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Exploring Destiny (part 1): An Introduction To Palmistry

May 10, 2009
Mark Twain's palm

Mark Twain's hand print from the book "Cheiro's Language Of The Hand"

Destiny is a fascinating subject and question: Are our lives predetermined or can we change our destiny at any given moment? There are many ways to approach and explore this question.  One way is through the study of palmistry.

I was introduced to palmistry through my parents and, more specifically the lectures of my father, Michio Kushi.  Among the many diverse and interesting subjects that he taught including macrobiotics, alchemy, spirituality, ancient and future worlds and so many other topics, one thing that peaked my personal interest in palmistry was the fact that I noticed then that I had and still have the longest life line on my right hand that I have ever seen on anyone.  “What does it mean?”, I thought to myself.  Does it mean that I am going to live a long time?  Being an extremely pragmatic and scientifically oriented person I did not take palmistry too seriously.  Yet the larger question of destiny always fascinated me and along with it, whether the lines in our hands can actually foretell our future.


William John Warner (a/k/a "Cheiro")

Palmistry and the reading of the hands is an ancient and traditional practice among the far eastern cultures of Japan, China and India. It was popularized in the West in the late 1800s by an Irish man, William John Warner, who studied palmistry in India and then called himself “Cheiro” (meaning “hand”) and dubbed a new science and art called “Cheiromancy.”  Since then many have introduced palm reading but the lack of scientific rigor has dismissed it to the stereotypical realm of charlatans and crystal ball readers at side show carnivals who prey upon a naive public. But it has gained a resurgence of popularity since the late 1960s to the present, along with the interest of the study of all things of ancient Eastern origin by Westerners that deal with the subject of destiny including the I-Ching, Oriental Astrology, Feng Shui and Face Reading.

The principle of palmistry is simple and is that our life and fortune or destiny is fully revealed in our hand including its shape and size, the length of fingers and the myriad of lines that are found on it.  The study of palmistry, however, can be life-long and never-ending, as with any discipline of this nature partly because it is built upon the discoveries of others and requires sifting through and re-evaluating catalogs of past subjective interpretations. I have only dabbled in it superficially and have approached it more from a question of how much of it is really valid science versus just speculation or subjective interpretation.  In other words, I was less interested in learning the details of palmistry and instead more curious to find out why it might work.  My reasoning was that by studying the “why” it might work then the details will naturally fall into place.  The following are some of my thoughts.

1.  The Clarity, Depth and Length Of  The Three Major Lines In Our Palm Are Formed During Our Fetal Period

Fists made by fetus

Fists made by fetus

We have three principle lines in our hand which are the life line (which encircles the thumb), the intellect  or head line (which starts at or near the life line  between the thumb and index finger) and the emotion or heart line (which starts at below the pinky and usually curves upward toward the index finger).  These three lines are formed and defined when we make a fist in our mother’s womb.  The clarity, depth and length of the lines depend on how strong and tight a fist we make.  The strength of the fist we make in the womb depends on the condition of the fetus which is directly related to the health of our mothers and is the direct result of what she is and has been eating and the social and natural environment and lifestyle she experiences.  A healthier baby will be more contracted, or yang, making a very strong fist, thus creating deep and long lines in his or her palm.  After birth these lines basically do not change, thus becoming indicators of our health during our fetal period.

Our fetal development sets our biological foundation which, in turn, determines our potential future for the rest of our life.  Does it accurately predict what will happen in the future?  I don’t think so.  It only tells us how healthy we were in our mother’s womb.  A person who has a deep and long life line may not necessarily live a long time while one who has a short and shallow one may live a very long life.  However, this does not invalidate the significance of these lines.  If a person is born with deep and long lines then there will be a tendency for this person to, because of their strong health, abuse it in the future, while, on the other hand, a person with weaker lines may become ill sooner and therefore begin to manage their lives much more carefully and, by doing so, live a long time.

2.  Vertical Lines (Fate, Health and Fortune) Running The Length Of The Palm Can Change Overtime

The vertical lines in our palms can gradually change overtime based on our life’s activity.  The harder and longer that one works and uses his or her hands then the deeper the lines become.  The vertical lines can get stronger or deeper, while the other lines mostly stay the same.  In palmistry, how lines appear  in relation to each other do make a difference in identifying a person’s destiny; for example,  where the lines meet and intersect and so forth.  It does not identify the actual scope, content and events of one’s life but the tendency in relation to other elements in of one’s life.  A person, for example could be extremely wealthy but it may not show up in the lines because their wealth may not be of any relevance to themselves and their life.  But, generally speaking, I have found that a long and deep straight vertical line that starts at the base of the palm and goes up to the ring or middle finger indicates a person who is or will be extremely successful and fortunate in life.  It shows a person whose life path is very steady and is not hampered or distracted by intellectual and emotional issues.

Note the long straight vertical line running through the center of Barack Obama's hand.

Note the long straight vertical line running through the center of Barack Obama's hand.

