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The Five Elemental Hand Shapes
by Alissa Hall

Recognizing hand shapes is an easy skill to learn. Once mastered, it enables the reader, almost unnoticeably, to glean key insights into anyone's true personality. While people may hide their authentic selves, they rarely hide their hands.

The study of the shape of the hand and fingers is called "cheirognomy," and Cheiro, the noted Victorian palmist, writes in his 1894 book, Palmistry: Language of the Hand, that hand shapes "relate to the hereditary influence of character and disposition."

Cheiro introduces seven hand shapes: the elementary; the square, or useful hand; the spatulate, or nervous active type; the philosophic, or knotty hand; the conic, or artistic type; the psychic, or the idealistic hand; and, the mixed hand. However, when reading hands, I prefer to limit the number of hand shapes to five primary shapes, each of which corresponds to the primary universal elements.

They are air, fire, water, earth and ether hands.

The elemental characteristics of a hand can be seen by taking note of the fingers' length and shape, as well as the length and breadth of the top and/or the palm of the hand. The characteristics to each elemental hand closely follow other elemental definitions used in divination. As such, they provide an immediate energetic touchstone for the knowledgeable reader.

The Air Hand

Air hands are long and narrow, often elegant in appearance on either a man or woman. The hand itself is a dry hand, often with long fingernails and/or long nail beds, and a long palm as well. Being one of the most graceful shapes, air hands are often seen on hand models.

In palmistry, the person's mental energy is imagined as originating at the wrist and traveling the length of the hand to the fingers, where it is put into action and made manifest in the world. The long palm, therefore, indicates a mind, which spends a great deal of time with its thoughts until they are released through the fingers and out into the world. Long fingers are also indicative of an active mind, perhaps to the point of restlessness.

Quite often, air-handed people are self-studiers and pride themselves in being learned in many different aspects. Ideal bookkeepers, they have minds with the capacity to hold and manage lots of detailed bits of information. And, they are often the ones who find themselves bored at tasks that are too easy, or those which don't keep the mind active or challenged enough.

Air allows little to no resistance - air-handed people move very fast through life; they think fast, they talk fast and they walk fast. They're usually the ones to whom everyone is saying, "Slow down already!" Of the five hand types, air hands are one of the most likely to take an interest in and/or practice psychic phenomena.

The Fire Hand

People with fire hands have expansive palms, wide and generous, sometimes boxy in appearance, as well as short fingers. Because of the shortness of fingers in conjunction with the wide palm, fire hands can look "stubby." If they are extremely stubby in appearance, it is often a sign of a very stubborn nature, especially when coupled with wide knuckles on the fingers.

Their short palms indicate a mind that is sometimes hasty in its fired-up state and how it approaches decision-making. The beauty of fire-handed people is they are the ones who conceive brilliant new ideas and convey tremendous fire and passion behind their beliefs… at least, for a little while.

The downside to fire-handed people is that their passions are sometimes short lived, and they can have difficulty following through with the things they begin, such as new projects or inventions. While the idea is burning inside, their passion will possess them and drive them into almost frenzied creative states of manic production… followed by a rapid, and often inexplicable, cooling-off period in which the idea may die if it is not nurtured, or met with a cultivated sense of discipline.

Fire-handed people are ideal salesmen as they can talk just about anyone into just about anything, and often so sweetly, or politely, that you'll find yourself grinning and nodding while jumping through their every hoop. Their persuasive nature, coupled with their innate passions, makes them exciting speakers. They are often extremely charismatic, the centre of everyone's attention.

The Water Hand

Water hands are long, much like air hands, but the quality in water hands is their immediate dampness, or moistness, apparent upon first touch. While it is true that some people occasionally have sweaty palms, this tendency goes beyond the phenomenon to be the person's regular state. Their palms are often soft and rounded in appearance, with high mounts, showing an emotional softness and a natural state of charged emotional awareness. They can sometimes have pink palm mounds and fingertips as well, and the shape of the hand looks much like a heart in how the long fingers will taper together, stemming from the rounded palm. The energy of the hand presents itself as soft and yielding, like a current of water.

These folks are the highly emotional ones, the "softies" through and through but often with a heart of gold, and a super-sized sense of compassion in how they greet the world. They are often so wonderfully self-effacing; they will laugh when you call them a "softie" and nod in complete acknowledgment. However, like the water creature the crustacean, if they have not learned to cultivate some sort of protective shell as part of their ego, water-handed people may find themselves feeling harshly abused by the cruelty of the real world, which often fails to live up to their own idealistic expectations.

