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Your Fate Is in Your Hands: Using the Principles of Palmistry to Change Your Life Paperback – January 1, 2000
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Chapter One: Palmistry and Intuitive Perception: A Brief History
As we enter the new millennium, we possess a far more comprehensive understanding of the special relationship between the hand and the mind than ever before. In fact, what was intuitively understood in ancient times has only recently been studied and appreciated by science. The latest revelations in embryology have been remarkable in that they have shown that at the start of the second trimester of pregnancy, the cerebral cortex, the layer of the brain that is the seat of nerve activity, and the distal upper limbs, or hands, begin their development simultaneously. Scientists have concluded that both the cerebral cortex and the hand develop from the same stem cell material -- the ectoderm of the fertilized egg cell -- which underscores the profound and real connection between the hand and brain.
If we had any doubts before now, we can wholeheartedly embrace what palmists have always understood, that our hand and brain are intimately connected, because at an early point in our development they were one and the same. Consequently, that there is a constant flow of information between these two essential aspects of ourselves is expected; as with any dynamic interaction, the concept of change is part of its very nature. The changes that we experience as our lives unfold are literally manifest in the lines, mounts, and other markings of the palm. Studied together with the size and shape of an individual's fingers, a unique and instructive self-portrait emerges, and we literally hold a map of our unique fate in hand. By learning to read and understand this map, which was formed by our most essential cells early in our development, we can change our lives.
As we know, hands have fascinated humans since prehistoric times. In some cultures, it was believed that hands were magically endowed. Indeed, it seems unlikely that anyone would argue this idea when the proof of that endowment has been displayed and witnessed in countless cultures throughout the centuries. Not only is man capable of making tools and weapons, which give us power over nature and the ability to engage in war, we are also able to make signs and symbols that allow us to share our ideas with each other. Perhaps even more magically, our hands have provided us the means to create and practice poetry, music, science, and art.
So when did the art of palmistry begin?
Considered the earliest art form, the Paleolithic hand imprints found daubed against cave walls in natural mineral pigments such as yellow and red ochre, manganese and iron oxide, combined with charcoal and blood, are a bold testament to the longstanding significance of the human hand to mankind. In even these earliest works, man chose to see the human hand as a reflection of himself and use it as an assertion of his existence. Given this, we can easily grasp that our early ancestors saw the human body as comprised of five points, the head and four limbs, which corresponded to the five points of the hand, the thumb and fingers. In looking at his hand, early man saw himself and came to believe that the life force, the very energy of being, that flowed through him entered through the fingertips and found expression in the various mounts and planes of the palm.
And that is how palmistry began.
When Aristotle, in the fourth century B.C., made mention of palmistry, the practice had, in fact, already existed for thousands of years (it is even mentioned in the Old Testament). The meanings of the lines of the human hand had been deciphered, and palm readings had already foretold innumerable events the world over, most especially in regard to war. The Roman emperor Augustus, and Julius Caesar himself reportedly studied palmistry. Both Caesar and Alexander the Great are believed to have employed the science of hand analysis before battles. Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher (perhaps better known for his mathematical theorem but a student of palmistry, nonetheless), documented the arrival of palmistry in the Western world from the East as early as 582 B.C. The Druids, who were Celtic priests, in the third century B.C., and who were written about by Caesar following their meeting in battle, reportedly believed the hand to be an oracle.
Palmistry reportedly appeared in western Europe in the twelfth century a.d., a period of influx of Arabic knowledge into a part of the world that was just emerging from the so-called Dark Ages. It is difficult to know how and where palmistry may have been practiced in Europe during the Dark Ages because it was a period in which only sanctioned Christian religious knowledge and writing persisted. In contrast, the Moors had preserved the knowledge amassed by the Greek and Roman classic civilizations. During the Moorish conquest and occupation of Spain, this Greek and Roman knowledge, including information on palmistry, was introduced to the Spaniards, surfacing at universities in Cordoba, Toledo, and Seville, and then spread through Europe. French and Spanish translations of Arabic manuscripts, dating back to the twelfth century, include brief notes on palmistry, and the study had certainly spread north because the Digby Role IV, the oldest known manuscript focusing on palmistry, was written on vellum in Middle English around 1440. Its main point of discussion focused on the amount of space between the heart and head lines of the human hand; a narrow expanse between the two lines supposedly suggested stinginess, while a broader space suggested kindness and friendliness.
