What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.”
William Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare’s phrase is understood to mean that titles do not change anything of the authentic essence of, in this case, the person’s nature.

Can this principle be applied to the variety of labels for the different systems of interpretation and constituent parts of the hand reader’s craft?

Because the label will influence how others perceive them, there are chirologists and hand analysts who take umbrage to being described as palmists. Nomenclature evokes prejudice; for them, the term palmistry associates too closely with charlatanism.

For some practitioners, the label by which they define their hand reading work has personal significance, but in essence, do the labels we use for our our preferred system of interpretation of hands that I’ve outlined below, matter?

Chirology/Cheirology – from Gr ‘kheri’ (hand), and Gr ‘logos’ (reason), means “knowledge of the hands”. Chirology is an umbrella term that encompasses all facets of the study of how to read hands, and how it is that our hand’s structures reflect our psyche. The distribution of digital and palmar dermatoglyphics are highly relevant and are understood to represent the person’s psychological backdrop. The art, science and craft of chirology embraces the best of traditional palmistry.

5 Element Chirology is a branch of chirology that specifically uses the 5 element system, called “the language of the elements”, to interpret people’s hands. The 5 element system is based upon defining the unknown (the hands) in terms of the known (the scientific principles of the elements).

There are three primary components to the work of a chirologist/chirologer (both terms are correct). First is the system, which might be defined as the more “left-brained” body of knowledge, i.e. the practical and scientific component of the study of the forms, structures, textures and ascribed elements and principles of every hand feature. The system includes knowledge of the history of palmistry, methods of print keeping and all hand research.

Second is intuitive perception, the psychic and divinatory sensitivity that is inextricable from the modality. When holding and looking at the hands, we hand readers might experience feeling sensations or pick up visual images in the palms. We attune to the person’s non-verbal gestures and body language and let our hearts listen, take in, and be touched by what is most important for them. These portals of perception avail us of an inner ‘knowing’ that is more senior than any learned belief. Intuitive perception has a binding function and is inextricably enmeshed with the hand reading craft.

The third component is counselling and coaching. Chirology is a dialogue therapy; we have specific ethics and guidelines. When working with the 5 element system, we counsel and coach within a counselling model known as “The 5 Realms”. The 5 Realm model is intrinsic to 5 element chirology; it embodies wholeness (holiness) in our hands and defines all realms and layers of human experience. Insight and guidance is provided in every realm, which ensures that readings aren’t random hit and miss affairs. The model gives us the context for counselling and coaching with chirology.

Chiromancy/Cheiromancy is a well-known traditional term which comes from Gr ‘kheri’ – hand and Latin ‘mantei/mantic’ – having to do with divination and intuitive perception. Chiromancy is defined as the art or practice of foretelling events by interpreting signs and describes the psychic component of chirology/palmistry. Chiromancy cannot be separated from and interweaves with all systems of the hand reading craft.

Palmistry is of course the most widely used term that defines the art of interpretation of character, past formative influences and potential futures by evaluation of the structure of the hands. Shapes, textures, digits, lines, glyphs and mounts are examined. Other terms that relate to palmistry are palm reading, palmology and chirosophy.

Hand Analysis
Those readers who specifically align with this term are encouraging a more scientific approach, with a focus on understanding one’s life from a life purpose and life lesson perspective. Hand analysis is defined as a modern form of the ancient art of palmistry; there is a distinction between the foretelling of the future that is associated with palmistry, and, through an examination of the entirety of a set of hands, self-understanding. Interpretation of finger and palmar dermatoglyphics play a key role. Scientific hand analysis is a growing and increasingly respected field of study.

Psycho-Diagnostic Chirology
Biometric Definitions of Personality (BDP), formerly known as Psychodiagnostic Chirology (PDC), is described as a scientific diagnostic discipline that is based upon the forms and markings of hands. The system is applied by professional and behavioural specialists and psychologists in their clinical work.

Multi-Perspective Hand Reading
This term emphasizes the non-negotiable requirement of combining hand signs in multiple levels of the hands as being essential for a creditable reading. The system of multi-perspective hand reading points out that in isolation, individual hand signs do not have any specific diagnostic or predictive value. A primary principle is that any individual hand sign is just a single “building stone” towards evolving a valid assessment.

Vedic Palmistry
Vedic palmistry has its roots in India.  Known as “Hasta Samudrika Shastra”, or “the ocean of signs and symbols” in the hands, this is a component of Vedic astrology. From a Vedic point of view, the forms and features of our hands are understood to fully describe and determine our karmic destiny.

Chirognomy/Chiromorphology/Chiromorphognomy are terms which describe the scientific know-how of identifying and naming the shapes, markings and features of the hand’s structure.

Chirogrammeognomy is the study of identifying and categorizing specifically the lineal formations found in our palms.

All names and definitions for the science, art and craft of categorizing and interpreting the variables of structures of a set of hands inter-weave with one another. There is no definitive delineation between where one system ends and another begins. By whatever name, the practice and experience of the hand reading process is alchemical and mystical. No matter the name ascribed, all definitions and systems are inextricably intermingled and cannot be separated. Perhaps what is most relevant lies within the essence of the craft of hand reading, with the modality’s therapeutic and healing applications, and not with what it is named.