The Basic Modifiers : The Western Perspective for the Palmistry World

Book Review of “The Art and Science of Hand Reading”

Book written by Ellen Goldberg and Dorian Bergen

Review written by Janet Li


Palmistry is a big topic for us to discuss. It includes many schools of thought to analyses the future of the hand owner and their personality traits. Written by Ellen Goldberg and Dorian Bergen, this book “The Art and Science of Hand Reading” has chosen to use the basic modifiers to discuss this topic. The author said that it is the first subject of this book. This book has brought us a western perspective to enter into the world of palmistry.


With 532 pages, the book “The Art and Science of Hand Reading” is comprised of three main parts. The first part describes the basic modifiers that make each hand unique. It includes the texture, flexibility, consistency, coloring and size of the hand; the fingers; and the thumb. The second part outlines the meaning of the mounts. It talks about the seven archetypes of the palm. The third part talks about the lines of the hand. It shows the road map of the palm.


The most shinning part of the book is the first and the second parts. The first part has detailed the personality traits with the basic modifiers. The second part has used the basic modifiers to determine the concrete features of different people of each mount. The second part has blended the theory of chirognomy and chiromancy very well. Especially, the part of the mount with the illustration of the basic modifiers has blended the theory of chirognomy and chiromancy very well. It has told the personality traits of different mounts in terms of “texture of the skin”, “flexibility of the hand”, “consistency of the palm”, “color”, “hair”, “nails”, “finger length”, “fingertip shapes”, and the “thumb”. I agree that the author said “There is a good reason the basic modifiers are the first subject in this book.”


There are some main points in this book. For example, it said “Exactly how a person with medium-textured skin expresses finer or coarser qualities of an archetype will be shown by other indications in the hand, not by the skin texture.” And it said “As a measure of energy, consistency is one of the most important aspects of the hand. No matter what other indications are found, no matter how beautiful the development of certain mounts, no matter how rare a sign is found in the palm, the consistency of the hand can make or break the potential of these qualities.” This book has used a lot of elements of the basic modifiers to establish its point. These ideas are already very original to the reader from the Asian countries.


Unlike most Hong Kong palmistry book, this book has not put too much emphasis on the hand line and the hand shape. Maybe, it is the difference between the eastern and western palmistry. In the theory of the eastern palmistry, the author will put more energy to predict the fate of the owner. However, in the theory of the western palmistry, the author will put more energy to analyses the personality traits of the hand owners. This book has showed the western tradition of reading the hands.


One strength of this book is that the author uses a lot of pictures to tell the story. These pictures have reinforced the narrative of the hand features. It makes the readers more clearly know about the appearance of various kinds of hand features. More apparently is it uses the real hands to show the features of the hand, rather than the drawing. It will more clearly show the readers what it is said.


Another strength of this book is that the author spends much concentrations on the descriptions about the personality traits of different mount combinations. It has depicted clearly which kind of personal traits are for different kinds of people.


What is most impressing is that the book states accurately about my personal traits. For example, it states that “When Apollo leans toward Saturn it gives some of its ability to play and relax to the most serious and hardworking archetype. It helps Saturn to lighten up. When Saturn leans toward Apollo it gives some of its hardworking ethic to a mount that can sometimes waste its creative power in pursuing pleasures. It gives Apollo focus and direction.” That hand feature has accurately points out my personality traits. It is really amazing. It makes the title of this book “Classical methods for self-discovery through palmistry” alive.


One weakness of this book is that it has not told the readers which factor is the most important among the various factors of chirognomy to determine the personality traits of the owner. It has not clearly explained that point. If the author can point out more clearly which factor is most important, it will be better.


All in all, this is a great book. We should study that book seriously and follow what the author say “Always feel free to say you are student of palmistry and that you do not know in advance what you will be able to see.” To study palmistry is just like long-life learning. We should make an enquiry of the unknown with the curiosity.


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