By the fifteenth century, palmistry had Western followers from all walks of life, scholars and gypsies alike, who began to spread the art throughout Europe, gaining recognition as fortune-tellers. In fact, since it was associated with the noble arts of astronomy and medicine, and with such luminary thinkers as Aristotle and Pythagoras, palmistry was not considered a "demonic" practice (though skills such as midwifery and herb gathering were), and it was granted a true legitimacy even in those close-minded times.
Doctor Johann Faust, legend tells us, was an astrologer and conjurer who roamed Germany in the first half of the sixteenth century and whose dark reputation spawned many books and operas. One of the stories of Faust tells us that he would read palms in exchange for food and drink. It is said that he believed that the future could be beheld in a human hand. As early as 1615, the Rosicrucians, an international organization committed to developing mankind's highest potential and psychic powers, embraced palmistry as a means of self-revelation and published their credo, which found its way to the United States before 1700.
In 1768, Marie-Anne le Normand was born in France and later became a proficient palmist and Napoleon Bonaparte's fortune-teller. Fred Gettings's The Book of the Hand informs us that after the siege of Toulon, when Napoleon was merely a successful general, le Normand prophesied that he would "go off to make war in Italy, and return in such glory that you will be the most famous of all Frenchmen." This was indeed the case, as was her warning that Bonaparte should "beware of pride, for it can carry you high, and it can also throw you lower down than you were originally."
In the mid 1800s, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a woman of significant psychic faculties, founded the Theosophical Society in order to introduce Eastern ideas into Victorian age philosophies. And as the nineteenth century progressed, two important works surfaced that pointed out the connections between palmistry and contemporary scientific and medical research. The Psychonomy of the Hand and Mysteres de la Main were written by two Frenchmen, Casimir Stanislaus D'Arpentigny and Adrien Adolphe Desbarrolles, respectively. These two men are considered by some to be the founders of modern palmistry. D'Arpentigny studied hand types and their relationship to various character traits, while Desbarrolles argued that the human palm is at the center of an instinctive life. Desbarrolles believed both past and future illnesses could be seen in the hands, because the nervous system, which controls the body's impulses, ultimately finds form in the mounts and lines of the palm. He also concluded that the apparent future as seen in our hands is not immutable; because we each have our own free will, we hold the possibility of changing our fate, and therefore changing the lines and markings on our hands.
A compellingly modern idea, and yet it is a century old.
By the late nineteenth century, schools of palmistry, or cheirology as they are known in England, were being recognized. Cheirology is the study of the form of the hand and its link to the individual's character and psychological disposition. Katherine St. Hill founded the Cheirological Society in London in the late 1880s with the goal of introducing scientific research standards into the field of palmistry. She hoped to promote the study of palmistry and establish some professional ethics for those practicing the art. She and the Cheirological Society made a significant impact on modern palmistry until the early 1940s, when the torch was taken up by Noel Iaquin and Beryl Hutchinson when they founded the Society for the Study of Physiological Patterns. This society was aimed at studying a number of established methods, palmistry among them, and discovering new methods to advance the understanding of human nature.
In the United States, palmistry was explained and expounded upon in the early part of the twentieth century in William Benham's comprehensive The Laws of Scientific Palmistry. This work, originally published in 1901, is still referenced and studied by palmists today. The connections between the character or temperament of a person and his hands, established as the "psychology of the hand" by the Polish psychologist Charlotte Wolff, gained international attention in the 1940s and 1950s. At a time when metrics, such as the Binet intelligence test, were being developed and widely accepted as methods of evaluating intangible human characteristics, Wolff defended palmistry as a means of evaluating human personality. Her methods were scrutinized by psychologists of the period who asked her to use them in a blind test to diagnose individuals suffering from certain forms of mental illness. The published results of this blind test corresponded closely to the psychologists' own diagnoses. Wolff's work is evidence of the close and ongoing relationship between palmistry and psychology.
The postwar and cold war era heralded in a time of hope and belief in technology and the scientific method. In the U.S., we came to believe that the way to better health, to happiness, and even to the stars lay in "hard science." Consequently, pursuits of less empirical methods of learning and knowing were discredited by our teaching institutions and our popular culture during the late fifties and sixties. Then, a "new age" movement began. It was a time when many paradigms were challenged by the younger members of society. I think now of the Vietnam War, when there was heavy experimentation with hallucinogens and other mind-altering substances and Eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Zen, were introduced to the mainstream. As a result, a more "holistic" approach to life evolved, which acknowledged the link between the physical, spiritual, and emotional realms. As we know, this holistic approach has slowly and steadily gained acceptance and popularity, and we are enjoying a new awareness and appreciation of intuitive abilities.
