Palmistry is a practice common to many different places on the Eurasian landmass. From India, the art of palmistry spread to China, Tibet, Egypt, Persia and to other countries in Europe. From India, palmistry progressed to Greece where Anaxagoras practiced it. Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) discovered a treatise on the subject of palmistry on an altar of Hermes, which he then presented to Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.E.), who took great interest in examining the character of his officers by analyzing the lines on their hands.
Palmistry consists of the practice of evaluating a person's character or future life by "reading" the palm of that person's hand. Various "lines" ("heart line", "life line", etc.) and "mounts" (or bumps) (chirognomy) purportedly suggest interpretations by their relative sizes, qualities, and intersections. In some traditions, readers also examine characteristics of the fingers, fingernails, fingerprints, and palmar skin patterns (dermatoglyphics), skin texture and color, shape of the palm, and flexibility of the hand.
A reader usually begins by reading the person's dominant hand. This hand delves into the person's personality. The other hand is believed to carry hereditary or family traits, or, depending on the palmist's cosmological beliefs, to convey information about "past-life" or "karmic" conditions.
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