Chapter 1

The Types And Characteristics Of Hands

by Ranald

One of the few things which modern, scientific hand analysis has retained from ancient palmistry is the classification of human hands by their shapes.

Various students of the hand have divided their subject into as many as 170 typical divisions. But most authorities agree on 7 basic types, each with its characteristic traits.

THE ELEMENTARY HAND

The elementary hand belongs to the simplest and least cultivated recognized, being thick, clumsy and stolid- are short in proportion to the palm and have a looking.

Its fingers persons. It is easily stubby, childish appearance. shape. Hands like this out questioning. They The fingernails, too, have a squatty perform the heavy labor of the world with- show little or no imagination. They do not indicate sensitiveness to beauty, though their owners mentally affected by may be senti- simple melodies, symbolic pictures or tender verse. With this elementary hand go strong family affection and prideful 9ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION 10 nationalism. Emotionally, the owners of such hands are limited to simple, direct responses. The elementary hand does not show vio- some authorities believe. In my experience, owners lent temper, as of such hands may be among the mildest and kindest of beings, though physical expression is their usual reaction to outside stimuli. Hence, the legend that they are brutal. But, actually, only certain types of elementary-handed persons, in whom jealousy or other prim- itive passions are easily aroused, are given to violence, and their out- bursts are of the moment, rarely lasting after the first impulse has passed. is fast disappearing. As men improve their broaden their cultural interests their hands and conditions physical reflect the change. This type of hand

