The Works of Aristotle - Of Palmistry showing the various Judgments drawn from the hand.

Of Palmistry showing the various Judgments drawn from the hand.

BRING engaged in this third part to show what judgment may be drawn, according to the physiognomy, from the several parts of the body, and coming in order to speak of the hands, it has put me under a necessity of saying something about palmistry, which is a judgment, made of the conditions, inclinations and fortunes of men and woman from the various lines and characters nature has imprinted in their hands, which are almost as various as the hands that have them.

<illustration: Diagram of a hand showing the lines.>

The reader should remember, that one of the lines of the hand, and which indeed is reckoned principal, is called the line of life; this line incloses the thumb, separating it from the hollow of the hand. The next to it, which is called the natural line, takes its beginning from the Sing of the fore-finger, near the line of life, and reaches to the table line, and generally makes a triangle. The table line, commonly called the line of fortune, begins under the little finger, and ends near the middle finger. The girdle of Venus, which is another line so called, begins near the first joint of the little finger and ends between the fore-finger and the middle finger.

The line of death is that which plainly appears in a counter line to that of life, and is called the sister line, ending usually as the other ends; for when the line of life is ended, death comes, and it can go no farther. There are lines in the fleshy parts, as in the ball of the thumb, which is called the Mount of Venus; under each of the fingers are also mounts, which are each one governed by several planets; and the hollow of the hand is called the Plain of Mars; thus --


The thumb we to Dame Venus' rule commit,
Jove the fore-finger sways as he thinks fit:
Old Saturn does the middle finger guide:
O'er the ring finger Sol does still preside:
The outside drawn pale Cynthia does direct:
And into th' hollow Mars does most inspect:
The little finger does to Mercury fall;
Which is the nimblest Planet of them all.

<illustration: Diagram of a hand showing the governing planets.>

I proceed to give judgment from these several lines: In Palmistry, the left hand is chiefly to be regarded because therein the lines are most visible, and have the strictest communication with the heart and brain. In the next place, observe the line of life, and if it be fair extending to its full length, and not broken with an intermixture of cross-lines, it shows long life and health: and it is the same if a double line of life appears, as there sometimes does. When the stars appear in this line, it is a signification of great losses and calamities; if on it there be the figures of two O's or a Y, it threatens the person with blindness; if it wraps itself about the table-line, then does it promise wealth and honour to he attained by prudence and industry: If the line be cut, jagged at the upper end, it denotes much sickness; if this line be cut by any lines coming from the Mount of Venus, it declares the person be unfortunate in love and business also, and threatens him with sudden death. A cross between the line of life and the table line shows the person to be very liberal and charitable, and of a noble spirit. Let us now see the signification of the table-line.

The table-line, when broad and of a lively colour, shows a healthful constitution, and a quiet contented mind, and of a courageous spirit; but if it have crosses towards the little finger, it threatens the party with much affliction by sickness. If the line be double, or divided into three parts at any of the extremities, it shows the person to be of a generous temper, and of a good fortune to support it; but if this line be forked at the end, it threatens the person shall suffer by jealousies and doubts and loss of riches gotten by deceit. If three points, such as these are found in it, they denote the person prudent and liberal, a lover of learning, and of a good temper. If it spreads towards the fore and middle finger, and ends blunt, it denotes preferment. Let us now see what is signified by the middle line. This line has in it oftentimes (for there is scarce a hand in which it varies not) divers very significant characters. Many small lines between this and the table line threatens the party with sickness, but also gives him hope of recovery. A half cross branching into this line declares the person shall have honour, riches, and good success in all his undertakings. A half moon denotes cold and watery distempers; but a sun or star upon this line promises prosperity and riches. This line, double to a woman, shows she will have several husbands, but no children.

The Line of Venus, if it happens to be cut or divided near the fore-finger, threatens ruin to the party, and that it shall befall him by means of lascivious women and bad company. Two crosses upon this line, one being on the fore—finger and the other bending towards the little finger, shows the party to be weak, and inclined to modesty and virtue; indeed it generally denotes modesty in women; and therefore those who desire such wives usually choose them by this standard.

The liver Line, if it be strait, and crossed by other lines, shows the person to be of a sound judgment, and a piercing understanding; but if it be winding, crooked, and bending outward, it shows deceit and flattery, and that the party is not to be trusted. If it makes a triangle, or quadrangle, it shows the person to be of a noble descent, and ambitious of honour and promotion. If it happens that this line and the middle line begin near each other, it denotes a person to be weak in his judgment, if a man; but if a woman, danger by hard labour.

The Plain of Mars being in the hollow of the hand, most of the lines pass through it, which renders it very significant. This plain being hollow, and the lines, being crooked and distorted, threatens the party to fall by his enemies. When the lines beginning at the wrist are long within the plain, reaching to the brawn of the hand, that shows the person to be one given to quarrelling, often in broil, and of a hot and fiery spirit, by which he shall suffer much damage. If deep and large crosses be in the middle of the plain, it shows the party shall obtain honour by martial exploits; but if it be a woman, that she shall have several husbands, and easy labour with her children.

The line of death is fatal, when crosses or broken lines appear in it; for they threaten the person with sickness and a short life. A clouded moon appearing therein threatens a child-bed woman with death. A star like a comet threatens ruin by war, and death by pestilence. But if a bright star appears therein it promises long life and prosperity.

As for the lines in the wrist being fair, they denote good fortune, but if crossed and broken, the contrary.


Thus he that nature richly understands,
May from each line imprinted in his hands,
His future fate and fortune come to know,
And in what path it is his feet shall go;
His secret inclinations he may see,
And to what vice he shall addicted be.
To th' end that when he looks into his hand
He may upon his guard the better stand,
And turn his wandering steps another way
Whene'er he finds he does from virtue stray.


Previous Next