3.  Proportional Relative Measurements Matter; Not Actual Size

A wide palm is significant only in relation to the rest of the features of the hand. The length of the ring finger is significant in relation to the palm and the other fingers.  One study (reported by the BBC here) has revealed that digit ratios between ring and index fingers might be linked to the amount of testosterone a fetus received during pregnancy.  A longer ring finger indicates greater testosterone during fetal development and is commonly found among athletes and musicians (having to stay focused on precise physical timing) and other persons who lead an active physical life.  What is significant about this finding is that it scientifically confirms the fact that our natural tendencies can be revealed by looking at our hands.

4.   The Destiny Question

Can we see our fate in our hands?  Can we accurately pinpoint our death by studying our lines?  Can we change it?  The answer is relatively simple.  We are born with a certain biological foundation that was given to us by our parents.  To that extent our lives have character, potentiality and tendencies and has its limits.  But what is not determined is the scope and domain of our lives.  We can live life on grand scale or we can live it on a small scale.  Ignoring scale and scope, the life we lead will be generally the same based on our inherited biological conditions.  We can also change our destiny through hard work and carefully managing our health.  We will still face challenges that are predetermined by our inherited biology, but whether or not we survive them depends on the scope of the life we choose to lead and our own personal health management.

Palm reading is only one of a multitude of ways to see one’s health, biological foundation, limitations and potential and our possible destiny. One can also see it in the face, in bumps on the head (phrenology), and many more ways.  There may also be a way to see it through DNA analysis that is yet to be discovered.  There is a potential problem in studying subjects related to destiny and is that one can become too focused on details and by so doing lose their objectivity and common sense and end-up ignoring the more obvious and basic principles of change and free will.

We do have free will but our lives are limited, and to that extent, predetermined, by our inherited biological foundation, by the larger collective destiny of humanity and by the even larger destiny of the earth traveling through space all of which take precedence over our own lives.  Or rather, they are all part of our lives and although you and I may have the freedom to express ourselves differently on an individual level we are all part of one and the same destiny of this universe.  Or it could be expressed as Michio had said, “Our free will is nothing but the free will of the order of the universe.”

For a great website on palmistry see:

Also check out Lynn Jordon’s website and services at:

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2009 12:05 pm

    I appreciate your take on reading one’s destiny in the hand. As a certified Hand Analyst, I am not big on predicting someone’s future – but I like the way that you describe how we are born with certain things in place, and it’s up to us to determine the degree to which we live these things out. In Hand Analysis, we take this information and apply practices that takes palmistry into a transformational art. For instance, if we see that you have a gift that is not being utilized, we create a plan to help incorporate the parts of you that are being under-used into your daily life. The result is a more fufilling life experience. Thank you for this post.

    • María permalink
      April 27, 2012 4:13 am


      I like the way Lynn focus the hand analysis as a transformational art. That is a very interesting way of working with it and acknowledge our right to strive for excellence reminding us that we can turn our weaknesses into fortitudes.

      I would like to mention some of my thoughts related to this subject.

      The only future we can talk about for sure is our Now. We can talk about probabilities, but that is all and even doing it in that way, we are cutting too much the gift that all of us have to create, build ….our own life, as human beings we are not limited to the lines of our hands, that is just a book containing information about our past that once we are conscious of it, can be used to walk in a different way if we choose to, taking advantage of our roots.

      If you go to someone to talk to you about you(health, life,…) and you trust this person blindly ( for whatever reasons, self security, name, fame,….) you can absorb whatever they tell you as truth, this is scary and steal from us all glimpse of free will. That is why I want to tell here that we can work our second by second to create who we want to be, even if we don´t have all the lines in favour when we were born.

      And if we become parents we should acknowledge our children freedom to become whoever they want to be and we should be there supporting their dreams despite the strengths of the lines they came with. We feed our children not just with our genetics, our eating habits, there is much more than that and we should acknowledge the importance of it, and the fact that we can teach them the tools to become free human beings with free will inside of a free Universe with free will, too, because at the end if we look at it in the right way, to get attached to the information we got from our ancestors and our past in general is a way of slavery if it is not digested in the right way.

      All of this may help to demystify the power of reading faces, hands or whatever, we should give it the right scientific value and let it there. If can help us to improve our condition and with time rebuild part of our constitution or the information we are going to give to our children, welcome if not, I will just let it go. I don´t want to give anyone or anything the right to slave me in any sense, if I am conscious and can avoid it, …. to be free, to have free will for me is a concept that scapes many times the intellectual understanding, because we are subject to many, many external and internal waves, but I believe that we can work to get it once we are conscious of its wide extension, at least, in the best way we can.

      Thank you very much for listening.

  2. December 5, 2009 4:05 am

    Keep up the good work. 🙂

  3. January 21, 2013 6:35 pm

    I wish I could publish like you. Your write-up Exploring Destiny (part 1):
    An Introduction To Palmistry Phiya Kushi has pushed me to get off my butt and get some
    word out to the world. You have boosted my confidence just by writing so well.


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