Saturday, June 27, 2015

Got to Hand it to You - Palmistry

Positions of the signs of the zodiac in the hand by Jean Baptiste Belot, 1640
The art of palm reading is solidly linked to astrology. Humans are considered a microcosm of the whole of creation, and as such, the hand a microcosm of the microcosm. All its parts are governed by the planets and the zodiac. 

Hermeticists state confidently that nothing was left to chance in Creation, including the lines on the hand, which must, since serving no psychological purpose, be in constant relation with an individual’s faculties, and like the stars, they indicate both character and fate allotted to us. 

Job 37:7 is singularly favorable to cheiromancy as translated by Maistre de Sacy, “God, who sets, as it were, a seal in the hand of all men that they  may discover their works,” or “God has placed signs in the hands of all the sons of men, that all the sons of men may know his handiwork.” Taking strength from such an authority, the cheiromancers established a complicated science with abundant illustrations. As it is a psychological science announcing both physical and moral character, and a divinatory art as if predicting ones future, it was connected to medicine through the first, and with the second became an integral part of occultism. 

It is commonly considered that the left-handed lines are best for reading, as most people are in the habit of being right handed; consequently the left hand does less work which results in the lines being well preserved and complete. Some might say the destiny of man is written upon his left hand, others that his right hand shows what he has done with his life.

There are, according to chiromancers, six main lines in the human hand. Whether long or short, bent or straight, broken of faded, they form a whole system. In Chiromance, Jean d’Indagine lists them this way:

A. mensal or line of fortune
B. line of life, or heart, indicates duration of life
C. line of profession
D. line of liver, marks the phases of health

Robert Fludd, in Utriusque Cosmi Historia, has a diagram which expands on the ideas of d’Indagine. The lines dividing the wrist from the hand are called restraint, rosette, bracelets, and various other names. When well marked they indicate a long happy life. The edge of the hand, or percussion – as used for striking with a clenched fist – contains lines of imagination and generation. 

Position of the planets in the hand
The hand is subject to planetary influences. This illustration from d’Indagine shows the forefinger belongs to Jupiter, middle to Saturn, third to the sun, little one to Mercury, and the thumb is ruled by Venus. Mars has the palm, and the percussion belongs to the moon. There is some variety of assignment by different practitioners. Cardan, for example, gives the little finger to Venus. Jean Belot illustrated a more complex division. 

The particular ways which the lines cross each other, their general bearing, direction, and intensity all combine to produce an inexhaustible variety of interpretations as varied as those in astrology. The accuracy of these interpretations depends upon the skill, experience, and clairvoyant power of the cheiromancer. He may find too late that he failed to perceive a whole array of things he could not see at first. 

It is said in this art that the hand of each person should show the approximate date of his death, indicated by a break in the Line of Life. The length of life is sometimes calculated by the number of bracelets. The lines on the percussion show how many children the subject will have. 

We will look at only a few horoscopic interpretations of the best authors, as there are too many combinations to consider them all. 

The Saturnian Line:
Saturnian Line and Double Saturnian Line
Line of prosperity, thick and long, meeting the bracelets, and of good color – this is a subject that will be a prosperous in all his dealings. The opposite indicates someone who will discover new sciences, likes to build, avaricious materially, and inclined to farming.  A double Saturnian line is on someone who is unstable, fickle, and wanders, living in many places, and will die poor. 

Double Mercurian Line and Double Solar Line
Mercurian line doubled is not to be envied, it denotes a loquacious, presumptuous person who labors at little gain, will go from his country and be in servitude. A double Solar line in contrast predicts an enviable future. This man will follow many roads with honor, love travelling, or that great leadership and rewards will be given to him, if he desires to live where they are. 

Single Saturnian line to the middle, straight and well marked denotes a man in his tasks, upright, prospering day by day, loving virtue, of great understanding. A crooked line means the opposite. A double Saturnian line broken off in the middle means a poor destiny, a man solicitous of gain, curious, ill spirited deceitful, unfortunate in his actions, and careful and eager in his dealings. 

Even how you carry your hands matters – a man who shuts his thumb into his fist is a miser, one who will  get what he wants by right or by wrong.

