work to test the principles. I would enjoy hearing from any students of palmistry who are moved to try the theories on themselves and their friends or families. We proceed always from the known to the unknown.
I have not tried to include the asteroids or Earth—could the wrist and bracelets be implicated? Maybe the whole thing is game-playing. But maybe palmistry, like astrology, is ready to come into the twentieth century, to grow up. We no longer assume that lines on the mount of the Moon mean ocean voyages, or that a double heart line is a pervert (the old Girdle of Venus just above the normal heart line). But we still have a long way to go before either palmistry or astrology can be considered firmly established, validated by scientific method, with a general agreement on basic principles. Actually, it’s rather fun to be here, now, when we can perhaps contribute to this goal. Good luck on the quest!