THE CONIC HAND most common types is the conic, or sensitive name from its cone-like or trian- gular shape, broad at the base and tapering at the tip. The pure type is conically shaped both in the palm and in the fingers, each finger tapering from a wide base to a small tip. The fingertips are rounded, sometimes slightly pointed. Today one hand of the (see plate 1). It derives itsTYPES OF HANDS The conic hand when the palm is is 11 hand of feeling, not of action. At its worst, and without energy, it marks the intro- shows a vivid inner life, which may be shared the soft, full spective dreamer. It with others through conversation, but rarely through activity. The conic hand usually indicates a quick mentality, an intuitive grasp of ideas, an enthusiastic responsiveness but an interest which wanes rapidly. who People shine in have conic hands company and like to be with others often who are admirably fitted for a social role, talkative, witty and sometimes a bit ma- those being quick, impulsive, They have hundreds of friendships and no friends, for they form no deep attachments. Even in love, they are inclined to be fickle. They are generous, so long as generosity requires no great effort on their part. They love luxury and comfort. They are vain, easily flattered and easily hurt. licious. On the finer side, people with tapering hands make up the appre- which keep our artists, poets, sculptors, painters and musicians alive. The conic hand is often called “artistic.” This, ciative audiences I have found, gives the wrong impression. Persons with conic hands do not have the energy and force required to create beauty. They appreciate it. They enjoy it and respond to it intuitively, often with- out analysis or theoretical understanding. When hand is firm and full of energy, all its weaker and the strong ones emphasized. Adding stability to quick understanding, such hands promise much more consistent brilliancy. The result is not only day dreams, but actual the conic attributes are modified, accomplishment. THE SQUARE HAND The square, or realistic posite of the conic. Its hand name (see plate 2) is almost the exact op- describes its appearance. Palm, fingers, have a squared-off, rectangular shape. To identify it, look for those indications and look especially for a straight line at the wrist and at the base of the fingers, with all the fingers attached tips, nails all at about the same level. The square hand is the useful, practical, methodical hand. ItANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION 12 usually indicates a planned life, and interests narrower than for the conic hand, but greater thoroughness and application directed in those interests. Success almost always accompanies the square hand unless other indications deny its potentialities, but achievement is usually slow, through method and persistence, not through flashing In dealing with others, squarehanded people are punctili- brilliance. and exceedingly honest. In business, they are they have a knack of handling subordinates with imper- sonal fairness; and their driving force is an even, constant pres- ous, slightly formal efficient; moving them forward. Depending on other signs in the hand, squarehanded people are capable of being either forceful executives sure, or efficient subordinates. But the lighter side is very The a mundane square hands. much toned down arts are studied in persons with real- and indulged in only if they purpose, like social advancement. Square- handed people are likely to be narrow-minded in matters outside istic, also serve their immediate interests. They oppose cal scientific achievement, social progress, scoff at radi- and pooh-pooh anything which smacks of mysticism. At worst, they are dogmatic, assertive, unimaginative and domineering. At best, they are efficient, self-confident, honest and logical. Their affections rarely conflict with their worldly inter- ests, though in family relations they are likely to be indulgent andTYPES OF HANDS 13 They have great regard for custom and tradition, though they are not easily swayed by others. ambitious. THE SPATULATE HAND A hand which promises an interesting and active life is the name from its spready, broad fingertips and fanlike palm, shaped like the spatula knife which chemists use for mixing. Its palm may broader at either the wrist or at the base of the fingers. flat spatulate, or energetic (see plate 3). It gets its be The outstanding attributes of a spatulate hand are driving en- ergy, restlessness, mental and physical daring. The owners of spatu- late hands are always forceful personalities, sometimes eccentric, more often just highly individualistic. They are neither credulous nor overly skeptical, approaching new ideas with enthusiasm, but applying sound reasoning. Persons with spatulate hands tend to accept others for what they are. They have no desire to reform or to possess their friends. Consequently, their attachments surface they sense, where may may appear casual. This be strong, although on the not fickleness in the usual is like turns to dislike, love to malicious backbiting, as is sometimes true of those who have conic hands. On the contrary, theANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION 14 spatulate-handed are extremely loyal in friendship and cameraderie, less so in love but shared experiences are the basis for their friend- ships, and parting leaves fondness without sense of loss. ; The hand looks for conflict and difficulties to surmount. shows no humanity, its owner is likely to be tyrannical. Mussolini has such a hand, and Genghis Khan undoubtedly had. Where mental qualities are most highly developed, the spatulate When spatulate it is that of the most daring scientists, men whose quest for ad- venture takes them into uncharted realms of knowledge. Where physi- hand cal qualities predominate, you will find it to be that of the soldier of fortune, the explorer, the adventurer. The balanced spatulate hand is usually found in great engineers, inventors and builders. Empire makers and destroyers have spatulate hands. THE KNOTTY HAND The knotty ognize the type the hand ( see plate 4 ) hand, also referred to as the one which goes with deep thought. You can rec- or profound philosophic hand, is by its bony structure the joints large, the back of ridged, the general outline irregular. Its fingertips are usually pointed or rounded. Logic in its narrow sense is the outstanding trait of the knottyTYPES OF HANDS 15 hand. It is the logic of abstract thought, which builds hypotheses without regard for reality, rather than the logic of practicality. The knotty-handed person delights in the intricacies of higher math- ematics or metaphysical discussion. Material wellbeing is of no con- sequence to the owner of this philosophic hand. He is contemptuous of worldly success and is frequently almost foolhardy in generosity with his possessions. Yet he can be miserly, though unconsciously so, with himself, shutting himself into a world of his own and re- fusing even to recognize the travail and suffering of his neighbors. He is tolerant of all shades of opinion. When aroused, however, the person with the profound type of a fearless advocate of the rights of others. His sense of justice, his love of freedom, his contempt for meanness and cow- hand is ardice place him among the bravest fighters for the rights of man. THE POINTED HAND The most beautiful hand the intuitive or pointed one is (see plate 5). It has the beauty of fragile porcelain, and its weakness. You will very rarely see anyone with the intuitive hand in its pure form, but shall list many have hands it so nearly approaching the type that I as one of the basic shapes. It is long and narrow, with slender, tapering fingers and long, oval, pointed nails. The pointed hand the hand is of spiritual fervor. It goes with a trusting overcredulous nature. It has the intense emotionalism of a child, to whom everything is black as pitch one moment, radiant the next. There is no anger in this type, nor any feeling of energy Those with pointed hands are mild and forgiving, easily or fury. hurt, but easily forgetting. out logic or cool judgment. They are not so much illogical as with- They have no idea how to be businesslike or practical. Yet, persons with pointed hands have a compensatory gift. What they are unable to reason out logically, they often grasp more directly. They sions. are highly intuitive, extremely sensitive to feelings and impres- They are attuned to receive waves or currents too delicate for other persons and even too delicate to register on the most sensitive instruments so far devised by man. For this reason, they make ex-ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION 16 cellent mediums, though frequently they are unaware of their sixth sense. Love of beauty and disgust with ugliness are often guiding prin- ciples in the lives of those who have intuitive hands. The authors of our most inspired lyrical poetry have often had this type of hand. They live through their feelings. Their emotions swing from ecstasy, when they are loved, to despair when they feel themselves lonely and useless. COMBINED TYPES Of course, there are few persons nowadays whose hands are of one type alone. Most of us are much more complex than that. There are various combinations, such as a square hand with exceptionally long, though still squaretipped fingers (see plate 6). Such a combi- nation is an excellent one, the long fingers adding an inquiring mind and keen observation to the practical nature which goes with a purely square hand. Knotty fingers on a square hand (see plate 7) will add mental and daring to the qualities indicated originality, a sense of justice by squareness. Spatulate fingers with a square hand give originalityTYPES OF HANDS 17 and energy. Such a combination is excellent ior an inventor. A square hand with conic or pointed fingers is a good indication for creative art work, the square palm giving method and perseverance, the tapering fingers contributing sensitiveness and love of beauty. Even in this combination, however, the needed to make for real force and drive of energy are accomplishment. THE MIXED HAND More common even than a hand combining only two types is the hand (see plate 8). In this, the fingers often belong to different types, and the palm may be of still another shape, or combine characteristics of a number of different ones. thoroughly mixed or The outside edge versatile may, for example, tend to the oval, the other be rectangular. To analyze such a hand, the student must determine what its dominant forces are. I shall discuss that in the chapter on the mounts and in the one about the fingers. Aside from what the indi- vidual fingers tell us, we can consider certain tendencies common to all mixed hands.

ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION 18 The mixed hand shows versatility combined with a variability of purpose which often negates the former. People with mixed hands are facile, resourceful, adaptable. They are restless and inquisitive, enthusiastic and inventive. But they often fail to develop any one of their many gifts to its limit and so become jacks of all trades and masters of none. Of course, the weaknesses in a mixed hand are less- ened by energy and purpose and magnified if the will is not strong. In studying a hand, try to classify it according to one of the seven types. If, as is most often true, you decide that your subject is of the mixed type, then determine what the dominant traits are. When the hand is so much a mixture that you cannot point to any one or two dominants, then make a careful analysis of the fingers, lines and mounts, balancing the various factors against each other.

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