A practitioner of cheiromancy must consider in his study of the lines of the hand, their direction, number, length, breadth, depth, color, clearness, breaks, whether single, double, or even triple, or even their complete absence. Other signs which may be found which add to interpretation are stars crosses, triangles, squares, circles, planetary signs, networks, knots, letters, figures, etc. 

Cheiromancy has enjoyed considerable favor in past centuries, and is perhaps the most popular of divinatory sciences today. Men of learning, physicians, anatomists, and others have taken an interest in it, but like cartomancy, is chiefly practiced by women. Astrology was mostly a masculine endeavor as the limited education of women did not prepare them for the complicated and arduous calculations it requires, but cheiromancy requires no calculations, only observation, memory, reflection, and intuition, which develops clairvoyance. This is the pre-eminent domain of women. This art is also gifted to Gypsies and Bohemians, and those who live on the fringe of society and find compensation in knowing secrets of the hereafter, unknown to ordinary mortals. Every self-respecting witch can read the lines on a hand. What a revenge it is upon the great of the earth, upon the rich, the powerful, and the social magnates, to be able to tell them by looking at their hand “your days are numbered, you will die at such a time, you will do what you do not want to do and not do what you want to!” What humiliation is upon a king who finds he must descend from his throne, if only for a moment, to say “here is my hand. Should I sign this treaty? Go to war? Will I have an heir?” To some extent the soothsayer here is a tangible manifestation of Providence.

Left Hand of Napoleon Bonaparte
Mlle Le Normand was a cheiromancer and cartomancer well-known throughout France. She was Josephine’s cartomancer, and so went to Napoleon’s court when Josephine became Empress. In her book are illustrations of the left hands of Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1807 the Emperor, relented to Josephine and had his palm read. She laid before him his tastes and inclinations, most secret details of his character, and announced his now famous divorce. The complete record of her prediction was deposited in the Prefecture of Police, and fearing what she might do with her gifted discernment he secretly had her arrested and detained for twelve days, until the divorce was accomplished. 

There is much we do not know about our connection with the cycles of the universe. That we are connected is a powerful thing to understand. The vitamins we need, the medicine we take, all affects our skin and nails. An old song comes to mind – the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, etc. – which, in terms of the microcosm, reflects our connectivity to the macrocosm.   


About Symbologist Michelle Snyder


Michelle is a professor of mythology and symbolism, fairy tale author, blogger, and geek. She earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales decoding prehistoric images, working closely with Duncan-Enzmann. She is also a publisher, artist, and teacher. Her artwork, inspired by her love of symbolism and folklore, has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.
     Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:

    Symbology series:


Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge  
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols 
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered 
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images 
Symbology: World of Symbols  
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Fairy Tales: 

A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book One - The Lost Unicorn
A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book Two - The Lost Mermaid
The Fairy Tales: Once-Upon-A-Time Lessons First Book


Monday, June 22, 2015

Shut Your Face! - Physiognomy and Microexpressions

(Giambattista Della Porta, De humana physiognomonia
(Vico Equense [Naples]: Apud Iosephum Cacchium, 1586).

Alongside the study of the lines on the human forehead, which Cardan calls metoposcopy, another art developed which does not include the planets or zodiac. This art allows for more intuitive interpretation by those who practice it. It is the art of physiognomy, which claims to be able to deduce an individual’s character by examining his face and head. 

Expressions like “you have only one chance to make a first impression” and “never judge a man by his appearance” arise from our tendencies toward this behavior – making it most difficult to shake off a bad impression which may have been made on us by a face, or sour or sinister expression. We are all physiognomists, and we look upon the face as the mirror of the soul. This was considered upon and written about by Barthelemy Cocles, Jean d’Ingdagine, and others in the 1500s and 1600s. 

The principles of this art are somewhat vague, and faces were often classified according to seven planetary types. The solar type has a round jovial face with fair hair. The Venus type has remarkable perfection of features with an engaging smile, and fair hair. The Martian has rugged, square-cut, brutal features. The Mercurial type is beautiful, with dull coloring and black hair. Lunar features are pale and cold, and melancholy. Jovian faces are beautiful and noble, with bold, strong features. The Saturnine has a yellow, bilious complexion and a mournful look, usually disposed to all kinds of accidents, and a violent death. In de Givry's opinion, this was a modern classification, and not of the old writers. (this reference was made in the early 1900s) Jean d’Indagine’s work is illustrated with woodcuts, and Colcles with engravings, which enrich our perception of their conclusions.

