Palmistry or Chirology?

In my early years of studying 5 element chirology, my UK based tutors taught me that intuitive interpretation of the symbolic markings such as stars and crosses in palms is unprofessional. They maintained that chirology is a methodical and deductive psychological therapy, and that anything ‘palmistic’ should not be brought into a chirology reading. It was emphasized that at the very core of chirology is a coaching model, called ‘the 5 Realms’, which is the context within which we analyze hands. As a structured counseling and coaching tool, 5 element chirology is unrelated to prediction.



The 5 realm model categorizes specific areas of life. The principles and qualities of the elements earth, water, fire, air and ether are each in turn ascribed to the physical, emotional, vocational, intellectual and spiritual realms of our human experience.

Chirology’s 5 element system of interpretation defines the fundamental scientific principles and characteristics of the elements as being represented, each in their unique way, in all layers of our lives.

When offering a reading, we begin with the 4 variables of hand shape which categorize 4 primary archetypes of an earthy, watery, fiery or airy type person. Our hands’ shapes reveal our deepest element of expression and which of the elements (earth, water, fire or air) predominantly flavor our character and temperament. Based on this archetypal foundation, we use ‘the language of the elements’ to build our codification and interpretation of the forms and markings of the person’s hands.

The hands also reflect your personal coping skills and habituated patterns of behavior, and insight can be gained about your character strengths, emotional climates, sensitivities, needs and preferences. From shapes, we look to skin textures, mounts, dermatoglyphics (skin ridge patterns), fingers, tip shapes, nail shapes, thumb formations and lines, each characteristic of which is associated with an element and which in turn reference the realms of health, family matters, money, intimate relationships, career choices, spiritual issues and others.

With palmistry being so strongly associated with unethical charlatanism, in my early training I was 100% aligned with my tutors. I promoted 5 element chirology as the exquisite bridge that it is; a hand reading system that crosses the divide between divination and psychology. Chirology in this pure form is a dialogue therapy that definitively brands prediction as being highly unethical. Readings are ‘now’ focused, qualitative and holistic, in current time, rather than chronologically structured.

In the world of hand analysis, there exists no governing body that sets a global criteria of ethical and professional standards. The challenges of assuming our own authority as readers are complex. We can but cap ourselves, so to speak. For me, this has not been easy. Understanding of and expertize in ethical counseling evolved through years in therapy, as well as from doing several counseling and coaching courses. My studies have deepened my sense of professionalism, integrity and confidence as a chirologist.

But I simply could not sustain the separation between chirology and palmistry that my left-brained tutors insisted upon. True as the fundamental difference between the old and new way of reading hands is, after a few years in practice I began to find that drawing a boundary between the more structured and scientific 5 element system I was trained in and those aspects of hand reading that pertain more to palmistry and divination were becoming increasingly challenging.

There could be no doubt that the emanations from the mystical markings, skin textures, temperatures and colors of people’s palms translate into visual, olfactory and clairaudient knowledge, resulting in often astonishingly accurate intuitive perceptions. Albeit slowly and reluctantly, I began to embrace the very model of myself that I thought I’d never have believed life would have wanted of me; the role of psychic palm reader. As a child, I told my parents “when I grow up I want to have doggie kennels”. In my early teens, my longing to offer love and safe-keeping evolved to wanting to be a psychologist. But life steered an alternate route, and instead of a formal education, by 16 I’d dropped out of school. By 17, I was married with a child. As you can imagine, self-worth was not my strong suit. It has taken me many years to trust, not only my professionalism as counselor and therapist, but also my intuition. I’ve come to understand and be grateful that I am here for this. 

As an empath and intuitive, I receive impressions and messages through touch. Information exudes from people’s palms and prints. Their stories land in me, an interior space swells, and absorption happens. A vastness of no me usurps the me that was. In an infinity of Presence, in readings I am like a tuning fork acutely pitched to the resonant frequency of the person’s struggles, joys and longings. This I Am, the no me, is on purpose. With focused intention, information runs clear, pure, an uncontaminated channel which often helps to refresh, sustain and relieve my clients. In the offering of my blessed sacred bundle, I am centered in containing, distilling and weaving threads of concepts; the rearranging of perspectives that often include projected outcomes.

In taking a person’s hands in yours, or by offering your hands to a hand reader, we unlock a force of energy via the touching and holding. It is the gentle holding and stroking of hands in the beginning of a reading (as well as intermittently throughout the process) that conveys reassurance and healing to the person. At the moment of touch, both reader and seeker open and extend themselves. Kindness then ‘strikes like lightning’. Our energies intertwine, connectivity is established, and the courageous leap into self-enquiry via the forms and markings of our hands begins. In the movie Avatar, a powerful connection was activated when the Avatar people plugged their pony-tails into the creatures they wanted to ride. Once they had plugged in, the ride began. It’s exactly like that with hand reading.

There is no possible way to ascribe scientific proof of meanings to the infinite variables of our palmar formations, but because intuition is such significant component of the hand reading craft, the inexplicably subtle ways in which readers pick up impressions from hands warrants deep enquiry and research.

Reading into the signs and symbols within the constellation of palmar lines is an intuitive way of feeling for meanings that begs a more right-brained, divergent lens of perception. To read signs, symbols and markings in palms, we set aside rules and open ourselves to psychic impressions. Psychic perception is an aspect of hand reading which cannot be taught, yet our so-called sixth sense has a vibrant life of its own. For instance, it is a myth that the number or sex of children can be directly ascertained from specific markings, yet in attuning to the energy frequency in the person’s hands, this information may be known to me.

In essence, the craft of hand reading has 3 components; the interpretive system, the verbal counseling and coaching, and the intuitive perceptions. After 28 years of hand reading, I fully embrace all aspects of the study of how to use hands as a divinatory tool, and teach that intuitive perception makes for a full one third of the hand reading craft.

There can in fact be no definable line between where palmistry ends and chirology begins. After all, chirology, from the Greek – “kheri” and “logos”, is an umbrella term, meaning ‘knowledge of the hand’. Traditional western palmistry is a storehouse for research and a treasure of hand reading know-how. As an evolved form of palmistry and an authentic healing therapy, chirology is charged with the embrace of all fields of the knowledge of hands.


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