Today, we live in a period called the information age. While we experience the birth of the "information superhighway" -- a term used to refer to the incredible electronic network that is presently combining cable television, telephone, and computer systems, which will ultimately enable most communication to travel the planet at the speed of light -- words like "bandwidth," "fiber optic," and "digital" have become part of our daily language. Although at this point nobody knows what final form the "superhighway" will take, experts agree that it will have a dramatic effect on the human race. It will radically transform not only how we communicate, but it will change how we live, learn, and work.
Accompanying this technological revolution, we are also experiencing a revolution within. As the paradigms of culture transform, so too do our personal paradigms and frames of reference. In the industrial age, the machine was the point of reference for everything, including the human body. As a result, we looked at the body in mechanistic terms for many years, only partially understanding its great complexity.
With the advent of the modern age, we began to focus on a new understanding of energy and physics that far surpassed our mechanistic notions, and we have subsequently come to comprehend the human body as a miraculously complex, dynamic, and holistic creation. We are learning that the body is constantly monitoring and interacting with itself and its environment, even at the intracellular level. People no longer talk about the "ghost" in the machine, but about the human body as a "river of information and energy." While I appreciate the change in focus and value the ideological shift that accompanies it, I am also deeply aware that the practice of palmistry and psychic awareness has always provided this very same understanding. That is why palmistry is more essential and relevant today than it has ever been.
Today, much of the world's population has become educated in how we might counteract or, in some cases, merely survive catastrophes, either man-made or those that we perceive as wrought by God. As a result, we have begun to embrace and understand the idea that we are responsible for our own behavior. To that end, we have invented tools to examine our behavior. We have tried to determine what constitutes good character and to identify humanitarian ideals. And by questioning our responsibility to our world, we have begun a momentous dialogue, fueled by questions regarding free will. What are our true choices about how to live our lives? What is the effect of family or the environment on our choices? How might we overcome hurdles and unfortunate circumstances? What specific problems in our world can we do something about? How can we get support in responding to this problematic, complex world? What are our deepest desires, fears, doubts?
If only we knew the future, we think, we could find the answers to all our questions, and we could make only the right decisions about how to live our lives. But if we focused only on the future, we would never get to know ourselves now. Learning our own personal truths is a lifelong endeavor that must begin in the present moment. We must learn to trust our psychic perception, our intuition, to live as honestly as possible. If we accept this challenge, we can face our flaws, weaknesses, and limitations, and thereby begin to know and honor our strengths, uniqueness, and true humanity. And that is when it will become truly possible for us to shape our world and our future, and finally discover the meaning of this life.
Quite often, as I guide people in their personal searches for their deeper individual humanity, I am asked what an intuitive is exactly, and what fate, destiny, and psychic perception are. Far from the negative images of gnarly old fortune-tellers who pored over tattered decks of tarot cards or today's storefront readers who prey on people's fears and doubts, an intuitive is someone who possesses highly developed intuitive abilities, abilities that we all have to one degree or another. Those, like myself, who practice intuition professionally have chosen to use their skills to grapple with the uncertainty and difficulties that make up life. That is certainly a far cry from entertaining audiences with bogus displays of mind reading and conjuring up false apparitions from the dead.
Many of us have erroneously learned that fate is something beyond our control, something that happens to you. Destiny is supposedly something that you choose to realize, such as your potential, something you may actually influence. But the fact is, our individual fate and destiny are both up to us. It is we who decide what our fate will be. If you choose never to leave your house, for example, you will simply live a life in which you do not leave your house. Fate is about choice, and your fate, as this book will illustrate, exists in your very hands.
Psychic perception, then, is a state of heightened intuition. It may be useful to delve a little deeper into this idea, beginning with a discussion of what the psyche itself actually is. In Greek mythology, Psyche was a beautiful nymph, so beautiful, in fact, that the goddess Venus envied and despised her and ordered Cupid (Venus' son) to force her to fall in love with the most contemptible man possible. But Cupid himself fell in love with Psyche, who is considered to be the personification of the soul, and could not comply with Venus' order. After much persecution by Venus, Cupid's love for Psyche and his wish for reconciliation won out, and Psyche was granted immortality. In simplest terms, the psyche can be defined as the soul or the mind, not just the thinking brain, but the mind that permeates and connects the disparate aspects of each and every human. The unconscious and subconscious, finally, are part of the psyche, and intuition derives from this part of the mind.