Micro-expressions are a fairly recent science, and are now used by every covert agency, the FBI and other profiling experts, and are taught to those suffering from autism and similar conditions to help them learn social cues. John Cleese did a video, The Human Face, in which he discusses micro-expressions in detail. The TV show Lie to Me reflected the popular cultural interest in this phenomenon, and many other shows have followed. 

In these illustrations the masters of the 1600’s have observed the result of the human expression on the viewer. 


Here are a man and a woman (left) endowed with a very good disposition, whereas the next two (middle) have heated dispositions, of those who would be quick to anger and not find the joy in life as the previous two would. The bitter fold, or crease, at the corner of the mouth shows they are not easily approached and cannot be amiable and pleasant in their relationships. The third is a man (right) of sickly constitution who suffers from bad digestion, eats irregularly, sleeps little and feels dull and sad all the time. He struggles with any of the normal functions which would result in good health. 



In this art the forehead  is read by its shape, not by the lines upon it as in metoposcopy. According to the tests on physiognomy from the 1500s, a fleshy and sleek forehead indicates one who is wrathful, and according to Aristotle, if accompanied by prick ears, they are more-so. Little foreheads are on those who are bustling and foolish, as are great and narrow foreheads. Those with long foreheads are docile and gentle, and of good sense. Square and pleasant foreheads are on individuals who are magnanimous and strong. Cocles wrote that those with smooth, unwrinkled skin on their forehead are vain and salacious men who enjoy trickery (as with the first pair), who, according to their foreheads, are just that. Those with meager foreheads are men who are simpleminded, quickly cruel and grasping, as the second two are – irascible, cruel, and covetous.

The mouth has a lot to say. Michael Lescot, in his book Physiognomie, writes:
“Mockery abounds in the mouth of fools, and of those with great spleens. He, on the contrary, whose mouth laughs easily is a frank man, vain and inconsistent, fickle in belief, of heavy understanding, too willing and not secret. Whose mouth laughs but seldom and briefly is a steadfast man, ingenious, of clear understanding, secret, faithful, and laborious.”

In the row above, d’Ingenine shows two types of mouths. The first two belong to daring, reckless, lewd, and untruthful men. The teeth also are indicative of character; a beautiful set of teeth denotes uprightness of mind and courteous manners, where protruding teeth is an indication of base appetites and tendency toward imbecile cruelty. The second pair show us the teeth of an upright man, and a cruel man. 
Jesus said the eyes are the window of the soul. To the physiognomist, the face is the mirror. Eyes are of great importance to the practitioner of intuitive arts. Here are images from Colces, showing a  variety of eye types and the characters of those to whom they belong. Seeing is believing…..
1 and 2: Eyes of a lazy, reckless and voracious men.  3 and 4: Eyes of men who are pacific, loyal, good-tempered, and of great intellect.
1 and 2: Eyes of unstable, luxurious, treacherous, and untruthful men. 3 and 4: Eyes of a crafty man and a simple man. 

Even eyelashes send a message – long curling lashes project proud, vainglorious, and insolent attitudes. 
The nose knows. A snub nose denotes a vain, untruthful, luxurious, and unstable soul who is a seducer and infidel.  The nose on the left indicates a weak and curious person, and on the right, a vainglorious person. 



Hair has a long history of symbolism and esoteric meaning. To the physiognomist, even without any astrological influences, it does express certain aspects of character. A man with short course bristling hair, like our friend on the left, is strong, self confident, bold, proud, deceitful, and simple-minded rather than wise. Facing him is a timid, physically weak, peaceful and gentle person – all indicated by his straight sleek hair, fine and soft of texture. The second pair depicts a man whose hair grows on his temples and part of his forehead, which tells us he is simple, vain, luxurious, credulous, rustic of speech and manners, and thick witted. His bearded friend is brutal, vengeful, angry, and prone to dominance. 

