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Book Reviews


Aspects of Opposition

Hands: Aspects of Opposition and Complementarity in Archetypal Chirology, by Yael Haft-Pomrock, Daimom Verlag, Einsiedeln, Switzerland, 1992

Reviewed by Richard Unger

This is an intriguing, yet puzzling book on archetypal hand analysis.

Let's start with the intriguing. The methodology and explanatory format for hand analysis created by Haft-Pomrock are both unique. In a field replete with look-alike books, someone who has gone to such great lengths (over thirty years of research) to present new material deserves our applause.

The author does not invent her system out of thin air, openly borrowing from Spier, Debrunner, Wolff and others. Those already familiar with the basic tenets of hand analysis will easily recognize her hand shape typology and other aspects of her approach.

Where Haft-Pomrock sets out on a new trail is in her discussion of the feminine archetypes in the hands. Rather than settling for the traditional approach in naming the fingers and their mounds after male gods, she allots each finger (excepting hermaphroditic Mercury) male and female counterparts. Jupiter becomes Zeus/Hera, Saturn becomes Saturn/Athena, and Apollo is Apollo/Artemis-Persephone.

Various conditions of the fingers and mounds bring out different archetypal aspects of the god/goddess energies. To use Zeus/Hera as an example, the author presents four forms of Hera:

Parthenos: Hera as virgin, equated with eagerness or hesitancy depending on the characteristics of the finger,

Tellia: Hera as the married woman, knowing her worth as family or group leader,

Chera: Hera as the divorced or widowed woman, and

Hestia: a shadow element of Hera associated with devotion and sacrifice as a means of control.

Haft-Pomrock displays photographs of each type of index finger, with explanations of character based upon the mythological archetypes. For instance, if the index finger is bent in toward the wrist, looks heavy, and is slightly separated from the other fingers; this is Hera in the form of Chera, an indication of sadness. The Moon, Venus, and Mars, as well as the lines of the palm also receive archetypal explanations.

Another apparent innovation is her physical method of analysis. She analyzes the client's hands with elbows on the table, hands in the air, and palms toward the body. This she treats as the "inherent personality". The hand prints, in her system, reveal the "current expression". I have met hand readers who read the back of the hands in detail, and others who like to read with the elbows on the table, but I have not come across this author's approach before.

As with every palmistry book I have read, there are statements in this one that agree and disagree with my own analyses. Haft-Pomrock sees the long, flat heart line ending under Zeus/Hera as, among other things, devotional (agree), and the head line upturned toward Mercury as an indicator of manipulation (disagree). She says that the head line stopping at the fate line shows "rationalizing behaviors" (interesting, I'll have to think about that one).

Now for the puzzling part of this book: the execution leaves me somewhat unsettled. The photographs seem too confusing for me to try out her system and I wish the numerous archetypes were further fleshed out so I could understand better when and how to apply them. Still, reading any palmistry book with a new approach makes me think my time is well spent.