Water-handed folks are also greatly influenced by the currents in their lives, both positively and negatively. Their extremely emotional nature can lead to destructive or neurotic behaviours when not managed well. They can often have substance issues, especially when attempting to self-medicate their emotional state, and/or may battle with depression.

Water-handed people are the ones you want for your very best friends - the ones you call when you feel terrible, and just hearing your water friend's voice will make you feel better. Somehow they always understand, even when they don't say more than two words. They are often natural Empaths, and as such may find crowd situations uncomfortable to the point of psychic claustrophobia.

The Earth Hand

Almost everyone, regardless of whether they've studied palmistry or not, recognizes earth hands on another person - they're the people with bear paws! Their palms are large, expansive, wide and long. Their fingers are generous and wide, neither long nor short. Often, they are very dry hands as well, and may even appear chapped.

The wide palms show a mind that is often reflective in nature, and may evidence itself in a person who is quiet, although not necessarily shy. The energy presents itself like that of the mountain; steady, reliable, and slow, or perhaps even resistant, to change.

These are the hands of the sensible, functional, "get stuff done" kind of people. Earth-handed folks are good with their hands, and often have careers and/or hobbies that involve working with their hands. They may be expert woodworkers, or make a living as a massage therapist, but they each can attest to having hands that "can think for themselves."

They are not overly emotional people, and may even pride themselves on that quality. In general terms, they are often the least likely to be interested, or gifted in, psychic phenomena - they often pride themselves in their down-to-earth, pragmatic, "no nonsense" approach to life as well.

The Etheric Hand

The last hand type is the etheric hand, or the psychic hand. This hand type, which is also identified by Cheiro, looks like an air hand taken to extremes - with extraordinarily long fingers and palms, coupled with extremely long nail beds. The long, and sometimes naturally curved, nail beds are usually the first visual clue of a psychic hand, as at first glance an etheric hand can look much like an air hand.

The interpretation of the etheric hand shape corresponds to the elemental energy of the cosmos, the embodiment of unknown potentiality, what Hindus call akasha. Ether-handed people are indeed often extremely gifted and "natural" psychics, or have an abundant interest in all things metaphysical, which may be evidenced by a lifelong study or interest in the occult.

Other mental characteristics of the etheric hand correspond closely to the air hand, as the long palm shows a mind prone to thinking long thoughts, and spending a great deal of time in introspection. The long fingers show adeptness at holding on to details, and, like air-handed folks, they may be active self-learners.

The etheric energetic quality of these hands often makes visionaries and prophets of their owners. Etheric-handed people may be facile in traveling between the metaphysical and spiritual realms, and may experience mediumship and/or astral travel as natural extensions of their innate gifts.

In my experience, a true "psychic" hand is a rare find - I've seen one or two in the couple hundred of palms I've read thus far. There are other marks of psychic inclinations or natural intuition on the palm besides the hand shape, so I remind readers do not despair if you fail to recognize an etheric shape on your own hands, but know yourself to be a good psychic.

The Combination Hand

Lastly, it is possible to find hands which are a combination of elements; Air-Earth hands with wide hands and palms, but long fingers; or, Water-Air hands which are long in overall appearance and yet moist or plump as well. These hands show a blending of the overall elemental characters as presented, and when reading these people, they may seem to command a greater balance in their own lives due to the elemental balance seen in their hands' shape.

The reading of hand shapes can be tremendously informative when put to work - at job interviews, when shaking another's hand, even by watching celebrities on screen. Regardless of palmistry experience, any reader can begin to recognize these five elemental shapes and apply the principles of this knowledge to their own lives, giving them hidden insights into the true personalities of those they encounter.

Copyright (c) Alissa Hall 2004





In 1992, Alissa earned a B.A. in English, graduating cum laude. She is currently a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Her education in palmistry began in 2002, when she added this skill to her other methods of divination, such as reading Tarot cards and runes, as well as karmic path advising.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Timeless Spirit Magazine. All articles are the copyright of the particular writers and cannot be reprinted without their expressed permission. All rights reserved. International copyright laws prohibit reproduction of or distribution of this page by any means whatsoever, electronic or otherwise, without first obtaining the written permission of the copyright holder. We retain legal counsel to protect our copyrights.

Any advice given is for informational purposes only.

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