As we stated in the beginning, this is a science of intuition, and as such is separated from the occult sciences, and has become a branch of physio-pshychology, easily practiced by one with a keen eye and observing mind. Unlike metoposcopy, physiognomy has remained known, and of interest to such people as Johann Kaspar (1741-1801), a Swiss pastor who wrote popular essays on the subject.  Physiognomy is now defined as “a person’s facial features or expression, especially when regarded as indicative of character or ethnic origin.” The word is from the Greek physis, meaning nature, and gnomon, meaning judge or interpreter. 

About Symbologist Michelle Snyder


Michelle earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales, decoding prehistoric images, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales and tracing them to their roots. She is an author, columnist, publisher, artist, and teacher. Her artwork, inspired by her love of symbolism and folklore, has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.
     Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:

    Symbology series:


Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge  
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols 
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered 
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images 
Symbology: World of Symbols  
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Fairy Tales: 

A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book One - The Lost Unicorn
A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book Two - The Lost Mermaid
The Fairy Tales: Once-Upon-A-Time Lessons First Book

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day

Mother and child is a powerful archetype. Since the first birth, through millennia of human existence mothers and children were seen, and hailed as the continuation of the species. This image is found in every culture and every religion, and all around the world it is universally understood. It stands for the strongest love known and for the miracle of new life.   

But what of the dad?

Dads are the child’s first hero. He is there, providing and protecting both the mother and the child. Sweet little princesses hold their big hero-dad’s finger, and learn from him how it is she should be treated by future princes in her life. When a tiny prince is born, he learns from his dad how to be loyal and brave, work hard, dream of better things, and achieve them. He watches how his hero-dad treats the precious mom. And make no mistake; she is all important to the young prince. He is watching.

Like Father Like Son is a popular phrase. Perhaps it is used by those who want to place responsibility for a son’s actions onto the father. There is perhaps some truth to this, although it is not always accurate, and not always fair. But, genetically speaking it can be so. The young prince has inherited the looks, traits, likes, and dislikes of the parents. He learns habits and world view from those who raise him. 

Being a dad is a huge responsibility. It is a lifetime commitment. Your lifetime. Till you die, you will be a father, grandfather, and perhaps great grandfather. Children grow to adults, and still you are their father. Some men choose not to become fathers. Some become fathers without choosing. 

Having children is how humanity continues. Like every other species of plant or animal, fish or reptile, humans must procreate. It is part of being human. Some may choose not to, and that is ok. But to those who make the leap into fatherhood, I hail the tremendous courage it takes to be responsible for the life of a teeny tiny human. A lifetime of caring, providing, helping, teaching, training, housing, feeding, and loving is ahead of you. But there is no greater accomplishment. And just to be clear, some fathers sacrifice their lives to protect their own. The ultimate act of love is to protect at the cost of your own life. 

So, to all those fathers out there, be blessed, be proud of yourselves, and as I heard someone say, don’t weaken. You will reap rewards unavailable to those who do not know what fatherhood is.

All you fathers deserve a day off to be home instead of at work, to listen to the kids fight instead of to your co-workers bitch, and to experience the family you provide for. And remember on this day for dads, you would not be here without one. If your hero-dad still lives, be sure to thank him for taking the leap into fatherhood. The rest of us should remember that although the woman conceives and carries, gives birth through labor, and is generally responsible for diapers and food, without a man there would be no new life. Thank him for his hard work out in the tough world to make a living, to pay rent or mortgage, and standing up for his family when necessary. 

Happy Fathers Day!!!


About Symbologist Michelle Snyder


Michelle earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales, decoding prehistoric images, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales and tracing them to their roots. She is an author, columnist, publisher, artist, and teacher. Her artwork, inspired by her love of symbolism and folklore, has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.
     Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:

    Symbology series:


Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge  
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols 
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered 
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images 
Symbology: World of Symbols  
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Fairy Tales: 

A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book One - The Lost Unicorn
A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book Two - The Lost Mermaid
The Fairy Tales: Once-Upon-A-Time Lessons First Book



Monday, June 15, 2015

The Color of Magic and the Evil Eye

Belief that a supernatural power ruled over life and destiny led to superstitions of magic, sorcery, and divination. Divine gods rewarded our virtue and demons cursed our lives. Supplication of gods drove the building of temples, spurred good works, created prayers and ceremonies. But averting evil took magic through rituals, incantations, talismans, charms – and color. Gods used them as well – Marduk, a Babylonian god, carried a red stone between his teeth to ward off demonic influences. Christians wore the crucifix to defy the red Satan. Color was effective in invoking spirits, both good and evil, and has been part of nearly every ritual and ceremony. This included colored ink, paper, thread, ribbon, fabric, and plants.

