Palm Pride

You read palms do you?

Out and proud, loud and most certainly allowed, we are living in a time of tolerance. There is still plenty of prejudice, but in terms of what you can get away with in public discourse, this is a golden age. Your sexuality is your business, and everybody else's business if you want to share it on telly. Everyone else is expected to tolerate it, or at least keep their bigotry to themselves - and this is fantastic! We can be what we are. You can be a man who cries in films, who wears tights, or who stays at home looking after the kids. These are not things to be ashamed of in the 21st century, rather they are matters of pride.

Not so for divination.

When you admit to being into palmistry in polite company, people tend to look at you like you are an idiot or a charlatan. It is better than being thought of as a witch, perhaps - though at least witches inspired fear rather than pity. There are plenty of peer-reviewed studies to cite, if I wanted to argue it, on dermatoglyphics as markers for congenital disease and schizophrenia, on whorl fingerprints and blood pressure problems, on palmar creases and Downs Syndrome, on the ratio of the index and ring finger lengths as a marker for testosterone levels and associated character traits. But it is a boring argument to get into, so I tend to be quite secretive about my job, which looks like this:

On the way home the other day I was waiting at Embankment station at 4am, and a friendly drunk began talking to me. I like friendly drunks, so when he asked what I had been doing that evening I faced a dilemma. I had been reading palms at a masquerade ball, blowing people's minds underground in the vaults at Waterloo. I was buzzing, and this guy could put a downer on my night. I wasn't minded to come out of the closet to pity or derision. He was also of middle eastern descent, and some people from those lands have a thing against messing with the jinn. Then again, he was also sloshed, so we would both be haram together. I liked him, and since other readers have encouraged me to own what I do, I let him in on my dirty secret.

"Oh you read palms, do you?" he said, producing his own from where they had been hidden. "Read these then."

While I may be a most scientific palmist, I also know what an omen looks like. His hands were incredible, the strangest I'd ever seen, let alone been invited to read. He had been born with only two fingers, suggesting that his talents are channeled in very specific directions - in his case Mercury and Apollo. On the one hand (the left, more intimate side), it would be in the service of communication and transaction. On the other, (the right, more external side), it would be about creative expression, though that finger was bent over and maybe less well directed. They were both whorl fingerprints, though, the print of fire, the most focused dermatoglyph. His arms were like laser cannons, the left firing cleanly through a Mercury filter, so I told him he was an excellent communicator, especially good at talking to closer friends, capable of making things happen and getting people motivated. With a heart line that was completely without damage, which is very rare, he would also be the kind of person that doesn't really suffer emotional pain.

Spot on so far.

The stigmata under the little finger are associated with healing capacities, so I told him people must feel better when they talk to him. He agreed - people told him that often. He thought it was because they felt that if he was always cheerful regardless of what happens, and regardless of his disability, then they should cheer up too.

I couldn't identify all the lines, but the fate line branched under the head line, and one of the branches went to a really funky swirl of skin patternation, so I told him he had changed careers in a major way at 31, and it had opened his mind to new things. He had moved to England at 31. His friend wanted me to read his boring old digito-typicals. I gave him a card because I was busy with an angel of cheiromancy, and he promptly went to sleep.

I warned him about allowing himself to get isolated - he had another, tighter swirl on the mount of the moon, two-thirds of the way down the outside of the palm, and people with that marking can cut themselves off. He does, for weeks at a time, though he didn't think it was a problem. Maybe he is right - the heart line suggests that it isn't taxing his emotional wellbeing.

I was only supposed to go two stops, but I stayed on the Jubilee Line all the way to Swiss Cottage to explore his hands. My twentieth pair of hands that night were things of wonder, and I did another eight the following day at a flea market. It was a good weekend. I'm going to own what I do, and write a blog about hands.

My name is Diskino, and I'm a palmist.