According to psychoanalyst Carl Jung, "Intuition...is one of the basic functions of the psyche, namely perception of the possibilities inherent in a situation." Our intuition is constantly in play, making judgments, but usually only the outcome, the final judgment made by our intuition, finds its way from the subconscious to the conscious. Psychic perception is a means of tapping into this judgment process, what Charlotte Wolff describes as "the instantaneous synthesis below the level of consciousness of observed details." More important, it involves trusting the process.
If you doubt the existence or power of intuition, simply think of the tortoises that know to return to their birth beaches, the fawns that are born knowing how to run, and the swallows who return each year to Capistrano. If these other species can perform these seemingly miraculous feats simply by being, why is it so hard to accept that humans, too, can know through intuition, that they can know simply by being human?
My experience has shown me that trusting this intuition -- or finding your psychic self -- is the way to control both your fate and your destiny. How many times, for example, have you simply "known" that someone was going to call just as the phone rang? Or had a "hunch" about something that proved to be correct? Many psychologists believe that déjà vu, the feeling of having been in a particular situation before despite knowledge to the contrary, is a type of psychic phenomenon.
What is known as "psychic phenomena" does not merely represent a sixth sense, however, but ranges from simple intuition to extreme states of mystical awareness. When you have a gut feeling about something or go with a hunch, you are doing the same thing a psychic does when she engages in a reading.
But so many of us don't yet trust our gut feelings, which is why I have written, and why you have chosen to read, this book. I have chosen to frame the chapters around the age-old analysis of the hand, for the road map to self-knowledge that it has provided over the centuries is undeniable. And, significantly, the hand is a wonderful visual aid that you have access to all the time.
I have witnessed palmistry regain its appropriate status as a tool for self-evaluation. Relied upon in spiritual arenas to provide insight and foresight, it is now also increasingly used in many fields of alternative medicine as a diagnostic tool. Palmistry as a vehicle for increased intuitive awareness is finally gaining credibility and is ascending as a viable and effective means of gaining true self-knowledge. I invite you, then, to trust yourself and to embark on this journey of self-exploration and join me in finding out what fate and life has in store for each and every one of us. Remember, your fate truly is in your hands.
Copyright © 2000 by Donna McCue
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Top customer reviews
But there's more. The day I had my 'reading' done--Donna held my hands and prayed for inspiration and the ability to speak the truth. This constant quest to develop her spirituality in tandem with her palmistry skills is what made all the difference to me. She IS the real deal, folks. Deeply prayerful, Donna says in her book, "Prayer became the well-spring of my intuitive powers." For Donna is also a gifted Intuitive--you have to hear the things she told me about my life and all backed up by the blueprint on my own hand. I loved it that she was able to take Palmistry one step further. "Whether we know it or not," she says in her book, "we are all one as we strive towards higher ground."
Oh, and before I forget, your palm is NOT a static thing--it changes constantly as a living record of your life's highs and lows. The beauty is that there is time to change the things you don't like in your life through prayer and meditation. Unbelievably, you can see changes in your life as they make their way across your palm. Throughout Donna's book, she gives you exercises to help you break new ground and strive toward expanding your own glorious spirituality. And the hand plays it all out!
On a practical level, people in Human Resources, or doctors, clergy, teachers, etc., can utilize the principals of palmistry to aid them in their dealings with clients, patients, etc. Or on your next blind date, cut to the chase and hold his/her hand--what you see reflected there can make all the difference in your life. (See the chapter on how Donna did a reading on a stranger and blurted out, "I'm going to marry you!" and she did.)
When the pupil is ready, the teacher will come." I was ready and Donna came--both personally in her 'reading' of my palm and in her wonderful book. How about you? Are you ready????
Personally, I read the book because I felt lost and wanted to find directions in life. I practice the exercises that are recommended in the book to get in touch with my soul. After a few weeks of practicing, I had an increasing urge to visit New York City and also to see Ms McCue in person. So I did, and they turned out to be something very worthwhile and inspiring. Meeting Ms McCue was an unforgettable experience for me. In just the first few minutes of our meeting, I was astonished and sensed a chill in my body when I felt that she really knew me and knew how I felt inside. And I was touched by her warmth, compassion, enthusiasm toward people, and genuine respect for people. Coming back to where I live, Vancouver Canada, I brought with me a passion and a dream and also a desire to make my dream come true. Also, I now know better how to find myself and work towards becoming who I am. Thanks Donna. AV
The book's contents is written in a positive, spiritual manner with a twist of Donna's humor. There is nothing "magical" about it ~ just an explanation of your life's blueprint. Why not read the instructions!
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