One widespread superstitious fear was of the evil eye, which cursed a man with one glance. It is held that this curse was from the power of envy transferred from the viewer to the viewed. The cursed would be beset by misfortune, insanity, or disease. It went about wrecking their lives, loves, fortunes, and labors. To avoid the curse of envy, some would hide their success and health, dress their beautiful children in grunge, and go about as if there was nothing to envy. (It would seem this practice has not died out – grunge has been a popular fashion style for decades.) Hindu mothers put daubs of black on the foreheads and eyelids of their babes and tied a piece of white or blue cloth on the dress. 

Talismans were designed to ward off the effects of the wicked eye, and color was important in their power. Some charms in Persia had a bit of turquoise in them. In Jerusalem the defense was a “hand of might” which was always blue, and worn as a bracelet. Scottish new-born babes had a piece of red ribbon tied around their neck. In England rings or amulets of red chalcedony were the talisman of choice. Italians used pieces of coral. In Cairo pottery beads were sold to caravans, and were tied to the forehead of the camels. In this way the gaze of the evil eye would be attracted to the beads, sparing the animals. Brass ornaments which decorate the harnesses of cart horses and shire stallions, and the brass horns rising from their collars, began as amulets intended to protect the animals from the wicked evil eye. Over time these powerful amulets degenerated into mere ornaments. 

Color is and always has been important in magic. Magic formulas were usually written in red, as it is in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Color had great power to resist evil and overthrow demons. When natural red stones were used and no fading took place, the power was greater. This reverence for color was not for beauty or aesthetic reasons. Rings, bracelets, and necklaces had meanings as a practical religious strategy. Some amulets of certain gems and colors blessed their wearer, bringing favor from gods and connecting them with divine beings. Color brought success to commerce, prevented disease, protected travelers by providing safety from shipwreck, lightening, and animal attack. Color even assured a wonderful harvest and managed the elements for beneficial results. The preferred colors for amulets were red, blue, yellow, green and white. Red amulets protected wearers from fire and lightening, and treated disease. Violet stones attracted virtue and faith. When worn by children, the stones assured heaven’s watchfulness, and encouraged obedience to parents. 

Yellow stones attracted prosperity and instilled happiness. Green stones were connected to nature, causing fertility in man and animal. They brought rain and general strength. White stones were thought to come from heaven and bring its protection. For an all-purpose powerful gem, seek out a brown agate – it promises victory to the warrior, favor to the lover in his lady’s eyes, intelligence, happiness, health, and long life. What more is there? 

Belief in color as a powerful force has faded away. Magic, sorcery, and divination survive today in the fortune tellers, crystal gazers, and spiritualists. Once divine, the supernatural has degenerated into so-called black arts. Amulets and esoteric rites were forbidden by Christianity, and only creatures of the devil practiced them. These were labeled witches and fiends, and were persecuted severely, accused of denying faith to practice sorcery. Yet before Christianity reached its height progressing through a period of tortuous inquisition and reformation, magic was often confused with it. Humans were mystic and penitent beings to whom color and god were one, a reverence rooted in the ancient knowledge that the sun brings life, and the light of the sun was powerful color. Today many holistic healers used colored light in their practice.

image: facebookcover.com

About Symbologist Michelle Snyder


Michelle earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales, decoding prehistoric images, mythology, folklore, and fairy tales and tracing them to their roots. She is an author, columnist, publisher, artist, and teacher. Her artwork, inspired by her love of symbolism and folklore, has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio.
     Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:

    Symbology series:


Symbology ReVision: Unlocking Secret Knowledge  
Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight
Symbology: My Art and Symbols 
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered 
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images 
Symbology: World of Symbols  
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids

Fairy Tales: 

A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book One - The Lost Unicorn
A Tale of Three Kingdoms: Book Two - The Lost Mermaid
The Fairy Tales: Once-Upon-A-Time Lessons First Book